“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the armies of the north, general of the Felix legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next”
My name is Maximus Deckimus, commander of the zoomer armies of the north, general of the Nat legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, myself, father to a murdered indyref, husband to a humiliated wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
You can see it now, though Russell Crowe was in better shape….
Actually, The Ecktopus was wisely concise, dignified and, for him, gracious after today’s verdict. His reputation as a decent human being has been wrecked, if you laboured under that delusion, in fact his personal failings were a cornerstone of the defence case. The single “not proven verdict on a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape” out of 13 charges from allegations made by 9 women will no doubt rankle with him too. Most seriously, the many women with whom he’d had “encounters” that are not really denied, now fall between the two awful prospects of being named and savaged by Eck’s gauleiters, and also being discarded as rapidly as possible by their former friends in the Sturgeon camp. Deeply unpleasant. But here is The Ecktopus in his triumph:
However, the peace won’t last.
Scottish journalists already know many of the details regarding Sturgeon’s mob trying to destroy their erstwhile hero, and I’m sure that there’ll be a lot of gobsmacking stuff to emerge. Coronavirus has virtually destroyed any prospect of independence for a long time, and it would be nice if the SNP could just destroy themselves, to tidy things up. It may happen. Sturgeon herself released a very brief statement, evidently written through gritted teeth, as it were (“The court has reached a verdict and that must be respected”).
Stephen Daisley hinted at what is to come here. One of Eck’s longstanding foes, who nevertheless admits to a grudging respect is Gerald Warner, a very fine writer. Here are his initial thoughts, in full:
When it was first announced that Alex Salmond, former SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, was to stand trial on 13 charges of sexual misconduct, the Scottish media and political village looked forward to witnessing an exceptional courtroom drama: Scotland’s equivalent of the Dreyfus case. In the event, due to even more dramatic developments in the world of epidemiology, it was something of a damp squib in terms of public interest. It was as if the Dreyfus trial had taken place at the height of the Black Death.
That does not mean there were no fireworks in the courtroom – it could hardly have been otherwise, with the formidable Gordon Jackson, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, leading Salmond’s defence team.
Unfortunately, due to health preoccupations, public attention was at best patchy. Beyond that, even intelligent observers found themselves perplexed by the reporting of some of the evidence.
The scrappy reporting by Scottish mediafolk made it difficult to form any clear impression of the case – understandably, in view of the other preoccupations assailing reporters. Salmond remained impassive throughout the proceedings and betrayed no triumphalism after the verdict, closing his remarks to the media today with expressions of concern for people during the epidemic.
He was cleared on 12 charges. On a 13th charge the verdict was “not proven”, a unique feature of the Scottish system.
After the verdict, Salmond delivered himself of one ominous observation: “As many of you will know, there was certain evidence I would like to have seen led in this trial but for a variety of reasons we weren’t able to do so. At some point that information, that fact and that evidence will see the light of day…” Or, in plain language, “Watch this space, Nicola.” When normal political activity is resumed a Salmond counter-offensive is to be expected, one that will make the internal activities of the SNP resemble the Battle of Kursk.
At least on his native heath, Salmond is no ordinary politician. He is a veteran operator with skills far superior to anyone else on the Scottish political scene. Unless he gets religion sometime between now and the resumption of normal public life, the clever money is on him seeking revenge against all those he perceives as his enemies.
If he does so, it will be with reinforced credibility after his vindication by the courts. In that context, there is more legal ammunition in his locker than the acquittal on charges of criminal offences. It should be recalled that Salmond had already won a civil case, in January 2019, when Lord Pentland ruled in the Court of Session that the Scottish government’s complaints process against him in relation to sexual harassment allegations had been “unlawful in respect that that they were procedurally unfair” and had been “tainted with apparent bias”. The Scottish government admitted it had breached its own guidelines by appointing an investigating officer who had “prior involvement” in the case.
Salmond was awarded costs of £512,250. That embarrassed surrender by the Scottish government is the worst possible foundation on which to mount a defence against the Salmond counterattack that will surely come. Already the Salmondistas are making warlike noises. Kenny McAskill, MP and former Scottish justice minister, tweeted after Salmond’s acquittal: “Some resignations now required.”
Joanna Cherry, MP, whom some have touted as a possible successor to Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Some of the evidence that has come to light both in the judicial review and at this trial raise very serious questions over the process that was employed within the Scottish government to investigate the alleged complaints against Mr Salmond, and I am sorry to say some of the evidence also raises serious question marks over how these complaints were handled by the SNP.”
