When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.

Just as you’ve vented one Etna’s worth of eruption because Johann Lamont has been being disingenuous with the actualité, she goes and does it again, even worse this time.  She’s Scotland’s very own renewable resource of splenetic bile.  If we could harness all the energy produced by people overcome by an urge to hurl a shoe at the telly when the wummin appears, the UK government wouldn’t have to bribe the Chinese to build a nuclear reactor in Somerset.

It’s not that Johann is a chancer that gets me, nor even that her political dance moves are executed with the grace and elegance of a brain damaged elephant on rusty roller blades.  I can live with the fact that she wears the permanent expression of a person who’s holding in a fart in case it’s a wet one.  I can even forgive her for having less intellectual depth than a children’s TV continuity announcer and the vision of an actor in a Specsavers advert.

But what really gets my goat is the way she imagines she can rewrite the past, and expects us not to remember what she really did or said.  Or more commonly, didn’t say or didn’t do.

Just last Sunday she denied that she’d ever said Scotland was a “something for nothing” country despite copious evidence to the contrary – up to and including videos.  Now in this week’s Furst Meinisters Questions, Johann has accused Alex Salmond of going off on holiday during the Grangemouth dispute, while she was valiantly saving the plant single handed.

It was only last week for feck’s sake.  Does she really think we don’t remember what really happened?   The events that unfolded allowed us to compare and contrast how the three political factions vying for the trust of the Scottish people – the Scottish Government, the UK Government, and the Labour party – dealt with a major threat to the future of the Scottish economy.  And Johann did not come out of it well.

The Scottish Government had a plan A.  It was to do all they could to get Unite and the representatives of the Evil One to sit down and negotiate in order to keep the plant open and save the threatened jobs.  The Eck also had a plan B, in case plan A went tits-up, to find a buyer for the plant so it could be kept open and save the threatened jobs.  He had been in talks with just such a potential buyer.  There was even a hint there may be a plan C, in the shape of a promise that an independent Scottish government would nationalise the plant so it could be kept open and save the threatened jobs.

The UK government also had a plan A which was essentially the same as Eck’s plan A, the only difference being that Tories think Jim Ratcliffe is a jolly good chappie and UK Plc needs more of his entrepreneurial spirit.  The UK government had a plan B too.  Admittedly it was, “Well, there’s always the Job Centre,” but at least it constituted some sort of statement on what might happen next.  Plan C? What? By this time they were too busy discussing the Royal Christening and had lost interest.  Who cares about Grangemouth, didn’t Kate look gorgeous?

Johann and the Labour party had no plan at all.  She didn’t even get as far as Season One Episode One of Sesame Street in the lettering of plans.  She had no idea how to achieve any sort of solution.  Her sole contribution to resolving the crisis was to shriek that Jim Ratcliffe is an evil bastert.  However just about everyone in Scotland had already formed that opinion without Johann’s input.  Jim Ratcliffe knew that too.  The only question is why Johann imagined that he was going to back down because she was doing her beloved impression of a stairheid rammy.  Like it’s worked so well on Eck.  But Johann doesn’t answer questions, so we’ll never know.

Only one of these three players is not responsible for the state of the UK energy sector, and only one does not have or did not once have the powers to regulate the sector to prevent the Grangemouth crisis from arising in the first place.  Only one was not responsible for allowing the carnivores of capital to devour Scottish workers’ futures, and selling off all state assets in order to sook up to the City of London.  Can you guess which one children?  Because Johann bloody Lamont can’t.

Johann Lamont managed to make less of a positive contribution towards solving the Grangemouth crisis than the actual fucking Tories.  Indictments don’t come much stronger than that.

When Johann denied she said Scotland was a something for nothing country, she was referring to something that took place a whole year ago.  And if you try and peer out of the furthest corner of your eye aided by the wholesale consumption of alcohol, pills, and herbal cigarettes after you’ve sacrificed a goat to the goddess of amnesia, you might just be able to persuade yourself that people will have forgotten that you said it, and forgotten that you’d called a press conference so they could hear you say it, and forgotten that it provoked a storm of anger and protests and derision that was all over the telly and the papers until your press guy leaned on the media to shut up with the story.

