The SNP: decline and fall (7)

sturgeonsalmond_getty
Er….

Perhaps the neatest summary of the state of play of the SNP in power is from the erudite and perceptive farmer/historian/Hellenophile/linguist, Victor Davis Hanson. He is describing the then mayor of NYC, billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s inadequacy in the basic tasks that he’d been given:

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address premodern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

A second independence referendum is exactly that, something over which they have no control. Hanson poses a question, to which in Scotland the answer appears to be yes:

Do our smug politicians promise utopia because they cannot cope with reality? Do lectures compensate for inaction?

So with that in mind, here’s the latest choices from a cornucopia of SNP nonsense…

24. The creative use of the conditional

Thanks to Wikipedia for this: The conditional mood (abbreviated cond) is a grammatical mood used to express a proposition whose validity is dependent on some condition, possibly counterfactual. It thus refers to a distinct verb form that expresses a hypothetical state of affairs, or an uncertain event, that is contingent on another set of circumstances. So far then, regarding the fabled Indyref2, we’ve had:

The Scottish First minister claimed autumn 2018 would be the ‘common-sense time’

The SNP leader has claimed a vote on separation is ‘highly likely’ and has now given her clearest hint yet that Scotland could be just 18 months away from another vote…if that is the road we choose to go down.

Pressed on the timing of a possible second referendum while on BBC Two’s Brexit: Britain’s Biggest Deal, the First Minister said she was “not ruling anything out”.

Sturgeon said that if May failed to do so, then “proposing a further decision on independence wouldn’t simply be legitimate, it would almost be a necessary way of giving the people of Scotland a say in our own future direction”.

A Scottish Government source said: “We have made clear an independence referendum is very much on the table as an option if it becomes clear it is the best or only way to protect our vital national interests.”

Ms Sturgeon has warned another independence referendum is “almost inevitable” in the event of a hard Brexit and has hinted she could name the date for a new vote next month.

…and so on and so on and so on. I know that the highly overrated Sturgeon – who must now be looking over her shoulder at a predictably unpleasant sight– has to placate the noisy zoomer fraternity, but every sentient citizen of Scotland is rapidly getting fed up of this political footsie.

25. An opposition that works (a bit)

Which, bizarrely, is a Tory one.

26. There’s still no money

Says who? Er…says Salmond’s own economic guru, nice guy Andrew Wilson. Which lead to the correct response (from @murdo_fraser), “If the SNP is now admitting oil is a bonus, it must set out which taxes would rise and what public services would be cut in order to fill an independent Scotland’s £15bn deficit.”

27. A new referendum has never been less popular.

According to this poll: A Panelbase survey of 1,020 voters for the Sunday Times found that support for an “indyref2” before Brexit — which is scheduled to happen by March 2019 — dropped from 43% last June to just 27% last week. The poll also found that 51% of Scots oppose a second referendum within the next “few” years.

28. The SNP are hopeless at governing. Still.

The dismal education record of Scotland under the SNP actually lead to that very rare beast – a productive Holyrood debate. As Labour’s Iain Gray put it: “Yes, our schools need reform. But, above all, our schools need more teachers with more support, more time and more resources to do their job. That is the core reform. Failure to deliver it is the defining characteristic of the SNP decade in charge of education.”

29. Alex Salmond declares war, or something, by invading a playpark in Aberdeenshire.

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He’s increasingly reminiscent of Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army, and if Eck thought this would be a credible photo-op, I fear he’s mistaken. However it did provide one comedy highlight of the culture that prevails in parts of The Democratic Republic of Scotland (see pics below, my thanks to ).

ellon1
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ellon2
Who’s Eck’s new pal on the right?
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The SNP: decline and fall (6)

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…it’s a Christmas festive bonanza of Nat uselessness. There’s almost too much to write about, so I’ll try to keep it brief (with the relevant links)

18. Scottish education – judged by outcomes rather than platitudes – plumbs new depths

If you’re not in the position (about £11000 per annum is good value) to send your child to a private school  – and they are booming, for obvious reasons – then you can enjoy the state system. The great Gerald Warner summed it up better than me in this essential piece. Bottom line: since the SNP took over in 2007, numeracy and literacy have plummeted, compared to the rest of the world. This is using robust OECD figures released this month, even the official Scottish data suggests that “28% of P7 pupils are not achieving required levels of literacy and numeracy”. As The Donald would say, that’s yuuge. This is way worse than England, despite the generous Scottish per capita funding. It’s serious.

