Variations on a theme of stupidity

We have two different knee-jerk reactions to the announcement of detailed research into fracking both seeking to push the envelope of stupidity.

British Labour in Scotland MSP, Neil Findlay, instinctively resorts to lies. His claim that the SNP has “prevented their members debating fracking” is simply untrue. The matter has been debated at conference. It won’t be debated again because such a debate would be a pointless waste of valuable time. Nothing has changed. So there is nothing new to be said on the matter. Another debate would just go over old ground and achieve nothing.

What Findlay and Green MSP Alison Johnstone have in common is the default assumption that absolutely anything the SNP administration does must be bad. In the case of British Labour in Scotland this blind prejudice is born of the frustrated sense of entitlement that was memorably expressed only yesterday by British Labour’s ennobled embarrassment, George Foulkes,

“If polls in Scotland don’t change revise the saying “you can’t fool all the people all of the time” as almost all are appearing to be fooled.”

Alison Johnstone may not be afflicted with the same intellect crippling hatred of the SNP as Findlay, but in its way her response to the Scottish Government’s fracking research is every bit as stupid. She demands an immediate ban as if oblivious to the fact that this would inevitably be subject to a legal challenge which the Scottish Government would be more likely to lose if it went to court without being armed with some solid scientific research.

Both Findlay and Johnstone eagerly leap to the conclusion that the research being commissioned by the SNP administration is for the purpose of providing a justification for allowing fracking in Scotland. Both seem dumbly unaware of the fact that the research could just as easily give the Scottish Government the legal basis for an outright ban. If Alison Johnstone is as sure of the scientific evidence as she claims then she should be welcoming this research, confident that it will validate her position.

Credit where it’s due. At least Johnstone and the Greens are sincerely concerned about the social and environmental impact of unconventional extraction. Findlay and British Labour in Scotland couldn’t care less about such things. All they see is a stick with which to beat their hated electoral nemesis.

But if the Greens are genuinely determined that there should never be any fracking in Scotland then they should be supporting the SNP administration. Because, as the Scottish Government spokesman says, “No fracking can or will take place while the Scottish Government’s moratorium on unconventional oil and gas remains in place.” The moratorium is secure. It is highly unlikely that it could be successfully challenged in the courts by the likes of Ineos. It makes no sense for the Greens to demand an outright ban which would replace this secure moratorium with a legal prohibition that would immediately come under assault from the energy industry.

There is a glaring inconsistency in the Green’s position that leaves them open to charges that they are no less guilty of petty politicking than British Labour in Scotland. Alison Johnstone needs to be careful about the company she keeps.

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