The Third Lanark of politics

Labour’s plummeting poll statistics prove that it is actually possible for something to plunge more quickly than gravitational force and laws of physics would allow. But then Newton never thought to include public disgust and oppobrium in his calculations. The 45 are going to give Labour MPs their P45s, and there may be no Labour MPs left in Scotland by the end of next week. The word pandafication has entered the political lexicon.

According to a report in the Torygraph, senior Labour figures in Scotland are demanding that Jim Murphy BA Politics (failed) resigns as leader of Labour’s branch office in Scotland after the election. Despite the portents of impending doom, it is rumoured that the Murph E. Coyote intends to cling on to the cliff edge of leadership even if he’s kicked off his seat by his constituents and the shell shocked band of Labour MSPs, cooncillors and exMPs hammer at his grasping paws with rolled up copies of the Labour party rule book.

The in-fighting in Labour has already broken out into the open, with reports of cooncillors refusing to support the re-election campaigns of their local Labour MP just in case their political death is contagious. So it’s not just the punters who will be glad to see the back of certain Labour MPs. The walking dead of the Labour party in Scotland are already demanding a victim, they wanting a post mortem before the execution and Jim is going to be offered up for ritual sacrifice. We’ve not even had the vote yet and already the recriminations have started – which I suppose makes then precriminations.

I sat down with some doritos and sour cheese dip to watch Jim Murphy getting interviewed live by STV’s Bernard Ponsonby. Well I say “live”, but he was really a political corpse. There was plenty of sour cheese on display from Jim, but the dip was far more solid and substantial. Bernard asked Jim about the dire opinion polls and whether he took responsibility for Labour’s impending demise. The rapidly greying Jim said it wasn’t really about him as an individual – and across Scotland people were shouting at their tellies – “Yes it is Jim. Yes it is.” Jim is still denying that he’s in denial about the dire straits his party is in.

He’s also denying he’s going to make any cuts, he’ll be making “savings”. We all know that Labour’s going to make cuts. Jim’s problem is that no one in the Labour leadership has told him what they’re going to be. He’s going to pay for all the extra goodies he’s promising with extra taxes, like a tax on banks which apparently is mostly going to be raised outside Scotland. Although during the indyref Jim was one of those who spent his time telling us that the banks were Scottish. Labour is as consistent on that one as they are on the safety of the NHS. The NHS was safe during the indyref, according to Labour, and it was only evil nationalist separatists who said it was under threat. But now Labour tells us that the NHS is under threat and only the people who didn’t realise it was under threat can save it. It’s all very confusing in Jim’s mental universe. Perhaps that’s the reason his eyebrows appear to be living separate lives.

Jim wants extra powers for the Scottish Parliament, because Jim’s a patriot. He doesn’t want the extra powers that the SNP want, because they’re unpatriotic extra powers. Jim only wants patriotic powers. Like powers over benefits that Labour ruled out during the Smith Commission negotiations. Perhaps Labour only ruled them out then so that Jim could patriotically demand them now.

Bernard moves on to asking Jim about a letter he wrote to Tricia Marwick, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. Jim had wanted Tricia to make a ruling that MSPs should be banned from having two jobs. But isn’t that exactly what Jim is proposing for himself? Hmmm? Jim wants to be a full time MP and then stand for Holyrood next year and be a full time First Minister. So does the two jobs thing not apply to him? Jim says it won’t apply to him, because – he doesn’t add – it was of course just a means of getting a wee dig in a Alicsammin. Not having two jobs outside politics of course was what he really meant, he says in that soft creepy voice of his. Except that Alicsammin’s two jobs were both in politics too. Jim hopes we don’t notice that bit. But we do Jim. We do. And so do voters in East Renfrew.

Bernard asks him – So will you be a full time MP? Jim won’t answer. Will you be a part time First Minister then? Won’t answer. Mind you it’s not really relevant, because he won’t have any job at all by the end of next week.

Finally there was the obligatory fitba reference, and Bernard asked Jim if the SNP were Real Madrid, which team would Labour be. Clearly the answer is Third Lanark, because they’re extinct too. Anyway, the only thing we learned from that entire interview was that Bernard is a Celtic fan. Jim’s still talking mince, still not answering questions, and still doing an impression of a sour cheese dip that’s well past its sell by date.

Libby Brooks, the Guardian’s Scottish correspondent whose main claim to fame is that she isn’t Severin Carrell, called Jim’s performance “quality”. Which was accurate, as long as you prefixed it with “poor” or “pish”. Or possibly she hadn’t been paying any attention and was asking if there were any of the soft centred Quality Streets left.

The only thing you can be certain of with an interview with Jim Murphy is that he won’t answer any of the questions, but then he spends all his time talking over the top of everyone else, so to be fair he probably doesn’t know what the question is. The answer, we all know by now, isn’t Jim Murphy.

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Whatever happened to Baby Jim

Labour is like a gambling addict, convinced that the next throw of the dice will bring about a turn in its fortunes. They believe this even though they’ve thrown the dice out of the window and into the path of the oncoming Caledonian express that’s about to flatten them.

Following a series of brutal opinion polls which suggest that Labour is facing extinction in Scotland, Jim Murphy BA Politics (failed) and his fellow subscribers to the John McTernan ACME catalogue of fears, smears and Toryesque policies have decided to embark on a radically new strategy. And that new course of direction, that thing that they’ve never tried before, that stroke of genius – that would be obsessively slagging off the SNP and screaming from the rooftops that they’re really really bad. And probably Nazis, and Communists, and definitely obsessed with Mel Gibson movies, and totally obsessed with the referendum – the SNP that is, not the Labour party. The Labour party aren’t obsessed at all, like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jim, they’re still stars and will be serving up a cooked rat and blaming it on the SNP just before they attempt to push Scotland down a flight of stairs to the accompaniment of a 1920s show tune. That’s perfectly sane and rational.

No really, slagging off the SNP is a new thing, well according to the Labour party, and they wouldn’t lie would they. Although if Jim Murphy believes that anyone will be convinced that this is a new thing or that Labour wouldn’t lie then somewhere there must be a box of frogs which is really relieved to discover that it is not after all the maddest thing in the universe. For the rest of us Labour’s demise is ribbitting.