19. Possibly related – SNP MP can’t spell

Angus MacNeil has never come across as a sharp tool, so to speak. If you’re going to employ public scorn, then avoid spelling your insults incorrectly. This was back in June, but it’s too good to miss

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20. SNP superstar Derek Mackay talks gobbledegook 

His predecessor as Cabinet Secretary for Finance and various other things , John Swinney, whilst not being in any way outstanding was at least fairly calm, polite and experienced (it’s a low bar in Scotland). Along comes university dropout Mackay and he’s not short of chutzpah, but he rarely makes any sense. Judge for yourself, if you can bear it. Everything is about creating confusion and scoring cheap points and headlines, to the point where he makes Gordon Brown seem an honest, transparent and prudent financier.

The associated budget is similarly misleading, dishonest and moronic. The remarkable work of @kevverage and @FraserWhyte81 is assiduously documented in the former’s essential blog. It can get complicated, but this is heroic stuff. So accurate and thorough are the analyses that these guys are true Nat hate figures, yet all the media read them. The inconvenient truth is that:

1. the figures don’t suggest that the Scots have been victims of Sturgeon’s favourite accusation of “osterrty”,

2. there’s been some very dodgy manipulation of the numbers.

A very credible independence supporter (and a Nat insider), Alex Bell, sums it up.

21. Exciting new Sturgeon Brexit plan is shot down by her own team

This one could run and run. It’s really a variation on a theme, that being milking Brexit to make weird links to the ‘next’ referendum. None of it is real world stuff. Iain Martin is always good on this, and he’s had enough.  If they’re not already, I reckon the entire UK will soon be fed up with the whole Hard/Soft Brexit rubbish beloved of a diminishing claque of politicos and hacks. As it happens, Europhile  Charles Grant is the latest member of her own team to discredit it.  At one point do even the zoomers lose faith?  And at one point do the SNP begin to respond to the concerns of  Scots who didn’t vote for them, or who did vote for Brexit? (I’m not holding my breath on this one). The summary that keeps cropping up is uncomfortable in the extreme for mad Nat Remainers, to wit:

Scottish exports to the EU total £11.6bn

Scottish exports to the rest of the world total £15.2bn

And Scottish exports to the rest of the UK total £48.5bn –  64% of the total.

 

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@ScottyNational tell it like it is

22. News in brief

Difficult to keep up with the SNP  elected members who are in trouble. Is Tasmina bankrupt yet? Dodgy Michelle Thomson was still ‘reaching out’ to her former bosses back in July. Is slanderous donations queen Natalie McGarry in or out? How is the credit card activity going these days?

caption-competition-sturgeon-salmond-and-the-scottish-kiss-136397733287103901-150424151939
…where to begin with this one?

23. Humza and trains

I’m worn out, just look it up (1,2) if you’re interested.

……to be continued….

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Alex Salmond, unperson

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To the salt mines!

It didn’t take long, really.

I was recently talking to a friend who is a sharp mind, a good businessman, a nice guy and a Scottish Nationalist. Not only did he used to brandish a selfie of himself with Alex Salmond, he knew him moderately, having been involved in one of the various Scottish government publicity projects that Eck used to encourage, to demonstrate the Nat’s love of ‘social justice’ (whatever), and hatred of…er…bigotry

In any event, it was made pretty clear in our chat that Eck, the putative ‘father of the independent nation’ is now self evidently a selfish, arrogant, embarrassing, lying monster who is utterly persona non grata with the present Holyrood SNP band of numpties.

Oddly enough, the description was pretty much what most No supporters had been saying about Eck in the run up to the independence referendum, and now we learn from his erstwhile chums that we were in fact, correct.

This blog has criticised Salmond and his mysterious, frequently unexplained decisions and activities for a long time. It was blindingly obvious that he was gagging to get back to Westminster, which curiously is in the hated England, and equally obvious that if he lost the referendum that Sturgeon et al were going to kick him out. And so it proved.

