Let’s start with a recent infelicity by George Kerevan, SNP MP for the lucky folk of East Lothian. The other day the paper-with-more-opinions-than-news, the nationalists’ in-house tabloid The National, advertised his latest column for them with this tweet:
Observe the words – ‘Scotland’s new oil boom.’ He actually meant that the share price of a small oil explorer listed on the London AIM market shot up because it had discovered a field in the Atlantic West of Shetland. The Atlantic, that low-cost hydrocarbon province into which the oil majors are pouring huge resources … oh, hang on, that was with $100+ oil. Redundant oil workers in the North East must have had an ironic chuckle at Kerevan’s naivety about their industry. Perhaps he should get a Scotrail day return to Aberdeen and have a chat with them: they love irony.
He might get more value out of that swing North for a day than he seems to be getting out of a current trip he’s taking to Berlin, if Twitter is to be believed. That’s the trouble with social media and politicians. It’s instant and it exposes twits instantly.
Here’s George’s first tweet from Berlin this morning:
Fair enough. He’s touching base with the ambassador – he’s an MP abroad, it’s an important thing to do. I’m sure that as a professional diplomat the ambassador and his staff give every Westminster parliamentarian a thorough and objective briefing on the local situation and the people he’s going to meet. Can’t quibble with his meeting a Federal minister (although a junior one, as Kerevan doesn’t say) or such Social Democrat MdBs as are willing to see him. I could quibble with his ‘Press Scotland wants to stay in EU.’ I just hope he also presses that Scotland wants to stay in the UK. But I doubt it somehow.
Next, George heads for the German Savings Bank Association. Not sure why but equally, why not? Here he is met with good news:
Dr Keidel, director of the financial market relations department of the Association, assures him that ‘ordinary Germans want Scotland in EU.’ I’ve never heard of Dr Keidel before. He seems to be an economist and banker and maybe he has good access to information on what ordinary Germans want on relatively minor issues relating to part of a foreign country. But isn’t it amazing that wherever SNP politicians go, everyone they meet assures them that they/their people want exactly what the SNP want?
And so we come to George’s third tweet from Berlin. It’s a pic this time:
Tricky this one. He’s either on his way in to the meeting with HM Ambassador or on his way out from it (see his first Berlin tweet). Having had ‘We all want to stay in the EU’ and ‘Everybody wants us to stay in the EU,’ we get to the nub of so much of the SNP’s narrative – grievance. You’ll see the hoarding above the entrance says ‘Business is Great. Britain.’ Kerevan sees ‘Britain’: his brain clicks into gear – ‘That excludes Northern Ireland!’
Where do you start with this level of über-twittishness?
First, not a bright idea to have a go at the embassy when I’m sure they’ve either just received or are just about to receive you with courtesy and offer you any help you need.
Second, lighten up George. This is marketing to attract investment, not an academic treatise on the difference between ‘Großbritannien‘ and ‘Vereinigtes Königreich Großbritannien und Nordirland.’
Third, you’re wrong:
Look at the poster above the door – ‘choose the UK …’ As someone has already tried to point out to you on Twitter, Northern Ireland is part of the UK.
Fourth and finally, oblivious to everything else, Kerevan tags a Northern Ireland political party into his tweet – the SDLP. So now, he’s not only grievance-hunting on behalf of the SNP, he’s extending his gripe to Northern Ireland: it’s unwanted, I’m sure – the SDLP always strike me as a sensible bunch who, unlike the SNP, have learned to live with compromise.
For two hours after this last tweet, there was silence from our intrepid SNP explorer and I wondered if he’d had a text from SNP HQ saying ‘For God’s sake George stop tweeting, just get on with the b***** meetings.’ But just as I was about to press the ‘publish’ button on my blog this appeared:
Do you think you could, er, take a photo of me by the reception desk? Thanks awfully
She asked you when the next indyref was? Of course she did, George. I hope you gave a truthful answer – ‘Actually, meine liebchen, it’s a bit of a scunner. The polls have hardly shifted in the last two years. We’re probably gubbed.’ But I doubt it somehow.
It looks as if George’s trip is descending into a sort-of second-rate political tourism. Still, he’s tagging HQ in on all his tweets so they know he’s not wandered off script.
Kann ich Ihnen helfen? Yes, when’s the next flight home, bitte?