Well, another year in a Scotland increasingly weary of nationalism draws to a fractious close and I take my annual look at the No Thanks! Top Ten most-read posts.
As usual, the list is dominated by articles that touch on the SNP. The occasional nationalist who dips into this blog with a wary toe sometimes accosts me after the experience with a tweet along the lines of ‘You must hate Scotland/the SNP’, the two terms often being interchangeable in their minds. I usually respond, if at all, that I hate very little in this life, and certainly not a country or this particular political party.
The SNP features here so frequently for three reasons:
- I am opposed both in principle and on pragmatic grounds to their one fundamental aim – the independence (I prefer the word separation) of Scotland from Britain
- no other political party or grouping stands a snowball’s chance in hell of achieving that aim
- when all is said and done they’re not very good at government and much of what they’re poor at can be related directly to their one over-riding aim.
So here are the ten most read posts on the No Thanks! blog in 2017, beginning in traditional pop chart fashion with No. 10 and working up to this year’s No. 1.
A subject that has increasingly wound up many Scottish nationalists to a fever pitch of solidarity and anticipation – Spain, Catalonia and Scottish nationalism – with no doubt more excitement to come in 2018. Historically, there is little to link Scotland and Catalonia but, hell, they want to be separate too and they might succeed so let’s pile in. A search for ‘Catalonia’ on this blog will reveal a number of occasions when that region of Spain has featured. It remains a tricky subject for the high heid yins of the SNP, so keen to stress all that civic and inclusive stuff, and still wedded to the idea of Scottish membership of the EU. But it’s not, as they say, my problem.
Coincidentally, my September post Lost – SNP group photo also featured Catalonia, or more accurately a group of SNP ‘staffers’ (one also appears later in this chart) who posed with some separatist Catalan flags in the Holyrood parliament building. Presumably because they shouldn’t have taken a photo of a ‘party political nature or for party political purposes’ (parliamentary house rules) the image disappeared soon after it was posted on social media. As you’ll see, the poor wee creatures hadn’t read the first rule of the web – nothing disappears in cyberspace.
Although it dated from 2016, Is someone telling porkies? The SNP ‘National Survey’ response seemed to find continuing favour this year. If you don’t remember, the survey was part of the continuing SNP pretence that they want to have a ‘national conversation’, find out what unionists think and why, woo us in a summer of love etc. etc. The unfortunate Stewart Hosie was to have led the exercise until he was caught sharing something at Westminster with Angus MacNeil that he shouldn’t have. The ‘porkies’ post nailed the SNP lie that two million people had responded to their egregious survey (aka marketing exercise).
On the etymology of the word ‘yoon’ was another oldie that continued to find favour, presumably as additional innocent Scots found themselves dubbed a ‘yoon’ and googled the word to found out what it meant.
Back in April I asked Are these SNP MPs on a shoogly peg? after Theresa May made her flawed decision to call a general election. I identified fifteen who looked as if they might be and got eight of them right. Whether that puts me up with the Brahan Seer I’ll leave you to decide. But I guessed the demise of (ex-)big hitters Salmond and Angus Robertson correctly. Losers also included one or two other vexatious individuals, not to mention the many not on my list who bit the dust to make the party’s Westminster contingent a much reduced force. Hanging on to the almost-shoogliest remaining peg is Perth MP Pete Wishart, with a parliamentary majority of twenty-one: Pete also features in No. 7 above and No. 4 below (the shoogliest peg is occupied by Stephen Gethins, majority two).
Another general election-related post, Has Scotland gone mad politically? told the story of a nurse who asked Nicola Sturgeon an awkward question on a TV panel discussion. In what could only be described as a witch hunt, leading SNP politicians sought to discredit her with all sorts of baseless accusations and insinuations. If you’re new hereabouts, welcome to nationalist Scotland and the sport of ‘Hunt a Yoon’.
In the latest of his series of bizarre and erratic tweets, Pete Wishart SNP MP linked the Scottish council elections to the ‘rape clause’ and invited electors to ‘vote till you boke’ and ‘Make sure the rape clause candidate is absolutley [sic] last’. In an accompanying meme he managed to dub candidates of the three main unionist parties as ‘Wank’, ‘Wankier’, and ‘Absolute Total Wank’. Low life? You decide.
In a rare Brexit-related post I wrote An open letter to Gina Miller about the SNP urging her campaign group ‘Best for Britain’ not to fund SNP candidates in the then forthcoming general election. Whatever your view on the EU, the irony of a group called ‘Best for Britain’ funding the SNP cannot be lost on you. As it turned out, they decided not to fund SNP candidates. Correct decision.
The curious story of the thirteen No-voting GPs who all became Yes voters was a cracker, an SNP ‘staffer’ (yes, one of them again) who claimed precisely that. It seemed to have been a Damascene conversion almost overnight because of ‘TM’ (Theresa May) although I guess some may now be seeking employment South of the border due to Scotland’s forthcoming higher income tax rates. The alleged source was his mother-in-law. But his erroneous claim proved as long-lasting as snow on a dyke and he put his Twitter account, where his claim appeared, on lock down with all his tweets protected. Still, you could put in a request to follow him and then ask if he still stands by his allegation.
This was the most-read post on the blog in 2017.
Back in April Council elections 2017 Part 1: Your handy guide to some SNP candidates (and non-candidates) I looked at some of the stranger and less salubrious individuals who threatened to stand for the party. Most did although some fell by the wayside before the election. Some were elected, some weren’t. I never checked after the election to see who made the cut. Reading the whole thing again now is probably a task too tedious to endure. But if you do, see if you can spot the candidate who:
- called unionists ‘quislings’ (more than one)
- seemed to be friends with the BNP’s Nick Griffin
- changed their surname to appear further up the ballot paper
- believed Scotland has suffered ‘300 years of pillaging’
- advocated UDI for Scotland
- posted a picture of a noose along with the names of several Labour MSPs
- forgot he owned a hotel when he declared his interests as a councillor
- seemed to support the Provisional IRA (also more than one)
- compared David Cameron and Boris Johnson to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley
- were members of the so-called ‘Monklands Mafia’.
It’s not a pretty picture and it’s far removed from the smooth-speaking party leaders who’ve had the media training. But it reveals some deeper truths about the SNP and many of its members.
I naively thought in 2014 that I’d be able to discontinue the No Thanks! blog after our ‘once in a generation’ referendum. Now I suspect I’ll be back next year with another Top Ten. See you then.