By former Stirling MP, Steven Paterson
It’s a Kind of Magic
It occurs to me that magic may be involved in the remarkable political phenomenon we are presently living through, known by those with deep knowledge of the magic circle as ‘Brexit’.
Professional magicians call the technique being employed here ‘cognitive illusion’: a trick whereby mental illusions fool our subconscious to the extent that we incorrectly process the sensory information being gathered, and form an incorrect conclusion of what has been witnessed.
Coin tricks are a common example of this technique. A good exponent of the magic arts persuades you to pay close attention to the wrong things, usually after the subtle switch has already taken place, and the coin thus disappears, magically appearing somewhere else to the amazement of those watching.
Yet the scale of the current Brexit deception seems set to break all previous records in this regard. This is no cheap coin trick; rather it is an enormous swindle taking place in plain sight, so gargantuan that the Great British public shrug and conclude, contrary to all the evidence in front of their faces, that it couldn’t possibly be so catastrophic.
Even a cursory review of the Brexit story to date reveals all kinds of hocus-pocus.
Take the shameless claim about £350 million per week we would all save by voting to leave the world’s largest trading bloc and instead spend it on the NHS. Although it was only a small part of a nasty, bitter campaign dominated by anti-immigration undertones, it was obvious that this claim was ludicrous nonsense the instant it was plastered to the side of Vote Leave buses, yet at the time many of the supposed political big beasts who have led us down this garden path were happy to see this claim unchallenged.
Now it’s as if we’re being absurdly asked to simply erase all the promises and claims pulled out a hat from our memories, and get behind the Prime Minister and her Government as they deliver the Brexit divorce following that appalling referendum campaign in which we were clearly lied to.
By former Stirling MP, Steven Paterson
The metaphor “death by a thousand cuts” probably has its origin in the tortuous and brutal form of execution known as Ling Chi, which was used in medieval China for heinous crimes such as treason.
The phrase which is now commonplace in English means a slow, painful, incremental and inevitable demise. Such a certain death can hardly be more accurately applied than to the slow collapse of the present UK Tory Government.
We have had Tory Governments imposed on us here in Scotland for the majority of my lifetime, and democracy for Scotland is at the heart of my politics. In the most basic of terms, Scotland should always get the government Scotland votes for.
Unfortunately, the cherished Union means that in governance terms, “we get what we’re telt”. Or to put it more bluntly, “shut up, Scotland, and eat your cereal”. However, even comparing the present incarnation of the Tory regime with its predecessors, Theresa May’s class of 2017 is as weak as dishwater to a degree unprecedented.
by former Stirling MP Steven Paterson
The world of politics is never far away from the next scandal.
In 2009, I recall how surprised I was that most people in the country seemed not to know that some Members of Parliament were abusing the system of financial support meant to allow them to do their jobs and represent their constituents, in what would come to be known as the Expenses Scandal.
I’d worked in politics for a few years by then, and been elected to local government as a Stirling councillor two years previously, and I was regularly hearing stories about some of the brazen antics of certain Scottish Labour politicians at the time. As if I needed a reason to be cynical of a secretive Westminster club that operated with little, if any, serious scrutiny or accountability.
The past two weeks have seen heated debates in the House of Commons and beyond on the subject of Universal Credit, because as opposition parties at Westminster have rightly argued, there are serious flaws in the way this is being rolled out.
Here in the Stirling area, where Universal Credit was implemented over the summer, we have witnessed all too clearly the shortcomings of the policy in its current form, and ample evidence for why the rollout should be halted until the serious deficiencies can be addressed.
Steven Paterson “My successor as Member of Parliament for the Stirling Constituency, Tory Stephen Kerr, distinguished himself in Parliament this week, but not in the way he intended.”