by Colin Campbell
THE SNP are taking their independence campaign “to the people” and have despatched Ian Blackford and Mhairi Black to appear at a series of Highland roadshows in a bid to “reach out” to former No voters. Black and Blackford, what an inspired choice of representatives to convert and win over Unionists. Or maybe not. In terms of public appeal they might as well have sent out former SNP MP Natalie McGarry before she was jailed for fraud. If anyone can come up with a more repugnant pairing for an SNP “conversion tour” than Black and Blackford I’d like to hear it. Belligerent and confrontational loudmouths, they are the ugliest face of the SNP.
Mhairi Black is of course adored by many nationalists for her bluntness and coarseness, her expressed hatred of the Westminster system – from which she makes a very handsome living – and her willingness to “speak out” without restraint.
That admiration is matched by the near-loathing that many of a different view feel towards her.
She comes across to them as a jumped-up, foul-mouthed, virulent nationalist zealot who despises her opponents and regards them almost as traitors to the nation. When she starts ranting in that thick West of Scotland brogue this young maiden presents herself as one of Castlemilk’s or Easterhouse’s finest, the kind of woman you’d be wary of on a Saturday night in Glasgow because you’d never know what she might do next.
SNP supporters seem to think she’s a shining adornment to the nation. To many others, she’s a national embarrassment.
Her cohort, blustering Ian Blackford, is somewhat more refined but scarcely carries more appeal. The former Edinburgh merchant banker who now likes to pose as a humble Highland crofter is the party’s leader at Westminster and his puce-faced performances at PMQ’s are unmissable, if only for the habitual fury in his voice as his belly bulges through his waistcoat.
He is most famous for leading the great Westminister “walkout”, with Inverness MP Drew Hendry trotting obediently along behind, as his nationalist gang stomped out of the chamber straight into the pre-arranged TV cameras where they garbled about Scotland being disrespected and again treated with contempt.
Again, yet another nationalist embarrassment from the SNP.
And this deeply unlovely pair are expected to win over No voters to the cause of independence?
I do not think so.
The Fort William meeting was apparently a 150-seat sell-out, with 100 others unable to get tickets.
That proves 150 SNP supporters were able to attend the event, and 100 other SNP supporters were unable to get in.
How many of a different view were sitting at home dejected and disappointed because they had been unable to absorb the combined wisdom of Blackford and Black?
As someone recently said of the then impoverished Scotland football team, you wouldn’t bother opening the curtains to watch them playing in your back garden.
At least Scotland have now been partly revitalised by the appointment of a new manager. But for Blackford and Black and the SNP, it’s same old, same old, as it always is.
Scotland is perpetually being treated with contempt, ground down under the oppressive boot of Westminister (England), dragged out of Europe etc etc, and the only escape route is independence.
Why is anyone who doesn’t accept that view so fearful, dumb, weak and indecisive for failing to do so? Or so they seem to think.
There are nationalist MPs you could sit down and expect to have a rational and reasonably amicable conversation with, Drew Hendry and Kate Ross being among them.
Blackford and Black are not in that category.
Their “roadshow” events will be cheered to the rafters by supporters of the SNP.
But they won’t win over a single No voter.
Yet again it’s another SNP exercise in preaching loudly and noisily to the converted.
And, as far as it ever gets them or ever will get them, there’s probably no-one better than Blackford and Black when it comes to doing that.