In politics, the end always justifies the means. People are nothing but tools to advance causes and ideologies. Due to this inevitable fact, political history is littered with “useful idiots”, people who champion and support a cause without knowing the full story behind it.
Scottish politics is no exception, and has more useful idiots than many other places. The EU used the SNP during the Brexit negotiations to leverage the British government. When they were no longer needed, the SNP found themselves abandoned by an organisation that now says Scotland cannot join the Erasmus scheme because it is “not a country”. The SNP were the EU’s useful idiots.
The SNP were also used by the Catalan secessionists who fled their country after their abortive illegal referendum. They now hang around Scotland like the Russian nobility after the revolution. The SNP seemed oblivious to the fact that housing individuals who intended on breaking up an EU member state will not bode well for them if they ever try to join the EU. The SNP were the Catalans’ useful idiots.
It goes both ways. The SNP, and assorted secessionists, have often relied on useful idiots to further their cause, in many cases extraordinarily idiotic useful idiots. The SNP uses the supposedly separate Green Party to stay in power. The Greens seem perfectly happy to go along with this, despite the SNP’s plans to power a separated Scotland on gas and oil, while also repeatedly missing environmental targets. Not very green. The Greens are the SNP’s useful idiots.
The SNP promise help for companies in the form of bailouts and incentives for hare-brained schemes that go nowhere, all so they can take a few photos and rack up press releases. It doesn’t matter to the SNP that the project will fall through, people will lose their jobs, and whole regions will suffer. They get what they want and to hell with everyone else. These companies are the SNP’s useful idiots.
Out of all the myriad of useful idiots the SNP relies on for defence are the assorted embittered faux intellectuals that desperately desire to be Scandinavian, in style but not substance, and who cringe at anything that breaks their fantasy.
I know this type well because I spent many years with them. I did my undergraduate degree at Oxford University and still find myself there on occasion; it has become the Mecca of useful idiots. These people rail against the “elite”, despite having lived their whole lives in the leafy affluent suburbs of North Oxford, where a single house sells for well over a million pounds. They clamour for revolution and change, identifying targets and enemies of the people and falling for any cause, no matter how outlandish or misunderstood.
These people, who spend their days cycling from one hipster coffee shop to another, who patronise pretentious art galleries set up by bored middle-aged washouts and who adore to “raise awareness” on all the ills of the world on a 1500-pound laptop they bought to edit their black and white photos of bridges. These are the champagne socialists who would clamour for the guillotine without knowing they were its next victims. They are the favourite target of the SNP. These people endlessly decry the nationalism of Brexit but unquestionably support the nationalism of the SNP.
In Scotland, the SNP have learned to feed people a steady diet of opiates composed of impossible promises and poisonous xenophobic rhetoric to rally them to their support, despite the inescapable fact that those same people would be hardest hit by separation. In England, this does not cut it, too removed are they to understand and sympathise with this language, and so the SNP talk up their baby boxes, social policies and “progressive” ideology in an attempt to lure them in, either to support them or merely not question them. Thus we see, almost daily, Nicola Sturgeon being used by the English left-wing and media, completely ignoring her failings here in Scotland, so long as she can be used as a weapon to bash the UK Government.
Of course, anyone who knows how these opportunist populists work can see their scams from a mile off, despite the heavy fog they emit, but then such people are not the useful idiots the SNP desire. Instead, they are the people who the SNP wishes to use these useful idiots against.
The SNP are in a death spiral. Support for separation is dropping; their corruption is being called out left and right. They are mired in a civil war that makes Gettysburg look like a picnic. Their flimsy legal defences are collapsing, unleashing people who are hell bent on vengeance. The press, angered by the cutting of vital support, is no longer blind to their goings-on. Nationalist authors are turning against them, and influential figures within their party are calling for a coup. Yet some useful idiots persist.
They claim all is well while the rubble falls around them. But we’re not listening any more. They might have been useful idiots to the SNP, but now they’re exposed as simply idiots to everyone else.
What will become of them when the crash comes? Like all lost souls, abandoned and alone, they will wander in the wilderness, forever in search of their next futile cause.
Angus Robinson is a lecturer at a UK university. Follow him on Twitter @AnguspfRobinso1