THE Annoying Person is being annoying again. And I am annoyed by her enough to write about her annoyance.
Of course, the delay to the UK formally leaving the European Union was quite annoying. Or at least it was south of the border with Scotland.
It seems strange that while Labour is blaming Brexit for a defeat in the polls that is worse than in 1935, the SNP is doing the exact reverse over its success, which was mostly at the expense of Labour.
In addition, SNP members are saying that this desire to remain in the European Union is aligned with a desire for Scottish independence.
In fact, the most Annoying Person in the UK has risen to a new level of annoyance, in effect denouncing the decisive referendum of 2014 as irrelevant and demanding a fresh vote a little more than five years later.
It is not unreasonable to believe that should this Annoying Person be confidently striding down Princes Street in Edinburgh on a cold January evening, while consuming a steaming takeaway bridie cake from a local baker washed down with Irn Bru, and were to trip on a loose paving stone near the statue of Sir Walter Scott and fall flat on her face, scattering her impromptu supper to the winds, that should said offending stone be found to originate from an English quarry, she would use this as a justification for Scottish independence, or at least a vote on it.
The truth is that support for the SNP ebbs and flows. The independence referendum was lost, but the SNP made impressive gains in the subsequent general election, then lost seats in the Scottish parliamentary elections in 2016.
The SNP’s fortunes continued their wane in the 2017 general election, as the unionist vote migrated en masse to the Conservative and Unionist Party (the clue is in the name).
Labour in Scotland fared disastrously in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, the three last polls leaving the Tories as the second party in Scotland, something they have not been for a generation.
And it seems reasonable to write Labour off in Scotland for the foreseeable future if voters are polarised between independence and unionism and over the EU – on which issues Labour does not have coherent policies, as their ideology prevents them. The SNP also does not acknowledge that the Brexit Party came second in the last-ever UK EU parliament elections.
The advance of the SNP last December has to be viewed in the context of paralysis at Westminster. That was something Labour could have removed, but which the party decided to encourage with its acquired disrespect for the 2016 referendum result and the Marxist method of capitalising on destabilisation to seize power, both of which failed catastrophically for the comrades.
Labour now has one MP in a Scottish constituency, and he refuses to be Shadow Scottish Secretary so long as Jeremy Hasbyn is leader.
All this means that the fortunes of the SNP were probably boosted by unionist Remainers for whom stopping Brexit was temporarily more important than preserving the Union.
The SNP vote was more a remain vote than one for independence. The Annoying Person is playing the cards she was dealt as ostentatiously as possible, despite the provably transient nature of the SNP revival at Westminster.
The reason for this seems clear from the hard evidence of the ebb and flow of the fortunes of the SNP. She is annoyed that once Brexit is no longer a major issue, the argument will revert to unionism vs independence, and that argument was settled in 2014.
Nationalism is always more about sentiment than objective reality, but there has been an awful lot of sentiment flying around since June 24, 2016. This sentiment is now settling back. However much the Annoying Person still wishes to be annoying about Brexit, the fact is that Brexit is no longer annoying.
What will be increasingly annoying for the Scottish voter is the poor quality of devolved governance by the SNP, something from which the SNP always tries to deflect attention to avoid voter annoyance being expressed at the ballot box.
It will be annoying to them that annoyed Scottish voters will increasingly start to notice that devolution of powers means that the buck stops at the Annoying Person, however much she tries to toss said buck caber-like south of the border.
After January 31, the SNP will have to find another annoyance to deflect attention. And there are no new issues on the horizon. Perhaps a flagstone may be persuaded to come loose.