There’s a country perched at the northern end of the island of Britain which is unnaturally blessed. You might even say it was blesséd with an accent and everything, because the diacritic makes it far more holy and so more appropriate that stories about it are illustrated with a photie of Jim Murphy with a halo. Be-haloed pics of the Holy Jim are always in the Guardian every time there’s a story about the Scottish Goverment being accused of something or other, which is pretty much every time that the paper carries a story about Scotland. However Scots don’t feel that they live in a blesséd country. We certainly don’t feel we live in a Lucky Country, a nickname purloined by Australians who make up for their lack of midgies by having hundreds of seriously poisonous wee beasties.
This made it all the more surprising that the Australian Labor party felt that it had to import Tony Blair’s poisonous wee beastie John McTernan as its spin doctor. You’d have thought they had enough arse biting venomous spiders of their own, but apparently not. The experiment in importing noxious arachnids was not a success, and John’s now back in Scotland spinning his poisonous webs for Jim Murphy. John’s job is to coccoon Jim in a glossy silk of spin, a task in which he is ably assisted by Blair McDougall former chief tuba player for Better Together. Their task is to persuade Scottish voters that everything is rubbish, but will be marginally less rubbish if we vote Labour in May. So far, they’re not having much success, even though Scottish people don’t tend to think that their country is blesséd.
The average Scottish person feels that we live in the Wile E. Coyote of countries – all our plans are doomed to failure. We sally forward right over the cliff face of inflated expectations, we keep going even though there’s no visible means of support – until we look down. Look down and then we plummet to the distant earth and our hopes disappear in a puff of dust.
However, on the midgie bitten cliff face of it, Scotland is even luckier than a winner of the national lottery. By any objective standard, Scotland has won the lottery of nations. It’s a country which has even more energy resources than the Duracell bunny. We’ve got an embarrassment of the burny stuff that screws with the environment, yer coal, the oil, the gas and peat. We’ve got so much of it that the only argument Scotland needs against fracking is that it’s just a tad greedy, like wanting to dig up the kitchen floor to get to a pack of stale digestives dropped down there by the builder when you’ve already got several packets of chocolate hobnobs in the cupboard.
We’ve also got windfarms on every hill, spinning in a productive and elegant manner, unlike John McTernan. We’ve got tidal resources, which once harnessed could provide the energy equivalent of the amount of gas it would take to inflate a balloon to the size of Jim Murphy’s ego. The rich and civilised state of Denmark doesn’t have all the energy resources that we do, although they do have the world’s largest per capita population of pigs, a factoid which comes as a considerable surprise to citizens of the country with the world’s largest per capita population of Labour MPs. Bacon allows a country to have a much higher standard of living and healthier citizens than Jim Murphy and a sea of oil. Which only goes to prove that Labour MPs are worse for your health than cholesterol.
But it’s not just energy. Scotland has a diverse economy, an educated workforce, some of the best universities in the world. We have whisky. We have water in such abundance that we take it for granted. Scotland is green and fertile and isn’t overpopulated. We’ve got a democratic tradition hundreds of years long, and although we complain of cooncil corruption, our corruption is minor league compared to that found in a former Soviet republic, or even in a Mediterreanan monarchy. We’re in a quiet and stable corner of the world, and have no border disputes or third parties who claim part of our country as their own.
The truly amazing thing is that over the course of the past 300 years the denizens of the Westminster Parliament and those in thrall to the Westminster system have taken this Scottish raw material, this set of conditions that is close to ideal for producing a rich, stable, and happy country, and given us what they keep telling us is a basket case incapable of looking after itself. If Scotland is so poor, so inadequate – whose fault is that then?
It’s not Scotland’s. It’s the Westminster political parties who are inadequate. It’s not us it’s them. We have political parties like Labour, which is incapable of opposition never mind government. Say what you like about Johann Lamont, but at least at times you could pity her. Jim Murphy provokes nothing but contempt. Labour lost an inadequate and incompetent branch office manager, and replaced her with one who is even worse.
Over the past few weeks since the party chose a supposed big hitter as its new Scottish accounting unit leader, it’s suffered one embarrassing pratfall after another. Following from Magrit Curran’s fracking of the truth, the Yes for Labour campaign that lasted all of 45 minutes, and the naked backfiring populism of being in favour of booze at fitba matches, comes the claim that NHS Scotland cancels four times as many operations as its English equivalent. Only to discover that the claim was based upon unequivalent figures. But it was all the SNP’s fault for making Labour misunderstand the data. Anyway, Jim quickly removed the embarrassing tweets, so none of it really happened. Jim’s good at rewriting the past, it’s possibly his only real skill.
Labour is the Wile E. Coyote of politics and in September last year they ran off the electoral cliff. Now Murph E. Coyote is manufacturing one contentless policy wheeze after another, trying to disguise the fact that there is no solid ground. He’s supported by nothing but the dust of John McTernan’s media blitz as he frantically spins his way across the chasm.
But on May 8, the coyote is going to have to look down, and we’ll all watch it plummet. And laugh. That’s all folks!
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