I’m plastered in potions and lotions in an attempt to get my psoriasis under control, but I’m not sure which is scabbier, psoriasis or the union. Psoriasis is a chronic condition, but there’s a cure for the union even though we have yet to persuade a majority of Scottish voters that the side effects of the cure are nowhere near as bad as the disease. The cure may be some way off, and we don’t yet have a date for our independence doctor’s appointment, but at least the cure exists.
Another psoriatic Union lesion burst out onto the surface this week giving independence supporters something to scratch, with the revelations that the Queen’s supposedly spontaneous non-intervention in the referendum debate was neither spontaneous nor a non-intervention. Well, I say revelation, this is one of those revelations like the revelation that the X-Factor is nothing more than a money making machine for Simon Cowell and not actually a means of nuturing genuine talent. It’s a shocking surprise that anyone with half a brain knew at the time was a set up job, but saying so would only have brought down a torrent of accusations of tinfoil hattery from the Unionists who dominate the media. The usual suspects would have chorused “ooooh get her” in unison like a drag queen boy band dressed as girl band who’d just been turned down by Simon Cowell on the grounds that they were more butch than Louis Walsh.
Anyway, so Liz’s office got a phone call from Davie Cameron’s office, begging her to do something, anything, to help prevent Scottish people from voting for independence. We’re dealing here with the rarified world of people who employ people to answer their personal telephones, because protocol dictates that you can’t just give Liz a call on her mobile and tell her that her operating system is infected with the virus of nationalism. Davie’s spad doubtless reminded the royal flunky on the other end of the phone that Scottish people are well known connoisseurs of vodka which they will cheerfully consume without crackers. Actually he probably didn’t, because he probably thinks we only drink whisky and isn’t very clear on the distinction between Irn Bru and Tizer.
Some have attempted to defend Liz’s intervention on the grounds that remarking that people should “think very carefully” before they vote is not in itself an attempt to influence the outcome. I’d ask such people to think very carefully before they open their gobs. You do not ask people to “think very carefully” before making a decision if you genuinely do not give a toss what decision people will reach. Imploring that a person should “think very carefully” is the sort of response that you give to an elderly and wealthy relative with no weans who’s just told you she’s considering leaving all her money to the Maryhill Food Bank and the Cute Yes Supporting Spanish Mongrel Foundation and isn’t going to leave it all to you so you can buy that large Highland estate you’ve always wanted and teach baby Prince George how to shoot Bambi’s mammy.
Clearly, Queeniepoos cares deeply, and equally clearly, would prefer we voted No. Because anyone with half a brain, even people with a quarter of a brain, in fact even Alan Cochrane, understands very well that an independent Scottish Parliament is far more likely to vote for a referendum on the future of the monarchy than the Westminster Parliament is. And Liz knows that too. She knows that as soon as she pops her clogs, an independent Scottish Parliament would be faced with a clamour for a referendum from hundreds of thousands of Scottish people who would rather have a potato as head of state than King Charles III. Although it wouldn’t really be that easy to tell the difference. On balance the potato would be better, because it could at least be distilled into vodka. The only thing you’d distill from Charles is an overpriced organic cracker and a flunky whose job is to squeeze toothpaste on the brush.
So having prevailed upon the Royals of the desperate need for an intervention that wasn’t an intervention really, Liz obliged with a wee charade involving getting the polis to position the waiting media in the exact place so they’d just happen to overhear Liz making a carefully rehearsed and choreographed spontaneous remark which was written and prepare by some Tory government official. A remark which didn’t contain any bias in its text, only in its subtext, providing a fig leaf of plausible denial. And moreover one which was conveniently disguised as an overheard private conversation, giving Liz the excuse not to comment on any uncomfortable or difficult questions that might arise in the future. Questions like – so you did stick yer highly privileged oar in even though you know that’s a no-no, didn’t you? Or questions like – you do know that the Scottish people reserve the right to get rid of monarchs that piss them off, don’t you? Or questions like – oh come on, you’re not saying you really take Alan Cochrane seriously, are you?
You can argue about how neutral the Queen’s comments were from now until the Sun has fused the last of its hydrogen into helium atoms and expanded into a red giant and consumed the Earth, or until Scotland has forgiven the Labour party for giving the Royal family a run for its money in the sense of entitlement states – my money is on the Sun – but you can’t deny that the entire episode was manipulative, underhand, conniving, immoral, and dishonest. Even though it achieved in its immediate purpose – to assist the chances of a No vote – it still managed to be woefully inept because it got found out and so has only damaged its longer term interests due to its own short-sighted maneouvering. All of which is, come to think of it, a pretty good description of the workings of the Westminster Parliament, and the longer term fate of the Union, so there’s a poetic circularity to it all.
In much the same way, this week Davie Cameron’s wheeze to use the result of the Scottish referendum as a political tool to head UKIP off at the pass and get one up over Labour fell apart around his ears. Operating for short term advantage leads to longer term failure – and in the case of the constitutional status of Scotland in the Union, the time bought by the short term maneouvering gets shorter and shorter. Back in the 1950s, the short term maneouvering that dismissed the two million strong petition of the Scottish Covenant bought Westminster nearly 30 years of kicking Scotland into the long grass, the 40% rule in the referendum of 1979 bought 18 years, and the referendum of 1997 bought Westminster 17 years. Yet despite the fact that Westminster won the referendum of 2014, they couldn’t even manage a couple of months. The Scottish lion is very much out of the long grass, and eyeing a devomax haunch and licking its lips. Westminster’s ungulates are looking on nervously.
In other news – I need a job. I’ve been subtle. I’ve dropped hints. I’ve coquettishly fluttered my eyelids, and trust me, coquettish is not a look that looks good on me, but I’m still awaiting the offer of a regular column in certain newly founded national newspapers. Newly founded national newspapers that could be doing with a wee more in the way of funny and not taking yourself that seriously. More in the way of miniature erythrismal canids, in fact. Because it’s not just Kevin McKenna that can write fancy words, oh no.
National newspapers aside. I really do need a job. I don’t propose boring you with my financial issues, but I didn’t inherit any pensions after my other half passed away, and I gave up work in order to care for him. So unless I can find a lasting means of supporting myself, there won’t be any blog articles because I’ll be too busy asking “Big Issue?” to passers by in the street. Well maybe not, because I do at least have my own house. But I need to eat. And to pay the bills.
I’m 52, have an impressive line in vintage suits, and speak fluent Spanish. I formerly worked as the editor of a monthly English language magazine in Spain. Very much the low rent end of the publishing trade, but it taught me how to write to a deadline. Prior to that I worked in the voluntary sector. Ideally I’d like a part time job, anything I can do sitting on my bum in an office – or even working from home. Except a call centre, or sales. And I’m too old for the outdoorsy stuff, or heavy lifting.
So gie’s a joab, somewhere within travelling distance of the East End of Glasgow. I have a full driving licence but no car. All serious offers will be seriously considered. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org