Now that Jim’s scheme to court Yes voters by donning a fitba shirt, making a song and dance about milking English taxpayers, and legalising drink fuelled sectarianism has proven as attractive as being stalked by an identity thief who’s got millions in a Nigerian bank account he needs your help to unblock, Labour has moved on to Plan Con – begging Tory voters for help. Although to be fair, all of Jim’s plans have been a con. It’s just that they’ve been pathetically transparent, and so is his latest.

The SNP is very very bad, according to Jim, because they’re going to press ahead with a second referendum. That would be the second independence referendum that the SNP isn’t asking for, but because it wasn’t specifically ruled out in the SNP manifesto, Labour insists that the SNP are going to press ahead with one anyway. There are of course lots of things that were not specifically ruled out in the SNP manifesto which are very likely to happen after the election – for example grief therapy and counselling for the Labour party in Scotland, or an appointment at the job centre for Blairites who’ll discover why sanctions aren’t such a good thing after all – but a second referendum isn’t one of them. Jim is hoping that by fighting a referendum campaign that isn’t actually happening he can scare up a few Tories to vote for him, and save his arse in East Renfrewshire – which is one of the few seats where there are enough Tories to make a difference. It is, after all, all about Jim, and it always has been.

Jim made this pronouncement while campaigning in the East End of Glasgow along with Magrit Curran, and Caroline Flint who had been invited along to give a bit of Labour leadership gravitas to Jim’s Bette Davis impression. Jim and Magrit were filmed by some telly cameras standing beside a building site and a very big hole. Yet again Labour had organised a campaigning event in Glasgow without inviting any actual Glaswegians, because some of the kinder ones might have yelled at Jim and Magrit to stop digging, while others would have shown them how to operate the JCB.

Working class Glaswegians don’t tend to be Tory voters, and so aren’t really Jim’s target audience. So not really a campaigning event then, it was an astroturf event, only without any turf, astro or otherwise. There was no one there except Jim, Magrit, Caroline and a couple of press people. Jim must be longing for the days when the punters gave enough of a shit to turn up just so they could shout back at him.

However the Labour party in Scotland’s attempts to stop itself from drowning with the aid of inflatable Tory floaters are being scuppered by the tidal waves generated of the Labour party leadership as it flails about in some deep water of its own. That would be the real Labour party leadership, not Jim’s branch managerial variety. Ed Miliband has – for the second time in the past few weeks – insisted that he would block a second independence referendum. This may help him in his attempts to woo voters in England, but in Scotland all it does is to tell voters who haven’t yet made up their minds that they can vote SNP safe in the knowledge that by doing so they’re not voting for another referendum.

Meanwhile, with the help of the Daily Mail – Kezia Dugdale’s favourite go-to publication for photos of her looking miserable and sad – the Tories are stoking the fires of English nationalism, according to Labour and the Lib Dems. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that they themselves were merrily stoking the fires of English nationalism during the independence referendum when they told Scots we were the recipients of English largesse and ought to be grateful. It’s only bad when the Tories do it, because this might damage Labour and the Lib Dems.

Time is running out now. There are few spins left for Labour’s one armed bandits. Unless something really dramatic happens between now and next Thursday, the game is a bogey for Labour. The compulsive gamblers will have dealt their last cards, and lost badly. It’s a safe bet they’ll still blame everyone else for their own misfortunes, and like Baby Jane they’ll dance on the beach oblivious to the men in white coats coming to take them away for good.

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The hope of the wow

Who needs the Vow when we’ve got wow? We’ve not only got wow, we’ve got utter gorgeousness. Eat yer heart out George Galloway. A couple of opinion polls were published on Monday, one a proper actual opinion poll of voters in Scotland with a representative sample and everything. The other was possibly somewhat less scientific, being an online poll of horny Edinburgh gay guys looking for a shag on Grindr.

This is of course tautological, as being on Grindr means that you are by definition a horny gay guy looking for a shag. And these days it’s also getting tautological to state that opinion polls of Scottish voting intentions show that Labour has been totally screwed, nailed to the wall, whammed, bammed and no thank you jam. The poll discovered that 62% of horny gay guys in Edinburgh plan to vote SNP. Proof, as if any proof was needed, that voting SNP means you get sexy, and that the SNP has got the gay vote pretty much in a glamorous clutch bag.

Grindr, for those of you of a shy and retiring heterosexual disposition, is an app for gay men who are looking for a random shag. It doesn’t tend to be used by men who are looking to settle down and get a labrador together. Most guys who use Grindr claim to have unfeasibly large wullies, because profiles on Grindr are about as accurate as Labour party manifesto promises and likewise invariably end in disappointment.

The guy who carried out the poll did a similar poll just before the independence referendum, and got a result which was pretty much spot on in terms of the actual vote. Which only goes to show that horny gay guys are more representative of the population at large than UKIP would care to admit.

The proper poll, carried out for TNS, showed that the SNP currently has the support of 54% of Scotland’s voters. On these figures, and given a uniform national swing, Labour will be left with just one seat in Scotland. Which would mean that Wee Wullie Bain would be Secretary of State for Scotland in a Miliband government because he’d be the only Labour MP left.

Unfortunately for Wee Wullie, the only certain thing about a universal national swing is that it’s entirely mythical. Swings are never uniform, and the swing to the SNP looks like it’s much stronger in the Glasgow area, where some figures suggest the SNP could hoover up 60% of the vote. So Wee Wullie would be out on his ear too. I recently spent some time with Anne McLaughlin, the SNP candidate in Glasgow East, interviewing her for an article for Newsnet Scotland – and it’s fair to say that Wee Wullie doesn’t look like he’s got very many fans on Grindr. This is despite the fact that Labour really does have an unfeasibly large dick in the shape of Jim Murphy.

Jim is now bereft of ideas. He’s tried to bombard us with promises of jam. Whatever happened to the Vow Plus? Gordie gets trotted out with alarming regularity to vow things that get quietly forgotten about a few days later when they’ve been slapped down by the Labour leadership in London. Over the weekend the promise to give a wee bit of jam – quite literally – to food banks in Scotland evaporated like spilt milk in the sunshine, leaving nothing behind but a stain and a bad smell. And the promise to abolish “exploitative” zero hours contracts collapsed in the contradiction of a Labour council which employs 2000 workers on zero hours contracts. So they’re not exploitative when Labour uses them. Labour is the party of do as I say not do as I do. They are out of ideas, out of inspiration, out of hope. Labour is the no-trick pony. They’re just pony.

