Proud Scots but

Alistair Carmichael is making a keynote speech, which is Union-speak for “having a wee moan”.  He’s allegedly upset that the Yes campaign have  allegedly alleged that No voters are less Scottish than Yes voters.

The “Yes campaign” in question consisted of a carnaptious cooncillor from the SNP who had described Koalamichael as a “supposed Scot”.  This was a sardonic reference to the cuddly cabinet meenister’s valiant defence of jobs in Govan, which consisted of assuring the shipyard workers that if they vote Yes next year they’ll lose their jobs, lose their homes, their children will be sent to sweep chimneys, and worst of all they’ll still have Ian Davidson as their MP.

I’ll say here and now that the cooncillor was wrong.  There’s nothing supposed about the Koalamichael’s Caledonianosity.  He is as Scottish as any other person born or brought up in Scotland, living in Scotland, or possessing a Scottish accent – and that last caveat is only required because of Tony Blair, absolutely no one wants to admit to him.  But none of this applies to Ian Davidson, he’s not Scottish.  He’s not British either, his nationality is Twattish.  It’s a small island in the Ocean of Self-interest.

What’s interesting about this, if indeed there is ever anything of interest in what comes out of a LibDem’s gob, is that the supposed slight “supposed Scottish”, doesn’t work in reverse.  Whatever you think of the Fife cooncillor’s remark, it’s understandable – perhaps not in the moral sense, but the linguistic sense.  “Supposed Scot” is a phrase which has meaning.  It is comprehensible, like “two faced Scottish Secretary”, “hypocritical MP”, or “lying Lib Dem”.

The opposite, “supposed British”, doesn’t make any sense when used with reference to independence supporters.  The reaction of yer average indy supporter to being called “supposed British” by a Unionist would be “Eh?”  It’s not at all clear what the phrase might mean.  The utterings of apologists for Westminster are often nonsensical and frequently outrageous, but at least they consist of insults you can feel insulted by.

“Supposed British” is one of those zen koans devoid of lexical content that you find in the holy speeches of St Johann the Rarely Visible.  Johann’s mangled syntax is the SLab equivalent of “What is the sound of one hand clapping, grasshopper”, before it slaps you across the mug.

The lack of sense of the phrase “supposed British” can only be because it doesn’t make sense without the “supposed” bit prefixed to it either.  Britishness is for most Scots a vague and nebulous concept, which is why the Westminster parties are so determined to make out that they are the only body able to give the word any definite import – like they’re the Oxford English Dictionary or the Dictionary of Scots all of a sudden, and we instinctively turn to Johann Lamont, Ian Davidson or Magrit Curran for guidance on the finer points of linguistic usage.

The not at all supposed Scot Koalamichael is living proof that Scottish people are not immune to rank hypocrisy, wilful ignorance, or a truly astounding lack of self-awareness.  He illustrated this by his warning that the Yes campaign are on dangerous ground by mixing “patriotism with politics”, saying without an apparent shred of irony: “I tell you this: once you start mixing up politics and patriotism you can quickly get into dangerous territory.”

No shit Alistair.  All those exercises in flag waving, royal events, and Great British telly programmes are entirely coincidental.  It’s not mixing politics with patriotism to repeatedly warn us that we’ll all become foreigners, because it’s well known that being foreign is a bad thing.  And it’s not mixing politics with patriotism to declare like Jim Murphy that he’s a proud Scot but he’s also proud to be British with the “best armed forces in the world”.  No patriotic grandstanding there then, oh no.

This raises an altogether deeper and more interesting question.  To the No campaign, British patriotism is like British nationalism.  Neither exists in their universe, and no amount of rationally pointing out to them that supporting the British state is a form of nationalism is going to penetrate their skulls.  If they were truly non-nationalists and viscerally opposed to nationalism in all its incarnations they’d be arguing for the abolition of Westminster and its replacement by one world government.

Trying to demonstrate to a British nationalist that they are indeed a nationalist, and so hasn’t got a moral leg to stand on when they decry a Scottish desire for independence, is a bit like trying to demonstrate to a homophobe that they are indeed homophobic.  It will not compute with them.  In fact, they are liable to respond angrily, because some people believe that being called a homophobe is actually worse than being homophobic, just as the likes of George Galloway will fiercely reject any suggestion that he’s a British nationalist as he tours the length of the land exhorting us to “Just say naw” to indy.  We’ll just say naw to George instead.

Certain people and organisations habitually define homophobia in such a way as to exclude themselves from it, allowing them free rein to argue that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry or have kids or have equal legal rights.  Typically they redefine homophobia so it only means “physically assaulting a gay person out of malice or spite”.  It’s a strategy for dealing with cognitive dissonance, allowing them to continue to discriminate without seeing themselves as discriminatory.  The redefinition permits them to accuse the people they discriminate against as being the wrongdoers, and portray themselves as the victims.

This is in fact the exact tactic adopted by a number of Christian churches, not only do they believe they have the right to define the meaning of the word “marriage” for everyone, Christian or not, they also believe they have the right to define the meaning of the word “homophobia”.  They discriminate against gay people because they believe a god of love tells them to do so, so it cannot possibly be homophobic for campaign against legal equality for LGBT folk.  It’s gay people who are the bad guys, causing all that upset and fuss.  And if you scratch a bit further, it’s because deep down they believe that only straight people are normal, gay people are abnormal.  Only those who are themselves “normal” are entitled to define “normal” meaning.

The ability of humans to hold mutually contradictory ideas simultaneously is called cognitive dissonance, and the strategy of redefining meaning to suit oneself is a classic means of achieving it.  Koalamichael’s pronouncements against “mixing patriotism with politics” are another example of the exact same cognitive dissonance, only this time applied to a different struggle for civil liberties, the Scottish independence debate.

