by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Holyrood Magazine has reported Prime Minister Theresa May as having said that the SNP must bear a portion of the responsibility for the result of the Brexit Referendum. Holyrood Magazine is one of the few broadly pro-Indie publications so you would expect them to produce a rather sensationalist headline but reading the report of what the PM said revealed that, whatever you think of Theresa May, you must admit she is a clever politician. By conflating facts and misrepresenting situations, she has made an attack on the SNP in an attempt to deflect scrutiny away from the Tory Party’s turmoil over Brexit. It was very clever, if extremely disingenuous.

What she claimed was that many people voted for Brexit because of their anti-Establishment opinions, having felt they had been let down by the political system. May argued that, since the SNP have been in Government in Scotland for nine years, they are part of the Establishment, so it follows that they must bear responsibility for the result.

This is quite a bizarre leap of logic for several reasons. The Referendum was called by the Tory Party; Theresa May herself kept a very low profile during the debate; the SNP actively promoted a Remain vote while the Tories were split down the middle; Scotland produced a resounding Remain result; and, well, you get the picture.

May claimed that feelings were running just as high in Scotland as in the rest of the UK, a claim which is not supported by inconvenient things like facts. Only 38% of Scottish voters opted to leave the EU, while a majority of English and Welsh voters were for Brexit. Those 38% may well have strong feelings but the Scottish result revealed a very wide split between majority views here and in England and Wales.

One of the most illogical parts of Theresa May’s argument is that she seems to be implying that there is an element of blame to be levelled at politicians for the Brexit result. She doesn’t use that word but by attacking the SNP in this way, it could be inferred that she thinks there is blame to be apportioned. Mind you, it’s difficult to tell with our current Prime Minister because, to be honest, it’s not clear what she really thinks or believes when it comes to Brexit. This is not a reassuring trait in a country’s leader. Brexit may mean Brexit but May contradicts her Cabinet Ministers and EU officials whenever any of them express an opinion on what Brexit meaning Brexit actually means in practice.

More blatantly, though, is her attempt to portray the SNP as part of the Establishment. It is certainly true that they have virtually entrenched themselves as representatives of the political norm in Scotland but they can hardly be viewed as part of the Westminster Establishment which so many voters in England and Wales were protesting against. Like Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP are viewed as an anti-Establishment force within the UK which is why the vast bulk of the UK and Scottish media is so hostile towards them. It cannot be denied that the SNP would probably be perfectly happy to become the Establishment in an independent Scotland but they are far from reaching that position as things stand just now.

So, when it comes to reasoned argument, all Theresa May has done is reveal that there is little logic behind her claims. No surprise there, then.