What a difference a week makes in politics.
Last week the Scottish Government launched a fresh new campaign for a second independence referendum. They pointed toward all our neighbouring European countries that have wealthier, more prosperous societies that are much fairer in terms of equality.
The opposition didn’t have much of a retort… at least from what I grappled fae media appearances. Some pointed to the different tax systems used that might judas some folk in terms ae paying more, but most turned the conversation into one that undermined the prospect of a referendum even hapnin. If it were to be legal, we’d need the green light fae the UK Government which isny a dead cert by any means. Far from it. But some independence-leaning folk will take comfort in the lack of retort to their initial arguments and the wide focus on the legal stuff instead.
Couple wi that, a previously scandalous record on drug deaths took a slightly encouraging turn this year… wi records showing the first 3 months having the lowest amount in years. Christ, they even got a ferry finally up and running (sarcasm, to be fair, referring to a £125million cost that would’ve been 6 ferries in the initial budget).
And yet a week later, there was a dark feel about the Parliament.
Douglas Ross began proceedings wi a chilling line of questioning which silenced any volume from backbenchers when he and the First Minister were speaking… seemingly unheard of anaw, by way, in Scottish and British politics in recent memory. There’s that much divide on hings like independence you usually get a resounding ‘yeeeeeesss,’ a bang on the table, or an exaggerated ‘awwww.’ And no a cute ‘awwww,’ the one where yer like ‘awww away you go, p*ss aff, behave yersel.’
And the First Minister was shook. That was my take, anyway. I’ve no seen her look this uncomfortable taking a question at FMQs. She’s the best in the business at that gig. She’s done it for years, longer than anyone else. She usually commands the room. In-depth answers, wit and unrivalled confidence as she throws the argument back to the leader of the opposition… but no the day.
It comes after this carry on wi MP Patrick Grady. He’d been given a two-day suspension from Westminster by an independent panel after being found guilty of perversion wi a 19-year-old staff member in 2016. A leaked audio recording came out, hearing the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford tellin his peers to get right behind Grady despite his found guilt. And even wi all this in mind, as put by Douglas Ross, naebody got the sack. The SNP decided to discipline in line wi what the panel were sayin.
Can I just say… the workplace for politicians is like any other. Imagine you hud some sex pest skulkin about the office being a certified perv wi folk, and they turn round and go… take two days off and “seriously reflect” about what you’ve done. I don’t even need to add anyhin there… just let that sink for a second.
And let's call a spade a spade, that is the script. Anyhin other than immediately getting this boy to Falkirk would be noubt short of a scandal. Why on earth is he still cutting aboot?
And that’s what Ross was saying. 2 days is a joke. Why hasn’t the First Minister, leader of the SNP, taken matters into her own hands and said 2 days is nowhere near enough… get this boy oot ma party.
Sturgeon pointed out that this is a systemic problem and it doesny stop at one party. She even pointed oot the by-elections taking place because of Conservatives being punished for the same hing.
But she’d shot hersel in the foot, as Ross quite rightly pointed out that these folk had forced resignations and it was put back to the public who they want in. Grady kept his job and did so with the backing of Blackford… something Anas Sawar doubled down on during his turn.
Speaking of, the SNP Westminster leader then went through a car crash interview on STV. Refusing to answer the question of whether a sex pest was fit for office, Blackford looked like he was haudin in a tolley answering these questions. A day to forget you might say.
Many will feel for independence supporters, who less than a week after the excitement of a referendum being announced, are now sweating over the handling of a situation totally outwith their control. The decision on Scotland’s future won’t hinge on Grady’s presence… but it might be a wee seed of doubt in the minds of voters when hinkin about who’d be taking us into an independent country.