The utterly ludicrous SNP ‘Named Child’  policy has strong echoes of Jacobin social engineering from the French Revolution. One of the more endearing habits of the said Jacobins was to decapitate their former heroes, most notably Robespierre. It looks like Eck has met the same fate.

The historic parallels don’t stop there. Not enough people know about something Iain Martin likes to publicise, which is that you’re not actually allowed to criticise or dissent from what passes for policy in the SNP, from within the party. Really, it is officially banned. Specifically MP’s and MSP’s must:

“accept that no Member shall, within or outwith Parliament, publicly criticise a Group decision, policy or another member of the Group.”

Which is pleasingly similar to another one party state, Soviet Russia. The latter didn’t last that long, despite wrecking lives and wreaking havoc on its native soil – the similarities are piling up – but it did inspire George Orwell in writing 1984. Which brings us back to poor old Eck. He has finally, and delightfully, become an Orwellian Stalinist unperson, a victim of damnatio memoriae. To quote Wiki:

Such a person would be taken out of books, photographs, and articles so that no trace of them is found in the present anywhere – no record of them would be found.This was so that a person who defied the Party would be gone from all citizens’ memories, even friends and family

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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The Supreme Soviet were happy

 

How to explain the Trump roll

There are quite a few people who are keen to slag Trump off, which one can understand, he always gets a reaction.

They’re not so good at explaining his popularity. Despite received opinion in the UK, the US is far from being an unintelligent or xenophobic society. The standard of public debate, despite media allegiances, is actually extremely high, and entertaining.

Here’s the best concise explanation that I’ve seen of Trump’s momentum, from William Murchison in The American Spectator:

One understands the Trump phenomenon better and better. DT’s a boor and a patent medicine hawker. But he’s also the antithesis of Obama, and he’s benefiting from a real and rising sense that the man currently charged with leading his country isn’t up to the job. He’s perhaps not up to any job requiring mettle and candor over self-righteousness and evasion.

He’s the anti-Obama, and in times like these, that seems to be enough**.

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Actually, there’s a lot worse than Trump out there

 

**This alternative explanation by the normally sane Kevin D Williamson,  that Trump is actually a homoerotic icon, is too ghastly to contemplate

Three Scots tell the tale

Everyone is rightly going on about Andrew Neil’s glorious trash talk takedown of the ISIS nerds, and here it is as a handy reference:

My only criticism is that he didn’t namecheck Alkan, who is buried in the Cimitiere Montmartre, along with Berlioz, who did get a mention. Neil is a classic example of the gifted Scottish man of the world, a beneficiary of a superb Scottish education (now on its knees).

On the same show there’s the highly intelligent, less formally educated, (and occasional idiot), George Galloway, Dundee’s finest, with a magnificent answer on shooting the bad guys, as well as various other pieces of smart thinking:

 

Good on you George, whose Middle East knowledge and sympathies are well known. He’s often right, despite the anti-Israel whining. See this brilliant prophetic comment.

Then, inevitably, there is Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond, who has been parked by Sturgeon, bafflingly, as the Nats’ foreign affairs spokesman. Eck now lives primarily in his own world of pompous declamatory self serving tripe, whether it’s his lousy economic predictions (see the mighty Chokkablog), or in this case, a completely out-of-step reliance on the embarrassingly discredited UN. It’s entirely in keeping with his ludicrous attempts to patronise combat veteran Johnny Mercer, on Channel 4 recently.

Eck is not just misjudging the mood of the UK, as usual, he’s carrying on with his entertaining mission to estrange himself from his own party. Eck’s closest pal in politics is going to end up as comedic convicted perjurer Tommy Sheridan. For both of them the mythical Indyref 2 is becoming the only way to grab the limelight, something even the SNP are dodging now, apart from the dwindling band of ’45 zoomers.

Galloway and Neil are great adverts for the ongoing independent spirit and intellectual bite of the Scottish Enlightenment. In fact, Neil looks more and more as if he could have stepped out of a Tobias Smollett novel, a writer who in some ways he resembles. These men are the best of Scotland, in their different ways. The ISIS crisis has perhaps given an unexpected boost to the process of putting Salmond into his cul-de-sac of history.

