Oh, come all ye faithless!

There is, I suppose, some comfort to be taken from unsolicited assurances that one is not aff one’s heid. Or, at least, that one is not alone in one’s mild derangement. Ex-SNP members turned Sturgeon-sceptics like myself will find such comfort reading Kevin McKenna’s column in The National today. He gets off to a good start by wondering where is SNP’s conference ahead of elections on our local authorities? A question many of us are pondering. Well, I was. And while I may not be entirely alone in doing so, I am enough of a realist to realise that those of us who ask such “gnarly questions” are vastly outnumbered by the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists who abhor the very idea of questioning the wisdom of the party’s leadership.

It might be possible to envy the certainties enjoyed by the party faithful. Not for them the doubts that plague those o’ mair independent mind. But any jealousy instantly subsides on realisation of what must be sacrificed to find ease in faith. All critical capacities must be set aside, if not abandoned completely. All manner of inconsistencies and contradictions and failures and departures from fact must be accepted and rationalised. All instinctive curiosity must be suppressed along with the defining human urge to make connections and seek patterns Today’s failure or broken promise must never be considered in the light of yesterday’s broken promise. For the faithful, there can be no acknowledgement that the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle must be correctly assembled in order to see the whole picture. For the faithful, that picture is whatever the party leadership needs it to be from one moment to the next. Even if every piece of the puzzle so far uncovered is black, the faithful must be able to genuinely believe that the big picture is entirely white.

Of all the follies to which humankind is prey, faith is surely the most intellectually debilitating. The most deleterious to rationality. Arguably, the most dangerous for the general well-being of our species and the planet that supports us.

The SNP/Sturgeon faithful will not ask why there is apparently no conference planned ahead of the council elections. They will condemn with extreme vituperation any who do. Or, perhaps worse, they will be condescendingly dismissive of all concerns expressed. To harbour any doubts about Sturgeon of the SNP is to be a “Yoon” or to be too stupid to understand that there is a ‘Great Secret Plan’ which is beyond the comprehension of lesser mortals and which must be kept strictly under wraps until the moment is deemed right to act. While I cannot help but wonder if a ‘plan’ of this sort is even possible, the faithful cannot contemplate even the possibility that it might not.

It will be interesting, in a morbid sort of way, to see how the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists rationalise the lack of any pre-election conference. But rationalise it they surely will. Otherwise, they would not be worthy of inclusion among the faithful. And that would be unbearable. Yet it will have to be borne. Because all those rationalisations must come home to roost. Reality is the biter of bums par excellence. The next rationalisation might be the one that turns out to be a rationalisation too far. All it takes is one moment of doubt. That a journalist Kevin McKenna’s standing is openly asking gnarly questions in the pages of The National gives me cause to hope we might be approaching a tipping point at which faith gives way to reason. If I’m right, there are some very difficult times ahead for Nicola Sturgeon and the clique which has hijacked the SNP. The voice of rational dissent is easy to ignore when it’s just a few ‘zoomers’ like myself. Should that voice ever become part of mainstream political discourse, however, the power of determined disregard will surely falter.

Will reason prevail in time to save Scotland? We shall see.

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15 thoughts on “Oh, come all ye faithless!

  1. To be fair to Kevin McKenna he has been pointing out the action aversion of the SNP leadership for some while now regarding advancing The Cause. As have you (for years, in your case).

    Will the blindly loyal and faithful brigade notice?

    Well, if the comments sections of The National are anything to go by, there is some disquiet. The reaction to Ian Blackford’s comments regarding the Ukraine situation on Independence ‘plans’ for 2023 was one of anger and disbelief. Likewise the response to Chris Hanlon’s Devo ‘min-max’ – or more like mish-mash – article in the same newspaper in January of this year.

    However, the FM immediately took to the air waves – at least in the face of the vociferous response to fall guy Blackford’s pronouncement – to state that her ‘plans’ and ‘thinking’ haven’t changed regarding the projected 2023 referendum. (Note, however, that there is enough wriggle room there that a Brontosaurus would feel comfortable with).

    It is my belief that people like Blackford and Hanson are simply flying kites on behalf of the leadership. Blackford is the Westminster group leader and Hanlon is on the now neutered NEC of the party – they don’t say anything and remain in post without the say so of the FM and party leader.

    So the pattern is set and clear. Nothing is happening. There are no plans, other than one to string folks along, lead them up the garden path and then march them up the hill before trudging them back down again. The next excuse will be found in good time.

    I only hope that a reckoning is indeed coming … one that will sweep away all the phoneys at the top of the SNP so that it can return to attend to its one and only mission and reason for being.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I have to say I was surprised by the reaction to Blackford’s comments. Pleasantly surprised! We just have to keep on poking the Yes movement with sharp sticks to wake folk up and keep them awake.

      As you’ll be aware, my concern now is less about the being no referendum at all than about there being a ‘referendum’ we’d be better off without. Even the small – very small! – assurance Nicola Sturgeon gives about her intentions exhibits a degree of confidence that impresses some but worries the skitters out of me. I fear that she has settled on a way to claim she’s kept her promise without antagonising the British state. I fear it will be a referendum in name only. I fear it will end the matter for decades but settle nothing.