To Scottish separatists Alex Salmond is a messianic figure. He led them from a taxi-load of Westminster MPs to a near-clean sweep of Scottish Westminster seats, an independence referendum and 13 years of government at Holyrood. He came closer than any other individual to securing an independent Scotland: in that respect, though he would not relish the comparison, he is separatist Scotland’s Nigel Farage. Now he has come back from the reputational brink after facing allegations that many SNP supporters, instinctive conspiracy theorists, will see as a politically motivated attempt to destroy him.
This will split the SNP as never before. The clear target of the rage that Salmond’s supporters feel will be Nicola Sturgeon, in tandem with the Scottish government apparatus. While the fog of an epidemic cloaks the political battlefield this may not be immediately obvious; but, in the long term, it looks as if we are witnessing the beginning of the end for Nicola Sturgeon and her administration. In market terminology: buy Salmond, sell Sturgeon.
There is a long series of SNP decline and fall pieces on this blog. Rational observers foresaw their demise a few years ago now.
One such observer is the great Gerald Warner, one of the wittiest and acerbic commentators on the body politic, and, if you bump into him, a generous, convivial drinking companion for visitors to Glasgow’s West End.
I reproduce his latest piece in full, as it’s behind a paywall. It strikes me as being entirely accurate and true, and also wickedly funny, even in the unlikely event that one retains a vestigial admiration for the SNP Follies: see references to the hapless Kenny MacAskill, and ‘Salmond Agonistes’.
The end is nigh!
The law of probability always dictated, in defiance of apparent likelihood, that somewhere on the planet there must be someone leading a government as chaotic, incompetent and beleaguered as Theresa May’s. The challenge was to identify such a politician. Now, however, the quest is over: come on down, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and precarious leader of an imploding and fissiparous SNP administration and party in meltdown.
When two women civil servants made complaints of sexual misconduct against Alex Salmond, former Scottish First Minister, last year, the allegations provoked a buzz of interest in the Holyrood village and in the media; but nobody could have foreseen the seismic consequences of this development. Salmond was out of office (though the allegations related to the time when he was First Minister), so it was widely assumed his status as a private citizen would reduce the impact of the controversy.
Fat chance. Nothing involving Salmond is ever low profile. One does not have to support his disastrous separatist agenda or warm to his rebarbative personality to recognize that Salmond has for two decades been one of the very few big beasts in Scottish politics. Admittedly, as the minimal impact he made in his career at Westminster demonstrated, Salmond’s eminence at Holyrood was that of the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. In the pygmy environment of post-devolution Scottish politics Salmond dominated Holyrood like Gulliver in Lilliput.
He has always been a highly dangerous politician. He had his lapses, some of them ludicrous, such as his “penny for Scotland” tax hike proposal and his denunciation of the “unpardonable folly” of Nato intervention in Kosovo. Yet he always bounced back, seemingly undamaged. Any wise opponent knows that getting into conflict with Salmond means encountering a ruthless scorched-earth policy.
That is how Salmond reacted when the Scottish civil service made him the first subject of its newly minted complaints procedure on sexual harassment. Incredibly – to anyone unfamiliar with the crass incompetence of all levels of governance in Scotland – the woman appointed to investigate the complaints had had prior contact with the two female civil servants who made the allegations, having given them “welfare” counselling in November 2017. The complaints were formally lodged in January 2018. A separate police inquiry is still ongoing.
Salmond took legal action, crowdfunded by his supporters, and sought a judicial review in the Court of Session. The Scottish government initially stated that it would “defend its position vigorously”. That stance crumbled into humiliating surrender last Tuesday as the lawyers for Sturgeon’s government conceded that prior contact had occurred – denounced by Salmond’s legal team as “encouragement” to the complainants.
The court ruled that the Scottish government’s actions had been “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias”. Salmond then called for the head of the Scottish civil service, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, who introduced the new code of investigation which the court found her own staff had breached, to consider her position.
He has also now lodged a complaint with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office over apparent leaks about his case to the media. So far, therefore, Salmond has put the Scottish civil service on the back foot, humiliated Sturgeon’s government in Scotland’s highest court and opened a second front on the data protection issue. Yet all that is the least of it.
