They clapped during their induction. They took selfies at the despatch box. And now the SNP clowns who represent 56 out of Scotland’s 59 House of Commons constituencies got in a round of applause on the first day of business in this session.
As you can see in the clip above, the speaker John Bercow rebuked them in tones more civilised than some of them deserve.
No doubt today’s nonsense was all well planned and some of them at least will settle down to the daily grind of parliamentary business. No doubt also that the collective, excuse me, piss take will play well with part of their support back up the road.
For the rest of us these sorts of childish antics bring disrepute to them and through a forced association, to Scotland itself.
On Twitter, new wet-behind-the-ears SNP MP Natalie McGarry sought to excuse the applause by denouncing the traditional ‘Hear hear’ normally used as approbation in the Commons as some sort of upper class, posh boy, misogynistic blah-blah-blah … you get the picture. I’d like to use her precise words but when I went to her Twitter timeline to check them I discovered that she’s blocked me. I’ve criticised her recently but have never abused her. That’s what democracy’s like in Scotland now. Elected SNP representatives block critical citizens from communicating with them. Like kids – hands over ears and ‘Nah, nah, nah, can’t hear you.’
The analogy with children is apt because in a way the new MPs are behaving like kids. Schools, all institutions, have common sense rules to make them work efficiently and that are for the benefit of everyone in them. No mobile phones during lessons, children. No applause when the House is sitting, big children.
If you think the comparison with children is offensive, think work. That has its rules too. Being an MP is, or was the last time I heard, work for MPs. At least wait for a while until you understand what’s going and why before you start disrupting the place.
Less disruptive, although also remarked upon was the fact that most of the SNP MPs sported white roses in their lapels today. You can catch a glimpse of them at the beginning of the YouTube video. I heard someone say, ‘Oh, it’s some sort of commemoration of a poem Hugh MacDiarmid wrote.’
It is. Here’s the poem.
The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet—and breaks the heart.
In case you don’t know that’s the Hugh MacDiarmid who also wrote in 1940
Now when London is threatened
With destruction from the air
I realise, horror atrophying me,
That I hardly care.
Nice man. Gavin Bowd, author of Fascist Scotland, wrote about him in The Scotsman
As early as 1923, poet Hugh MacDiarmid was calling for a “native species” of Fascism and dreamed of a “neofascistic” paramilitary organisation, Clann Albain, that would fight for Scotland’s freedom.
And on the opening day of the new session of Parliament our democratically elected SNP representatives choose to commemorate him with their white roses.
Oh, and finally, before any passing nationalists bombard me with messages about my ‘clowns’ jibe I know it’s not literally true. I know there are serious, even decent, people in the group. Of course, they might find it difficult to make known their disapproval of the antics of their wilder colleagues. A new party standing order agreed at their 2015 spring conference says
No member shall within or outwith the parliament publicly criticise a group decision, policy or another member of the group.
This is Scotland. These are our elected representatives. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Quick footnote – everyone is reminding me that the white rose was a Jacobite symbol. Of course. So more looking backwards to the past and more divisiveness.