      I can’t decide which is worse – a Section 30 referendum that will be sabotaged by the British state using the power gifted to it by the Scottish government; or a pretend wee consultative, non-binding ‘referendum’ that has no greater status than a poorly structured opinion poll. If Sturgeon is genuinely relaxed about the situation it has to be one or the other.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I agree about the referendum. We shouldn’t have one – the leadership are indifferent to it and, even if they weren’t, they have to date demonstrated the astuteness of a lemming approaching a precipice.

        If – and it’s a huge IF – there is a referendum in 2023 we need to make sure and highlight the gerrymandering conditions that are set (as they surely will be).

        Then we should campaign against holding it at all to render it null and void.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. There will always have to be a referendum. It is only a matter of what form the referendum takes and the way we get to it. The SNP has put it at the start of the process. This is a mistake.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. No doubt about it – the popular will of the people has to be asserted.

        But the endorsement must not be on a corrupt premise with all strings attached by Westminster and advocated by a timid SNP.

        I would boycott a referendum that was being tampered with by a third party country’s government.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m starting to think that every organisation needs the faithful. Like neutrons keeping the protons well away from each lest the molecule disintegrate or, in left-leaning molecules, explode into a dizzying array of factions. The only problem is, all the protons in the SNP left some time ago and there’s nothing left except the neutrons and the head proton.

    I doubt a reckoning is coming. It would have happened by now. Instead we’re seeing the slow burn of a dying star which will soon be extinguished. What happens next is either the heat-death of the independence universe or our very own Big Bang. Right now I’d say the former is more likely than the latter though I wish it wasn’t the case.

    Apologies if that was too much (astro-)physics for a Wednesday morning.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’ve just finished reading Andy Weir’s ‘Hail Mary’. I’m accustomed to very substantial servings of (astro) physics.

      Your analogy works – with a bit of goodwill from the reader. It’s a point I’ve made before. The people most needed by the SNP are the very ones who have quit. There are very few dissenting or even questioning voices left in the party. And now no way for them to be heard even if their numbers were sufficient to make a wavelet. It goes without saying that I have to hold up my hand here. To this day I have moments of uncertainty about my decision to resign from the SNP. Should I have stayed and tried to seize back the party for the members?

      In the end, I concluded that there being less and less possibility of being heard within the party, it was best to be a non-aligned commentator. Not that a lone voice can make a difference. But I would have been uncomfortable saying some of the things I felt need to be said about the SNP if I was still a member. And if the voice of dissent had been stilled within the party it stood to reason that only pressure from outside the SNP might be effective.

      In the end, none of it has made the slightest difference. Sturgeon has so entrenched her power that nothing can get a purchase on her sufficient to make her so much as wobble. As you say, it all bodes ill for Scotland’s cause. Verily, we are fucked!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I did not resign from the SNP last year but was on the verge of doing so. I remain a reluctant member paying the minimum. Having learned there was to be no conference pre May election, I could only admire their gall in sending out raffle tickets to members – straight into the bin.

        I think the ballot box is the only way to pierce the armour and if the SNP do badly this May (you get my drift) there will be damage to the party and the movement which can be rebuilt but might cause the Sturgeon pedestal to adopt more than a little wobble.


        1. Sturgeon will not be affected if the SNP does badly in May. She is fortunate in that Alba has provided her with a ready scapegoat. It will be Alba that takes the brunt of any backlash. If significant numbers of councils go over to the British parties, Alba may never recover.

          Of course, Alba devotees will deny any culpability. The blatant contradiction in spending months saying little else but that they want to give the SNP a bloody nose and then denying the nosebleed has anything to do with them won’t trouble these fantasists in the slightest.

          I look at both the SNP and Alba and I despair for Scotland’s cause. I fear for our nation. I dread the future.


  3. We let politicians get away with blue murder, basically, Peter. We do, the electorate. They lug their massive egos around with them everywhere and tell us to shut up because they know what they are doing when what they are doing is so massively against the interest of their country, their party and their people that they need a rocket up their nether regions for even suggesting that they’re on the ball. The arrogance is beyond belief now in that party. It deserves to disappear up its own colon, eating itself, as Labour did eventually. The only problem is: what is going to fill the void left by the tartan tapeworm? Unionism. If it is to be hollowed out, something other than Unionism needs to be put in place. Preferably something that is not an invertebrate.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Thanks for explaining to me what a “Zoomer” might be? If you’re correct, then – we who are NOT with the ‘SNP’ – might become a growing society of Zoomers = being too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words! (Who said that reality IS stranger than fiction 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t understand why the SNP would need a conference – unless it would be so groups of SNP members could gather and discuss with great excitement what the Green Party have decided will be SNP policy next.

    I don’t often agree with Macwhirter these days, but he’s right with his latest in the Herald.

    Liked by 1 person

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