The independence debate is a misnomer if ever there was one. It is now becoming clear that there will be no debate.
Yesterday encapsulated the sorry state of affairs when Johann Lamont yet again traduced the reputation of both the Scottish Labour party and the Scottish Parliament.
The woman is a national embarrassment and only the fawning ineptitude of the influential Scottish media – blinded by its own anti-independence agenda – ensures that the most inept and obnoxious MSP ever to lead a Holyrood group, remains in post.
Yesterday wasn’t the first time Johann Lamont had engaged in what can best be described as childish name calling masquerading as serious questioning, but she surpassed herself with a display of breathtaking ignorance.
Lamont’s task at yesterday’s FMQs, we now know, was designed to produce a headline for the BBC and other pro-Union media outlets. That she knew she would incur the wrath of the Presiding Officer was of no concern to her – the Scottish Parliament as with her own party’s good name, were mere collateral damage.
The proof that her behaviour was calculated was evident when, having moments earlier been rebuked for describing the First Minister as dishonest, Lamont repeated the slur, this time aiming her bitter venom at the entire Scottish Government.
BBC Scotland was ‘on message’ and headlines and bulletins followed. For those who still harbour hopes that the dysfunctional mob at Pacific Quay have any inclination towards presenting a balanced and mature coverage of the referendum debate, they were dispelled when the broadcaster deemed Lamont’s unprecedented two – yes TWO – reprimands in the space of a minute, did not merit a stand-alone story.
STV did, and good luck to my namesake Bernard Ponsonby for his journalistic integrity.
But Lamont’s graceless posturing was only one example of what can best be described as the emergence of the BritScot. Scottish in ethnicity, this individual sees Scottish culture and history as a threat to what he or she believes is the superior British culture.
Few will look critically at what Johann Lamont was actually arguing against when she insulted Alex Salmond.
Here was a senior Labour party figure arguing against an oil fund. A Scottish Labour leader, who faced with a route-map to a possible multi-billion pound treasure trove that might serve to protect Scots for generations, deliberately tried to sabotage it.
Lamont could have agreed in principle with the aim, and welcomed the findings of these experts, whilst constructively engaging to see how such a fund could be set up. But something prevented her from embracing the idea – that was a fundamental worship of the Union. Is Labour’s counter plan to stand back and let the oil run out?
Lamont is a BritScot and anything that might serve to improve the lives of poor Scots will be opposed if it is perceived to benefit the SNP or independence. It’s a mindset shared by others, including a rather sad individual who, for reasons known only to the editors of the Herald, had an article published by the paper in which he proclaimed his “cringe” at seeing the Scottish flag waved.
BritScots also caused anger with their proposal to replace the Scottish flag with the Union flag over the Stirling Council HQ. The flag flies next to a special flag which commemorates the Battle of Bannockburn.
A Tory councillor and a Labour councillor joined together in proposing a politically motivated plan to pull down the saltire. Such was the outcry generated by this politically motivated act of defiant British Nationalism that those responsible have now withdrawn their proposal.
But there’s more that should cause serious concern when it comes to this council. It should be noted before going any further that the SNP is the largest party, it won the local election in 2012. It was denied power when Labour and the Conservatives formed an alliance to keep them out.
BritScots value the Union more than they value the principles which underpin their own party. They value the Union over the needs of their own constituents.
The Labour and Tory councillors in Stirling saw the forthcoming commemorations of the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn as a threat, coming as it does in the same year as the independence referendum.
In a move that should give all Scots cause for concern, yesterday it emerged that this council has cancelled an event that would have brought an estimated 30,000 visitors from across the globe to Stirling. According to the Daily Record, the local economy has now lost out on a £3.5m boost.
In a statement, Corrie McChord, leader of Stirling Council, said: “We had concerns about what the cost would be to Stirling. Given the position of local authorities with budgets, I was concerned the cost would grow in terms of underwriting the event.”
Evidence has now emerged that suggests Stirling Council submitted an application to hold the so called ‘Armed Forces Day’ in 2014 at the same time it was casting doubt on its ability to host the Clan Gethering.
Armed Forces Day was originally dreamt up as a way of showing appreciation to troops, some of whom were serving in difficult and dangerous foreign countries. It has now taken on an altogether different feel and significance with 2014 being referendum year.
Stirling council applied to hold this event despite warnings from Event Scotland that it would clash with the Bannockburn commemorations.
According to Clans2014.com, an online clan resource organisation, the council kept the application secret at the same time it was expressing concerns about the clan gathering event. Stirling Council eventually announced it would hold the Armed Forces Day, bizarrely and rather suspiciously it would be held on 28th June, around the same time as the Bannockburn celebrations.
The decision is of course politically motivated in the same way as the attempt to replace the saltire was politically motivated. Here we see the mindset of the BritScot again which requires Scottish culture to be marginalised with brave soldiers used as political pawns.
However there is now further evidence of the shocking abuse of power by this Tory/Labour alliance in the shape of the misuse of the common good fund.
Land Reform activist Andy Wightman yesterday evening revealed that this council is planning to spend almost half a million pounds preparing land for this military event.
In a document revealed by Mr Wightman, the council says: “As the requirement to prepare the fields for the 28 June Armed Forces Day event need immediate action, the Service is seeking approval to bring forward expenditure into the current financial year from the Common Good Fund.”
So, this council has applied to hold an event for which it is not prepared nor does it have time to prepare unless it raids a special fund created to help the community. Has the council consulted residents to find out if they wish to spend half a million pounds on a field in order to host a politically motivated event?
But there’s more, for the document goes on to say: “At this time, all that has been prepared are indicative cost estimates for the various elements of work, as further investigations will be required to determine what actions are required to permit detailed cost estimates to be prepared.”
It adds: “As the precise nature of the Armed Forces Day event has not been agreed yet the above figures may vary…”
In short, this council has pulled the plug on an event that it could probably catered for and would have complimented events already known to be taking place. Instead it has decided to apply to hold an event, the nature of which is unknown and for which it has no infrastructure and one that will clash with the medieval feel of Bannockburn.
This is BritScot madness and an indication of just what extremes those who oppose independence are prepared to go to in order to destroy Scottish culture and suppress the symbols of Scottish nationhood.
Bannockburn was the pivotal moment in our history. It saw us emerge as a nation – without this victory there may not have been a Scotland.
We are witnessing the emergence of real anti-Scottish sentiment, and make no mistake that is what this is. We need to be wary, for we – all of us, and all that we cherish – are considered collateral damage.