Reasons to be cheerful, part four

govid19
There’s certainly an enormous amount to be gloomy about at the moment. Remember when a sneeze used to be just a sneeze and you’d put it down to hayfever. Now it’s a worry that you might have ‘it’. There’s death, job losses, and economic misery hovering over all of us. And it’s topped off with the cherry of an unresolved civil war at the very top of the SNP, like a massive plook that needs to be squeezed but has to be left alone because you’re not supposed to touch your face just now. All this comes just as we had made a significant breakthrough in seeing the cause of independence enjoy majority support. It’s the Argentine World Cup campaign of 1978 all over again, only with actual deaths as opposed to the death of reputations. This is what happens when you get your hopes up, Scottish people.

All over Scotland, keyboards are busy with the clacking of triumphant woebags exhulting in how right they were to tell everyone that everything’s shite. There’s nothing a miserable bastert loves more than saying, “Did ah no tell yese so.” If we were able to bottle self-righteousness and use it as a fuel, Scotland would be able to solve the problem of global warming overnight. But even then Scotland’s keyboard warriors would only complain that it was all a plot to destroy Scottish Twitter.

Pessimism speaks to something deep within the Scottish psyche. Maybe it’s because we inherit the ability to dream and imagine from our Celtic ancestors, and combine it with a heavy dose of Scandinavian angst from our Norse heritage. This gives us the unique ability as a nation to look at any situation and see the many many ways in which it could all go horribly, terribly, wrong. As a nation, we could gaze upon a vista of beautiful wild flowers set in the spectacular setting of a mountain meadow and only complain about how much rain falls on it and how much shit was required to fertilise it. If there was a world cup for woebaggery, Scotland would win it every time. But we’d only obsess over how much of a burden it was having to polish all that silverware. America has a can do spirit, Scotland has a gaunnie no dae that spirit.

Nevertheless, there are a few glimmers of good news amongst the gloom. There are encouraging signs that the death rate from the virus may – just may – be lower in Scotland because social isolation measures were introduced here at an earlier phase of the outbreak than elsewhere in the UK. The lockdown was introduced here before a significant hotspot of locally transmitted infection was able to become established. Sadly the death toll will continue to rise sharply, as it will take a couple of weeks before we see the effect of the lockdown in slowing down the spread of the virus, however the death rate in Scotland does appear to be lower than it is elsewhere.

We have the Scottish government to thank for that, as it was pushing the British government for stricter lock down measures from the very beginning – much to the anger and resentment of Boris Johnson. There is a lesson to learn here, which is that freed from the constraints of the egos of the British cabinet, and the imposed need not to break the “four nation” strategy of the British state, the Scottish government could have acted even more decisively even earlier and saved even more lives. But that, like the plook on the face of Scottish constitutional politics, is something to be squeezed at a later date.

There is the good news that the Scottish government has dropped its plan to conduct criminal trials without a jury. While it’s reasonable to seek to protect people during this epidemic. It’s hard to reconcile social distancing with the need to stick 15 jurors in a room in order to consider a verdict, but the jury system is the very heart of the Scottish criminal justice system. Suspending it is the start of a slippery slope to a police state. It’s a really bad look for the Scottish government to consider the suspension of jury trials the week after the Scottish government has been left deeply embarrassed and placed in a politically difficult situation because of a jury trial. It’s a good thing that common sense has prevailed.

There’s the good news that British nationalists on social media have been left exposed as shallow and trivial idiots. Some of them – we’re looking at you Ian Smart – have been complaining that the Scottish volunteering scheme launched by the Scottish government has the word Scottish in it, and that public information about the virus published by NHS Scotland has the word Scotland in it. How sad do you have to be to make an issue out of the fact that a Scottish health campaign and health information from an organisation whose name is NHS Scotland has the words Scotland and Scottish in it? The cringe is a disease that’s stalked Scotland long before the arrival of the coronavirus. It’s taken a real disease to show up just how stupid and self-defeating the metaphorical disease of the cringe really is.

