Central to the task of Project Fear was the undermining of the public’s confidence in the leaders of the Scottish National Party. In early September 2014 the Daily Record predicted the demise of the SNP in the event of a No vote. They got it wrong.

As Scotland’s Project Fear began to reach peak panic, eighteen days before the 2014 referendum, David Clegg wrote in the Daily Record of the “Nationalist’s” fears that a No vote in the independence referendum would lead to the implosion of the party, leading to the “losers” descending into bickering and in-fighting. Senior civil servants behind the Scottish government were fuelling the unionist rumour mill with talk of the National Party leadership behaving like they were in the last days of the Führerbunker, preparing to save what might be left of their political careers and shoot the dog. In the final few days of the campaign it would all be about undermining confidence in the leadership of the Yes movement.

With nothing but a few inches of ink from a Sunday paper Scotland’s bid for independence was ultimately undermined and the public voted 55 percent in favour of remaining under London rule, but Clegg and the Record’s guesswork was miles out. The immediate aftermath of Yes Scotland’s referendum defeat did see a political implosion and bloodbath, but it wasn’t the Scottish National Party’s… it was the Daily Record’s own political backer, the Scottish Labour Party’s. Continuing their much loved affinity for all things Nazi, perhaps only the Third Reich collapsed with as much of a thud as did Labour after the No vote.

After bussing Conservative councillors and activists up from England, masquerading as Labour grassroots support on the streets of Scotland, declaring that we were “not genetically programmed” to make political decisions, and subjugating itself to Westminster’s Tory agenda the Labour Party’s goose was cooked. Career suicide was the order of the day as the leadership job became less desirable than that of a horse rectum inspector. Thinking of which, it was nice to see the passing of Johann Lamont and Jim Murphy. At breakneck speed Labour’s rating plummeted to less than half what it was before the vote, and the last Scottish Parliament election cemented its complete annihilation.

So what did happen to the National Party? Rather than witness a defeated SNP rip itself to pieces as they had so dearly hoped, the unionists watched on in horror as membership soared from below 30 thousand on the day of the referendum to 72 thousand by month’s end. The Party that had apparently been “rejected” by Scotland retuned 56 MPs to Westminster in the 2015 general election out of a possible 59 seats, maintained – with the Greens – a pro-independence majority in this year’s Scottish Parliament elections, and made its leader Nicola Sturgeon the most popular politician in the whole of the United Kingdom. It’s safe to say that Clegg and the Record got it wrong.

The New SNP members – Morgan Horn and Philip Spencer

030 029 008

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