Wishartian censoriousness

There’s something in today’s National that we don’t often see in “the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland” ─ an article taking a pop at a leading figure in the SNP. I guess it’s fair to say that Pete Wishart is a leading figure in the party of independence. Although the term ‘leading’ seems particularly inapt when applied to someone best known for his efforts to hold back the fight to restore Scotland’s independence. Wishart is surely the principal exponent of the ‘waiting strategy’ that has left Scotland’s cause in the doldrums for the past eight years. His ‘optimum time’ essay stands as one of the finest examples of political idiocy produced in the modern era, as I pointed out in my response.

But the MP for Perth and North Perthshire is not known for that alone. He also boasts of being a former ‘Parliamentary Tweeter of the year’ as well as having the reputation (unverified) of blocking more independence supporters and activists than all elected representatives of the British parties in Scotland combined. In certain quarters, one is not considered a fully-fledged independista until one has been blocked by Pete Wishart on Twitter. Fortunately for aspiring independistas, getting blocked on Twitter by Pete Wishart is even easier than getting sent to Fecaboko jail. He may also be the most ‘British’ of Scotland’s MPs. What other Scottish nationalist politician could get an almost positive mention in the Daily Excess?

It is not for any of these things that Shona Craven criticises Mr Wishart, however. What Shona takes exception to is his tendency to hypocrisy of the rankest stripe. Wishart constantly berates others for allegedly brining the whole independence campaign into disrepute by speaking, writing and/or behaving in a manner that he considers improper. He is arguably the most ardent proponent of the ‘gentle persuasion’ school of political campaigning. To describe his approach as ‘softly, softly’ would be to overstate its harshness. His notion of political campaign messaging is to never offend or upset anybody at any time. Say absolutely nothing to which anyone might take exception. If you’re wonder what that leaves that you can say without attracting Pete Wishart’s virulent condemnation then I’m afraid I can’t help you. Neither can Pete Wishart. While he’s quick to pointedly and forcefully castigate even the most slightly pointed or forceful comment from others, he has little to say when it comes to elucidating what he considers to be ‘proper’.

The outburst of Wishartian censoriousness which prompted Shona Craven’s condemnatory commentary was his cringeworthy condemnation of the symbolic burning of the Act of Union by members of Salvo on the night of the years when we inexplicably celebrate the failure to far from symbolically blow up the British parliament. To hear Wishart you’d think Sara Salyer and her fellow conspirators had been burning Nicola Sturgeon in effigy. Which, to be very, very clear, would not be acceptable behaviour. It’s worth reproducing at length Wishart’s comments to The Courier regarding the symbolic incineration of the very thing he and his SNP colleagues were elected to bring to an end for real.

I have never seen anything like it. It is sinister and there is no democratic debate for burning anything like that. It is incredibly irresponsible.

This was done in the name of colonial oppression and the people of Scotland don’t believe they are colonised, they would think you are mad or just laugh at that. People are observing the language and the activity we use and when they see stuff like that they think the whole independence movement is nuts and doesn’t talk to their experience.

What strikes me about this ─ apart from the astronomically over-the-top spittle-flecked rage ─ is the clumsiness of the language from the man who purports to know all there is to know about political communication. It would have been passing strange if folk had been burning the Act of Union “in the name of colonial oppression”. It was actually being done in the name of opposing colonial oppression. Regardless of how you view the representation of Scotland as a colony, the fact that Wishart actually says the opposite of what he means should at least make you dubious of his credentials as competent communicator. The man is, in fact, a slavering buffoon.

Wishart is right about one thing. People are “observing the language and the activity we use”. To my mind, the inane ranting of a senior SNP politician is more likely to harm the image of the independence movement than the antics of a small and rather obscure campaign group. Torching the Union was a wee bit of political theatre, no more than that. At worst, it was harmless. At best, it made a serious point about the Union being the real problem for Scotland. As Shona Craven points out, there is some amusing irony in the fact that Wishart’s daft outburst may have attracted more attention to the stunt than it might otherwise have warranted. Such is the witlessness of Wishart.

The worry, of course, is that it is voices like Pete Wishart’s which are most likely to be listened to by the party leadership and the main ‘influencers’ in the Yes movement. It is his silly ideas of an ideal time and a perfect campaign message which inform whatever it is the SNP highheidyins have instead of strategic thinking. If observing this guy is a glimpse into the ‘mind’ of the party of independence and of government, then Scotland’s cause really is in trouble. And it’s not because campaigners set fire to some bits of paper on a cold November evening. At least they were doing something. Pete Wishart boasts that he has been at Westminster for over twenty years. Like every other SNP politician, he was elected for the purpose of ending the Union and restoring Scotland’s independence. We might well wonder what Scotland’s cause has to show for that twenty years.

Every day Scotland remains bound to the British state is a day that Pete Wishart and the SNP has failed. He might do well to STFU about others’ efforts to get Scotland’s cause moving at least until we see some sign that he is making as much effort.

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11 thoughts on “Wishartian censoriousness

  1. Salvo and a few boxes of matches clearly doing something right if it annoys Pete. Maybe there should be a Wishart Index, indicating the success of any “Wishartian disapproved” action, with a 1-carrot rating for mild disapproval to a 5 carrot jackpot for something that he finds extremely annoying.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. So Wishart thinks it was “sinister”! Well, it was a bit left field right enough (latin pun).

