Pétain meets Hitler 1940 Square

Paula Vennells and the SNP – beware the sordid parallels

Hamish Gobson’s diary: the view from across the Uisge

          Friday 26 January 2024

IS PAULA VENNELLS the new Nicola Sturgeon? She is undoubtedly one of the most arrogant, untrustworthy, incompetent and conceited women to have flitted across the nation’s consciousness in recent years. Despite that, I think it would be hard to elevate her to the Sturgeon category, for one main reason. Nobody made any money out of the Post Office scandal. All the sub-postmasters’ ‘stolen’ money they were forced to pay was eventually tipped into Post Office profits, it seems, and lost to view. All the KGB-style thugs who robbed these people did so out of sheer, left-brain malice. None of them pocketed the proceeds of their viciousness.

By contrast, the entire SNP operation is a way of diverting taxpayers’ funds to the Party bigwigs and their client cronies. Their way of perverting the Dewar constitution is aimed at putting them in power forever with a permanent license, Putin-style, to rob Scotland for their own benefit. No Russian oligarchic mobster would rob people for no personal gain. But the SNP mentality allows that—along with all the lies, waste and deaths, including but not limited to the care-home scandal which fortunately a non-Scottish commission is now investigating in, one hopes, proper detail. If anyone wants to understand the likely future of Scotland under the SNP, you need look nor further than the Kremlin.

Every sane Scot is now aware that we have a junta in power, not a political party and that we need higher intervention than we can ever hope for in the slack-faced form of Alister Jack’s wholly inappropriate noblesse oblige. If any man is losing the next election for the Tories in Scotland it is he, by his weakness and/or complacency in letting the SNP junta rob Scots blind while doing almost nothing about it.

Why has he not kicked Branchform in the arse by ordering a thorough UK-government audit of the finances of the Scottish sub-government? Why has he not called for personal financial consequences for those involved in the Ferguson shipyard scandal, the windfarm swindle or the care-home deaths? I will not go on; the list is too long. What is the point of the United Kingdom if it is prepared to abandon Scotland to the dregs of Dreghorn and the dunces of Dundee?

Out here in the Further Hebrides, we see clearly the rocks onto which Jack and his other semi-collaborators are driving the ship of state. In the Snorvaig reading circle, we are currently discussing a fascinating book on this subject, called France on Trial: the Case of Marshal Pétain. It is a recently-published account of the circumstances surrounding the trial, in the summer of 1945, of the man who had signed the Armistice with Germany in June 1940 and who ruled France for the next four years under Nazi supervision.

To cut a long story short, the old Marshal’s defence against the charge of collaboration with the enemies of France was that he did what he could to mitigate the asperities of German occupation—which was probably true. But it was not enough. It rarely is. In the end a moral position has to be taken on lies, crookery, gangsterism and casual homicide, and Jack is not taking one now. He is letting Scotland down.

De Gaulle features in this story as the Donald Dewar of post-war France—tall, small-headed, egocentric, power-mad and curiously unteachable, though sly. While Pétain was sitting, impassive and apparently unaware, in his solitary chair in the well of the court at the Palais de Justice, de Gaulle was nearby dreaming of a constitution which would be almost as disastrous for France as Dewar’s has been for Scotland. The Fourth Republic lasted twelve years before it went down in flames at the time of the Algerian crisis.

What has Jack done to reform the Dewar constitution by making it more democratic? His party have has had more than twelve years, yet has done nothing, absolutely nothing, except give in to the threats and menaces of the nationalists shriekers. Within the Snorvaig literary establishment, we consider such weakness to be the administrative equivalent of desertion in the face of the enemy.

Julian Jackson is Professor of History at University College, London. In his Introduction to the Pétain book, he asks a question directly relevant to the Scottish junta today. After rehearsing some of the issues the trial was to deal with, he says this:

“Beyond debating specific issues, the trial confronted broader moral and philosophical questions. Where did patriotic duty lie after defeat? Does a legal government necessarily have legitimacy? Are there times when conscience overrides the duty to obey laws? The answers to these questions were not self-evident.” (p. xxix, emphasis added)

If the United Kingdom is to mean anything positive in Scotland, Alister Jack has to start addressing such “broader moral and philosophical questions” right now. I have two of them.

First, does the “legal” government of Yousaf and his gang have legitimacy in all they do to undermine not only the British constitution, but the Dewar one too? Do we really have to obey laws made by crooks, thieves and liars?

The second one is this: the UK government has, after a shocking lapse of time, finally moved quite quickly to make amends for the Vennells regime in the Post Office. Why does Jack appear to think he does not have a similar duty to his constitutional conscience to do something similar with the Sturgeon-Yousaf mob in the Edinburgh Kremlin?


Hamish Gobson lives on the Hebridean isle of Great Todday (Todaidh Mór) and features in Nicola Sturgeon: the Years of Ascent (1970-2007) – A Citizen’s Biography of a Driven Woman in a Drifting Parliament (Ian Mitchell, 2022) – available on Amazon and also reviewed here by Tom Gallagher.

Also written by Ian Mitchell is The Justice Factory (second edition): Can the Rule of Law Survive in Twenty-First Century Scotland? which considers the future of liberal democracy, taking Scotland as an example.

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Photo of Marshal Pétain meeting Adolf Hitler, 1940, by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H25217 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5364017


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