26th January 2014
A nation’s a nation for a’that
Smug is as smug does. Though we’ll get to John Barrowman later. In the meantime, the First Minister – top beneficiary of the smug jibe – was spotted early in the week with a cheeser like he’d got a coat hanger stuck in his toot. The elbow-nudging “I hate to say it, but we told ye so’s” initiated with the publication of a University of the West of Scotland year-long study, which uncovered in the 12 months prior to September 2013, both the BBC and STV had favoured the No campaign to the tune of a 3:2 benefit ratio. Reporting Scotland, with digits 272:171 reminiscent of an amateur darts match tally, stood out as the cheekiest culprit. Anti Beeb may well have been flexing her Popeye-strength arm for the UK establishment, though isn’t it good to know West of Uni Boffin Central is keeping Marty Feldman-esque peepers on the media pair, and at the same time? No mean feat that. With Yes Scotland’s driving force, Blair Jenkin’s having held the post of former Head of Partisan United a.k.a News and Current Affairs at both STV and BBC Scotland, the irony is lost on no one.
Reports overall certainly weren’t thin on the ground this week. A pick of the bunch was that of Glasgow University Professor of Economics, Ronald MacDonald who meatily asked where the Government’s plan B lay in preparation for the no go of a plan A, i.e. a continued sterling monetary union post-independence. Spoiling for a bit of a stooshie on the back of this, naturally Better Together ran with the question; “What currency would Scotland use should we leave the UK? Indeed can it not be proposed we go back to the bawbee? To the value of a Scottish ha’penny during the reign of Mary Queens of Scots the bawbee had a currency rate of six Scots pence to an English halfpenny. Perhaps this won’t be unnerving chancellor George Osborne quite yet; a man who doesn’t know his bawbee from his bawbag. But should it be ruled out, there’s always the mighty plack.
Lovers of our national poet were warming up their neeps in the microwave on Saturday evening. It’s fitting that Burns Suppers, in the year of our referendum, fell officially on the party night of the week. Rabbie would’ve liked that no doubt, his revellers waking on Sunday morn to the chant of my sick is like a red, red wine. Modern day poet laureate Liz Lochhead, in a Guardian article on Burns Night eve laid down the claim, with fair argument, that the scoundrel bard would surely vote for independence. By way of his brilliantly offal poems and passion for themes of autonomy, equality and slavery, Burns has been 218 years a bard, our bard for a’that. No doubt if he were alive today, he’d grab the microphone and recite a new one along the lines of “It’s Been a Lang Time Comin Wha Hae.”
And now back round to smug – as cringeworthy moment of the week is owned by the crummiest, most flakiest accent in the world. Enter that jack of many entertainment trades, master of none, John Barrowman. Calling Alex Salmond “the pudding of our chieftain race” among other jibes during a Better Together interactive online Burns supper merely attached him with a look as cool as a Michael Bolton song in an unventilated 21st floor elevator. The boke-wretchin performance ridiculing independence did nothing other than suggest he’s clearly been snorting pickled onion Space Raiders and has fallen from the pantomime tree and landed on his noggin one too many times. Aye Aladdin McFadden, who is more Yankee than a Cadillac, bides between London and Cardiff and has no vote, insists that he does have an opinion and a voice. Might it be suggested in which case he and Frankie Boyle step into the vacant shoes of the TV referendum official debate? That’s bound to light the Torchwood no end.
Next week, breaking exclusive news in the Scotsman: The board of Rangers F.C reveal how they will vote in the referendum. . .
19th January 2014
A Week of Fun and Games. . . Prepare to Qualify
Some weeks are easier to pin the tail on the donkey than others – and this was one of them. The merry-go-round, vaudeville, politico sit-com fest, more commonly known as the Scottish referendum debate stepped into hot thumb-war action over the past seven days. While the cover was blown on those playing Russian roulette with smoking toy guns, others have been doing their hide-and-seek best to avoid the big debates. Whichever way we choose to finger paint it, some politicians like to act like bigger wee weans than others.
Let’s play eeny-meeny-miny-moe to find out why. . .
