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.