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Clap for Nicola

Since March I have not clapped for anyone. I have not gone into the street. I have not banged on pots and pans. I have not yelled, and I have not sung. I do not do such things.

I have a different viewpoint on ethics and follow this teaching:

When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. …

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

I dislike virtue signalling and more than that I dislike the social conformity that goes with it.

In Britain the NHS has become something like a post-religion religion for those who have lost their faith in God. I do not follow this religion.

My experience of the NHS is mixed. I am very pleased indeed that I live in a country where there is free healthcare, but I would live in such a country in all of the developed world. There are different ways of organising healthcare and paying for it. The model that was set up 72 years ago in Britain is not necessarily the best. But Clapping for carers prevents us from even talking about this. It prevents us from looking at whether Germany or France have better health care than we do. They do. It prevents us from asking why. The NHS is enormous, bureaucratic and inefficient.

The staff who have been working in our hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care homes have been brave. They deserve our thanks. But we could have done better. Clapping for them prevents us even analysing what has gone wrong.

Someone in Scotland has decided to imitate Clap for carers by organising Clap for Nicola

Our First Minister has done an exceptional job throughout what’s been a strange year so far, to say the least. We clapped for our fantastic NHS. We even clapped for Boris at some point (why, I’m not quite sure). Let’s give Nicola the ‘full regalia’ on her 50th birthday, Sunday 19th July at 8pm. Get the pipes and pans oot and cheer once more for oor Nicola! And let’s make sure Westminster hear us!

The use of the word Westminster (SNP code for England). Tells us exactly the point of view of the writer.

The reason by the way why some people clapped for Boris (I didn’t), was that they thought he might be dying. The mistake of clapping for Boris was it was precisely the pressure to conform to clapping for carers that nearly killed him.

I will always remember a desperately ill Prime Minister standing outside in March clapping away. He should have been in bed.

This is the problem with social conformity and virtue signalling. It escalates. It isn’t accidental that shortly after mass clapping on the doorstep we have had mass going down on one knee.

Now we are asked to clap for Nicola Sturgeon because it is her birthday. If Scotland became independent would we all be expected to clap her each time she was re-elected and on the anniversary of Scottish independence. Would we be expected to do this whether we voted for her or not?

This is the problem with public clapping of politicians. It rather does away with the concept of the secret ballot. It turns politics into a mass show of hands like used to happen with trade union ballots. It prevents dissent because social pressure means everyone can see who does or does not clap for carers/Boris/Nicola Sturgeon.

Five years ago, I wrote a very long piece comparing the SNP to a religious cult

I don’t know if I was the first to make the comparison, but I was one of the first. I have had some real-life experience with cultish behaviour. I think now that describing the SNP as “the Cult” is sometimes a touch overdone. But there is no question whatsoever that the situation now is much worse than it was five years ago.

I disagree with Nicola Sturgeon politically, but there is no question that she is popular with others and that there is a reason for this popularity. She communicates exceptionally well and is one of the most talented politicians in Britain. Do not underestimate your opponent.

Sturgeon has worked very hard since March, but her performance has largely depended on British expertise and British money. It diminishes her that she has shown zero gratitude for this.

Scotland has had broadly similar numbers of Covid cases and deaths to Britain as a whole when measured in comparison to our population. We have had considerably more care home deaths.

I fear that Sturgeon’s caution and desire to follow a different path to the British Government will cost the Scottish economy more dearly long term. We will recover economically more slowly than we might have. Sturgeon’s caution will cost more lives than it saves.

I have long thought that the economic costs of Covid will cost more lives than the illness. I believe future study will show this.

Sturgeon deserves no more applause than any other politician who is working hard and doing her best.

The problem we have in Scotland is that too many people judge Scottish politics not on the basis of outcomes, but on the basis of whether they believe in Scottish independence or not.

It was this mentality that led to statues of Lenin going up all over the Soviet Union and his being treated as the secular version of the second coming of Christ. It meant that everyone had to praise Marxism-Leninist even when we knew that the day to day reality and performance was so dreadful.

Clapping for carers leads eventually to clapping for Nicola, not because the clappers particularly care about her performance but because of their devotion to her. They would clap and indeed vote for her party whether her performance was good bad or indifferent. They would indeed be unable to discern good from bad. This is what makes it perfectly imaginable that Edinburgh would be renamed Sturgeongrad or something similar and that Scotland would join that countries ending in “stan” that erect enormous gold statues to their leaders.

Clapping for Nicola is a sort of collectivist brainwashing to whatever faults Sturgeon may have. It is to believe that she is incapable of error, unable to sin. If Sturgeon became sick, I would pray for her just as I prayed for Boris.  But I won’t clap for her. We should not use a trumpet to express our political views nor demand that we do so collectively.

Scotland still needs rescuing from such clappers.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog: https://www.effiedeans.com/2020/07/clap-for-nicola.html

About Effie Deans

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Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger who works at the University of Aberdeen. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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One comment

  1. Clap for wee Krankie! You have to be off your tiny rocker. There are plenty of things I would like to do for her but clap is definitely not one.

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