Yeah! We’re irrelevant again. So we had this wee referendum thingy and Scotland scared the shiters out of the Westminster establishment – which was a lot of fun – and the UK media and political classes have gone back to ignoring us in the hope we don’t go away. Now they’re far too busy talking about UKIP, English devolution, and starting World War Three to bother themselves over much about Scotland. And there was me thinking that George Robertson had told us that it would be Scottish independence that started that. I must have missed something. Anyway, Scotland now gets to sit unobtrusively at the back of the class watching World War Three start without it being our cataclysmic fault, and we can plot how escape the clutches of the Westminster system without anyone paying us too much attention, which is pretty much the situation we’ve been in for the past 30 years.
So, you may recall – because the UK media doesn’t – that a vow was made. It was a lovely vow, splattered all over the front page of the Record like one of those fake manuscripts you can buy at the market that assures you in wedding invitation lettering that everyone possessing your surname, like Kavanagh, Krisztowski or Kapoor, is a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, and that guy that invented asphalt. Printing it like that just showed how serious the vow was, like a vow Buddhist monks make, only without any of the troubling obligations demanding self-denial, telling the truth, and not copping bad karma from the electorate. The one about the orange bedsheets is strictly observed however, because they can be claimed on expenses and you can get lovely Egyptian cotton ones from John Lewis.
I did say during before the referendum that I never knew independence campaigns could be such a laugh, and we really needed to have more of them. Looks like I’m going to get my wish. Pity it has to involve killing people. But hey, they’re Middle Easterners. Perpetual warfare and killing Middle Eastern people is a British tradition, like bunting, royal babies, and swearing a lot whenever Nicholas Witchell comes on the telly. If Westminster had made a vow to Scotland to take military action against Nicholas Witchell instead of some Middle Eastern country I’d probably have voted No.
But back to the death, devastation, hubris, bleeding, weeping, and suffering, or the ‘action’ as the testosterone fueled commentators on the telly refer to it as though it was a species of video game and not the destruction of human life. Yes, it’s the Tory party conference.
The conference started today in Birmingham. Far from strutting the stage as the saviour of the Union, poor wee Davie is having to fight off defections to UKIP and a sex scandal involving some minister no one has ever heard of. It’s not even a very juicy sex scandal, as no fishnet stockings, orange segments, orgiastic encounters with a Guardsman in Regents Park, or regimental goats played any part in it. It used to be that apart from kicking the working classes in the balls – but that’s a given – the one thing you could rely on the Tories for was juicy sex scandals. They can’t even do those properly any more and it’s really not good enough. At the very least they could make sure their sex scandals involved shrubbery. It’s just tiresome sleaze these days, and we can get that from the British Labour party.
But the sex scandal is the very least of Davie’s woes. Despite their rubbish sex scandals, the Tories have still managed to screw themselves, and look set to do to themselves in England what British Labour has managed to do to itself in Scotland – pissing off their core voters to such an extent that they desert them in droves. In the Tories’ case, the pissing off has been done with the force of a watercannon, and not that of a flaccid wee dick – although I promised not to say that about Ed Miliband. Voters in England have been driven in their desperation into the welcoming arms of the grinning Nigel. Another Tory wonder that we all wonder who the hell he is has defected to Nige’s mob. At least in Scotland we have something noble to vote for instead, and many of us have the fake vellum manuscript from the market to prove it.
Just over a week after the referendum, and the Tories have joined British Labour in the waiting room for the express train to perdition. Divided, fractious, and trapped between the conflicting demands of the electorates in Scotland and England, the only reason they’re still hanging around is because they privatised the railways and the service is as rubbish as the sex scandals.
British Labour in Scotland is equally too busy for vows, as it is currently preoccupied with in-fighting between those giants of Scottish politics, Johann Lamont and Jim Murphy, who are fighting over the chance to be chief undertaker in a party of corpses.
Johann’s contribution to Scottish public life was eloquently summed up in a Tweet from Sean Bell, honest the cheque’s in the post: Every time I see Johann Lamont in action, I’m reminded there’s a Scotmid somewhere without an assistant manager.
And then there’s Jim, the hero who bravely faced down an egg and shouted at old ladies. As a dedicated Blairite, Jim’s chances of advancement within a shadow cabinet headed by Gordie Broon’s former henchpersons are about as good as Magrit Curran’s chances of ever actually swallowing that wasp, so all of a sudden he’s remembered Scotland exists as an opportunity for him to build a power base within the party for himself. Johann’s determined to organise the staff rota so Jim’s on permanent back shift. Jim has the advantage here, as he makes a more convincing looking undertaker. And as a big fan of Tony Blair and an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Iraq – both the last one and this one – he’s got previous experience.
The vow drops rapidly down the list of important things-to-do that fill the lives of our political leaders. It’s now dropped below devolution for Yorkshire and reform of the 1863 Regulation of Mechanical Tin Plate Sex Toys Act, and is currently plummetting below “should I buy the orange sheets or the peach coloured ones”. Though it has to be orange, that’s the colour that really suits Labour and means they’ll match the only friends they’ve got left in Scotland.
Meanwhile, us lot, the defeated, the hauden doon, and the beaten, the ones who are supposed to be bewailing our lot, rending our clothing and tearing out our hair, as we sit in the gloom besmeared with the ashes of our dreams, we’re not following the script at all. Scotland has seen the membership of the SNP soar through the roof to over 70,000 and rising, membership of the Greens more than double, that of the SSP treble, and proposals are floating about to create a new Yes Alliance to hoover up the rest of the Yes voters and ensure a pro-sovereignty majority of Scottish MPs in 2015. So much for bayonetting the wounded then. The wounding of the British Labour party and the Tories has only just begun.
Dunno about you, but I’m feeling pretty smug already. The Unionist parties are the ones who are heading straight to irrelevance on a one way ticket. See – we told you so. It’s the new national catchphrase.
I’m feeling pretty positive and upbeat and would like to thank everyone who has contacted me privately to express their concern or to offer a shoulder to cry on after the personal events of the past few weeks. I’ve not had time to contact everyone individually. But I’m OK, honest, and am doing far better than I had anticipated.
The big news is that I’ve bought a new flat, and – fingers crossed – the contracts will be exchanged next week and I can move to the new place. It’s a bigger flat, still in the East End of Glasgow, a short walk from my parents place and close to a train station. So I have loads to do in order to organise the flitting and won’t be able to keep this blog updated daily until things settle down. That’s where you come in. I’d like to publish more guest posts over the next few weeks. Please send your text to me at weegingerdug [at] gmail.com (replace the [at] with @ when you email).