The UK government and the Westminster parties want Scotland to continue as a country which isn’t properly a country, and a nation which isn’t properly a nation, without confronting the cognitive dissonance that this entails.  They want to justify Scotland remaining a nation which doesn’t enjoy the full range of rights possessed by any normal nation.  Unionists achieve this by being “proud Scots but”, and portraying themselves as victims of evil Scottish rupturists.  Pointing out the disadvantages of Scotland remaining in the UK is a far worse crime than actually perpetrating those disadvantages upon Scotland.

Only Scottish independence is nationalist, and only mixing Scottish patriotism with the political desire for independence is dangerous.  Westminster is normal, an independent Scotland is abnormal.  Unionists argue that Scotland couldn’t possibly cope with the challenges that face any normal country, the subtext being that Scotland is not a normal country.  Naturally only normal people like Johann Lamont or Alistair Carmichael can define these concepts normally, but that’s much harder sell for them.

This is certainly hypocritical of Unionists, but they’re not actually lying – at least not in this aspect of their arguments – because lying entails a conscious telling of a non-truth which is understood not to be true by the person making the statement.  Unionist politicians don’t have that much self-awareness.  They’re proud Scots … but.

Don’t expect any of this to change before September 2014.  As the American socialist author Upton Sinclair said:  “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”




The Clyde’s oil and gas glow in the dark of the MoD

Recent reports have apparently confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time, that there is oil and gas under the Firth of Clyde in quantities which make it more than worthwhile to extract.

I remember hearing of it in the early 80s, but then everything went quiet and the prospect of a Weegie oil boom vanished along with much of Scotland’s traditional industry.  There was mibby some oil, but it was too wee too poor and too stupid to become independent of the ground – ground which not coincidentally was controlled by Westminster.

Obviously the Firth of Clyde is a lot smaller than the North Sea, but it was still expected that the Clyde could enjoy if not a boom, then at least a moderately biggish bang.  What we got instead was a big fart blown in our general direction from the Ministry of Defence.

Even in the early 80s it was known that the MoD was not keen for oil companies to go sticking their drill bits into the Clyde, possibly in case they came up with some top secret radioactive contamination.

Despite the nuclear risks, the oil company’s marketing people thought that “Clyde Oil, it glows in the dark” could be a workable slogan.  After all, it worked for Ready Brek.  Instead of a liability, it could have been a unique selling point.  Clyde oil with added Faslane lets you fire up your central heating and light your home for free at the same time.  Or you could have got an x-ray whenever you filled up your petrol tank.  Would have saved the NHS millions if you don’t count the radiation posioning.

But the MoD didn’t want any civilians poking their noses into the murky waters of the British nuclear deterrent, its costs, its dangers, and its contamination.  They’d just purchased some extremely expensive submarines and some even more expensive missiles.  So the Clyde was to be left fallow, and the expensive nuclear deterrent was left defending an industrial wasteland that looked like the Russians had already nuked it.

It wasn’t enough that Westminster destroyed Scottish industries, they were also hell bent on ensuring that we wouldn’t be allowed access to our own waters and our own resources in order to stick a plaster on the gaping wounds.

In September 1983 the Glasgow Herald published a brief story, Ayrshire MP David Lambie had written to then Energy Minister Alick Buchanan-Smith asking him to clarify whether the Ministry of Defence was blocking oil exploration off the West coast.  Buchanan-Smith was one of those posh Scottish Tories who would eventually go the same way as the Clyde’s oil boom, so there is a small amount of justice in the world.

By February 1984 the paper was reporting that the MoD was indeed blocking exploration in the Clyde.  David Lambie accused then Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine of blocking drilling licences.

This was the second attempt to explore for oil and gas in the area.  BP had carried out some initial investigations in 1981, but was blocked by the MoD.  Even after their second attempt was rebuffed, the company kept up the pressure to allow exploration to continue.  Like they’d do that if the amount of oil and gas was insignificant.

Now SNP MSP Chic Brodie has reopened the issue, and it is clear that the economic potential of the Clyde was sacrificed to meet the demands of the MoD’s nuclear submarines.  They didn’t want anyone to know just how rubbish they were, nor did they want annoying questions about the uselessness of the UK’s supposedly independent nuclear deterrent, or how it might not be independent after all.  A non-independent nuclear deterrent based in a non-independent country, there’s a sort of logic there.

The UK wanted its nuclear subs, the people of Glasgow wanted jobs and economic opportunities.  There could be no clearer illustration of how when the needs of Scotland clash with those of Westminster, Scotland loses.  But that’s how the Union works.  We’re locked into a Union where our interests are always going to be secondary.  The arguments over the Govan ship yard are just the most recent example.

An oil boom in the Clyde might have brought much needed jobs and investment to a West Coast reeling under the onslaught of Thatcher’s industrial amputations, although all the dosh would have ended up in the Treasury’s coffers and we’d have been assured it was an insignificant amount anyway.

Shame for them really, because they missed a trick.  Instead of Better Together and its pals scaring us with the dubious prospect of Shetland and Orkney deciding they didn’t want to be part of an independent Scotland, they could have been threatening us with an independent Millport, and telling us we’d need a passport to go doon the watter to Rothesay.  They could be telling us there was almost no oil left in the Clyde, barely enough to cover the cost of a radioactive Loch Fyne haddock.

Instead what we have is more evidence of the arrogance and disdain which Scotland is subjected to by our masters in Westminster, evidence that Yes campaigners will ensure is made known widely before next year’s vote.  And we’ve been left with unexploited oil and gas reserves that we could develop for ourselves when we finally get rid of the chancers.

The UK is founded upon the short-term gain of London and the City on the back of the long-term consequences to everywhere else in the United Kingdom.  Now that strategy is coming back to bite them on the bum.  It couldn’t happen to more deserving people.

In the editorial in the Glasgow Herald in February 1984 we were warned: “Pessimists will say that the oil boom is over and we will not have another.”  Those same pessimists are still with us, still saying the same thing 30 years later.  Let’s make sure that we don’t waste the next 30 years.