His principal victim is Nicola Sturgeon, whose credibility lies in tatters following startling revelations about her behind-the-scenes involvement. Until April last year, in accordance with official procedure, Sturgeon was apparently kept in ignorance of the allegations against Salmond. On 2 April, however, she met Salmond at her Glasgow home, with her chief of staff Liz Lloyd (now also in Salmond’s cross-hairs) in attendance. On that occasion Salmond told Sturgeon about the complaints against him.
Generous-minded people might give Nicola Sturgeon the benefit of the doubt over that first meeting, when she might possibly have been ambushed. But her two subsequent meetings with him in Aberdeen and Glasgow, as well as two telephone conversations, one as late as July, drove a coach and horses through all governmental propriety. The kindest term for this backroom conduct would be a catastrophic error of judgement. But people who make such errors are unfit to govern, so that Sturgeon’s political career is now hanging by a thread.
At this week’s First Minister’s Questions she was harried mercilessly by opponents and clearly no longer in command of her brief. She insisted her meetings with Salmond had not been connected with government matters, but were “party” business. For the Conservatives Jackson Carlaw said: “Her position appears to be a meeting between the First Minister of the government and the former first minister of the government, about a government investigation, involving two government employees was not government business. Really, how?”
The knives are out for Sturgeon on all sides. Alex Neil, a former SNP health secretary, has called for a public inquiry into the government’s “unlawful” handling of the complaints against Salmond. Sturgeon is also under enormous pressure to refer herself to ethics watchdogs under the accusation of having broken the ministerial code.
Kenny MacAskill, the former SNP justice minister who first articulated the doctrine that it is no part of the responsibility of the police to protect the public and who famously released the Lockerbie bomber (Oh, the past triumphs of SNP statecraft!), claimed that a puritanical clique (sic) around Sturgeon was “driving out” people perceived as a threat to her reputation. Er – thanks for injecting that Da Vinci Code flavour into the proceedings, Kenny.
Nicola Sturgeon did make one significant point during FMQs, but it is likely she herself did not recognize its sinister implications. She said there was an inconsistency in her being accused by Mr Salmond of a conspiracy against him while being accused by others of a conspiracy in his favour.
That is perfectly true, but it brings no comfort to Sturgeon. The SNP has sundered into two factions: Sturgeonites and Salmondistas. The underlying reason is the frenzied frustration of the SNP’s ultra-nationalist wing at Sturgeon’s failure to deliver a second independence referendum. The IndyRef2 brigade makes the wildest Home Counties Remainer headbangers look sane and sensible. The ideological magma has been boiling up below the surface and the perceived victimization of Salmond is the perfect proxy cause for a political eruption.
This independence faultline always posed the gravest threat to the SNP, but until now has been managed fairly adroitly by party managers. But the SNP is already a minority government, it has been in power for 12 years and the electoral pendulum is likely to put it out of office at the next election. So, the fundamentalists are in a mood to go for it, persuading themselves that Brexit is an opportunity when, in reality, it is a guarantee against the Scottish electorate taking a further leap in the dark.
The SNP was approaching the end: it has run Scottish Health and Education into the ground. But with Salmond Agonistes pulling down the pillars, the edifice is in imminent threat of collapse. The infighting in the SNP now resembles a saloon brawl in a John Wayne film: hardly anybody knows why they are fighting; the joy is in the conflict.
A continuing series charting the Scottish National Party, and its very overrated leader, Nicola Sturgeon’s inevitable downward trajectory (part one here):
11. Three high up Nats advise Nicola to calm down
Yes, in a party where free thinking is actually verboten, the Glorious Leader has had to endure public dissent. Kenny MacAskill, the man who freed the convicted murderer and terrorist Megrahi (though in reality just a handy frontman for the unholy cabal of Blair, Salmond and Jack Straw) in a hilariously lugubrious and pompous speech, and Alex Neil, the amiable ex Cabinet Secretary for Health, last seen being chased around a hospital car park by an irate ex-follower, have suggested that Nicola buttons it going on and on about a second independence referendum. As sentient people now realise, she only does this to placate the zoomer element – she doesn’t actually want a referendum – but boy is it irritating. So far as anyone knows, MacAskill and Neil have yet to be stealthily ‘disappeared’. The third Nat, Bruce Crawford is quite experienced and quite normal, he’s now the finance committee chairman and is actually doing what he’s meant to do by insisting that the draft Scottish budget be adequately scrutinised. Admittedly his stern critique was addressed to apparatchik Derek Mackay, rather than Sturgeon herself, but the point was well made. Such appalling adherence to basic democratic instincts is currently a thought crime of the most heinous sort.
