Thursday 11 February 2021

Sturgeon has no mandate for anything now


Imagine there was an inquiry into a Government’s handling of a sexual harassment case in another country and we were following the details from afar. How would we react if we discovered that someone called Fabiani was the chair of this committee, but she had previously been sacked by someone called Salmond who was at the centre of what the inquiry was investigating? This is the sort of thing where we used to look on and count ourselves fortunate that we did not live in such a country where you could not trust the referee to give an impartial decision. The Eastern part of Germany might have called itself the German Democratic Republic, but the Government controlled the media and everything else and the same party was elected at each election and no one else had a chance.

It isn’t enough that people vote, and the votes are counted for there to be a free and fair election. In lots of countries that are not really democracies there are votes, but we snigger when they refer to themselves as democracies. I wonder how many people are sniggering at Scotland if indeed they are noticing us at all.

The Salmond Inquiry casts doubt not merely on whether the Scottish Parliament is capable of investigating anything fairly, it casts doubt on whether Scotland can be called a democracy at all. If such an inquiry were investigating the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, we would snigger at the thought that it could come up with a result that would imply that Vladimir Putin had ordered the poisoning. At some point the Committee would have a vote on whether it could read some evidence provided by Mr Navalny and it would vote along party lines that it could not. Reading about this from afar we might not grasp all the details of the case, but we would still have the smell of something rotten wafting all the way from Tomsk.

But just as it will be impossible for Mr Navalny to have a fair trial in Russia and just as it would be impossible for a committee to investigate anything about Mr Putin and come up with a result that was damaging to Mr Putin, so too it is impossible to have a free and fair election in Russia.

Every day Mr Putin stands up on the state owned Russian television channel and he speaks for an hour about Covid and uses that hour to attack political opponents. He does this right up until the election. The questions he receives from the press are carefully vetted. He hears them all in advance and he controls the whole process of who gets to ask the questions. If any reporter dares to give Mr Putin a hard time, then he finds himself next day covering the husky races in Omsk. But it’s not Mr Putin that is doing this. It is Nicola Sturgeon.

The desperation of independence supporters to achieve their goal has tainted political life in Scotland. Now some of them are revolting but it is too late.

In the early 1990s there was a brief window of opportunity in Eastern Europe to get rid of tyrants some countries succeeded others didn’t. In Belarus people looked on at the various revolutions going on around them and decided not to take part. But by 2020 when they were faced with yet another corrupt election, it was too late. Alexander Lukashenko had used the intervening decades to control the police, the courts and the army and he was willing to do anything to hold onto power. It was no use rebelling now because decades earlier you had looked the other way as your country ceased to be a democracy.

The two halves of Scottish nationalism, the Salmond side and the Sturgeon side both looked the other way as she held mass rallies with wee lassies weeping as they touched the hem of her raiment. They both looked away as the Scottish media became ever more biased in favour of Sturgeon and the personality cult developed.  They looked away because they thought it was in their interest because Sturgeon would bring them their goal.

Now the Salmond side is revolting. Perhaps Sturgeon only wants power and is merely using independence and our shameful hatred of the English to keep it.  Did she trick us all along?

It’s unfair that the Inquiry is rigged, opponents are liable to end up in court on trumped up charges and the media is doing its best to ignore the whole thing anyway. But we only got to this position because independence supporters looked away in 2014-2015 as Sturgeon built her empire and began to control everything.

But independence supporters by creating Sturgeon have also destroyed the one legitimate means they have for achieving independence. If we can no longer trust elections in Scotland, we can no longer trust that the SNP will ever have a mandate for anything. Sturgeon with her tame media machine intends to keep on speaking every day right up to election day. Her civil service which is supposed to be impartial during an election campaign will be the same civil service that receives £76,000 in order to learn how to give the correct answer to the Salmond Inquiry. But anyone looking on will realise that Sturgeon would have no more democratic mandate than Putin or Lukashenko. So how is the SNP supposed to progress to its goal? It can of course try to achieve independence illegally. But what do we call a group of people who lack a democratic mandate attempting to seize power? We call it a coup.

The Salmond Inquiry is chaired by a member of the SNP Government with perhaps a grudge against Salmond. It has a Pro Independence stacked deck and far from inquiring it is obfuscating. What do you call an Inquiry that is trying to hide the truth? A cover up. But if we cannot trust the Salmond Inquiry, the Scottish Civil Service, the courts and the Scottish Parliament itself, how can we trust democracy in Scotland? The SNP may or may not win the next Scottish Parliament election, but the result will have no more legitimacy than a match where the referee has been bought.

We would look on and snigger at Scotland if we lived far away, but it’s not so funny anymore because we live here.