by Colin Campbell
WHEN Nicola Sturgeon announced in March 2017 that she intended to seek a section 30 order from Westminster for another independence referendum, within seconds Inverness MP Drew Hendry’s ever active Twitter site was ablaze with excitement.
Within an hour around 40 jubilant, exultant tweets and retweets had been posted hailing Sturgeon’s move and the cascade continued unabated. Writing for the Highland News at the time, I undertook the onerous task of counting the number which accumulated during the following seven days. It topped the 500 mark, with delight, thrill and joy unconfined.
It all led of course to nothing, other than a backlash which led to major losses for the SNP in the May council elections followed by the loss of a third of their MPs, including Alex Salmond and SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson in the following June election.
Yesterday, following Sturgeon’s latest big indy announcement, in stark contrast Twitter maestro Hendry’s site echoed only with silence.
The Inverness MP had absolutely nothing to say about it.
This could have been for several reasons.
After recently disgracing himself in the House of Commons when in a fit of anti-government temper he seized the mace and marched towards the exit with it, and had to be stopped by stewards, he has no wish to extol the virtues of any other SNP enterprise that would be illegal.
Or he has settled into a comfortable Westminster lifestyle laden with a huge salary and expenses and a wide range of perks and privileges, and does not want to see that put at risk by the prospect of independence.
Or he sees his party leader in an emotional state bring demands for another referendum to the fore at the height of the pandemic crisis and concludes, like most reasonable people, wrong time, wrong place, wrong everything.
Despite his mace grabbing antics Drew Hendry is not an extremist. But yesterday he saw Nicola Sturgeon cave into the hardcore of extremists demanding independence at any cost, pandemic or no pandemic, even if it costs lives.
Drew Hendry, the decent and reasonable version of him that is, may feel deeply uncomfortable about that.
Which would explain why he chose to remain silent.