Friday, 3 February 2012

The Sage of Banff

There's been much talk among Nationalist activists and  in the press and TV praising the SNP's "positive" campaigning.

Labour, so goes the latest surge of informed opinion, is far too "negative".  The SNP, on the other hand is, in its desire to destroy the UK, much more "positive"!?!?!

I have to say I can't see it myself. Isn't breaking up a successful partnership for no good reason about as "negative" as you can get....?

..a point made by this recently unearthed vignette, thought to depict a folk legend of the North East and first performed in 1928 after it was found mouldering in the library of the University at Aberdeen.

The Sage of Banff.

Scene 1. The wind howls. A weary traveller in Banff and Buchan trudges along a dusty path, past a remote cave opening. The traveller stops to rest.

A  fat, bald sage, wild in aspect and oily in nature, leaps from the cave, his face contorted in a self-satisfied smirk.

Weary Traveller “Och! Ye gave me quite a start there man. Who are you and whit are ye up tae”?

Sage “ My name is Eck, the sage o’ Banff, and I carry the ancient Revelation of the Salvation of the Scottish People as my mission and legend”.

W T “Issat so? What have you to reveal to me, oh wild sage”? 

Eck, confidentially in the ear of the traveller.. "Listen tae me. Ye must cut aff yer right arm to be saved".

W T "Whit? Are you nuts"?

Eck, insistently   "I repeat. Ye must cut aff yer right arm to be saved. It's the only positive thing to do. And anyway, it isnae working, it was attached to you 300 years ago by a parcel o' rogues. Are ye ignorant of your own history, man?".

WT "Don't be daft. I need my right arm, it's a natural attachment and it works perfectly. Look." He waves his arm up and down and round and round.

Eck "Dafty ye are. It's a trick perpetrated by the crafty body unionists in London. The connection is unnatural. Yer arm is being manipulated from Westminster. Can ye no' see"?

WT "Are you aff yer heid, Eck"?

Eck "Au contraire" says Eck, a bold European wild man he, and fervent supporter of Amputation in Europe, "Au contraire, it's you that is irrational. And negative"

WT "Wait a minute. You want me to cut off my right arm, you witter on about 300 year old rogues, and you accuse me of irrationality. And what's negative about wanting to keep my body intact? You really are nuts".

Eck takes hold of the travellers shoulder and gazes levelly into his eyes. “Did you know that, through the cunning manipulation of Barnett Formula, the government has ensured that the average length of the adult male arm in England is ¾” longer than the corresponding arms of the Celtic nations? Did ye know that? Significant, is it not”?

WT “What’s that got to do with anything? I like my arm, I want it and I need it and it has done me no harm and much good over the years.”

Eck, craftily "Ah but. Can you prove you need your right arm? Eh?".

WT “But it’s my arm. Why should I have to prove that I need it”?

Eck. “So. You cannot justify the use of your own existing right arm, even after 300 years of manipulation by the rogues…d'ye no realise that you're just being relentlessly negative man? Haudin' on tae your useless arm indeed. How can ye no' see that? Why can you not be more positive like me? Chop it off! Now!"

WT "To be honest I thought that hanging on to all of my bodily limbs was quite a good strategy for a productive life. Anyway, I see you've still got both your arms attached, Mr Sage.... how comes that then?"

Eck, defensively "Aye well, I need it to shake hands wi' the Queen. And ye can't visit the Bank of England for them to dictate your fiscal policy if you've only got one arm. It widnae look good, would it? Anyways, your just evading the point are you not? How can you, without being relentlessly negative, justify not chopping off your right arm? C'mon. Stop switherin' man. Gie's your reasons, and they better not be negative!"

WT "Well, I use my arm to write, to lift a pint, hold a fork, control the steering wheel, pat my wife on the bum and other normal but useful actions. It seems ok to me, and if I didn't have it, I would be short of a useful limb."

Eck. "Ah but where's the proof"?

WT "It's my arm. It works. I like it. What more proof do you need"?

Eck, dismissively "Call that proof? Don't ye realise, ye would be much better off without it? If you cut off your right arm, you would be free to do so many other things"

WT "Such as"?

Eck. Thinks for a minute. "Wellllllll. You could learn to drive with one arm. Plenty of smaller people do it.., I’ve got an Irish cousin who did it….".

WT " But I'm not Irish. Why would I do it"?

