I wasn’t going to watch the debate between Corbyn and Johnson this evening, figuring that since they’re ignoring Scotland’s voice it’s only right and proper that we ignore them. The Twitter hashtag for this evening’s proceedings is #ANationScorned. Anyway, who needs to witness Boris Johnson lying through his teeth and going fnaugh fnaugh fnaugh at a geography teacher for an hour. But then I saw a photie of the studio, and it looks like something out of Star Trek. This is possibly confirmation that Boris Johnson is indeed a lizard alien. It also probably means that the guy in the red gets wiped out in the first scene.
Meanwhile, in other news, the only Brexit MEP in Scotland has resigned from the party complaining that it’s racist and homophobic. The rest of Scotland has filed this under surprises as big as the discovery that Boris Johnson is a liar, and that Prince Andrew is an entitled prat with all the self awareness of a slime mould. Not to be outdone, the Conservative candidate for Aberdeen North has been suspended from the party after it came to light that he’d suggested in a series of appallingly spelled online comments that the Holocaust was exaggerated, some deeply Islamophobic musings, and wondered that if everyone turned gay then the human race would go extinct. We are all wishing that Tory MPs would go extinct in Scotland, and many of us are working hard to achieve that outcome on 12 December. We just didn’t expect that Tory candidates would do the job for us.
A hacker has released a whole load of direct messages on Twitter between Arron Banks and his Leave.EU pals. But it’s OK. There’s nothing untoward in any of the leaks as he was in a Pizza Express in Woking at the time. No sweat. Andy Wigmore, one of Banks’s associates who describes himself as one of the bad boys of Brexit, took to Twitter to harrumph that those who were spreaking the leaks were guilty of breaking General Data Protection Regulation rules. That would be those GDPR rules which are – letsee – an EU regulation from the EU Parliament providing protection to, ahem, EU citizens. Oh.
Back in Scotland, Alister Jack, the governor general for the Caledonian Colony, has suggested that if the SNP win the Holyrood election in 2021 then this might just possibly constitute a mandate for another independence referendum. In making the remark he has contradicted Boris Johnson, who says that he won’t permit another independence referendum as long as he’s Prime Minister. Still, we don’t need to worry too much about the contradiction, since Alister will be out of a job in a couple of weeks. All the Scottish Tory MPs are the red shirts in this episode of Conservative Star Trek.
It is interesting to ask why the anti-independence parties think that there can only be a mandate for another independence referendum after the 2021 election, and not in an election to the parliament which does actually have the power to change the constitution. A dispassionate and uninvolved observer might think that a mandate delivered to Scottish MPs was of greater weight than one delivered to MSPs. She or he might also wonder why the media in Scotland was not pressing the anti-independence parties on this issue. Just what right do they have to ignore the will of the Scottish electorate as delivered on 12 December? Or indeed the mandate for another independence referendum that Holyrood currently possesses. Or is it only those votes which suit the anti-independence parties that count? Answers on a postcard to Pacific Quay, because they don’t even seem to think that there’s a question to be asked.
Right, so onto the debate. That’s what you pay me for. You only have yourselves to blame. Oh god. Oven ready. Unleash. Dither. Fnaugh fnaugh. Get Brexit done. Referendum. Rinse and repeat.
The opening question is “Can you assure me that we won’t be talking about Brexit forever?” The only truthful answer to this question is “no”. Naturally Boris Johnson lies and spends his time attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn tries to be reasonable, which is like trying to talk a gall wasp out of implanting its larva in your cold paralysed flesh. Johnson is still claiming that he can get a trade deal done in under a year, when in the general run of things trade deals take years. We’re only a few minutes in, and he’s saying oven ready already. Someone stick his head in that oven, please. Johnson won’t shut up. He keeps talking over the host, Julie Etchingham. This isn’t just a metaphor for his attitude to women. The most noticeable thing about Jeremy Corbyn is that his glasses are wonky.
The next question is, “Is the union worth sacrificing for Brexit?” This is the question where the SNP, if they’d been present, would have had a chance to explain why it’s so important that the people of Scotland get their say and have their voice respected. Johnson claims that his deal keeps the UK together. Ha ha. Said half of Scotland. He repeats his lie about a deal between the SNP and Labour. He says he’s ruling out another independence referendum. Johnson’s great idea for keeping the union together is to ignore the will of the people of Scotland. He won’t give the people of Scotland any right to make up their own minds. Silence from the audience. Tories in England don’t care what happens to Scotland.
