BY EFFIE DEANS
In Moscow Lavrentiy Beria, Head of the NKVD, used to cruise around in his limousine looking for cute girls. When he found what he was looking for he would point her out and have her brought to his dacha. There would be wine and food and afterwards he would sleep with her. On departure the girl would be given a bouquet – if she accepted it, she had consented however if she refused, she was arrested. Being arrested by the NKVD was not healthy in those days. The same story no doubt applied to cute boys.
This is the trouble with progressive politics. Those who are most concerned with collective morality (workers of the world etc) are least concerned with personal morality. Those who believe in free markets and individualism are most likely to give their time and money to help others. Those who think the state should force us to be good leave morality up to the state and think their collective virtue makes up for their private life of a libertine.
Something happened to Scotland when the SNP first won a majority in the Scottish Parliament. It wasn’t just that since then the only issue of political consequence has been independence. Perhaps more importantly we have entered a strange period when members of our ruling party think that everything is permitted.
The SNP is a single-issue party and everything that wants the same goal as the SNP is the SNP. There may be Labour for indy, Women for indy and even Tories for indy, but these are all just front organisations. When Father Karras tells the Exorcist that there are multiple devils inside the little girl, Father Merrin replies simply, “there is only one”.
There is only one party and there is only one goal. Getting to that goal justifies anything.
A few days before the independence referendum in 2014 I sat through a talk given by a very senior member of a university where the benefits of independence were carefully explained. The person explaining them had an English accent and had arrived at the university only a few weeks before. The idea that someone from the south of England had suddenly become an independence supporter is of course quite preposterous. Someone very important had made a phone call. No one in the audience who supported No said a word. Only Yes supporters spoke.
Since then our schools have been give a “curriculum for independence” with Tartan days and Scottish days and Caledonian days and the history of Scottish this and Scottish that.
Scottish journalists who I vaguely remember opposing independence have gradually moved towards support. There is hardly an unequivocal Pro UK voice left.
The police have been centralised and brought under the political control of the SNP. It has hardly made them more efficient at catching criminals, but we are all rather careful about what we say. It wouldn’t do for PC McPlod to think we were being cute.
The Scottish courts agreed with the SNP about Brexit. Who knows what else they might agree with them about?
Meanwhile a steady list of SNP MPs, MSPs, councillors and supporters have been suspended from the party for a variety of reasons. Some of them have been later cleared of any wrongdoing. We should no doubt be grateful that the SNP suspends them. Yet something smells.
There are rumours in Scotland. There is a sense that stories are buried, and that people are not what they seem to be or purport to be. We don’t know what is true and what is not true.
This all reminds me of Russia. I remember having conversations with my teachers in the early 1990s when it first became possible to talk openly. They were frightened because their whole worldview was founded on lies. They couldn’t distinguish between truth and falsity and the sense of disorientation was quite overwhelming.
What has been going on? Has Scotland become some sort of cesspool, where crimes have been taking place but not noticed? Don’t ask. Don’t tell.
Who is really married to whom? Is it all fake? A front to mask a truth that dare not speak its name for fear that it might damage the cause. Who is having an affair with whom, but no one knows, or dares say? What injunctions are in force to prevent us from doing more than make hints? What names, which famous names dare I not mention for fear PC McPlod would think me pretty?
We are in the 120 days of Scotland. They seem like years. It is our lot. What new scandal will arrive? Who next will have to be suspended from the SNP? How many would have been suspended if only we had been allowed to find out about it? Lot’s wife wasn’t really his wife, she was living with another woman and he was chasing after little boys. Scotland will not burn. We have a golden coo called Indy.
God is dead and everything is permitted.
The excellent Effie Deans writes at Lily of St. Leonard’s here.