By Mike Small
So to the SNP Manifesto launch, at the packed-out climbing centre at Ratho. Cue appropriate metaphors of cliffhangers, and epic struggles to the mountaintop. It was an extraordinary event with the UK media descending and mingling with SNP activists and party officials, and half the Yes movement.
Raging in Ratho
Sturgeon laid out the manifesto which she said was primarily an anti-austerity agenda, and gathered her biggest cheer for her unequivocal statement on Trident.
She ruled out any referendum for now and reiterated the point until it was crystal clear. She announced several measures that were clearly about finding common ground with Labour, especially the 50p top tax rate,a tax on bankers’ bonuses, a mansion tax, a crackdown on tax avoidance and the abolition of ‘non-dom’ status.
The media bristled into action, lining up one after another to fire questions, first the broadcast media, then the print. You could feel the hostility as they pitched-in with a mixture of incredulity, contempt and condescension. Interestingly only Alan Cochrane and Alex Thomson brought any humour to the process. Torcuil Crichton looked like he was at a funeral.
These people are aghast at what they’re witnessing.
None more so than Chris Deerin and Alan Roden over at the Daily Mail today, who are foaming at the mouth as they try desperately to cobble together the rag-tag barmy army of Andrew Skinner’s ‘United Against Separation’, ‘Scotland in Union’, ‘Forward Together’, and ‘Scotland’s Big Voice’.
With just three weeks to go these oddballs have a job on their hands to convince Labour, Tory and Liberals to vote tactically, but it’s the ‘only way to stop the separatists’ swagger’. Both Chris and Alan are against swaggering.
Alan admits that ‘Sturgeon is widely deemed to have done well in the debates’ but adds that’s only because it’s a ‘sort of artificial arena in which the separatist jam- tomorrow sophistry does well’.
‘Despite manifesto policy flaws the SNP continue to gain ground in opinion polls’ he bleats observantly, ‘and are swaggering around boasting’.
That bad swaggering again.
Roden seems to struggle with the basics of how democracy works, frothing: ‘Defeated in the independence referendum the SNP continue their ceaseless struggle to break up Britain by inflitrating Westminster.’
I think by infiltrating he means being elected.
Poor Chris Deerin notes that ‘the awful Alex Salmond is still careering around the country like a drunk on a dance floor’, by which, I think, he means campaigning ‘and jemmying Salmond back into Westminster makes a mockery of any claim to constructive engagement’.
By ‘jemmying’ I think he means, again, standing for office and, you know, being elected.
The atmosphere we’re told is ‘every bit as febrile as it was in the run up to the referendum’. I’m finding it very upbeat actually. There’s a new mood of optimism about. Clearly the scribes at the Daily Mail aren’t enjoying it to much.
It’s an astonishing diatribe from the pair, beaten only by Matthew Paris who talks of Sturgeon’s ‘politics of sadism’ and how the consequences for the Union would be demeaning and ‘torture’.
This atmosphere of hysteria won’t help them, but their gnashing of teeth is fun to read.
You can read the manifesto here.