‘The Night Has A Thousand Eyes’: The SNP – runaround lover or progressive partner?


I suspect that few of those falling in worship at the feet of Nicki Ess will be old enough to remember Bobby Vee. Bobby was a singer in the sixties who had a number of hits, not least ‘The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.’ A catchy little number. You can find it on YouTube.

The lyrics are also online and worth detailed study as a political text for our times. Seriously.

You see, as the SNP’s 56 new MPs get used to the weekly shuttle South to Westmonster, they might like to reflect on Bobby. I certainly have. His opening lines have an echo he never intended

They say that you’re a runaround lover
Though you say it isn’t so…

I’ve discussed the SNP’s serial promiscuity before. My thoughts were much read, although disliked by some.

Like all nationalist political parties, the SNP have a touch of the runaround lover in them, an endless search for that magic something that will deliver their dream. If it’s a stirring cry to throw off the yoke of English oppression, then let it be uttered. If it’s the cooing tones of civic nationalism that fit the bill, then coo away.

Their current means to an end is the progressive alliance, the idea that they will work together with other ‘progressive’ forces in the UK to defeat the reviled Tories. Never mind that along the way they committed near-murder on the one party, Labour, that has a historical claim to a progressive mantle in Scotland. Never mind that instead of being the essential prop to a Labour government they’ll now have to rely for five years on an English-dominated Conservative government for any further concessions on devolution.

Which leads me to Bobby Vee’s second political insight for our modern times

… the night has a thousand eyes
And a thousand eyes can’t help but see …

I’m torn between the metaphor of the night having a thousand eyes and the SNP’s own ‘holding the feet to the fire.’ They meant Westminster and the Smith Commission. Bobby means (sorry, I mean) keeping a close eye on the SNP in their current pomp and triumph. His nocturnal reference is spot on here. It’s going to be a long hard night for those of us who still believe we’re better together with the other nations of the UK. The SNP will be in power at Holyrood for at least another year, probably more. And, barring individual defections, premature demise or collective implosion, they’ll be the second largest opposition party at Westminster for the next five.

Luckily, there’s every sign that those who can be those eyes in the long dark night are alert and ready to scrutinise. My own favourites include Kevin Hague, coruscating in his analysis of the SNP’s economic deficiencies, and journalist David Torrance, most recently asking if Alex Salmond can be kept under control. (What do you think?) There are others of course, let’s hope to the extent of five hundred pairs (500 x 2 = 1,000).

As to that photo at the top of this post, just one pair of eyes in the night, but the eyes of a fox. I’m sure you’ll have picked up on the first ‘progressive’ dilemma facing the SNP at Westminster. The government intends to lift the ban on fox hunting in England. So ‘will they, won’t they?’ Will they say it’s nothing to do with us or will they take the progressive path and vote with doubtless the great majority of Labour MPs to maintain the ban?

It’s hardly a make or break issue, unless you’re a fox or a farmer. But I do hope the SNP remember that there are Scottish foxes who will stray South of the border and be hunted down ruthlessly by bucolic red-coated English Tories. On the other hand, Scotland could provide a progressive refuge for English foxes pursued by baying packs of hounds who have to be pulled up at the border. It’s a tricky one.

So remember when you tell those little white lies
That the night has a thousand eyes.

Thank you Bobby.

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