    If the original Treaty of Union had been burnt I’d be totally furious – after Indy it needs to be given pride of place once a year in Holyrood with the caption “Never never ever be so bloody stupid and cowardly again”.

    It was a paper copy, not a flag, absolutely nothing wrong with burning it. In fact I’d have happily put the match to it myself, as long as I’d done due diligence on the H&S of course.

    As for Salvo, you don’t have to agree with them to totally support their existence. And the more publicity they get from the likes of Wishart, the better.

    Shona Craven by the way is my favourite writer – she is grounded unlike some.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I posted this elsewhere so may as well here for those who like a little light reading. Reading being easier in the light than in the dark though less fun, as when you’re very young and supposed to be asleep but have a torch.

    ‘Constitutive self-determination’, whereby a people decide on their future status, opting for or rejecting secession, as has been illustrated in independence referenda such as those in recent times of Scotland, South Sudan and Montenegro (the latter two resulting in independence, the former not); and

    ‘Ongoing self-determination’, whereby a group exercises a degree of political control over its own people and/or territory, although not necessarily through full independence as the constituent countries of the United Kingdom currently do (2019)[2], or federal subjects of federal countries such as Russia or the United States of America.


    I have absolutely no idea whether “e-ir.info” is a pukka source, though it is registered apparently in the UK, and the author has presented papers on secession.


    1. I’m not so sure that South Sudan or Montenegro were holding a treaty as part of a voluntary union alliance between two still sovereign kingdoms. The reality is that Scotland does not require a referendum to be independent and if the likes of Wishart and the rest of the elected ‘nationalist’ majority had any courage and done what nationalist representatives are supposed to do we would already have been independent.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s the Yes movement that has failed every bit as much as the SNP. We have let Sturgeon get away with far too much. We should have been in there kicking arse two or three years ago. Instead, half the Yes movement or more just gave up on the task because it seemed too difficult.

        To salve their conscience about abandoning Scotland’s cause they created a plethora of ‘projects’ and a raft of political fantasies so they can pretend to themselves that they’re still fighting for independence. They’re not! I may be the only one prepared to tell them this because I am in the happy position of not giving a fuck. But unless you are on Sturgeon’s back 24/7 you are not fighting for Scotland’s cause. Unless you are part of a campaign to force the SNP/Scottish Government to act as Scotland’s cause requires, you are NOT fighting for independence. You’re just putting on a show.

        The people don’t have power. The people have strength. But the people only have strength in numbers. That’s why ‘divide and rule’ works so well. In combination, we have massive strength. But we need the machinery of democracy if we are to convert that strength into effective political power ─ the power to effect change. Like it or loathe it, Sturgeon and the SNP are crucial components of the only democratic machinery available to us.

        We are not using our strength, so we are not taking the power that should be ours. Power left unclaimed doesn’t go unused. Someone will seize that power and use it for their own purposes. When the people allow that to happen, they must seize back that power. They must combine to be strong enough to wrest that power from whoever has usurped it.

        This is how democratic politics works. If you strip away all the wheeling and dealing and concessions and compromises and dodgy goings on, there you find the essentials of politics just as I have described. It is at that fundamental level that the people operate. But only if they have the knowledge of how to combine.

        “In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others.”

        ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

        #DissolveTheUnion #ScottishUDI

        Liked by 1 person

    2. All roads apparently lead to Rome, and it’s not how we get there, it’s that we’re accepted as having got there. From that point of view this is the important bit in that pdf:

      Despite such ambiguity, the position of the UN on secession and any subsequent recognition is particularly important since accession to the UN is considered by the international community as tantamount to near-universal recognition. To become a member, a state must be recognised by at least two-thirds[1] of existing members after gaining approval of the UN Security Council, which implies that it has the recognition of the major world powers, i.e. the permanent members (P-5) (UN 2019).

      South Sudan after being recommended by the Security Council (SC), was approved by the General Assembly (GA) by acclamation with no vote. Timor Leste was unanimous, and Montenegro was by acclamation.

      Behind those is the need to give both the SC and GA the reason to do so, and that’s where external opinions such as that by Ed Brown are valuable.


      1. That’s the same by the way even if the rUK says “Hey, that’s fine by us, we’ve already set up and instructed our mammoth embassy in Edinburgh, and good relations are being enjoyed by all of us, with major negotiation points agreed and just the sticky little details left to sort out at our leisure like who pays the bus fares home for unwanted embassy staff like Baron Alister Jack of Dumpling.”.


  4. Lolsville , P . We can always depend on the Hon * Member * for Westminster North – Sir Peter Wishart – to provide a bit comic relief in these trying times . Bet he’s consumed with jealousy he , rather than part-time human Hatt Mancock , wasn’t invited to join the collection of used-to-bes , never weres n who-TF-are-yous ? on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Her.

    Maybe next year , or the year after etc
    Or ,he could start his own version ……. I’m A WM MP Never Take Me Out Of Here .

    As you say , the SALVO event was a piece of theatre / agitprop ; and maybe something we need more of . Something I think is noticeably absent from – what used to be known as – the Independence Movement and the * question * of Scottish Independence generally , is any Cultural/Artistic engagement ; it’s all very drab and dour , lacking , well , everything that was there in the lead-up to IndyRef 1

    Someone turned the music off and told everyone to go home ; and wait . We’re still waiting

    Liked by 2 people

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