by Colin Campbell
SILVER tongued warthog Ian Blackford was firmly on the back foot yesterday as the usual blustering dried up and he tried to play the victim card.
How much sympathy is currently oozing in his direction is very much open to question.
At Prime Minister’s Questions he whined that he was not responsible for revealing Boris Johnson’s location when he was on a brief holiday in Wester Ross, a disclosure that forced Johnson and his family to cut their break short for security reasons. Blackford said he and his family had suffered abuse and threats on social media as a result.
If he says he wasn’t responsible that’s accepted and if his family were dragged into this and abused that’s unacceptable and shouldn’t have happened.
But given his track record as a man who seems to revel in stirring up grievance and discord at every opportunity, mocking his opponents and being abusively belligerent for the sake of it, is it any wonder that the finger of suspicion over the revelation of Johnson’s location was pointed at him?
And he’s not exactly convincing when he tries to play the injured victim.
Many people have not forgotten his pursuit of what’s been described by numerous sources as a vicious personal campaign against Charles Kennedy in the 2015 election when Kennedy was struggling desperately against the alcohol addiction which would soon afterwards take his life.
There’s never been an apology or even a hint of acceptance from Blackford that in the pursuit of Charles Kennedy at his lowest ebb he and his acolytes may have gone too far.
And since becoming Westminster leader of the SNP he seems to have made it his prime objective to be inflammatory and say and do things that are guaranteed to rile people as he sneers at and denigrates his opponents at every opportunity. No other politician at Westminster or Holyrood adopts the brazenly offensive style of Ian Blackford or anything close to it.
There’s his claim that he’s “a simple 10 acres crofter” when his wealth was accrued as a rich Edinburgh banker. As I’ve said before, this seems to be an in joke that only some nationalists get. And yet this is the kind of rank political hypocrite who would be in a position of tremendous power in an independent Scotland. No wonder the mere thought of that terrifies many of us.
And as I’ve also said before, my father really was a simple 20 acres crofter who eked a living for our family from the smallholding he laboured on seven days a week from early morning till late at night. Blackford making a mockery of the backbreaking labours of men who were and are real crofters is sickening.
This is the man who claims to be hellbent on destroying the Westminster system and yet at the last count he raked in no less than £242,000 in expenses from it, as the second highest claimant. He wants to see Westminster torn apart, and once led the SNP in a staged walkout from the chamber, but by heaven when he’s there he makes sure he milks every last penny out of it.
This arch defender of the poor and virulent critic of the callous Tories bought a luxury Range Ranger rover for his wife in March to add to whatever luxury range of vehicles they already have on his simple croft. Everyone’s entitled to buy a car. But revealing the arrogant blindspot of a rich man who pays no heed to what others think of him he allowed himself to be photographed alongside it, like a fat kid with a new toy. No wonder he was subsequently accused of flaunting his expensive new purchase.
And just as desperately struggling hotels and guest houses were praying for an influx of visitors to prevent their businesses from collapsing he enthusiastically and gleefully endorsed a main sign at the border which told the English: “We’re shut **** off.” This was at a time when hotels in his own Ross constituency were going permanently out of business.
He may have thought this was provocatively amusing and would go down well with the English haters in the nationalist base, but it was a grossly irresponsible thing for a man in his position do.
If only SNP and independence supporters could see it, Blackford is their biggest liability. His blustering, puce faced diatribes every week at PMQs, devoid of a trace of wit or humour, are a national embarrassment. Ask anyone outwith the party which SNP politician they like the least and Blackford’s name is almost certain to top the list every time. Nicola Sturgeon for all her faults is seen is a paragon of grace and dignity by comparison.
So sympathy was in distinctly short supply for the silver tongued warthog yesterday. Even on the website of the vile National newspaper, where the crazies in the movement gather online each day to savage anyone who challenges any aspect of the cult, there was no defence or sympathy for Blackford among a mere seven comments listed. It could be that they’re getting sick of him too.
For everyone else who is sick of this thoroughly unpleasant character I’ve no doubt yesterday brought a very welcome change of tune. The belligerent blusterer was reduced to whingeing that he was the unfairly treated victim, and in most part it was a thoroughly enjoyable sight to see.