Gordie Broon has been at it again, broontervening. You log onto the website of a Scottish newspaper, cos you’ll not pay for the print copy, and there he is. Looming in the dooming, which is the North British version of roaming in the gloaming. Normal countries look to their media outlets for a reflection of themselves. Scotland looks to its media and sees Gordie Broon lurking in the darkness, the Titanic iceberg with a creepy grin. This time its the NHS which is going to be sunk if Scotland dares to imagine that it could make a better fist of running its own affairs than Westminster.
Gordie is like the grumpy auld man from Up, only he never goes away and his idea of paradise is pacing up and down a carpet in front of an invited audience of adoring Labour hacks followed by an equally adoring interview on BBC Scotland. Which means that at least he’s still surrounded by balloons and that ridiculous bird brained creature. Which isn’t a nice thing to say about James Kelly MSP, but neither is common sense being pecked to death by a chicken, which pretty much sums up James’s entire contribution to Scottish politics.
We should be grateful to Gordon Brown for at least one thing. He’s gifted the English language, or at least the Scottish variety thereof, with a new verb : to broontervene. Broontervening is when you interject in a conversation or discussion to say how utterly rubbish Scotland is going to be after independence and how we’re all dooooomed. The extra o’s are compulsory in broontervening. It conjugates as follows – I broontervene, you broontervene, Gordon Brown makes a new intervention in the Scottish constitutional debate. Broontervening is the surest way possible to get the attention of the British nationalist press in Scotland. They can’t resist picking at the scabs of the Scottish Cringe. They’ve been doing it forever and it’s all that they know. It’s as old as the dirt that they sleep in.
The more unhinged the broontervening is from reality, the better. After all, we’ve already been informed in all seriousness by people masquerading as grown ups that after independence England would be forced to bomb our airports, that Magrit Curran’s weans would be foreign, that Scottish independence will result in a global calamity, and – worst of all – that Doctor Who will be prohibited entry into any part of the space-time continuum that contains a Scottish person. He/she can’t be stopped by Daleks, Cybermen, the Master, or the Autons, but confront the Doctor with a granny from Methil wearing a 45 badge and the universe implodes.
Whatever the details, all broontervening results in the same outcome. Dooooom. The only thing that an independent Scotland will possess in abundance is extra letter o’s for the word dooooooom. Scotland will possess so many doooooom laden letter o’s that they will rip through the fabric of space-time, which explains the inability of Doctor Who to be seen in an independent Scotland, and will also create potholes in the roads. That latter effect will at least have the benefit of stopping Jackson Carlaw from blaming them all on Gaelic roadsigns. When you’re a victim of broontervening you have to take what small comfort you can find.
We have the stellar broontervening of the Gordie himself, the Jar Jar Binks of politics. Even the people who foist him on us can’t abide him but they won’t say so to his face. More mundane broontervening happens all the time whenever anyone raises the topic of Scottish independence in the company of someone who says that they only buy the Daily Record for the sports pages. Or even says something about Scotland that doesn’t imply that all things Caledonian are not entirely rubbish. It’s the Daily Record sports pages contagion effect. Just because Scotland has a national fitba team that hasn’t qualified for anything since the last time anyone other than a Scottish journalist took Gordie seriously, then everything else about Scotland must be shite too.
So for example my neighbour was broontervening when he claimed that Scottish independence would result in the loss of 200,000 jobs in the oil industry in Aberdeen. Since the population of Aberdeen is only 200,000, this would mean that every single person in the city would lose their job, including those people who don’t actually have a proper job. Like small children, the elderly, and that person in the Aberdeen Labour party who makes excuses for doing a deal on the cooncil with the Tories. They’d all lose the jobs they don’t have, along with schoolteachers, the guys on the bin lorry, the people who work in Greggs, and the people in the local anti-independence parties who design and print broontervening leaflets. That last of which might not be such a tragedy.
These days, broontervening is all that counts as a case for Scotland remaining a part of the United Kingdom. There’s no positive case, except appeals to a romanticised past and to links between Scotland and England. Links which Scotland also shares with Ireland, but no one is suggesting that means we need to have our parliament in Dublin. There’s only a succession of increasingly hysterical scare stories about all the misfortunes which will befall Scotland should it dare to step outside the door without being constrained by Westminster’s reins. Broontervening is the 21st century version of the cringe. We see it every day in the deluge of stories in the media about how everything in Scotland is rubbish.
That daily dump of dross is why the broonterventions of a man who was, before Theresa May appeared on the scene, regarded as the worst Prime Minister in memory receive such prominence in the Scottish media. He says things that reinforce their core beliefs and their core strategy for avoiding the necessary change that Scotland needs in order to tackle its real problems, changes which can only be brought about with independence. Gordon Brown and the British nationalist media in Scotland focus on problems as a reason for not changing. It’s a fundamentally contradictory strategy, one which has no recourse but to seek refuge in increasingly over the top and ridiculous scares in order draw attention to itself and to draw attention away from stories which might threaten it – like the Tory dirty money scandal.
When all the drivel is stripped away, what broontervening is really saying is, “Things are awful, so everything must remain the same.” That’s the nonsense that lies at the very heart of British nationalism in Scotland. No wonder it only deals in scare stories, it’s terrified of being found out. Too late, we’ve sussed you. When you look behind the bluster and bravado of British nationalism in Scotland, hiding there is a scared child. British nationalism in Scotland is the fear of growing up. And its got its very own creepy uncle in the shape of Gordon Brown to warn Scotland against ever doing so.
I got excused from jury service, so we’re back to blogging as usual.
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