We need to calm down about the BBC. Scotland voted no, and that means that the people of Scotland surrendered all and any right to input on our devolution settlement. We will get what we’re given and should tug our forelocks like good North Britons, and go and be grateful that Edinburgh Castle has been plastered with a giant Union flag. The BBC just as it is is perfectly able to provide Scotland with totally unbiased Great British broadcasting. People who voted No voted for everything to remain exactly the same forever, say the people who promised that a No vote was a vote for safer and faster change.
So said Philip Davies MP, or at least that is what his comments boiled down to. Actually what he said was that Nicola Sturgeon needed to calm down following her “demands” that Scotland should get its own public service television channel. Of course the fact that Nicola had not demanded anything is irrelevant. All she really did was to air the suggestion that the BBC adopt a federal structure and as part of this Scotland should get its own dedicated channel. Her suggestions were in fact originally proposed from within the BBC itself, before being dropped on account of costs and uppity Scottishness.
But then any suggestion from a supporter of Scottish independence counts as a demand and a threat when the Union dangles from the fraying thread of 384,000 votes. Listen very carefully and with every slight and put down you can hear another strand in that thread pull apart. We’re respecting the views of the 55%, and we’re respecting the fact that they’re declining in number with every passing day.
Phil was speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, which may or may not be another of those international Scottish arty festivals that’s never been directed by a Scottish person. I’ve no idea, to tell the truth, all I know is that if the festival had never had a Scottish director it would be wrong to point it out and if you did then one of Scotland’s legion of right wing newspaper columnists would write an angry article about the evil of anti-English racism that lurks at the very core of every Scottish psyche. Except for those Scottish psyches which are right wing and North British of course and which do their best to do an impression of not being a Scottish psyche at all, a definition which conveniently includes most of the modern Labour party.
Neither do I have any idea who Philip Davies is, nor why his opinion on the future of Scottish broadcasting should be considered newsworthy. However it didn’t take long to discover that Phil is, not to put too fine a point on it, about as relevant to Scottish broadcasting as a five day old shrivelled balloon lurking behind the sofa is relevant to creating a cheerful party atmosphere. Possibly pointing that out also makes you an anti-English racist, or at least anti-balloonist, but frankly I am way beyond caring.
Phil’s one of those white able bodied middle class heterosexual Conservative men who are very quick to claim victimhood status. White able bodied middle class heterosexual Conservative men with high paid jobs and a public profile are subject to more discrimination than anyone else, apparently. Or at least, since they are white able bodied middle class heterosexual Conservative men with high paid jobs they’re far more important than anyone else and so any slights they perceive must natually be more important than the discrimination experienced by lesser mortals.
These are the same mental gymnastics which go behind complaints by the aforesaid rightwing Scottish commentators about perceived anti-English racism from Scottish people and allows them to ignore the far more blatant anti-Scottish racism which peppers the pages of the rightwing UK press like those wee bits vegetable matter that litter the vomit of a drunk. That’s just a bit of banter, humourless nat. But if a Scottish person makes equivalent remarks about the English it’s proof positive of the atavistic impulses and blood and soil nationalism that’s the real hidden face of separatism. Or something.
But back to Phil. Phil fancies himself as a contrarian, which is to say that he’s your typical middle class golf club boor-bore with the opinions to match. The Tory MP for Shipley feels that it’s an appropriate use of his time as a parliamentarian to send a stream of letters to the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission demanding to know why the Black and White Minstrels are offensive, and whether the Metropolitan Black Police Association is racist because it doesn’t represent white police officers. Phil isn’t any more enlightened when it comes to people with disabilities. He called for disabled people to be paid less than the minimum wage because they’re “less productive”.
Phil is likewise deeply unenlightened on the rights of LGBTI people. He wants people who aren’t heterosexual to get back into their box. This may or may not be the same box that Scottish independence supporters are supposed to get back into, but it’s quite likely that it is. Phil also hates the EU, women’s rights, the Human Rights Act, thinks we need to imprison more people, and is one of those Tory Neanderthals who gives Neanderthals a bad name. The real Neanderthals were welcoming of the Cro-Magnon migrants, and cared for the sick and the disabled, which is a lot more than can be said for the Tories.
Having been uncertain who Phil is and then finding out, I’m still in the dark as to why his opinions should have been sought on the future of Scottish broadcasting. I’m even less sure why those opinions, once expressed in Phil’s inimitable style, should have been perceived as being important and worthy enough to be plastered over the pages of a number of newspapers.
But then we voted No, and having voted No we were voting for the future of Scotland to be a hostage of fortune to the mouthings off of the Tory Phils of this world. It doesn’t matter that he knows as much about Scotland as the average rightwing Scottish newspaper columnist knows about the finer points of linguistic methodology, he’s a Tory MP accountable to no-one in Scotland, and his prejudice outweighs any fact, his ignorance counts for more than any knowledge.
Scotland isn’t a democracy, it’s an ignorocracy where decisions are made by shrivelled balloons.
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