Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to look at things from a neutral viewpoint (something which is possible even when you’re not a neutral, incidentally), you can’t help but throw your hands in the air and bang your head off the desk in frustration at the sheer clueless stupidity of certain politicians. Today provided a case in point.
Dear old Magnus Gardham has a piece in the Herald covering last night’s inaugural public conference of the Labour For Independence group. After a very brief report on the event he quite reasonably solicits a reaction from “official” Labour, whose constitution spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson obliges with one of the most cosmically witless statements to disfigure the independence debate thus far (no small feat):
“This really seems like desperate stuff from the Yes Scotland campaign. Trying to claim Ricky Ross as a Labour supporter when he was a founding member of Artists for Independence as far back as the 1980s is just absurd. It begs the question of how many other supporters of this group are really just SNP supporters.”
Horrendous as such a prospect is to contemplate, the evidence inescapably points to the conclusion that Ms Ferguson may be so inconceivably thick she genuinely doesn’t see what’s wrong with the above comments. So just this once, we’ll spell it out for her.
The entire point of Labour For Independence, blindingly obviously, is that “independence” and “the SNP” aren’t interchangeable terms. Independence is supported as an official policy by several other parties including the Greens and the SSP, as well as by non-aligned MSPs and individual members of other parties.
So when Ricky Ross supported Artists For Independence in the 1980s, that doesn’t mean he was in the SNP. It just means he was a Labour supporter who believed in independence – as around a fifth of Scottish Labour members do, according to consistent polling. (Unless they’re ALL just SNP sleeper agents, of course.) The clue, as anyone smart enough to blow their own nose might deduce, is in the name.
If Patricia Ferguson and the rest of the No camp are absolutely determined to turn a blind eye to the independence supporters in their own ranks, it does at least explain why they’re so complacent about the result of the referendum (one prominent Labour activist recently predicted a Yes vote as low as 20%), and why they’re conducting such a lazy, shambolic mess of a campaign.
It goes against our instincts to interfere with that, but there are some of us who, in the interests of post-referendum harmony, would still like a clean fight.