To Err Is Human…

Tonight, my own MP made a statement about breaking Covid isolation rules. She apologised and owned her own stupidity. No, it does not excuse what she has done. It was, in her own words, ‘no excuse’ for her actions. Actions, compounded by further ‘stupidity, when she then travelled home, by train, knowing she was Covid positive.

We hold our elected representatives to a higher accountability than we hold ourselves. We always do. That’s why every representative of a political party, or any public figure, will have any and every piece of dirty washing hung out to dry as soon as it becomes available. For the most part. If the narrative suits.

Whether that be extra-marital affairs or financial irregularities or something that was said in or out of context. We expect better. We deserve better.

But, do you know what? They’re human. Not one single one of us could put our hand on our heart and declare that we would like our dirty washing exposed for all to comment upon.

And that’s one of the reasons why so few people – ordinary people – will ever become involved in politics. Or do anything that brings them to public notice. Most of us – if not all – could ever claim to be saints.

Am I excusing what @MargaretFerrier did? No, absolutely not. She was wrong. She knows it. We know it. And blood is being bayed for.

But.

I want to speak of what I know of Margaret Ferrier. I have worked closely with her in campaigns and listened to her in meetings, discussed politics with her and I can tell you, hand on heart, I, personally, know of no other person who is so dedicated and hard-working in pursuit of a cause. For her, the cause is being a voice. A voice for the people she represents.

And I can almost hear her, rationalising to herself…’I feel fine. I’ll keep my distance. I have to do my job. I have to be where I’m meant to be. It’ll be fine.’

We’ve all be done the same, in other circumstances. Gone into work when we should have been at home. Smitten people with colds and flu because our presence was expected. Yes, Covid is no ordinary flu. Margaret knows that. We know that. But there is an invidious pressure, built into us, as the working task force, that we’ll be fine, that we need to do what is expected of us, be where we have to be. We call it being responsible. And, sometimes, as in this case, we’re wrong. Never done that? I know I have. But, usually, it turns out fine.

This time, it was not fine. It may never be fine for Margaret again. Both politically and personally. How does anyone come back from what, for many, is a betrayal of confidence?

Except…

Time and time again, over the course of the last few years – probably, most noticeably from 2006 and the recession that saw all of us suffer – some, certainly, more than others. Some, with their lives. Some, like the banks, suffered that bit less. But we helped them through it, didn’t we? Took one on the nose for capitalism. We stiffened our upper lip and got on with life as best as we could while foodbanks thrived and DWP claimants died.

We accepted suffering like a bad case of the flu and accepted policies, to save the economy, while those responsible did not. While those, in other countries, took a different course of action and did not penalise their citizens for the sins of corporate decisions.

While policies were implemented that traduced humanity, implemented by a Tory Government that Margaret Ferrier has fought against with every breath, on every doorstep.

It makes me sick to see the joy that people have in what may be the downfall of someone who cares.

She was wrong.

But…

The wrongs that have been perpetuated by successive Tory Governments are wrong. Who decrees the actions that are more wrong?

The answer lies in who perceives and how things are perceived.

Where is the media when it comes to declaring the wrongness of hardship and deaths through sanctions, of regulations and laws broken by the very people who create them? Where is the baying for blood of the worst UK Government since Thatcher? How is it even possible that I can declare, having lived through the Thatcher years, that this UK Government is worse?

How is it even possible that the hypocrisy of the Thatcher years can be outmatched? How is it possible that the media – with notable exceptions – does not hound the living daylights out of the atrocities and law-breaking that have come to light via connections with Trump, Cambridge Analytica, Dark Money, Bannon, DUP bribes? Jeez, my mind is overflowing with anger at the free pass the media is giving those who flout the rules of democracy.

Democracy, today, as it stands, on both sides of the Atlantic, is most likely terminal. The Tory party, in power, with backseat drivers, is ensuring its death here while the USA fights to save what is left of its soul.

Margaret Ferrier was determined to fight that. She thought her voice in Westminster was pivotal. Perhaps that is a sin of vanity or a narcissistic belief that, without her voice, something will not be said that needs saying.

I, honestly, do not know. Is Margaret narcissistic? Is Margaret vain? I don’t know. Maybe. Evidence may suggest this to some. I can only speak of what I know, for I am no psychologist, although we all seem to proclaim knowledge of subjects we are not experts in.

