I wonder if Keith Brown is as nostalgic as I am for the days when speeches such as the one he’s reportedly addressing to the SNP conference-like-thing sparked enthusiasm rather than soporific ennui. I wonder if he’s even aware of the negative effect the “rallying cry” now has on those who were once positively affected. Does he not sense the rancid irony his words hold for those less susceptible to rousing rhetoric? Does he realise that when he says ‘We will not allow Scotland’s future to be limited” by Unionist parties, large numbers of those who would once have responded with the “Damn right!” roar he’s obviously hoping for now bitterly reflect that this would be Scotland’s future minus the seven years and counting during which Scotland’s cause has been allowed to languish in the doldrums.
I’d rather be a cheerer than a churl, as Simon & Garfunkel didn’t sing. I’d rather be feeling bright enthusiasm than dull, dismissive scepticism. I pine for the days when oratory such as Keith Brown’s worked on me. Or, more correctly, I miss the days when that oratory had something to work on. The rhetoric doesn’t produce the emotion in the response, it merely triggers whatever is there. If what is there is not what the speaker supposes or hopes is there then what is triggered may be decidedly different from what they anticipate. Many a speaker has stood on a platform nonplussed that the speech which sounded so inspirational in their head has been met with only baffled silence or angry disagreement by the audience.
We might hope that our elected representatives would read the room, so to speak. We’d hope they were able to detect undercurrents of dissent and discontent. We’d hope they would take heed of the murmurings and what is being murmured. It seems right that we should expect our elected representatives to take an interest in what electors are thinking and saying. The concept of democracy implies that politicians will really listen and actually learn. Policy is supposed to be guided, if not directed, by the needs, priorities and aspirations of the people. It’s meant to be us telling them what those needs, priorities and aspirations are.
I ask you, is there the smallest indication that the SNP leadership is taking any account whatever of voices other than those which respond to the “rallying cry” with dutiful applause or deluded cheering?
People, apparently in growing numbers, are entertaining and expressing concerns about the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government’s approach to the constitutional issue. Keith Brown is regrettably typical in that he doesn’t offer reassurance to those people but rather tells them to be reassured. Which is a bit like telling someone not to be thirsty when they’re parched. Or urging them to disregard their hunger when they’re starved.
Keith Brown says,
We will not allow Scotland’s future to be limited by the relentless negativity, the can’t-do attitude and the complete lack of vision from the Unionist parties.
As he speaks these words – or even as he writes them – is there not somewhere in the recesses of his politician’s mind a acerbic wee voice uttering the inevitable retort about how they were not going to allow Scotland to be dragged out of the EU against the will of the Scottish people?
I’m sorry, Keith, but when I am prompted to reflect on our nation’s future being limited by relentless negativity and a can’t-do attitude and a woeful paucity of vision, it’s no longer only the Unionist parties which come to mind.
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