It’s that time of the year to look back as well as forward – in this case the most viewed posts on the No Thanks! blog. Like the best lists of winners, here are they in reverse order, with some additional comments and updates.
No. 5 – SNP members and how they behave online. This one seems an eon ago. It arose from a tweet that Kezia Dugdale, then deputy leader of Labour in Scotland, put out in February when her party got some stick from nationalists about (can you bear this horror?) printing some leaflets in England.
Dugdale got dog’s abuse online for pointing out that the steel for the new Forth road bridge came from China. I decided to track those responses where tweeters declared an allegiance to the SNP, either through saying they were members or using the SNP logo. I’m sure I missed many but those I did spot ranged from general abuse through ageist and sexist comments to some that were just plain wrong.
My conclusions (how so many people play the woman not the ball, the nature of the SNP and its membership, and so on) drew forth its own hostile response from nationalists, more than commented on anything else on my blog this year. They’re worth reading for unwittingly exemplifying all the behaviour I’d just condemned.
No. 4 – ‘Irn Bru is now worth more than oil’. Well it is, isn’t it? So I thought I’d recast ‘Scotland’s Future,’ basing its economic forecasts (if you could call them that) on the price of Irn Bru rather than Brent crude. Not everyone spotted the ‘humour’ tag tucked away at the end of my analysis. Oh dear.
No. 3 – Six myths and a truth about voting SNP: your general election guide. As a means to affect the outcome of the general election in Scotland, my six myths and one truth about the SNP were a complete failure. But seven months after the election they seem to me mostly still correct. Perhaps only myths No. 4 and 6 have turned out to be partially correct, and even they would need heavy qualification. The sadness is that many who voted SNP cannot have recognised the one truth I also described.
- A strong SNP presence at Westminster will hold the balance of power between Conservatives and Labour.
- Votes for the SNP will help break the cycle of austerity.
- More SNP MPs mean a more progressive United Kingdom.
- More SNP MPs mean a better deal for Scotland.
- It puts Scotland in a strong position to demand full fiscal autonomy.
- A strong SNP presence helps build the momentum for a second referendum.
And my truth – only vote SNP if you believe in independence in your heart and soul and want it above everything else at any cost.
No. 2 – Dear people of Greece – some advice about Alex Salmond. In July the Greeks decisively rejected the bailout on offer to them from the EU. Alex Salmond tweeted ‘Well done … European leaders should now respond constructively to the[ir] democratic voice.’ They didn’t. I wrote the Greeks an open letter – ‘Beware Scots bearing gifts … Just don’t listen to any of the praise from our nationalist politicians here. It costs them nothing, it means nothing, and it won’t help you at all.’
SNP and Salmond’s dabbling in foreign affairs continues apace. Humza Yousaf wants a Palestinian consulate in Edinburgh. Salmond’s latest venture has been a trip to Iran. Spot a trend? I do and will doubtless have reason to write more on the subject in 2016.
No. 1 – Grievance of the day. In the firm belief that cultivating a sense of grievance and negativity drives much of the SNP’s success I gritted my teeth in mid-June to monitor a whole month of their moans. I was not disappointed. I identified a different grievance every day, from the unrealistic (essential for the Scottish government to have direct input to EU negotiations – 19 June) to the ludicrous (the BBC short-changes Scottish football – 22 June). The excellent Brian Wilson captured their whole way of working when he described ‘billets-doux from Nicola Sturgeon to Syriza, signed “yours in victimhood”’ (3 July). There’s a summary of what I learnt here. If you can face it, discover or remind yourself of the SNP’s psychology of grievance in my most popular post of 2015.