A large number of Unionist politicians, activists and voters seem to strongly believe that Alex Salmond is a liar (“lying bastard” is the way it’s normally expressed), that the SNP is at heart a fascist party and that Scotland will be turned into a totalitarian one-party state after independence.
This is rather odd, because this flies in the face of all evidence. In my experience Salmond might try to avoid answering a question — like all experienced politicians — but I’d say he’s less mendacious than most. The SNP is a left-of-centre party that is welcoming to foreigners, and the first elections in an independent Scotland have already been planned for 2016.
The disconnect between reality and Unionist beliefs is so great that it’s starting to look like a conspiracy theory (defined by Wikipedia as an “explanatory proposition that accuses two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an illegal or harmful event or situation”).
In my experience conspiracies appear when people for some reason don’t feel that the obvious explanation makes any sense. For instance, lots of theories have appeared about the fate of MH370 because it sounds so unlikely that a Boeing 777 can go missing in the 21st century.
However, to me the facts about the SNP and the wider Yes movement are easy to find and make perfect sense. So what is it that make some people invent ludicrous theories about us?
Perhaps it all begins with the Too Wee, Too Poor, Too Stupid attitude. Lots of Unionists seem to take this proposition for granted (even if they don’t like to admit it out loud).
If Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid to be independent, then logically the Yes campaign must be either be misguided or lying when they claim Scotland will be a rich and successful country after independence.
Whereas many Yes campaigners can be excused as being misguided (or useful idiots, if you will), this cannot be said about Alex Salmond, who is intelligent and well-informed, as well as having hundreds of civil servants at his disposal. He must therefore be lying.
But why would he be lying? What’s his interest in claiming that Scotland can be a successful independent country? He must either be doing it out of personal ambition, or he must believe in an evil ideology (such as fascism) that blinds him to the human cost of this endeavour.
As soon as you start seeing Salmond as a budding fascist dictator, it suddenly makes sense that the entire SNP party must be full of blood and soil (Blut und Boden) Nazis. Also, fascists are known to be very regimented, so it cannot possibly be the case that the cybernats are acting independently — they must be controlled centrally, preferably by Alex Salmond himself.
And there you go — it all makes perfect sense. Except that it is completely and utterly wrong! It flies in the face of all available evidence, as anybody who has attended an SNP or Yes Scotland meeting will tell you.
It is a conspiracy theory and should be treated as such.