Acolytes at any rally, political, evangelical or evangelopolitical, leave their minds at the door on the way in.
They are not their to listen carefully, to read the runes and certainly never to think.
They are there to cheer on their side, to be irresistibly triumphalist and to stuff the opposition.
It does not occur to them that they are also there to be sold – cheaply – the runt of the litter, primped up to deceive.
All they want are the right dog whistles and they’re off, performing to the book – sitting, standing up, barking and howling on the prompt of the right words.
Yesterday, at the SNP rally, the First Minister, who is openly going for a personality-cult anointment on 5th May, took to the podium and, at the tail end of a long sequence of very expensive uncosted promises [which she herself undermined by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt’s saying that wishing takes as much energy as planning] – she invoked ‘belief’ that ‘Scotland should be an independent country’.
You immediately forgot that this wasn’t the Crufts dog show that is ironically running at the same time.
The hordes reared up on their hind legs, tummies bared for tickling, baying – on cue, faces alight with relief as much as anything that the deity had at last said the words.
They were ready at once to follow her on the road to the promised land:
- where everyone is better off, with free more of everything provided by a benevolent state, higher wages all round – and nobody pays more taxes;
- where no one ever worries about fictions like deficits and borrowing – John Swinney told the rally today that there are much more understandable ways to present Scotland’s economy on the doorsteps of potential recruits – you just have to say that everything in the SNP’s record in government is wonderful [easy – any idiot can understand that];
- where landlords are a distant memory and everyone has a wee croft and a butt and ben somewhere out there with the wind turbines, gifted by public money;
- where Scotland’s young people – a frighteningly high percentage of whom have been officially shown to be struggling to read, write and count – will, at a stroke [and what a stroke] be the envy of the world for their competence;
- where the current regular failures in waiting times at Scotland’s hospitals magically disappear, as John Swinney remembers that he has routinely underspent on the Scottish health service, deploying less money than the UK has given him for the job – and less per capita than the rest of the UK has spent;
- where the indulgent UK keeps on paying the pensions Scotland cannot afford – as a parting gift in token of a 300 year union ;
- where the most wonderful IT systems cost nothing and farmers get their EU grants on time;
- where external investors rush to plough their wonga into a Scotland going head down for indy;
- where the North Sea becomes a cash cow again, with the price of oil rising to $100 a barrel – as Scotland’s top oil economist, one A Salmond, with a fabulous record of predictions from the ouija board, has just pronounced it will [although the ignorant industry itself judges that $60 looks like its future limit];
- where ship building booms on the Clyde with an endless series of naval orders from a flush and kindly UK, for memory’s sake;
- where children are born knowing how to use cutlery and can eat their universal free school meals rather than accepting defeat and chucking uneaten food in the bin;
- where no child carries knives or other offensive illegal weapons – ever;
- where people gracefully turn their faces to the wall as they reach 65;
- where a Scottish government has more than two competent politicians;
- where nobody worries about the need for a strong opposition and a second parliamentary chamber because the government is so wonderful, so trustworthy and so ineffably right that such things could serve no purpose other than provide the distraction of a peripheral whinge on the sidelines, having to be shouted out of hearing by exasperated First Minsiterial bawlfests.
As the hordes sat down again they were already in that land over the rainbow.
Unlistening and unquestioning, not one noticed that the beatified one had performed a politicians trompe l’oreille and had only promised a long campaign to ‘persuade’ those who incomprehensibly have not yet bought the promised land, who are tediously rooted in fact, practicality and the achievable. But these trivialities will be swept aside in the onslaught of the ‘persuasion’ to come.
No one noticed either that it doesn’t matter if the SNP win every seat in the Scottish parliament in May this year; and it doesn’t matter if the UK votes to leave the EU while the expansively outward looking, universally migrant-welcoming Scotland has a 90% majority for staying a member: neither of these matters are to be a mandate for a second Scottish Independence Referendum.
But there’s everything to feel good about.
Her beatitude, courtesy of Totty Rocks, has elevated an independent Scotland to the mythological status of ‘a beautiful dream’.
Ah – the sentimental allure of a good old fashioned romance.
The underlying message from on high to the dauntless bravehearts, though, is ‘Dream on’.