There is something about Donald Trump and his Presidential campaign that I really like. This may sound odd for a columnist who has previously called Mr Trump a "waste of space", "deplorable", and akin to a "school bully" but there is part of me that genuinely likes the Trump phenomenon. I don't care for his policies per se. Building a wall across America's southern border is absurd and making the Mexican government pay for it is the stuff of fantasy. A blanket ban on Muslim immigration is obscene and inflicting "punishment" on women for having abortions is atrocious.
That being said, there is still something I like.
That "something" is what is causing many sleepless nights and raised voices in both Republican and Democratic HQ - Mr Trump is the ultimate in antiestablishment chic. He is a straight forward, blunt, brash braggart who is not beholden to orthodoxy. He is a political hand grenade that the reigning politically correct leftists have pulled the pin out of and dropped in their own trenches; and he is exploding. If he wins, which he might, he won't just give the political class the cliched 'bloody-nose', he will blow their heads clean off. That is his undeniable appeal.
Mr Trump is part of an exciting reactionary tidal wave of unorthodox politics. As Milo Yiannopoulos correctly points out, he is a product of the same factors that gave us Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, the True Finns and Bernie Sanders. The left maintain that Sanders and Corbyn are not the same but that is obvious partisanship. They prefer the cosy antiestablishment-ness of Corbyn and Sanders and that ingrained preference leads to a bias that causes them to wilfully ignore the common theme. It's unsurprising given that the left has form when it comes to doublethink of this kind.
If the US has Trump, EU politics has the Greens and the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy folks, and UKIP fill the role on a UK level; the question becomes, what about Scotland?
It most certainly applies but in a typically Scottish way. One of the things that makes me proud to be a Scot is our habit of scorning everything we're supposed to do and going violently off-script. We are a nation of rebels and caustic innovators who do things differently. We are the country where the Mars Bar is a dish best served scolding hot and where, in a country as dreich as ours, we put our chaps in skirts, without underwear, at every opportunity. We defy trends and we've bucked another one here. While the rest of the world has the rebels separate from the establishment - we've put ours in the same party and put that party in government.
It's called the Scottish National Party and a talent for playing two tunes on the same instrument is the reason it's winning.
Some have said that the SNP is the finest political machine in Scottish politics. They are right but the compliment, in fact, does the SNP a disservice. It's also the finest party machine in the UK and, with the exception of Mr Trump, in the world. It's all down to intelligent political role-switching, from player to referee.
On one hand, the SNP is the party of the Scottish Government. It has been so for the last two Parliaments and all the signs suggest that it will form another majority administration after May's elections. Nicola Sturgeon will command an experienced government with a crack team of ministers behind her. SNP MSPs will be disciplined and know the party line better than the names of their own children or parents. Should the predicted SNP performance become reality then it will once again hold all the power, dominate all the committees, and have unfettered scope to implement its agenda for another term. It does not get much more establishment than that. This is to say nothing of state guardians for Scottish children, restrictions on local authorities, centralising the police and turning football fans into criminals for their taste in a cappella music. Regardless of your political persuasion - which if you live in Scotland is statistically likely to be pro-SNP - you cannot deny that the SNP is the establishment in Scotland.
All of which makes its perception as the party of the two-finger raising rebel even more odd. It seems that on one channel we have Angus Robertson lambasting the establishment or Mhairi Black delivering another rebellious but ultimately empty speech; while on the other is the message of how good things are in Scotland and why we should carry on as we have been under the Nationalists. The SNP is both the shouty, protesting, agitating party of grievance and the party of the administration, the political class, and the elite.
The SNP has occupied these roles for one clear reason. There is no legitimate, outsider opposition in Scotland. Scottish Labour continues to languish in a directionless muddle while the Scottish Tories are seen as being too influenced by the UK Conservative Party to be the hell-raising rebels that Scottish politics desperately needs.
This is why Scotland needs a Donald Trump.
We need an angry, aggressive, bullish figure to emerge from somewhere. We need someone capable of making the SNP, and the Scottish political establishment, have a few restless nights of their own. Our political class has become so comfortable that it fits inside both a party and a boring, leftist, social democratic consensus. I, for instance, seem to be the only commentator in Scotland calling for an income tax cut to boost growth and sober us up from our public spending smack habit - that's how much nauseating consensus there is. The time is right for someone to come along and shatter the chummy atmosphere by being a belligerent dickhead. If not in the name of making Scotland 'great again' then certainly for the purpose of expanding and polarising our political discourse before it becomes even more stale, centrist, and begins to achieve even less due to terminal intellectual inertia.Suggest a correction