Tory leadership election and my Commons suspension make a mockery of democracy – Kenny MacAskill MP

Our democracy’s a charade. I was summarily ejected from Westminster last week for condemning the Prime Minister’s refusal to grant a referendum.

Compounding that, the charlatan had been rejected by his own backbenchers but refused to stand down and rejected the opposition’s vote of no confidence. The latter’s a fundamental failsafe in a democracy, and refusing it’s a dangerous road.

I’m ejected for five days but you can come and go as you please if you lie or if you’re a sex pest, bully your staff, or even avoid paying your taxes. The latter indeed seems to be a prerequisite for some Cabinet jobs. An institution to be proud of, it certainly ain’t and it’s rotting from within and from the head down.

But what of the next PM? Whoever follows has never been elected by the Scottish people and won't be. It’s a choice between the bad and the mad. A race between a super-wealthy playboy and whichever right-wing zealot carries the mantle for the swivel-eyed-loony brigade insisting on getting Brexit re-done. As if it wasn’t bad enough first time around.

Alba Party Kenny MacAskill stands to protest at the start of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons last week (Picture: House of Commons/PA)

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“Richie Rich” aka Rishi Sunak is no saviour as Covid showed. Born into privilege, he’s morphed into the super-wealthy elite through marriage. His US Green Card and his wife’s non-dom status show where his loyalties lie. “Class not country” was shouted by the old Left, with him it’s the wealthy elite with homes in many lands and loyalty to none. He’s a fiscal conservative who’ll impose austerity on the poor to provide for the rich.

His challenger will be from the ‘delusional cut taxes, sing the national anthem lustily and all will be well’ section of the Tory Party. Utter insanity. Some of the proposals made haven’t even been written on the back of the proverbial fag packet.

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What a mess and there’s worse to follow when they’re in office and require to deliver on madcap pledges made to win the votes of a very limited franchise. Tory MPs and Tory members do not make a democracy.

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But history repeats itself, first in tragedy and then in farce. The French Revolution ignited passions in Scotland as elsewhere, not just because it showed a world that could be, but because it exposed what existed. A glorious constitutional monarchy Britain most certainly wasn’t.

The franchise was restricted and in Scotland it was reckoned the electorate was around 4,000 – and half of them were fictitious. That in a country where the population was just under two million. Henry Dundas held sway delivering Tory MPs to London. Rich landowners dominated areas and returned themselves or their nominees.

The contest for Bute, Ross and Cromarty, where it was reckoned that there were fewer than 50 electors despite the scale of the seat, was the classic. Bad weather made travel to Rothesay where the election was taking place impossible. As a result, only one candidate was there who proceeded to nominate himself, vote for himself and in fact was the only voter on the island. Administering the oath of office to himself, he declared himself elected.

That’s no more farcical than this Tory contest. Who’s voting in Scotland for the next PM? It’s time for our own political revolution.

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Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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