Eck "You could easily grow another one. The new arm might not be as effective as the old one, but it would not be manipulated by the English. Oops by Westminster I mean. Sorry. We’re definitely not racist, us wild sages…"

WT “You really are crazy. I have no interest in your silly scheme of limb separation. I just want to get on with doing the things I need to do, like getting on with my journey, the state of the roads and getting home.”

Eck “But if you cut off your arm, the journey will be so much easier.” His eyes light up “You’ll be lighter for a start”.

WT exasperatedly "Let me get this right. You want me to chop off my arm, because of some surgery you say happened 300 years ago, you cannot give me any sensible reason for doing so, you cannot tell me how I would survive without the arm, but still you want me to do it? And you call me irrational".

Eck "That's about it. ... can ye no’ see the logic?".

"Cut aff yer arms to spite yer face... "

WT “Away an’ bile yer heid”, sets off towards home, shaking his head in disbelief and looking back in mystified wonder at the oily sage..

As he passes into the distance, Eck the sage, thwarted by his failure to persuade the weary traveller of the case for chopping off his arm, calls out in frustration…..“Traitor. Quisling. Anti-amputationist!”  


  1. Your obsession with Alex Salmond is now getting comical.

    Would this be the sage of Banff who showed you a clean pair of heals in May 2010? Or maybe its the one whos party has just recorded their biggest lead over Labour ever. What was it again Holyrood voting intentions Labour 23% SNP 49% on these figures the torys would win two first past the post seats to Labours 0ne.

    You maybe cannot see it yourself, but the voters in Scotland sure can.

  2. Don't be so negative, it's just a bit of fun....

  3. Not from you its not. Its an obsession. Your party is getting told by the voters that "there teas oot" and all you can do is come up with this rubbish.

    Keep it up see you after May, maybe.

  4. The obsession is with "independence".

    What else would you call when people work all their lives to deliver something with no prospect of success and even if the did deliver it, it would be a disaster.

    I just point out how wrong those absessed with "independence" are.

    Believe me, I would be a lot happier addressing the real problems we have in this country, but the obsessives keep getting in the way with their obsession about "independence".

    Anyway, you needn't be so negative.
    this particular post is just a bit of fun.

    Or are we not to be allowed to poke fun at politicians in your new Utopia?

  5. Poke fun at politicians? Only one that I can see. What about the retreat to Subway was that not funny and worth poking fun at? Where was the sage of Subway.

    Mind you I am glad you think its funny. Your London Labour party id going down the tubes fast and this is what you can come up with, pathetic does not cover it.

    BTW do you agree with the 32 Labour North British MPs who voted to back further privatisation in the NHS. Would you vote to put £9000 tuition fees on Scottish students. Do you support Trident in Scotland, all Labour party policies. John Smith must be turning in his grave.

  6. keep on poking fun, son. you play right intae the snp's arms.

  7. "Poke fun at politicians? Only one that I can see."

    But he's the funniest! He's a fat, pompous self important, oily, evasive braggart with not a lot to brag about.

    He's absolutely ripe for fun! He's the first FM who is too fat to get out of a car without assistance. Isn't that funny in itself?

    He has to use the back entrance and park round the corner, away from the TV cameras, so there's no pictures of him being levered out of the back seat.

    Ssssssseeearrgghhhplop! That's you out now First Minister. Yes. Hold on. No sir, the ground's that way. Right? OK? Can you stand up?......

    .....Anyway, didn't you notice that it's the whole foolish notion of "independence" that's getting sent up?

    Eck's just the poster boy for the nonsense that everything will be better if you cut off your limbs.

    No? You didn't see that ?

    Or are you just avoiding it?

  8. Oh dear

    On to personal attacks on appearance now just how desperate are you going to get.

    I would not attack anyone on their personal appearance but as my late mother would say, people that attack other people on their appearance are probably no oil painting themselves.

    Not a lot to brag about, he is destroying Labour in Scotland, thats plenty to brag about.

    You may think he is fat, but I think he is the man that is giving Labour the kicking of their lives in Scotland. Down to 23% of the vote for Holyrood, how long before the torys overtake you? After all Cameron is more popular in Scotland than Miliband. Did you notice at the press conference on Thursday Miliband did not have the guts to answer the question about sharing a platform with Cameron. Just think two public schoolboy millionaire torys on the same platform.

    BTW what about the privatisation of the NHS, tuition fees or Trident. No answer or do you realise that these are tory policies that Labour are copying and have no answers, only personal insults.