Remembering peace

The United Kingdom was born in war.  The War of the Spanish Succession was already raging between England and France, as they fought to exert their influence on an ailing Spain.  The Union of 1707 brought Scotland into the conflict too.

The wars have continued pretty much ever since.  In the 300 odd years since 1707 the United Kingdom has been involved in wars in 171 different countries.  It’s easier to list the years in which the UK was not fighting a war than to list the wars, conflicts, or ‘police actions’ themselves.  They were for the most part wars of British colonialism and exploitation, wars of British political chancers and opportunists.  Wars that were not in a noble cause.

Instead of the customary approach of historians and naming the wars, perhaps we should name the periods of peace instead.  They’re the exception to the rule of war. So here, culled from that fount of human knowledge, Wikipedia, are the periods from its foundation in 1707 when the UK enjoyed peace.

1725-1740, 1754-1756, 1769-1774, 1784-1789, 1861-1863, 1874-1877, 1881-1884, 1888-1896, 1896-1899, 1904-1914, 1923-1936

And that’s it.  They total just 62 years out of the 306 years since the Union of 1707.  I’m not entirely sure what the UK spends its £42.2 billion annual defence budget on, but if it’s being spent to bring us peace it’s proving to be spectacularly poor value for money.

1936 was the last year in which British armed forces were not involved in some war.  1936, when Edward VIII the Nazi sympathising monarch was briefly on the throne before he was forced to abdicate because he married a divorcee, and not because he was a Nazi sympathiser.  It was another age.

By way of comparison, there’s a small northern European country with a population of 5 million.  Denmark has had its share of self-inflicted wars, and its attempts at naked colonialist aggression.  Over the centuries it’s been involved in any number of spats with its neighbours.  In more recent years it has participated in the First Gulf War and in the war in Afghanistan. It’s not like small nations are intrinsically more inclined to pacifism than large ones.

How successful has its defence policy been at preserving peace for the Danish nation over the same period?  Here’s the years of peacetime for Denmark, when the country wasn’t involved in any military action.

1720-1788, 1790-1800, 1814-1848, 1850-1864, 1864-1902, 1903-1918, 1920-1939, 1945-1950, 1953-1990, 1999-2002

Denmark has been peaceful for 239 out of the past 306 years, considerably more than the 62 managed by the United Kingdom.

Someone very close to me fought in two of the UK’s less glorious wars as a sniper in the Royal Marines.  He never speaks about what he endured and what he witnessed. He saw active service in Suez and Cyprus.  He saw his friends die.  He killed people.  And they gave him medals that live in a drawer, gathering dust.

I asked him once why he never wore a poppy, and he said that while he’ll never forget those who died, he’ll also never forget that they had been sent into places where they had no business being, and had to do things no human should have the right to tell another to do.  He can never forget that those who suffer most in wars are not those who fight them.  He forgets about his medals, they’re not important.

He stopped wearing a poppy in the early 1980s, in the aftermath of the Falklands War, when he noticed it had become obligatory for politicians and media presenters to wear one.  The same politicians whose failures require young men and women to go off and die and get maimed.  The same politicians who are eager to get involved in any war that’s going and the press which acts as their cheerleaders.

He said he felt that poppies and remembrance were being used as a sop to justify sending more young generations off to war.  He vowed to stop wearing one until the UK was no longer involved in any military action, because you can only truly honour the sacrifice of those who fought in Britain’s many wars in a time of peace.  It has been 30 years since he made that decision, he hasn’t worn a poppy since.

The sniper from the Royal Marines is my partner.  He’s English, he’s gay, and if you believed certain people who campaign for a No vote, he represents two stereotypes rolled into one who shouldn’t be welcome here.  But he is welcome, and he feels welcomed, and he intends to vote Yes next year.

Scotland isn’t a place he’s been sent to where he has no business being, it’s his home.  And he’d like to live in a country where the periods of peace outnumber and outweigh the periods of war.  Then he can wear a poppy again with a quiet pride.

A field spotters guide to the Lesser Spotted Unionist

Although Blairite McDougall (chief exec of Better Together, former special advisor to BBC Director of Strategy James Purnell and, quite coincidentally, a regular invitee to the BBC’s popular news segment Great British Right To Reply To Anything Vaguely Scottish Or I’ll Call Your Boss) claims that Scotland is hoatchin wi dedicated and fanatical supporters of the Union, ordinary punters can find it difficult to spot members of this supposedly ubiquitous species.  Other than that really annoying brother-in-law that everyone’s got.

Best known for its piercing and repeated mating call “I’m a proud Scot but …”  the Lesser Spotted Unionist, Latin name Britnaticus northbrittanicus, has failed to thrive, despite a massive campaign to develop a breeding programme which has been expensively funded by the British government and Tory oil barons who have selflessly dedicated themselves to preserving a Scottish ecosystem that they’ve found very profitable.

UK government policy, continued by “the greenest government ever” of Davie Cameron, has for 300 years strived to create the conditions in which the Britnaticus northbrittanicus could prosper, not financially but in the sense of having someone else worse off than you you could feel better than.  Traditionally this was Gaelic speakers, Catholics, black people, Asian people, or anyone Continental.

Land ownership was carefully managed to ensure that most of Scotland is owned by a tiny handful, who agreed to clear out the natives in order to provide the natural conditions necessary for the successful reproduction of the species.  Industrial slums were grown, sectarianism was fostered, colonialist wars were enthusiastically embarked upon, and divide et impera brittanica was the order of the day.  Scotland was once teeming with flocks of North Britons ruling the waves and never ever ever being slaves, at least not in their imaginations.

However in the post war era, the Unionist species has gone into a precipitous decline.  The demise of the Unionist coincided with the spread of the virulent Scottish nationalism virus which attacked Unionist habitats.  The virus spread rapidly in Unionist heartlands, where it pointed out that it was in fact pretty rubbish that in an energy rich country there are people who cannot afford to heat their homes, it’s digusting that people are forced to use food banks while the City of London continues to enrich itself, and it’s an insult to democracy that Scotland is continually subjected to governments it didn’t vote for who have the cheek to blag all our resources in return for a bit of pocket money.

