THE COLIN CAMPBELL COLUMN
WHILE there won’t be any firework displays on Castle hill to celebrate the UK officially leaving the EU on Friday, there won’t be any outbreaks of collective weeping and wailing about it in Inverness either. In Edinburgh a risibly futile “protest demo” is due to take place, followed by a “candlelit vigil”, presumably in mourning for all those overpaid Brussels bureaucrats who will be departing from our lives.
In Inverness, candles will remain tucked away in drawers in readiness for what they should be used for – illumination during a power cut.
Of course anti-Brexiteers, led by the SNP, want to portray Friday as the advent of doomsday. And they’ve been so successful in hijacking the agenda that, here in the Highlands, you’d think the entire population is grief-stricken over our departure from the EU.
What is conveniently forgotten – including by much of the media – is the fact that 44 per cent of voters in this region backed “Leave”.
I’ve always found it extraordinary, and somewhat chilling, that the overwhelming weight of media coverage based on claims by politicians suggests these people don’t exist.
Reminders of the huge proportion of Highland voters who backed Brexit have been very few and far between. And, if their existence is acknowledged at all, it is usually based on claims that many will have now changed their minds, when there’s not a shred of evidence to back that up.
So 44 per cent of Highland voters backed Brexit. Do the weepers and wailers get it? Duh.
The principal reason so many here backed Brexit was to end “Freedom of Movement”, the open borders free-for-all which means anyone and everyone can come here in any numbers as and when they choose.
That situation will prevail for some time yet but we are clearly heading rapidly in the right direction and it will be terminated.
For that reason in itself, Friday gets a big nod of approval.
The SNP, including local MPs and MSPs, have done their very best to stir things up for political purposes by planting fears among EU migrants already living here that they will be forced to leave. That is not going to happen, and never was going to happen. Cynical exploitation for political purposes of the vulnerability some of these folk may feel has been shameful.
EU migrants who live here have been made very welcome and are valued members of the community. We are glad to have them. But the pressure placed on housing and accommodation – with city rents going through the roof – and on our overcrowded schools and on the NHS is undeniable. Large numbers pouring in from here, there and everywhere could not go on.
Tens of thousands of people in the Highlands believed in 2016 that it was time to take back control of our borders and they still believe it.
They are the forgotten ones. But Friday will be a day of satisfaction for them. It was a struggle, but their 2016 votes have prevailed in the end.
Joke figures for ‘Freedom march’ again show nats have an awkward time dealing with reality
IT’S a rather pointless disagreement which is worth only a fairly brief mention but claims that Saturday’s pro-independence march attracted 10,000 people are ludicrously over-inflated. One of the organisers suggested it could even have been 15,000. Any higher offers?
I’ve seen all those marches over the past couple of years and this was the thinnest turnout so far. I’m no fan of them but in a spirit of reasonable neutrality, when the numbers are quite impressively large – as they previously have been – I’ve acknowledged that in articles here and elsewhere. And when the numbers are significantly smaller, as on a bitterly cold January day when the novelty impact of these events has worn off, that should be acknowledged too.
But that’s not, of course, how the organisers habitually see it. To them every march is hugely attended and a massive success, regardless of the reality.
A picture can be shaped to fit any agenda but there’s no way previous marches would have yielded the pictures of the demo published in the article below, which were taken over a time gap of 10 minutes. Previous marches have seen solid ranks on the move from end to end, not interspersed by thin scatterings of people along the way.
Last year an onlooker took a video of a nationalist march – bigger than Saturday’s – from a first floor window and painstakingly counted the numbers taking part as being just over 3,000. The best and most credible evidence we’ve had.
That’s what’s distinctive about the more zealous nationalists. They are not at all partial to accepting reality if it doesn’t suit them. And not just with regard to circulating joke numbers for participants in their marches either.