But it doesn’t matter any more when no one trusts a word you say, and that’s Jim’s real problem, and because of that fact he’s staring an extinction level event in the face. There’s an asteroid on a collision course with the Labour party in Scotland, and the only defence Jim has got left is a tattered umbrella saying SNP bad. The dinosaur complains about the shortcomings of mammals as the fireball lights up the sky.

Jim was at it again today, standing beside Ed Balls and repeating SNP bad to a small audience of Labour activists and press representatives. And this is another example of tautology because Labour never has any other kind of audience these days. If Jim Murphy or Gordie Broon ever did give a speech to an audience of ordinary non-party affiliated Scottish people that really would be news. But that’s as likely to happen as a horny gay guy on Grindr being honest about the size of his wullie.

A part of me weeps that it has come to this. Labour is the junkie child, a product of Scottish communities. But Labour is a part of the family who has gone bad. The only recourse remaining is to kick the badjin out and let it fend for itself without sooking off expenses accounts, because otherwise it just keeps hurting us, it keeps sticking in the knife and turning it. And Labour does that because it takes us for granted like it always has done. Even now, on the edge of extinction it can’t believe that it won’t be forgiven and all its sins forgotten. It’s not like we’ve not given it fair warning. It’s not like we’ve not given it chances, but Labour keeps nicking the cash from our purses and the faith from our hearts. It’s beyond redemption.

Last year the independence referendum showed voters in Scotland that we can still hope of things getting better. We can still hope that our voices will be heard and our opinions count. That is what this election is about for Scotland, hope. We’ve learned how to hope and we’re not going to squander it on Labour’s Grindr profile. Hope is what is driving the opinion polls, but Project Fear is determined to put us back in our shortbread tin. Jim had pinned all his hopes on a late swing, and there is a late swing, it’s just not in the direction Jim was hoping for.

This time it isn’t going to work – there is an army of us spreading the message that hope still lives. We need to keep up the pressure, but we’re in for a rocky ride over the next few days. Let’s keep working, let’s keep hope alive. We’ve got the hope of the wow.

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The obituaries from Elderslie

So there’s this politician who is constantly intervening for the first time in the election campaign. Yes, it’s Gordie Broon again, only this time he’s not saving the wuld or even the banks, he’s not even saving the Union. The wuld, in case you were wondering, is the world where Gordie lives. It doesn’t seem to be planet Earth. It’s the wuld where Gordie is a superhero, the same wuld where the Daily Record is published. It’s the wuld where people believe in Gordie’s estimation of himself.

This time Gordie’s intervening in the campaign in order to save Wee Dougie Alexander’s career. It’s a bit of a come down, but then Gordie’s stock has been in decline for a while. He intervenes in election campaign for the first time to give Labour a quick thrill, and then goes away for a day or so before coming back to intervene for the first time again. Gordie is in and out more frequently than a vibrator on a pogo stick. Only this time the batteries are dead.

Gordie’s services are required by the wee skanktimonious one as his parliamentary career is about to be shafted by a lassie who was two when Dougie was first elected as an MP in 1997. This is happening despite Wee Dougie being a giant on Labour’s stage, at least when he can wrest the Irn Bru crates off Jim. Dougie has designs on the post of foreign secretary, but he’s discovered that he’s alien to most of his own constituents. So in an effort to appear at least vaguely human, he’s called for help from Gordie, the only man in Labour who’s more of a space cadet than Dougie or Jim Murphy.

Gordie’s spaceship landed in Elderslie, where Gordatron Prime made an important and headline grabbing intervention in the election campaign which consisted, as it always does, of delivering a speech in front of a tiny invited audience of party loyalists, some telly cameras, and a few reporters. The speech has of course already been released to trusted journalists, who can then conveniently report what he will say, and then again what he actually said. This gives Gordie two bites of the intervention cherry, which is as close to a double orgasm as Labour’s ever likely to get. And both of them would be faked.

Gordie is retired, but not retiring, and holds no position within the party he speaks to, or rather at. Gordie only does monologues, he doesn’t answer questions – certainly not about that vow – and he won’t ever appear in front of the unvetted punters on whose behalf he claims to speak. Because the punters might beg to disagree. Gordie doesn’t like it when people disagree, because he’d have to go off script. Spontaneity is not covered by the pre-released press release, and Gordie might call someone a bigot.

This time the massed rank of the Labour supporter was treated to a disquistion on the evil SNP. Which was pretty much the same as the last speech Gordie made, and the one before that, and the one before that. Anyway, this time Gordie wanted us to know that the SNP was evil because they might put having another referendum in their manifesto in a different election entirely to the one we’re having, and then people in Scotland might vote for it. And this would be a very bad thing. And wrong. And not a good thing. It would be eh, democracy, and we can’t be having that. Gordie knows what’s good for us. Don’t think for yourself, it only leads to SNPness.

Instead of deciding things for ourselves, Scottish voters would be much better off listening to Gordie. He’s vowing that if we vote for the Labour party then they’ll guarantee to write a letter inviting companies to a conference to talk about maybe taking on a few unemployed people on work placements instead of sanctioning their benefits. However there will be tea and biscuits, at the conference that is, not for the folk who might have their benefits sanctioned, who will be expected to bring their own pieces. Gordie isn’t guaranteeing that Labour will put an end to benefits sanctions, but Gordie did give a guarantee that he will ensure that the letters are stamped and taken to the post box, and that’s a vow. A second class vow, but then so was the last one.

Gordie also promised to abolish exploitative zero hours contracts, which is exactly what Labour was promising in 1997, when Gordie was going to be chancellor and might have been able to do something about zero hours contracts. So we’re only 18 years late, but then he was too busy putting an end to boom and bust before having to save the wuld from going bust. However now that the wuld has been saved, and most of us are bust, he’s going to personally guarantee that Jim Murphy will write a letter inviting businesses to another conference where they can discuss what “exploitative” means in relation to zero hours contracts. Then they kick the whole thing into the long grass just like they did in 1997.

Mainly however, Gordie wanted us to know that only by voting Labour can we be safe from the Tories. Except of course those Tories that the Labour party is going to invite into government as advisors, like Michael Heseltine. So presumably Labour’s only going to save us from exploitative Tories, and not those deemed to be non-exploitative by Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna. If Labour does managed to secure a majority, their government is already shaping up to be as Laboury as the Blair and Broon combo, and we all know how that one turned out.

