SNP: Pork Barrel Bribes

Alister Union Jack reminds the SNP division in the Commons they are toothless

The SNP now resembles its seriously flawed ferries, dominating the shipyard for too long but badly designed for their role, costing the taxpaper millions and nowhere ready to take passengers or vehicles anywhere. Communication must have been dire for that to happen, but it sounds hellishly like the SNP under the Murrells.

Columnist Kevin McKenna is as scunnered as the next person. He thinks the SNP is straining its democratic credentials. In any other party, its leader would have stepped down as soon as the ferries were stamped ‘unfit, not seaworthy’, and Sturgeon’s star policy, the GRR Bill dismissed as mumbo-jumbo, six years of genital surveys for nothing, stopped in its tracks as a lollipop lady can stop traffic at a school children’s crossing. If Sturgeon is ever to be credited with political guile it’s of the soap opera variety. Yet, she is still leading a nationalist party and a fed up nation.

All the great achievements of Sturgeon’s predecessor and mentor, Alex Salmond, and the fine team he assembled, are pissed away like a drunk pissing whisky and beer in the alley side of the pub. People talk openly wondering if the entire SNP should be voted out of office, independence left fallow for a few more years, rather than the hierachy deposed and wiser folk take the reins. Matters are desperate when liberty and individual rights are considered worth junking for a better administration.

Meanwhile, the British State moves into Scotland tightening its grip on life, ignoring devolution protocol, handing largesse called ‘levelling up’, which is no more than plain old pork barrel bribes to councils and companies that favour a right-wing agenda. Then again, what do we call the thousands of pounds handed out to trans organisations and the odious Stonewall by the Scottish government? Something has to give – soon.


By Kevin McKenna

In a normal, fully functioning democracy, it’s reasonable to suggest that the SNP would have been pitched from office some time ago. And with them, the last hopes for an independent Scotland in the lifetimes of most of us.

Scotland right now though, is not, by any measure, a fully functioning democracy. Instead, it’s come to resemble an endless political pantomime where a small but anointed cast of players performs the roles assigned to them. If you can get a part in this production you’re more or less made for life. If the electorate (the only group in this drama whose behaviour is unpredictable) compels you to take some time out then there’s an assortment of dependable and secure gigs in academia, civic authorities and lobbying firms available to help maintain you in the style to which Holyrood has made you accustomed.

The SNP, by virtue of the constitutional impasse which exists in the UK, are assured all the main roles. They’ve won the last 10 elections across the UK’s four main electoral jurisdictions: all of them by handsome majorities. A combination of factors has acted as guarantor for the virtual certainty of SNP victories. The work done by Alex Salmond and the skilled team of strategists he assembled over the course of a decade laid the foundations for the remarkable victory at the 2015 UK General Election where the party won all but three of the 62 Scottish seats. In 2010, they’d taken only six seats.

In the years since, the remorselessly right-wing route taken by the UK Tories has provided the SNP with an array of heaven-sent electoral campaigning tools. This reached its apotheosis in a Brexit campaign which unleashed the far-rights dogs of war: racism, militarism and empire. And then, just as the effects of Brexit were beginning to wear off, along came Boris Johnson, perhaps the most corrupt and unworthy incumbent of Number 10 Downing Street in its nearly 200-year-old history. In the three years since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, an eye-watering array of malfeasances and sharp practices by Johnson and his chief lieutenants – all fuelled by greed on the grand scale – have been uncovered.

And they keep on coming.

Yet, perhaps the most significant factor guaranteeing the eternal hegemony of the SNP has been the bizarre behaviour of the Labour Party in Scotland. Their inexplicable refusal even to countenance a second referendum on Scottish independence has turned them into a marginal force in Scottish politics. The party exists now as a collection of memories and old slogans which they shout from time to time to remind us of what they once were. They are good for nothing more than rewarding long service and diligence of those who have worked hard to get a decent position in the listings.

The Scottish Tories, save for a few weeks in the sun during Ruth Davidson’s tenure, are also there merely to provide an approximation of electoral diversity. And, as some of us had long suspected, the Scottish Greens were nothing more than a convenient vehicle for Patrick Harvie to secure a ministerial position on the coattails of independence.

So long as these moving parts all perform their assigned functions in the correct formations, everyone gets to keep their jobs and their gilded lifestyles. Merely by pledging referendums before each Scottish and UK election and seeking Section 30 Orders from Westminster, the SNP – unopposed by extraordinarily weak oppositions – romp to victories that are fuelled by whipped-up waves of “our-day-has-come” optimism among the Yes movement. That and each freshly revealed layer of corruption at the top of the UK Government.

