There’s more to politics than arithmetic. But if the numbers can be arranged in a way that serves personal ambition or a partisan agenda then it will suit the purposes of those who put their egos and agendas before Scotland’s cause to seek to convince people that only the numbers matter. Cheerleaders for the chancers and snake-oil peddlers of the cunning plan parties are fond of saying ‘the numbers can’t lies”. To which I reply GERS!
I have no personal animosity towards Dave Thompson. But he impresses me as the kind of politician I abhor – evasive, slippery, self-righteous, condescending, plausible and just a bit iffy. I watch him in action and see a set of well-rehearsed mannerisms and a rhetoric that is all slogans and soundbites and no substance. This is a guy who could talk for a full hour and not say anything. I don’t trust him.
When AFI was first presented its big selling point was that it was not a political party but a means by which small parties seeking to hitch a ride into Holyrood on the back of the independence campaign could join forces for that purpose. We were told that it existed solely and exclusively to be an ‘alliance’ and not a party in its own right. To date, the only person to rally to what is rapidly becoming Dave Thomson’s personal electoral banner is Tommy Sheridan. Knowing Tommy as I do, I find this inexplicable. I would not have expected him to act so precipitously. I would not have expected him to make himself and his party hostage to a something that was a totally unknown quantity. It was not smart politics.
It may be that firebrand Sheridan and oleaginous Thompson complement one another. But I don’t see it. Tommy can do better. I think that realisation may not be long in dawning.
For the moment, however, the ‘alliance’ is a bit sparse. And it looks like staying that way. The Scottish Greens have said they’re having nothing to do with it. Perhaps because they’ve seen what Tommy Sheridan sooms to have missed. More likely because they have much to lose and nothing to gain from helping Dave Thompson return to Holyrood. In the unlikely event that they’ve thought beyond their own electoral interest then they’ll have figured out that Scotland’s cause has nothing to gain either from Dave Thompson’s return to to Holyrood. Only Dave Thompson wins.
The only other cunning plan party getting any kind of attention is ISP. And there is no way they’ll be joining the Dave Thompson election campaign. Not if the tone of exchanges between their rival fairground barkers is anything to go by.
Bottom line! There is no ‘alliance’. And there never will be. How long Tommy Sheridan will be content to deliver leaflets with Dave Thompson’s picture on the front remains to be seen. But even if that marriage of convenience lasts until the election I doubt it will survive the stresses and strains of what promises to be a very stressful and turbulent election campaign. There is no ‘alliance’. There will be no ‘alliance’.
What does this imply for AFI? One would assume that having failed in what was supposedly its sole purpose, and having made such an issue of NOT being just another political party, AFI would fold. But try asking Dave Thompson at what point prior to the election he will acknowledge that the project has failed and must therefore be abandoned. You will not get an answer. You’ll get the well-rehearsed mannerisms and the sogans an soundbites. And when he eventually stops talking you will have had no answer. I’ve tried. So I’m talking from personal and horribly frustrating experience.
What this tells me is that whatever it may have started out as and however it may present itself now, AFI is nothing more than a vehicle for Dave Thompson’s personal ambition with ‘independence’ no more than a useful marketing device.
Some will accuse me of being overly cynical. I’m not sure one can be too cynical in the current political climate. My own cynicism has in the past saved me from the embarrassment of falling for Tony Blair’s vacuous charisma. There’s barely a day passes that my cynicism doesn’t save me from the blandishment of cold-callers making various promises and threats in an effort to take my money.
Come to think of it, that’s what Dave Thompson’s patter sounds like! It sounds just like the pre-recorded spiel of those cold-callers promising me free stuff or threatening me with having my National Insurance number ‘suspended’. (No, me neither!)
I’m not falling for any of it.