Knifonomics (part 36): Scotland v the UK

This post is a bit of a double header. The first part is to bring to the attention of anyone interested a quite remarkable bit of presentation and exposition by Scottish businessman Kevin Hague (AKA @kevverage on Twitter). Hague has been a major thorn in the side for the numerous SNP fantasists who are either too thick, deluded or malign to admit that the entire Nationalist economic ‘strategy’ went up in smoke a long time ago – the main reason they lost the referendum, as the public aren’t daft. He seems to do this stuff in his spare time, and it is quite brilliant in both content and execution. His Chokkablog is great reading. Any teacher or lecturer could learn from the clarity of his thinking and his use of evidence. The video is worth 8 minutes of anyone’s time, particularly if you live in Scotland. See what I mean:

You could probably rename that video ‘why Scottish independence is dead in the water, whatever you may hear to the contrary’. The point is that besides Hague’s narrative and logic skills, he is a genuine practising economist, ie: a succesful businessman who sinks or swims according to his decisions. This is compared to current Finance Minister John Swinney – nice guy but a politics graduate who has always lurked in the public sector – Alex Salmond, who bafflingly claims to be an economics guru because he worked for RBS aeons ago, despite his lies/ramblings over the years, and Nicola Sturgeon, a lawyer who has only worked briefly in that area, then the public sector. In fact the SNP have still not provided any factual and coherent assessment of the Scottish economy. Who would you trust with your dosh?

Cross the border and head today for Westminster, where (history graduate) George Osborne knocks out a budget that is economically cautious and safe, but politically astute. No Eck-like lies or wild claims. The initial reception is remarkably good, both from fans and enemies – as the Guardian says: a dish of Conservative and Labour ingredients seasoned with the promise of economic competence. Both Osborne and Hague frame their message around evidence freely available to the public. Plausibility and pragmatism.

The Knife, as an interested observer, makes no claim to economic expertise, but I’m happy to pay  homage to Hague. The standard of debate in Scotland has been so poor at times, he stands out like a beacon of common sense and reasonableness. When it comes to Osborne however, four years ago when the Osborne hatred and the cliched omnishambles claim were really building up, I invented PWUGO (People Who Underestimate George Osborne), in response to the now utterly defunct DUEMA (I lifted Iain Martin’s witty joke). PWUGO appears to have a rapidly declining membership now.

The point is that Osborne always struck me as having genuinely thought things out carefully, developed a long term plan accordingly, and stuck to it. This was greatly helped by Cameron’s refusal to sack him, despite a clamour which reached a peak in 2012, aided and abetted by Ed Balls and serious political commentators alike**. Nobody knows anything, as the saying goes.

My conclusion: you don’t have to be likeable (Osborne struggles) to make it. You do have to be serious, plausible and authentic. Both Kevin Hague and Osborne in their different ways demonstrate this. Salmond and his cronies, along with the two Eds, have proved that the alternative approach always ends in failure. Deservedly.

There, but for the grace of God, go I
There, but for the grace of God, go I

**It’s amusing to read Peter Oborne, one of the guilty parties, drooling a bit over Osborne now

Scotland. What’s not to like?

Gerald Warner is a Scot who writes magnificently – and is very witty. He’s been around for a long time. If you want a potted lesson on how Scotland has ended up here, he provides it:

Donald Dewar, a locally overrated politician who specialised in rhetoric and little else, persuaded Tony Blair, a vacuous neophiliac that devolution would be a seismic reform. It was new, it would sunder the traditional coherence of the British constitution – which Blair hated – it would, in short, be cool. A further consideration was that a Scottish parliament would permanently be dominated by Labour, once its composition had been suitably gerrymandered by appointments of unelected MSPs off party leaders’ lists. What was not to like?

Of course Labour’s unyielding course of taking the entire Scottish electorate for granted by spoonfeeding them public cash ultimately rebounded on them, as it well may with the Nats. It is the same policy after all.

Warner goes on, in an unnecessarily pessimistic tone about how the next 5 years will unfold. I don’t share his gloom. Nobody know quite what will happen, but here’s a good blueprint of the problems/solutions.

The Nats heading for Westminster will have to grow up a bit, even the teenagers. As yet another Scot, Bruce Anderson says, in a piece which also considers the constitutional issues: Then again, a lot of Nats are easily offended. About ninety per cent of the Party give the impression that they are constantly caught up in a cloud of grievance.