In the SNP’s own version of ingle-angle-silver-bangle between Big Eck and Wee Nic, the First Minister on winning a best-of-three shouted “You’re het!” So off Dep-dawg trundled to lay it on thick the Government’s 50 must answer questions for the No campaign. Project Fearty Pants, in a reply more hastily instant than luke warm Kenco, stated that when it came to the future cost and consequence of a (hypothetically) post referendum status quo, they more or less had no case to answer. Fearties they may be, clairvoyants they certainly are not, as in question No 4 when asked “Can you guarantee Scotland will still be in the European Union in 2020 if there is a No vote?” they replied it was impossible to say as even Alistair Darling in his Specsavers specials doesn’t have 2020 vision.
In the meantime, that other Ally Bally Bee was throwing his toys and Coulter’s candy out the pram by getting all huffy and calling the White Paper for everything, eloquently branding it all a “mirage.” Funny that, since plenty of Alistair Carmichael’s own party’s birdseye waffle has been festooned in many an optical illusion; the Lib Dem’s hallucinations of scrapping tuition fees being the best acid trip gone wrong since the second Summer of Love. In a wee twist to the tale, on the first day of independence perhaps Alex Salmond should appear over Calton Hill on a tartan-dyed camel to the tune of Lawrence of Arabia, the vicky being stuck up on the way down no figment of anyone’s imagination.
The Sunday Herald vodka-bathed in their scoop that no other mainstream media outlet deemed fit to publish with news that David Cameron has along the dusty track gone cossack in hand to Russia’s president under the headline, “Cameron’s plea to Putin: help me stop Salmond.” It’s unclear big Vlad’s position on DC’s fearty overture, though #nyetyabam has been trending from inside the Kremlin in the same week. Of course, none of it is a surprise to no one in the know, what with Ruski echelons notorious for offering negativity and control-freakery among its social minorities, much like the лучше вместе campaign. What’s more, isn’t asking foreign diplomats to intervene in domestic policy, therefore undermining democratic process not – at least under the James Bond rule of thumb – a form of treason?
Foreign Secretary William Hague kept quiet on this one despite his visit to Glasgow on Friday. Though rumour had it that if prodded he was ready to send out his media spiv in a tinker, tailor, soldier, spies like us moment of declaration that the attaché did it with a balalaika in the grassy knoll. Meanwhile Putin, to appease his paranoia that the British are coming, the British are coming has put top agents Nyckers Onandofski and Tchu Mabolokoff on the case. . .just in case.
Poster of the week came courtesy of Yes in Graphics designer, Stewart Bremner, titled “Labour leaders would rather Scotland was governed by Tories than Scots.” The communiqué implies exactly what is says on the tin, with a no-frills-1980s-tight-budget-Yorkshire-miners-union-propaganda-message feel to it. Whatever the opposite of airbrushing Gordon Brown’s jowls is referred to technically, Bremner has achieved the effect no end.
The game of rebranding Prestwick Airport made the news this week, with the scrapping of the “Pure Dead Brilliant” slogan the first welcomed casualty, with Scottish Government now at the helm. While “Brilliant” was being unhinged and tossed in the skip, the “Pure Dead…” left hanging was momentarily a true reflection of the concrete zombie the airport building has become. Prestwick has carried the much derided moniker for almost nine years since its introduction by former owners, Infratil Limited, a New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company. What few realised at the time is the slogan was a second-choice replacement after the cross-diplomatic “Haka The Noo” was shot down. Either way, pure dead embarrassing. Meanwhile at the tail end of the week, renewed calls for the airport to be renamed Robert Burns International with the outline of a wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie incorporated in any new slogan was doing the rounds up and down the South Ayrshire coast.
Game over. . . Insert comments to continue.
12th January 2014
January Blews and Countdown News. . .
