One big reason why Scottish Nationalists should welcome Boris Johnson – Steve Cardownie
It’s a scary thought that Donald Trump and now Boris Johnson have so much power over the world, but the latter faces a battle over a second independence referendum that he cannot win.
In my very first column for the Edinburgh Evening News, one day short of exactly two years ago, I wrote about Boris Johnson that “If he is successful and is elected to the position that he covets so much, it is a scary thought that he and Donald Trump, his counterpart across the pond, will have such an influence on world events.”
Two years on and Johnson will adopt the position of Prime Minister today. Notwithstanding the vexed questions of Brexit and a second Scottish independence referendum, one of his first tasks will be to deal with the increasing tension between the UK/US and Iran.
When the Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized the Stena Impero and its 23 crew members last Friday, the stage was set for a diplomatic stand-off which, if not handled properly, could lead to an escalation, ending in armed conflict.
The Iranians are irate that Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal, negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, and has imposed crippling sanctions on the country, and their recent actions demonstrate that they are prepared to retaliate.
A stern test awaits these two ‘statesmen’ (I use the term loosely) and the consequences arising from these gung-ho leaders making a hash of it will be felt throughout the Middle East and beyond, so let’s hope that sage advice will prevail. But, given their track record, this may turn out to be a hope that is forlorn.
Closer to home Mr Johnson will have to deal with the thorny issue of Brexit and it will be interesting to see if he lives up to his promise to take the UK out of the European Union “do or die” by 31 October – or even if he is allowed to, given the current manoeuvrings at Westminster.
If, as expected , he visits Scotland within the next few days to display his British Bulldog credentials, he will no doubt find a coterie of craven Scottish Tory MPs fawning at his feet, lauding him with sycophantic compliments in an effort to impress upon him just how loyal to him they are.
Loyal to him, but not to the people of Scotland who voted 62 to 38 per cent to remain in the European Union, but now face the very real prospect of being dragged out of the EU against their wishes and without a deal to boot, which would spell disaster for the Scottish economy to say nothing of the rest of the UK.
Mr Johnson has also made his views on the prospect of a second independence referendum crystal clear when this Old Etonian said that he would not grant permission for one to be held.
But he would no doubt be aware that a recent opinion poll suggested that 53 per cent of the Scottish voting population would vote for independence if he became Prime Minister – that is one detail that wouldn’t have escaped him.
Mr Johnson fails to understand the political atmosphere in Scotland and his previous disdainful comments about this country and its populace will no doubt come back to haunt him. But he is making a grave mistake indeed if he thinks that he can ride roughshod over the hopes and aspirations of the Scottish public.
However his denial of a second independence referendum will undoubtedly engage him in a battle he cannot win and he will find out to his cost that he has bitten off more than he can chew!