Friday, 2 October 2020

The SNP superspreader


Until 2015 the SNP were usually listed amongst the others. It rarely had more than five or six MPs. But the 2014 independence referendum changed all that. The SNP destroyed the traditional dominance of Scottish Labour in the 2015 General Election and suddenly gained fifty seats. Where did it find them?

Judging from the behaviour of these SNP MPs in the years since it might have been thought that they were recruited from Scotland’s jails. But the quality of MP would probably have been higher if that had been the case. What happened was loyal SNP leaflet deliverers became MPS. People who never expected to rise higher than a local counsellor found themselves instead at Westminster. Someone who enthusiastically campaigned for independence was rewarded with an MP’s salary.

The competition to become a Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat MP is intense. Out of the whole population of Britain there are only 650 MPs. So, the odds on any one of us becoming one are about one million to one. What this means is that most MPs are very well educated or have done a job with a certain degree of responsibility. If someone has little ability, they are unlikely to be chosen by one of the major parties because it is easy to find someone else who does have ability.

Margaret Ferrier would never have become an MP in the first place under normal circumstances. Like so many of the other SNP MPs who have disgraced themselves in recent years, she is obviously out of her depth. She campaigned to be a member of South Lanarkshire local council in 2013 but lost. Two years later she was an MP. Nothing in her work experience nor education suggests she was remotely qualified to be an MP. Now she has decisively shown that this was the case all along.

The problem is not so much the misbehaviour of one SNP MP. We are used to this misbehaviour. There have been so many examples that I have lost count. The problem is that it is systematic.

SNP MPs are not picked because they are educated, intelligent or can bring important work experience to the job. They are not picked on ability at all. They are picked simply on the basis that they have shown clear support for Scottish independence and will do as they are told.

There is a scene in Chernobyl where Ulana Khomyuk the scientist confronts a party official. She points out:

I'm a nuclear physicist. Before you were Deputy Secretary, you worked in a shoe factory.

He responds:

Yes, I worked in a shoe factory. And now I'm in charge.

 In the Soviet Union you were appointed because of loyalty to the Party and because you were born into a working-class family. Ability was not necessary. This was why things didn’t work and why also there were disasters like Chernobyl.

The SNP too places loyalty to the Party above everything else and also loyalty to the cause. It is for this reason that it overlooks the moral qualities of its candidates.

The cause of independence transcends everything else just as in the Soviet Union the cause of communism transcended everything else. It was justified in the Soviet Union to lie, cheat, steal and kill if only it would help the state to reach its goal.

If the cause of Scottish independence were to be damaged by telling the truth, would an SNP MP tell it or hide it?

If damaging rumours about the behaviour or an SNP leader were to be revealed would an SNP MP suppress them or tell them to a newspaper?

Would the cause of Scottish independence justify minor breaches of morality or the law?

This is the problem with parties that have goals such as Scottish independence or communism. The cause transcends everything else including law and morality. Everything becomes merely a means to the end of fulfilling the goal.

But any means-based morality allows for lapses in morality or indeed law if they are justified in terms of reaching the goal. That is the whole point of thinking ends transcend means.

People who see themselves as involved in a cause that is greater than themselves are automatically more forgiving of temporary moral and legal lapses. Scottish independence as Nicola Sturgeon reminds us transcends every other goal. Is there anything she would be unwilling to do if it hurt the cause? No. Not if she really thinks the end justifies the means.

But when you view morality and politics in this way. Then it becomes quite easy to justify deceiving people about having Covid. It becomes justified to be hypocritical about it too. After all, attacking Dominic Cummings would help the cause of Scottish independence, but hiding the fact that you made a journey for less justifiable reasons might hurt it.

We have ended up with shoe factory managers or in Margaret Ferrier’s case a commercial sales supervisor in positions of power. They are unfit for the job of MP but get to keep doing it so long as they think that the Party is more important than anything else and that the cause of Scottish independence justifies whatever means are necessary to get there.

It isn’t merely the low quality of people who have become SNP MPs that leads to this serial misbehaviour it is the whole morality or lack of it that justifies everything solely in terms of the SNP goal. An ends-based morality justifies immorality to the individual who gets in the way of the goal. It is therefore essentially immoral.

Once you grasp that SNP morality views everything as a means to an end, then you will understand that the goal of Scottish independence justifies anything and everything. This explains not merely Margaret Ferrier’s lapse, but every other lapse that we don’t know about.