Or … They never saw it coming?
Last Wednesday, at the increasingly ludicrously named Prime Minister’s Question Time, the two Alba MPs, Neale Hanvey and Kenny Macaskill, were thrown out of the Westminster Commons chamber for protesting about temporary PM Boris Johnson’s immediate and unthinking rejection of the Scottish Government’s request for a Section 30 order.
Enough has already been said about the behaviour of the Speaker, who was so apoplectic about Scots asking questions about Scottish democracy that many members (not Tories, obviously) feared for his health. For those who want to see what democracy in Westminster is like, have a look at this.
You should remember that a Section 30 request is SNP policy, so you might expect that the considerably more numerous SNP MPs would have supported this attempt by fellow Scots to point out the democratic deficit in refusing the Scottish people the opportunity to decide the government of their choice, for which a majority of Scots had voted in the 2021 Holyrood election. Not only did the so-called party of independence not support the Alba MPs, but some actually joined in the abuse hurled at them from the unionist benches.
So we had the astonishing situation that an attempt to show the UK government the error of their ways in relation to SNP party policy was being opposed by the MPs representing that very party. Weird or what?
In the vote that followed, called by the Speaker, to confirm the expulsion of the Alba two, the SNP members sat on their hands. With one exception (Angus Brendan MacNeil), they abstained. They let their hatred of the Alba party get the better of their desire to support SNP party policy, assuming, of course, that they had any real desire to support this party policy in the first place.
Those two Indy stalwarts, John Nicholson and Pete Wishart, were only too anxious to be the first to mock the Alba Two for doing what they themselves should be doing. Here’s what Kevin McKenna had to say about them.
Two of the SNP group, John Nicholson and Pete Wishart – aka “bumptious” and “hopeless” – opted to mock the two suspended Alba MPs. It’s more or less the sum total of their contributions at Westminster since they began living the good life in London. Indeed, so mesmerised is Mr Wishart by Westminster’s ancient accoutrements that he wanted to become Speaker of the House in 2019 to succeed John Bercow.
But perhaps hatred is the wrong word for the SNP’s attitude. Is it not likely that the real reason for the SNP MP’s behaviour is their fear that their failure to pursue independence will begin to hurt them in the ballot box if there is another party which is more aggressive in their pursuit of independence and ballot box hurt could mean the end of their cushy, well paid sinecures, and that would not do. Have the SNP been the only game in town for so long that they just don’t want competition emerging?
Many of you may remember the ‘good old days’ when Scottish voters elected large majorities of Labour MPs. This finished in 2015 when Scots finally realised that Labour were in it for themselves and had no interest whatsoever in doing anything to help the people of Scotland. During the time when Labour were in the majority, their treatment of the SNP was based on the Bain Principle, named after Willie Bain, a Scottish Labour MP who let the cat out of the bag that Labour would not support any SNP pro-Scottish efforts in Parliament, no matter how much harm would be done to people in Scotland as a consequence.
Are there any similarities between Labour’s attitude to the SNP pre-2015 and the SNP’s attitude to Alba today? Well, here’s a quote from an earlier blog post of mine, The SNP Walkouts.
Certainly, at the moment, the only event that causes SNP members walk out of the chamber is one of the Alba MPs standing to speak. Obviously, the last thing you would expect SNP MPs to be interested in would be the opinion of a fellow independence supporting MP. (Did I just accuse SNP MPs of supporting Scottish independence? Will washing out my mouth with soap and water absolve me of this heinous crime?).
And here’s a quote from a current SNP MP about what they’re not in Westminster to do. Does make you wonder why they are there, apart from the money, of course.
Kirsty Blackman: “I am not in Westminster to pressure the government for a referendum. Constitutional issues are not my biggest concern. In fact, I very rarely talk about Scottish independence in the commons.” Thanks to Calton Jock for letting us all know current SNP thinking.
So the SNP are not in Westminster to talk about a referendum or about independence. They’re certainly not there to support fellow Scots from another party who do want to talk about a referendum and independence.
Is this the SNP’s reinvention of the Bain Principle? We all know that nothing happens in the SNP without Nicola Sturgeon’s knowledge and approval, so should it be called the Sturgeon Principle?
We all know what happened to Labour in Scotland when folk realised the truth that they were not in Westminster to make life better for Scots, only to make life better for themselves. Will the SNP face the same fate when folk realise they’re not in Westminster to deliver independence to the Scots, only to deliver financial independence to themselves.
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