Although I can’t really describe myself as somebody who supports the SNP, I have watched with some interest the exploits of its newly elected MPs. With the support of the SNP press office, they have provided a unique insight into the life of a newly elected MP. Although a sizable minority are career politicians, I don’t doubt the past week has been an adventure for them. One of the defining moments was seeing Mhairi Black enjoy a chip roll (no sauce) on the House of Commons Terrace.
Ms Black enjoys celebrity status due to impolite comments she made in the past which, rightly, were highlighted during the General Election. However, I hope that now that she has been elected she will be given a chance to flourish at Westminster. At only 20 years of age, she has the potential to act as a role model for young people across the UK.
I do, however, wonder about the role models she has been provided with within the SNP group. Yesterday, now that the week of selfies, Irn-Bru and chip rolls is over, we saw two quite unsavoury incidents.
Firstly, in an attempt to occupy a prominent seat, the SNP’s Pete Wishart organised a rota of SNP MPs to prevent Dennis Skinner taking up his normal place. This smacked of an overgrown schoolboy who had nothing better to do with his time. If the SNP want to oppose the Tories, they should work with Dennis Skinner not against him.
Secondly, it was remarkable that during the debate regarding the election of the Speaker all but one of those who spoke exuded good humour, self-deprecation and respect for their political opponents. The exception was the SNP’s Angus Robertson – he was happier being triumphalist and making points at the expense of others whilst repeating election rhetoric.
If Ms Black is to do well, and I am sure she will, she should select her role models carefully.