This charade gets repeated with turgid regularity in the pages of the Scottish press and on the screens of Scottish broadcasters. It’s the same with Jim Murphy BA Politics (failed) and his mass outdoor rallies of a wee group of what look like Labour studenty types. It’s always the same wee group waving the same wee cardboard slogans. The camera is kept in close, no long shots to show us the truth of the massness of the rally.

Con-tricks and make believe are Labour’s stock in trade. They only get away with it because the media colludes and is an active participant in the charade. But no one believes either of them any more. The lies and deceit hung in the air in the stale atmosphere of a closed meeting, locked away behind closed doors. Locked away like a coffin. The media reports are Labour’s obituary from Elderslie.

Today in Glasgow there were two mass rallies that really were mass rallies, the people of Scotland are building a new political reality, and building a new media. We have no need of Gordie and his stale promises. Life moves on in the streets, and Labour’s left behind. We won’t look back. The future is already here.

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The rationality of rage

There’s an article in today’s Guardian in which assorted Labour party figures bewail the supposedly irrational rage that their candidates encounter on the doorstep in Scotland. The public is so angry that punters refuse even to take Labour’s literature, regarding it as radioactive waste, poisonous and contaminating. See thae voters, they’re mad so they are. What have Labour ever done to deserve this? It makes no sense to the Guardian columnists and the party hierarchy. It’s not the party which is wrong, it’s the people. It’s not Labour which has gone astray, it’s Scotland.

The anger and contempt with which Labour is met is everyone’s fault but Labour’s – Wee Dougie Alexander thinks it’s down to a European-wide phenomenon of anti-government feeling exacerbated by the banking crisis which in Scotland, as elsewhere in Europe, has found expression in a populist nationalism. And at that point we all stop listening.

It’s got fuck all to do with that Dougie. It’s because we know that Scotland isn’t important enough to the Labour party for you to prioritise what Scottish voters want. It’s got everything to do with voters in Scotland being sick fed up of a Labour party which has taken us for granted for generations while it ignores our wishes and sooks up to Tory voters in Middle England in an attempt to get into power. It’s got everything to do with Labour turning itself into a vehicle for government which has no clue what to do once it gets into power except to pander to the right wing press and the financial services industry of the City of London. You had your 13 years of crushing Labour majorities under Blair and Brown Dougie. And you blew it.

Dougie, the root cause for Scotland’s rage against Labour lies squarely with the Labour party. It lies with you Dougie, and with the rest of the sorry misbegotten bunch of placepersons, triangulators, schemers, pseudo-intellectuals, despair mongerers and party balloons who sit for Labour in Scotland. Dougie’s rationale is “big boys done it and ran away” dressed up in the cant of pseudo-sophisticated sophistry.

Rage is a rational response to politicians who don’t know the difference between truth and play dough. Rage is right when faced with an MP who thinks turning up for a photo shoot means they can take credit for a community campaign. Rage is the responsible response to those who have taken a party born in the struggle for social justice and turned it into a party of managing working class aspirations on behalf of the bosses. Rage is reasonable when confronted with a political class which is incapable of a straight answer to the simplest of questions. Jim Murphy couldn’t even answer the question “do you want sugar with your tea” without uttering the words, “Look, I hope you don’t mind.”

I do mind Jim. I mind that you can’t say whether you intend to resign your seat in East Renfrew in order to stand for Holyrood. I mind that you are unable to tell us exactly what cuts your party is planning. I mind that you manipulate facts to suit your arguments, I mind that you patronise, I mind that you interrupt, I mind that you went to work on an egg. I mind that you lie about socialism. I mind that you have no political principles beyond saving your sorry career. I mind that you’re really using mind in the Scots sense and hoping we can’t remember your expenses claims, your cheerleading for wars, your obsession with phallus shaped missiles. But we do fucking mind, as you will be reminded. And we’re going to remind Labour that rage is righteous.

Rage is what happens when a people feel betrayed. It’s the justified anger of the thrice scorned, the correct reply to the wrong question, it’s the four minute warning to a party that’s turned its back on the communities that gave it birth. And even now, despite the howling klaxons, Labour still can’t hear, still doesn’t want to listen.

The sirens shriek the death of Labour, and here we bloody go again with Gordie Broon being dragged out to vow things. Gordon Brown is getting increasingly like one of those elderly incontinent yappy wee dugs drooling in its toothless jaws as it tries to gain some purchase on your leg so it can shaft you – vowvowvowvow. He’s promising all sorts of sweeties if only we vote Labour. That’s the Gordie who was going to personally supervise the vow he swore before the referendum in front of the mass rank of an invited audience of a Labour supporter, some reporters from friendly newspapers and a BBC camera. That one didn’t end well, but here he is intervening for the first time again – only this time it’s just rank.

This intervention is the last throw of the dice of a party that’s gone beyond desperate. They’re dragging out the pensionscarer again to speak in a closed locked room to a rank of reporters replacing a rally. A retiring MP with no power to do anything except remind us how useless he was the last time he made a vow.

This time Gordie is promising £5000 for every foodbank in Scotland. Is he going to personally ensure that promise is kept too? He’s not promising to abolish food banks, he’s not promising an end to the punitive benefits regime and the demonisation of the poor and needy. He’s not promising to listen and learn. He’s sure as hell not vowing that Labour will change. In Labour’s eyes it doesn’t need to change, it’s us who need to change. Labour wants us to change back into the tame controlled flock of the unthinking that bends over to act as a footstool for its political ambitions.

So all we are left with is rage. Our rage will be the death of Labour in Scotland. Watch us, watch us kill off Labour with the laughter of the justified and the scorn of those who’ve been ignored too long. We’ve already pushed the party out of our hearts, now we stand on the edge of Labour’s precipice, waiting for the satisfying splat of crushed careers. Our rage is rational. Our rage is reasonable. Our rage is cool, calm, and considered. And such rage, directed, will change the world.

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Explaining the funny

When you have to explain a joke, the funny dies. Which makes this blog post an exposition of death. Yesterday a wee joke made by Alicsammin a week or so back was examined from every possible angle. Inside, outside, upside down. It was held up to the window to see if it was transparently a joke and the massed ranks of the media metrocommentariat decided that it wasn’t. Can you see through that with your London blinkers on? Oh no, this is a serious and deadly intervention in the general election campaign, they chorused. Because the rest of the national campaign has been, let’s face it, pretty shite and they needed something – anything – to generate a bit of controversy and help spark some life into the Tories’ ailing bid for re-election.

