Bloodsports for vegans

Well that was fun. Alistair Darling was reduced to a stuttering pointy fingered cabbage, jibbering on about a Plan B despite not having a Plan A of his own, nor indeed any positive vision for Scotland. But Alistair’s already decided that it doesn’t matter if there’s a Plan B, or Plans C, D through to Z and then starting on the Greek alphabet. They’re all rubbish. Scotland is the only country on the planet which is unable to implement any currency at all. Not even Yapese stone money. It would wreak havoc on the Scotland curling team.

The currency scare died on Monday night, when Alistair was forced to admit that “Of course Scotland can use the pound” – words that will haunt him until his dying day. In uttering them he spelled out the end for the carefully constructed strategy of fear and threat upon which he was pinning all his hopes, only to see his clever plan booed by an audience that wanted to talk about more important things. Of course Scotland can use the pound, and now that’s settled we can get on to discussing those more important things, like the vision for the future that Alistair’s not got.

What is it with insulting Panama? It’s the only country other than England and Ireland that Scotland has ever invaded, with that Darien business and everything, and they’ve had the immense good grace not to hold it against us. But now Alistair Darling has given us a new certainty from the No campaign by guaranting that the people of Panama will refuse him entry to their country after he spent much of the debate slagging them off. That’s him screwed his chances of a round the world cruise to escape the humiliation of a Yes vote then.

So on behalf of the people of Scotland, I’d like to say, Lo siento mucho Panamá. Discúlpanos – no somos todos gilipollas como Alistair. And we love the hats, we really do. Even if they do come from Ecuador. Games of bools just aren’t the same without them.

The debate was terribly shouty in parts. Alistair kept on asking for an answer to the question about the currency he’d already answered himself when he’d admitted Scotland would keep using the pound. Perhaps he thought that if he talked over the answer then it didn’t exist and he could pretend it hadn’t happened. Unfortunately that doesn’t work when you’ve just uttered the words yourself. It was fun to watch, a bloodsport even a vegan could enjoy. And indeed, many did.

Glenn Campbell didn’t intervene during the rammyness. His mind was was too busy wondering what he’ll do with himself after independence when he won’t be able to jet off to America to find people who are scandalised by the very idea that Scotland might get rid of nuclear missiles or release Libyans with prostate cancer from jail. Meanwhile Alistair’s finger was in overdrive, trying to ram home a message that no one’s listening to any more, dementedly pressing the PIN number on the imaginary ATM that he thought would spit out sterling debating points. But a currency, as we’ve all learned by now, only has value because people put their faith in it. Precious few of us put our faith in anything that comes out of Alistair’s gob, however much he jabs that finger.

Alistair was determined to make it all about Alicsammin, and so his jabbing finger was always hitting the wrong target. It’s about self-determination, it’s about trusting the people of Scotland. Alicsammin’s a big fat liar you say Alistair? Aye and does it not take one to know one? We’re voting yes so we can keep the lot of them on a short leash. It’s about changing our entire way of doing politics. Alicsammin gets that. Alistair doesn’t.

Alicsammin gave better than he got, and without the pointy finger for the most part. He was enjoying himself. His final words were suitably rousing and inspirational. This is our time, our moment, let’s seize it.

Darling’s last words were supposed to sum up the entire case for No. If ever there was a time to give us that long promised positive case for the Union, this was it. Instead it was about all the things we can’t have and we can’t do, all about Alicsammin and how we can’t trust him. A personal attack instead of a positive case.

Vote No for tribal politics – and for a political class that thinks we’re gullible and which atomises us into isolated fragments of fear. Vote No because there’s absolutely nothing that an independent Scotland could do better. Vote Yes for change, for accountability and collaboration. Vote Yes for Scotland to have the power to shape her own destiny. Vote Yes to build a society that’s worth living in.

But the twin highlights of the evening were provided courtesy of two women in the audience who cut through all the jargon. There was the woman who put Alistair on the spot over his backroom meetings with private health companies. Go Glesca grannie. I am now officially in love with her. Honey, I’m a gay man. But I’d turn for you. And there was the woman who summed up the entire story of this debate – the Yes campaign are fighting to save Scotland, the No campaign are fighting to save their careers.

