By Bill Heaney
If you want to make God laugh then tell him what your plans are.
What must have been Nicola Sturgeon’s plans when finally, but messily, she scraped Alex Salmond off her political plate? Or thought she had.
Poor Nicola, and that’s a phrase you won’t hear often, must have thought it would be a breeze for her just to go on and win the election on May 6.
The chauffeur driven limo and the official residence in Charlotte Square would be in the bag for another five years.
Not so, however. When Henry McLeish departed the East Wing of St Andrew’s House back in 2001, it was said to be a muddle not a fiddle that put him out on the street.
For Nicola Sturgeon it will be a fankle, and a self-created one at that.
So many complicated rules over the selection of SNP candidates; so many blunders in the way she has attempted to jettison Alex Salmond, her old friend and mentor, out the Holyrood door.
What she should have done really was put him in Edinburgh Zoo along with the Chinese panda and the Russian bear – and kept him there.
Politics is a cruel business and careers in it almost inevitably end in disappointment.
The only real good her porridge plot for Salmond has done for her is to take the spotlight off the many mistakes she has made which, if the public were given the opportunity to see them in some detail, her Secret Scotland – haud yer peace fur independence – then she would be out on her ear.
The biggest scandal of all has happened at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital, which serves not just Greater Glasgow but West Dunbartonshire and Argyllshire too.
We were promised the best hospital if not in the whole world at least in the western world but we are being made to stump up for it at the eye-watering cost of almost £900 million.
Pigeon droppings and dirty water caused deaths at showpiece hospital.
However, what did we get for our money? Dirty water running through the taps and pigeon droppings which infected patients, adults and children, and caused some of them to die.
The initial official report press release on that does not mention death even once.
There is no excuse for that. There never will be, although doubtless Nicola Sturgeon and Jeane Freeman, the former Health Secretary, will try to find some.
Spin doctors will be paid a fortune to write the script which will be economical with the truth, full of obfuscation and will amount to what we see in so many official reports – a whitewash and a cover-up.
In many ways, it will be just like Covid. Everything was in place to deal with it, according to the Nippy Sweetie, apart from sufficient PPE, hospital beds, adequate staffing.
Who wants to bet there won’t be a word about the highly- qualified staff who quit in the face of the management turning a deaf ear to their warnings about the danger to patients.
We are fast running out of vaccine and the number of deaths is rapidly advancing towards the 10,000 mark in Scotland. Does that define success?
One would think from the way Nicola does her Shirley Temple act in front of the television cameras every day that she and her SNP government deserve praise for the way this pandemic and lockdown have been handled.
Anyone with a single iota of common sense and a modicum of political experience will tell you that it hasn’t.
That the SNP have taken their eye off their main business of running the country to engage in an internal battle which has seen them fighting like rats in a sack.
And which has already cost the poor taxpayers who are having to pick up the bill more than £1 million.
How many inquiries have we had into the perceived failings of public institutions, such as the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, since the SNP took over at Holyrood, aided and abetted by the Green Party, 14 years ago?
How much have they cost and how long is it planned for this to go on? Millions, if not billions of pounds, have been squandered on austerity policies that have plunged the country deeper and deeper in debt.
With the SNP, we have had a bonfire of inanities. Squandermania rules at Holyrood. Flamingo Land is just one example of why we should not be spending any more public money on so-called Scottish Enterprise.
And we should restructure the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority and take it out of the hands of the wealthy Harris tweed and bool in the mooth brigade.
Today was the first day of this six week election campaign. Much to the great chagrin of Nicola, her pompous wee husband and their parcel of rogues in Edinburgh, an SNP win is no longer a certain outcome.
In fact, it’s most unlikely to happen at all now that Salmond’s ALBA is party joining the pantomime that passes for a democratic process in Scotland.
Our own first dealings with ALBA indicate that we are about to get more of the same idiocy we have had to put up with McColl and Co running West Dunbartonshire Council.
There is unlikely to be a RIZLA paper between the policies of the SNP and the ALBA party. That is if ALBA have any policies at all, apart from independence.
ALBA’s ranks will be stuffed with zealots. The See You Jimmy hats brigade; the Saltire wavers, and wode wearing mediocrities, such as those who occupy the members’ seats in the Burgh Hall.
The ones who failed in the SNP candidate selection process. People like McColl, who came second bottom in the List and his deputy, Caroline McAllister, who didn’t get on it at all.
Decent members of the SNP who care about the real issues facing Scotland, child poverty, health services, housing, domestic abuse, the environment around Loch Lomondside, salaries for social workers and social care staff will be shoved aside by these people.
The ones who wanted to let the grass grow under our feet in our parks, cemeteries, open spaces and sidewalks and to pull up the flowers in our parks. They will continue in office.
First indications of this are that McAllister refuses to speak with The Dumbarton Democrat. We have legitimate questions about whether she believes in a free press and openness and transparency in government, local and national.
We want to ask her the awkward questions that journalists are supposed in a democracy to ask politicians, such as:
Now that you are a member of the ALBA Party will you continue to vote with the SNP administration on West Dunbartonshire Council? Will you be locked out of SNP group meetings?
Are you joking when you tell us it is your ambition to take a seat on the Regional LIst at Holyrood come May 13?
Sturgeon may hate hate the prospect that the SNP and ALBA will be standing together come May, but she’ll hate it even more if they win a few seats as has been forecast.
If you have thought this last year to have been politically catastrophic for Scotland then gird your loins if the SNP and Alba manage to squeeze out all the other parties come May 6.
The war to come won’t just be over who owns the right to sing Flower of Scotland.
The Scottish Parliament elections will take place on May 6. Make sure you have received a polling card or a postal vote.