THIS Conservative Government's descent into red, white and blue desperation continues apace. The latest great idea to save the Precious Union (©Theresa May) is the oxymoronic, or possibly just moronic, Union Division, which sounds like the handle that a group of right-wing Rangers ultras would adopt as the name of their Twitter account, and probably is.

You cannot pretend that using the word “union” to describe a division of the army to be deployed in Scotland and Wales isn't a political move at a time when the issue of a second independence referendum is very much on the political agenda in Scotland, there is more interest in Welsh independence than there has ever been and due to Brexit there is increasing talk of a vote in Northern Ireland on Irish reunification.

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There is greater political division in the UK than at any time in recent history and the response of the Conservatives is to create an army division called the "Union division". 

There are a number of things to take from this development, not the least of which is that the Tories don't do irony. More seriously, it comes across as both desperate and vaguely sinister, a blatant politicisation of the armed forces and an implicit threat to those of us in the UK who seek to remove our nations from Westminster rule.

Like all Conservative attempts to fend off Scottish independence, this is essentially a cosmetic exercise in desperate futility. The Tories seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that the real reason so many people in Scotland seek to remove Scotland permanently from the rule of the Conservatives at Westminster and ensure that they can never dictate our country's future and its public policies ever again is because we don't have enough Union Jackery. 

They hope that if they can only ensure that everything in Scotland under the aegis of the Westminster Parliament looks like it has been decorated in July by the members of a flute band from East Belfast, then Scotland will smile indulgently at the rampant corruption and creeping authoritarianism of the Johnson regime, its British nationalist Brexit which is deeply damaging to Scottish interests and its attempts to neuter the devolution settlement, and say, well I'll have me some more of that – it's got a Union flag on it.

The move hides a further weakening and diminishing in the size of the British armed forces – the new proposals will see another 9000 posts phased out. As SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald pointed out, what service people really need is an improvement in their terms and conditions, not to be politicised in a blatant attempt to influence a democratic debate within the UK. 

The British Government increasingly fetishises the armed forces and the Union flag, but once they leave the armed services, former soldiers, sailors and aircraft people are more likely than the rest of the population to struggle with addiction issues, mental health problems and homelessness. 

We see a growing proliferation of charities like Help for Heroes and the annual obligatory poppy fascism, all of which are not a sign of British pride but of British shame and failure because these organisations have to step in to provide the cash, the care and the support that it is really the British Government's job to supply.

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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