The alarm shatters the ear lug at 5.45/6.20/7.10am (delete as appropriate). The first Monday snooze button press back to dark, concrete absoluteness after New Year’s. No one, minus those with a penchant for numerical oddity sets the clock for 5.47/6.23 or 7.12am, let’s face it. That cumulative drone is not a fault with the neighbour’s rumbling boiler. Nor the bewail of the dog’s bladder at the back door. It is the groan of the people. Collectively back to work, back to job-seeking, back to education, back to reality. . .the January blues, somewhat a forgone conclusion.
This week while we were shaking eye crust off and extra holiday pounds up from warm bedsheets – aka the calm before the shitstorm – referendum click bait was revving up lubricously before lunchtime. A peak at Yes Scotland’s online countdown clock confirmed 254 days to go. . . Gear up, game on. . .seconds out, one-two, one-two.
A nice little Monday morning stoater for ten was the report of former Scottish Secretary of State Michael Forsyth’s mid-1990s take on growing support for devolution, uplifted from freshly published documents; which were at the time in the hands of Tory misdeeds. Forsyth back then uttered: “Consequently people wanted it and there was a general feeling of ‘we was robbed’ and that not enough account was being taken of our way of life.” A belting use of sport’s phraseology that. Though perhaps what is missing is a photo of Forsyth being carted down the steps of the SFA’s HQ with the late Jim Farry on piggy-back duty, calling themselves “FOR-FAR United,” since neither knew hee-haw about the people they were ‘elected’ to serve and in the end were done out of their job for relative misconducts. Scottish football administration and Tory politics in the 1990s? There were times when nobody had a scooby where one murky stench puddle ended and the other began.
Laugh of the week came from the London Big Hoose as Glasgow Labour MP, Ian Davidson bee-lined David Cameron’s mop during Prime Minister’s Questions on the referendum debate, shouting from his backbench: “Could I tell him that the last person Scot’s who support the No campaign want to have as their representative is a Tory toff from the Home Counties, even wan with a fine haircut.” Something of a double-whammy jibe that, in the same week Cameron’s hairdresser of four years received an MBE after his perfectly Italian nome of Lino Carbosiero. Walk on, no cronyism aboard here, sir! Laughing his pricey coiffured nut off, the smile might have been wiped off Cameron’s face had some crusty left-winger slipped him the maths, revealing those on a minimum wage would have to work 14 hours to earn the £90 for which he hands over for a pompadour it certainly ain’t. Moral of the story is, despite austerity measures cutting deep across parts of the UK, rendering a cheap short, back and sides a luxury for some, the PM’s snide is clearly, do as I say, don’t do as I (hair)do.
During the same debate, Cameron performed his first no shit, Sherlock moment of the year when he proposed that us tartanites don’t take to a Tory toff too kindly. “My appeal does not stretch to all parts of Scotland,” said DC. Haud the press! Of course, all this was in reference to his stating he is not the right man to figurehead the No campaign. He’s not the right man to run a country neither, but sadly we’re stuck with that notion on a stick too. . .for the time being. But Cameron does have a trick up his sleeve which no one has yet spotted. So worried is he that England may win the World Cup in Brazil this summer, prompting a swathe of undecided referendum voters rushing to the Yes box, he has devised a Machiavellian stylee plan to take out the squad players hit-man style one by one. He may do gormless well, but Cameron knows even the mildest mannered of Scots won’t put up with something equating to a reprised 50 years of 1966 and all that rammed down their throats for the next half century. His cloak and dagger plan commenced last Saturday in the North London derby as out of the dank sky came a pellet which flattened Arsenal starlet Theo Walcott, rendering him crocked for the rest of the season, and with no chance of making the World Cup. Mission accomplished. In the coming weeks and months, watch out for John Terry’s big toe mishap and Wayne Rooney’s kneecap calamity. All trademarked with a ‘DC’ carved pellet, which mysteriously vanishes from the scene.
The world and it’s dog sponsored by the Daily Mail were all up in arms this week over the debut episode of Channel 4’s new fly-on-the wall reality show, Benefits Street. Already ‘White Dee’ and ‘Black Dee’ are becoming commonly-used metaphors for all that the Richard Littlejohns of this world use to whip the squeezed middle-class into a frenzy. North of the border, the sight of loveable junkie rogues, Skol Supers, and wobbly, fight-scarred dugs only made us miss the ill-fated Killie show, The Scheme even more than was previously considered possible. Word on the street is there’s a petition flying around Change.org to re-unite the show’s star duo, Marvin and Bullet for at least a one-off bumper special. The online platform which played it’s part in getting shot of Katie Hopkins from This Morning can surely rally support for the return of Scotland’s best comedy duo since Francie and Josie, no?
