Well having been away for a week, I’ve missed all sorts of developments in Scottish politics. The Daily Record announced that it was really sorry for all the pish about the vow and vowed never to make crap up ever again, Jackie Baillie said something truthful – admittedly it was just during a conversation about what she’d had for her tea the previous evening, but still – and Kezia Dugdale stood up at Furst Meenister’s Questions and made a useful suggestion about what Labour would like to do if they were in office and didn’t mention once that the SNP are really REALLY bad.
Oh wait. No. That was a mad dream caused by jetlag and e-numbers in Twinkies. The Record is still a rag, Jackie’s still mendacious, and Kezia’s whine is higher pitched and louder than the jet engine that brought me home across the Atlantic. Mind you, the plane engine didn’t try to convince me that the SNP is really REALLY bad. Although if I were a member of the Labour party I’d probably blame the SNP for the really shitty tea in the café at Boston airport.
Back on Planet Scotland, this week saw James Kelly MSP starring in his very own production of I’m a Nonentity Get Me Out of Here when he challenged Holyrood’s Presiding Officer to a skwerr go in the car park at the back of the parlie. It was a desperate bid for attention from a man who is blessed with the charm and charisma of a burst plastic bag from Iceland. One of the 5p ones.
As a Labour constituency MSP James has a rapidly approaching use by date, and he’s now made the belated realisation that he’s used the past five years playing second fiddle to Iain Gray, and no one knows who Iain is either. It’s a bit like hoping that a gig as an understudy to the Krankies will lead to the offer of a leading role in the Royal Shakespeare Company. A stand in for a panto performer is a reasonable assessment of James’s career to date, so he has to do something to persuade those who select candidates for Labour list seats that he’s capable of getting his name in a newspaper other than the Daily Record. Otherwise his career goes much the same way as Janette Krankie’s career as a race equalities spokesperson in Japan.
The occasion of James’s bid for fame, desperately needed since he’s not even famous in his own bathroom, was a debate in Holyrood on the Tory government’s evil Trades Union Bill. Both the SNP and Labour are opposed to the bill, so for once Labour was deprived of a chance to blame it all on Nicola Sturgeon. However the Presiding Officer of Holyrood, Tricia Marwick, ruled that on legal advice the debate wouldn’t be able to go ahead since it dealt with a matter reserved to the Westminster Parliament. In the UK, only Westminster and the Tories are legally permitted to screw over the working classes.
James wasn’t going to take this sitting down. I’ve got a point of order, he said, repeatedly, without bothering to inform anyone what that point might have been. He used that excited voice of his that he uses when he’s just thought of a way of saying that the SNP are bad that hasn’t yet appeared in the Daily Record. It’s not really that different from the boring nasal monotone that he uses the rest of the time, so you’d be forgiven for not noticing. Tricia Marwick certainly didn’t notice, and asked him to get to the point that he was pointing about. James kept on in his nasal monotone, something about how he’d once been to Rothesay for the weekend and it wasn’t shut. Or maybe it was something else entirely. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a point of order, or indeed any sort of point at all. All we saw was a burst plastic bag waft aimlessly about the debating chamber while the Presiding Officer tried to run it over with a trolley. Eventually she succeeded, and demanded that James be escorted from the premises and denied the right to participate in the two for one offer for deep frozen profiterole sundaes. James went off to spend his exile looking for a list selection panel to impress.
James’s eviction gave the Labour party the opportunity to complain about the SNP again, as Tricia Marwick used to be an SNP MSP before she was elected Presiding Officer and resigned the party whip as she is now officially neutral. One party state, muttered Iain and Neil, the Ant n Dec of Labour in Scotland and equally irritating, before they went off looking for some kangeroo testicles which they’d unsuccessfully insist that John Swinney had to eat for breakfast.
This week also saw the Scottish budget. Jackie Baillie went on Scotland Tonight to complain about it, although she was unable to say exactly what she’d do differently if she was the Finance Secretary. Jackie sees herself as being the royalty of Labour in Scotland, and comports herself like she’s on a work placement in the annoyingly smelling sprays and lotions section of a mid level department store. Whereas James Kelly is a burst 5p plastic bag from Iceland, Jackie aspires to be a 10p bag from Waitrose. Although she’s still burst. According to some theories of physics, there is an infinite number of parallel universes forming the multiverse, each one slightly different from its neighbour. And in every one of them Jackie Baillie is an embarrassment who wouldn’t recognise numeracy if it slapped her on the bum with a Trident missile.
The opposition parties in Holyrood are just going through the motions. They’ve already accepted that they’re going to lose the next Scottish elections, and instead of putting forward any programmes of their own, they’re spending their time desperately trying to secure what’s left of their own futures. The effective political extinction of Unionism as a real force in Scotland is looming ever larger. You can hear it in the whine in James Kelly’s voice, and the burst bag bluster of Jackie. Meanwhile Ruth Davidson congratulates herself because her party is standing still, although she’s not so happy when it’s pointed out to her that in Scotland the Tories are standing still at the bottom of a very deep cesspit without a ladder.
But Ruth is still cheerful, soon she’ll have Labour for company down there in the dark. And on the wall of the pit is a sign that says – you’re nonentities who are never getting out of here.
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