WE are now more than two months into the "partygate" scandal of lockdown-busting parties held at Downing Street, and despite mounting evidence that Johnson repeatedly broke the lockdown rules that his own government introduced and imposed and then lied about it to the press, the public, and Parliament, Johnson remains in power and has made it clear that he has no intention of resigning and will have to be forcibly evicted from the office that he spent so many years scheming, lying, and plotting to get into.

Johnson has so far survived presiding over the highest death toll from Covid and the greatest economic damage caused by the pandemic to any major economy. He has survived multiple corruption scandals, any one of which would have been sufficient to bring down a previous government. He has survived the public realisation that his government's defining policy of Brexit was a huge lie which has failed dismally to deliver any of the many benefits that it was supposed to bring about. He has survived despite the fact that lying and then hiding from the press when the lie is exposed is the closest thing that his government has to a guiding principle. 

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The reason he has survived is because his MPs realise that removing him without a clear successor in sight risks toppling the entire shaky edifice of lies, corruption, and deceit which constitutes the modern Conservative party.  As soon as they can figure out how to depose Johnson and keep their own jobs and privileges, the Tories will install a new leader and continue on the same path of lies, corruption, deceit, and the neutering and destruction of any independent institution which could hold them to account while pretending that they are a completely new government purged of the stain of Johnson.

In the meantime, the Tories are lumbered with the deceitful liar who embodies the depths to which their party has sunk. The longer he remains in office the greater the difficulties become for the Scottish Tories, whose Holyrood leader has called Johnson unfit for office. That would be the British Prime Minister under whose rule the Scottish Tories are insistent that Scotland must remain. 

In order to distract public attention from a damaging situation and an unpopular Prime Minister whose continuation in office merely reinforces how toothless, impotent and lightweight the Scottish Conservatives are in terms of the influence they have, or rather don't have, on a Conservative British Government, the Tories are lashing out with scare stories from the 2014 project fear playbook of the Better Together campaign.

The scare story du jour is that Scots who have been faithfully paying National Insurance to the UK Exchequer all their working lives in expectation of receiving a state pension upon reaching retirement age will lose those pension rights if Scotland votes for independence in a future independence referendum. 

This is because the British state has chosen not to pay those payments made towards a pension entitlement into a special fund for pensions, but rather prefers to pay pensions out of general current revenues. The argument of the Tories is that this means an independent Scotland expects English and Welsh taxpayers to pay for Scottish pensions after independence. 

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In other words, the Tories are telling us that all those years of NI contributions from Scottish taxpayers, paid in the expectation that they go towards securing pension rights, have been used by Westminster to fund pensions elsewhere in the UK. They have gone towards paying for the invasion of Iraq, for Trident, and towards the soaring costs of unemployment across the entire UK thanks to Tory economic policies.  Having benefitted the UK Exchequer, they will simply be pocketed by Westminster without compensation should Scotland have the audacity to vote for independence. 

This is simply another instance of opponents of independence insisting that following Scottish independence all the accrued assets of the United Kingdom will pass in their entirety to Westminster, but Westminster will absolve itself of any subsequent liabilities.  This is obvious nonsense, and the Scottish Government needs to call it out for the self-serving Tory distraction tactic that it is while making it clear that pensions will continue to be secure, and indeed paid at a higher rate, in an independent Scotland.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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