12. The SNP redefine the word ‘crowd’
It’s a long way from the heady days of Salmond encouraging unruly marches on the Glasgow BBC HQ to the latest ‘crowd’ gathered in George Square, Glasgow, to…er…go on and on about a second independence referendum. As STV news primly observed “around 200 people attended the event throughout the day”. Which is probably about the same as my outpatient clinic area, on any one day.
13. The polls haven’t moved, except Nicola is more unpopular
YouGov at the end of August were quite clear about this: ” just 37% of Scots backing a second independence referendum and 50% opposed. Should they be successful in forcing another vote, the results would be almost identical to last time, with 54% of Scots voting against independence and 46% in favour”
Ho hum. However, they found that the hated Tories’ leader Ruth Davidson is, strangely, not hated “Overall, 46% of Scots think that Davidson is doing well, compared to 25% who think she is doing badly, giving her a net score of +21 compared to Sturgeon’s +20. Kezia Dugdale, by contrast, is seen as doing badly with a net score of -17”
Poor old Kez is pretty useless. She managed to save Sturgeon from Holyrood defeat by failing to vote herself. However, in the relevant debate NS was at her shrill, unpleasant, hectoring unprofessional worst. Hopefully we’ll be getting it on YouTube in due course. Statesmanlike she is not.
A few years ago The Knife wrote a brief summary piece about the now happily discredited Alex Salmond’s ongoing attempt to use his acclaimed gifts of lying and bullying to make Scotland independent (AKA ‘still dependent, but on someone other than those English bastards’). My post was entitled Alex Salmond: My Part in His Downfall. Older readers may recognise this as an allusion to one of Spike Milligan’s war memoirs – Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. It’s a catchy phrase, but I wouldn’t want it to be taken as yet another tiresome comparison to a well known ranting demagogic bigoted nationalist despot. Heaven forbid.
The above title repeats the literary steal, in this case channelling Evelyn Waugh. I know it’s unoriginal. Oddly enough, long after my Salmond post, an excellent book appeared with the same title, written by one of the true cognoscenti in Scottish political hackery, Alan Cochrane, most recently of the Daily Telegraph, though I’m unclear whether he’s still there, given their axe swinging. It would be their loss. Cochrane is an amiable fellow and a wonderful writer, who has delighted millions with his precise and knowledgeable takes on whatever malign nonsense the SNP are promulgating in any one week.
In this respect Nicola Sturgeon is every bit as bad as the wretched Salmond, she just tends to get better press because she’s less unpleasant to the media. Her ‘achievements’ in power are limited, to put it politely. The trouble with even the well-intentioned balanced media, is that so many of them are remote from the battlefield. Superb writers like Fraser Nelson amped up the independence threat before the 2014 referendum when in all honesty it was never a goer. It still isn’t. The Nats are still benefiting from the same distant reporting, when Sturgeon’s every cliched appeal to her base is recycled weekly with the threat that another referendum is round the corner. It isn’t.
The two writers who are best on this are Gerald Warner, and Cochrane, who both now feature on the newish website of another fine analyst, Iain Martin, called Reaction. Martin is a Scot living in London, who is thankfully far more robust in his opinions and insights than most of the expat hacks. Don’t get me wrong – there a quite a few left in Scotland, like Euan McColm and Stephen Daisley, but not enough. The Nats don’t appreciate their work.
…the only people I hear even considering another referendum are either SNP stalwarts or journalists desperate for a story.
Ms Sturgeon has to keep the referendum threat on the boil to keep the daftest of her supporters on side, even if sober-sided realists in the Nat ranks – such as former leader Gordon Wilson, one-time deputy leader Jim Sillars and ex Scottish Cabinet member Alex Neill – have extremely grave doubts about the prospects of another independence vote.
To keep the zealots happy and feed the fears of all in London – whether London Scotties or Tory ministers – she’s been forced to make roughly the same speech, albeit with her fingers and toes firmly crossed, every couple of weeks, warning that independence is still very much on the cards because of Brexit….. It is a fact that the prospect of another independence referendum will keep rearing its ugly head as we enter the conference season, with the issue certain to dominate the Nats Glasgow event in October. But it is extremely doubtful if circumstances – especially on the economy where an independent Scotland would face a £15 billion black hole – will change much.
As a result my advice to my Anglo-Scot colleagues is simple one: Stay by your phones, lads, I shall tell you when to panic.