Monstering Scottish people is always good for that, since you can safely be racist about Scots seeing as how they’ve not immigrated anywhere. Except for Michael Gove and Liam Fox, but they don’t count because they are Toriores Tories ipsis. However there’s a big threat to Westminster from a large bloc of SNP MPs who are threatening to migrate into the corridors of power and be deliberately Scottish in lobbies and committees. That can’t be allowed to happen. Scotland might think having Westminster held to ransom by a squad of angry Scottish people is a bit of a laugh, but the Tory press can’t see the joke. But then you never can see the joke when the joke is on you. It’s like Davie Cameron trying to read the “kick me” sign in tartan paint that’s been pinned to the back of his jaicket.

But treating a joke as not a joke provided a media witha chance to monster Alicsammin, who’s the monsterers’ monster of choice. So even though it was as transparently a joke as Boris Johnson’s haircut or anything that Magrit Curran ever says or does, although unlike them it was meant to be funny on purpose, it was to be taken seriously. A Tory election campaign depends upon scaring the shiters out of UKIP leaning voters in the leafy shires with the invention of Scottish Nationalists who will them pay for all the drinks, the peanuts, and then afterwards making them pay for an immigrant kebab.

So the joke was picked apart, dissected and stuffed into the Large Hadron Collider then wheeched around at the speed of light and smashed at the quantum level. It was helpfully deconstructed by some Unionists affecting a feminist perspective who pondered its implications for an undermined Nicla. Musings were mused by the unamused about whether a throwaway line hid a deeper truth, and the consensus was that of course it did, because it came from Alicsammin. Alicsammin is Gaelic for Beelzebub. The deeper truth is that Alicsammin is evil, it always is. Alicsammin wants to eat babies and make the English pay for the tomato sauce.

The funny, of which there was not a large quantity to begin with, was extracted and freeze dried then pinned down on a board like a dead butterfly bleached of all colour. And when you suck out the colour from a butterfly you’re left with a moth eaten Daily Mail headline. Alicsammin’s going to write the Labour budget, screamed the Tory press. Run for those wee elevations that pass for hills!

This was all so some humourless twunks could distract attention from an even less funny joke made by Davie Cameron earlier in the day, when he likened Alicsammin to a pick pocket. Oh how we chortled. And guess which one of these jokes BBC Scotland decided to run with? Repeatedly.

This is a peculiar election campaign. With most of the focus on Scotland, the UK media and political parties seems to have given up any real interest in the proceedings, like a surly teenager who’s annoyed not to be the centre of attention at someone else’s birthday party. And this time it’s a Scottish party.

We’ve got two weeks to go until the vote, and there are no signs that the advance of the SNP is about to be halted. Just about everything has been rolled out in the tried and trusted untrustworthiness of Project Fear Mark 2. The Tories gave up on Scotland years ago, meanwhile Labour’s leadership – the real leadership not the branch office management – seem to have joined them and have abandoned the hapless Murph E Coyote to his inevitable plunge off the canyon edge. Now it’s all about shoring up their votes in England and Wales, and trying to grab as many votes as they can back from the grasping and flailing paws of UKIP.

In Scotland the SNP juggernaut rolls on, threatening to crush all before it. Labour seems to have given up in many seats, concentrating its meagre resources in mail shots delivered by the Royal Mail because Labour doesn’t have activists on the ground. Labour MPs who previously barely knew where their constituencies were have been seeing going round the doors, cutting lonely and forlorn figures on the doorstep, standing on the threshold of their party’s extinction. They’re paying the price for taking us for granted, no wonder they can’t see the joke.

Instead of giving Scotland what Scotland has told the Unionist parties repeatedly what it wants, Labour and the Tories give us allegations of bullying. It’s what bullies do when they’re losing. Scottish people are being nasty to the nasty bullies, and that’s just nasty. Only Labour and the Tories are allowed to be nasty. They’re licenced to be nasty, they’re professionally nasty. Freelance nastiness is beyond the pale, mockery is worse than an ATOS assessment, a cutting remark is worse than blowing up a wedding party in Afghanistan.

The hysterical hyperbole of the Unionist press is a joke, but it’s not funny on purpose. It’s met with derision and disparagement. And this is how the Union ends, in Scottish laughter and jeering, in satire and scorn. We’re scoffing and mocking our way to a country where our concerns can be taken seriously. Scotland isn’t just going to write a Labour budget, we’re going to write the terms of Union too. The joke is on Westminster.

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Being Scottish on purpose

John Major’s really upset. No really. He’s pure dead raging. There’s going to be mayhem in May. The last Tory PM before this one gave a speech today, and people all over the country said, “Who? Oh, right, the grey puppet guy from Spitting Image. Is he still alive then?”.

Some people in the hand picked audience of spittle flecked Tory pensioners didn’t fall asleep, that’s how raging John was. He’s raging at you, dear reader. You’re mental. You’re reckless and not in a Tory defector to UKIP sort of a way. Oh no, you are a clear and present danger to national security that’s going to require the combined efforts of Johnny English, James Bond (but not the Sean Connery one), that guy from the Kingsmen movie who’s dead posh, and a ninja columnist on the Telegraph to sort you out. Mind you, Alan Cochrane would put you off your dinner if he appeared in a zentai suit, although to be honest he does that anyway. Where’s yer Alicsammin downfall now then Alan eh? Tee hee.

Anyway, having tried and failed to purge my mind of the image of Alan Cochrane in stretchy lycra, John has returned from the silence of the shires to slap you down because you are, and I hesitate to say this, of a Scottish persuasion. You are a monster. And you look like you’re going to be deliberately Scottish at the General Election – you’re even doing it on purpose. That’s as much of a threat to all that is good and true and Great British family values as being gay was in the 1970s. It’s unadulterated evil, and it’s jolly well not on. You’d be marching in lycra next, if it wasn’t for the fact that you’re in need of therapy after thinking about Alan Cochrane. Although as everyone who doesn’t work for the Telegraph knows, he’s the one in need of therapy.

