Few people have more right to be bitter and angry than Michelle Thomson. Her treatment at the hands of the media and the British political parties has been quite appalling. And while her resentment against the SNP leadership is surely unjustified, it is understandable in the circumstances.
I too wish the party would show rather more intestinal fortitude in standing up for those in its ranks who come under attack from the British establishment’s propaganda apparatus. But I understand the difficulty and the risks in doing so. I think Michelle is mistaken if she supposes she was offered less support simply because she is female. That simply doesn’t seem credible, given what we know about Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s strong position on gender equality. Each case has to be dealt with on its merits. In Michelle’s case, the media witch-hunt was quite extraordinarily vicious and sustained. I suspect that, intellectually, Michelle knows that the party had to distance itself from that media-generated shit-storm even as, emotionally, she is hurt by the way she was treated.
With due respect to Michelle Thomson, and fully acknowledging the torment she has suffered, the underlying issue here is, not the differential treatment of women, but the anti-SNP prejudice that is rife within the British establishment. Michelle was singled out for a protracted campaign of hate first and foremost because she was an SNP MP. That her past business activities lent themselves to the maliciously emotive spin of unprincipled media was a bonus for a British political elite desperate for a way to smear the party that it regards as an existential threat.
Can there be any doubt that, had Michelle Thomson been a member of any other party, none of this would have happened? The British establishment is quick to come to the defence of insiders. And sets upon those it regards as interlopers with all the viciousness of a predator pack. Michelle’s crime was being Scottish, rather than British. Her offence was putting Scottish interests before those of the British state. Her misfortune was to be perceived as vulnerable. Scotland needs to get much better at protecting its own.
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