Worrying evidence of the decline includes a marked reluctance to engage in flag waving and bunting hanging, combined with bouts of projectile vomiting whenever the BBC’s Royal Correspondent appears on screen.  By the time symptoms have progressed to episodes of sarcastic laughter and throwing shoes at TVs when UK politicians attempt to explain the many benefits bestowed upon North Britain by those lovely people in Westminster, the former Unionist has already mutated into a new species: Cybernaticus caledoniensis.

Outside their regular haunts in TV studios and between the pages of mainstream newspapers telling us how much of a majority they are, regular sightings of the Lesser Spotted Unionist prove to be difficult to confirm.  Although the entirely unbiased Royal Society for the Protection of Unionists has published a number of censuses of Unionist numbers, the figures remain open to dispute as many of the Unionist breeding pairs identified in these surveys have on closer inspection been found to belong to entirely different species – most commonly Mibbii mibbinaw, Wellnaw bitakidbepersuadit, Jistickifurstboax izerraprizefurrisAchtheyrawshite diznaemaiteroniewiis or Pissaffyapollster orahllampyeis (subspecies amnotellinyenuhin).

In the interests of helping readers with an interest in the natural world to identify this vanishing creature, and so they can cross the road and avoid it when they see one coming, here’s a brief guide to the subspecies of the Lesser Spotted Unionist.

B. northbritanicus labordinosaurii

The most common surviving subspecies, although only common in the sense it has no style or class, the labourdinosaurii is noted for its torn faced expression, drab plumage, propensity for feathering its own nest, and its willingness to threaten its own habitat if the habitat doesn’t vote the way it wants.  It’s called a ‘break clause’: vote no or I’ll break you.  It’s proving quite controversial in Govan, and is being widely cited in zoological journals as startling new evidence that this species may in fact be a vulture, as members of the vulture family are amongst the few birds known to shit on their own support.  Called urohidrosis, the accumulation of crap on the lower members can eventually lead to sickness and death.

The subspecies traditionally thrived in industrial areas where it survived on promises of jam tomorrow.  Unlike most other Unionists, the fiercely territorial labordinosaurii (also known as Davidson’s Ringfenced Expensaccount) denies that it is a Unionist, and fondly believes that nationalism is something that only afflicts people who have the misfortune not to be British.

You can try and argue with them otherwise, but the response will invariably go along the lines of:  “British nationalism doesn’t count, it is of course better than any other nationalism because it’s not nationalist at all.  And it’s not nationalist to say that.  Oh look, Great British Bake Off is coming on.  See, if you’re independent you’ll not be allowed Victoria sponge or Battenburg cake, because they’re British.  And not German at all.”

Members of this subspecies also tend to hold that the corrupt and institutionally bankrupt British state is really an exercise in international workers’ solidarity.  This is in fact true, although the workers in question are only those who work as company directors in the City of London.  In an effort to demonstrate this solidarity in a practical manner, the subspecies collects shiny directorships with an enthusiasm that puts magpies to shame.  Davidson’s Ringfenced Expensaccount holds that this shows that the system is working.

B. northbritanicus torii

More widely known by its Scots vernacular name of Yadurrtytorybasterts, a sad few bedraggled survivors are all that remains of this once dominant sub-species, which formerly produced a range of colourful varieties.  The exotic attire and tartan troosers of the Nicholas Fairbairnius are sadly long extinct, while the Teddy Taylorii, a hybrid of a wee yappy dug with a Thatcherite, was forced to migrate south and was last seen on Southend Pier wearing a union jack waistcoat and a kiss-me-quick hat.

The handful of remaining examples of this subspecies huddle together for warmth in a dwindling number of leafy suburbs in the Central Belt and the Borders, however their numbers are continually diminished as adults in search of a political career flee south in search of Education Ministeries to crap all over, Defence Contractors’ hospitality, and hotel bedrooms they can share with Adam Werritty.

B. northbritanicus libdemocratus

An ill-advised experiment in hybridisation with the torii has resulted in the almost total extinction of this subspecies.  Successful cross-fertilisation requires parties with members of approximately equal weight and influence, but all the libdemocratus had to offer was a very wee Wullie Rennie.

Most of the better known examples, such as the Smug Ginger Rodent (variety: Lookmammyavgoataministerialmotor), have recently been discovered to be Tories who have adopted the plumage of libdemocratus in order to deceive their electoral prey.  To the relief of Wee Ginger Things everywhere, the Ginger Rodent has now been reclassified as a Boris Johnston Strawberry Blond.

It’s already too late for this subspecies, extinction beckons.

B. northbritanicus swivelii

The migratory swivelii, more commonly known as the Ukip Swivel-eyed Loon, provides a classic example of evolutionary mimicry.  Despite attempting to present itself as a big scary Tory monster, the Ukip Loon is in fact a timid little Tory mutant, easily frightened off by shouts of “Nigel you’re a bawbag.”

More comfortable in southern English golf clubs, where it bores the bar with incessant complaints about frogs that reek of garlic, sausage-munching krauts, and whinging jocks with a deep fried mars bar on their shoulder, it is rarely seen in Scotland.  However a stray Loon is occasionally found in Edinburgh pubs in the mistaken belief it’s at an Aberdeen by-election where it hopes to be rewarded with some cheap headlines.  It can easily be recognised by its distinctive cry of “That’s anti-English racism that is.”

B. northbritanicus orangensis neanderthalensis

The subspecies has gone into a drastic decline from which it has never recovered.  Once the working class version of the Durrtytorybasterts, their influence was partly responsible for delivering the Conservative’s infamous majority in Scotland in the 1950s, when the forces of darkness took 51% of the popular vote in a General Election.