So flush from the yessuccess, and reports that the post rammy polls were saying Yes had won by 71% to 29%, I watched the press review on Sky News for a laff. I really need to stop watching the press review on Sky News, but it’s become my favourite comedy show. Tonight’s featured two press persons, one from the Mirror and the other from the Mail, who were doing a very good impression of the cantankerous auld gits in the Muppets. They started off by declaring that the Scotsman newspaper had always been neutral in its coverage of the referendum and then wandered off deeper into the tangled jungle of the Brigadoon with Buckie that passes for commentary on Scotland on Sky News.

Mirror man and Mail man were quite sure that Alicsammin will have played very poorly with women, undecideds, Labour voters, SNP voters, the last remaining Lib Dem supporter, English people, pandas, Mirror journalists called Kevin Maguire, hamsters with tooth decay, people born on a Thursday, and combine harvester operatives. The audience was clearly biased, and a tiny number of over emotional Yes supporters were making a lot of noise which was going to put off undecided voters and make quite a few Yes voters jolly well change their minds after seeing the company they keep. And wasn’t Alicsammin terribly rude.

So it was another blow for Alicsammin then, although it was cunningly disguised as mauling for the No campaign. But they were of the view that it wouldn’t make much difference anyway, unlike the last debate which the media decided Alistair won and was of course another blow for Alicsammin and a gamechanger which meant it was all over for the Yes campaign.

The UK media will no doubt be full of damage limitation exercises today. A whole lot of words which essentially boil down to: “Our team got its arse kicked, and we didn’t like it.”

The tide is rising. The momentum is building. Yes is coming.

59 comments on “Bloodsports for vegans

  1. Thomas William Dunlop says:

    There should be a first rule of Scottish politics & cultural.

    Scots should never mess with Panama or it will be a disaster for them.

    Was the Darrien no down that way as well?

    • MBC says:

      Yes, but we didn’t ‘invade’ them. We were trying to set up an entrepot, a free port. To link Pacific (India) with Atlantic (Europe). It was a great idea, bar the midges. The Indians were friendly. Together they and us fought off the hated Spanish and won a victory at Toubacanti.

      • eyvindtheeasterling says:

        Darien remains uninhabited and uninhabitable. Panama, it should be noted, is a country which since 1904 has used another country’s currency as its own. They call it the Balboa, but it has George Washington’s picture on it and reads United States of America. (They do have their own version but the two are interchangeable and have been since 1904.) It’s a lot like the Scottish pound notes.

  2. Glen Campbell at one point offered AD a chance to respond “in one sentence” and of course as AD went on and on and Glen never stopped him. Also, AD continued all evening to personalise the debate by constantly making out that it was a BT campaign against AS and no one else.
    At one point in the televised debate AD was caught on camera nodding to someone in the audience when AS was making a point and it looked to me as if he was being prompted.

  3. Thank you yet again, Wee Ginger Dug, for making me laugh out loud.

  4. JimnArlene says:

    I was born on the last Thursday, in the year England won the big footie cup, thingy. I’m still voting YES.

  5. macart763 says:

    Don’t think I’ve slept a wink all night. Jeez, its like being a teenager again.

    Darling caving on the very strategy he himself set in motion, I couldn’t believe it when I heard it.

    We can do this. 😀

  6. faolie says:

    I actually thought that Darling was going to poke AS in the eye at one point, he was so close to him!

    You’re right about these questions from the audience. Best bits of the night they were, apart from maybe Darling’s “of course Scotland can use the pound” moment, oh and AS’s closing remarks.

    I rather liked your closing remarks too, Paul

  7. Ruth Laird says:

    Thank you that was great!

  8. Was it just me, or was I alone in noticing Captain Darling’s ‘dalek’ meltdown moment? – The bit where he actually said, ‘I am a politician, I am a labour party politician….’ – and you could hear the tumbleweed blow through Kelvingrove….. as if that statement held any value? I could hardly sleep!

