The Cummings-Johnson showdown looks likely to play out like Holyrood’s own high noon. Revelations and accusations will titillate the political class; and some authentically scandalous insights into state power will be uncovered. But the wider public may look the other way.
Scotland’s billionaire wealth stood at £2.7 billion a decade ago; as late as 2019, it was £17.2 billion; and now, two years on, it stands at £22.4 billion. It’s worth taking a second to breathe, read those figures again and wonder what has become of this self-consciously progressive nation.
You could purge the upper classes of its Latin and even of its Etonian playing fields; but class is encoded in capitalism’s DNA. You can wage war against genetic destiny, but you’ll be fighting a losing battle. As Jeff Goldblum put it in Jurassic Park – nature finds a way.
Politics aside, the facts are stark. All of these parties committed Holyrood to targets on child poverty. This included an interim target, now only three years away, of a reduction to 18 percent. But statistics now show that poverty was increasing, even before the pandemic, to roughly one in four.
If you’re making this about the drunk and disorderly, you’re missing the point. The problems here are backslapping suits on Scotland’s moneyed golf courses, and handwringing liberal elites who just want to inoculate themselves against the stain of complicity.
It’s rather too easy to blame this on Brexit. The deeper problem is how Brexit interacted with a longstanding sense that all factions of Labour, centrist or leftist, don’t like the party’s traditional voters.