Wednesday 18 January 2012

Margaret McAlpine and Joan Thatcher

The SNP MSP Margaret Joan McAlpine has got herself into a bit of trouble:
What I said that day was clipped on some television bulletins in a way which cut me off mid-sentence so that I seem to be saying that Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories were anti-Scottish, full stop.

But there was no full stop. The sentence goes on to say “in coming together to defy the will of the Scottish people and the democratic mandate that they gave us to hold a referendum at a time of our choosing.”

I can fully understand Joan's annoyance at being misquoted, in particular by the egregious Douglas Alexander on Question Time.

But cast our minds back to around twenty-five years ago.

The then UK prime minister Joan Margaret Thatcher shocked us all by stating that: "There is no such thing as society".

This "quote" has been continuously thrown at Mrs Thatcher.

Except that's not quite what she said, was it?

Here's the full quote:

And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.
I strongly suspect that plenty of SNP politicians have "quoted" Mrs Thatcher wrongly over the years. What goes around comes around.

On balance this event is probably a useful lesson for the SNP. More than two years before the referendum they've learnt that they are in a fight to the death. One side will win and one will be destroyed.