There’s new game in the referendum campaign, spot the missing celebrity, the name that’s missing from the List of No Fame. So where is HE then? You know, him, the Great Unmentionable One. Care must be taken not to utter his name because if you say it three times in a row he’ll come back to haunt you.
The No campaign are extremely fond of their celebrity endorsements. We’ve heard from just about everyone, from Janette Krankie and John Barrowman, thon Canadian actor who does a convincing Scottish accent if you don’t have a Scottish accent yourself, via JK Rowling and Bowie, and passing through every UK politician you’ve ever heard of and hundreds that you’ve not, to Obama and – allegedly – the Pope. The only global celebrities they’ve not dragged out so far are the Dalai Lama, and He Who Must Not Be Mentioned.
It’s pretty obvious why Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Karma Kill wouldn’t be keen on the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, what with having such a Buddhist-unfriendly name. But there’s also the wee question of the Dalai Lama being the leader of an independence campaign of his own. So they’re trying to get Sting instead, next time he pops up out of a tantric yoga lotus position.
But no one’s asking Don’t Mention His Name, the PM who came between Major and Broon, both of whom have already put in an appearance – or in Gordie’s case launched and relaunched more often than an obsessive entrant in Britain’s Got Talent who never gets past the selection round due to the jeers of the audience. He can try again in Edinburgh next month in front of a specially selected audience of fans.
The One Who Is So Messianic Even Murdoch Asks Him To Intercede With God is way more famous on the international stage than Gord, who is widely regarded as an embarrassment that it’s best to draw a veil over. Gord’s former boss is bigger than Big Sean, who has only made movies. The Light of the Middle East (that’s phosphorus bombs for you) has had movies made about him – admittedly not movies that portray him in a sympathetic light, but then he’s not a sympathetic character and you can’t have everything even if you are Alistair Campbell. He is no mere mortal, he hath ascended into a being who moves in atmospheres so rarified that there is little oxygen – which may explain why the conscience centres of his brain have shrivelled and died as his bank balance has ballooned.
Unlike the PM who came before him, the Famous One is Scottish, as we are so often reminded with glee by commentators in the UK media. His Scottishness constitutes proof that Scotland shouldn’t complain about not getting the governments we want. Was it not you-know-who who headed the government that introduced devolution? And Labour keeps telling us they’re the party of devolution, and not the party who conceded devolution reluctantly and half-heartedly after Scotland had spent a decade and a half demanding it. So you’d think that Alistair Darling would be keen to enlist the support of his old boss to reaffirm the devo credo.
But scarcely a word has passed his lips on the topic of the land of his birth. No one has solicited his opinion or his blessing. No one wants his opinion because his blessing is toxic.
So they settled on Jim Murphy instead, who had only a minor role to play in warmongering. He’ll make do with a coach and a small entourage of ordinary person stand-ins for press photography purposes, who’ve all promised not to go tweeting photies of the Hitler Youth in return for being considered as the new Labour candidate for Angus.
The other Alistair did express an interest in divine intervention from El Capo de Tutti Careerists. He went a lot further and prophesied the Second Coming of the New Labour Messiah. Back in May 2012 he assured Andrew Marr that [fill in name here] would form part of a “call to arms” to resist independence. Which was possibly an unfortunate turn of phrase to use seeing as how the individual in question is most famous for his dodgy call to arms over weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist, plunged the Middle East into chaos, and setting off a chain of events that have so far caused the deaths of over 500,000 human beings. He’s since spent his energies enriching himself by speaking up on behalf of downtrodden innocent dictatorships, when he’s not been fending off allegations that he’s a war criminal.
However Alistair assured us that his former boss and ideological master was going to play a big role in the No campaign. “He’s got a lot to contribute and I hope he’ll contribute more in the future,” Alistair added. And if you listened very carefully you could hear the sound of 100,000 Iraqi ghosts crying.
Yet by the following December, the Godlike One had still not contributed despite Alistair’s fond wish. While in Edinburgh that month he was asked by a reporter from the Scotsman whether he’d participate in Scotland’s debate. He replied: “I’m very happy to play a part in it but it’s up to those who are going to organise the campaign.”
So where is he then? Has Alistair been too busy to ask him? Has the Ego On Expenses been too busy? Perhaps someone ought to ask Alistair if ever anyone manages to pin him down anywhere anytime long enough to have a debate.
But it would seem that the Labour party is not keen on the intervention of their Special One. Dragging That One out might remind us that we were wrong when we thought it was impossible to hate a politician more than your average Scot hated Maggie Thatcher. You can say what you like about Attila the Handbag, and gods know I have, but she was an evil Tory bastert who made no bones about being an evil Tory bastert. In the long dark night of the soul that lasted from 1979 until 1997, you knew you would wake up in the grey dull morning to evil Tory basterts. You knew what you were dealing with, and the cynicism and contempt of Thatcher bred cynicism and contempt in equal measure. Labour was supposed to be the cure.
Resuscitating the biggest sleb SLAB’s got might remind us that Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, Jims Reid and Murphy, the Sainted Wee Dougie, George Robertson, George Foulkes, Eds Miliband and Balls and the other big beasts of Labour were every bit as bestial as the man they don’t want us to remember. They were up to their necks in the New Labour nightmare too. They enthusiastically took their cue from the man who burst the bubble of hope, and flushed public trust down a privatised toilet. We might start to ask questions about their complicity, and reflect that they’re asking us to trust them again. We might remember the jaunty campaign song in 97.
Things can only get better together. Sounds a whole lot more hollow this time round, doesn’t it.