Despite the SNP’s alleged ‘iron discipline’, I very much doubt that Eck (Salmond) thinks it applies to him. Already there are portents. In addition, the chances of him creating a significant stooshie related to his behaviour down in London are not insignificant. This could be fun.

You're sure about this Tony? Don't worry Donald, it'll be a piece of piss..
You’re sure about this Tony? Don’t worry Donald, it’ll be a piece of piss..

Gnostic Eck is repeating history

Burke,  waving goodbye to the Nats
Burke, waving goodbye to the Nats

The Knife keeps coming across the many similarities between the raving Scots Nats and their various cults – Salmond, Sturgeon, mysterious economic sunny uplands – and the Jacobins, who were also, ultimately, losers. The SNP are, as Gerald Warner pointed out in this very funny piece, a Gnostic sect, of the kind described by the heroic and perceptive Erich Voegelin, who had to flee another sect, the National Socialists.

Here is a much quoted piece from Edmund Burke, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. For Christianity, read Westminster, the UK, English people, non-SNP voters etc

“The literary cabal had some years ago formed something like a regular plan for the destruction of the Christian religion. This object they pursued with a degree of zeal which hitherto had been discovered only in the propagators of some system of piety. They were possessed with a spirit of proselytism in the most fanatical degree; and from thence, by an easy progress, with the spirit of persecution according to their means. What was not to be done towards their great end by any direct or immediate act, might be wrought by a longer process through the medium of opinion. To command that opinion, the first step is to establish a dominion over those who direct it. They contrived to possess themselves, with great method and perseverance, of all the avenues to literary fame. Many of them indeed stood high in the ranks of literature and science. The world had done them justice; and in favour of general talents forgave the evil tendency of their peculiar principles. This was true liberality; which they returned by endeavouring to confine the reputation of sense, learning, and taste to themselves or their followers. I will venture to say that this narrow, exclusive spirit has not been less prejudicial to literature and to taste, than to morals and true philosophy…. The resources of intrigue are called in to supply the defects of argument and wit. To this system of literary monopoly was joined an unremitting industry to blacken and discredit in every way, and by every means, all those who did not hold to their faction. To those who have observed the spirit of their conduct, it has long been clear that nothing was wanted but the power of carrying the intolerance of the tongue and of the pen into a persecution which would strike at property, liberty, and life.”

It’s the equivalent of the rebels taking over the radio station, you have to control the message. I wouldn’t wish to suggest that the current self-appointed Scottish ‘intelligentsia’ have the skills or brains to succeed in this, but they certainly try. The internet being uncontrollable doesn’t suit this style, hence the vicious attacks of the Cybernats, to try and drive people off Twitter etc.

Burke was writing 225 years ago, and only one year into the French Revolution. It’s maleficence was already crystal clear to him.

There really is nothing new under the sun

Poetry corner: Alexander Pope foresees the Labour/SNP love in

..forsooth, these Nats are scoundrels or worse..
..forsooth, these Nats are scoundrels or worse..

If you’re prone to pessimism, this seems on the face of it to be a bad time to be keen on keeping the United Kingdom, well, united. Despite being such abject, sorry losers at the independence referendum in September 2014, the Stalinist zoomers of the SNP are gleefully declaring a new route to power that they could never have foreseen.

Doughty unionist warriors in the press, such as Fraser Nelson and Chris Deerin, have even seen their own families infiltrated by the nationalist plague. Depressing times indeed.

The absurdly overrated Nicola Sturgeon – a dictatorial tunnel-visioned health minister in her most significant previous stab at power – is dripping with hubris, and her new swain, Ed Miliband is looking more wretched by the day as he tries to square the circle. His disdain for principle in pursuit of power is predictable. Behind them both lurks the currently gagged figure of Alex Salmond, a regular in this blog (try these: 1,2,3,4), and after careful consideration, and fighting very strong competition, is easily the most repulsive and unpleasant British politician of my lifetime. A man who wants to make a thriving economy and basically pretty good country ‘ungovernable’.

Here is the timeless Alexander Pope, rounding up the final book of his aptly named epic The Dunciad, which is essentially inspired by stupidity. Perfect for the General Election of 2015:

…See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all.

