Honesty, trust and a party that fails to deliver on either
ILOVE my wife, but it doesn’t end there. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, she has tipped the right amount of quality merlot into herself and thinks no one can hear – she says she loves me back. That is not a bad start – but it is just a start. We work at our marriage and one of the rules is that we don’t lie to each other.
Now, I will admit that sometimes the three pints I had at lunchtime can be translated into just one.
Equally, she has never thrown out one of my enigmatic checked jackets; they just happen to be stored in her mother’s garage.
But whoppers are a no-no. In fact, one of the reasons I love being married to her is that our marriage is punctuated by occasional conversations about uncomfortable truths. It is our strength, not our weakness. Honesty is one of the foundations of any relationship.
Now, we know that the SNP loves Scotland more than any other political party because it keeps on telling us so. No one could possibly love this country more.
Yet the Nats have started to tell us porkies that might lead you to believe they are playing away from home. Love someone else. They might be having an affair with themselves.
Ineos runs the refinery at Grangemouth, Scotland’s biggest industrial facility after the nuclear base at Coulport. This week, it took the Scottish Government to court to overturn the ban on fracking.
We know that the Scottish Government banned fracking because it told us so. The First Minister told parliament last October: ‘Scotland should welcome the fact that fracking in Scotland is banned.’ That was followed up by the dear leader herself telling her party conference: ‘Fracking is now banned in Scotland.’ Pretty unequivocal.
What a surprise, then, that the Scottish Government’s lawyer told the Court of Session this week that it hadn’t been banned and that those statements were merely ‘PR gloss’.
Fracking is not banned in Scotland. It is not even in my mother-inlaw’s garage, but hanging loud and proud in the wardrobe.
Now this is confusing. I do not understand why fracking on land in Scotland should be banned since we have been doing it in the North Sea for decades.
It is a tad odd that, in a Scotland that claims to be progressive, anything new should be banned and condemned as capitalist exploitation.
If Alexander Fleming had discovered penicillin last week, you could imagine the First Minister pushing her self-righteous indignation to warp factor ten as she condemned the idea that a child’s cough could be cured by ‘some mould found in a Petri dish’.
But that is where we are. The Scottish Government has a caricature of the Scottish mindset and thinks that gives it licence to tell untruths to the Scottish people; play to the myth.
It doesn’t stop there. A country commanded to take pride in the idea that fracking has been banned is asked to froth at the mouth because the UK Government is planning a ‘power grab’ that could end devolution.
The only problem is that it is not. Not one power is going to be taken away from Holyrood as a result of Brexit – in fact, the opposite is true.
The only party that is handing back powers to Westminster is the SNP, as it dithers over the welfare powers they demanded in the Smith Commission.
Nor, indeed, is there a ‘rape clause’. The issue is that child benefit is being capped at two children. The UK Government has made an exemption that, in the thankfully rare case that a woman conceives a third child through rape, she should still receive benefits.
Now the machinery may be insensitive but to call that a ‘rape clause’, though it might be a snappy soundbite, is untrue. It is intended to somehow suggest that the UK Government supports rape.
That is about as true as the idea that fracking is banned in Scotland. But this SNP Government is all about impression – or, as its lawyer calls it, ‘PR gloss’.
If I misled my wife on this scale, I am pretty sure I would end up in a bedsit with nothing more than my memories to console me.
YET that is the relationship the Government is fostering with the Scottish people. They hold us in contempt; think our heads button up the back. When the First Minister tells us devolution is being undermined, what could undermine it more than her saying to the Scottish parliament something her own lawyer tells the Scottish courts is untrue.
After the referendum, Nicola Sturgeon said she would reach out to No voters like me. I don’t think she has even glanced in my direction, let alone brushed past me.
Instead, she has played to her base, her core support – and even then seems to have misled them.
Relationships rely on trust and honesty. By that measure, the SNP does not have a meaningful relationship with the people of Scotland. Trust in the SNP? I think you will find that in my mother-inlaw’s garage.
PROTEST: The Scottish Government has failed to be straight with the people on the question of fracking