Monday 1 March 2021

The task is to get rid of Sturgeon


Alex Salmond’s extraordinary testimony on Friday could only have happened in Scotland. But it is crucial to realise that it could only have happened in the Scotland that he helped to create. Ever since the SNP came to power in the Scottish Parliament there has been a blurring of the distinction between the party, the state and those employed by the state. This precedes the referendum of 2014 but has got worse in the years afterwards. It reached its culmination with the Scottish Government’s investigation into Salmond. Alex Salmond is the classic tragic figure who built the very thing that later tried to destroy him.

The SNP had already taken over the Scottish Civil Service by 2013. Only SNP supporters could have written the Scottish Government’s White Paper Scotland’s Future. But more importantly it became necessary for every person employed by the state to become careful of criticising either the SNP or independence. I remember a senior university official newly arrived from England explaining to a meeting that staff were required to attend about the benefits of independence. It is simply not possible to imagine such a person holding such a views while living in England. But he had grasped quickly on arrival in Scotland what it is was necessary to say and do in order to succeed. Independence supporters spoke openly, while you would have thought there were no Pro UK people in the room as we all stayed silent.

Suddenly there were demonstrations outside BBC Scotland because a reporter had asked difficult questions or came up with a good counter argument. Gradually the counter arguments ceased and then it became ever clearer that BBC Scotland had been taken over by independence supporters in the same way that in London it was taken over by Remainers. You could perhaps still be a Brexiteer in the BBC or you could support Scotland remaining in the UK, but you had to be careful what you said. This began to happen everywhere in Scotland.

I only ever talked about politics with people I already knew to oppose Scottish nationalism. I never once have had a casual conversation in the street or at the bus stop about the SNP. The day after the 2014 referendum was passed in silence with passers-by.  Celebrations were not visible. I imagine the same goes today for discussion about what Mr Salmond said to the Committee.

The surge in support for the SNP after 2014 was a result of the disappointment that Yes voters had about coming so close and it still further centralised power in the person of Salmond’s successor Nicola Sturgeon. The task was to create an independence supporting majority by all means necessary. That end justified anything and everything.

First Sturgeon politicised education. The SNP developed a school curriculum that would emphasise Scotland and denigrate the United Kingdom. The task of the Curriculum for Excellence was not to turn out well educated school children, but rather to turn out Scottish nationalists. Education standards have fallen, so there was not much excellence, but its easy to find school children who are willing to parrot independence slogans and their devotion to Sturgeon.

As the SNP grew in power Sturgeon made it clear that MPs and MSPs could not dissent from SNP policy. It was contrary to SNP rules to publicly disagree with her. The result is that SNP politicians began to resemble members of the Supreme Soviet. They clapped when told to and everything they said and did came from the Party. We all saw these colourless figures during Friday when they did all they could to hinder Mr Salmond from telling the truth.

It isn’t that Sturgeon officially controls the police, the judiciary, the civil service and BBC Scotland. They are all officially neutral. But when someone does something that displeases the SNP hierarchy an email is sent, or a phone call is made and the person who stepped out of line finds it necessary to step back. It is in this way the Crown Office finds itself unable to provide the evidence. It is for this reason that the Police interviewed over 400 people to establish Mr Salmond’s guilt. It’s for the same reason that a senior university official from England suddenly converts to Scottish nationalism.

There must be no dissent and Sturgeon’s Teflon must continue to mean that all scandal slides off her like an omelette from a frying pan. This worked until something surprising happened.  

First the courts found that the investigation into Mr Salmond by the Scottish Government was tainted with bias and then he was acquitted. This was not supposed to happen.

I think Sturgeon thought that she could keep everybody in line and that the lack of dissent that had been the feature of her leadership would continue. It was for this reason that she promised that the Scottish Government would cooperate with the Inquiry. But something else that was unexpected happened. There was dissent and it got worse.

There was an attempt by opinion formers in Scotland to suggest that Alex Salmond was lucky. The jury was perverse and that he ought to have been convicted. Perhaps these people really believed this or perhaps they thought it in their interest as for a long time it looked unimaginable that Sturgeon could be toppled by Salmond. But as her popularity surged the evidence against her increased.

A group of independence supporters began to put principle before their desire for independence. If the price of independence was an innocent man going to jail, then that price was too high. It was too high not least because an independent Scotland run without dissent by Nicola Sturgeon controlling everything would not be a place either independence supporters or Pro UK people would want to live.

The cracks in the SNP machine became more and more visible. SNP politicians have spoken out against Sturgeon and behind the scenes support for Mr Salmond has increased. It was this that broke the Omerta that kept all of Scotland silent. It was this that led to a steady trickle of revelations that has now become a flood.

Alex Salmond has convincingly said things under oath that cannot be unsaid. The task for principled independence supporters and Pro UK people is to get rid of Sturgeon so that at least we would all know that whatever happens to Scotland, independent or part of the UK, it would be a free, open society where such conspiracies could never happen.

The first task is to get rid of Sturgeon. She and her husband are running Scotland like a medieval kingdom with courtiers and lackeys who do her bidding. But it is not enough to get rid of the Murrells. We need to deprive the SNP and the Greens of an overall majority. We need all Scots to get behind a Government of national unity whose task is to rid Scotland of all corruption. Only then can we decide what sort of Scotland we want to live in.

The same principle that is leading independence supporters to criticise Sturgeon is leading George Galloway of All for Unity to consider voting Conservative, because the Conservative candidate has the best chance of defeating the SNP where he lives. This doesn’t mean he is lacking in principle. Quite the reverse. The only way he can help create the free and fair society he has fought for all his life is to get rid of the SNP.

The SNP and Sturgeon are weakened by Salmond’s revelations. Now is the time for all principled Scots to work together to defeat the SNP. If we don’t do it now, we may not get another chance. If she survives this, she will centralise her power still further. If that happened anyone who spoke out might be the next Salmond and there might then be neither an Inquiry nor an acquittal.

Thanks to @Cartoonsbyjosh