But it’s OK. John has Scottish friends. He has friends like Michael Forsyth and the beardy guy in the properly unionist lycra suit who have their finger on the pulse of Scotland. They’re completely representative of Scottish opinion and have told him that it’s just fine to deprive Scotland of its democratic rights. “You can insult Scottish people John. Tell them it’s OK, you have Scottish friends.”

Scotland would only use democracy to keep Tories out of power, and that just isn’t on at all. That’s not what we’re Better Together for, Scotland is supposed to be that small bit at the top of the BBC weather map where few seats change hands at Westminster Elections. Yet now, just look what’s happened, Scottish people who aren’t friends of John are insisting on making things interesting. John doesn’t like it when things are interesting.

John knew this was going to happen. He warned us back in the 1990s that this devolution business was only going to end in tears. Tears for him and his Westminster pals that is. But oh no, some people decided that they had to let those Scottish people have a bit of democracy and now look what’s happened. He’s not naming any names but he’s pointing his finger at the Labour party. It’s their fault. It’s not the fault of the Tories for ignoring the democratic aspirations of Scotland for a decade and a half. Oh no. That’s just something Scotland has to suck up, being a part of this fine union.

John is shocked and appalled at the recent turn of events. You can tell he’s angry, because he audibly harrumphed. He may even be forced to tap his fingers on his podium and tell us about his torrid nights with Edwina. You’ll be sorry then, Scottish people.

Now Scottish people want more of it, democracy that is, not the Labour party or the Tories, and certainly not Edwina Curry. John has got used to Scotland not wanting the Tories but is alarmed because the Scots don’t want the Labour party either. Because that means something truly awful, even more awful than Alan Cochrane – it means that Scottish people are insisting that they ought to have a say in how the UK is run. The glittery stardust of a thousand lovebombs is choking Westminster to death.

“But you said …” chorus Scottish people, pointing to a Better Together leaflet that said how much the UK loves us, needs us, and values our contribution to British national life. We’re only doing what they told us they wanted. We’re injecting a dose of Scottish reality into the corridors of Westminster.

It’s just not on you know. This is not what Better Together was all about. Better Together was supposed to mean that Scotland was better for being ruled by Westminster, not that Westminster could be better for having Scotland tell it how to do things. Yet here we are, just over two weeks away from a General Election, and the most interesting thing that’s happening is John Major having a bit of a strop. Now if that’s not rubbish politics I don’t know what is.

John’s come back from the political grave to give some soapbox gravitas to his successors, the modern Tory exponents of rubbish politics. He’s been joined by the undead Michael Forsyth back from the political grave. Michael Forsyth chose politics as his career, he climbed to the top of the greasy pole of sycophants and became Thatcher’s man in Scotland, and he led the Scottish Tories to a total rout in 1997, losing every single seat the party possessed. It’s the only political achievement he’s ever managed. Michael is the failure’s failure, although he may be about to be surpassed by Jim Murphy who climbed to the top of an Irn Bru crate and destroyed the Labour party.

But the Tory warnings aren’t about Scotland at all really. They’re about shoring up the Tory vote in Englandshire and about delegitimising Scotland’s votes. When Scotland returns a large body of MPs who are deemed to be beyond the pale by a slavering media, then the Tories hope that they can cling onto power on the back of English votes alone. They screech that the SNP want to drive a wedge between Scotland and England while they take a sledge hammer to the foundations of the United Kingdom. With every editorial, every spittle flecked denunciation, they destroy what they claim to hold dear.

They told us they loved us, they told us they wanted us. Well we’re only giving them what they asked for, we’re being Scottish on purpose, we’re playing by their rules and kicking their arses in the process. A wise man once said that the secret of true wisdom was still to want what you longed for after you’d got it. There’s not much wisdom in Westminster. The union is done for, and it’s not Scotland that broke it.

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Dear Martin

Dear Martin,

Thank you very much for your lovely letter which was sent out in a mail shot from the Labour party. Oh look, I said to myself, a letter from that guy who plays the hobbit in the movies and it’s addressed to me personally. But sadly the only wizardry on display was the magic of mail merge, and that wasn’t quite enough to convince me that you had actually sat down and directed yourself personally to my concerns. George Osborne might do a convincing impression of Sauron, but this isn’t Middle Earth and Ed Miliband sure as hell isn’t Gandalf. Middle Earth is a fantasy invented by a middle class guy from Oxford University, just like the claim of the modern Labour party to be a party of the left, come to think of it.

Thank you for assuming that I’m too thick to cope with the complexities of modern politics and require everything to be reduced to a binary opposition between Labour and the Tories. It’s that kind of patronising attitude that has caused Labour to lose Scotland. You are offering a fantasy Martin, a story for children like dragons and orcs. In the real world, the one we actually live in as opposed to the fantasy one where Labour lives, we have other choices, and we can make our own minds up about what our choices are. There are other ways to resist the Tories. Labour thinks it can resist the Tories by aping them, by turning itself into little monkeys who perform tricks for the Conservative press and offer working class people the occasional peanut. That’s not resistance, and even a hobbit should realise that.

Despite what you say I’m not confused by different parties claiming different things, I can weigh up multiple options. And I can see that the simplistic choice you offer on behalf of the Labour party is a false one. But then you don’t need to be a mental giant to resist the dubious charms of Jim Murphy. You don’t need to be an Oxford don to see through Magrit Curran’s lies. You don’t need the wisdom of Gandalf to be unconvinced by Ed.

Labour can claim what they like, and even if they were offering a winning lottery ticket for every voter, a free foreign holiday and a guaranteed shag with someone who is actually attractive and who doesn’t look like your average politician, I won’t believe them if I don’t trust them. And that’s your problem right there Martin. I don’t trust the Labour party as far as I could throw it. And I could throw it as far as missile strike in Baghdad. I could throw Labour as far as an ATOS assessment. I could throw Labour as far as Ed Balls and his promise not to undo any of George Osborne’s cuts. Labour has been promising invisible jam at every election I can remember, yet as soon as they get into power they morph into Murphy.

The choice I want to make is to prevent Labour from behaving like it has always done, to make Labour behave like a Labour party should. Voting Labour in Scotland doesn’t offer me that choice, all voting Labour offers is a return to being side-lined, marginalised, ignored and patronised. I choose to hold Labour to account. I choose another way, a Scottish way.

