I was planning a piece on the Commons debate on our independence and I did sit down and watch with my notebook and pen and I did have a few ideas and maybe a thought or two and…and…well, the truth is I threw them away after 15 minutes and watched Channel Four Racing.
You know how it is. We have a problem with our politicians and this afternoon’s show was a classic display of why people wish Guy Fawkes had got it right. They were oily to each other, playing their debating society rules – “Will the Hon Member give way?” – nodding at idiotic references to the war and British history and sounding shrill as if instead of self-determination something utterly daft had been proposed like getting rid of the Commons canteen and forcing MPs to run to Subway at lunchtime.
The first one I saw was Sir Gerald Howarth, whom I seem to remember as a right-wing bampot from the 80’s who was known as one of Maggie’s Militant Tendency according to Panorama. He is from the Thatcherite Way Forward Group founded to “defend and build upon the achievements of the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, and to adapt the principles of her era in government to modern concerns and challenges”. Do they mean people standing on their own two feet and raising their own taxes and spending it as they see fit? Do they mean recognizing the UN-enshrined right of self-determination? Yes, it seems they do…
Their core stated aim is “to provide a forum for all those who share our philosophy, from Parliament to the constituencies and helping in the eventual restoration of people’s freedom and rights”. Hurray! Freedoms and rights…
Actually Gerald meant telling the Scots that such freedoms didn’t apply to us and talked more about our role in beating the Hun and about some old soldier he knew who had landed Meccano planes on the heaving deck of carriers with no hands while puffing his pipe and winking at the gels. I tried to make this relevant to Scotland today 70 years later looking to reinvent itself in a global community but I was distracted by his tie. It was tartan. Yes, a tartan tie. Why? I’ve no idea. Have you?
There were the usual humdrum references to sticking together and shared history etc for which I have a fair amount of time myself…when it’s done with intellectual honesty. What they didn’t say for the time I listened was that the UK loved Scotland so much that Westminster policies destroyed our manufacturing base and destroyed mining communities, imposed the poll tax and how Labour refused to fight it, even when we didn’t vote for those who did it. I must have missed the reference to the state lying to the Scots about our oil wealth. The other bit of history that eluded me was how they rigged the first devolution referendum and how one of their leaders promised a better form of home rule if we rejected the one on offer and then reneged.
There was one of the new Labour women from Scotland there too. Gemma Doyle, a left-wing woman who supports nuclear weapons…only in Scotland.
There was much talk and enthusiastic nodding about the need for a border and Scotland being thrown out of the EU and how our relatives would be foreigners – like the Ossis, we would meet Auntie Nellie at Checkpoint Charlie. It was like finding yourself in a lift with a family of Moonies…you just press back up against the wall and smile a lot and when the bell rings – R|U\N|!
Forgive me but I when I hit the mute button I swore to myself: “What an ignorant, backward, smug bunch of Establishment fuckwits….”
There is a theme developing in the recent posts and I think it is this: the more we hear from the unintelligent, self-satisfied propagandists who have no concept of what is happening under their own noses, the more credible a Yes becomes. If this was to show the population that Westminster was truly the home of a vibrant, Scots-loving democracy, it was a poor shadow compared to some other dumb animals neighing and lolliping around the track at Doncaster. I honestly think we should withdraw from Westminster. I just can’t see the point. Hardly anybody turned up – not even all the Nats, if I’m right – and the tone and content of what they call debate in the Mother of Parliaments in the Greatest Union in the History of the World made John Barrowman and the Krankies sound like Churchillian statesmen. If you are running a local Yes campaign…show the video – win the vote.
And, if you’re reading in Ayr, can somebody tell me why any sensate being with a basic mastery of pencil-handling would put a cross beside a box with Sandra Osborne’s name on it? Do they think she’s Ozzy’s wife?
By the way, I hear the radio listening figures are due out. Radio Scotland I hope is substantially up with all this news about a referendum. It’s the natural home for the nation and they’ve brought in Jim Naughtie so I’m looking for a big uplift in audience when the RAJARS come out.
*Aaaaargh!? I’ve just had an email saying radio Scotland is DOWN over 12 per cent. Twelve per cent! And that’s year on year, the key indicator. So here we are in the middle of the biggest story politically, culturally and historically in our lifetimes and the national broadcaster which has no – I repeat NO – competition for speech and politics is losing audience heavily. What excuse will Jeff Zycinski cobble together this time so the staff can have a belly laugh…? It was Chritsmas…there were power cuts…football games cancelled…Derek Bateman took redundancy – only joking! This on the back of the BBC’s latest travails is appallingly bad news which cannot be spun. Somebody somewhere, and it won’t be Kenny McQuarrie, has to start asking questions. Let’s hope the MSPs start growling and get them round the ankle. Any ideas why radio audiences for speech radio would go down when the BBC is flooded with money for referendum journalism and we are all agog with interest? Maybe we’re all moving to Radio Four – I do hope not but remember Jeff says that’s alright because it’s still the BBC….