THE revelations that top Tory donors were given privileged access to the PM during the pandemic is yet more proof that the UK Government is more concerned with self-preservation than “saving the Union”.

On a day where 363 Covid-19 deaths were registered in the UK, Boris Johnson was enjoying cheese and wine with staff in the Downing Street garden while one of his top advisers was taking part in a video call with a dozen multimillionaire Tory donors.

And what was the topic of conversation between one of the PM’s right hand men and the ultra-wealthy “advisory group” on May 20 2020, in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic which has cost thousands of lives?

The impact the crisis was having on their businesses and cash flow.

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It is no surprise then that Johnson and the Tories are set to get rid of the remaining protective measures in place in England such as self isolation rules, or that the rumoured scrapping of the free lateral flow test scheme has been making appearances in the press in recent weeks - they are testing the waters.

They have consistently favoured the views of big business ahead of leaders of devolved administrations, who have voiced concerns at the speed at which rules are being removed and whether or not the UK will continue to provide financial support.

Take recent comments from Lord Frost as an example - he set out in black and white that the Tory party need to roll back on devolution to save Johnson’s job and to keep them in power at the next election.

They are also apparently ignorant of irony as in the same piece as those claims Frost (pictured below) wrote: “A country with self-respect cannot have its laws set by others.”

The National:

Yet that is exactly what they expect of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Despite devolution those nations are still dependent on the UK Treasury to front up cash to support businesses, allow people to self isolate and to buy and distribute free lateral flow tests.

If the Tory party were truly, as they claim to be, the party of the Union and its saviours, then they would be listening to devolved administrations, on an equal basis. They would respect devolved institutions and avoid legislating in areas which aren’t reserved.

It is quite clear that they are not and the only option for Scotland is to seek independence

Instead, they have gone to millionaires and billionaires who have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds for “thought leadership”.

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They have allowed unelected businessmen, and one of Putin’s ally's wife, access to the highest levels of government and influence over our top politicians, all part of a bid to keep the money coming into Conservative HQ.

This is the same government which routinely rejects basic Freedom of Information requests and set up a “clearing house” to stop journalists from getting access to information, and has refused to release polling on independence and attitudes towards the Union.

This is the party who made 22 of its top donors into peers after they handed over £3m each. 

The National:

The latest PM revelations will help the Scottish independence campaign

The party at the heart of the cash for honours scandal, and who tried to save the skin of Tory MP Owen Paterson, who was found guilty of breaking lobbying rules, by ripping up the House of Commons standards rule book.

Johnson’s blunt-headed refusal to quit despite the mounting scandals surrounding him is another symptom of the same disease - Tories will do anything to cling to power and hope that the public forgets before the next election.

If on-the-fence voters need proof that the UK doesn't prioritise or care about the people of Scotland, then all they need to do is look to Johnson. He isn't trying to hide it.