by Colin Campbell
WOULD the Great Independence Election Day herald the beginning of a new era for the SNP’s Inverness candidate Fergus Ewing, for whom the election process will have a certain familiarity?
He’s held the Inverness seat since 1999, and sought a return to Holyrood for the sixth time.
So for 22 tortuous years he has been unable to break free of the huge salary and lucrative expenses he rakes in there as he yearns day and night for the ultimate goal of every nationalist politician – independence.
Would this finally be the election which enabled him to shake off those gold plated shackles and bonds as he strikes out for “freedom”?
We now know the answer. He’s safely back at Holyrood after being re-elected for a sixth time. That’ll be a relief for him. During the campaign there was no reference whatever to independence on his election material. He barely ever mentions it.
The same question applied to his colleague Drew Hendry, who has enjoyed a less lengthy but even more lucrative tenure as Inverness MP at Westminster.
Just days after he was re-elected last December, during a campaign in which any reference to independence was completely absent from his campaign literature, he insisted on the need for another independence referendum to escape from being “imprisoned within this Union”.
Some prison. Just as well there’s no penalty on the statute book for being a brazen political chancer.
As a former councillor and chairman of the park railings and gardens maintenance committee or some such, in his new life as a high flying MP Hendry has had to struggle to cope with the perks and privileges, vast salary and virtually unlimited expenses that are showered on MPs. That must be so difficult.
When he welcomes awestruck local people to the lavish surroundings of his Westminster “home” I’m told he grins like the cat who’s just slurped all the cream.
But deep down, we know he really, really, really hates the place that affords him all those perks and privileges and can’t wait to break free and strike out for “freedom”.
And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
And what of Hendry’s colleague, Ian Blackford. Has anything been seen or heard of him lately? My last sighting of the noisy little fatman was when he posted a film clip of himself with some sheep on “his simple 10 acres” Skye croft, waddling along in a fetching pair of pink trousers, a shade favoured by all crofters, and excellent for concealing the mud and grime that goes with the job.
Blackford has a certain tendency to come across as an obnoxious, bellowing buffoon whenever he appears on television or radio. So it’s possible that the SNP hierarchy told him to button it for the duration of the campaign.
He’s another, and probably the most prominent SNP MP who is truly desperate to destroy the Westminster system from which he regularly claims around a quarter of a million pounds in expenses.
In a year when seven out of the top 10 expenses claimants at Westminster were all from the SNP, he raked in £256,000.
Ewing, Hendry and Blackford, they just can’t wait to drag themselves out of their jobs-for life-in the Holyrood and Westminster money pits and head out on the rocky road to “freedom”.
Or at least that’s the impression they try to weave.
They no more want independence than I do.
And after Great Independence Election Day they can all breathe easily, because it’s not going to happen.
Messrs Ewing, Hendry and Blackford don’t have to worry about losing all that money, perks and privileges as a result of anything that happened on election day. They’re still going to be rolling in clover at Holyrood and Westminster for a long time to come.