Perfect. Despite such sense, it can be hard to discern this stuff. Two of the doughtiest campaigners that I know, both against a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum – one a journalist, one a politician – were deeply concerned that their resounding victory was just a pause in the fight. I don’t think so. Here’s Warner on a similar theme:
A second independence referendum would be meaningless since only Westminster can authorise a binding plebiscite. All Sturgeon’s referendum would amount to – if she were ever rash enough to waste Scottish taxpayers’ money on holding it – is a glorified opinion poll, with no constitutional significance whatsoever. Even in those circumstances Sturgeon would be insane to risk it, since current opinion polls show Brexit has had no effect on voters’ opinions on the Union and the SNP could expect to be thrashed again, burying the separatist issue at least for a generation.
Unfortunately Sturgeon’s announcement came just 24 hours before the publication of this year’s GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures; it may even have been a cackhanded attempt to distract attention from them. The latest statistics represented the SNP’s worst nightmare.
The GERS figures showed Scotland’s deficit now stands at a crippling £14.8 billion, or 9.5 per cent of GDP, compared with 4 per cent for the UK. Oil revenues have plunged from their peak by 97 per cent to a derisory £60m. If Nicola thinks these are favourable conditions in which to fight an independence referendum, good luck to her.
He’s actually being polite. He can be a lot more biting (and funny).
In fact, it has occurred to quite a few people, including myself, that despite the endless hype, the SNP’s trajectory is not at all good, not for their alleged dream. (I have a theory that the few wise heads don’t actually want independence. Far too much hassle and responsibility, if they can just get along enjoying the perks, the aggro, and a certain kind of low rent adulation from folk who don’t know any better). So I thought I’d do a quick recent timeline. It speaks for itself.
1. Scottish Independence Referendum 18th September 2014
…a relatively easy win for No, despite a wildly aggressive and triumphalist campaign by Nat maniacs: The “No” side won, with 2,001,926 (55.3%) voting against independence and 1,617,989 (44.7%) voting in favour.
Remember that we only had a referendum because Cameron rather nobly agreed to it after Salmond unexpectedly won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament in 2011. In retrospect that was their high water mark and it generated colossal quantities of Salmond hubris and hot air. It doesn’t take much.
We had something of a lull then, despite almost constant drivel from excitable Nats about “Indyref2”, even though they’d just been decisively gubbed in Indyref1.
2.UK General election 7th May 2015
It may seem odd to include this, but even though the Nats sent 56 clones to Westminster, their hated enemy, the Conservatives won an overall majority and were clearly not interested in Indyref2, ever. In addition, although Salmond will always be a solipsistic thug, he had acquired certain street smarts over the years, which Sturgeon, despite the robotic Stalinistic acclaim, just doesn’t have, yet she’s their leader.
However, they seemed to be on an electoral roll, surely…?
3.Scottish Parliamentary election 5th May, 2016
Well, that didn’t last long. They may still be running ‘the show’ (not a big deal in reality) at Holyrood, but they lost their majority, back to being a somewhat feeble minority government, in a large part thanks to those evil Tories having a resurgence. That wasn’t in the script. This was Sturgeon’s first real electoral test. The brave face didn’t quite convince.
4.SNP love triangle 22nd May 2106
The man accurately described by Euan McColm as ‘charmless’, Stewart Hosie, quits as SNP Deputy Leader because of his shenanigans with a posh English lady. Actually Hosie’s former wife, also an SNP politician, is a good egg, so I mention this just to keep the narrative accurate. He became (more of) a laughing stock. Another SNP MP, dopey Angus McNeil, was the third point of the triangle
5.Brexit! 24th June 2016
Britain votes to quit the EU, in Scotland the SNP make a lot of the % margins. The actual numbers are less exciting: 1,661,191 Remain to 1,018,322 Leave. That’s a difference of only 642,869 people, which is 12% of the population and 16.5% of the Scottish electorate. Yes it’s a majority, but hardly a ringing endorsement.
Needless to say Sturgeon and the Nats immediately went berserk with silly claims along the lines that Scotland just loved the EU, that Holyrood could block the result (very embarrassing that one), and that Indyref2 was now inevitable, because, y’know, the Scots really love the EU bureaucracy, but the consternation caused by Brexit in certain Hyndland salons seems to have died down pretty quickly, really. The concept that the EU might not want an essentially bankrupt independent Scotland fomenting trouble in Catalonia and elsewhere into the bargain, never seemed to cross her mind. History will not be kind on this one.