  9. MacBee says:

    Yip, Guardian was out with not one but three pieces and all of them trying to turn Mr Salmond achieving 71% in a snap poll of winning the event as something bad.

    I read Martin Kettles piece, I have no idea why, I guess I like to be angry in the morning, contradicting himself from one paragraph to the next.

    I cheered every time Alex Salmond landed a hit and I did a lap of honor round the living room when Alastair admitted ‘we could use the pound’ .

    I think there will be a few offers of undying love to the lady who challenged Alastair Darling so you might need to join a queue. I would settle for buying both ladies a drink. It was so good to hear someone say out loud what I had been thinking and impotently shouting at the screen.

    Thanks for the review… the Kettle piece is now but a distant memory

  10. I hope Darling has his promise of Ermine in writing.

    Two houses for sale in a very exclusive road in Edinburgh, soon.

    One used by Flipper and the other haunted by Jakey Rolling.

  11. Jan Cowan says:

    Paul, your post has helped to preserve the euphoria. And “wall to wall sunshine” too! Happy, happy YES campaigners.

  12. smiling vulture says:

    sky paper review—declaring that the Scotsman newspaper had always been neutral


  13. andygm1 says:

    I scoured the papers today for a mention of the teacher wumman who administered the haymaker to Flipper and could only find one glancing reference. The lady who administered the KO got not a mention.

  14. Bamstick says:

    I watched it but my other half bottled it and went for a long drive. I was so up I went to bed very late. Brilliant telly. Bring it on.

  15. smiling vulture says:

    Cant access Wings site?

  16. Nigel Mace says:

    Half-way through, my Lancastrian patriot, turned enthusiastic Yorkshire resident, partner (who hopes we’ll get a YES vote because she can see it’s best for us, but will sob patriotic tears for the end of the UK she still loves) phoned to say that she was so disgusted by Darling that she had been abusing the tele and could watch him no longer and still preserve her vocal chords. We agreed this morning that this was Salmond’s carefully nurtured moment, perfectly delivered and clearly effective with an audience, whose interventions showed what real grass-roots produce. A wonderful night and an excellent commentary, Paul.

  17. McTim says:

    Paul, here is the link to Philippa Whitford’s latest and most comprehensive speech about the dangers of a No vote to our Scottish NHS is online now. Please share this as widely as you can. Undecided voters need to know that we need full financial control over our NHS to protect it from privatisation, and a No vote means that our block grant will continue to be cut in line with public spending reductions in England.

  18. Random fact for you, the flag of Panama is flown by more ships that any other flag.

    Great article, I wonder what the Panama hat wearing ‘Man from Delmonte’ would say if he had a vote?

  19. schrodinger's cat says:

    The tide is rising. The momentum is building. Yes is coming.
    i’m stealing this, thanks wgd

  20. Luigi says:

    People want to talk about the NHS, and the effects of privatisation south of the border. BT BBC are desperate to steer clear of this (for obvious reasons) and keep it all about currency. It’s currency, currency, currency, stupid, and the people are sick of it. We all know that iScotland will keep the pound. We all know that we have to stick to Plan A until the proper negotiations begin. Everyone with a brain cell knows this, and yet BT BBC keep on and on about Plan B (of which there are a number of viable options). It’s like asking someone to show their cards before a game. People are beginning to realise that perhaps it is because BT have nothing else to talk about.

    • Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Spot on Luigi,

      There is no Plan B because it is written into Plan A and is a negotiating position.

      You walk in with your stated position, Osborne says no CU ever and AS says.right no assumption of debt liabilities.

      Nuance to etc etc etc.

      Darling is thick, lying or deliberately changing the narrative, to frighten people. He might a mixture of the above

  21. partialtrust says:

    Six of us were glued to the box last night, it was pretty amazing. But it was amazing more for the fact that a bunch of pals who weren’t terribly engaged in politics, and who a year ago their eyes would glaze over whenever politics was brought up, were shouting and yelling at the telly between gulps of wine and nibbles.

