Back from Islay now, where the dug and I had a fantastic time participating in The National Roadshow’s event at the Islay Show. Many thanks to the wonderful hospitality that everyone in Islay gave us.
It’s very much the silly season politically, and it seems that this is a term which our British nationalist friends take quite literally. A few days before going off to Islay I blogged about the frothing hysteria from certain opponents of independence. I just didn’t realise quite how crazy supporters of the British state were getting. There are boxes of frogs which seem calm, rational, and sensible by comparison.
Labour and the Conservatives are not bothering overly much about the looming Brexit deadline and the increasing possibility of crashing out without a deal, or a so-called “blind Brexit” in which the UK leaves without the terms of its exit being finalised. This last option is rather like jumping off a cliff in the hope that there’s a nice big inflatable airbag waiting for you at the bottom, and not some jagged rocks. But this isn’t the big political topic right now. Instead Labour and the Tories are competing with one another about which of the two is more bigoted.
Labour can’t be arsed opposing Brexit. It can’t be bothered presenting a cohesive and coherent policy to counter the most dysfunctional, inept, and vindictively selfish Conservative government in living memory. Thatcher’s government was every bit as vindictively selfish, but at least it was efficient about it. You’d think that Labour would have an easy time against Theresa May’s bunch of talentless clowns, but no, Labour would far rather tear itself apart over accusations of anti-semitism. However the tragedy for the rest of us is that even if Labour wasn’t falling over itself to shoot itself in the foot, it would still not be capable of mounting an effective defence against the Tories’ reckless Brexit because Jeremy Corbyn is as keen on leaving the EU as Liam Fox is.
Meanwhile the Tories aren’t even pretending any more that they’re no longer the nasty party. No amount of cheesy photo ops featuring Ruth Davidson putting lipstick on a pig at some agricultural show can disguise the fact that the Tories fundamentally exist in order to enable nasty bigots to extract as much cash as possible from any given situation. It’s only now that the Conservatives are facing the music in the media for at least some of their many faceted bigotry, because in his column for the Telegraph, the most embarrassing Foreign Secretary in the history of a country which once went to war over its right to export opium to China used patronising and insulting language to denounce the face veils worn by a minority of Muslim women. Johnson said that the veils look ridiculous, and to be fair he is something of an expert in looking ridiculous.
The party is now desperately trying to close down the accusations that it’s Islamophobic which an investigation into Johnson’s comments which is only being carried out so that Tory politicians can claim that they can’t comment on the matter because it’s the subject of an internal party investigation. They’re hoping that everyone will forget about the matter over the summer, then in a few months time they’ll produce a report saying that the remarks were rude and unnecessary, but which falls a long way short of forcing Boris Johnson to resign from the party.
Ruth Davidson is of course in hiding, and may very well be wandering the streets wearing one of those veils in case someone asks her about the dark money scandal, the accusations of Islamophobia, or the Scottish Conservative politicans who keep getting outed as some sort of bigot, racist, misogynist, homophobe, or racist. She will pop up next time she’s got a book to promote, a baking show on the telly to appear on, or finds an opportunity to claim that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum. Then the press will hail her as the refreshing and modern face of the Conservatives. It’s an act that’s worn pretty thin.
Perhaps they’re taking their cue from the main parties backing the British state, but Scotland’s home grown opponents of independence are also spending the summer months competing with one another about which of them can be the most outlandish, hysterical, over-the-top, or just plain crazy. Former Conservative MSP Brian Monteith has already put in his bid for the craziness crown with his new website promoting what passes for thought amongst British nationalist knee-jerkers. His site has already carried a gloriously insane article calling on the Republic of Ireland to submit to Westminster again, but this week it topped even that with a piece about new guidelines on dealing with gender identity issues amongst school children.
The new guidelines essentially call on teachers and other professionals to support kids who may be experiencing gender dysphoria. The transgender issue is fraught, complex, difficult, and full of strong emotions, but whatever your views on the topic the debate is not going to be helped by an article which claimed that the guidelines – all the fault of the SNP naturally – were being promoted by people who have a sexual interest in children. This piece was the exact opposite of dealing sensitively with an issue which needs to be treated carefully and with thought and compassion.
Then there’s my very own stalker. There’s an opponent of independence who obsessively reads this blog and then goes and writes what he thinks is satire. The thing about satire is that it’s supposed to be funny, witty, and well written. This guy fails on all accounts and instead settles for claiming that I’m a morally degenerate Nazi who’d support gassing English people. And there was me with such nice things to say about him. I’ll just console myself with the fact that over 80,000 individuals read this blog every month whereas his site doesn’t get enough hits even to register in site rankings – and I sure as hell won’t be sending any traffic his way. Try writing something that’s actually readable love. There’s a wee tip for you there.
But the prize for peak frothery must go to the diehard opponent of all things Essempee who lives on Islay. Most weeks he’s got a letter in the local newspaper, the Ileach, complaining about some dreadful thing Thatessempee has done. But he’s finally achieved the gold standard of zoomery, despite strong competition from Brian Monteith’s contributors, and the puffing hypocrite who stalks me in his deluded belief that opposing Scottish independence and supporting the British state means he’s not a nationalist. He’s even outdone Magnus Linklater who recently managed to blame the uncertainty faced by EU citizens on the SNP. Islay’s very own gammonista has surpassed them all.
In his most recent letter to the Ileach, the individual concerned tore into the SNP and the Scottish government for their carbon emission reduction targets. It’s outrageous that the SNP is reducing carbon emissions, because apparently that’s the reason why there’s a shortage of CO2 for the food and drink industry. It’s all Nicola Sturgeon’s fault. I fully expect that he’ll be offered a column in the Scotsman.
British nationalists are getting desperate. Their strongest arguments in 2014 were that it would be foolish to trade the security and stability of the UK for the uncertainties of independence, and that it was only the UK which could ensure that politics remained tolerant, decent, and moderate. They’ve blown those two arguments out of the water all by themselves. All they have left is hysteria, hyperbole, and outright lies. They’re asphyxiating their own arguments with a CO2 filled box of frogs.
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