by Colin Campbell
NICOLA Sturgeon and the SNP don’t just want to lead us to the land of milk and honey, right now they’re trying to create the impression we’re already there.
The £60million for restoring playparks is welcome. But there’s a long list of other pre-election freebies that they’re dangling in front of the voters or placing increased emphasis on as well.
A free laptop for every school pupil, free school meals for all primary schoolchildren, the “baby box” of course, free prescriptions, free personal care, free bus travel extended to those under 22, a planned freeze in council tax, and so it goes on.
Queen Nicola at her most regally benevolent.
The problem with this which nearly half of Scotland refuses to acknowledge or recognise is that much of it is only possible because Scotland receives far more per head in public spending than people in England do, at the latest calculation £1.30 for every £1 the English get.
The English are funding these giveaways while at the same the message they hear from their belligerent cousins north of the border is that many Scots can’t stand them.
No wonder they’re getting increasingly fed up with it.
And that of course is exactly the reaction that Sturgeon and co are looking for. They believe an English backlash against all the money being shovelled up to Scotland will make it more difficult for Boris Johnson to refuse a second referendum.
NHS staff in England have been offered a one per cent pay rise. Sturgeon stepped in and gave NHS staff here four per cent, and gleefully made sure that everyone knew where the true spirit of generosity lay.
Whatever else critics say of Boris Johnson, few accuse him of being a masochist who deliberately seeks out ways of becoming personally unpopular.
It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t want to gain plaudits by giving NHS staff four per cent also but the UK Government has decided after the hundreds of billions in debt run up over the past year that a line has to be drawn and such a pay rise is not affordable.
Sturgeon and her acolytes don’t have that problem. If Westminster doesn’t fund all their freebies they’ll simply spin it into a yarn about “callous Tories” and demand more, more, more.
Many SNP nationalists have received free money from the UK Government under the furlough scheme for eight of the past 12 months but still detest the UK Government.
They’re being vaccinated ahead of everyone else in Europe thanks to the foresight of the UK government but still they’ll give Boris their favourite buffoon not an ounce of credit for it.
They’ll soak up all the English funded free gifts and handouts that they can get and still demand freedom from the hated English oppressors.
It’s difficult if not impossible to know what to make of these people, who some folk south of the border, not at all without justification, have come to view as ungrateful scroungers.
I don’t think they’ll get their referendum. But I believe that within many who are opposed to it there lingers a tiny tantalising thought. What if they did, and what if they won it?
How long would it take them to turn on Sturgeon and co when they realised they’d been conned, as benefits were cut, public sector jobs were slashed by the tens of thousands, firms went bust and holidays abroad became nothing more than a fantasy with a new Scots currency that exchange bureaus wouldn’t touch with a barge hole. And every trace of all the free stuff vanished as if it had never existed.
At the moment blatant chancers like Ross MP Ian Blackford and Inverness MP Drew Hendry have only two main tasks ahead when they get out of bed in the morning, to focus on an SNP giveaway they can boast about and find a Tory policy they can grievance-monger and whinge about.
Just imagine if they had the responsibility of dealing directly with the daily crises that would arrive in an independent and nearly bankrupt Scotland, and the intense hostility that would be directed at them by those full of wrath that they’d been deceived.
I dont think it’s likely to happen, which is very lucky for them. But as they trick all their supporters into supporting the milk and honey journey at the ballot box, it remains a tantalising thought.