IT’S very frequently said by visitors to the Highlands from other parts of the UK, Europe and much further afield that they’re surprised and delighted by the effortless politeness they encounter on a daily basis. So it was with astonishment, dismay and clear consternation that those attending a “hustings” meeting in Dingwall were told that the SNP’s sitting MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Ian Blackford, would not be making an appearance!
Rather than showing-up at what is regarded locally as the hugely important and traditional pre-election debate between candidates Blackford had decided for some ill-advised reason that it was best to avoid the hurly, burly of frontline politics in his constituency. He had better things to do with his time hundreds of miles away in England!
Clearly the opportunity to pontificate on national and international issues in the company of the ever delightful Fiona Bruce, host of the BBC’s Question Time programme, was a far more attractive proposition for the alleged crofter than meeting with “his own people” in Dingwall.
On a horrendous night of rain the hardy souls who’d made their way to the British Legion were snubbed. There’s no other word for it. Clearly Blackford had decided that a local event in the heart of his constituency was well beneath the lofty position he holds for the moment.
Rather than meeting voters, explaining his party’s policies and responding to questions of which there were obviously very many from the assembled gathering, he outrageously flew into the arms of Fiona’s undoubtedly fragrant embrace.
A wry comment from an elderly woman in the audience to her chum perhaps hit the nail on the head. “Aye, Blackford wouldn’t have been so keen to do a runner and avoid being where he should be if he’d received an invitation from Andrew Neil for a wee blether! Gosh that man doesn’t take any prisoners. He’s make mincemeat of Blackford. That would make for grand telly!”
Her visibly furious companion of a similar age added: “It’s a very bad showing from him. You can tell a lot about someone simply by their manners. I’ve got Blackford’s measure by his non-appearance this evening. It’s absolutely shameful.”
At the end of the meeting an older man said: “I’m going to give Blackford a hand. My lass knows theatrical agents in London. Maybe she could introduce Blackford to them and get him more bookings for the telly and radio.
“They also book people for the theatre. Blackford could have a big future in Christmas pantomimes. He’d do just grand as ‘Blunderbore’ from Jack-in-the-Beanstalk!”
The hearty laughter from the gentleman’s chums indicated that he’d indeed struck a chord.
Blackford would do well to remember that as he eyes money-making theatrical/cinematic opportunities in pantomime style productions being staged in London’s West End and of course both Hollywood/Bollywood offer untold potential success for those of a ‘Blunderbore’ disposition. However, even in that frantic environment good manners are a prerequisite.
Effortless politeness and good manners are in the veins of Highlanders. These attributes are picked-up by kids from their parents and grandparents.
Blackford’s failure to appear in Dingwall displays his dismissiveness of electors and shows he’s got much to learn on the subject of common decency.