by Colin Campbell
NORMALLY at this time of year I’d expect Fergus Ewing to be writing in his local newspaper column about taking his family out sledging or something. In the same way as at Easter he’d be writing about them rolling Easter eggs down a hill or something. His written offerings are a gentle read, which is another way of saying they are inexpressibly dull. Even when he ventures into politics the tempo is barely stepped up. Fergus Ewing is not a man who wants to court controversy.
However an election is on the way and he’ll be aiming to be get back to Holyrood for the sixth time, to prolong his 20-year career there. So in his latest column in the Inverness Courier he stirred himself to pen some thoughts on the hotly disputed Brexit “sellout” of Scottish fishermen, arriving at the fairly predictable conclusion that it was a Tory disgrace.
What he notably did not do was end it with the usual declaration from SNP politicians that the only way to escape the clutches of the malignant Tories is for Scotland to go it alone as an independent nation.
A few months ago he referred to the need for independence to accompany the announcement that he was seeking re-election. But other than that the “I” word hardly ever rates a mention from Fergus Ewing. And for that he deserves credit. At least he’s not being a hypocrite like most of his colleagues at Holyrood and Westminster.
For all their feigned fire and fury over the issue most of them don’t want independence any more than I do. They, like Fergus Ewing, are happily ensconced in virtual jobs for life on huge salaries and massive expenses and showered with perks and privileges. Ex-councillors and the like want that to continue. And they’re filled with dread over the uncertainty of what they’d do if it was brought to an end.
So Fergus Ewing may step up the “I” word rhetoric just a bit in the next few months to secure the necessary votes but all he really wants is to get back to the Scottish Parliament to get on with his job. The two decades he’s comfortably spent there barely suggests he harbours a burning desire and seething impatience for independence.
After he’s re-elected this time next year he’ll be back to writing about snowmen.
And what of Inverness MP Drew Hendry, who also writes a column for the Courier? He wields a more controversial pen. He’s already weighed in on Twitter about the events at the Capitol building in Washington.
His condemnatory views on this issue and the need for order in the halls of government would have more credibility if a few weeks ago he hadn’t seized the Mace in the House of Commons and marched towards the exit with it, and had to prevented at the doorway from leaving with it. His behaviour was shocking and outrageous and we called him a disgraced lout, a label that should stick for some time yet.
Hendry’s behaviour was viewed with delight by nationalist zealots. It’s just the kind of physical action they want to see. And it’s liable to inflame them.
Hendry is not a Capitol protester, he’s an elected politician. And he showed an appalling example in what he did.
And, when the ever-expanding lunatic fringe of the nationalist movement are denied another referendum later this year by Boris Johnson, would anyone rule out the possibility of some kind of protest invasion of the Mother of Parliaments by these people, or at least an attempt at one?
What Drew Hendry did is just the kind of thing to stir them up, as if they needed stirring up any further. When their indy-refusal rage goes off the chart, who knows what’ll happen? There is no doubt security around Westminster will have to be stepped up. The Capitol mob have had their day. A nationalist mob may already be anticipating that theirs is yet to come.