I’ll mouth off about this and that. Bet you do too. We all do. We have demeaned the experts. We have declared that experts, in their chosen field, are somehow not to be listened to. Not to be believed. We have entered the Twilight Zone and nothing seems to be what it should be. And everyone is an expert on everything for five minutes. Everyone is shouting their mouths off about subjects that they have little or no knowledge of. And fewer of credentials.

We reap what we sow.

The UK is currently reaping what it has sown.

The UK, as it stands, is dead.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

May God have mercy on its soul.

I guarantee you, however, that there is no joy to be had in what may be the demise of Margater Ferrier’s political or personal endeavours. The cause of Independence for Scotland does not rest with the SNP or, indeed, any one representative or member. The cause of independence rests with the people of Scotland.

Bay for blood, whether you be anti or pro. Do not rejoice. The cause is not dead.

Unlike any belief in democracy currently existing in the UK.

That is deceased. It is the proverbial, dead parrot. Not coming back to life, no matter how any may sell it. Dead.

Margaret, you were wrong. Margaret, I may very well be expelled from the SNP for writing this. So be it.

The SNP is, for me, a vehicle to the rights and sovereignty of the people of Scotland.

Independence is imminent if we declare it so. And I, for one, declare it so.

Margaret, you were so foolish. But….

I think I know you well enough to know why you thought you’d somehow be okay and that, like myself, not so long ago, it would turn out to be a false positive and it was more important that you be where you thought you should be.

I would never have chosen to be in your shoes. I would never have had the confidence and temerity to speak up for and out for the people you represent in the way you do. I would never stand for election. I would never be the voice of a local community in such an outstanding way. It’s just not my personality. But you, Margaret, you have served us so well. You have been the voice we needed.

The whip has been removed from you. And, part of me, thinks, rightly so. We must uphold the standards we expect of others.

Another part of me, a massive part of me, thinks thank God that isn’t me.

If there is anyone who wishes to be in your shoes, right now, I declare them liars

You, Margaret, however, are no liar. You were wrong. But you declared it so. I hope, with all my heart, that no one suffers as a result of your actions. That, from what I know of you, would cause you untold grief.

Right now, you’re suffering. Wondering, oh my God, what have I done? Not just to yourself and your political career. But to anyone who may have come into contact with you, that may, as a result, contract this gawd-awful virus. To the party that you represent. To the people who look to you for a way forward. A better way.

I’m no priest but your penance must surely be how you are currently feeling and thinking about your own inexcusable actions.

Oh, that there were so many in politics who had your conscience.

Rail here, if you wish, I’m not listening. I’ll say it as I see it.

I may soon not be a member if what I have said offends, in some way.

But I cannot stand back and see someone so persecuted who, although being wrong and acknowledging it, will become the sacrificial lamb that none of us would wish to be.

We get what we vote for and I’m still glad I voted for you. The voice of a community. Someone who erred. Just like all of us. Just like so many other in positions of authority. You were wrong. Others have been wrong. Some have been answerable. Some, more prominent than yourself, remain, astonishingly, unanswerable. Has it ever been otherwise?

Margaret, again, for those here who may question my motives, I declare you were wrong in what you did. But I also declare my support of you as an outstanding voice for those you represent. Always there. Always active. Always willing to listen and act. Always going above and beyond what anyone could reasonably expect, both in effort and time dedicated to serving.

You have no idea how much I wish that you had not made the choices you made.

But…

I recognise, as anyone who is honest must, that I make mistakes every single day. The consequences of mine rarely see the light of day because I am a coward when it comes to public exposure.

As wrong as you were, Margaret, I take my hat off to your willingness to be a voice and to your willingness to accept the consequences of your actions.

Whatever may, ultimately, result as a final consequence of your choices, I know that I, as one of those you represent, will be glad of the role you have played in seeing Scotland move forward as a country that recognises and works towards bettering ourselves and all our fellow citizens.

In the words of Michelle Obama ‘When they go low, we go high’.

Raise the cause by doing the right thing, as you have always been known to do. And rejoice, Margaret, that a cause does not die because of the actions of one.

The party, as always, as most parties, with notable, evident exceptions, hold representatives and delegates to a higher standard than the general public.

As a member of the Branch you represent, I am willing to be expelled for speaking out. But, I cannot stand by and watch you be held accountable to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.

I have broken rules and regulations, Covid notwithstanding, and will do so again because, sometimes, we do what we think we are expected to do, what we are obliged to do, even while better judgement tells us it is wrong.

‘Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone’.

And my face, therefore, is shut.