Martin Hannan: JK’s in need of a reality check

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So that pulchritudinous purveyor of fiction to the youthful masses, Ms JK Rowling of this parish, has written on social media that she is questioning a journalist’s assertion that there “is not a trace of anti-English prejudice in the SNP.”

Note that she didn’t say the SNP was anti-English, and unlike the pathetic David Starkey, she did not equate my party with the Nazis. Her remarks were made on Twitter and maybe because she only had 140 characters rather than 700 pages, she didn’t make her point very well.

The only logical conclusion of her Twitter remarks is that there is indeed anti-English prejudice in the SNP.

The journalist in question, Iain Macwhirter, has covered Scottish politics for decades. I rather suspect that he is possibly just a little bit more knowledgeable about the political scene in Scotland than our most wealthy fiction writer.

As a member of the party for 14 years, I would like to back his assertion – I have never, ever heard any member of the SNP express anti-English sentiments at literally hundreds of meetings that I have attended in that time and before.

Ms Rowling, who writes about wizards and such things, is a novelist with an acute eye for the behaviour of children. She is not a journalist, and her “research” consisted of quoting some English people as being taunted before the referendum. “I can name a number of English friends from the top of my head who were subjected to exactly this,” she wrote.

It may interest Ms Rowling to know that the worst taunting and violence that I personally know of at the time of the referendum was committed by people carrying Union flags, denigrating Alex Salmond and the SNP, and carrying out acts of intolerance such as violently snatching the Saltire from a prostrate young woman’s hands in George Square – it’s on YouTube.

Yet it is the taunting of English people which upsets Ms Rowling.

If SNP members were responsible for these taunts, and JK Rowling has evidence that they were indeed party members, then she should forward their names to party HQ. If they are found to have carried out bad behaviour, they will be expelled. For that is how the SNP deals with members who break the party’s rules banning racism. It is not tolerated. Full stop.

I could say that Ms Rowling is really more upset about the treatment she personally gets from the so-called cybernats. I could say that Ms Rowling made a high profile donation of £1 million to Better Together, and had previously donated the same sum to the Labour Party, so should expect to get some rough treatment on social media, but I won’t. Instead I will condemn, as I have done before, those anonymous prats who undermine the cause of independence by their disgusting trolling of opponents.

Yes, I know there are unionist trolls, but two wrongs don’t make a right, and the cybernats should rein in their excesses now.

We in the SNP don’t hate the English. We just can’t abide the Westminster Tory government elected, as even a Labour-supporting fiction writer like Ms Rowling would admit, by the people of, ahem, England. We’ll all pay for that, even JK Rowling, who’ll never get her deserved Damehood from the Tories.

Ensure tram case is solid

So we are looking at an extension of the tram line to Newhaven for £145 million? The business case for this better not be just good but absolutely perfect – and independently scrutinised by citizens as well as councillors, please.

Corrupt workers deserved more

The sentence of 13 years that the four men involved in the council corruption case will now serve in jail should have been much more. Good to see that further inquiries are under way – last week’s court proceedings will not be the last, I am hearing. They weren’t the tip of the iceberg, just the stirring of a very murky pool.

MPs should tour UK during repairs

It was yet another of those headlines that made you check the date. Not April 1, and they really are saying it will cost £7 BILLION to rebuild the Palace of Westminster.

It is yet another piece of evidence as to how Westmonster (sic) hoovers up the resources of the UK, and the bill will only be less if MPs agree to move out of the crumbling edifice to allow work to go on.

So let’s see how united this kingdom is. I challenge the Houses of Commons and Lords to move out of Westmonster and tour the various parts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for periods of time while the repairs are made. After all, we’ve got a spare Assembly chamber here in Edinburgh . . .

Is racism OK when in name of humour?

Let’s mention English racism – was it just me or were the remarks made by the ‘comedian’ Sean Lock at Channel 4’s Charity Gala shown at the weekend not inherently racist? He compared the SNP’s 56 MPs “grumbling in the corner of the Commons . . . like grandparents at a gay wedding”. Ha, ha.

But then he did a xenophobic routine about Chinese accents that would have done Bernard Manning proud – and joked about Chinese cards offering “commiserations on the birth of your daughter”.

Of course it was all in the cause of humour, so that’s all right then.