by Colin Campbell
INVERNESS MP Drew Hendry is to interview Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes in his next podcast.
That could be an independence fantasy-fest worth listening to.
The only reason I publicise these podcasts of which Hendry is so inordinately proud is because anyone listening to them would be put off independence for life, given that they are fact-free zones of wishful thinking, dubious projections and puerile drivel.
And of course, claims about independence which are either based on ignorance or are flat out lies.
The worst one so far, at least among those I’ve listened to, came not unsurprisingly from Ian Blackford, who said that post-independence the UK Government would continue to pay Scots their pensions.
Hendry is a glorified ex-councillor who has somehow become the SNP’s joke “Shadow Trade Minister” at Westminster. “I’m no economist,” he candidly admitted on one of his podcasts, which you might think would cast doubt on his ability to conduct international trade negotiations with experts from other countries. But apparently he’s the best the SNP have got down there. In reality, he couldn’t run a riverside ice cream stall in high summer.
Kate Forbes, a former trainee accountant, was instantly appointed “Scottish Finance Secretary” because the SNP at Holyrood had a budget to deliver and her predecessor had quit after being caught sending hundreds of dubious texts to a young teenage boy. She was all they had.
That was the equivalent of Buck House instantly appointing a palace shoeshine girl to fulfil royal duties after Prince Andrew disgraced himself on Newsnight.
The only talent she’s displayed so far is demanding “more, more, more” from Westminster when it comes to providing pandemic support funding, and perfecting a Sturgeon-like grievance scowl when they do, but of course, not nearly enough. No amount is ever enough.
Blackford’s assertion on pensions surpassed anything I’ve heard in terms of brazen falsehood.
Not that Hendry was going to challenge him. That’s not what his podcasts are about.
If one of his guests said that after independence under SNP policy the earth would become entirely flat, Hendry would chip in with the view that the future absence of gradient would bring enormous petrol savings for motorists.
Whether Forbes can surpass that, we’ll just have to wait and see.
I’ve no doubt the issue of pensions will come up. Hendry could say that after independence they’d double.
Forbes: “No, I have to slightly disagree with you there Drew. After independence they’d actually treble.”
Hendry: “And benefits, they would of course also double.”
Forbes: “No, I have to slightly disagree with you there also Drew. They’d treble as well.”
The negative, sceptical, naysayers who want to know how this would be paid for could be dragged, reluctantly, into the discussion.
We already know the SNP answer to how everything would be paid for. What’s required is for the SNP and Kate Forbes to get their hands on “the levers” so that they can shape Scotland’s economy without constraint from Westminster. That will change everything.
At the most obvious level, the hundreds of thousands of drug addicts and chronic alcoholics we have – the highest proportion in Europe – would convert overnight into becoming active, productive citizens.
Like in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the other highly prosperous “small countries” that an independent Scotland would of course automatically emulate.
There are more drug addicts and chronic alcoholics in the average Glasgow housing estate than there are in all of Scandinavia put together.
But more importantly, the full range of “talent, drive and initiative” of the people of Scotland would be unleashed under independence, turning us into “the best small country in the world”. Independence really would unleash that. No more boredom in the office and constant glances at the clock to see how long till knocking off time. No more weary reluctance to clock on for a shift. No more “sickies” being called in after an extra heavy night out.
After independence, Scotland and its workforce would positively vibrate with “talent, drive and initiative”.
Hendry: “I guess the key question therefore is not, can we afford to become independent. It’s can we afford NOT to become independent.”
This is his stock, “that clinches it, then” line.
The SNP and Forbes plan to introduce a four day working week for everyone, with everyone of course still receiving the same income. At least that’s the last we heard. Maybe it’s been cut to a three or maybe two day working week by now.
The aim of this is to create “a better work, life and leisure balance to improve wellbeing”.
Hendry: “Yes, I think we’d agree this is essential. I receive hundreds of thousands of pounds each year in salary and expenses at Westminster, where, on a personal note, I feel imprisoned and can’t wait to escape from, but I do worry about my work, life and leisure balance.”
Forbes: “Yes, me too Drew. I know how you feel.”
I expect Boris Johnson and “partygate” to be brought into the discussion. Corruption, sleaze, shame, disgrace etc.
Nicola Sturgeon will be left out of this part. We never hear anything about her. If on May 21 she’d been swinging from the chandeliers at Bute House beneath scores of drunken staff and people invited in off the street we wouldn’t hear about it. The Scottish media is so subservient and scared of her, and of the SNP, that blind eyes would be turned in all directions.
So I look forward to Drew Hendry’s latest podcast, which I probably won’t bother listening to, with eager anticipation. The script above might not be identical to what actually goes out over the airwaves.
But it’ll be close.