WHEN you arrive at a situation in Scottish politics where only the Tories hold true to their core beliefs you know you’ve reached a bad place. The main parties which fancy themselves as representing left-wing and liberal values have abandoned these in pursuit of something much more inexact which self identifies as progressive but, in reality, is atavistic and adopts gaseous form. It’s a self-indulgent exercise in world-building. The only things that matter: educating our children; the health and well-being of our families; peaceful co-existence and redistribution of resources have been quietly ditched.

The Tories are the only ones who’ve remained true to themselves: eternally committed to restricting access to money and property to all but a sceptr’d few. At Holyrood their numbers are reinforced by a smattering of serfs willing to abase themselves in the hope of garnishing their otherwise unremarkable CVs.

The Labour Party presents a model case for prosecution under the Trades Descriptions Act. Their leader, Sir Keir Starmer each week fastens the red rose more tightly to the Union flag, the armed forces and a non-aggression pact with the Tories in the class struggle, the only war that ought to matter to this shambles of a party.

The Scottish Greens occasionally look like they represent their supporters. Yet, as the hounding of Andy Wightman has shown, this party exists solely at the pleasure of Patrick Harvie and his obsession with sexual identity. A lot of public money is spent each year keeping this group of self-indulgent performance artists in a job and expensive office suites just so Holyrood can look diverse and inclusive.

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It’s in the recent behaviours and conduct of the SNP, though, that the contamination of public life is most grievously evident. Their leader, Nicola Sturgeon, and a host of her most unquestioning acolytes have manipulated the transgender issue and deployed it to squash all opposition in the party, especially those who have dared to criticise its glacial pace towards a second referendum on independence.

If you retain any doubts about how far this party will go to weaponise any seemingly innocent cause consider its new Equalities Mechanism. This lists a bewildering suite of physical and mental impairments that qualify as ‘disabled’ for the purposes of securing preferment on the party’s Holyrood list of electoral candidates. If it was an organisation other than the SNP, you’d be inclined to view it as a genuine attempt at widening access. In this party, though, at this time, you know that it will be used to reinforce the credentials of a favoured few.

HeraldScotland:

What lends a sinister edge to the party within a party which has begun to emerge in the SNP is the malevolent intent of some who have hollowed it out. It risks permanently disfiguring the legacy of Ms Sturgeon.

This is what can happen when a party has been in power too long and there is no meaningful opposition. When Ian Blackford, its Westminster leader, gets to his feet and opens his mouth to squawk another little bit of Scotland’s reputation for integrity and eloquence slinks away mortified to die.

Of course, if you measure this on numbers alone you might be gratified by that run of polls indicating persistent support for independence. Let’s be honest here: such is the toxicity of Boris Johnson and the Faragists who have occupied the UK Conservatives that Osama Bin Laden would have fancied his chances against them in Scotland.

It’s a massive grift and an expensive con trick played on the Scottish people who were assured 20 years ago that Scotland would become home to a new kind of politics. In this, the interests of ordinary workers would be paramount in the long-term goal of redistributing wealth and tilting the scales in favour of the many. In 2021, though, we find that the dial hasn’t moved at all. To cover its failures the SNP – in power for 14 of those years – has opted instead for government by announcement and a series of applause breaks.

It has become home to a self-indulgent class of political hustlers; leeching on power and putting their stage-managed whims ahead of real issues by using their superior connections and networking skills gathered on dozens of approved leadership courses.

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Two decades of devolution have produced this land of make believe where nothing is as it seems and all the main players are actors who have forgotten what it was they once actually stood for. Civic Scotland has thus become a chilling re-working of the Truman Show. In this version, we are all the schmucks, believing that what we experience each day is real and that the men and women who shape our lives really are working for social improvement and a fairer society.

Underpinning all of it is a press and media where too many journalists are eager to touch the hem of power in the hope of a cosy, well pensioned adviser’s job or a position in one of Holyrood’s pet lobbying firms. They’d rather be exchanging Christmas cards and affectionate DMs with the FM and her Stepford cabinet. Defending her at every turn is preferable to holding her to account.

This political land of moonbeams and unicorns doesn’t actually celebrate difference but imprisons it. Only a state approved and orthodox diversity is permitted, underpinned by a lexicon of words and phrases to sort out the wheat from the chaff. When Irvine Welsh had Renton spit those immortal lines in Trainspotting at Corrour station 25 years ago he couldn’t have known that they have become prophetic. “It’s a s***e state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and all the fresh air in the world won’t make any f****** difference!”

The sweetness of independence will be soured knowing that in order to achieve it we had to keep this shower of inauthentic charlatans in large salaries, swollen expenses and gold-plated pensions to achieve it. Independence can’t come quickly enough, not so that we can decouple from this zombie Union but so that we might finally be rid of these fakes.

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