by Colin Campbell
NICOLA Sturgeon has now gone the whole hog and incorporated into the SNP’s council elections manifesto the provision that a vote for an SNP candidate is a vote for another independence referendum.
She no doubt hopes after the votes are counted on May 5 this will give her yet another so called “mandate”.
In Inverness, this latest decree from Sturgeon is crazier than “the Wall”.
For very obvious reasons.
I’m going with the views of the admirable Openness group who have urged retribution on those councillors standing for re-election who backed the reviled £300,000 Gathering Place. They’ve listed on their Facebook website the names of those who did so, without any mention of party affiliation.
They believe, as I do, that the Gathering Place we’re now stuck with (for the time being, at least) was such a wasteful travesty that it should be a pivotal council election issue.
It’s not just the fact that we have a concrete slab on the riverside where a cherished natural beauty spot used to be, although that’s bad enough in itself. It’s the fact that a majority of councillors ignored the mass of public opposition to the thing and treated the public with contempt.
A number of those who did so, seven in total I believe, have now stepped down and, quite frankly, good riddance. But others want back on the council.
But the fact is that the most staunch opponents of the Wall were members of the SNP, representatives like Ron MacWilliam (who has now quit the party), Bill Boyd, Ken Gowans, Emma Knox and a couple of others.
I hope because of the stance they took in an effort to protect the riverside from grotesque and unnecessary meddling that they are all re-elected. For me, vehemently opposed to another referendum, this is a local issue and the fact that they are from the SNP is wholly irrelevant.
But now Queen Nicola blunders in.
During the long running debate over whether the concrete slab should be built I detected no party politics were involved. It just seemed that those SNP councillors who opposed it had thought it through as individuals and had come down on the right side of the argument.
They did not oppose the Gathering Place on behalf of Nicola Sturgeon, or to bring on another referendum. They opposed it for the same reasons that thousands of members of the public opposed it, because it was a ridiculous idea, totally unnecessary, and hideously wasteful.
In Inverness West I’ll be voting for Helen Smith, standing as an Independent, who organised a 3,000 strong petition against it and along with other Openness members put heart and soul into trying to block it.
I’ll also be voting for Bill Boyd who strongly opposed the Gathering Place. The fact he’s in the SNP makes no difference.
Ron MacWilliam, standing for re-election as in Independent, isn’t in my ward and he’s no longer in the SNP but even if he was, and I could vote for him, I most certainly would. He was the most determined council opponent of the slab, and but for his sterling efforts it probably would have been sneaked through under the cover of secrecy and darkness.
If any other SNP candidate who opposed the Gathering Place was in my ward I’d back him or her too.
But according to Sturgeon, does my support for SNP candidates at the council elections mean I now support another referendum?
That’s about as likely as me chopping off my arm at the wrist in the ballot booth to prevent me from voting for them.
But yet again this desperate, deluded woman demonstrates how she’s lost touch with reality in trying to conflate her independence fantasy with the right of local voters to vote on local issues in support of local candidates in the way that they choose.
After the council elections she’ll no doubt claim she has “a mandate for a referendum” but she’s claimed that after so many other elections that she must have a stackload of them now and what has she done with them so far – zero, zilch, nothing. So I can’t see anyone losing any sleep over her insisting she’s added another to the pile.
But that’s where we are in SNP/Sturgeon land now. If you vote for an SNP candidate who opposed the Gathering Place you’re voting for another referendum, at least according to dizzy headed Queen Nicola.
Sturgeon latest folly compounds the impression that she grows more clueless and desperate by the week. The ferries fiasco, 16-year-old MPs, men dressed as women getting into female changing rooms – and now her council elections idiocy. The former “golden girl” with that image on the side of her big yellow campaign bus these days can’t get anything right.
And yes, the Gathering Place will be demolished in the timescale of events long before Sturgeon delivers another legal and legitimate referendum, if she ever does.