This week’s intervention by the UK Government on the GRR Bill maintains the pattern of the last seven years. Just as the SNP were beginning to feel the heat from their own members about leading them up the hill yet again only to take them back down, along come those perfidious Tories and their attempts to undermine devolution.

It transpired that the SNP’s “special conference” next month had been nothing more than a closely stage-managed production to kick the referendum into even longer grass. The Holyrood 2026 option carried unprecedented risks. It means the pro-independence coalition would need to win two elections by an overall majority.

Yet, for those at the top of the SNP-Green coalition and all those whose jobs depend on it, the price of failure would have been more than acceptable. By then, 12 years of unbroken and unchallenged power – and all the accoutrements and emoluments they’ve wrought – will have passed. They tried their best but an undemocratic UK Government made it impossible. At least though, they’ve all secured a level of pension entitlement out of the very top bracket. Gradually, it was beginning to dawn on even the most supine of Sturgeon loyalists that perhaps they were being played here.

Yet, within the space of a week, the UK Tories had blocked GRR and everyone’s back on the independence message. It doesn’t matter that the Section 35 order they’ve deployed was supported by the SNP government. Or that it’s been triggered because the GRR legislation adversely impacts the 2010 UK Equality Act. This was an “attack on Scottish democracy”.


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5 Responses to SNP: Pork Barrel Bribes

  1. lorncal says:

    Many just do not see the irony in denouncing Westminster as anti democratic. They really don’t. The National’s letters page is full of men bleating about Westminster’s “uncalled for intervention” as if the loss of rights of women and children is nothing. A young office-bearer (female) once told me that the SNP was riddled with sexist old men. She was right. The fact that the GRRB trespassed on UK-wide pre existing legislating just sailed over their heads and had the boneheaded ones in Holyrood listened to legitimate concerns, this situation would never have arisen.

    The added fact that all of the legislation that would be affected were long-existing acts of the Westminster parliament that dealt with discrimination, equal pay, single sex spaces, etc – all affecting females specifically and with little to no impact on men. “Ach, well, it’s jist thon wimmin greetin again”. “Aye, lassie, get your boobs amputated, we’ll feed the pigs wi them”. “Whit are ye mumpin aboot noo, jist cos he’s got his chairlie oot in the lassies’ changin room?”. Nail, hit, head, GB and Kevin McKenna.

    So many of these loyalists are dim, self-centred, selfish balloons who can see neither the bigger picture nor the fact that the SNP/Greens brought Westminster down on us. The empty balloons that serve as their heads float about on strings without ever coming down to earth except when Sturgeon pulls on the strings to force more rotten carrots into their vacuous, helium-filled interiors. I can’t bear to think about independence with this lot still in charge – which is just as well, really, because it ain’t coming, anyway, not while these seat warmers are still in charge.

  2. Alastair says:

    Sturgeon is the biggest quisling traitor we have ever had since Sir John Menteith. Her acquiescence and capitulation goes far beyond any possibility of incompetence. Her dismal record speaks for itself. Those in the upper echelons in the SNP are complicit of guilt, knowing what was going on in the party but choosing to do nothing about it. Sturgeon and her dud party stole my dreams my aspersions of a better country a proper country , a country that looked after its citizens. They stole our future prosperity giving us impoverishment and the continuation of coercive colonisum instead. We should have been out of this corupt Union in 2015. But the Torys knew Sturgeon was in there pocket there was no serious consequences for any of their actions. The Torys knew there was no proper independence party to deliver our freedom. No wonder our MPs were laughed out of parliament. Westminster had already shut the door and the SNP played their part in the theatre and took us all for fools, just one more mandate of nothing. At least the pantomime is coming to an end. Then we can burn our Trojan horse and get on with it . Those who have led us the merry dance of Betrayal are in full view of an angry pistoff electorate.

  3. duncanio says:

    “The SNP now resembles its seriously flawed ferries, dominating the shipyard for too long but badly designed for their role, costing the taxpaper millions and nowhere ready to take passengers or vehicles anywhere.”

    A very apt analogy GB.

    If I might take it a bit further:

    I used to think there was nothing much wrong with the ship, we just needed to change the captain. But for some time now it is not just her, but the helmsman and navigator, the whole officer class that are sailing the vessel in the wrong direction, the ship itself being holed below the waterline and rudderless. Some of the crewmen are probably decent but they need to find their inner Christian Fletcher and take over very soon.

  4. Howard Cairns says:

    Is there no-one in the SNP who is willing to topple Nicola Sturgeon and Co and put someone capable into power. I am flabbergasted that this is happening! We need someone to lead the SNP to victory and Independence for Scotland.

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