Beware the dangers of parachuting in election candidates – The National

I AM reminded again of the words of the late lamented David Frost, “That was the week that was”; and quite a week it was. In general terms not edifying, but it has shown us a whole lot more of the basic characteristics of the participating members. Not a pretty sight in many cases.

Firstly we must all congratulate Ian Blackford and his hard-working band of SNP members in That Place; the work they put in day in, day out, especially when they have so much travelling to do between Westminster and their homes and constituency bases, has to be commended. Here I feel it has to be said the call, sometimes made in your pages, that they should just up sticks and abandon the House of Commons is not the way to go. Their presence there and continued fight for sanity, at least for the next number of weeks, is fairly vital.

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The performance of Prime Minister Johnson has been so bad that I doubt anyone could have envisaged most of it, even given his apparent devotion to the evil geniuses (sorry Jacob – that should probably be genii) surrounding him, particularly Mr Cummings. The most extreme of his ravings has to be the “dead in a ditch” answer to a question on Thursday. Has he learned nothing from the fate of the late member Jo Cox? There will always be someone out there who latches on to unwise statements made by people who should know better and come to some unfortunate point of view.

Given the well-publicised Hanoverian ancestry of Johnson, we seem now to be seeing a not dissimilar family pattern developing. Let us hope that for the sake of the country, in the meantime the UK (later hopefully England – for I would not wish them any ill) that the great dice of life falls in the best position.

What now for Scotland? Surely it is imperative that in the upcoming election campaign the SNP state what seemed to be indicated in the recent words of the First Minister, namely that all votes cast and seats won are an unshakeable case to support the next stage in the independence campaign. What is also needed now is a clear statement of our intended route to that independent state, just what is likely to be possible – withdrawal from the Treaty of Union or what? Be in no doubt, we will not get a Section 30 from Westminster any time soon, unless the forthcoming election throws up a very unusual result.

This brings us to the unfortunate situation that there are still a a lot of constituencies without SNP candidates in place. Since it has been odds-on for quite a long time that an election would be sooner rather than later, this is a poor position in which to be.

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I note your article earlier in the week (Scots MEP in bid to oust Brexiteer Tory in event of snap election, September 5) suggesting Alyn Smith be parachuted in to fight the local Stirling seat. Now, I think that Alyn Smith would be an excellent member for us here in the Stirling constituency, but it should be remembered that “parachuting in” a notable figure is not necessarily popular at a local level. We had that in 1964 when the then Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home was wished upon the voters in the constituency of West Perth and Kinross (which then contained Dunblane), and was not universally liked. In addition Alyn Smith is doing an excellent job in Europe and it could be quite important to our European future that he keeps up the good work there.

Meanwhile, what is the way forward if Johnson defies the law and tries to crash Britain out of the EU after mid-October? Does parliament go to the courts to have him removed? At the end of the day, surely the best outcome is that a deal is struck with the EU which involves the UK (for the time being) remaining in the customs union but exiting EU membership nevertheless. Then independence for Scotland, which in those circumstances would presumably not require a hard customs border with England, will be a simpler situation to create.

George M Mitchell
Dunblane

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