by Colin Campbell
AS Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced yet another push for indyref2 alongside her new Green partner in government, simpering little Patrick Harvie, other questions sprang to mind based on recent events.
How did novice MSP Kate Forbes, who had worked for all of two years as a trainee accountant, become the SNP Scottish Government’s finance secretary aged 29?
How did glorified ex-councillor Drew Hendry, who openly says “I’m no economist” when it comes to financial matters, ever become the SNP’s business spokesman and now the “Shadow Spokesman for International Trade” at Westminster?
How did “simple 10 acres crofter” Ian Blackford, expenses claimant supreme and a widely mocked bulging bellyful of bluster, ever become the SNP’s leader at Westminster?
For rational people, there is no easy answer to any of these questions.
We know why they were elected. That was because they were standing for the SNP and cult followers would turn out in their droves to vote for monkeys sitting on bar stools if they were wearing yellow rosettes.
But any understanding as to how they advanced beyond that is much more difficult, if not impossible to achieve.
We know the nuts and bolts of how Forbes got the job. Her predecessor was exposed as a dubious character who sent countless text messages to a young teenage boy, and Forbes was almost instantly given the job because she has a personable appearance and manner and someone, anyone, was urgently needed to deliver a budget speech.
She did well at reading out the written speech. But after a while she somehow began to think, as finance secretary, that she was the real deal.
She soon excelled at adopting a Sturgeon like scowl in blaming Westminster (England) as being responsible for all of Scotland’s woes. And, as billions poured north of the border during the pandemic, Forbes took the leading role in calling for “more, more, more”.
This week she claimed the fact that Scotland’s deficit, the difference between taxation raised and public money spent, has soared on her watch to £36 billion, has actually enhanced the case for independence.
You don’t need to be “not an economist” like Drew Hendry to know that this is bad news. But Forbes, like all SNP fanatics and chancers, will blithely twist any awkward facts and figures away from reality and turn them into good news – for the independence cause.
What will change when we are “free”, she explained, is that she and the SNP would have full control of taxation and spending and the “levers” to make all the difference.
With SNP control of these “levers”, everyone would work harder and be more productive, no-one would take sick days anymore, those on benefits would be inspired to enter the workforce, junkies high on drugs would give up the habit and take full-time jobs, every part of the public sector would cut waste at a stroke and operate with maximum efficiency, businesses would become more profitable, prosperity would flow across the land, and the deficit would disappear.
All that Kate Forbes needs to achieve this is control of these levers.
There was of course no mention from her of the furlough money we received as part of the UK and without which people would have ended up begging on the streets. Or how, with those levers in her grip, she would compensate for the extra £2,000 per head in public spending we receive compared with people in England. Or on the questions of what currency we would use, or the effect on mortgages, pensions, or on joining the EU, or on the inevitability of a hard border with our biggest trading partner, England.
All that Forbes knows is that with control of these levers, she could make that crippling deficit vanish as if by magic.
Despite, or maybe because of, this kind of nonsense, it is possible to see a future for Kate Forbes. After she gains a few more years experience in grievance-mongering, it is not difficult to imagine the face painters flocking behind her as the new Nicola, when jaded, tired, haggard old Sturgeon finally calls it a day. Who else have they got? Robertson, Cherry, the ghastly Mhairi Black? Some nationalists may loathe the prospect of a Queen Kate emerging at a future date in Buckingham Palace. But it’s not at all difficult to see them anointing a Queen Kate of their own.
As Sturgeon and little Patrick yesterday announced their joint push for independence yesterday, who else is in pole position to become one of the guiding lights of a “new Scotland”?
Inverness MP Drew Hendry for one. Doesn’t the former chairman of the council parks and gardens committee exude all the characteristics of one of the leaders of a new Scotland after independence as, under the SNP crony system, he certainly would be?
If you need any convincing just tune in to one of his “podcasts” proudly displayed on his Twitter site. Or maybe not. In his dull, plodding delivery, he doesn’t sound like another slick money grubbing SNP charlatan, and at least tries to sound sincere. But in terms of getting answers to any of those awkward questions surrounding independence, you’d be as good listening to paint dry.
And then there’s Ian Blackford, who also would rise to eminence north of the border when we are free. At the moment he’s just a comic turn in the House of Commons as Tory MPs gleefully mock him whenever he speaks, turning puce faced and rising to the bait every time, his waistcoat buttons bulging with indignation. He’s a joke figure down there. It would be much less of a joke if he joined Forbes and Hendry and co. in becoming one of the leaders of an independent Scotland.
But as things stand the fearful five of Sturgeon, Harvie, Hendry, Blackford and Deficit Kate would assume positions of supreme power in an independent Scotland.
And if that prospect doesn’t make people thing long and hard about supporting independence, nothing on God’s green earth will.