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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