But now she wants us to forget something that just happened last week.  Believing in Johann Lamont now requires short term memory loss as well as a Stalinesque facility for airbrushing last year’s press conferences so they no longer contain the phrase “something for nothing”.  Goldfish have better memories than that.

There are only two real possibilities here.  Either Johann Lamont is a liar of sociopathic proportions, who just doesn’t give a shit whether people believe her or not, or she has lost all grip on reality, has long since teetered off the brink of sanity and is now in freefall imagining herself to have superhuman powers to change the fabric of reality.  Of course, these are not mutually exclusive categories.

Whatever, she is unfit for public office.  If she had even a nanogramme of self-awareness she would resign immediately, and offer her job to someone far more reliable, capable and trustworthy.  Like Eric Joyce or Jar Jar Binks.

Under Lamont Labour has no policies.  It has commissions that won’t report back until after the independence referendum.  It has condemnations of Alex Salmond aplenty, although many are invented and most are spurious.  And it has the deep frozen silence of the vacuum of outer space.  Labour gave up speaking the truth to Scotland many years ago.  Now instead of a social democratic (never mind socialist) party fighting for the rights of workers we get the pathetic self-serving vacuities of Lamontism instead.  Johann will go back to hiding away wherever it is she goes when she’s avoiding the contradictions thrown up by her many attempts to change the recent past, and she will say nothing at all.

But as the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, “When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”  Every time Johann Lamont is unavailable for questions, she is lying to the people of Scotland.

Gordon Brown tells the truth

According to one theory, there is an infinite number of universes, which in turn means that all possible things which can potentially happen do in fact happen somewhere in the infinite multiverse, no matter how implausible or unlikely.  There is a universe where there are actually more Tory MPs in Scotland than pandas, it’s one of the Hell Dimensions.  There’s also a universe where Reporting Scotland is a really good news programme, although quantum physicists consider this less plausible than the universe where the Daily Mail publishes an editorial begging the UK Government to allow in more asylum seekers from countries which Westminster has invaded.

However yesterday we discovered we reside in perhaps the most singular universe of all, the blessed land where Gordon Brown actually tells the truth for once.  No really, it did happen.

Gord has now admitted that he’s an ex-politician, something the rest of us have known for quite some time.  You have to phase these things out gradually you know, so he’s still drawing his MP’s salary, and his expenses, and gaining contributions to his pension pot and pay offs.  He gave up doing any work himself a long time ago.

But we must not be harsh on him, he’s really just practising the message that he preached while in high office.  He’s privatised his constituency work by farming it out to office staff he pays for out of expenses.  So he’s really a job creator and not a parasite.

Gord has lied for years on just about everything, mostly to himself, but also to the rest of us.  He was the Labour Chancellor who proudly stuck to Tory spending plans and Tory attitudes to the jobless.  He had a moral compass but it was really a device for telling the direction in which to sling some mud.   He was the man with a plan who was going to put the Labour back into New Labour, but it turned out the only plan was how to get his paws on Tony Blair’s job.  Gord approached politics like an obsessive Monroe bagger, once he’d reached the highest peak he didn’t know what to do with himself.

The blessed land where this miraculous truth telling occurred was not Scotland, that’s too ridiculous for any universe in which we’re not yet independent.  It was Qatar.  Gordie was doing what he does best when he’s not got a book to plug or an after-dinner speech to make for nothing more than his food, travel, lodgings and a very fat cheque.  He does it all for charidee you know.  He was punching above the weight of the constituents of Kirkaldy at an international summit on something terribly important, held at a posh and lavishly appointed conference and hotel centre. Conveniently somewhere warm where people think he’s the former prime minister ingliziya.

Removing themselves from being subject to difficult questions is the only demonstrable skill possessed by Scotland’s Labour politicians.  They are experts in disappearing, world class in fact.   It’s surprising that they didn’t demand hide and seek to be added to the list of Olympic sports when the games were held in London.  Between Gordie Broon, Johann Lamont and Jim Murphy they’d have snapped up gold, silver and bronze.  It would have given them an excuse to wrap themselves in Union flags and pose on the front of United with Labour leaflets.  Only there aren’t any leaflets.