Corbyn denies that there’s any deal, says Johnson’s comments are nonsense. No one here is prepared to say why they think it’s remotely democratic to ignore the will of the Scottish electorate. For Scotland this debate is like overhearing people talking about you, but not to you. Johnson claims another referendum would create chaos. “We’ve had nine years of chaotic coalitions already,” says Corbyn. Biggest cheer of the night so far.
God, Johnson can’t shut up.
Question from the audience about how this debate has been made toxic. How can the nation trust either to have integrity. Johnson fnaughs. Corbyn does his reasonable geography teacher thing. He comes across as warmer, more human, and more accessible. But then that’s not hard. So does one of the lizard aliens in Star Trek. Johnson gets laughed at when he tries to claim that he’s trustworthy. He said he would deliver certain policies when he was the mayor of London, and he is just getting round to it now. So that’s reassuring. Does the truth matter? Asks Julie Etchingham. “I think it does,” says Johnson. The audience laughs.
Corbyn stresses how seriously he takes accusations of antisemitism and recognises the suffering of the Jewish people throughout the 20th century. Johnson won’t answer the question about his own trustworthiness, instead he prefers to attack Corbyn. This is a question about his own personal integrity and character. It’s about the nastiness in political debate. Johnson just keeps on being nasty. He can’t help himself. Nothing about Islamophobia in the Tory party. The former Tory candidate in Aberdeen North will be relieved. When Johnson is asked about his own character, he responds by attacking someone else’s. That tells you all you need to know about his character.
Advert break. You might not agree with all his answers, but so far Corbyn has made honest attempts to respond to the questions. Johnson has been his usual blustering fnaugh fnaughing self, incapable of answering even simple questions. Still, it could be worse. We could have had to put up with Jo Swinson as well. No wonder they didn’t want to debate Nicola Sturgeon. She’d have run Saturn sized rings around this pair.
The first question after the ad break is about how the two would ensure that the NHS is able to meet the demands placed upon it. This is Corbyn’s specialist subject on Politics Mastermind. The NHS, he says, is under the greatest stress it has faced in the past 20 years. Johnson says he’s building 40 hospitals. Didn’t we find out that was a lie a couple of weeks ago? Corbyn demands an end to privatisation within the NHS. Johnson says that he’s not going to privatise it, says it won’t be up for sale in any trade deal. But he also said he was going to die in a ditch. Corbyn challenges him on the 40 hospitals lie. No clear answer. Apparently it’s all because we haven’t got Brexit done. He keeps waffling. Corbyn is much clearer and much more convincing. But that’s not really saying much.
This is poor stuff. If this is the calibre of leadership in the UK it’s really no wonder that the British state is, to use a technical political term, royally screwed. I’m losing the will to live. Can we not just get independence please, then we can protect Scotland’s NHS from this lot forever.
A question about austerity. Johnson tells us that he’s going to cancel his proposed cut in Corporation Tax. So he’s shelving a plan that only he was planning to do anyway. Isn’t that great. Accusations that Corbyn doesn’t just have a money tree, he’s got a money forest. Corbyn says that the reality of austerity is that local authorities, young people, education, and the poor have borne the brunt. He wants to prioritise spending on those areas.
Now we move on to some rapid fire questions.
Is the monarchy fit for purpose? Corbyn says, “Needs a bit of improvement.” Says that before we discuss Prince Andrew we should talk about the victims of his friend Epstein. Johnson says that the institution of monarchy is beyond reproach.
Is climate change the biggest issue? Johnson waffles. Corbyn wants a green industrial revolution to prevent damage to our natural world.
Which current foreign leader do you most admire? Johnson says he admires all the EU leaders because they gave him a great deal. Tries to attack Corbyn on Brexit again. Corbyn says it’s someone that no one has heard of.
What non political present would you leave under the Christmas tree for one another? Corbyn says he’d give Johnson a copy of A Christmas Carol so that he can understand how mean Scrooge was. Johnson says a copy of his Brexit deal, because he can’t stop himself from attacking others instead of listening to the bloody question.
Thank god. The final statements. We’re at the end now. You’d probably have learned more about British politics if you’d watched Eastenders on the other side. That’s also depressing and fictional. Who won? I don’t know. What I do know is that we’re all the losers with this lot as our political masters. Can we hurry up and vote for independence please?
I’d like to give a huge thank you to the SNP canvassers in Prestwick who helped me when my car got a flat tyre this afternoon when I was out with Philippa Whitford’s team. I wouldn’t have been able to change the wheel without your assistance. SNP Pitcrew, top lads.
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