What a hopes raised, hopes dashed year for Scotland.
For those desperate to see Scotland return to an autonomous state, keep all it earns, protect its borders, and return to sanity, a poll stating 55% of the electorate want an independent Scotland reinstated was manna from Heaven. Then they remembered the SNP was in charge of securing that ideal.
The year was dominated by two things, the Covid pandemic and COP26, the jet in, jet out jamboree held in Glasgow, though CNN decided to host their broadcasts from Edinburgh, the castle being a more recognisable backdrop for their viewers than Glasgow and more romantic.
Nicola Sturgeon bestrode the stage not as legitimate host of the COP26 Climate Summit, a role which Scotland was entitled to take, more the head waitress handing around a tray of drinks and canapés, engaging world leaders and ambassadors in polite conversation, such as, do you drive an electric car? The sign on her back read “Don’t Mention Independence!” Not to embarrass our famous world leaders, she removed the Saltire flags from Bute House at the direction of our masters in London, once more proving Scotland’s premier independence party is well and truly beholden to its colonial neighbour.
The year began well with independence agitator Mark Hirst’s trial acquittal. He was accused of making threatening comments in a video at the anonymous women in the state’s show trial of former First Minister Alex Salmond. Other acquittals followed suit for others faced by similar fabricated offences, the sinister and increasing frantic diktats from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), attracting jeers and mocking. Publically reviled for his inteventions in the Putin-like Salmond case, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC announced his retiral and a new Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, and Solicitor General for Scotland Ruth Charteris QC, were nominated by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, appointments unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament. They duly received their Royal warrants from the Queen, though in this instance ‘warrant’ meant something quite different to arrest. But the policy of ‘guilt by accusation’ continued unabated causing Scots, once proud of their separate law system from England, to feel Scots law was soured, riddled with agents of the British state, and rotten to a QC’s peruke.
People began to show concern that Police Scotland was being moulded into the Preatorian Guard of the SNP. This was reinforced when the SNP accepted a Westminster ruling banning all assembly and demonstrations around Scotland’s parliament building, a building conceived as, and designed to be, a ‘public forum of democratic debate’. The anger and cynicism this aroused was inflamed when the SNP went a step further by issuing a new policy of Omertà on its own membership: “No member shall, within, or without the parliament, publicly criticise a group decision or policy, or another member of the group’. Voters smelling betrayal, waved their copies of Orwell’s Animal Farm in derision at the SNP, chanting “Four legs good, two legs better!”
The human rights advocate Craig Murray saw himself sent to jail by a judge and no jury for eight months for his alleged 18-piece wooden ‘jigsaw’ identification of the cabal of carping women in the Salmond case. As predicted he served only half of his sentence to walk out of prison anointed as a martyr for open speech. The former ambassador’s defence council had argued he was a man in ill health, a term in prison, injurious to his life, removing him from his wife, young son and a new baby. When Murray left prison it was noticeable he needed no shoulder to lean on, or walking stick to hold him steady. He made a vigorous speech on personal freedoms to an assembled group of happy supporters, his long white beard acquired at Her Majesty’s Pleasure making him look more like a hail and hearty Santa Claus. It was rumoured people planned to leave some shortbread and sherry for him beneath their chimney breast. Within days Murray was back at his old job, explaining how corrupt is the British civil service, of which too many run Scotland’s government.
The alienation of women as females with rights assumed a new proportion of stupidity no one thought possible with the banning of ‘mother’ as a word denoting a female with one or more children. Overnight, mammary glands became obsolete. Women threw fits and breast imprinted men wept. It had taken a thousand years for the church to accept woman were not born from the rib of Adam, but in 2021 the population was asked to accept they are not here for procreation of the species either. It was hard to believe a woman led Scotland’s parliament, presiding over the madness.
Just when it seemed bloggers were falling by the wayside, or giving up for lack of rent – one regular blogger begging for donations to help him buy a house – an unlikely hero made an appearance on the rickety dais of the independence cause. Professor Alfred Baird rose to prominence swiftly but he had been around a long time before people noticed the bespectacled academic with the disharming chuckle knew a thing or two about colonialism. While others, including this author, has published work over the years in an attempt to convince folk that Scotland is a colonised nation, and we are usually vilified for using the taboo word, Baird crafted solid evidence it is all true and put it in a book.
Professor Baird gifted Scotland a solid framework on which to base Scots ‘whinging’, mewling and puking in the form of his scholarly researched Doun-Houden treatise on English colonialism as inflicted on an angry Scotland, and an increasingly annoyed Wales. It was not an investigation the man or woman in the street would normally buy, but then Scotland’s working class had voted Yes to Scotland’s liberty, they needed no additional convincing. In quick time, people began to discuss all aspects of colonial power and understand how Scottish life and progress is unacceptably hobbled.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon’s increasingly authoritarian party continued to say a man can become a woman simply by clicking their fingers and putting on lipstick. When women protested she told them their argument was ‘invalid’. The astonishing idea that a penis is for Sunday found a home in convicted rapists advising judges they were actually female and wished to be put in a female prison. Some judges took this claim at face value and put the fox among the hen house, so to speak. The SNP continued on its genital obsessed way like a sexually transmitted disease by sending a sex survey to school pupils asking them to fess up to sexual experimentation – the kind of adolescent activity we assume we all did, some earlier than others, until we learn the art of delay. How long before the SNP teach the young that bisexuality means you are a people person?