There were a number of causes for the decline in their numbers and influence.  The first was an upswelling of new religious fervour.   Scotland’s four traditional religions, Protestants, Catholics, Protestant Atheists, and Catholic Atheists, found themselves in competition with a new religion sweeping Europe: Apatheism, the belief that you don’t give a shit about religion.  Since its central ritual in Scotland is having a long lie in of a Sunday, followed by Irn-Bru and an aspirin, it proved very popular.

The spread of the new faith was accompanied by a growing realistion that the reason churches continually banged on about personal sexual morality was because, like sex, religion is something which should only be practised by consenting adults in private, because otherwise it can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness which is really best avoided.

As the 60s turned into the 70s and 80s and turned on tuned in dropped out people lost themselves in a haze of herbal smoke and premarital sex, banging a big Lambeg while dressed in a bowler hat, a navy blue crimpolene uniform, and singing songs about killing Catholics lost much of its glamour.  Even in Brigton.

But the death blow came when Orange Neanderthals up and down the land discovered that a steadfast and loyal Protestant with a union flag fluttering from his windae box of orange lilies was still going to get made redundant when the factories, the mines and the yards got closed down, belief in Her Maj being about as useful as saying a novena to St Jude the patron saint of lost causes.  So that was the Protestant Ascendency pretty much knackered, and it was knackered by the very British Establishment it pledged loyalty to.  Still, irony is such a British characteristic, so that’s UK OK then.

Although most closely associated with 17th century history, 18th century social attitudes, and 19th century political relevance, the Orange Sashed Neanderthal has attempted to modernise its image.  The organisation now accepts gay people, who can parade in the boa their father woa, which at least makes them acceptable to Glasgow Labour cooncil.

B. northbritanicus fascistbastert

A detailed description of pondscum and fungal infections is beyond the scope of this article.

B. northbritanicus annoyingbrotherinlawensis

Because some folk are just dickheads. Although few in number, they make up for it with the sheer volume with which they make their opinions known, the loudness of their opinion being inversely proportional to the amount of hard facts and information it contains. Unfortunately their information derives ultimately from the sports pages in the Daily Record or the Sun, which makes it extremely loud indeed. Their opinion of Scotland, her people and prospects boils down to one or all of the following: “shite”, “fuckin shite”, “useless bawbags”, “how can we govern ourselves when we got beat by Belarus on penalties”, and “I hate that Alex Salmond.” Nevertheless, they’re still very keen to let us know that they are proud Scots.

In the interests of balance, it should be pointed out that this subspecies has its counterpart amongst independentistas, the Cybergnaticus caledoniensis compulsivebloggerii – who is prone to making friends and relatives run away and hide in case they start banging on about independence again – but at least is far better informed.

In conclusion, if you are lucky enough to encounter an elusive Lesser Spotted Unionist, give them a big hug and a hearty cheer.  They’re performing a sterling service, converting Scots into Yes voters.

Ian Davidson’s walnut brain tries some new thinking

Govan shipyard has narrowly avoided closure, although hundreds of jobs will still be lost from BAE’s two shipyards in Glasgow.  So far, so predictable, just another of the assaults on industrial communities that define the UK’s economic policies.  So much for the Union being the sole guarantee of a future for the Scottish shipbuilding industry.  One as secure as Gartcosh or Ravenscraig, padlocked and patrolled by G4S security guards until it’s sold off to a property developer.

And all this just weeks after we discovered that the Union was no guarantor of a future for Grangemouth either.   So much for the “certainties” of remaining a part of the UK.

If Scotland was not currently engaged in a debate about independence, or if the referendum had already taken place and returned a No vote, Govan would close and the Proclaimers would have another chorus to add to Letter From America.  It’s now the poor workers of Portsmouth who will have to suffer the fate of the certainties of the Union.  They don’t have any prospects of an independent government that might encourage and support the yard to diversify so it’s not always held to ransom by the MoD.

According to reports, the only thing that prevented the complete closure of the Govan yard was that the British Government did not want to give any ammunition to the Yes campaign.  An admission that it’s only the threat of independence that forces Westminster to act in Scotland’s interests.

Yet they want us to vote No and give up the threat for a generation.  Because afterwards they’ll love us in non-specific and non-defined ways that feel more like a threat than a promise.  We can have one of those relationships that doctors in clinics treating sexually transmitted diseases used to call “zesty liaisons”.  As if those never end in tears and suspicious rashes.

It’s not even as if Scotland gets its fair share of defence contracts as it is.  According to Business for Scotland, between 2007-08 and 2011-12 Scotland received £1.9 billion less than its population share of defence contracts.  Westminster hasn’t promised to remedy that situation, not even in exchange for a No vote.

So what was the local MP’s contribution to securing the future of the Govan yard?  Ian Davidson, the Labour MP who is to socialism as Jeremy Kyle is to social work, called for the MoD to insert a ‘break clause’ into the BAE contract, so that in the event of a Yes vote next year Westminster can pull the plug on the ailing Govan yard and cost his own constituents their jobs if they don’t vote in a way he approves of.  This must be that bayoneting the wounded that he spoke about recently.

It’s not enough for Ian that there may be some real downsides to independence, like the very clear threat to his own career prospects.  It’s not enough that the significance of these downsides is exaggerated out of all proportion by Better Together.  It’s not even enough for him that most of the downsides are as fictitious as Johann Lamont’s leadership of Labour in Scotland.  Ian’s on a mission to create some downsides.  It’s the most he’s ever done to encourage the manufacturing sector.

In a bare faced attempt to justify his actions, Ian growled in an interview on BBC2′s Newsnicht that there had been “new thinking” in Westminster about commissioning the new navy vessels.  The new thinking being, “Here, we can use this to screw over Scotland and scare them into a No vote.”  Better Together for threats and blackmail.

Not that Labour get involved with Tories playing politics with people’s livelihoods.  Oh no.  Grangemouth showed that they’re perfectly able to do it all by themselves.