There is the good news that the politics of populist liars has been exposed for the sham that it always was. Michael We Don’t Need Experts Gove’s casual lies are now caught out and no amount of oily politeness can cover his mendacity. Yesterday he made the outrageous claim that the reason that there were fewer tests for the virus carried out in the UK was because of a lack of the reactive agents necessary to make the tests. This claim was utterly unfounded, and was soon exposed by those journalists in the traditional media who have previously been content to report the words and views of the British government without criticism. The populist plague of the Govid-19 virus is an infection in the body politic that Scotland has a ready cure for. We can self-isolate from Westminster Conservative governmments forever.

There’s the good news that while this crisis has exposed the selfishness of the rich, the callowness of the British state, and the stupidity of the increasingly desperate opponents of independence, it’s also shown us that there’s an enormous reservoir of goodwill, of care, of consideration, of the sacrifice and dedication of the NHS, of the thousands of ordinary people who are volunteering, of the children’s rainbows appearing in thousands of windows. It’s shown us that there is a determination not to allow the sacrifices we’re all making during this crisis to be for nothing. There’s a better country waiting for us beyond the gloom.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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41 thoughts on “Reasons to be cheerful, part four

    • Oh, I thought that’s what I had typed. Obviously not. Must have been a brain fart. Fixed now.

      And the Argentinian fitba debacle was in 1978, not 76 which I originally put. Am doing well today…

      • You are doing well Paul and I for one can forgive the occasional “brain fart” I find myself having them on occasion too 🙂

        It doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the writing though, another very good article and much appreciated.

  1. It’s heartening to know that the abolition of jury trials has been postponed even is it is only temporary but whilst we’r here, couldn’t the SG do something about actually bringing the Scottish jury system in to line with the rest of Western Europe, Because our juries are 15 in number, this means that a person could be convicted by only 8 of their peers. Where else does this happen?

    • Kenzie, There is quite a bit of variation in jury sizes throughout Europe and some countries hold trials with a panel of judges and no jury. The SG carried out a review of the jury system in Scotland in 2008-09 and decided to stick with the status quo.

      This from “The Modern Scottish Jury in Criminal Trials” gives a brief overview of the systems in Europe:
      “”What we do know is that Scotland’s requirement for a jury of 15 is the highest in Europe. In France jury trials, or tribunals, consist of 3 magistrates and a jury of 9. In Spain a jury must comprise nine jurors and two alternates. Germany does not have juries in the traditional sense, minor crimes being heard by a judge and serious crimes are heard by a panel of 5 (comprising 3 professional judges and 2 lay members). In Denmark, recent court reforms will result in a reduction of juror numbers from 12 to 9.””

      You can read more here:
      https://www2.gov.scot/Publications/2008/09/17121921/9

  2. Oh please for goodness sake, stop putting pictures of horror shows on your webpage.

    Gove us a picture of the coronavirus thingy, it’s much less frightening.

  3. Seems to be a definite ploy by the news media to keep England’s Covid stats hidden. A bit like Johnson. Happy to be corrected

    5 nations +‘ve infections & morbidity
    England
    24638 & 2148
    Scotland
    2310 & 76
    Wales
    1837 & 98
    N. Ireland
    689 & 30
    RoI
    3235 & 71
    All Ireland
    3924 & 101

    • Hasn’t gone unnoticed Hamish. Tonight’s BBC news report of 563 (poor) people dying in the “UK” in the last 24 hours. They reckon that 1000 people will be dying in the “UK” on a daily basis by the weekend. That crowd at Westminster should be facing a firing squad. Weeks and weeks wasted and too late with testing and following up on contacts.

    • Yep, John Robertson has been exampling it for the BBC about a week now on his blog.
      A lot of disquiet in England about it too, especially after hearing about nurses told to keep schtum, and home deaths from the virus not being recorded as such. The Tory habits of massaging facts and obscuring reality continue, yet the scale of this is beyond their control to hide for long…
      Don’t know if anybody caught the clip of the BBC news presenter announcing with bewilderment that the consortium (McLaren/Mercedes/?) had furnished 30 ventilators, not the much vaunted 30,000…
      I smell trouble brewing as the con becomes more obvious by the day….

  4. “There are four kinds of people to avoid in the world: the assholes, the asswipes, the ass-kissers, and those that just will shit all over you.” or so said Anthony Liccione. Gove is unique in that he has at some point in his unremarkable life as a sick bastard, been all four.

