Saturday 30 June 2012

A storm in a canteen tea-cup

I was in the audience at a BBC radio question time show last year. The usual ritual of political back and forth ensued, but one member of the audience, a member of the Pensioners Party, made what I thought was an acute observation. He accused the Nationalists of "stealing our flag".

It made me think. Particularly since 1997, the Nats have tried to establish an equivalence between and among the Scottish Government, the Scottish Nationalist Party and the flag of St Andrew, or Saltire as it is sometimes called.

On coming to power they bought, with our tax money, hundreds of thousands of small saltires to hand out at events. They had the saltire put on all official papers and websites etc. at enormous cost (not to themselves). SNP leaflets are covered in the Scottish flag.You can't see a Nationalist minister anywhere near a camera without a Scottish flag somewhere in the background.

So the pensioner was right: the Nationalists have stolen, or at least are attempting to steal, "our flag". It's all part of the not-so-subliminal message: if you're not a Nat you're not Scottish. Wave the flag or be left out, but if you do wave the flag, then you are "one of us".

But is it important?

I have no time for flag waving. It's a substitute for thought, IMO: this is who we are and if you don't join in you're an outcast, a traitor or Quisling.

Football teams do it, and other associations and sodalities. In some ways it's attractive. It shows solidarity and support for common aims, as when countries compete at sports or in Trades Union banners.. we're all in this together. But it is also used to exclude: think of the English Defence League and it's anti-immigrant anti-coloured message wrapped in the flag of England or, in earlier times, the National Front and its appropriation of the Union Flag.

Which leads to this little spat and its significance.

The Holyrood canteen had an Olympic themed lunch, and the staff decorated the tables  with red, white and blue balloons and union flags because, presumably, Britain is holding the Olympics this time and the Great Britain team is competing for us all.

But the appearance of a non-saltire on a canteen table was seen as an afront by some Nationalist MSPs. The Evening News and the Sun report on the, one can only say, childish behaviour of these people, named in the Sun as George Adam and Linda Fabiani. The union flags were taken away from the tables and the r balloon display was made multi-coloured. 

So how significant? On the one hand it's, almost literally, a storm in a canteen teacup. Some silly people took umbrage at a few rags of decoration and harrumphed the staff into changing it to suit their tastes.

But while it's not as significant as, say, the banking crisis or the economic recession, it is a signifier, and what it signifies the strange mentality of even senior Nationalists that they can be upset so easily and take offence at nothing. It also says that they think the Holyrood Parliament is theirs, not ours, and it shows their arrogant side, bullying the poor canteen staff over such a trifle.

It shows their besetting pettyness. They can steal our flag with impunity, put out leaflets calling themselves "Scotland's Party" (as if all the other parties were not) and call people who don't support them "anti-Scottish", but they can't take the reality that Scotland is part of the UK, most Scots support and agree wth that union and the flag of the union is the symbol of the British Olympic team - a team which includes many proud Scots.

In recent years the anti-English rhetoric of senior Nats has gone underground. The SNP presents itself as relaxed and tolerant about our English neighbours. But this little vignette in the catering department of Holyrod gives the lie to that image.

If senior Nationalists are so alergic to union flags that they get sick just looking at them, what price their "tolerance" and  their "Ah luv the English me" just-for-the-media act?

And what size of brain do you need to kick up a stink about your own flag celebrating your own Olympic team in the year the Olympics are hosted in your own country?

Tolerance, my bahookie. 

Thursday 28 June 2012

SNP Council rejects help for low paid workers

North Ayrshire Council is led by a minority SNP Group with backing from a single Tory and some independents.

At yesterday's Council Meeting, Labour Councillor Joe Cullinane proposed a motion on a measure of relief for low-paid council workers.

This measure, to give workers on less than £21,000 a £250 payment, has already been enacted at Holyrood by the SNP Government, at Westminster and by at least one Scottish local authority.

The SNP opposed it citing various spurious reasons.

Funny how the Nats are always a left wing party until the get some power, then they turn Tory.

Tartan, even.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

The Brave George Osborne Sacrifices Chloe Smith

Chloe Smith, a Treasury Minister sent out to cover for George Osborne's U-turn on Fuel Duty, gets fillited, twice!

First on Channel 4 News, where she appears to be the least well-briefed UK Government Minister in history and stumbles through the interview like a lame show-jumper, blundering into every jump and clearing no obstacles on her way to a far-from-clear round.

Three hours later, on Newsnight, Paxo's contempt is palpable. Chloe, despite the earlier roasting, has no more answers and is even more embarrassingly inept. 

Is it Chloe's fault? I would guess not: she seems a moderately intelligent you woman but she had no defence, no ammunition and no coherent argument to deploy. The fault here is all the Chancellor's, as he twists and turns and shreds his budget commitments one by one, leaving only the tax cuts for the rich.

In all justice and honesty, George Osborne should have been on Channel 4 and Newsnight last night. It's his budget and his long series of flip-flops. But he lacks the backbone to take the flak for his own decisions, so he sends an innocent, unprepared and under briefed young woman to face the music.

Incompetence is one thing in a politician, and who can get everything right after all? But cowardice is another thing altogether, and George Osborne, in sending his underlings to greet the firing squad, has shown his weakness - political, economic and personal, the greatest of which is personal.

Friday 22 June 2012

Boris's Copper

The Tories are the party of lor'norder.... or so they claim.

Boris Johnson has ideas on policing. He elbowed out the previous head of the Met, got his own man in and and appointed one Stephen Greenhalgh to "oversee" the operation of the Metropilitan Force.

This painful video reveals the skills of Boris's choice....oh dear....

If you have seen a more incompetent display from any employee of any organisation at any level you must be very unlucky. The man is astonishingly inept.

Think the worst ever contestant on The Apprentice and square it....

All that's missing is Surallan jumping up and proclaiming "You're fired!".

On the other hand, Mr Greenhalgh is a Tory Councillor and placeman, so sympathy rationed.....

Sunday 17 June 2012

Don't mention the independence....

A hilarious episode of Fawlty Towers had John Cleese as Basil Fawlty, owner of the worst hotel in the world, anxious not to insult some German guests by "not mentioning the war". Of course this leads to the blurting out of dozens of war-fixated insults by the bold  Basil.

Today it has been revealed that our Nationalist brethren have been advised: "don't mention independence".

The Nats have endorsed and abandoned the Euro, then the Pound, they have been Republican and then Monarchists, anti-Trident but pro-Nato, proudly Scottish and then whynotBritish?... but .... how the hell can the Nationalist Party, the party which has lived for eighty years on the claim for "independence", not mention "independence"?

If the Scottish Nationalist Party is too timid to argue for "independence", what is the justification for their existence? What do the stand for? What are they working towards? Why do they bother? And why, if they have abandoned the very reason for their existence, should anyone vote for them or their referendum?

The campaign for a vote for "independence" has got off to a rotten start, and it has just got a lot worse....

Monday 4 June 2012

1001 reasons to support independence...

Number 336...

They don't understand us, dae they?

Ah mean the English. Really, they don't understand us Scots. 

"This man walks intae a cake shop and points to one o' the items on display.

'Is that a doughnut or a meringue?' he asks?

'Naw ye're right, it's a doughnut' says the woman behind the counter."

Ah mean. Is that funny or no'?

Well, ah telt it tae mah mate fae Liverpool. He didnae get it!!!

They jist don't understand us......
It's nae wunder we want to destroy the UK, is it?

As for that Geordie accent... don't get me startit man!!!

a doughnut

a meringue

........or am I wrong?