Here is some homework I think most of you will probably end up enjoying – go and watch the 2006 comedy Idiocracy. It will both entertain and enlighten you as to why SNP politicians are saying the things they are saying. It will also help clarify the future in your mind.
The plot of Idiocracy is simple and it is very funny (though some of the race and class politics haven’t aged at all well). Luke Wilson plays an army librarian who is chosen to be a test case in a hibernation experiment. He is specifically chosen because he is the most average, most unremarkable-in-any-way person they could find. He is put in suspended animation for what is supposed to be a few hours.
Unfortunately events (and the fact that he is so, so average they simply forgot about him) means that it is 500 years later before he is discovered. But the original experiment took place at a time when birthrates were collapsing for educated couples but holding steady for those with the lowest education – and the culture of the West was becoming more and more infantilised.
Which means the process of evolution has created and entire society of total idiots, wall-to-wall morons. And as a result our reanimated hero is now by far the outstanding intellect of this new civilisation, offering advanced scientific advice like ‘perhaps try watering your plants with water rather than using (dreadful US soft drink) Mountain Dew’.
This is rather a neat analogy for how it is that, even as the SNP is melting down with serious, serious problems besetting it in every direction, many of the party’s elected politicians are ‘bullish’. They think things are going swimmingly.
Let me start by setting out the scale of the peril the SNP faces. If the party is unable to present audited accounts as a result of any kind of fraudulent activity in the party’s finances, it is not a given that it will be allowed to stand candidates in next year’s General Election. This may be a worse case scenario, but it is a genuinely possible outcome.
But hey ho, despite all the evidence to the contrary (including the Treasurer stating bluntly it isn’t true), party grandees are on TV virtually bragging about what a brilliant position they’re in and how bright the future is.
Over the last decade the selection criteria for virtually every position available anywhere in the party’s sprawling bureaucracy was that the candidate would under no circumstances ask any questions ever
This is simply a result of the SNP’s own idiocracy. Over the last decade the selection criteria for virtually every position available anywhere in the party’s sprawling bureaucracy was that the candidate would under no circumstances ask any questions ever. So long as they kept tweeting photos containing the text ‘I’m With Nicola’ and did as they were told, they were in.
Anyone – almost literally anyone – who did ask questions or raised awkward points of order or challenged the assumption that no information was needed to support leadership’s claims that ‘everything is great’ or who objected to the flagrant distortion or breaching of the party’s constitution was relentlessly targetted for bullying and worse. Most left the party and those who remained were so aggressively isolated they might as well have left.
So the gene pool of the SNP has been degraded and degraded until the primary characteristic of an SNP employee or office-holder (elected, employed or appointed) was that they were easy to confuse. Literally gullible people who believed anything they were told.
Then you get to the culture of the party and how it has changed over recent years and here the picture is every bit as concerning. The entire operation from top to bottom has been dominated by a culture of ignorance and stupidity.
There is a phrase that captures this; ‘woven through the accounts’. To be clear, this isn’t a thing. You don’t ‘weave things through accounts’, accounts are about showing where money is. But in any case you simply can’t weave £600k through £100k, just like you can’t put six litres in a one litre bottle. It is a statement that on face value was not only false but meaningless and logically impossible.
And yet that was the sum total of a completely fallacious, fictional and simply not believable statement put out by Treasurer Colin Beattie to try and persuade people to stop asking questions about the £600k which was very clearly missing.
And they did. That was all it took for the entire muppet show to shout ‘aha – see, conspiracy theories, its the secret services and Alba, independence has never been closer, there’s a referendum next year, I’m with Nicola, Now’s The Time, Stronger for Scotland people’.
This wall-to-wall idiocy in the SNP means that while the party leader is mouthing platitudes about the need for reform, what he is doing is exactly the opposite. He is tackling the need to reform the Peter Murrell era by appointing Peter’s mini-me (Sue Ruddick) to his job. The governance issues epitomised by a corrupted NEC will be addressed by… the corrupted NEC.
The panel to appoint a new Chief Executive is 100 per cent filled with people who claimed a couple of weeks ago there was zero need for a new Chief Executive. Yousaf is one day telling us he thinks there is a problem with people getting jobs based on who they’re married to, then gives a job to the wife of his new ‘independence minister’. There is a major cover-up job going on.
But – and this is at the heart of things – there simply isn’t the talent to pull it off. Sue Ruddick is not fit to be acting Chief Executive of the SNP at a time like this, given the sum total of her entire non-SNP professional career was seven years as part-time ‘leisure assistant’ (plus she should be fired for her part in withholding news about the resignation of the auditors from the NEC). The NEC is not fit the steer the party through this crisis.
The SNP leader is the definition of average chosen among a group of people who will never achieve averageness on the basis of being the least worst of them
So what about it’s political leaders? Do they have experience? Well trying to work this out is harder than you think. Most of Scotland’s cabinet are pretty coy about their actual careers outside the SNP. But I did my best, worked out the real-life experience of each cabinet member and averaged it for the lot of them. The average Scottish Cabinet member has a total of about six years of real life working experience.
(And that is a total substantially inflated by what are I think are Angela Constance’s 14 years of employment as a social worker who has more or less twice the real world experience of almost any of the rest of them, although Jenny Gilruth may have been a teacher for nine years. I think.)
So basically this is a cabinet of people who weren’t in their careers long enough to have worked their way up to low middle management. If you were in the biggest political crisis of your party’s existence, this isn’t nearly the team you’d want in place. (Not that experience seems to help – that preposterous embarrassment Ian Blackford actually had a career and still manages to say things that my children could tell you were blatant nonsense.)
Thus the party is in serious, serious peril yet many of its elected politicians genuinely believe that this isn’t cutting through and that the whole thing will blow over. (The SNP is now leaking like a sieve – I am collecting lists of who is saying this idiotic stuff so that if the party ever regains its sanity if can start the essential business of a deselection clean-out.)
To give you an idea of the state of the SNP, think about the possibility that it genuinely might not be able to stand candidates next year. The suggestion that is floating around is that a ‘Continuity SNP’ or ‘SNP Sevco’ could be set up to fight it instead by starting a shell party from scratch.
But tell me this – without the party’s existing membership, can you try and pitch me a suggested reason why any independence movement starting a new political party as a unified vehicle for achieving our nationhood would start with this lot?
Really, if you’re starting from scratch and you’re sketching down names, how many current SNP politicians would be on your list? Seriously? And what about the 20-something Spads, the so-far-out-their-depths-you-can’t-see-them NEC appointees, the army of no-name researchers, the third rate (if you’re lucky) HQ staff.
The SNP has two genuine assets – the brand and the membership numbers. That’s basically it. The rest of it makes for an uninspiring Dragon’s Den pitch. Because over the last ten years the quality of every other asset in the party has been degraded to ‘junk status’.
So yes, among this shitshow of would-be mediocrity, Humza Yousaf towers above the others, an accidental and mistaken legacy of a past era emerging from a time capsule, the look of utter confusion on his face morphing into horror when he realises the sheer state of things, the sheer moronic nature of everything that is around him. A man the definition of average chosen among a group of people who will never achieve averageness on the basis of being the least worst of them.
The SNP really is an idiocracy. But if you ask the idiots, that is just fine. Forever and ever. Amen.