It takes some arrogance and a large dose of vanity to admit one got something terribly wrong but then refuse to get it right or apologise, as in my case, where the SNP know they endorsed a falsehood, had two senior party politicians confirm it, but SNP’s headquarters staff feel disobliged to get the record fixed. This is not special pleading.
I only mention this (before I die which is soon), because it is the hallmark of the new SNP, the ethos developed by the failure of leadership invested in Nicola Sturgeon. She has created a party that exists to protect her and nothing else. This would be fine and dandy if she had actually secured this nation’s liberty, or was on the point of signing a new pact with England. In that situation, the slogan ‘Wheest for Indy’ would make sense. But she has never been close to that ideal. She has, as so many opine, betrayed the cause to which she claims to be dedicated.
She has announced she is to fly to the United States of Amnesia to meet President Biden for a chat. What will our world travelled ambassador for peace say? “The invasion of Ukraine is a war crime, Mr President.” “Correct, Ms Sturgeon, and you will keep Trident in the Clyde for the next decade, won’t you?” “I will, sir. I expect to be First Minister longer than a decade.“
I can guarantee, just as she blocked me from communicating with her, so will her colleagues, if I placed a plea to be heard on every SNP MSP’s Twitter site. A good proportion would follow her example and decide I was a citizen to avoid. (The SNP hierarchy ignored a generous outpouring from their membership telling them they knew my character was honorable.) This is Scotland’s first minister I write about, not a pompous member of the Tory party, or a Labour apparatchik living handsomely off a Regional list vote they have never won.
Sturgeon was elected to take us to full autonomy soon as she had an election victory and a mandate. She has had both several times over. There is no need to wait until we attain sixty percent in favour, or seventy per cent, as some SNP MPs like to suggest, a sly, self-serving way of reaching pensionable age before losing their jobs. The mandate lies with the party holding a sizeable majority. Conversely, if the Tories were to attain almost a full house of party members in government and lots of councillors, they would be justified in saying Scotland loves the Union for they have voted overwhelmingly for a unionist party. You will not hear a Tory, or Labour, for that matter, announce they must reach over sixty per cent before they lift a finger.
No one gave her powers to excommunicate swathes of the public. No one gave her powers to ban assembly around our Parliament building. No one gave her powers to pontificate on Russia, America, or the EU. Those are important matters we discuss and agree upon when an independent nation again otherwise we look like uneducated upstarts wagging a finger at passing events. Dissent is not antagonism. It is another view of how something can be done, how it can be achieved.
Refusing to listen is antagonistic, someone who believes they are a blameless saint. “I will decide when there will be a referendum,” she has said, emphasis on the first person singular. On timing alone, a referendum for 2023 is an almost impossible deadline, assuming the SNP don’t hold it a year this winter!
Scotland has lost its innocence, its belief that it was different from other nations, especially from England. We thought we were a just society unaffected by sleaze and corruption, proud of the Enlightenment with which Scotland led the world in the doctrines of tolerance and egalitarianism.
Look where we are now, voting for the SNP is not worth the price of entry into a public urinal. Thanks to the SNP’s slavish adherence to Stonewall’s corrupt ideology, a woman using one has to put up with some man staring at her while she pees. Nicola Sturgeon and her concrete deadhead of a shotgun rider, Shirley-Anne Somerville, want something to place on their portfolio rather than a photograph of an unmarked grave – GRA Reform is what they have chosen. Both those figures are well out-of-their-depth politically and intellectually. They have imperilled the nation’s sovereignty and rights and endangered the opportunity for political freedom.
If a dictator, I’d fire SNP MSPs for their slavish, craven loyalty to failure and banish Sturgeon to Rockall for the rest of her days. By sloth and attacks on its own people, the SNP has encouraged Westminster to try harder to win its well thought out campaign of internal colonialism. The SNP encourage their opponents to smear SNP supporters by endorsing the opposition’s libel. In fact, once defamed, if an individual dare complain they are labelled ‘bitter’, so basterdised is SNP’s idea of social justice. They block independence supporters from getting elected. Our first minister would rather have unionist MSPs in our parliament than independence MSPs. That used to be the Labour party’s policy. And her party colleagues are comfortable with that vindictive outlook.
The SNP has blighted the cause of self-governance. I am not alone in feeling profoundly let down by those in whom I placed trust. Those are my personal views. They are based on grim experience and empirical evidence. The columnist Kevin McKenna has his own opinion and like me, knows what people are saying in the street.
It is customary for a host platform to state it does not necessarily agree with the opinion of its columnists, but I publish McKenna’s views because I agree with every word.
CAN YOU REVILE THE SNP AND STILL BACK INDEPENDENCE?
by Kevin McKenna
NICOLA Sturgeon’s response after the SNP held on to Glasgow City Council last Thursday was both spiteful and disingenuous. “Labour threw the kitchen sink at Glasgow and yet they still can’t defeat the SNP,” the First Minister said.