  5. The SNP government must take direct steps now to source all necessary protective gear, ventilators etc. If we have the funds use them.If we have the supplier contacts, use them. The EU, China etc.

    Regrettably I feel that virus panic is going to hit England soon and Westminster taking control of UK procurement is for me an indicator of Westminster’s realisation of their plight.

  6. Gove.who would believe.or trust what that man says.obviously a lot
    Of Britnats in Scotland.they are more than welcome to him.
    Roll on independence..

    • Ha ha ha. Brilliant Thepnr. Someone should tell him that Paul sorted it out for him. Loads of walkies and as many pees and poos as he likes … outside.

  7. It was a bit of a shock to the system seeing that graphic of govid – 19 staring out at me at the start of the article but I recovered after watching the brilliant Chris Mann. So on balance I forgive you for that nasty shock at the beginning.👍🏽

  8. “America has a can do spirit, Scotland has a gaunnie no dae that spirit.”

    With respect, while they do tend towards a positive attitude, it’s largely based on screwing someone else over in business, beating them to the finish line, or taking them to court (or dare I say it, getting out the guns to settle things).

    All of these solutions are ‘can do’. None of them are laudable. If anything, I’d say they have a ‘can’t handle being wronged’ attitude, which everyone possesses in differing measures, but if you’re built up to succeed, then failure is a long way down. All nations have woebags. Some have woebags for politicians. Maybe Scots just moan a little more, and cheer a little less, but I think we’re a little more realistic about some things.

    A nation that televises violence but thinks a side boob is offensive is hardly a place of cheer to me. When automatic weapons are the panic buy of choice, I’m not encouraged. In 2018, Scotland had 41 deaths or injuries from all firearms, including air weapons. That’s one year for a whole nation. Chicago had 188 in March this year alone. That’s one month, in one city.

    Don’t get me wrong. The US has many wonderful people and institutions, but so has Scotland. There’s you for a start, and there’s me too. You get to be the institution. 😀

    Pretty much agree with the rest btw.

    For what it’s worth, that ‘can do’ attitude across the pond will be tested soon, I fear. Cases approaching a quarter of a million, with a Healthcare system that’s not exactly for the (poor) people, by the (working) people.

    All nations have problems and issues, but that’s the rain on, and the wild flowers are drooping in the meadow, so must go. 😀

  9. Great article Paul. I am origiinally from NE Eng though been in Scotland for 30+ years. Maybe it was just my family, but negativity there was a national pastime, however, not so much putting down your own area, not so much cringe in the same way as some in Scotland have perfected.

    Always found people in Scotland much more positive on the one hand, except for the Scottish cringe which took me a while to realise, that came from some unionist pals. They just seemed to put down anything positive about their own country, weird.

    It’s funny, ( not) how the Britnats were raging when Scotland’s government were trying to take matters in their own hands to er, avoid a massive catastrophe re the Coronavirus. It was all, ‘oh no you don’t Scotland, ideas above your station, do as we say, when we say! We are all one country, so do things in tandem, or else!’
    Now, the Britnats and their inept disgraceful government are procuring equipment and it seems are not so keen to be to share and do things in tandem are they, oh no, ‘we will give you the dregs of any equipment and think yourselves lucky Scotland, Wales and NI!’

    A few more people in Scotland must be waking up now. It’s going to be interesting when things do settle down to resemble normal life again, in the disunited kingdom.

    Btw, I was thinking of trying to get one of those wire dog leads with the collar attached, remember those? It looked like people were walking an invisible dog, then I’d have an excuse to go out a few times a day lol! Think it’ll work?

  10. Perhaps it was time we became more( interesting ) ourselves and closed our border to stop Coronavirus being spread for Easter time under emergency health legislation. uk government saying stay at home, do not travel unnecessary,
    Let’s take the uk advice to help Scotland, there aren’t that many roads into Scotland and we used to have toll bridges, booms and barriers,
    all this could lessen further cases in Scotland later on in the summer and autumn,😁

  11. I forgot to say your comment about wire dog leads brings a smile,
    And if there is one thing I have noticed over the years, is that we are definitely not all doom and gloom,
    I,ave been in stitches many a time from the comments and humour on all the Scottish sites.
    Please do not loose the humour, that sees us all through the worst of times, I believe it has changed many no,s to yes.😁

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