By Rab Bruce’s Spider

Well, it’s been an interesting holiday season. The farce of the Tory leadership election continues, with each of the main contenders doing their best to prove how much they hate the poor, the Scots, the Welsh, refugees, or anyone struggling to pay their energy bills. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has been jetting off on holiday while he holds the fort for his successor. His only recent contribution seems to have been an announcement that he will set up talks with the devolved Governments of the UK to discuss the energy crisis. I suspect these will be as productive as the talks he held with the energy companies, the talks about Covid strategies and the talks about Brexit. As usual with Boris Johnson, the announcement is almost certainly a publicity stunt to make it look as if he cares and is doing something. The reality will be a waste of time, with no tangible results.

And those sunlit uplands of Brexit seem as far away as ever, with the UK now recording the worst trade deficit since records began in the 1950s. The most remarkable thing about that is that the Brexiteers will continue to deny that this dismal economic outcome has anything to do with their precious project.

As for the value of sterling, it continues to fall against the US dollar, and its value has declined by far more than the allegedly catastrophic fall of 10% which was predicted if Scotland voted to leave the UK. Isn’t it funny how most of the media is silent on this?

And then there is the contentious issue of the proposed new freeports, although some of them now seem to be going under a different name in an attempt to convince us that they are something new and shiny. The most disappointing thing about this is the Scottish Government’s support for these Tory-inspired projects whose only benefit for ordinary people is that they may provide some low-income jobs with few workers’ rights attached. Any money being earned will, as usual in Tory Britain, flow upwards. In my view, the Scottish Government should be arguing against these Freeports which will become beacons of exploitation. Instead of proclaiming the imagined benefits of establishing Freeports, the Scottish Government really ought to be loudly proclaiming the case for Scotland becoming a normal country, and the creation of freeports could be used as an example of how the Tories intend to enrich their pals at the expense of working people who are desperate for even the lowest paid jobs.

Amidst all this nonsense, I’m told that nearly every item of food available in the majority of supermarkets is now emblazoned with a Union Jack even if it is produced in Scotland. This is offensive no matter which way you look at it, and it reminds me chillingly of those newsreels you see of Nazi Germany where everything had a swastika on it. This is one of the few things which makes me almost glad I can’t see, because the sight of so many Union Jacks would probably make me boak.

Related to that, I recently discovered that one of the backpacks I regularly use had a Union Jack stitched to it. It wasn’t visible when I was wearing the rucksack, but was there for all to see when I took it off. I was appalled when I heard this, but the problem has been resolved thanks to the judicious use of a pair of scissors to remove the offending (or is that offensive?) decoration. I’m now looking for a small Saltire sticker I can put on in its place.

All in all, the past few weeks have simply confirmed that the UK is a political and economic basket case, and the sooner Scotland becomes a normal country, the better.