In Ian’s Newsnicht interview Gordon Brewer didn’t think to inquire whose idea this “new thinking” was, how it differed from the “old thinking”, and why it had been decided it was necessary.  It couldn’t possibly have been Ian’s bright idea now could it?  Gordon was too busy interrupting the random SNP guy to bother asking.

Gordon was content to accept Ian’s explanation that it was because the UK never ever ever not even once allowed “foreign” countries to build boats for the Royal Navy.  Apart from South Korea.  And the USA and Canada during WW2, but that doesn’t count because there was a war on.

Ah but, said Ian, who was either anticipating the objection or knew that his argument was as overoptimistic as an MoD budget estimate and as inflated as his ego – readers can have nanoseconds of fun deciding which is more likely – the ships built in South Korea were just crappy tankers.  Oil drums with a rudder really.  Nothing high-tech or advanced about them.  You could even use them as CalMac ferries.  Not like the superdooper new generation of Royal Navy Type 26 Combat ships with go faster stripes.

The very idea of letting a soon to be foreign yard build the vessels.  Just imagine the risk to national security.  A furren yard in Glesga would have to have access to top secret building specs and blueprints and stuff.  James Bond would have to sneak into the underground lair below Glasgow City Chambers after seducing Double Agent Lamont in order to save the day, but there’s a limit to what even he is willing to do for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  And besides, no would want to watch the movie, on account of it making viewers go blind.

Only the yard is already in possession of all that top secret information, because otherwise it would never have been able to tender for the contract in the first place, so it’s not like the UK would be allowing Scotland access to sensitive information that it doesn’t already possess.  And the yard also knows it’s a design that no other country wants to buy, so it’s not like there’s going to be a line of spies queueing up to buy it from an independent Scotland.

Then there’s the uncomfortable fact that the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country.  Ian joins the long list of Westminster politicians and BBC reporters who are unaware of Westminster’s own legislation:  section 2 paragraph 1 of the Ireland Act of 1949 states that the Republic of Ireland is not to be considered a “foreign country” for the purposes of any UK legislation or law.

Defence commissioning is ultimately underpinned by law, and while the MoD can reject a shipbuilding tender from the Republic on the grounds that the Republic does not have a shipbuilding industry, they can’t reject it on the basis that it’s a foreign country.

So far we’ve had no cogent explanation from Westminster, Better Together, nor indeed the BBC, as to why the neutral Irish Republic which became independent after a bloody war against the British army is not considered foreign, but a Scotland which becomes independent peacefully, which says it wants to be a member of NATO, which will share the same head of state with the rUK, and which aspires to membership of the Commonwealth, will be considered more foreign than South Korea and as potentially hostile as North Korea.  They’re hoping we don’t notice.

Thankfully Gordon the Beeb’s incisive interviewer didn’t pick up on the glaring contradictions, allowing Ian to make out he was just helpfully offering a way for the commissioning to go ahead.

But the hollowness of Ian’s “new thinking” was exposed the very next day, when the announcement was made that Portsmouth was to close and the decision to keep Govan open had been made on commercial grounds.  There had either been no “new thinking” after all, or Ian had been making it all up.  Dinosaurs of the Labour party are not strongly associated with “new thinking”, so this should not have come as any surprise.

There’s not a lot of new thinking you can do when you have a brain the size of a walnut which is already fully occupied with strategies to extract as much personal gain as possible from any situation.  It’s the same cerebral overload that makes them confuse the light of an approaching meteorite marked “independence referendum” with limelight that they can hog.  They fondly believe it shows off their most attractive features, their thick scaly hides, their grasping claws, and their eagerness to disembowel the weak and the sick.

A constant in Westminster’s scare stories about independence is that not only would Scotland be a “foreign” country, it would also be a hostile one.  But the only hostility we’ve seen so far is the hostility of Westminster MPs towards any notion that Scotland might be better off without them, and their efforts to wreak havoc on Scotland’s working class communities in order to prove their point.

It’s a constant as reliable as Labour playing politics with Scottish workers’ jobs and the future of the Scottish economy, and it’s the only certainty we can be sure of if we vote No next year.  We need to vote Yes to introduce the era of the mammals, warm blooded creatures that nurture and care for their young.

Breaking the Joyce Barrier

Oh here we go again.  It’s becoming a daily ritual, ranting about Johann.  I’m starting to feel like a stalker.  But it’s been a really bad day.  I wish I could run away and hide from my problems like Johann, but full time carers don’t have the same luxuries afforded to the leader of the Labour party in Scotland.  In the meantime she offers a convenient target for an outpouring of pent up frustrations.

So she is actually useful for something, although I’m sure the members of Falkirk Labour party and the staff at Grangemouth wouldn’t find that much of a consolation.

Anyway, on Monday we were presented with evidence that Johann lives.  Ok, well maybe it’s “lives” in the sense that a sea sponge lives without the benefit of a central nervous system, ears, or eyes, but the lovely Johann has come out of hiding and has admitted what the rest of the country has known for quite some time: there were attempts to manipulate the selection process for a Labour candidate in Falkirk.

Admittedly it took a front page spread in the Sunday Herald, in which Falkirk Labour party members complained that they’d been left adrift and abandoned by the party leadership, none of whom could be arsed to turn up and explain to them what’s going on, before she decided it was time to “intervene”.

She didn’t add that the attempts at manipulation set off a chain of events that led to the greatest threat to Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy since Thatcher.  Neither did she remind us that the leadership of the Labour party in Scotland then sat on its collective bahoochie replaying nostalgic old videos of conference delegates singing the Internationale.  But we can take that as read.  Johann has now intervened, to her own satisfaction if no one else’s.

If you look up the word “intervene” in the Dictionary of Labour Party Terminology, you’ll find it really means “shamed into giving a brief media interview after howls of outrage and derision over a leadership with as much direction as an inflatable banana in the Corrievreckan whirlpool”, but hey, let’s not quibble.  Better late than never.

