THE COLIN CAMPBELL COLUMN
AIMING to ditch their role as arrogant, intolerant, unfettered rabble-rousers, SNP leaders have now gone into full charm offensive mode. How many people will respond favourably to this dramatic change in tactics? Or, to put it another way, how many will be fooled?
Nicola Sturgeon set the tone with proposals including the creation of a “Citizen’s Assembly”, which will apparently comprise a cross-section of people with differing views “to find consensus on issues where people have sharply divided opinions”.
It would be “tasked with finding what kind of Scotland people are wanting to build”, as we “continue on our journey”.
Numerous others took up her lead. Ex-deputy leader of the SNP Angus Robertson, unceremoniously booted out by voters in Moray at the last General Election, no longer wishes to appear as the belligerent loudmouth he was a couple of years ago and has undergone a complete character transformation into the soul of moderation with the launch of his “Progress Scotland” organisation.
In the quest for independence converts, he ponders: “Who must we speak to? How must we address their needs, interests, concerns and expectations.”
Elaine C. Smith, the “much-loved” comedienne who is now at the forefront of the nationalist movement, says of yet another newly created “listening” organisation: “Voices for Scotland is about engaging respectfully and constructively with them (“them” being the majority who take a very different view to her), and finding out what they need to help them make their decision and hopefully giving them some things to think about which will help them feel more confident about Scotland’s future as an independent country.”
Former Highland MSP Dave Thompson, chairman of Voices for Scotland, said: “We will now listen to the people of Scotland who are unsure about independence, engage with them respectfully and constructively and find out what they need to help make their decision in favour of independence.”
And that’s just a small sample of the tidal wave of condescending, patronising guff which has swept across the landscape in recent days.
What we need, first and foremost, Dave, is for to you to shut the **** up about independence for a while, but I don’t suppose there’s much chance of that happening anytime soon.
Personally, I find the new approach even more nauseating than the old one, of threats, fanaticism and rampant zealotry.
It underscores the nationalist view of those opposed to independence as fearful mental cripples who just need guidance and support to get their lives properly on track, and find the “confidence” to change their ways.
Just put your faith in Angus, Elaine, Dave and the rest of them and step out with confidence to enter the promised land.
I wonder if all this listening, respect and engagement works both ways? How about if I go along to my near neighbours at the new SNP “hub” in Kenneth Street and respectfully and engagingly try and persuade them to change their views and accept it’s time to give up on independence and remain in the Union.
How well would that work?
I can just see their minds ticking over and expressions of doubt crossing their faces. Maybe after two or three visits I’d have persuaded a couple of them.
“Yes, having carefully thought it all through, I can see you’re right after all. What a pity we put so much work into setting up our hub. Still, we live and learn. Independence is obviously not the right future for Scotland. And after we’ve shut up shop I’m sure this place can be turned into a nice new home for someone, or maybe a hairdresser’s.”
No, that ain’t going to happen. All the touchy-feely new stuff is just a cover for the underlying SNP/nationalist view: “When are all you mebbes, fearties and swithering clowns going to realise that we’re right and you’re wrong, and bend to our will? We’re not interested in your views about remaining pathetic, subservient bootlickers to the oppressive British state. We want independence and one way or another we’re going to get it.”
The good news is that the new approach hasn’t and won’t be universally adopted by the nationalists. Anything but, in many cases. We’ll still have the swaggering marches and the “Independence – Now!” chants.
There’ll still be the grievance-ridden attempts at claiming BBC bias, police distortion of parade numbers and deliberate attempts by the “British state” to undermine the cause for independence in nefarious and even criminal ways.
Dave, Angus and Elaine may occasionally tut-tut at such behaviour but we know where they’re coming from.
In the real world they’re still utterly clueless even on what currency an independent Scotland would use, and the effect on investments, mortgages and pensions.
Until they can provide answers to some of the questions that really matter to people, all the charm they can muster won’t melt a single heart.