United with Labour is the invisible campaign for invisible politicians.  Despite being launched with a fanfare of “that’ll show thae nats a thing or three” puffery from media hacks, Labour’s own campaign to save the Union in a way that doesn’t involve being photographed with Conservatives has managed to garner just 6 friends and 47 likes on its Facebook page.  I almost felt sorry for it.  Even Gary Glitter’s got more people who believe him than that.

Johann Lamont has learned well from Gordie, many would say she now surpasses the old master in the vanishing arts.  It’s much harder for Johann to hide, since she’s rarely invited to international conferences in warm countries.  No one in Labour’s London office seems to have heard of the supposed leader of the party in Scotland, she didn’t even figure on the CC list for the report into the goings on within the Falkirk constituency party, so it’s hardly surprising no international conference organisers have heard of her either.

After briefly emerging to have a wee gloat over a predictable Dunfermline by election result,  chicken Johann has gone back into hiding in order to avoid being asked any questions about the flustercluck that was the role of Labour and the Unite union in the Grangemouth crisis.  Labour and Unite spent the past few months attacking one another with the single minded fury of battery chickens on steroids determined to establish who ruled the roost.  They forgot all about the Ineos fox intent on devouring Grangemouth’s wee chicks in high visibility jaickets.

For all that they preach that Scotland should demonstrate solidarity with workers in England, Labour’s pretty poor at showing solidarity with workers themselves.  Grangemouth showed that Labour’s sole interest is Labour.  Unite’s sorry role in the Grangemouth affair is nothing to be proud of either, but at least their basic point is correct.  The Labour party was established by the union movement as a vehicle for workers’ rights.  But the Labour party has transformed the union movement into a vehicle for the Labour party.

Now the Labour party rails against the evil inquities of avaricious foxes, but when in office Labour embarked on a fox breeding programme with all the enthusiasm of their Tory predecessors, and cut down the chicken wire protecting the coops saying it was a barrier to business.  They muzzled the guard dogs and sold off the chicken sheds.  They created the conditions that allowed Grangemouth to be so vulnerable.

Johann doesn’t want to answer any questions about this.  And it’s terribly unfair of us to think she should.  After all, it’s not like a Unite sponsored MSP and nominal leader of the Labour party in Scotland could possibly know anything about a major bitch-fest between Labour and Unite that ended up being the blue touch paper on a powder keg of petrochemicals.

Labour doesn’t want us to think about its role in leaving Scottish industry a sitting duck for any passing capitalist predator, a legacy of the ex-politician on a freebie to Qatar.  Instead we must allow Johann to get back to doing what she does best.  Lying down in a darkened room until she can think of something to accuse Alex Salmond of.  It’s her only apparent purpose.  She’s a fat lot of use for anything else.

Scotland’s Labour politicians have been known to submerge for weeks and months on end, only finally surfacing for a brief period, usually in order to accuse Alex Salmond of something.  It’s a skill in which they are rivalled only by Nessie, except for the accusing Alex Salmond bit, although it is fair to say there are more plausible sightings of Nessie than Gordie or Johann.  It’s also probably true that Nessie would be capable of giving a far more coherent account of herself, but that’s by the by.

However the similarities far outweigh the differences.  All are elusive cold blooded reptilians, all have a reputation that is largely mythical, and all are easy to confuse with lumps of dead wood floating at an odd angle.

Johann Lamont is an ex-politician too, she’s just not admitted it yet.  Perhaps in an independent Scotland a real Labour party can rise from the ashes of despair created by the current incarnation.  It’s unlikely that Johann or Gordon will have any role in it, then perhaps they can disappear forever.

Lessons in conversational Lamontese

I wasn’t really paying attention to the Sunday Politics show on BBC Scotland.  There are far more important things in the world than listening to Labour politicians attempting to justify themselves.  But adrift amidst a mountain of washing and tripping over the hoover, I caught Johann Lamont declare that she had never said that people in Scotland get “something for nothing”.

Aware that her something for nothing comments had been received like a deep fried cockroach in a bucket of chicken nuggets, Johann has spent the last year alternately back-tracking and being unavailable for comment.  Now she’s trying to pretend that they never happened at all, and it’s all our fault for misunderstanding her.

Johann Lamont has a grasp of fact that’s worse than a Young Earth creationist’s grasp of evolutionary theory.  The crazed creationist at least possesses the virtue of being consistently selective in their treatment of data, Johann just makes it up as she goes along.

