How bewildering to encounter SNP MP Pete Wishart blocking dissent and passion on Twitter from SNP independence supporters. He does it with such ferocity and superiority I am beginning to wonder if he is suffering from severe stress.
Reading his reactionary words reminds us of the headmaster – headmistress tone of the SNP these last years. I got so alarmed by what is happening that regular readers will know, worried by an SNP HQ’s self-made hidebound red tape and rules, I published an article on the subject this last weekend. It was motivated by the much shorter and sharper comment of another SNP MP, Peter Grant, who by now must be regretting his haste clicking the ‘Send’ key.
To date, that essay has been read by almost 5,000 readers internationally. I mention this, internationally, that is, to let SNP officials understand how damaging Wishart’s outlandish arrogance is, in the eyes of people admiring from afar, looking to Scotland to do the right thing in the right way. And many have influence, especially my readers in the USA. My Twitter site alone, which includes occasional retweets of Wishart’s ideals and contrariness, average over 2 million a month. There is nowhere for amatuerism and wild vanity to hide here. (See link below for essay.)
Dr Rideout suggests Scottish MPs should vacate the Gothic Chamber of Horrors, if not permanently, then on specific occasions, our precence there of no consequence, it only bolsters and promotes English political goals as UK goals.
Our absence is of much greater significance to UK hegemony. This is a sane argument. Sinn Féin MPs refuse to attend westminster, preferring to look after their constituents. They do not receive parliamentary salaries – Westminster refuses to pay it. However they do receive money for expenses and the party itself receives some public money for party business, as do other opposition parties, the majority money pooled.
“There is no desire to be in there and to be part of it… The interests of Ireland have never been represented by a Westminster Parliament” Chris Hazzard MP Sinn Féin
“As MPs, we take no part in the Westminster parliament but in every other way we provide active representation for our constituents. We engage with British political parties, civic society and the Irish diaspora in Britain. We challenge the British government directly in our meetings with them. We lobby on constituents’ issues, and on all the political matters that affect the Irish people.” Paul Maskey MP
Present yourself to your gang of tormentors daily, expect to be denigrated and thrown in the briar patch. Withdraw from Westminster if we really mean to renegotiate our relationship with our belligerent neighbour. I have argued this stance for some years now, even published work on Westminster’s long habit of using Scottish MPs as an Aunt Sally for entertainment, and just as often as a punch bag.
Here is Dr Rideout’s letter and Pete Wishart’s reply.
From: Tim Rideout
Sent: 28 December 2020 15:08
To: SNP MPs
Subject: Commons Brexit Vote – Just Don’t Attend – Hold an Alternative EU Policy Event
I am sure thousands will be emailing you just now, but this is obviously an important symbolic moment.
To my mind by far the best option for the SNP MPs is to not dignify the Commons vote on 30th December with your presence. Your vote is entirely irrelevant to the result (unfortunately), but voting NO is not a vote of principle. If your votes might make a difference you would not vote NO and thus risk No Deal.
So just do not attend at all. Make the point that next to zero Scottish MPs have had anything to do with something that is not in any shape or form what their constituents want. Being present, even making speeches to an empty room, just allows the Tories to carry on maintaining that this is a UK decision rather than an English one.
You can go better than that, too. Hold a special event (on Zoom or similar) on Wednesday instead for all the SNP MPs on the subject of “The Transition to Independence – SNP Policy on EFTA / EEA and Re-joining the EU”. Take the results of your deliberations and send them to us in the SNP Policy Development Committee. We are currently setting up a Working Group on exactly this subject.
Personally I think the SNP policy should be: On Indy Day join EFTA / EEA to achieve a ‘Norway’ relationship with the EU. Within a year or so of Independence hold a referendum on whether Scots wish to apply for EU membership or not. If the answer to that is YES then commence discussions with the EU. That will take several years and the results are not fully predictable. If the negotiations result in an offer that is acceptable to Scotland then proceed to join, otherwise stay in the Norway position.
Negotiations might result in an unacceptable offer in areas such as Fishing, but also on what are probably more important economic issues. Those would include whether the idiotic 3% deficit rule of the No-Growth and Instability Pact is still in place and if there is any attempt to force (as opposed to present policy of being just ‘in principle’) Euro membership.
Lothians Member, SNP Policy Development Committee
Convener, Scottish Currency Group
Readers will note Dr Tim Rideout is convenor of the SNP Policy Committee, a position one assumes respected by his party. In addition, he is a member of the SNP.
Where a brief, ‘thank you for your proposals, duly noted’, would be the diplomatic line to take, the statesman-like way to answer respectfully a colleague whose ideas you disagree with, Pete Wishart MP chooses humiliation as a response by talking down to Dr Rideout with puerile smart ass quips. Moreover, he somehow manages to substitute ‘Mr’ for ‘Dr’ adding insult to injury. It can be taken for granted Rideout would not expect a reply of that kind to a letter of well-considered benign advice.
“From: WISHART, Peter
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2020 6:57 pm
To: Tim Rideout
Subject: Re: Commons Brexit Vote – Just Don’t Attend
Dear Mr Rideout
Thank you very much for your advice about how I should do my job and what I should do to represent my constituents. I have only being doing this for about 20 years and I don’t know how I have managed to be re-elected 6 times without your assistance.
If it’s OK with you, I will maybe just continue to put my constituents interests over and above what you think I should do on their behalf and make sure they are properly represented in one of the biggest decisions of this session of Parliament. Though, they like me, are no doubt grateful that you think you know better than I in how their interests should be looked after.
I also want to thank you for your suggestion about what the Scottish National Parties European policy should be. Call me old fashioned, but I have this naive belief that party policy should be determined by our membership.
This ‘zoom meeting’ on ‘The Transition to Independence – SNP Policy on EFTA / EEA and Re-joining the EU’ does indeed sound like a real engaging public pleasing initiative, but unfortunately I might have something else to do that evening, though I can’t for the life of me remember exactly what it is….
Thank you for all your very welcome suggestions. Please feel free, etc.
Pete Wishart MP”
No Lead Singer
Wishart uses his constituents as an excuse for dismissing Rideout’s proposals. That is cheap and dishonest. He does a terrible disservice to the SNP’s image of tolerance, the party of welcome to all comers from all walks of life and politics.
If he was chairman of an institution, he would find a signed letter from the august Board of Trustees on his desk requesting he retract his comments immediately and offer an apology. (It is enough to live with the embarrassment without resigning, but standing for chairman again might be in doubt.) Yet, this is Wishart’s modus operandi, this and blocking access to his muddled thinking.
Various things cross my mind: is his arrogance the result of SNP policy or a general SNP attitude to feelings of being beleaguered by the public for so long. Or is there a graver reason for his inability to act professionally? Studying the man (as a writer) gives the impression of someone kindly if a little befuddled, yet he cannot tell Tory opponent apart from colleague, or unionist hack from independence supporter. This is alarming.
His outpourings raise the question, if his condition is not based on pure cockiness, is it a medical problem? As an elected representative, he feels secure brushing off dissent as if dandruff from his shoulders, or ridiculing individuals trying to engage him in genuine political discussion. This is not a mentally rational way for an MP to behave.
A long holiday might help, but if the malady is ingrained, early retirement will assuage the public who are unhappy he feels able to show how unaccountable he is to anybody, let alone his own party. I do not know what it is, but each time Wishart pronounces on a subject it always sounds like a plug for Pete Wishart.
- Letters reproduced by kind permission of Wings.
- ‘Slipping In Westminster Slop’: https://wp.me/p4fd9j-18P