THE latest episode of the Holyrood political elite versus the people is the darkest yet in a sinister series. The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is seeking authority from the UK Home Office to permit Police Scotland to halt demonstrations outside Holyrood.

Perhaps, if the Scottish Parliament had been the scene of nasty and vicious clashes involving Scotland’s notoriously riotous citizens you could have understood this bureau’s desire to threaten future miscreants with criminal prosecution.

Yet, as everyone who has ever happened upon a political gathering outside Holyrood knows, these events tend to be about as belligerent as Crufts. The public protest immediately preceding the Corporate Body’s stated intention was organised by Scottish women seeking to protect their sex-based rights threatened by the SNP’s proposed gender legislation. On that occasion the only aggressive behaviour on display came from a knot of counter-protesters. But there was nothing that might warrant any of them having their collars felt by Plod Scotland.

However, under the new powers being sought by the Corporate Body, that’s exactly what might have befallen those trans-rights counter protesters. And then what? Would the police have asked Nicola Sturgeon to accompany them down to the station to answer questions about conduct likely to have incited such scenes?

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After all, the First Minister was accused this year of effectively painting a target on the back of one of her party colleagues, Joanna Cherry, following a bizarre and troubling dog-whistle video to trans activists. A few days later, Ms Cherry was threatened with sexual assault by a former SNP member who was subsequently charged and found guilty.

A few days after this week’s Holyrood protests Ms Sturgeon was screaming “shame on you” in the chamber at the Tory MSP Murdo Fraser. Now, you might uncharitably suggest that many are the occasions when Mr Fraser – a lively chap who resides on the scarecrow wing of the Tories – has deserved to be shamed.

Most people, I’d suggest, would feel that merely attending the Holyrood protest to show solidarity with For Women Scotland is not one of those occasions. Nicola Sturgeon is chiefly responsible for women in Scotland now being falsely branded transphobes and bigots. She has painted a target on their backs too.

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Scotland’s First Minister is showing alarming signs of losing the plot over this issue. Perhaps, in the unlikely event that the request to criminalise Scottish citizens survives the inevitable human rights challenge Police Scotland might seek to have a quiet word with Ms Sturgeon about her personal conduct.

If Westminster’s equivalent body had seriously proposed criminalising protesters during those long Brexit months when that chap with the loud-hailer was audio-bombing every news bulletin we would have detected the fingerprints of those reactionary Tories. Holyrood’s Corporate Body has only one Tory. His four colleagues comprise two Scottish Greens; a Labour MSP and one who belongs to the SNP.

Just a few months ago, prominent members of each of these notionally left-wing parties – including our increasingly erratic and unpredictable First Minister – were falling over themselves to condemn the Home Office for sending vans into Glasgow’s south side to detain a handful of undocumented immigrants. Now they’re asking that reviled UK Government department to let them round up Alex and Maureen from the Hedgehog Preservation Society and stick them in the pokey.

Just what is it about Scotland’s civilian population that makes Holyrood constantly want to serve them with an ASBO? Do we need to seek the services of some UN counselling force to broker détente between we, the delinquent people and our trembling political masters?

In recent years, Holyrood’s new liberal reactionaries have sought to place families under state surveillance with their unhinged Named Persons legislation. This proposal didn’t survive the first fit of the giggles that broke out at the ECHR when they became aware of it. Later, the Scottish Government sought to criminalise working-class football supporters for singing dodgy songs and having errant ironmongery and malodorous vexillology about their persons.

They also seriously believed that raising the minimum price of alcohol would combat Scotland’s problem relationship with drink. That’s turned out well, hasn’t it? In Scotland’s largest city there are 234,936 problem drinkers. Alcohol deaths are 17% up on last year, according to the Government’s figures.

Last year, Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, spoke of his worries about vaccine passports. “I can’t see a way for it to be done without widening inequalities and injustices.” He was right to be concerned. This hastily-arranged and – quite literally – reactionary measure by the Scottish Government will simply increase the sense of alienation felt in many of those communities worst affected by Covid-19.

Mr Harvie and his Scottish Greens co-convenor Lorna Slater voted this through of course. They wouldn’t want to start life in their new ministerial positions by putting principle before salary increases.

The intense messaging around vaccination often founders in our poorest communities. Much of this is rooted in class. From the beginning of the pandemic, reporting on its societal impact has often carried a wretched and ill-informed tone: that if only those rough working-class people would stop behaving so irresponsibly we could beat this thing.

It fails to acknowledge the deep distrust of government agencies arising from negative encounters with police, the judiciary, social services and politicians. These attitudes have become embedded throughout generations and are entirely justified.

Today, having endured the worst economic effects of Covid: the joblessness; the addiction rates; the reduced wages, they now find themselves literally locked out of the few activities in which they might seek some relief. Marginalised and branded once more.

When a night-club bouncer or stadium steward tells them they’re not wanted here without the correct certification it’s a metaphor that accurately depicts how they’ve always been treated by Holyrood’s middle-class performance artists.

They and their house-trained acolytes in the media and quangos endlessly contrive bogus progressiveness on peripheral issues that have not the slightest bearing on the lives of our poorest citizens. Anything to deflect attention from 14 years of failing these communities.

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