Boris Johnson is not boosting independence and will not be resigning
The PM and Tory party, like Frodo and Gollum inside the volcano are wrestling over their precious but know one mistake could send both into the crater. The Johnson is unlikely to be unseated by his back benchers and paradoxically Tory unpopularity makes his position stronger.
The Johnson has survived Yule and Hogmanay. There is a popular myth that he won’t be in power much longer and another myth that he is boosting support for Independence.
I would be surprised if his backbenchers managed to trigger a vote of no confidence in him. If they did he could, as Prime Minister, go for a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. If he lost he could legitimately call a general election. With opinion polls suggesting a loss of 100 Tory MPS, many in the so called Red Wall, it seems unlikely many would relish the prospect of facing the public again little more than a year after the last election.
If however The Johnson won, backbench MPs would be in the position of trying to oust a leader they supported in Parliament. While few would have the self awareness and awareness of irony to appreciate how stupid this is, the possibility that he could still call a snap election would make them think again about trying to impose another unelected prime minister on the UK.
The alleged Prime Minister and the backbench tories are like two wrestlers on a cliff edge each striving to defeat the other without both falling over the cliff of a general election. Paradoxically a rise in the popularity of the Tory Party would make The Johnson’s position less secure, and it is not clear if any likely replacement would thrive any better – The right wing press campaign to promote Sunak seems to have faltered now he has attacked middle class voters’ pension pots and they are not mentioning Liz Truss much.
The Johnson, unlike Julius Caesar could take them down with them, or, like Caesar, the plebs could revolt at his assassination and topple the conspirators, the leadership is currently a poisoned chalice and finally any replacement would face pressure to call a general election and it is not clear if any likely candidate would make the party less likely to lose power. And if they lost power their beloved Brexit might be in danger.
But… Brexit and blue passports.
In Scotland there is a consensus that The Johnson is boosting support for Independence: if true his removal would threaten the possibility of independence with or without a referendum. The most powerful force boosting Independence is demography. Polls reveal that opponents of independence are concentrated in the over 65 bracket.
Apart from the anger caused by Sunak’s attack on pensions, reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s raid on private pensions that made final salary pensions unaffordable, it means that of every 4 pensioners who die three are NO voters and likely to be replaced by YES voters. The Bozo factor is at most a ripple on top of this tide but not enough older people know of the SNP commitment to boost pensions to the EU average in an independent Scotland.
Talking of pensions the UK government, who currently hoard pension policy the way a dog hoards a stale bone, claim they want to base retirement age on life expectancy and the pension age to be such that retirees would spend about a third of their life in retirement. Current state pension age is 66 implying a life expectancy of 99 and when it rises to 68 life expectancy should be 102. Currently life expectancy is falling, largely, probably as a result of Tory austerity, and is around 89, suggesting pension age should be around 60. Since Tory MPs, Ministers and even chancellors seem unable to perform simple mental arithmetic or even operate a calculator we can expect further upward changes in order to fund sweetheart deals to Tory donors.
In South Britain events seem to be tending to boost independence. The MetropolitanPolice referring themselves to the police complaints authority about their decision not to investigate, for lack of evidence, parties held in Downing Street at time everyone else had to stay at home and not meet other households – something that has caused many Tory voters to switch allegiance – and have the complaint rejected for lack of evidence must have convinced many Scottish Tories not implacably against Independence to consider Independence the lesser evil.
With all this the Independence movement is split between those who want a referendum NOW regardless of the evidence suggesting the result would be another NO vote, and claiming that the First Minister does not really want Independence and those who would prefer Independence without a referendum, perhaps hopeful that Westminster will throw Scotland out of the UK, and are willing to wait till victory is almost certain and any vote rigging will be obvious – a NO vote with polls that suggested 70% support for YES would be regarded with some suspicion. The YES movement must unite, perhaps with ALBA playing the bad cop and the SNP the good cop.
Otherwise we can kiss the prospect of Independence, at least a peaceful transition to Independence, goodbye at least till today’s pensioners are all safely worm food.