Eck as great Anarch seems to fit. But when it comes to the self praising morons of the Nats, I prefer to recall Ozymandias. Ed, on the other hand, is neatly summed up by Pope:The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read, With loads of learned lumber in his head.”

Indeed, Pope has a warning for Ed if does end up being held to ransom by the vindictive but limited  talents of the SNP They dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake”, and his wording here seems uncannily appropriate: Party-spirit at best is but the madness of many for the gain of a few.” We’ve already begun to suffer from convenient short termism, with the original devolution of 1997, concocted by Labour to buy off some of the noisier Scots, then the dreaded ‘vow’, days before the referendum. As Pope has it: The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, and wretches hang that jurymen may dine. Us non-Nat voters are those wretches.

When it comes to Sturgeon, who is currently basking in her version of Cleggmania (itself an omen), Pope has this to say: Never was it given to mortal man – to lie so boldly as we women can.Her popularity with much of the media, just because she’s not as obnoxious as Eck (who still has a journalistic fanclub, and to whom this therefore also applies), is perhaps summed up by: A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.”

The Knife, as you may gather, is a fan of Pope. One wishes his equivalent was around today in Britain, as a true wit like Mark Steyn mainly concerns himself with less parochial matters, sadly. However, the spirit of Pope remains with us in his extensive (and very readable) works. So if you want to know who to vote for in about two weeks time….

“For Forms of Government let fools contest; whatever is best administered is best”,

…which would seem to rule out
both Ed and his new friends

The new SNP/Labour manifesto
The new SNP/Labour manifesto

Alex Salmond meets Harry Reid

Harry, busy as ever
Harry, busy as ever

American journalism, particularly online, doesn’t pull its punches. Here are comments from three fine pieces (1,2,3) on the now retiring Harry Reid from Nevada, a Democratic Party powerbroker, outgoing Senate Minority Leader and all round chancer. They sound strangely familiar:

He has been as near to a personification of everything that is wrong with (American) public life as we ever hope to see…

…a self-interested, dishonest, sanctimonious, unscrupulous charlatan who began his career with an act of cheap theater

…The cheap histrionics, the gross hypocrisy, the outright lies

…In order to.. advance his movements’ goals, Reid has been willing to diminish the influence, power, and effectiveness of his own institution; in order to thwart his opponents, he has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to play dirty … and, in order to satisfy his own need to feel powerful, he has perfected the scorched earth approach

…The truth of the matter is that Harry Reid is a stone-cold killer who has damaged Washington considerably, who has elevated his own political preferences above the institution he was elected to protect, and who has made worse the partisan rancor that our self-described enlightened class claims to abhor. The greatest service he can do America is to go away.

And inevitably, Harry’s retirement reasons are perhaps not the ones he’s claimed.

Sound familiar? It certainly does to me.

In fact Kevin D Williamson’s phrase, from one of the above articles,  referring to part of Reid’s memoir “..in an unintendedly hilarious bit of autobiographical prose”  instantly recalls Alex Salmond’s ludicrously titled puff piece ‘The Dream Shall Never Die: 100 Days That Changed Scotland’, as forensically and wittily reviewed by Chris Deerin, here, which included the phrase “…A comical lack of self-awareness runs like a burbling stream through the book.”
 

A couple of extracts (from the review):

..a box-ticking exercise, a litany of scores being vituperatively settled. So many, so regular and so varied are the

Eck squeezes in another
Eck squeezes in another

lunges at those who have had the temerity to disagree with him that the pattern becomes almost hypnotic. Denigration and spite provide the book’s rhythm: it has a backbeat of malice.

…The cumulative effect on the reader is to create a growing sense of unease. This man, with his seething hatreds, grand grudges and thirst for vengeance, was first minister for seven years. The position is an eminent one, and should require any holder to govern on behalf of the entire nation — all of it, and all who live in it — regardless of political persuasion or party affiliation. It is no place for those encrusted in bitterness. Yet Mr Salmond comes across as just such a small, bitter man.

Do we really get the politicians we deserve? Scotland has been desperately unfortunate that a gurning charlatan like Salmond hit the stage at a propitious time, for him. He has already massively damaged Scottish society with his self-absorbed bigoted and divisive agenda, and shows no sign of stopping, if the voters give him the chance.

If.