by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Politics is becoming increasingly polarised, principally because recent important constitutional issues such as Scottish independence and Brexit have been presented to the public as binary choices, forcing people to take sides. In addition, the rise of Right Wing demagogues in both the UK and the USA has produced something of a backlash, especially in the online world of social media.

One of the most disappointing aspects of this is the Whataboutery employed by all sides in these arguments. This may be a natural human response to accusations of perceived wrongdoing, but they add little to the fundamental debates.

This polarisation has also resulted in every political action or statement being viewed through a lens of hostility. There have been several examples of this in recent days, culminating in the howls of outrage over the SNP’s latest Party Political Broadcast which allegedly features a character who bears a resemblance to Unionist journalist David Torrance, both physically and in his attitude of hostility to the SNP. This outcry, whether justified or not, has resulted in the PPB receiving a great deal of interest, perhaps more than would otherwise have been the case, so those shouting loudest about how it is an attack on Press freedom have actually done the SNP a service. They have also struggled to explain quite how David Torrance will be silenced by this lampooning, since he is free to publish his usual #SNPBad article whenever he likes. (And, to be honest, he likes writing it pretty regularly).

But all of this misses the main point about the PPB. Its script is a rip-off of the famous Monty Python “What have the Romans ever done for us?" sketch, and the acting is a little hammy, but those things do not detract from the fact that it achieves its aims. The point of a Party Political Broadcast is to get a message over to an audience who are not closely engaged with politics and to do so in a memorable way so that they understand the central argument. In that sense, this PPB is bang on the mark.

This blog site is not affiliated to any political Party, but we recognise that the SNP represent the main political arm through which Scottish independence will be achieved. We also recognise that the bulk of their policies are intended to create the sort of Scotland many Yessers want to live in. This does not mean we have not been critical of the SNP in the past, and one of the main criticisms is that they are far too often on the defensive and seem unable to get their message out there. With this PPB, perhaps we are seeing the first signs that this is going to change. By listing all their achievements in a way which evokes memories of a world-famous comedy sketch, they are giving their audience a message which the likes of the BBC will never deliver.

So, whether the resemblance to David Torrance is deliberate or accidental is immaterial. Most viewers will have little idea of what he looks like in any case. No, what counts is that the message gets out there and that more Scots begin to realise just how fortunate they are to be living in the most progressive part of the UK. Independence does not guarantee a problem-free future, but the SNP have shown that Scotland is capable of making its own decisions and heading in a very different direction to that of the austerity-obsessed, xenophobic Westminster-governed UK. The sooner more people appreciate this, the better. From that perspective, this PPB is possibly one of the best things the SNP have done to get that message across.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can view it at: