by Colin Campbell
THE independence supporting National has climbed out of its coronavirus deathbed. It has ceased carrying daily pleas to readers from its editor, Callum Baird, for survival support as a result of tumbling “lockdown” circulation. Baird’s begging page has been a feature of the paper for the past three months.
Recently we highlighted a slew of headlines which appeared to have one purpose only, even at the height of the coronavirus epidemic, namely to stir up anti-English feeling, the most poisonous element of a determinedly ugly agenda.
In recent weeks that has been toned down.
But it was back again this week as the National gleefully highlighted Nicola Sturgeon’s warning that people from England could be “quarantined” at the border.
An avalanche of favourable comments followed. This had nothing to do with preventing the spread of the coronavirus and everything to do with pandering to those nationalists with a deeply ingrained dislike of England and the English.
There will be no quarantine measures imposed at the border. All rational people know that. But Sturgeon, facing constant criticism for failing to deliver “indyref2”, couldn’t resist taking advantage of an opportunity to fire up “the base”.
The National was her malicious echo chamber. And the English-haters within the movement – and there is a significant number of them – were delighted.
It’s the same tactic SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford used when he also gleefully endorsed a border sign which had been doctored to tell English people: “We’re shut f*** off.”
That resulted in a chorus of approval for the Ross MP.
Again, nothing to do with the coronavirus. Just Blackford, who raked in £240,000 in expenses at the last count from Westminster, trying to gain the approval of more rabid elements within “the base”.
At this particular time this isn’t just divisive, reckless and borderline racist, it’s hugely damaging to the Highland tourist industry when visitors from England have never been more needed.
Hotels will open up everywhere two weeks from now. There will be no guests from abroad. For survival, the industry needs an influx of visitors from England. Tens of thousands of jobs depend on it across all sectors of the hospitality industry.
In response Nicola Sturgeon warns English people they could be quarantined while Ian Blackford tells them to f*** off. And their acolytes at the National play a leading role in whipping up more anti-English hostility.
Sturgeon is now playing politics with the coronavirus, using it to fend off her critics in the party.
She is already on the record as saying: “Any price is worth paying” for independence. Clearly she means it. And this time as she perpetrates her “quarantine” charade the people who will pay it work – or used to work – in the hospitality industry.