Dear Alex...an open letter to the former First Minister from an old schoolmate.

An open letter to Alex Salmond from Allan Sutherland, first published here and subsequently in The Daily Record

Dear Alex

We go back a long way. The contents of this letter will be no surprise, I’ve said the same things to you several times in person. I got no clear answers then and I don't expect any now. 

It pains me to write this because a lot of it is about you and I have no personal animosity. It is your legacy and the current situation which concerns and angers me.

We are both "Black Bitches", from a proud Linlithgow Council house. We went to school at the same time, our mothers were classmates when your granddad was the rector of Linlithgow Academy, our dads fought as sappers and sailors during the war. We shared the same Scottish history lessons, the same English teacher, the formidable Charlie Mungall, the same pride in our great Scots who built the British Empire and those bastions of democracy, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. 

We lived the traumas and glories of the great  Scottish football teams of the 60s and 70s and the same (for me at least) harmless chip on the shoulder about the English. We both got honours degrees in Economics. Mine included Marxist Economics, Public Finance, and Currency Unions. These last two came in very useful in the last year.

Our house was more Tam Dalyell than Billy Wolfe (the SNP leader in the 60s and 70s) and I, like many others, never had any burning desire for independence. But in the past few years  I felt that, honestly presented and argued as an opportunity to go it alone, to stop blaming Westminster for all our ills, and sort out the big issues facing our country, the sacrifices and upheaval might be worth it. 

Then  I realised  the SNP were not being honest about issues facing the country, had started to curtail our democracy and freedom of speech, exchanged our traditional patriotism and pride for nationalist, populist sleaze and recruited the worst types of voters for the cause. 

The real issues facing Scotland is not “Westmonster” it is our oversized  public sector, blame and entitlement culture, poor diet and lifestyle causing self-inflicted illness and impossible strain on  the NHS, plummeting standards of education, lack of employable skills, poor parenting and lack of good, cheap housing. The SNP don’t talk about any of this because, despite having the devolved powers, you have done little about it in the last 9 years. To be fair, none of the parties talk about it for the same reason.

Our democracy is being eroded. Last week’s revelations by Lord McCluskey of severe arm-twisting of SNP MSPs on corroboration, the overturning of valid objections on wind-farms, the creeping introduction of the Parental Guardian scheme and your hounding of the BBC are just some examples. 

Our national pride is being perverted. It was an angry, defining moment when I realised the pride and symbols all Scots have in their country and history had been hi-jacked by the SNP . 

Watching you walking along 5th Avenue in tartan trews during "Scotland week" and bobbing up and down behind David Cameron waving the St. Andrews flag at Wimbledon made me cringe. 

The "Gaun yersel', Alex" CU Jimmies loved it. Around 55% of us wonder how someone behaving like this could ever be taken seriously as a statesman...Deputy Prime Minister in fact!

There are more than a million decent, clear minded Scots, including my friends and neighbours, who want Independence for honourable reasons and are prepared for the years of upheaval. There just aren’t enough of them to win a referendum.

So the SNP created a new core vote by conning and "radicalising" the very people who would suffer most under the "real" Scotland you will deliver: the benefits recipients, unemployed and unemployable. You feed their grievances, play on their misfortunes and lie about the benefits. They are the SNP’s unthinking, often threatening, shock troops. The evidence was there for us all to see at last week’s “Hope over Fear” rally in Glasgow starring Tommy Sheridan, a demagogue who was jailed for lying in court.

The SNP "dinner set" have been convinced that this is a justifiable means to an end, others have been scared  into accepting it and  those of us who see through it have been labelled as traitors to their country and tools of English "Imperialists". It's beginning to resemble the nationalism we see in Russia, or, 1920s Germany. 

I never thought I’d see the day when there was even a hint of this happening in my country.

Last week, on Nicola Sturgeon's Facebook page, I got a taste of the disgusting language  Ruth Davidson and JK Rowling experienced from the "Cybernatz" when  my reasonable points were answered  by a cretin who accused me of being a "pedo" (sic) and a "Rangers fan" (which I am). No doubt she was inspired by your recent quote that most Protestants voted "NO" .

And now the SNP aim to impose their will on either a weak Labour minority government or stoke up even more grievances against a Tory Government  in order to build the case for a second referendum.  Your recent quote “There’s a vast overwhelming majority of people in Scotland who rather like the idea of a Westminster parliament hung by a Scottish rope” is a telling guide to SNP intentions.

Thanks for exposing the threat and real agenda of the SNP in time for the electorate to wake up, but I despise this obsession, arrogance, and wholly un-Scottish approach. 

The only course available to us true Scots on 7 May 2015 is to vote tactically for the candidate  most likely to beat the SNP. 

We need to vote for the real Scotland, not your nationalist, populist, anti-UK nightmare. You and UKIP will give the establishment the wake-up call it needs, but we will avoid seeing the UK held to ransom at a critical time for our democracy, security and continued prosperity. 

Alex, with your abilities, you had a great chance to steer Scotland into sensible independence. By not thinking it through, not being honest and distorting our nationhood and pride you lost. What is now going on in the name of Scotland is potentially disastrous.

That’s why I am delivering tactical voting leaflets in Gordon. 

Allan Sutherland

Stonehaven

This article was first published here on the Scotland in Union website and later picked up by The Daily Record - from whose website it was subsequently removed.

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