The Labour party started in Scotland you say. And that would be true. And values of community, compassion and fairness still hold true you say. And that would be true as well, only they’ve got little or nothing to with the Labour party in Scotland. Labour sold those values down a PFI river decades ago, then contracted them out to ATOS for a profit. Because Martin, all those cruel and horrible things that the Tories pursue with gusto, Labour wants to keep them – the creeping privatisations, the disability assessments, the benefits caps, the demonisation of the poor, the dispossessed, the migrants, the worship of weapons of mass destruction. In Middle Earth Labour would be on the side of the orcs. Look at Jim Murphy and you can see they already are.

The Labour party was born in Scotland, and it will die in Scotland too. There’s a poetic circularity to that if nothing else. Labour moved away from the communities that gave it root, and migrated to the City of London. Seduced by the precious ring of capital that promised absolute power, Labour deprived itself of its roots. So Labour shrivelled and died, cut off from the communities that gave it life and meaning and purpose. There is no point or purpose to the Labour party any more. They stand for nothing but power for power’s sake, the party of careerists who don’t know the difference between principles and press releases.

But those values of community, compassion, and fairness that you speak of Martin, they do still hold true, and unlike Labour they are alive and strong and breathing in the communities that gave birth to the Labour party. Like most in Scotland I hold them dear. It’s just that they are no longer to be found in the Labour party. Us hobbits, us wee folk with our hairy Caledonian legs, we’ve created another party where we can express those values.

Today Martin, this Monday April 20, another party presented its manifesto to the electorate in Scotland. It is a manifesto that Labour would once have been proud to present. It promises social justice, and fairness and compassion and community. It promises to resist weapons of mass destruction, to fight for the disabled, to include the excluded, to bring tolerance and sense to the media’s racist hysteria about immigration. It’s a manifesto that promises to do all the things that Labour used to offer but never followed through on. Those things that Labour no longer even offers. It’s a manifesto for Scotland, not a manifesto for the Tory press.

And unlike Labour’s litany of lies and broken promises and shattered dreams – I can actually believe it. It’s a manifesto that comes from a party that promises to lock out the Tories and to keep Labour on track. It’s a party that really is a mass movement, born in Scotland’s communities, unlike Labour’s hollowed out shell, focus grouped to death. It’s a party that can make sure that Labour has a spine, because Labour needs a moral conscience. When the Labour leadership are left to their own devices they find their moral conscience in Daily Mail editorials, and then they hope to convince us with children’s tales of orcs and hobbits presented by starry eyed stars. But we have our feet on the Scottish ground.

I vote for moral conscience, I vote for hope, I vote for compassion and care. And that Martin, is why I’m voting SNP.

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Schrodinger’s Labour

We’re in that period before Christmas when the prezzies have already been wrapped up in an Ashcroft poll and put under the tree. Have we got that Murph E Coyote doll we asked for? The one that runs off the canyon edge keeping aloft on its own frantic spinning, only to fall and land with a resounding splat in a dustcloud of McTernans. The special edition Scottish Labour model, the one that comes with additional features, like extra hubris and a smug look that can be wiped off its face. It’s one of those toys that are only fun when you smash them.

There’s a Murph E Coyote shaped package under the tree, and when you shake it it’s got that reassuring death rattle. It’s certainly looking good, for those who want substantial more power for Scotland if not for James Francis Murphy BA Politics (failed). But is it really the prezzie we long for, or will we be disappointed and only get a pair of hand knitted Westminster featherbedders. The signs are good, but we won’t know for sure until we open the prezzie on May 7. In the meantime we’ve got a Schrodinger’s Murph – Labour in Scotland is quantum, neither alive nor dead but in both states simultaneously.

The living death of zombie Labour was illustrated in the obsessive knee jerking of Kezia Dugdale when interviewed on Sunday’s BBC Politics show. She was asked about the manifesto that Labour launched on Friday. The Dugless one was asked by Gordon Brewer about the cuts that Labour has said they’ll have to introduce. No matter how he phrased the question, no matter what he asked or how he asked it, her answer to every question about Labour policy was, “The SNP is really bad and have bad questions to answer badly. The bad bad SNP are really bad. The SNP want Full Fiscal Autonomy and that’s bad. The bad SNP have bad questions to answer. The SNP want another referendum and that’s bad. Did I say that the SNP are really badly bad and have to answer bad questions, because the SNP are really bad. That’s how bad they are, really bad, SNP bad. And finally, because this is an important point, I’d just like to mention that the SNP are really bad. I have so answered your question Gordon.” Badly.

Kezia and the Labour party are too dense to realise that answering criticisms of their party with attacks on another party is an implicit acceptance on the proposition. When the only answer to the question – “Just how rubbish is your party?” is “But the SNP are more rubbish.” You are accepting that your own party is rubbish and expecting people to listen to an attack originating from a party which tacitly acknowledges that it’s rubbish. But then we already know that Labour is rubbish. That’s why they’re doing so poorly in the polls.

A woman who couldn’t answer demanded that others answer so no one would notice she had no answers of her own. But we did notice, we do notice. We notice how bad Labour is. They don’t stand for anything except keeping their careers, and hating the SNP. And they only hate the SNP because the SNP threatens their careers. It’s not even a principled hatred.

In a desperate attempt to gain some purchase, Labour churns out policies from John McTernan’s ACME catalog of spin, but it makes no difference. The reason is that Labour doesn’t have a policy problem. It has a trust problem. It doesn’t matter what policies you have if no one believes a word you say. And that lack of trust isn’t down to the Murphoid one, although having a man who is a serial political cross dresser in charge really isn’t helping Labour’s bid for believability any.

It doesn’t matter how many easy rides Jim gets in the media, no one will trust Labour until the party reforms itself. Labour has already been given numerous chances to reform itself, 2007, 2011, 2014 – and Labour’s “reform” was to give us Jim Murphy. Jim Murphy is the Stars in their Political Eyes addict who wowed the metrocommentariat with his impressions. Today Matthew, Jim has painted his face blue and is wearing a Scotland shirt, next week he’s donned a frock and is channelling Rosa Luxemburg. The week after that he’ll be manning the barricades in the Paris Commune with a pile of Irn Bru crates. The week before the election he’ll be camped out in a battery farm in the hope that someone throws an egg at him. But when you remove the hastily applied make up and the costumes, underneath Jim is still the Blairite chancer that he’s always been. I know that, you know that, the dug knows that, we all know that.

