The SNP’s obsession with being perceived as morally superior is the glue they collectively sniff before composing any public messaging. No matter the issue, rest assured that it cannot possibly be the SNP’s fault. Gone are the days of accountability, gone are the days of owning up to something and the days of transparency are but a faint memory.
Following the resounding ‘once in a generation’ 2014 referendum defeat, what did the SNP do? They schemed: what would be the best way for us to make the numbers up and get Indy over the line? They landed on the quagmire of identity politics — using people’s identities as political weapons — a foray that now threatens to destroy them.
This misguided attempt to pander to the ‘youth’ vote, despite numerous studies that prove they are far from a single voting block, has opened a deep schism within the SNP camp, as opposing identities fight it out. Although we can take some solace, because it tells us that there are still some people who can think inside the SNP.
While gender identification is a divisive topic, and one which I happily leave to individuals to decide, I fundamentally disagree with the toxic atmosphere that poisons the whole debate. We now live in a world where people are afraid to voice their opinions. Even someone like J.K. Rowling, who has brought magic to millions of people around the world, was lambasted for stating she believes that only biological women have periods. Many called for her ‘cancellation’.
Activists seek to, by exaggerated and concurred social pressure, attempt to stifle all debate and disagreement, the very mentality which groups that struggle for rights and recognition have fought tirelessly against. While the SNP claim to give a voice to people, all they do is attempt to stifle the voices of others.
The gender liberation struggles of the 1970s and 1980s aimed to open a discussion on what it is to be a woman or a man, not to close it down. Yet, today dialogue has been replaced by rhetoric, nuance replaced by extremism, and balance is replaced by brute force.
If, or should I say when, you dispute what you are told to believe, you will be isolated and labelled as an enemy of “progress” and you will be accused of spreading hatred toward trans-individuals or any other anointed group.
What I fear, and what I always fight against, is the poisonous manner in which debates are conducted. The SNP’s zealotry is manifested in their totalitarian desire to claim a monopoly on what is morally right and wrong and to use that monopoly to exile all who question their beliefs.
Such is the treatment Joanna Cherry, an avowed feminist and lesbian received – even a death threat. It may seem strange receiving death threats from the supposed paragons of love and inclusivity, but then you are only supposed to accept and never question, the exact mentality the feminism of the 1970s fought so hard against.
Cherry’s crime? To applaud an amendment to Humza Yousaf’s Hate Crime Bill that would allow open discussions of trans issues without it being classed as a hate crime. Imagine being able to discuss whether a man can be classed as a woman without the police being called? Amazing!
Speaking in Westminster, Cherry said that, across society, people were losing their jobs and facing difficulties “simply for questioning the ideology that any man can self-identify as a woman”, prompting a rare agreement from Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, who said, “Much as I disagree with her on so many things, may I commend her courage in standing up for freedom of speech and putting forward her views clearly in a difficult and sensitive area but one where she has a right to be heard?”
In Scotland, Humza Yousaf’s ‘Hate Crime Bill’ is the battleground for this insanity. A bill that aims to police the very words we use, even over the dinner table. It ensures that any criticism is made unlawful by virtue of ‘the intention of stirring up hatred’, while those promoting questionable ideas are to become shielded from ridicule.
No-one is safe from this dogma. It aims to stifle debate through self-censorship. Who wants to be a victim of the state’s arbitrary power over thought and speech? Not to mention how any jury could peer into a person’s mind and determine their intentions.
The SNP claims to be a party in search of what is ‘right’ but, in reality, they are a party in search of might, be that ideological, economic, social or cultural. To this end they will use whatever argument suits them, caring nothing for the freedoms which untold numbers of people fought and died for before them.
With their false claim on a monopoly on morality and personal opinion, they are following the well trodden trail of totalitarian ideologues that have brought untold suffering to our world. Far from advancing the rights and voices of people, they have silenced them under a barrage of rhetoric and threats to stifle any productive and inclusive debate.
I know that writing this will open me up to all sorts of outlandish accusations, “why do you want to spread hate?” they will say as they plow on by without reading a word I have to say. I don’t want to spread hate, far from it. All I wish to do is live in a world where character and not superficial identity is the measure of a person. To paraphrase Martin Luther King:
I look to a day when people will not be judged by their identity, but by the content of their character.
Niall Fraser is manager of Hope CBD and All for Unity candidate for the Glasgow region list. Follow him on Twitter @niallfraser8
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