Scotland is on pause – oh the irony – because Johann won’t do the job that she and Labour claim she was elected to do, to lead the entire Labour party north of the Border.  She didn’t think it was “appropriate” to discuss the situation with her fellow Unite members.  She didn’t think it “appropriate” to discuss the issue with the leadership of the union that sponsors her as an MSP.  And she certainly didn’t think it “appropriate” to speak personally to members of the Falkirk Labour party.  She’s only a nominal leader, a latent leader.  But better latent than never.

Johann is so much of a leader that she wasn’t even given a copy of the report that Labour central office carried out into the affair.  It was reported on Monday that Johann had seen the report, although that’s not exactly what she said.  She said she “knew what was in the report”.  But that’s not saying much, everyone knows what’s in the report.  It contains the contents of a Falkirk sewer and it’s deeply embarrassing for the Labour leadership.  Still doesn’t answer the question of whether Johann is in the Labour leadership loop or not.  I’m guessing not.

Decisively leaderish, on Monday Johann vowed to “have a look at” reopening the inquiry into the Falkirk serial collision.  Not a definite commitment to reinvestigate the murky goings-on, just a vague statement that Johann might have a wee think about it.  One of those promises that’s as vague as Davie Cameron’s commitment to “consider” further devolution in the event of a No vote.  That’s reassuring then.  Though somewhat less reassuring when you realise that Johann doesn’t actually have any powers to reopen an investigation or start a new one, which isn’t very leaderish at all.

However in the same interview she also repeatedly stated that Labour needs to “move on” from the debacle, sweep it under the carpet and desperately pretend that it never happened.  She didn’t actually say that last bit, but it’s a safe assumption that’s where her preference vote lies.

So what’s it to be, reinvestigating or “moving on”?  Labour is able act swiftly and decisively.  By tea time it was reported that Labour was going for moving on, rather than doing anything of any practical use to clear up its problem with declining membership rolls, and the increasing ease with which small organised groups can manipulate selection processes in sclerotic constituency parties.  And in a few weeks it may well be rinse and repeat in East Dunbartonshire.

They’ll kick it into the long grass, let the police investigate, and pray they find nothing illegal.  Hopefully we’ll all forget and Johann can go back to accusing Alex Salmond of lying about something.  It’s a tried and trusted strategy.  Worked a treat with Stephen Purcell.

“Oh that’s a surprise,” said a shocked Scotland over its tea as it digested the news.  Before going on to ask itself just how Labour expects to persuade us that we’re Better Together with the Union when the Union has been so spectacularly bad for Labour.  Look what the Union has turned them into, a party that once stood for socialism and Scottish self-determination.  The high road to British Parliamentary Socialism led to the cul de sac of Lamont, fiddling in Falkirk while Grangemouth burned.

The whole sorry saga was sparked off by a former officer in the Army Education Corps and sometime Labour MP who wanted to teach us a lesson in Chaos Theory.  The classic version requires a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon to set off a destructive hurricane on the other side of the world, but Eric discovered that a fly head butting of a Tory in a Westminster bar worked just as well.  It led to a storm over Grangemouth, and it seems the lasting casualty will be the Labour party.  The storm ripped away their tarpaulin of lies and self-serving excuses, and even BBC Scotland wasn’t able to provide much shelter.

Their only hope of recovery is the birth of a party that is really a Scottish Labour party, a party that’s not always looking over its shoulder to make itself electable to Tory voters in swing seats in Middle England.  A party with a proper leadership that doesn’t just mouth platitudes, but demonstrates solidarity with working people by having the confidence to adopt truly progressive social democratic policies, the will to carry them out, and the powers of a parliament that can make them happen.  The current party leadership will never allow that to happen, so it’s up to us ordinary punters to make it happen.

It’s the first lesson of socialism, the lesson that Labour have long since forgotten.  If the people want change they must make that change happen themselves, because those with power will not do it for us.  We can only do that by voting Yes next year.  A Yes vote will drag Labour into change, despite themselves.  Vote No and the Labour leadership will take it as a vote of confidence.  We can expect many more Falkirks, and Grangemouths.

At least Scottish science has discovered a new principle of physics, so it hasn’t been total loss.  Labour under Lamont has shown it’s possible to break the Joyce Barrier, the level you have to sink to before Eric Joyce is able to lecture you from the moral high ground.

As man responsible for toppling the first domino when he nutted that Tory MP put it in his blog:

“The party seems wholly unable to distinguish between competent, decent trade union organising and Unite’s intimidation, incompetence and bogus politics. Either that, or it’s simply too afraid. With the majority of the Scottish shadow cabinet members of and sponsored by Unite, and with a huge number of MPs in the same basket, it’s looking awfully like the latter.”

He added later on Newsnicht that he had no confidence that Johann was capable of taking action, a view which Alistair Darling apparently shares.  But the Labour leadership is still going La-La-La-Lamont listening.  It’s too afraid.

But it’s not the Unite union Labour should be afraid of.  It’s not the banks or the press.  It’s ordinary Labour voters, it’s the people – like me – who should be natural Labour voters but are too revolted by what the party has become.  Because we have it within our power to give them the biggest fright of their lives on the 18th of September next year.  A fright not even Johann Lamont will be able to hide from.

Union intelligence

I suppose I really ought to tackle Project Fear’s latest scare story, but they scarcely raise much in the way of righteous indignation amongst Yes supporters any more.  You can only give reasonable and informed responses to Unionist idiocies for so long before you start to feel that by taking them seriously you are granting them some sort of credence.  Sometimes the most appropriate response really is: “Away you shut yer geggie, ya choob.  The grown ups are talking.”

Seemingly unaware of her boss’s recent pronouncement that the indy debate was for “Scots living in Scotland”, Tory Home Secretary Theresa May made a security inspection north of the Border last week, to tread her leopard print Manolo Blahniks all over us uppity Scottish people.  The restriction of the debate to “Scots living in Scotland” apparently applies only to David Cameron desperately trying to make out he’s not onto a loser by debating Alex Salmond.