Glasgow’s ruling SNP group know all about kitchen sinks, of course: on their watch these stalwart household appliances were a common feature of the city’s overflowing rubbish dumps during last year’s strike by refuse workers. The SNP’s reaction to that strike, as espoused by the council leader, Susan Aitken was to accuse trade unions of fascist behaviour. And besides, she said, Glasgow wasn’t “a uniquely dirty city”.
Ms Aitken’s leadership of Glasgow these last few years has turned large parts of the city into a wasteland. Nowhere is this more evident than on Sauchiehall Street where the lights have been going out one-by-one on iconic retail sites for several years now. The only growth Glasgow has witnessed in this period has been as a location for several Hollywood action movies. Perhaps Ms Aitken is now aiming for those apocalyptic, end-of-the-world films where groups of bewildered survivors wander through the crumbling remains of their city after a plague has wiped out most of humanity.
The First Minister’s defiant howl last Friday masked the true reality of what had happened in Glasgow. The ruling administration had come to within a whisker of being ousted by a party whose national leadership epitomises mediocrity and intellectual sterility. The SNP’s abject stewardship of Glasgow should have ended in defeat last week. That they hung on by one seat was due more to the fact that Scottish Labour have become so transfixed by the Union Jack that many of their former followers still feel they can’t vote for them.
And so, another national election has delivered another overwhelming victory for the SNP. By my reckoning that’s 11 elections in four different jurisdictions on the trot for the Scottish Nationalists. In Scotland they are virtually untouchable, being opposed by two parties whose elected members and leaders are now merely stealing wages to maintain the pretence that Holyrood presides over a functioning democracy. Until Scottish Labour finds a leader who can make a mature contribution to the country’s constitutional debate this impasse will continue.
After 22 years of doing little more than provide Patrick Harvie with a world-class pension, the Scottish Greens might have delivered something useful by now in chivvying the SNP out of its bizarrely lethargic approach to seeking independence. Instead they’ve been bound by a vow of silence in exchange for a couple of junior ministerial positions. And to think we all thought that the system of patronage which once produced rotten boroughs had disappeared with the 1832 Reform Act.
Perhaps the Scottish Labour Party did expend a substantial amount of money and energy at regaining Glasgow, but it’s doubtful their budget comes anywhere near the annual £1m the SNP spends on advisers and spin-doctors. Alongside providing edgy backdrops for fantasy action movies, this appears to be one of the few other areas of Scottish growth in the devolved era.
These party fluffers and agitators were all over social media in the weeks running up to the council elections. Many of them once purported to scrutinise the actions of this government; now they are good for little more than opening doors and fetching sandwiches for people who’ve laughingly been accorded full ministerial status and whom they once regarded as barely literate.
In these wretched circumstances where political opposition has been all but extinguished, responsibility falls upon the print and broadcast media and upon SNP dissidents to hold the Scottish Government to account. The SNP have already been in power for 15 years and few would bet against them reaching a quarter of a century. Few would be willing to bet either on their oft-stated pledge of holding a second referendum on independence before the end of next year.
There are many reasons to doubt the SNP’s ability or desire to pursue a referendum. Not the least of these is the absence of any fully-realised policy or even thinking around the currency issue, without which anything substantial about Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union is entirely redundant. The current Northern Ireland border dispute which has acted as a wrecking-ball to the governance of the Six Counties demonstrates the need for a detailed policy on an independent Scotland’s future border arrangements with England. Yet, there’s been nothing about this either.
Joanna Cherry is the only SNP politician who has demonstrated any acuity on such issues. But, after a campaign of bullying, intimidation and misogyny – orchestrated by senior figures in her own party – she was demoted. The ordeal suffered by Ms Cherry has befallen many others within the SNP who have dared to criticise the merciless authoritarianism of Nicola Sturgeon. Many SNP activists have rushed to proclaim their feminist principles over the Roe versus Wade abortion debate in America. Yet they all chose to remain silent when their colleagues were being threatened with sexual violence on social media and bullied at Holyrood and Westminster for trying to defend women’s sex-based rights in the GRA debate.
At a less toxic level the orchestrated abuse directed at supporters of Scottish independence for daring to criticise the party’s con artistry in seeking a referendum has also intensified. And if you attempt to ask questions about the unexplained disappearance of £600k in party donations, or their incompetence around the CalMac ferry contracts you are reviled as a Red Tory or a Unionist plant.
The cabal of party loyalists who maintain the SNP gravy train also have questions to answer about their no-great-mischief-if-they-die policy towards Scotland’s elderly and infirm in the early days of Covid. Yet that too draws a pathetic response from the desperadoes on the party’s scarecrow wing who are seeking favour from “the boss” and the prospect of a considerable pay-day at a level beyond their talents in the real world.
The professional SNP is a vicious and pitiless organisation which proceeds on a ruthless system of patronage. They have disfigured what was once an optimistic and celebratory venture and damaged the overall cause of independence. It’s possible to revile this party and yet remain faithful to self-determination.
NOTE: Kevin McKenna is a columnist published in various newspapers, such as the Guardian, the Scotsman the National and the Herald where this article was first published.