    Pre-debate we were sitting around the kitchen table and swapping stories and reporting on things they’d been reading online. Again, I’ve never experienced anything like this outside of chatting away to my usual political homies. These are good times, ordinary folks re-engaging with politics, or just engaging for the first time ever. What a bloody hoot!

  22. A Meringue says:

    Alex Salmond has brought us to the ring. It is now our turn to dance.

  23. Clash City Rocker says:

    I thought that offering Darling a place on Scotland’s negotiating team post Yes was very clever. AD was completley flummoxed by that.

  24. macart763 says:

    Worth reminding ourselves of what BT and HMG have publicised and what Darling has admitted.

  25. MolliBlum says:

    LOL: weegingerdug, my favouritest wittiest sharpmindedest optimisticest blogger,ever! Backatcha: “I am now officially in love with you. Honey, I’m a straight woman. But…” 😉

  26. Capella says:

    Ironically, the province of Darien in Panama has struck oil.

    • MBC says:

      Wow, this Panama karma is weird!

      • rowantree633 says:

        The daft thing is, Flipper makes out that Panama is some sort of bad smell when it is a prosperous country in its own right. Y’know, if I was an elected official of that country, I would take great exception to the UK’s attitude… Anyway, how long will it be before Flipper tells Panama that that black oily stuff is a real liability…bad news really, terrible curse! ;-))

        • MBC says:

          Wasn’t this where Canoe Man went to hide?

        • Andy Nimmo says:

          It’s also just to the south of Costa Rica

          From Wikipedia

          Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before it came under Spanish rule in the 16th century. Once a backwater colony, since attaining independence in the 19th century, Costa Rica has become one of the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. It permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of a few sovereign nations without a standing army.[7][8][9] Costa Rica has consistently been among the top-ranking Latin American countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 62nd in the world as of 2012.[10]

          In 2010 Costa Rica was cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels,[11] while in 2011, the UNDP also identified it as a good performer in environmental sustainability, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of their region.

          Costa Rica is known for its progressive environmental policies, being the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability.[12] It is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index.[13] In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021.[14][15][16] The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 Happy Planet Index, and once again in 2012.[17][18] The NEF also ranked Costa Rica in 2009 as the greenest country in the world.[19] In 2012, Costa Rica became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.[20][21]

          And we saw from the World Cup how a Nation that treats her citizen’s with decency can punch (or should be that kick) above her weight

  27. Dunkie says:

    Following last night’s debate there was the usual call-in programme on radio Scotland this morning. One timorous old lady who called in, and who was not one of the NO parrots, was clearly a DON’T KNOW swithering about YES but being scared shitless by the lies of Douglas Alexander felt she would be reluctantly forced to vote NO. Douglas Alexander was back on the John Beattie show desperately spreading the same fear fear fear message.

    The chasm is now widening by the minute between life-denying undead imperialist-finger pointing-bullying filled with lies and the faith the hope and the charity that inspires the YES people. For the latter this is much more than “a campaign” – it is about belief in life and the joy of living it. It aspires to improve the life of everyone in Scotland. It has faith in our ability to make a successful country here. It has hope to offer all the legions of people suffering right now from neoliberal austerity – and that is before the next £25 billion is taken off us. It has the charity (love or compassion if you like) to recognise the moral wrong being done to the poor and the weak in our society and the urgent desire to do something about it.

    Where is there any “good faith” or positive belief in NO? Where is their visionary hope and aspiration for the future of this country? Where is their charity, love and compassion when they set out to scare wee old women so shitless that they will feel they have to vote no?

    We have the dead hand of a decayed empire trying to hold back the vital life-force of a new country surging to be born – and pull us back into the graveyard of ideas that goes by the name of Westminster politics.

    • Suzanne B says:

      Wow! Dunkie that was right on the nail. Yes it IS about a life-force and an optimism that WILL make things happen because we want what’s best for everyone, not just the remote few tucked behind their crenellations.

      Wonderful post.

