Saturday 5 August 2023

Taking Scotland back from the SNP


Labour has a 90% chance of winning Rutherglen and Hamilton West. There have already been any number of articles written about how it is a must win seat for Keir Starmer. Journalists think by elections are important. It gives them something to write about. But most are of no importance whatsoever. If Labour wins the seat, it won’t change anything in the House of Commons, nor will anything change if any other party wins.

If I lived in the constituency, I would vote Labour. I have voted Labour in the past. I have also voted for the Lib Dems. But usually, I vote Conservative. I believe in low taxes, reducing public spending and shrinking the size of the state. This is the route to prosperity.

But in recent decades I have become ever more disillusioned with the Conservative Party. Successive Prime Ministers from John Major onwards have been disappointments. We haven’t become more prosperous. We have been overtaken by woke ideology. We have become still more reliant on mass immigration, which far from trying to stop the Conservative Government is deliberately encouraging.

Labour may turn out to be worse still, but Starmer is doing his best to be moderate and the difference in ideology between Tory Wets and Labour centrists is minimal. It is like the days some decades ago in the USA when there wasn’t much difference between a Republican and a Democrat. What mattered was the competence of the president and his administration.

So too here. Labour might make a mess, but it could hardly be as incompetent as the Johnson administration. It might do better, because new ministers might be more enthusiastic and might have some new ideas.

But just occasionally a by election does have importance. We can all remember Uxbridge and South Ruislip even though we have already forgotten the others. It showed perhaps for the first time that if you make voters pay £12.50 per day for driving their car to work, or if you make them buy an electric car costing thousands, or if you stop them replacing their gas boiler and force them to buy a heat pump, eventually they will rebel.

In Scotland I think the same goes for charging people 80 pence per unit of alcohol or stopping us selling our house if we don’t do what the Greens tell us. Eventually people think, these people are making my life worse. I’ll vote for someone else. Not only do the Conservatives begin to change policy, so does Labour.

This is the significance of Rutherglen and Hamilton. It may give us back competitive politics in Scotland that is about domestic issues rather than independence.

Since winning all but three seats in Scotland in 2015 the SNP has felt correctly that it can do anything, and it still will be elected. It didn’t matter the quality of the candidate and it didn’t matter how badly it rules or which policies it introduced at Holyrood. There was no chance of an Uxbridge and South Ruislip surprise changing anything.

Having this sort of power meant that the SNP gradually, but then overwhelmingly took over everything in Scotland. If you ran a charity, a theatre or a playgroup, you knew that criticism of the SNP might not be a good idea. A phone call from Salmond or later Sturgeon might stop a promotion or might lose someone their job. If Sturgeon wanted a £9 million loan, she just had to phone up the bank manager and she got it. Who would say No?

There would have been no investigation into Alex Salmond’s alleged behaviour while First Minister, if he had not fallen out with Sturgeon and if Sturgeon had not authorized and organised it. She got away with it and from that point thought she was untouchable.

But the SNP thought it was untouchable too. It didn’t matter if it spent a fortune on ferries that couldn’t float. It didn’t matter what it spent on a steel works. It didn’t matter if hospitals were not built or if you couldn’t get an appointment with your doctor. Everyone voted according to whether they supported independence or not. No one cared about the ferries. The SNP was guaranteed victory. But not now.

If there had been a by election in Rutherglen and Hamilton in 2020 the SNP would have won by a landslide? What changed?

Whether you support independence or not it has become clear that this is an issue for the distant future. The Supreme Court told you this. Sturgeon pushed it and the UK said we can block you for as long as we like and there is not a thing you can do about it. It took away their hope. Without hope, the SNP has nothing.

It was this that caused Sturgeon to resign, because it was this that changed Scotland enough for it to suddenly be possible to find a motorhome in Dunfermline, which had been hidden in plain sight for some time.

Both the SNP and Sturgeon had to be sufficiently weakened for the present series of scandals to change anything while previous scandals such as her involvement in pursuing Salmond left her untouched.

But once the SNP began to be weakened it became still more weakened to the point where it chose Humza Yousaf, who comes across as such an unlikely leader, that it’s hard to believe that there is not some conspiracy theory behind it like the moon landings being staged or Israel blowing up the Twin Towers.

From there we have the Deposit Return Scheme collapsing and the British Government telling the Scottish Government that it can’t spend UK taxpayers’ money on SNP propaganda. But the SNP has no money. It spent it all on the motorhome, so how does it campaign for independence? It could ask for donations, but what happened to the last donations? Oh, sorry we spent it on who knows what. It’s like Band Aid not giving any money to starving Africans and singing “Starve the world”.

Do you see yet why people who previously voted SNP are going to vote Labour? They have been conned. They are not stupid. It is obvious that independence isn’t happening any time soon. But on domestic issues the SNP gives you men in women’s prisons and anywhere else women used to be alone. The SNP gives you incompetence and it gives you wasted public money and the Greens.

If booze is going to be more expensive and someone with a penis is going to end up in the changing room and if I can’t sell my house and I have to buy an electric car I can’t afford, then why not vote for someone else if independence isn’t happening.

Labour will almost certainly win Rutherglen and Hamilton. It doesn’t matter if Alex Salmond’s ludicrously named Scotland United Plan (i.e., independence supporters united as if we are not Scots) succeeds. There are hardly any Alba supporters and hardly any Greens either. Add them all together and the SNP will still lose. But even if the SNP somehow holds on to the seat, it won’t matter.

The change is this. Once you take independence out of the equation, the SNP has nothing to offer. It is a single-issue party. Without that issue what we are left with is a poor record, incompetence and who knows criminality.

If Labour can win in Rutherglen and Hamilton, then the Conservatives and Lib Dems can win elsewhere. Gradually we just might be able to reverse the SNP control over everything in Scotland. Gradually we just might get our country back.