ONE metaphor for our age is that change and disruption are increasingly frequent and unpredictable. This is true of the UK, politics and the nature of government. We are only on day 21 of Liz Truss’s premiership and already letters of no confidence are being submitted as the Tory civil war goes into hyperdrive.

The shortest-serving UK PM ever was George Canning, for 119 days from April to August 1827, when he died in office aged 57. One defining point of premierships, from the days of Roosevelt and JFK, has been to set an agenda for the first 100 days, but already there must be questions about whether Truss will reach this landmark.

The bigger picture here is the nature of UK politics, state, government and capitalism.

No one can ignore the degeneration of Toryism as it transforms into unapologetic advocacy for the super-wealthy and privileged, disingenuously talking about responsibility and “standing on your own feet” while practising corporate capture and theft from the public purse and public services.

This is not just a story about Liz Truss, the Tories’ 12 years, or their longer-term failures. Underpinning all this is the brutal, speculative, short-term nature of British capitalism which has been unable to modernise and become more socially aware, collaborative and long-term. Successive UK Governments have failed to challenge this – Macmillan, Wilson and Heath all tried before Thatcherism let financial capitalism rip.

Trussonomics is shaped by an ideology which dominates UK politics and public life. This is not just about the rise and fall of neoliberalism and the zombie capitalism it has resulted in. Supporting and reinforcing this worldview is a much more pervasive outlook – an anti-social, selfish individualism which reduces people to pocket calculators, with what motivates us reduced to house prices, marginal tax rates, banker bonuses and remuneration of the rich.

Across UK public life is a media which do not understand or care that they are promoting an ideological, blinkered view and limited sense of what it is to be human, of human nature and of society. This is validated by mainstream media, alongside the more brazen ideological take of right-wing media cheerleaders.

READ MORE: SNP publish their written argument in indyref2 Supreme Court case

BBC, ITV and Sky News present the Truss-Kwarteng economic plan in technocratic terms and analyse it in neutral terms – on whether it will deliver growth and prosperity and what it will do to debt and markets. They expressly do not assess it on the terms on which it has been laid out – hard, unapologetic ideological ones. This, after all, has been how inadequately “public-service broadcasting” has presented the right-wing crusade of the past 40 years.

One example of the above is former Tory spin doctor Andy Maciver saying of Trussonomics: “It wasn’t that radical an announcement and taxes will remain historically rather high and very redistributive,” before concluding: “All that should matter is will it work? As a neutral, I’m interested to find out.”

Last Friday – when Kwasi Kwarteng gave £45 billion in unfunded tax cuts to the rich and increased UK borrowing by £72 billion – was the 30th anniversary-plus-one-week of Black Wednesday when Tory devaluation saw the pound forced out of the EU’s Exchange Rate Mechanism, interest rates hit 15% and Tory economic competence was lost for a generation.

Tories have a record of acting irresponsibly in the interests of the rich and well-off, believing they can buck the logic of financial markets. In 1963, chancellor Reginald Maudling went bust for growth; in 1972, Tony Barber undertook a dash for growth; in 1992, Norman Lamont had to abandon Tory economic policy, and now in 2022, Kwasi Kwarteng has made a dramatic U-turn on 12 years of Tory economic policies.

The first three were at the tail-end of desperate Tory governments that lost the subsequent elections. The fourth looks like it will follow that pattern. One factor which increasingly aids the Tories is their deliberate appropriation over recent times of how we remember and interpret the recent past and our shared, collective memories. As George Orwell wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four: “Who controls the past, controls the future.”

From the politically-charged, divisive, ideologically-loaded 1970s onward, which saw the increasingly overt right-wing march of UK politics, Tories have shaped how we understand the past.

Hence the 1970s are continually presented as divisive and bitter, shaped by “the winter of discontent”, the IMF crisis and “militant” trade unions. The underlying message is that Labour cause economic and social disruption and breakdown, and only Tories can keep the UK on the straight and narrow.

Then we presented with the 1980s mirage of the Thatcherite economic miracle, which still obsesses the right to this day. They wilfully ignore that there was no economic miracle, and any growth that happened was due to privatisation, North Sea oil and the spiralling cost of household debt. Yet the mirage holds a spellbinding grip on Tories and Truss and was also bought into by Blair and Brown.

Trussonomics shows the limits of devolution – politically and institutionally – as well as a mindset. Take Malcolm Bruce, former LibDem MP and once-proud devolutionist. On Saturday, he commented about the Tory tax giveaway to the rich: “Widening the tax differential between Scotland and England could trigger an exodus of higher earners and loss of tax revenues.”

All of which undermines the sustainability of devolution in a right-wing Britain and makes the case for independence.

This also shows the thin progressive credentials of elite Scotland. Roddy Dunlop, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, a core institution of the Scottish legal establishment, showed that his attachment to public life and service was conditional.

On Sunday, he said that if the Scottish Government did not embrace unfunded tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy, he might leave: “I’ve lived in Scotland all my days. I love this place. I do not want to leave. But if there is this level of tax difference, I’d have to consider it. Northumberland is nice, apparently.”

These concerns show, on the one hand, the terrain of independence and continual undermining of devolution in the UK by Tory economic and social vandalism, but also the difficult navigation that independence and progressive politics face with self-interested wealthy elites who think the world should work to suit them.

Independence in this context has serious strategic work to do. It needs to think in short, medium and long-term timescales and to address and understand the Scotland beyond itself – and the voters that are yet to be convinced.

It has to recognise the thin nature of what passes for social democracy in Scotland, given the challenges domestically and internationally. It has to comprehend, as per Roddy Dunlop, that some of our elites, including the professional middle class, are as selfish and self-regarding as elsewhere.

This, and more, is explored in detail in my new book, Scotland Rising: The Case for Independence, published this week.

The UK’s politics, government, capitalism and society are in meltdown. Any future Labour government will be buffeted by economic storms, undermined by the right and establishment, and have a slender or no majority.

Such a crisis is an opportunity and a challenge. It means independence has to dig deeper, get more serious, and plan for the future. It means there can be no room for complacency or anti-social, selfish individualism.

If the case for radical change is to succeed, it needs to be explicitly made and widely understood – and that is the case for independence today.

The UK’s politics, government and economic model are broken beyond repair, offering a historic chance which cannot be seized by economic and political orthodoxies or clinging to the hollowed-out and discredited wreckage of the UK.

Gerry Hassan’s new book Scotland Rising: The Case for Independence is out this week and is being launched this week, in Glasgow tomorrow and in Edinburgh on Thursday.

More information click here.