The founder and frenetic self-styled reverend editor of the political website Wings Over Scotland, Stuart Campbell, finally threw in the towel and gave up on Scotland’s will to set itself free. He weakened his exit somewhat by listing a dozen reasons for his departure, from acknowledging correctly Nicola Sturgeon is chronically unprepared to secure Scotland’s liberty, to stating a loss of trust in key figures of the Yes movement, via feeling his fifty-three years creeping up on him. Losing £220,000 of donations on a reckless libel case against the Labour dunce Kezia Dugdale did not figure as a reason for his going. Those who expressed their sadness at his departure were reassured by his reappearance funding polls with the public’s remaining donation money he holds, and helping the ALBA party compose a Wee ALBA Book in the spirit of Wings’ Wee Blue Book, a pocket edition of Scotland’s White Paper of 2014.
The disaffected and the disenfranchised found sanctuary in a new party of independence, ALBA, stating its single-minded dedication to regaining Scotland’s independence, first, foremost and without cavil. Alex Salmond agreed to return to the political arena and was elected ALBA’s leader, raising a warm welcome from the fair-minded, and groans from everybody who had thought him erased from the history books. ALBA was immediately joined by two trusted and skilled SNP MPs, Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill. Hardly had they returned to Westminster to take up their old seats wearing new T-shirts when they found themselves discarded by their former colleagues and shunned. Like leaving the Communist party, they were not ever going to be forgiven, though the fault for the fragmentation of the Yes movement lay completely at the tartan shoed feet of Nicola Sturgeon.
A battle of words and integrity began between the two parties, clouded by Anglophobes pretending to be a member of one or the other so they could stir things up on the Internet and cause resentment where there once was harmony. They need not have bothered. Nicola Sturgeon pulled a fast one by uniting with the Green Party which had fewer members than ALBA, elevated the Green’s voter unelected co-directors to a ministerial role, showing how adept she is at outwitting Scotland’s electorate but not Westminster colonialism.
The strange thing was, it wasn’t as if if ‘Elsie McSelfie’ (as one female wit named her), was protective of her own kind. The comic Janey Godley who had fronted some Health videos got thrown under a bus by the SNP – the undercarriage a crowded place littered with mangled bodies – when it was discovered Godley had said naughty things about naughty people in her early stand-up days.
Godley made a public apology of past sins to rescue the situation, but failed. The First Minister had been advised the choice of Ungodley as front person might be risky. Yet she ignored a photograph of Godley holding up a placard on Turnberry Golf Course reading “Trump is a C*nt”, an image that had travelled around the world and back again to Scotland. Presumably the First Minister was happy to see President Trump humiliated. It’s debateable if Godley’s career will recover fully. The stress of public rejection would not have helped her health issues when she discovered she had cancer. Joining the SNP proves to be a dangerous thing. You will have to say nice things about the party, and pretty soon you will find yourself having to talk to them. The SNP began to look more like a colonial administration than Tory House Jocks could ever muster.
The year ended as it began, dominated by a never-ending virus pandemic. The Chookie Embra died just before he reached his one hundreth birthday, though what use he had been to Edinburgh was never made plain. The Queen at his funeral looking like she was ready to follow him to the Great Grouse Shoot in the sky. On the power elite front, Lord Frost resigned, the bully boy chosen to batter the EU into submission over changes to a deal negotiated and signed by Boris Johnson. He knew full well his mission was a dud. Nobody grieved over his going as none had done when the funeral director’s cadaver, Dominic Cummings, walked out of Downing Street, fired for criticising Boris. Scotland not an inch advanced on regaining its rights, frustrated at being tossed carrots instead of liberty, watched the shenanigans unfold as the nights drew in.
2021 was a bad year for top dog Scottish journalists. Lord Brillo of Paisley boasted he was co-founder of a new broadcaster GB News, only to see the station fall apart at the seams within a week. Promoted as a news gathering service that would be more right-wing than Sir Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts, Andrew Neill found himself out of his wonderful new job and isolated, rather like England in the world and everyone else who thought they had Covid. The other Scot, Andrew Marr, said farewell to the BBC, and boasted how he was going to be free to say what was really on his mind, not what was on his autrocue, confirming what we all knew, and Noam Chomsky pointed out, that journalists only get the best jobs if they say what is approved by their paymasters.
By December, Tories in London were still telling Scotland to fuck off, the UK a joke model of ‘equal nations’. After a series of prat falls, English commentators and politicians pretended Boris Johnson only lately has showed how inept a liar he is and how useless a politician. Before that he was a political collossus. Nicola Sturgeon took to fronting Covid briefings as before, her place in history assured, just not the one Scots hoped for. She allowed a set of creepy photographic portraits published of her, eyes wide shut. In one oddly composed snapshot, the photographer captured a shaft of light on her face, she apparently enjoying the sun’s balm, proof positive she is not a vampire. In fact, the glorified selfies were an indication to the populace she believes she is elected to govern Scotland for life. The spirit of Christmas Future looked decidedly grim.
As for me, one more year of life was the one miracle to savour in a year of disasters and mass death.