Jamie Maxwell may be an “Edinburgh-based writer”, but he obviously views Scottish politics through the jaundiced and profoundly prejudiced lens of the London-based media. Few in Scotland would recognise the caricature of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP that he presents. Few, that is, besides the British nationalists for whom he writes.
I’m certain the very possibility would never occur to Mr Maxwell, but he is just plain wrong. He is wrong in part because, like all Unionists, he has a desperate need to believe in the notion of ‘peak SNP. Frustrated and resentful that the party and the wider independence movement didn’t evaporate in the wake of the first referendum, devotees of the British state have been frantically trying ever since to convince themselves and the Scottish electorate that this threat to the established order is about to collapse and vanish. This exercise in self-delusion actually started long before the referendum.
The first predictions of the SNP’s imminent demise appeared within a week of them forming Scotland’s first real post-devolution government in 2007. But the fact that a No vote didn’t kill the party stone dead has been driving British nationalists quite mad. They won the referendum, then had to watch as the SNP and other Scottish (as opposed to British) parties took all the prizes.
It is largely this demented perplexity that informs Jamie Maxwell’s grotesque ‘analysis’. But there is also the propaganda element. The vicious campaign of lies, scaremongering and empty promises mounted by the British establishment in response to the threat of Scotland choosing to be a normal nation has never ended. It has continued in the same maliciously dishonest vein since 2014. Pretty much all of the British media has been colluding with the British political parties in a campaign to undermine confidence in Scotland’s democratic institutions and public services. We have seen a sustained attack on NHS Scotland, Police Scotland, our education and legal systems and much else, as well as a series of smear attempts against SNP politicians, all in an effort to discredit the party and instil the idea that Scotland is ‘Too wee! Too poor! Too stupid!’ to be independent.
This article is distinguished from the bilious, delirious hate-speak of the Daily Express and the Daily Mail only in its relative subtlety and superficial reasonableness. The intent is the same. Portray Nicola Sturgeon in what is considered within the cosy consensus of the metropolitan media to be an unfavourable light. The reasoning – if we can glorify crude deviousness with that term – is that, if Nicola Sturgeon has been successful as an “insurgent” then she can be brought down by convincing Scottish voters that she is anything but.
There’s a slight problem with all of this. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t been effective in the past. And there’s nothing to suggest that it is having the desired effect now. Nicola Sturgeon’s approval ratings remain stubbornly at levels other politicians can only fantasise about. The SNP’s popularity hasn’t waned in the slightest. As things stand, only the proportional voting system stands between the British parties in Scotland and total obliteration in this year’s local government elections. Polls indicate the SNP would sweep the boards if there was either a Scottish or a UK general election tomorrow.
Commentators such as Jamie Maxwell pander to an increasingly fervent British nationalism. They tell British nationalists what they want to hear. They show hard-line ideological Unionists what they want to see. But they’re clearly not fooling the people of Scotland.Views: 4634
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