Well, post GE15 Scotland will never be the same as the one it has left behind. It seems and we are a nation possessing considerable political clarity of thought and an ever-growing national consensus that governance can and should be better. The electorate of this nation can hold our heads high at the way we have conducted themselves throughout this campaign which has been an ‘exemplar’ to use a favourite Salmond expression following a similar display during the referendum period. If there has ever been a better example of a peaceful democratic process and the will of the people in action at any time or place, I am yet to see it.
It is for this reason that the despicable nazi reference from Charles Kennedy after losing his Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency after 32 years, is unacceptable. The 32 year Liberal Democrat ex MP and former party leader described his loss as “the night of long skean dhus”, an unambiguous reference to Adolf Hitler’s mass murder of political rivals in 1934 .
What has not been acceptable during this campaign is the general behavior of the press, unionist party parliamentarians and their prominent members. It would be remiss to say there was not wrong-doing on both sides, there was. This was exacerbated by a press so biased in their output that the story was written before an ‘event’ even took place. They were incendiary and provocative but ultimately have been left looking like moronic buffoons.
The examples are so numerous, it’s difficult to know where to start, but they have been named and shamed all over social media which is proving to be the best source of evidenced truth. Of particular bad taste, has been the numerous and constant reference to ‘national socialism’, ‘nazis’, ‘third reich’ and other related insults. This was not only the lunatic fringe on social media but national newspapers and television channels. Of course there was never any supporting rationale for such distasteful nonsense and the raison d’etre was simply for the all-powerful media machine to paint anyone wishing for a better future in Scotland as supporting an extreme agenda verging on murderous lunacy.
This has backfired on the unionist protagonists to a massive extent as a Scottish electorate underestimated in both resolve and political savvy headed to the polls with purpose and determination. This landslide victory for the SNP and the accompanying elation does not in anyway absolve Charles Kennedy from his despicable words.
As widely witnessed on the early hours of Friday morning, Kennedy made his ungracious exit speech, declaring his fondness for political history before make the disgusting Nazi reference. This was the early days of Hitlers murderous nationalism as he instigated the assassination of his rival paramilitary Brownshirts as well as prominent conservative anti-Nazis.
So where on earth is the comparison? Is it simply the fact that SNP have ‘National’ as part of the name, is it the fact that there is a movement in Scotland that involves the building of a fairer ‘nation’. In Scotland there was not even the nonviolent civil disobedience encouraged by the venerable Ghandi that led to the Swaraj or self-rule in India in 1947. Kennedy has a problem with citizens with ambition who strive for improved sociological conditions and an equitable society, which ironically was the role we tasked him with for 32 years.
This of course is not his only problem. Back in 2006 Charles Kennedy admitted he was battling a drink problem, which he said was under control, stating at the time that through professional help this was essentially resolved. Ultimately this led to resignation as the Lib Dem party leader after 7 years. In March, Charles appeared on Question Time where it seemed his problems were not yet behind him as he forgot questions, misunderstood points, and rambled incoherently. People felt sorry for him and rallied in his defence once again, even blamed an irresponsible BBC. Well, I happen to think the BBC are indeed irresponsible, or at least I firmly believe they take no responsibility for practicing journalistic integrity and place their own agenda firmly ahead of even-handed reporting, but even I would not blame Kennedy’s actions on them.
I do not doubt that Kennedy was a once respected politician of principle but the time for making excuses for this dinosaur and his actions has now passed. The name Kennedy may resonate with political assassination more than any other, but he has effectively killed off his own career slowly but surely for several years. Let the SNP’s Ian Blackford’s victory spell the end of this career. He serves no one and is not helping himself. I sincerely hope his health problems will be finally resolved, but as far as politics and this progressive Scotland are concerned, it should not be so much Lochaber no more as Kennedy no more.