by Colin Campbell
SO now simple 10-acres crofter Ian Blackford sees himself in a new role.
As a conciliator, unifier, and creator of peace, understanding, togetherness and harmony.
Yes, it is THAT Ian Blackford I’m referring to, the Ross MP and SNP Westminster leader. The man commonly viewed as a bellowing puce-faced zealot, political hypocrite, and all-round national embarrassment.
Now he’s started emoting in the direction of those who disagree with him.
Delivering his view on another independence referendum this week he said: “Let’s make sure that we take the minority Unionist side with us because they can then see what we’re seeking to do is build an inclusive Scotland where everyone’s opinion will be respected.”
For sheer obesity – sorry audacity – that must rank right up there among the statements of the year.
I don’t know which is worse.
The normal detestable Ian Blackford.
Or this new lovey-dovey Ian Blackford stretching out a slimy hand of friendship.
The softly softly version also had reassuring words for nationalists. He said: “We’ve had to, from a tactical point of view, put off holding a referendum in 2020 and I apologise that was the case.”
And he added: “That referendum will take place and we need to plan that referendum must take place in 2021.”
In truth, judging by the comments which followed from nationalists, this didn’t go down too well with them either.
Those with half a brain know that Blackford and his cohorts couldn’t have delivered another referendum this year, virus or no virus.
And they also know that Blackford can’t deliver another referendum next year either.
Not while their leader Nicola Sturgeon is on the record as being firmly committed to a gold standard, legal referendum, which requires section 30 approval from Westminster, which she hasn’t a hope in hell of getting.
As long as she sticks with that stance Blackford’s assurances to them about a 2021 referendum aren’t worth a button on his bulging waistcoat.
Where there is common unity is that many nationalists seem almost as sick and tired of Ian Blackford as the rest of us.
They see him lapping up and revelling in the limelight at Westminster.
They know he is not a 10-acres crofter but a rich former Edinburgh banker, and even for them the joke is wearing thin.
They know that in 2018/19 he raked in his huge salary, plus £256,000 expenses from Westminster, the second highest amount of any MP, under a system he claims he loathes and wants to destroy.
They know that during a time of hardship for many earlier this year he was able to buy a top of the range luxury Range Rover for his wife, to add to whatever fleet of transport he already gads around in. .
They know he is suckering SNP supporters to send him back to Westminster time and again on the false promise, the absolute charade, of delivering another referendum and independence, while ducking and diving every time the tough question of how he intends to deliver it.
And many nationalists have had enough of it.
But that’s their problem.
Now he thinks he can reach out to those who support the Union and bring them on board as well.
Presumably he thinks we will be converted by his irresistible aura of charm.
Is that optimistic, cynical, delusional or outright deranged?
Whatever the diagnosis, Blackford should know where he can stick his slimy hand of friendship.
People have the measure of the man. If anyone needs only one single reason to oppose independence, then Ian Blackford personifies it.
The thought of this thoroughly odious character being in a position of great power over all of us in a “free Scotland” is the stuff of nightmares, a vision to make your skin crawl.