We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Sarah Smith stushie exposes how the Scottish establishment works

6 1 0

WE think we know what the British establishment looks like. In truth, though, it’s an amorphous and gaseous beast that defies easy description. When you think you have it pinned down it shifts shape and you find that your previous approximation of its boundaries are inadequate and out of date. It doesn’t sit above or below politics but beyond. Its primary role is to maintain the natural order and to extinguish those forces it perceives to be a threat.

The royal family, the Conservative Party and Britain’s scattered and desiccated aristocracy are its foundations, all of them reinforced by the judiciary; the BBC executive and the officer class of the British army. But it’s a nimble and flexible creation that deploys a formidable system of patronage to enlist grasping postulants from among those whom it would normally consider to be inferior.

These perform the function of useful idiots and are pressed into service when ripples of popular discontent threaten to become waves. Labour politicians seeking ermine are particularly susceptible to their blandishments as well as those who feel that an accumulation of wealth entitles them to preferment. Some in my own trade become so mesmerised by prolonged exposure to those they are meant to scrutinise that they too fall into line like some perverse version of The Manchurian Candidate.

In Scotland we fondly believe ourselves to be free of the ancient rituals of power. Yet there is an establishment here too that’s every bit as pernicious as the British one. Cabinet ministers are in it, (though by no means........

© Herald Scotland