  28. John Munro says:

    Wonderful piece. The last 5 or 6 paragraphs, in particular, are a minor masterpiece of comic writing. I saw Maguire and the other one discussing the debate prior to actually watching it as a recording. Their description bore no relationship to what I saw. The thing is they come from within the M25 political and media classes bubble and inside that bubble, if Alicsammin, appeared on telly with a cure for Ebola, the watching metropolitan hordes would declare support for the virus.

  29. Steve Bowers 74% win says:

    What a shot in the arm it was, a massive boost for campaigners, even my very shy wife took 4 Wee Blue Books into her work today ( mind you that could be because for the first time in her life she’s placed a bet, £200 on YES at 5/1 )

  30. Suzanne B says:

    The Wee Ginger Dug is on top form and making all the right barky-barky noises to enthuse and inspire. Great piece! As usual you make me snort helplessly into my coffee but I’m getting used to that.

    It’s nice to be at the stage where we can just bat off the slurs and the insults because that’s all that No have got. A bit like horseflies without the teeth but just as annoying. What is very difficult to ignore, however, is the effect all this scaremongering and lying has on people who need reassurance – like the elderly lady mentioned in a post further up the page. That’s just unforgivable and deliberately cruel and I’ve heard of a few instances (I’m sure there are many more) of elderly women being frightened out of their wits by the doom-laden prophecies of Project Scare Them All To Death.

    Would that crew frighten their own grannies like that? Would they? Don’t answer that.

  31. Steve Asaneilean says:

    There’s just an overwhelming sense of inevitability about it all now such that even if No manages a pyrrhic victory in3 weeks time you know it will only be temporary. As soon as the Tory majority government at Westminster kicks off and delivers the coup de gras of billions wiped off the Scottish grant the clamour for independence will transform into a tsunami and sweep it all away. We have gone way past the point of no return – it’s sad AD can’t see that but such is the fate of a yesterday’s man. He will be remembered for economic catastrophe and nothing else. Perhaps not the legacy he was hoping for I would hazard a guess.

  32. diabloandco says:

    I’m always pleased to visit and you always cheer me up.
    Even with a bad ,bad fortnight this end , you still cheer me up.

    How are things with you?

  33. jamie macdonald says:

    ‘Vote no because there is absolutely nothing an independent Scotland could do better’ THAT TOTALLY NAILS IT!! Well done Paul, as usual – toppermost of the bloggermost! I’m getting the fireworks ordered noo… Yesssssss!

  34. Laurence says:

    Paul, you should write our constitution. Great stuff

  35. WRH2 says:

    I thought Darling’s ending statement was dire and the final words, “Vote no to independence” were really stupid. Who on earth would say that? That is apart from the Nawsayers. But I thought Alex’s offer to him was a great gesture and a very crafty move. It demonstrated a lack of animosity on the Yes side and no need for AS to control the cybernats as we’re not the nasty bunch were supposed to be.

  36. Mick Pork says:

    Good grief! I remember posting this comedy sketch on here a while ago mocking BT and now ‘better together’ have gone and stolen it for their own PPB!


  37. When we wash them off the beach on Referendum Night, will that be a blow for the YES campaign too?

  38. John Duncanson says:

    As Lord Nelson said (as he put the telescope to his blind eye,”I see no ships !”.).
    Last night’s commentators were and are, using the same telescope, and I suspect the same sort of eyes.
    None so blind as those who will not…….

  39. Offering Darling a place on the Team Scotland negotiating team was a shrewd move. It offers him a significant position after indy — something to keep him occupied for a while as the after dinner speaking engagements dry up. At the same time it creates a rift between him and others such as Lamont, Alexander etc who might have their eyes on such a team after a Yes vote, but have been snubbed. So the offer to Darling irritates the already itchy tension within Labour. As far as our FM is concerned, Darling might be seen as poacher turned gamekeeper, aware of where the big fish hide in the dark pools, and where carcasses are buried. He could be useful in negotiations taking place with civil servants he knows from his time as Chancellor.

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