    P.S. Independence might be a foolish notion to a cringer like you, but it is a normal state of affairs for most of the world with a backbone, that leaves a lot of London Labour out.

  9. But he is fat, no doubt about it.

    And "giving Labour the kicking of its life" is not an argument in favour of "independence", is it?

    Is it?

    Interesting that you brought up the "cringe", as nats always do.. and nobody elseever does.

    ... have you seen this?

    I have no cringe. You have. Don't blame me.

    Do you have an argument, are there any arguments, in favour of "independence"?

    If so, why don't you post them?

  10. wobble, wobble, someone is getting irritable.

    keep it up son, there's no way back for the union.

    oh happy days......

  11. Lets start with controlling your own money just like any normal country.

    Getting the government Scots actually vote for.

    No more Trident.

    No illegal wars.

    No privatisation of the NHS (Labour/tory policy)

    No student fees. (Labour/tory policy)

    Control of all Scottish assets.

    Set tax rates to suit Scotland not London.

    Ok over to you positive reasons for Scotland staying on its knees.

  12. "Lets start with controlling your own money just like any normal country"

    We already do. I believe that the current SNP polici is that, if we were "independent", the BoE would, or the ECB.

    "Getting the government Scots actually vote for"

    This amounts to "we need to be independent so we can be independent". Anyway, you're right in a way. If we were ever to be "independent", the franchise would be limited to people resident in Scotland. There's no evidence that it would lead to better governance.

    "No more Trident"

    Maybes aye, maybes naw. Who can tell? The UK Government would be desperate to keep it, and there's nowhere else quite as suitable for it in the UK, so they could easily negotiate a deal, generous rent, concession, whatever, to keep it on the Clyde. A Scottish Government might agree: who knows?

    ....And what if it does move to (say) Barrow in Furness? It would still be a prime target and danger to the Scottish people if attacked.

    Where's the gain? Is it not better to stay within the UK and try to ersuade the UK government negotiate it away?

    "No illegal wars"

    Wouldn't an "independent" Scotland have alliances? NATO, the EU, USA? Iceland? Irelad? Norway? The Arc of Pomposity? And would not these alliances mean commitments? Or are you saying an "independent" Scotland would be an unreliable ally?

    No privatisation of the NHS (Labour/tory policy)

    The Scottish NHS is already protected by Devolution.

    No student fees. (Labour/tory policy)

    Student fees are already a Devolved matter. Protected.

    "Control of all Scottish assets"

    Not sure what this means. Are you suggesting nationalising everything?

    "Set tax rates to suit Scotland not London"

    Difficult to set tax rates when the currency is being dictate by London (£) or Brussels (Euro). And if it's Brussels.... isn't the EU harmonising taxes specifically to outlaw the Irish/SNP anti-neighbourly ruse of competitive Busines tax rates?

    In fact isn't greater tax harmony the EU strategy? Where's the "independence" in that?

    Not v convincing I'm afraid. If it was an exam you would get 1 out of 10 for trying.

    BTW, I noticed you haven't even mentioned any benefits for the Scottish people. Don't they matter.

  13. "Set tax rates to suit Scotland not London"

    What about interest rates?

    Don't they matter?

  14. "Set tax rates to suit Scotland not London"

    What about interest rates?

    Don't they matter?

    I wonder how the USA and Canada copes since the states/provinces set their own income/corporation/sales taxes agin the federal ones (ok the USA does not have a federal sales tax but Canada certainly does). These countries economies must be jokes I presume in your eyes-------

    Closer to home, what about Denmark (still with its own currency may I add) where the bulk of income tax is levied by municipal councils and varies from 23% in some places to 28% in others.

    London knows best. London knows best. London knows best (chant hypnotically).

    Of course in German there is a unified corporation/income/sales tax rate. Of course the funds from these are shared between the state and federal governments. And of course the state governments sitting collectively as the upper house has a veto over any changes in those taxes whether rates, allowances etc.

    Does Braveheart want the administations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to have a veto over UK tax policy. Yeah right-------

    The Aberdonian

  15. Anon

    I'm sure there are many interesting ways to raise taxes, and there are lots of things that could be done.

    The question is: why would it be better for us?


    "what about interest rates?".....

    ... after all, that was the question....

    it seems perverse to screech on about tax setting powers* while kindly donating control of your currency, exchange rates and interest rates to London or Brussels.

    *Which Holyrood HAD of course, 'til John Swinney deliberately let the powers lapse!!!!!!