I tweeted the image above yesterday evening. It drew an immediate response on the febrile medium that is Twitter, a few comments in favour, more against. I was trying to make a particular point (of which more later) that not all those in favour got. Those against included the following observations
- and your problem with this is?
- it’s called choice Roger for a reason same way others are friends of Israel THE END
- just say it your pro Israel pro status quo anti snp anti Palestinian swines voting hamas voting snp bloody democracy grrrr
- that’s what the world needs More compassion Less hate
- grrr sarcasm humour get it naw prob not most no voters are miserable gits
- not irrelevant to the people of Palestine you heartless so called human I’m sure it cost tax payer zero pounds
- The #SNPout gang mocking those who stand against the civilians deaths in #Gaza
- I think it’s good that the guy is listening to his community’s concerns over civilians in Gaza.
In the midst of this the councillor concerned tweeted me a link to an article in The Greenock Telegraph that explained his position, and my thanks to him for that.
A bit of context.
The Greenock Telegraph article was published in August 2014 when the councillor was quoted as requesting
that the [Palestinian] flag should be flown [on council premises] to show support for civilians caught up in the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
I think his heart, although not necessarily his proposed action, was in the right place as a human being. At the risk of opening a whole new can of worms and unleashing a whole new raft of vexatious correspondents I’ll say clearly that I think the Israeli government is both stupid and cruel in how it deals with Palestine and the Palestinians.
But that’s a human response just as the proposal to show solidarity in Inverclyde was a response at the time. Why would you then incorporate the Palestinian flag into your political party’s logo and still use it eight months later? Why on a continuing basis would you discriminate between that particular horrible situation and many others around the world? Doesn’t the linking of your political party’s logo on a continuing basis with the flag of one foreign state rather make a political statement that may not be intended?
Or maybe it is. When I looked at the statements the Scottish (i.e. SNP) government made about ‘external affairs’ in the run up to the independence referendum I found a substantial proportion of them were to do with the political situation in Palestine, Israel and the Middle East. As I concluded, they’re trying to run a foreign policy when they have no authority to do so. And, I’m not sure if it’s worse, there’s also an almost wilful naivety about how they pick their causes to support. Check Alex Salmond allowing himself to be photographed with the flag of the Catalan separatists at a time when he was expecting the Spanish government to nod through the immediate accession of an independent Scotland to the EU.
I don’t know what the outcome was of the councillor’s original request to fly the Palestinian flag from Inverclyde council premises. With a minority Labour administration any formal decision could well have gone either way. Acts of solidarity (at least with the right causes) are fine. But they risk the charge of grandstanding and anyhow are far removed from what a council should be doing – providing excellent services to its own population. Running a surrogate foreign policy is not part of their remit, just as it isn’t part of the Scottish government’s.
PS – ask any SNP councillor what they think of flying the entirely legitimate and constitutionally correct union flag from council premises.