by Colin Campbell
INVERNESS MP Drew Hendry used his Twitter site to make a sycophantic gesture of support for his beleaguered boss.
He posted a new Twitter profile picture of himself standing shoulder to shoulder with Nicola Sturgeon, on the day Alex Salmond appeared before a Scottish Parliamentary inquiry and publicly tore what’s left of her reputation to shreds.
And to ensure no-one missed the point the photograph was prominently marked “New Profile Pic”.
But the move was met with an avalanche of criticism and was branded “embarrassing” and “pathetic”.
One contributor wrote: “Disappointed Drew, you’re such a lovely helpful man too. This is just wrong. Ambition eh!”
Another wrote: “Well Drew, you’ve lost my vote and I’ll be doing my utmost to convince my extended family and friends in Nairn not to vote for you anymore.”
At the inquiry, Salmond delivered a withering verdict on Sturgeon. “Scotland hasn’t failed, its leadership has failed,” he stated. He also accused her of breaching the ministerial code, potentially a resignation issue.
Salmond was cleared of a number of sex charges after a High Court trial.
He has previously accused people close to Sturgeon – his successor as both First Minister and SNP leader – of plotting against him, and has named her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, as being one of them.
A debt of loyalty is, however, owed by Drew Hendry to Nicola Sturgeon. It was her popularity at the time which elevated him from being a local councillor six years ago to a high-flying Westminster lifestyle and all the money, perks and privileges that go with it.
The ex-councillor did not get there on his own.
And despite a mace-grabbing stunt at Westminster and a chorus line echo about Scotland’s need for independence, the perception is that Hendry, like others among his Westminster colleagues, has grown fond of that high-flying lifestyle in the Mother of Parliaments and would like to remain there. Would that really be surprising for someone whose former habitat was the council offices in Glenurquhart Road?
Warring factions in the SNP under Sturgeon’s leadership are currently wrecking any lingering hopes for independence that may exist among party members.
Drew Hendry need have no fears about parting company with Westminster anytime soon. So he really does have something to smile about.
And Sturgeon, who was once admired, respected and trusted? Her smiling freshness in a photograph taken during a visit to Inverness around five years ago has been replaced by a scowling demeanour which now never seems to go away. And Alex Salmond’s evidence to the parliamentary inquiry will in no way have lightened her mood.
Nicola Sturgeon and Drew Hendry. Oh happy days, for one of them at least.
A large number of comments appeared on Twitter in reaction to Hendry’s sycophantic show of support for Sturgeon, virtually all critical and disapproving.
‘Shocking behaviour from 2 snp ministers so far, can’t believe the party i support(ed) are actively and publicly trying to put a former leader on trial again. Hostility oozing from SNP committee members is astonishing.’
‘A man of integrity thank you Drew.’
‘Men of integrity don’t support unlawful processes.’
‘That’s quite sad.’
‘Oh dear, how embarrassing for you You’ll be changing that pic soon, so best get some use out of it!’
‘Will you take it down when she resigns?’
‘Dear oh dear your constituents will have something to say about that.’
‘How to jump to the wrong side of history.’
‘I would have expected a little bit more independent thinking on your part Drew… Don’t count on my family’s support next time…’
‘You better hope you picked the winning side there. Terrible to be part of an orchestrated attempt to take sides. Shame on you.’
‘He must be a Nicolette.’
‘I saw him in Inversneckie town centre, just a smiling gladhander.’
‘So what was that “feat of strength” in the commons a while back? Just for show?’
‘I thought he had a bit of credibility, I thought wrong. Calling himself the Shadow Secretary now. Settling in, instead of settling up. Just Pete Wishart on steroids.’
‘Oozing insincerity from every pore.’
‘Not sure it will help.’
‘Aw man, I’m embarrassed for you.’
‘Disappointed Drew, you’re such a lovely helpful man too. This is just wrong. Ambition eh!’
‘Well Drew, you’ve lost my vote and I’ll be doing my utmost to convince my extended family and friends in Nairn not to vote for you anymore.’
“You’ll be changing it again next week.”
“This is so embarrassing.”
“Solidarity eh comrade!”
“Dearie me Drew – thought you were one of the good guys.”
“I don’t think this will age well but let’s see.”
“A cringeworthy attempt at protecting the brand. Eek!”
“A fine example of self preservation & the brand.”
“That’s ok….you will be changing it soon enough….the next FM will appoint a new set of flying monkeys.”
“Nic looks so happy in this one.”
“North Korea, much…???”
“You really must be missing a few things if you post this and feel proud.”
“I hope you are watching Mr Salmond giving his evidence with both hands tied behind his back! Its disgusting! And sturgeon did this!”
“Desperate Drew? bet you wish you could swing that mace towards Salmond.”
“Actual adult SNP politicians are changing their profile pics to include their boss. How utterly pathetic.”
“Nicola must be saved!! Holed below the waterline.”
“Others are posting similar. Quite clear that the Save Nicola campaign has begun.”
“Hmmm so you’ll be wanting to cut the number of canvassers out for your next election. PS: I’m saying that as someone who has literally been out with you leafletting.”
“Put my picture up or your fired.”
“No suggestion of leader cult here.”
“Quite petty and immature. It’s not a high school outing. Give the office of the Scot Gov some dignity.”
“Schoolyard stuff. Cringe.”
“What a joke.”
“Isn’t this a bit embarrassing for you Drew? And it really does look like you’ve just signed up for a tour on a sinking ship.”
“Even short term that’s a poor decision.”
“I thought you were better than this Drew. It looks, and is, orchestrated, insincere, cultish, undignified. Not a good look.”
“I’ve unfollowed you so I don’t have to see any of this sycophantic tripe on my timeline. I thought you were above this transparent nonsense.”