The mad, mad, mad world of Scottish nationalism

My ‘situation report’, a mere two days ago, on Scottish nationalism quoted Harold Macmillan’s famous ‘Events, dear boy, events … ’ Another Harold from that era, Harold Wilson, is remembered for his ‘A week in politics is a long time.’ It now looks as if two days is a long time in reporting situations. Call it prescience or sheer damned coincidence, but a surprising number of the bits and pieces I mentioned have seen developments in the last 48 hours. I take them in the order of my previous post.

Alex Bell’s ‘The SNP’s model of independence is broken beyond repair.’ I suppose it was to be expected that George Osborne would take a sideswipe at the SNP during his autumn statement and, regardless of what you think of his politics, he did not disappoint:

if Scotland had voted for independence, it would have had its own spending review this autumn. With world oil prices falling, and revenues from the North Sea forecast by the OBR to be down 94%, we would have seen catastrophic cuts to Scottish public services.

I’ve yet to see any serious analysis that disputes that or similar conclusions.

Natalie McGarry. I cited the Daily Record’s reference to a ‘police probe’ involving funds alleged to be missing from Women for Independence (WFI). Later that day McGarry ‘voluntarily’ withdrew from the SNP whip at Westminster and was transformed instantly into an independent MP, joining Michelle Thomson in a state she doubtless hopes to be temporary. Automatic reflexes kicked in as a number of cybernats hastened to condemn the ‘bullying’ WFI (a characteristic of that group hitherto unknown) and proclaim McGarry’s innocence. They were joined by one Shona McAlpine, SNP Minister Humza Yousaf’s office manager, who opined ‘I 100% know she did not take it.’ Tommy Sheridan pitched in too and as they say in the classics ‘With friends like that who needs enemies.’

I mentioned Alex Salmond’s view that Ireland would be united one day. There has been (I’m sure uninformed) online speculation that he might mount a leadership bid if the SNP’s little local difficulties continue. Never a man to shrink from the limelight, the SNP’s parliamentary spokesperson on foreign affairs apparently missed a government statement on Syria today to … pose with a new portrait of himself. It’s all over the web and the photoshoppers have already started having fun with it. All I’ll say is that it looks remarkably like the jowly Richard Nixon to me. [Update: someone on Twitter, who however declined to comment here, claims there is an alternative story. In fairness here is a link to it. You can decide which version to believe]

Paul Monaghan, another SNP MP, had also come to my attention. Since then someone has posted a photo of his (taxpayer-funded) constituency office with party political posters clearly visible inside contrary, it is said, to parliamentary rules. Someone also brought to my attention a less-than-flattering Private Eye profile of Dr Monaghan that repeated many of the less-than-flattering things that have been said about him for a long time. The Eye characterised him as ‘a paid-up member of the SNP’s angry wing.’ Anger would be the least of my concerns about him. Perhaps he’s one of the two further SNP MPs that Tory MSP Murdo Fraser says an anonymous SNP colleague assured him would also have to ‘go.’ Some bright spark on Twitter rooted around Twitter timelines and suggested his source was John Mason, an overtly Christian SNP MSP who takes his morality very seriously. Who knows.

The raft of weird and wonderful groups and individuals who hover around the fringes of the SNP and nationalism continues to amaze. Even in the last two days ‘Claire’ Robertson seems to have emerged in a new guise (I won’t give him the satisfaction of mentioning his new alias here) and a previously bothersome cybernat called ‘Sonny Grewal’ was said by an alleged friend to have died of an overdose. Hurray! I don’t feel too bad about saying that as Sonny was (a) anonymous and (b) prone to death, having apparently met the grim reaper at least twice before. It is indeed a weird and wonderful world out there.

I leave Wings to last, as it should be. He’s kept up his usual standards. I noticed yesterday that he’s just closed an indiegogo fundraiser to help pay his Electoral Commission fine (!). He sought £750. The mugs who support him coughed up £4,396 and in the spirit of charity he’s well-known for, he’s promised to spend the surplus on ‘sweets & fizzy pop for us.’ That’s a lot of sweeties and pop but I don’t expect that sort of thing’s any interest to HMRC.

I expect there’s more to pick up on if I had but noticed it. And perhaps my characterisation of nationalism as a mad, mad, mad world is a little unfair.

A little.

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