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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