Wednesday 19 May 2021

A tale of two halves


There were two stories yesterday which go to the very heart of the position of the UK government in relation to the future of the UK. The first was this one, in which the UK Cabinet Secretary is reported as saying that the government has put preventing the breakup of the UK “at the forefront of policy making in Whitehall”. And the second was this one, covering the problems with the trade deal with Australia, in which the International Trade Secretary is determined to push through terms which could seriously damage agriculture, and which would at the same time, other ministers fear, boost the cause of Welsh and Scottish independence. She obviously didn’t get the Cabinet Secretary's memo, because joined-up thinking this is most definitely not. The disregard for Wales and Scotland in relation to the trade deal serves only to demonstrate why a government determined to preserve the union would indeed need to put the issue at the very heart of its thinking. It also demonstrates that claiming to have done so is just another bit of meaningless verbiage from the UK’s liar-in-chief.

And talking of Johnson, it seems that nobody involved in the trade deal yet knows which way he will jump. That unsurprising fact (how could they know when the man himself almost certainly doesn’t) does have the advantage of proving that the claim of the Cabinet Secretary that Boris Johnson will be “front and centre” in trying to save the union is accurate; but in typical civil service fashion, it’s incomplete. What he really meant to say is that Johnson will be front, centre, back, left, right, up and down all at the same time. All over the place, in fact, in accordance with his usual approach.


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