by Colin Campbell
DREW Hendry was all over the TV and radio on the day of Nicola Sturgeon’s big speech to the SNP conference. As the SNP’s frontman heralding Sturgeon’s outpourings the ex-councillor had his big day of media fame.
But it seems one day wasn’t enough for him.
The lure of the national spotlight proved too much and yesterday it shone fully on him again as he behaved like a limelight-loving lout in the House of Commons with a cringeworthy display of exhibitionist grandstanding.
Five years ago when he was circling the council car park looking for a space Hendry was barely a name in his own household. Now it seems he wants to be a household name, even if it means sinking into the political gutter to achieve that.
Have a look at his aggressive Westminster antics on You Tube. If he’d behaved like that in a council debate on bus shelters or whatever five years ago he’d have been out on his ear.
Hendry shouted “this is an outrage” as debate on the UK Internal Market Bill came to a conclusion following a lengthy parliamentary airing in recent weeks. Deputy Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton told him to sit down but the Inverness MP refused, strode forward and kept bawling and shouting before picking up the parliamentary mace and walking towards the door of the chamber.
He was stopped by the doorkeepers, who took the mace from him. At least our shaven-headed hooligan of an MP didn’t engage in a brawl over it.
MPs could be heard describing Hendry’s actions as “outrageous” and referring to it as “another boring stunt”. Dame Rosie remarked that it was “very childish”, before undertaking the formal procedure of “naming” him in order to suspend him from the House for the day’s sitting.
It was quite a performance from Drew Hendry, our new TV star and aspiring showman. Karen Gillan watch out – there’s an Inverness wannabe media celebrity whose fame is rapidly expanding coming up right behind you.
Nevertheless, a childish stunt just about sums it up.
And you could throw in a complete and utter embarrassment to the people whose constituency he represents as well.
Hendry’s eagerness to take centre stage for the SNP is in marked contrast to the pallid election literature he circulated before the general election last December.
It didn’t mention the “I” word – independence – once, not once. The only possible reason for that glaring omission was he was scared it would put some people off voting for him.
But a few days later he seized the chance to get on Sky to vehemently argue the case for – independence.
And make no mistake, for all his bawling and shouting and mace-grabbing yesterday, Hendry is utterly desperate to get back to enjoy the perks and privileges of the Mother of Parliaments at each and every election.
Far from despising it, he adores it, and he positively loves entertaining people from the Inverness constituency in his “Westminster home”. And in a sense, who could blame him. It’s a rather more appealing lifestyle than sitting at council HQ debating the budget for not mending potholes in the local roads, as he used to do.
I saw myself how desperate he is to get back to his Westminster home. Before the 2017 election I wrote in the Highland News a fair but mildly critical column about the SNP.
Two days after it appeared the editorial director top brass of the company was jolted awake before eight on a Sunday morning when he was still in bed, to hear Drew Hendry whingeing down the phone about the unfairness and injustice of the column. I can only imagine he’d been sitting up all Saturday night stewing over it before he grabbed the phone after Sunday daybreak, motivated by the fear that he wouldn’t be returned to his beloved Westminster “home”.
There was acclaim for him last night on nationalist websites. This is the kind of parliamentary behaviour the zealots, fanatics and deranged section of the independence movement – not small in number – want to see.
Faced with the prospect of being refused a section 30 order for another independence referendum next year they are urging constant parliamentary disruption from SNP MPs.
Hendry may well have set the template for what we can expect throughout much of 2021.
His antics yesterday have moved him from the moderate and reasonable camp of the SNP into the far Wild West of extremists who will stop at nothing to try and bully the country towards another referendum and independence.
Drew Hendry devoted his column in the Inverness Courier this week to the internal market bill, which was his excuse for yesterday’s shenanigan.
He may know all about the complexities of that but could he answer a simpler question, namely what currency would an independent Scotland use? The SNP have had six years to work that one out and still can’t come up with a credible answer.
And if he has no answers on currency maybe Drew Hendry could give a view on the prospects for pensions and how long they’d be maintained at their current level after independence and who’d pay them. Would there be a hard passport controlled border between Scotland and England? How would trade with the rest of the UK be affected? How would Hendry and co after independence fill the gap of nearly £2000 extra in public spending that Scotland gets per person, man, woman, and child, compared with public spending levels in England? How long would it take to rejoin the EU and is there any guarantee they’d let us rejoin at all? And if we did get back in, how many euros would a loaf of bread cost? And how would mortgages be affected and what currency would they be paid in?
But don’t expect the mace-man to come up with answers on these questions either, because he and the SNP don’t have any.
All Hendry could offer would be the usual SNP concoction of lies, half-truths and bucketloads of wishful thinking. And the distraction of the kind of behaviour we saw from him yesterday.
He’ll be a mini hero in the eyes of his supporters for a day or two. And an outright disgrace to many of the other people he’s supposed to represent.
If he’s so outraged by Westminster that he can’t be in the place without behaving like a prize idiot, why doesn’t he just quit?
But willingly walk away from the fat salary and vast expenses – and the chance of the national limelight now and again? For this publicity-grubbing show-off, that’ll be the day.