Great news this week for Independence supporters with a predisposition for social media compulsion. Mind you, only the dead and/or the fingerless aren’t obsessed with social media nowadays. Though seemingly, it’s officiado. . .the Yes campaign is winning the Twitter war. Aye, hashtags on fire! A Glasgow University posse proved that academic research funding isn’t going to rack, waste and ruin by letting the Scotsman in on figures that Nicola Sturgeon has 25,000 more followers than Better Together heid honcho, Alistair Darling. Intricate stuff from the Weegie Uni chaps. You’d think none of this ‘data’ wasn’t already available to the masses or something. In the meantime, the unionists are biting back claiming it’s just so naff all the indy serenading over cyberspace; a charge that’s about as kosher as placing Renée & Renato on your Spotify playlist. The following day that bastion of respect, Time Magazine online published a real scientific study, the outcome of which proffers that young tweeters of epic proportions are mega narcissists, whereas older egotists can’t keep aff their Facebooks. Frankie Boyle and the rest of the population weren’t available for comment.
3rd January 2014
A Happy New Year. . . 2014: That Small Nations Might Be Free
Happy New Year weegie friends, teuchter kens, single ends and but ‘n’ bens… Ta-rah to the loose cannon reprobate that was 2013; a dozen months which (with one or two exceptions) were about as much fun as schoogly keech hanging off a wall – otherwise surmised as the wrong year to stop sniffing glue. The fuzzy fusion of festive furore has well and truly hit its death, leaving nowt but a faint aroma of curried turkey carcass and the sad estimation yon top button of that favourite pair of jeans ain’t getting its hole til mid-March.
And so say awright to Twinty-14, the year us sporrans, tartan foreigns, blootered galoots, wee Inas and big Chinas get a say on the future of the nation. We only had to tune into Rab C’s return broadcast two days after the bells for a Mary Doll physical state update to grasp that all is as healthy as a gurner’s third molar in and around that wee bonnie number we call Scotland.
But belch not. No matter the bedroom tax torment. Howbeit the food bank misery. Even so the nefarious disability allowance cuts. Let’s keep smiling and follow the rule of the great St Patrick in his banishing of the snakes from Ireland. Yes, we can do the same with Tory policy in Scotland; which is a sight more underbelly and helluva more slithery. Let’s boke no more at Darling’s eyebrows by sending them back homeward underground tae think (and burrow) again. Even if we leave ourselves more burnt out than a Suzuki Swift in Possil, we can say we did our very Sunday best on a third Thursday in September. Let’s give ourselves the remedy ahead of the pain. Rise up Scotland, before this rum posse squeezes any more bubbles from our Irn Bru. With hairline fractures on our livers and clear heads in our hands, it’s our chance to change history. Should the cookie fall like an upturned piece and jam, our towns and cities could go down in the annals rather than down the swanny. Just imagine a Wonderful Fife, From Ayr To Eternity and coming to rest Where Gleneagles Dare. Let’s rise up and smell the Be-Ro before it all goes flatter than Ruth Davidson’s chist. Before it all passes in a flash, McSuccotash, cometh the hour it’s the chance for Peter Reid fae Parkheid, Ella McCreath fae Leith and Sammy McVey fae Kirkcudbright to as Spike Lee (had he been from Easterhouse) would say, “Dae the Right Hing!” In the build up to our date with destiny, none so compared to in excitement since the grand finals of Jane Franchi’s Superscot, watch out for comment, satire, parody and irreverence…and that’s just from the foot and mooth of Johann ‘Cryuff’ Lamont on a good day. In the meantime, follow my take on the whole run-up shebang, kit and caboodle. ‘No’ voters may wish to look away now…