In the real world that the rest of us inhabit, neither business nor the voters agreed with her and her Nat toadies, that Brexit mysteriously made independence more attractive. The SNP parallel universe is a mysterious place.
6.The Named Person scheme gets hammered by the Supreme Court, 28th July 2016
With the SNP, authoritarianism is a constant temptation, to which they normally succumb. I have commented previously on their Jacobin tendencies here, where they seem to have decided that the state supplants parents, by right. It’s already failed, very tragically. Don’t these sanctimonious idiots think anything through properly? Clearly not. The Nats are now having an “intense consultation”, the sort of things that grown up governments normally do before pulling the trigger.
7.The SNP lose a significant by-election, 12th August 2016
Well yes, and it wasn’t widely reported considering the detail. The SNP leader’s own father, Robin Sturgeon, stood for an SNP seat in the Irvine West by-election, and lost. To the dismal remnants of Scottish Labour, who became the party with the most seats as a consequence. I would say that tells us something interesting about the grass roots of Scottish politics. If he’d won, as they clearly anticipated, we’d never have heard the end of it.
8.The Scottish Government Expenditure and Revenue (GERS) figures are released 24th August 2016
Put simply, Scotland as an independent nation is bust. Totally. Happily the UK isn’t quite. The Scottish deficit (not total debt) is officially £14.8 billion. This is rather important, and is one reason why Salmond is truly the most lying liar of all lying politicians. He makes Hillary Clinton look like George Washington. It’s a long story, but the Zen Master of GERS interpretation is the mighty Kevin Hague, over at Chokkablog. The Nats hate him of course. Read his long running commentary, it’s better than most professional journalists have managed.
9.The UK government politely tells the SNP they’re not needed in the Brexit plan, 2nd September 2016
This didn’t go down well. Having ranted about the iniquities of Brexit, Sturgeon appoints a Brexit minister, the ludicrous Mike Russell. He has no apparent role. The SNP are sad. Eager to get in on a process from which they are correctly excluded, they form an SNP Westminster committee to emulate Russell’s ignominy.
10.The SNP’s raison d’etre is independence, so when they announce their programme as the Scottish Government on 6th September, 2016….
Happily, some things are still within the party’s gift. So after the thrilling announcement in June that ‘the Summer of independence starts here’, Ms Sturgeon unveils her legislative programme for the forthcoming Holyrood term. What are the plans for Indyref2 that the foaming hordes have been eagerly anticipating, nay, promised, by their Nat overlords? Er…..nothing actually, just a weak-kneed ‘draft’. As Iain Martin aptly puts it: “Consulting on a draft is the government equivalent of a cash-strapped would-be tourist ordering a bunch of glossy holiday brochures and saying “we might go for St Tropez this year.””
I can’t be bothered to spell out the incompetence in administrative duties and basic educational and NHS needs, the grim faced North Korean approach to party management and independent thought, the humourless obsession with social media points scoring etc etc. None of it is hard to find on the internet, as they haven’t got round to censoring it. Yet. Chuck in the as yet only rumoured other ‘situations’ in the party, and one doubts that this cavalcade of incompetence, scandal and chippiness will go away soon.
So, from a glorious independence rolling in oil money to obsessing over the occasional tiger that finds its way north of the border, in just under two years, with support evidently and inexorably draining away.
It’s a joyous, deserved slow motion car crash. Well done everyone.
Of all the many arguments for voting No in the recent Scottish referendum, one had sort of passed me by till I caught up with a recent Spectator. Here is (Scottish) hack, Hugo Rifkind, providing the bigger picture:
I’ve been in Scotland these past few weeks, gearing up for the referendum. You’ve heard about that? It hasn’t passed you by? Oddly, of all the people to whom I spoke — and there were hundreds — the one who sticks in my mind was an incredulous Dutchman. I don’t remember the exact words he said to the ‘yes’ campaigner at his door, because I didn’t write them down. But the gist was this.
‘You’re mad,’ he said. (Or didn’t, but nearly did.) ‘And selfish. Selfish and mad. Have you seen how screwed up the world is? All the evil? Ukraine? Isis? Boko Haram? Holland can’t do anything about that — we’re tiny. Britain can. And you want to leave it. Because you don’t care about anybody except yourselves. How do you sleep?’
Not an argument I’d heard before. Doubt Scots would really have gone for it. But my God, it sounded good on that front step.
I always knew Eck was a self-centred thug, but it’s nice to hear it confirmed by one of our European brothers.