It’s so bad for Labour that the Sunday Herald has reported that Jim Murphy has sought legal advice on whether he can remain as leader of the tattered remnants of Labour in Scotland if he loses his own seat. The Smugurphy one denies that he’s asked for legal advice on the issue. But then he would, wouldn’t he. There have been rumours of wriggle room in the clause in the constitution that says that a candidate for election to leadership must be an elected politician, but the rules are silent on what happens if a successful candidate loses their seat afterwards. In Jim’s world it would be perfectly acceptable for a totally discredited leader to retain his position, but then he was totally discredited before he was elected, so to be fair there would be no real change there.

We are living in historic times. The death of the Labour party is being foretold in the signs and portents of polls and Kezias. Labour isn’t spinning, it’s a death spiral.

We can’t take anything for granted. The polls are stupendously good for those who want to break the back of the old ways of doing things in Scotland, the secret deals and handshakes, the cosy agreements, the old boys’ network, the careerists with a cushy seat for life. The polls are gobsmackingly good, unbelievably good, but the only vote that counts is the one on May 7.

Let’s keep working. Let’s open Schrodinger’s box and find Labour’s cat has expired. Let’s see the cartoon until the end, and watch the coyote run off the cliff and fall to its doom in the dust. Labour in Scotland May 7 2015, that’s all folks!

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Jim Murphy, still big in Japan

We’re surrounded by morons. It’s official, it’s in the newspapers and on the telly. Or rather, it is the newspapers and the telly. They’re morons, idiots, fools, balloons, numpties, muppets, clowns, dumb as soup, thick as congealed mince. The metromedia is dominated today by reports that Nicla offered Ed a coalition and got her proposal spurned, like the ugly sister begging the handsome prince to marry her. But that’s not what happened. I was watching. Many of you would also have been watching, or you saw it on the news later.

For starters Ed Miliband is no handsome prince, he barely qualifies as a frog. He’s got the stary eyes off pat though. But far more importantly than Ed’s amphibious qualities we saw the exchange for ourselves and there was no offer of any coalition. But still we’re being told there was. So it’s either that we’re surrounded by morons with the comprehension skills of baboons with dementia, or the media is deliberately misreporting what happened – it’s hard to decide which of those two scenarios is worse. Although, come to think of it, they’re not mutually exclusive.

But then the traditional media holds up a mirror to the traditional politicians, and the politicians are morons who tell lies and who don’t even have the good grace to look ashamed when they get caught out. They just delete their Tweets and wait for the next spin of the news cycle, rinse, repeat. James Frances Murphy BA Politics (failed) was at it again today, launching Labour’s Scottish manifesto at an invitation only event in a secret location in the East End of Glasgow which no East Enders had been invited to. The little people’s presence isn’t required, Jim knows what working class Scots think because he goes to fitba matches and sits in the directors’ box along with John Reid. Whatever happened to John Reid? The only man in the Labour party less popular than Jim, at least until May 8.

Today the Murph E Coyote is saying, “We can’t have rewards for the few and insecurity for the many.” And that Jim, right there, is precisely why the Labour vote in Scotland has collapsed. Being one of the few who gets rewarded and refuses to accept all responsibility for anything that goes wrong, the spinning pawed one would know a lot about that. Just how are those expenses claims and London private land-lording doing Jim, hmm? Being lectured on fairness and equality by Jim Murphy is like being lectured on ethical journalism by Andy Coulson.

Labour had 13 years of crushing majorities to prevent the few being rewarded while the many grew increasingly insecure. Instead we got zero hours contracts, bankers running riot, student fees, creeping privatisation, PFI, social mobility reduced and a widening chasm opened up between the richest and the rest of society – and Jim voted enthusiastically for all of it. Then during the referendum campaign last year the Labour party forgot about the Internationale and sang the God Save the Queen with the Tories while Jim responded to an egg like it was a suicide bomber with ebola. Now when Jim’s political career is disappearing up his own backside more rapidly than Jim climbed up the backside of Tony Blair, he suddenly discovers he’s a socialist. This is an announcement as believable as Katie Hopkins joining the Workers Revolutionary Party.

Labour’s Scottish manifesto launch was dominated, not by the many flavours of invisible promisory jam which were being larded about like profit forecasts at a pyramid sellers’ convention, but by dire warnings about the SNP. Labour is obsessed. They are so consumed with hatred and fear of the SNP that they are still trapped in a time warp in 1979.

For everyone under the age of 40, 1979 was when SNP MPs voted against Jim Callaghan’s Labour government in a vote of confidence. This came after Labour had shafted Scotland in the infamous 1979 referendum on very limited home rule, but in Labourland this betrayal has been airbrushed out of history just like Wee Dougie Alexander’s Tweets. In his memoirs, Callaghan himself laid the blame for his government’s demise on a number of his own backbenchers. However in the mythology of the Labour party, which is incapable of accepting that it might have any blame for anything at all, it’s all the fault of the SNP that in the subsequent General Election, millions of people voted Tory. It certainly wasn’t the fault of the Labour party for being unelectable.

Being trapped in the 1970s explains a number of things about Jim. It explains his condescending Mad Man debating tactics when faced with a woman opponent for starters. It also explains his decision to wrap himself in tartan, as he’s convinced himself that he’s a member of the Bay City Rollers and will be able to keep up his career long shag a-lang with his expenses claims. Never mind Jim, once we’ve voted you out of office you can disappear from public view, and in your occasional appearances in Where are they now? articles in the Daily Record, illustrated with your trademark halo backlighting, you can boast that you’re still big in Japan and are booked to appear in Fukushima, juggling eggs for a few yen.

Jim only gets away with it because he is rarely subjected to forensic examination, such is the deference the Labour party has traditionally enjoyed in Scotland from a media that doesn’t bother to report accurately even those things we’ve all seen for ourselves. A media that misuses words. A media that doesn’t take care with words is a media that chancers like Jim can use to deceive. Taking Labour in Scotland seriously is a crime against words.

We have a media which doesn’t care about words, yet words are supposed to be the stock in trade of writers and reporters. It’s like a builder who doesn’t give a shit about the building materials they use. And then the house falls down trapping us in the rubble while the builder walks away. We need a new one, a solid one, a sturdy one, and with our words, we are building a new media all by ourselves, fighting tabloids with tablets. Because words are important, words are magic. Watch them make careerist chancers disappear.

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