In the speech she delivered in September 2012, her exact words were:  “Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world,” before going on to promise that her new commission would leave no stone unturned in its search for ‘affordable’ policies, and left no doubt that free education and free prescriptions would be amongst those things the commission might throw some stones at.  A report on the speech is still available on the STV website.

This wasn’t an off the cuff remark either, Johann had herself called a press conference to let us all know that “Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world.”  She had invited telly crews and people who know how to take shorthand and use audio recorders.  We heard her say it and we saw her lips moving.

At times like this we should always be kind, and try to think of an innocent explanation first.  Maybe Johann just forgot, what with her being scared shitless that some of the blame for the Grangemouth debacle is going to rebound on the Labour party and the Unite union for allowing their petty internal politicking to put thousands of Scottish jobs at risk, and her only having her job because she got the Unite vote in the Labour leadership campaign.  She’s struggling to find a way to shift the blame onto Alex Salmond for that one.  So the whole something for nothing stuff just slipped her mind.

Admittedly there are heroin addicts with head injuries who have better recall of events, but this is the Labour party in Scotland we’re talking about here.  They don’t have high standards.  Even so, the only way that Johann would be unable to remember making the statement would be for her actually to be in a vegetative coma.  So come to think of it, it is a plausible excuse after all.

Perhaps it’s also our fault for misunderstanding, what with us being Scottish and struggling to articulate sentences that make any sense, as Johann consistently demonstrates in solidarity with us ordinary folk.  We can’t put it down to linguistic differences though, since another Labour luminary has already told us we can’t have independence because we have no language of our own.  It’s only Johann Lamont who has a language of her own.

So the sentence “Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world” was not a rehashed Tory slogan from a hash of a Labour politician who’s adopting Tory policies so her party can get elected south of the Border and make a hash of social provision in the process.  It must really mean something entirely different to what it looks like it means to us stupid people who don’t speak Lamontese.

What she actually said was : “Scotland can obey the only summons for nuke gantries in a whirl,” which was really coded advice to tell us to vote yes in the indy referendum so we can get rid of Trident.  Johann’s a closet Yes supporting nuclear unilateralist, who knew?

But that’s about as plausible as the BBC interviewer challenging Johann when she tells a blatant lie.

Reasons a miserable auld git wants independence: Part 3

The telly’s shite innit, and Scottish telly has always been a special tartan shade of shite.  Those of us of a certain age will remember the BBC announcer informing us that we were about to be treated to a hauf daicent movie, before adding: “Except for viewers in Scotland.”  We’d be getting something involving Dougie Donnelly instead.  Even now, many decades later, the phrase “indoor bowling from Coatbridge” still provokes an automatic wee sigh of bored resignation.

The telly is still shite, despite the fact there are now dozens of digital free to air channels catering to such niche markets as god-botherers, tarot card readers, devotees of badly acted Brazilian soap operas, people who make their own jewellery with offcuts from plumbing wholesalers which they bought on a shopping channel for their weight in credit cards, and a whole lot of sad gits who are turned on by disinterested sex workers squeezing their tits with the same degree of sexual arousal normally found in pensioners checking the freshness of vegetables in Asda.  You can check out the courgettes, calls from a landline cost just £5.50 per minute.

Somewhere amongst the Pacific ocean sized soupbowl of pish which is being served up to us you’d think there might be a wee island of Scottish news and current affairs, what with us about to make the biggest decision in 300 years and everything. It doesn’t even have to be the size of Arran, or even Millport.  We’re Scottish remember, and if our media is anything to go by we have very low standards.  But they can’t even be bothered to fob us off with one of the wee ones in the duckpond in the park.

On the Parliament and news channels, Scottish politics is either non-existent, or confined to a ghetto timeslot when normal people are either working, sleeping off the previous night’s excess, or watching reruns of the Jerry Springer Show, which is easy to confuse with Johann Lamont at Furst Meenister’s Questions.  Same teeth and everything.

Every week it’s “Jist haud me back, Jackie” as Johann screams that Eck is a durty lyin’ dawg who’s squandering the Scottish budget on crystal meth Forth road bridges and gambling on independence referendums, before yelling at the audience: “You don’t know me.” Which is true, what with her being unavailable for real questions, as opposed to the accusations of FMQs and occasionally granting an audience to a deferential worshipper on BBC Scotland, who takes her tortured syntax and garbled equivocations as gnomic utterances containing deep truths.

