by Colin Campbell
FERGUS Ewing’s website for the upcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections is somewhat short of being a rallying cry to supporters, a passionate appeal for backing.
Or a fervent declaration of the urgent and compelling need for independence.
It’s about as bland as campaign websites get. A computer-savvy 10-year-old could have created something more eyecatchingly vigorous.
It comprises an appeal for donations, and a few paragraphs about the candidate himself, beginning with when he was first elected back in 1999 and skirting briefly over the rest of his 22 year tenure at Holyrood.
When I saw it my immediate reaction was, in this high-tech gizmo world when kids can do online stuff that can make you gape, is that the best he can do?
But then the obvious reality dawned on me. He doesn’t need to do any better, because he’s going to be re-elected for a sixth time to Holyrood anyway. This, as everyone knows, is a certainty.
That doesn’t mean he’ll exude complacency during whatever campaign he mounts. He’ll no doubt go through the motions displaying the right tone of eagerness to serve. It wouldn’t look good if he did anything else.
But essentially he doesn’t need jazzy websites or a warehouse full of campaign material ready for distribution across the constituency, because we know the final outcome of Mr Ewing’s re-election bid already.
The “I” word makes the briefest of appearances, in a sentence beginning: “Having spent all his adult life campaigning for independence…”
So Mr Ewing has ensured it is mentioned once, in passing, and that’s all. A cosy and lucrative 21-year career at Holyrood hardly suggests he spends every waking moment thinking about how to “break free”. In fact, from what he’s said and written, outside election time he barely ever mentions independence.
I’m not remotely convinced he even wants independence, at least not while there’s any prospect of it ending his long, less than illustrious time at the Scottish Parliament.
His website states: “Over the past 21 years, Fergus has helped thousands of constituents, and hopes to be able to continue serving the people of Inverness and Nairn.”
And there’s little room for disagreement about that. He no doubt has helped many constituents. And many of them return the favour by voting for him.
That means they’re voting for Fergus Ewing on a personal basis, but it doesn’t in any way mean they’re voting for independence.
But when the votes for Ewing come in on election night the SNP will add every single one of them to the tally for their so-called “mandate for independence”.
That’s a sham, a charade, and a lie. And it’ll be the same for other SNP candidates across Scotland, who gain votes because of favours they’ve done and assistance they’ve given to people in their constituencies, and who are not voting for independence.
But the “indy” spin will take place regardless. Never let it be said that truth and reality has ever influenced the twisted machinations of the SNP.
These are factors they just dismiss out of hand.
They’re trying to present this as the Great Independence Election, leading to the right of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP in the Scottish Parliament to hold a referendum on their own, without the necessary legal permission from Westminster.
This already doomed show of audacity – doomed for so many reasons which have been aired – will get them nowhere.
But they’re trying to keep things rolling along the way they want them to go. Yesterday the increasingly ridiculous Mike Russell solemnly declared: “Legislation paving the way for a second independence referendum will be published in the next few weeks. The draft bill will set out the timetable and question ahead of another potential vote.”
“Potential” is one way of describing it. “Non-existent” would be a more accurate choice.
And they intend to set the question too, of course. Option 1: Do you believe Scotland should be an independent country. Option 2: Do you believe Scotland should break free from the UK, Boris Johnston and those Tory b*****.
Fergus Ewing’s spectacularly dull website actually puts the whole thing in perspective. No hype, no clamour, no spin, and no lies. He’s a candidate seeking re-election in another ordinary Holyrood poll.
That’s how more than half the population of Scotland will view it. The SNP can frantically spin it as they wish. Those who oppose them have no reason to get over-excited about it all.
Its’s just another election, just another result, sending people to Holyrood to get on with business as usual. No serious prospect of constitutional upheaval and no prospect whatsoever of a legal indyref2 will arise from it. And that I believe is how Fergus Ewing and many other SNP MSPs seeking to get back on the Holyrood gravy train want it to be.