Never mind potholes, schools and failing services, for the SNP council elections are all about ‘Partygate’

by Colin Campbell

DREW Henry in his “terrific” latest podcast, his weekly pride and joy, apparently discusses the upcoming council elections with three local SNP candidates.

I say apparently because I haven’t listened to it. I did my onerous service in boosting the regular audience for these things (his office staff and his cat) when I heard Ian Blackford telling the Podcast King back in December that after independence a foreign country, ie England, would continue to pay Scots their pensions.

I reported on it here, the report was forwarded to the Daily Express and blew up into a national issue which sent the SNP into convulsions and will haunt them for years ahead, until the next referendum, in 2034 or on whatever later date it will be held.

That was Inverness news and views service to Drew Henry’s podcasts and the nation and I haven’t listened to one since.

So I don’t know the content of the Inverness MP’s cosy chat with these candidates. But as the election approaches, he will know how they feel, because not so long ago he was one of them himself. (He became council park railings maintenance committee chairman, I seem to recall).

Hendry is playing a prominent role in the election, out and about with SNP candidates and posting pictures of himself with them on his Twitter site, presumably in the belief that his Clintonesque aura of charisma will rub off on them, and encourage people to vote for them.

But what is the thrust of their campaign as they canvass for support here and there? Is it about potholes, lack of school provision, overstretched and failing council services, the collapse in funding for key voluntary groups, inadequate bus services and the shortage of local playparks for children?

Or is it about “Sending a message to Boris”?

Drew Hendry with activists on the campaign trail for the SNP’s ‘Partygate’ election.

That’s what the Supreme Leader is urging in letters emblazoned on her big yellow campaign superbus. “Send a message to Boris.”

What message would that be?

Please can you come and fill in our potholes?

Her implication is that this council poll should be all about “Partygate” and “Boris the liar and buffoon”.

Is that instruction being followed by Hendry and her candidates on the doorsteps? Never mind your concerns about potholes, dear voter, what do you think about Partygate?

Given that no one in the SNP ever questions far less disobeys Nicola Sturgeon on anything, it must be something of a dilemma for them.

My guess is that people in this area view the council elections as being much, much more about education and transport and roads and playparks than they do about Boris Johnson and supposed parties two years ago.

But that’s not how Sturgeon sees it. Yet again, she tries to turn it into a poll on the evil Tories and independence. Nothing to do with the SNP Government and their underfunding of councils and public services, far less the consistent Central Belt bias which short changes the Highlands time and again.

When are we going to see improvements in our cracked and broken network of roads? When will small communities get a village hall repaired rather than one that’s falling apart? When will the SNP address the problem of gross overcrowding in schools? Or the dire shortage of housing? When will we get that new Inverness/Highland prison that was supposed to have been built by now?

Ignore all that, according to the SNP. Instead, what do you think about Boris and Partygate?

It seems that’s all they’ve have got, at council election time and at every other time.

Boris, Boris, Boris. Him, and on the election superbus a 10-year-old image of Nicola Sturgeon from her “golden girl” era when most people liked and even grudgingly admired her, rather than the reality of today where she is widely detested after years of division, grievance mongering, corruption and scandal.

Yesterday it was widely reported that she had held three “top level meetings” to discuss the “prospectus for independence”.

This was featured prominently on Scottish newspaper websites and when I saw it I thought: How is this actually news?

The meetings involved Sturgeon and a couple of other leading lights in the SNP and a few civil servants. Nothing was revealed about their content or about any decisions made, presumably because no decisions were made, and the three meetings were spaced out between November and February.

In what conceivable way was that news, far less the headline news that papers like the Herald and the Scotsman tried to make it?

It revealed two things. How desperate these failing and hopelessly understaffed papers are to try and hype up any old rubbish on their dreary websites.

And how desperate Sturgeon and the SNP are to try and convince their supporters that something, anything, is alive on the independence front to try and get them to turn out in May.

And three “top level” (as opposed to medium or bottom level) meetings held in the space of three months was all they could muster. Desperation indeed.

As Drew “Clinton” Hendry knocks on doors to meet awestruck householders in the company of the local candidates I hope they do urge voters to “send Boris a message” about Partygate. I’m sure people concerned about local issues affecting their daily lives will be greatly impressed by that.

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