Here they are – the sordid little gang of high-road-to-England Tory, Labour and LibDem MPs (the SNP MPs participate in Westminster of reluctantly and of necessity while it lasts) who know their careers will vanish like snaw aff a dyke when the Union ends.
We have Margaret Curran, Labour MP for Glasgow East since 2010, formerly an MSP, now Shadow Scottish Secretary, and Willie Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, now Shadow Scottish Minister. Both of them come from constituencies that are among the most deprived in Scotland, a decline and deprivation that Labour has presided over for well over half a century. Willie Bain is the successor in this Labour poverty-stricken fiefdom of Michael Martin, formerly the Speaker of the House of Commons who was forced to resign in disgrace after the expenses scandal, and who is now a Lord, safely distanced from from the poverty and deprivation of Springburn, from whence he and Oor Wullie both sprang.
Margaret and Willie sit cheek by jowl on the green benches, smiling supportively at each other – a kind of fairy tale hybrid couple. Across the gangway from them sit Michael Moore, Scottish Secretary and David Mundel, Scottish minister.
Both of these MPs are entirely unrepresentative of Scottish politics today, although they both represent the bad judgement of those who elected them. Both are members of political parties who face near extinction in Scotland. In Michael Moore’s case, were there a general election tomorrow, he and his party would almost certainly vanish. David Mundel’s party is already in self-destruct mode, something an endangered species can do without, but in a general election, the electorate of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale might well continue to display the execrable taste in politicians that has characterised them for a long time, so he might survive. (Maybe they’re too close to the Border …)
These two joined-at-the-hip double acts collectively form a discordant quartet at Scottish questions, given that their parties detest each other, but are united in their common desperate quest for survival in the face of their county’s independence. In this, they get support from sundry backbench – and backwoods – Tories, in this outing Norman Bone, who fancies himself as a wag, a hard-faced Essex Tory girl and a Scot who is MP for the English constituency of Fylde, so he’s alright, Jock when independence comes.
But let them speak for themselves, and try not to feel nausea and utter contempt as you listen – it won’t be long …