Terry felt it was important for us to know that if we’re foolish enough to opt for indy, we’ll no longer enjoy the protection of GCHQ, although they’ll still tap our phones, read our emails, and forward our YouTube links of trampolines getting blown away in Hurricane Bawbag to the Pentagon.

However instead of blowing away the indy campaign, Terry’s arguments came across with the resounding clap of a silent fart in gale.  It was like watching an airhead from Made in Chelsea trying to explain particle physics.  It was more haud ma designer handbag than Hurricane Bawbag, a Tory version of Johann and Magrit’s stairheid rammies.

Even the normally slavish Scottish media couldn’t be arsed to give her much in the way of coverage.  Perhaps they’re slowly becoming aware that by reporting the contributions of Westminster Tories to the indy debate they are coming to have all the credence of Westminster Tories themselves.  These are after all people who struggle to differentiate Balmoral from Balornock, yet all of a sudden are experts in Scotland’s potential, or rather lack thereof, as an independent state.

But for what it’s worth, Terry opined that after independence Scotland will be cast adrift and left to the mercy of evil terrorists who will insist that Johann Lamont wears a burqa.  Which at least means that when she’s in hiding and doesn’t want anyone to recognise her she’ll still be able to pop out to the shops for a deep frozen lie-pie to hurl at Alex Salmond.  So it’s not all bad news then.

In the accompanying press release, the Home Office warned us that Scotland and England would not enjoy the friendly relations we’ve enjoyed as part of the Union for “the past 210 years”.   The first century of the 306 year long Union was just the beta testing, so didn’t really count.  It’s probably best to draw a silent veil over all those Jacobite wars, rebellions and invasions by General Wade.  Westminster is certain they’ve ironed out the bugs in the game software now.  Experienced users of the Union should know that the way the game is stacked against you and crashes at crucial moments isn’t a bug.  It’s a feature.

Terry thinks small countries are especially vulnerable to terrorists, which is why the citizens of Finland are rarely to be seen on the streets of Helsinki, they’re forced to sit indoors all day watching reruns of Borgen and Wallander while drinking home-brewed vodka in case a suicide bomber gets them while they’re out buying sausages and potatoes.  And that’s with the benefit of the uncrackable cypher known as the Finnish language in which all their emails are encoded.

Scots will just have to hope and pray that no one in the Taliban learns how to speak Weegie.  The Mujahaweegie would be a terrible foe, bombing transport infrastructure with piss filled bottles of Buckie and hijacking Tunnock’s delivery vans.  Only the Union and GCHQ can save us from public transport that reeks of urine on Saturday nights and ensure the safe delivery of teacakes.

The biggest problem we’ll face, apparently, is that we’ll no longer have access to UK intelligence.  It doesn’t appear to have occurred to Ms May that getting away from what passes for “intelligence” amongst successive UK governments is the prime motivator for many of us who seek independence.  For starters there’s those dodgy dossiers, the Oxbridge Communists who ran M15 during the 60s, and just about anything that comes out of Theresa’s gob.

Scotland will deprive itself of the wisdom of the woman who thought up the Go Home campaign and who apparently bases UK immigration policy on Daily Mail stories.  Something about immigrants giving you cancer, probably.  She set up a commission of experts to advise on drug policy, but then ignored them when they gave advice she didn’t like.  More recently she suggested that it was condoning terrorism to object to anti-terrorism laws being used to silence legitimate whistle-blowers and the journalists who report them.  How will we possibly cope without her unique brand of narrow-minded condescension?

Scotland will have little or nothing to offer proper grown up security services like M15.  It’s well known in London that there are only two kinds of Scottish polis.  There’s the cheery auld alcoholic sergeant on a bicycle who occasionally takes prescriptions to the chemist for Doctor Finlay, together with his young and naive constable who’s trying to get into the knickers of the housekeeper from Monarch of the Glen and who will develop an alcohol problem after she spurns him the for dashing estate manager with the English public school accent.  And then there’s the morose detective with a bevvy merchant’s nose who investigates junkies who murrderr one another.  Since Islamic terrorists are teetotal, the Scottish police will be helpless against them because they never go down the pub.

After indy we’ll be “intelligence unplugged”, as Westminster has no real interest in prescriptions for antibiotics that don’t cost £7 a pop or the price of a pint of heavy, and hordes of terrorist gangs, cyber criminals, and evil villains from Bond movies will descend on Scotland to use us as a base from which to attack important places – that would be London.

It’s unclear why Terry thought we’d be particularly susceptible to cyber criminals, as just last month her equally clueless cabinet colleague Philip Hammond solemnly warned us that terrorists would attack our power stations and leave us without electricity.  So we’ll only have to worry about cyber criminals until the laptop battery gives out and then the problem will pretty much take care of itself.

When you dig a bit deeper into Theresa’s scare stories, it seems that the real threat isn’t to Scotland.  We’ll be one of those wee countries that terrorists don’t bother much with because attacking us will only rate a 10 second mention on Sky News.  The real threat is to Westminster, and for all their supposed intelligence there’s a gaping chasm in the logic of their latest scare story.

Scotland will be hoatching with terrorist groups who intend to attack the rUK, but at the same time the new Scottish intelligence services will have little information which might be of interest to their rUK counterparts, so it’s not in the rUK’s interests to have a friendly and cooperative working relationship with Scotland.  Instead Westminster may be forced to impose border controls all the way from Gretna to Berwick, disrupting trade and costing the rUK economy billions of pounds a year.

Hmmm.  That’s a really intelligent response, and by going independent we’ll be depriving ourselves of such strategically joined up thinking.  How will we ever manage?

They can’t even think their scare stories through properly, so much for Union intelligence.  So it’s clear now, either they think that we are spectacularly stupid, or they are spectacularly stupid.  In either case are these the people we want to have responsiblity for keeping Scotland safe?  Even Theresa May ought to have enough functioning brain cells to realise the answer to that question.

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.