Who is Philip Hammond anyway? That is the question I ask myself, every time I see, or hear the man on the television, or radio. The answer, based on what I have read on him, is, no one in particular. Or, if you prefer, Mr Hammond is just another very wealthy Tory. He also happens to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer, something I had almost forgotten, until yesterday’s Autumn Statement.
Not that I watched it. I am unsure exactly, when it was that all things budgetary, began to bore me. I do know, that they became more boring still, when Gordon parted company with Prudence, and all but unbearable, when I parted company with the scotch and the cigarettes. Besides, it can take a day or two, before the devil in the detail, becomes clear.
I wonder, if Ragin’ Ruth might have something of an admirer, in Mr Hammond, given that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. For some time now, Ms Davidson has been kidding herself on, that her Tories, are somehow not quite the same as those at Westminster. Now, in a similar way, Mr Hammond would like to pretend that economic uncertainty in Scotland, has little to do with Brexit, and everything to do with the possibility of a second independence referendum. Risible, is it not?
As is the Chancellor’s feeble offering of a few sweeties (enough to pay for renovations at two royal palaces), in an attempt to mollify any Scots, who might now be wondering, if the Union is all it is cracked up to be. Staggeringly, Mr Hammond expects the Scottish Government, to use the sweeties, which are to last five years, to breathe new life into the Scottish economy. Perhaps the sweeties, are not in fact sweeties, but magic beans.
Speaking of magic beans, that great pantomime dame, Mrs Doubtfire, the Secretary of State for Scotland, also seems to believe that £800 million, over five years, is a panacea, if only the Scottish Government will “step up”. If only he would step down. Instead of representing Scotland in Cabinet, Mr Mundell represents the Cabinet in Scotland. Everyone knows, that his is a non-job, which is probably just as well. I was about to write, that he might well be the most ineffectual Scots politician there is. Which brings me on, quite neatly, to Kezia Dugdale.
It is just as well, that there is no ‘Official Opposition’ at Holyrood, because if there were, Kezia and Scottish Labour, would not be it. In her inimitable, whining tone, Ms Dugdale said something entirely unoriginal about “the same old Tory mantra – cut, cut and cut again”. No doubt, she will continue to claim, that the Scottish Government could raise more sweeties (or is it magic beans?), via a modest hike in income tax. I note, that this is in contrast to the Shadow Chancellor, who has said he does not intend to raise taxes. Can we assume, that like Mr Hammond, Wee Whiny, has taken a leaf out of Ragin’ Ruth’s book, by trying create the illusion, that her branch office, is anything other than that.
In addition to the sweeties, carrots were dangled, in the form of City Deals. They are little more, than a cheap, cynical attempt at perpetuating the myth, that Scotland is somehow dependent on England, for her very survival. Not so cheap, that enough Scots will see through it, though. There are plenty who believe, that without the United Kingdom, there would be no more sweeties, or magic beans, or carrots for Stirling or anywhere else in Scotland. It is a myth we need to dispel.