I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to avoid the Olympics and the obligatory Great British cheerleading. To no avail. No matter how thick the duvet cover you pull over your heid you’re still going to be assailed by Clare Balding gushing over some person, whose name you’ll forget within five minutes, who managed to win a lump of base metal on a ribbon for a dancing horse, falling into water gracefully, hitting things with sticks, or covering 26 miles in just over two hours.
A significant percentage of the population of Fife have managed to cover 26 miles in just over two hours but never got a medal for it, when they were unwitting passengers on Wullie Rennie’s number 17 bus to Kelty. You’d think that all of Scotland deserves a medal for putting up with Wullie Rennie, but I’ve yet to see Clare Balding effuse over the forebearance of the Scottish people for putting up with the crap doled out to us on a regular basis by Unionist politicians and the broadcaster that employs Clare Balding.
Anyway, now that the Olympics are over the deep wounds of the Brexit vote have been healed and Scotland is grateful to be a part of this glorious Union, because, you know, dancing horses, falling into water, and hitting things with sticks. Be happy and grateful peasants. You might be staring into a dark void of poverty without a pension while Philip Green sails off into the sunset on his latest luxury yacht, you might have all the job security of a hamburger salesman at a vegan conference, you might be struggling with benefits sanctions because you were a couple of minutes late for your jobcentre appointment, but you can rejoice because Tom Dailey fell off a high diving board in an artistically pleasing manner.
The games allegedly demonstrated what a great country this is, because Britain prioritises getting base medal tokens for a handful of elite athletes in sports no one plays over dealing with a childhood obesity epidemic while it presides over the mass closure of school playing fields and selling them off to developers who go and build kebab shops on them. What they really demonstrate is that the UK always puts the needs of the elite over the needs of the many.
Team GB’s much vaunted success at running, jumping and hitting things with sticks comes because vast amounts of lottery cash have been thrown at a handful of top performers. That’s the lottery cash we were told was going to go to good causes. Well now you know that a good cause isn’t ensuring that all children have access to sporting facilities, it’s not even about providing a better bus service to Kelty so that kids can get to sporting facilities, a good cause is paying a tiny number of top performing sportspersons in sports that few have the opportunity to participate in so that once every four years our Westminster masters and the BBC can have a red white and blue themed nationalistic sportagasm. Oh sorry, it’s British isn’t it. So it’s not nationalistic, it’s patriotic. So that’s alright then.
Despite managing to miss most of the Olympics, I’ve come back just in time to witness that other regular red white and blue themed nationalistic sportagasm which is the annual release of the GERS figures, the government expenses and revenues figures for Scotland. Unlike the Olympics, where Team GB doesn’t always get to win and sometimes its a foreign dancing horse that goes home with a medal, Team GB always gets to win the GERS games because that’s what they were designed for. As infallibly as Jackie Baillie’s calculations on a back of a fag packet, the GERS figures prove that Scotland couldn’t possibly manage to survive without Team GB kindly managing our money for us.
The point of GERS is very much like the point of Clare Balding in the Olympics. It’s to demonstrate the superiority of Britishness. Without of course being nationalist about it, because it’s only foreigners and Scottish people who are guilty of nationalism. It’s just patriotic. Every year the British government tosses the Unionist media a juicy bone in the shape of a set of figures about UK government spending on in or on behalf of Scotland which are based on estimates from the UK treasury and every year the Unionist media uses them to rubbish the case for independence.
It can’t be repeated often enough, because it never gets much airtime in the UK media, but if the GERS figures do indeed prove that Scotland is dependent upon a subsidy from the rest of the UK and is incapable of funding itself, then that can only be the fault of successive UK governments which have failed to develop the Scottish economy so it’s self-sustaining. If Scotland is indeed staring into a fiscal black hole that’s deeper than the dark void that passes for a soul in the Conservative party, then that’s the fault of Westminster. The supposed basketcasery of the Scottish economy is not an argument for continuing Westminster rule, it’s an argument for getting away from Westminster as fast as we possibly can.
Yet instead of Unionist politicians shamefacedly confessing to the economic ruin that their parties and their policies have wrought on this Scotland that they are always telling us they’re so proud of, they crow exultantly about the poverty and ruin that they’ve created like it was a good thing. They’re proud to be dependent, proud to beg, proud to be incapable. That’s not a form of pride most sensible people would recognise, but apparently it’s patriotic and not nationalist. It’s wrong and nationalist to desire to live in a country which can pay its own way and support itself. It’s also deeply wrong to want to live in a country where politicians don’t think that they can crow and rejoice when economic figures are released which allegedly show that they country that they govern is poorer than Greece and less economically viable than Malta.
As far as both the Olympics and GERS are concerned I support Team DGB – that’s Team Don’t Give a Bugger. I don’t care about the Olympics, and I don’t care about the GERS figures. The Olympics tell us as much about the general state of public health and happiness as the GERS figures tell us about the general state of the health of public finances in an independent Scotland. They tell us nothing at all.
Audio link to this blog post, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/im-backing-team-dgb-24th-august-2016
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