Then there’s her deputy, Anas Sarwar hereditary MP – the title traditionally bestowed upon the heir to the Baron of Govan.  His speciality is to harangue listeners about the undemocratic nature of the SNP.  He’d know a lot about that then.  In his spare time, which he has a lot of, he boors for Britain, inventing smears as he goes along.  Anas debating is like compacted faecal matter being squeezed past a haemorrhoid.

If Anas was a crossword clue he’d be: Confounded Labour MP made a ran raw ass of himself (4, 6).  By a peculiar quirk of fate a ran raw ass is a good description of what was handed to him on a plate by an angry audience of trade unionists in Clydebank.

But more commonly not being exposed to any wider media audience than stoned people who’ve forgotten where they put the TV remote, there’s little pressure on either Johann or the Ran Raw Ass to up their game any. The media’s job is to keep Scottish politics and current affairs boring, so they can be displayed in a wee box for 20 minutes after Jeremy Paxman where they can be protected by plastic and the Union won’t suffer any lasting damage from exposure to the light.

And don’t start me on Reporting bloody Scotland.

Normal countries have their own news channels.  24 hours a day of news which is, occasionally, relevant and/or of interest to the viewing audience.  They have their own entertainment channels and sports channels.  By way of comparison they get a three course meal of of arts, culture and current affairs, prepared by top chefs and tastefully served up with proper cutlery to allow you to cut it up and digest it properly.  Scotland gets a fun sized Mars Bar, thickly coated in a batter of murrderr and deep fried in fitba, grumpily tossed at us by Gordon Brewer.

Countries don’t even have to be independent to have better media than Scotland.  Although admittedly we do set the bar pretty low.

Gagauzia has its own TV network.  It’s probably crap, but at least it exists.  For those who don’t know, which is most people, Gagauzia is a tiny scrap of self-governing territory in the poorest corner of Moldova, the poorest country in Europe.  The Gagauz are Turkish speaking Orthodox Christians, a minority consisting of around 150,000 souls.  Scotland isn’t being denied its own national TV network because we’re too wee or too poor.  It’s a political decision.

Catalunya does rather better.  In the blink-and-you’d-miss-it coverage of the recent Rally for Independence, it was of course pointed out that the turnout didn’t remotely compare to the 1.6 million who participated in the Via Catalana. What they didn’t tell you that Catalunya has an active and lively media sector, with several of its own TV channels, including a 24 hour news channel, which actually reported on the preparations for the event and told people about it in advance.  Because if there’s going to be a high profile public event attended by a significant number of people who are significant in their fields, in order to kick off a national campaign in the run up to a national referendum, that sort of counts as national news, irrespective of what way you are currently inclined to vote.

Scottish broadcasters won’t do that sort of thing because it might encourage ordinary people to challenge the status quo.  Informing the public about the realities of the country they live in might make them demand change.

And this is in the wee bit of distinctively Scottish broadcasting we’re actually allowed.  In the so-called national news we get rank ignorance passing for erudition.  We also get a whole lot of stuff which, while of passing interest, is not directly relevant to a Scottish viewing public.  The upshot is that the average Scottish TV viewer is far better informed about what’s going on in Sussex than they are about Scotland.

Broadcasting is one of those issues Westminster refuses to consider allowing Holyrood to get its paws on.  It’s hardly surprising really.  Westminster has spent the last 3 decades privatising all the institutions that formerly represented “Britishness” on some level or other.  British Rail, British Steel, British Coal, British Gas, they’ve all been broken up, closed down, and sold off to the highest bidder.  The BBC is all they have left.

The irony is that it’s Scottish independentistas who are accused of breaking up the Union, when really it’s Westminster politicians who have been doing that job.  We’re just bayoneting the wounded for them, isn’t that right Ian Davidson?

I don’t expect Scottish telly to be hugely better after independence.  We’ll still get wall to wall soap operas, reality shows, X Factors, and people who insist on making their own jewellery out of overpriced dried macaroni will still be catered for.  But people who do take an interest in the news and current affairs of Scotland will be catered for too, we will get a wee island of sanity amongst the dross.  And that’s got to be better than drowning in a sea of pish.