by Paul Kavanagh
The great Unionist fightback has begun, although you’d be hard pressed to notice. So far it consists of a brightly coloured website set up by a Tory councillor which contains some highly dodgy history and risible claims that the Union is responsible for all that’s good and true.
Most visitors to the site have been supporters of independence who want to point fingers and laugh, as evidenced by the fact that the site’s online poll to show support of the Union was registering 96% in favour of independence before it was pulled as gracefully as a drunken shag at the back of the Barras.
The site was set up in order to give a voice to ‘grassroots Unionism’. It must exist surely, after all they keep telling us that most Scots support the Union. In the imaginations of Tory and Labour activists the streets and pubs of our country are full of passionate Unionists articulately giving voice to the myriad and multifold reasons why Scotland is a better place because of the Union. And some of them don’t even go on Orange walks. But at the time of writing, there are still no comments to any articles on the site. Grassroots Unionists don’t exist in the real world, and now we know they don’t exist in the cyber-world either, only a handful of party hacks with a vested interest.
One Dynamic Nation can’t even find any comments that agree with them. All they’ve proven so far is that modern Scottish Unionism is as dynamic as a diazepam overdose and a whole lot less fun.
The problem for ‘grassroots Unionism’ is simple. Unionism is like belief in a flat Earth. When mediaeval people believed that the Earth was flat, it wasn’t because they had a carefully constructed logical argument. It was just ‘common sense’, still a favourite buzzword of the mediaeval obscurantists in the Tory party. They’d never had any reason to think about the argument for a flat Earth before. Then along came some mediaeval smarty-codpiece who said the Earth was round and pointed out to sea saying, “There’s a ship going below the horizon. See, I telt yese.” And the Mediaeval Common Sense Party burned him at the stake for his pains.
It was only when people started to think about it that they realised believing in a Flat Earth was in fact spectacularly dumb and they stopped voting Tory. Scotland now has a reason to think about the Union, the horizon of independence is clearly in view. The arguments in favour of the Union are as flat as an bottle of scoosh that’s been left open since a week last Wednesday. Unionist common sense insists it’s still a fizzy drink.
We’re going to see a lot more flat scoosh months ahead. It was displayed in abundance in the Unionists parties’ latest combined line of attack.
Unionist politicians united in accusing Scotland’s chief civil servant of ‘going native’. Sir Peter Housdon, who hails originally from Englandshire, now sports Hibs tattoos and goes to work carrying a lunch box containing a jeely piece, a mince pie and a can of Irn Bru that’s still scooshy. Rumour has it that Pete has been taking elocution lessons so he can say “jist gaunnie shut it ya numptie” to Unionist politicians. He dared to write on his own blog that he thought a play performed by the National Theatre of Scotland was worth going to see, provoking howls of outrage amongst Unionist politicians that he wasn’t bumming up the London Olympics and discussing Strictly Come Dancing. Unionist politicians aren’t knee-jerk anti-Scottish you know, they’d still have been quite happy even if he’d said he was voting for Lulu. But worst of all, Pete McHousdon was seen coming out of a meeting with Alex Salmond without looking like Johann Lamont after a lemon and vinegar mouthwash.
Unionists believe this to be unfair, as the proper job of Scotland’s chief civil servant is to make sure the nat-ives don’t try to sacrifice Unionist missionaries by throwing them into the nearest volcano or baking them in bridies. Chief civil servants sent up from Englandshire should be demonstrating how to starch your upper lip properly and keeping the nat-ives on a very short leash. Unionist politicians made similar complaints about the last chief civil servant, Sir John Elvidge, who also failed to treat the Scottish government and the Scottish electorate with the same contempt expressed by that model of impartiality John McTernan.
As an aside we must note that tragically the delightful John has decided to abandon the UK that he loves so much for the more accepting climes of Australia. Australia is home to the world’s most venomous snakes and spiders, so John’s bound to feel right at home. He will take with him the wealth of political experience and insight that he gained as Tony Blair’s tabloid attack dog. It is a dreadful loss to the nation, but Australia will probably get over it.
With even John Mc Ternan running away, it’s now clear that the Unionist fightback is being masterminded by Jim Murphy because it’s pretty much invisible. Jim has been paying close attention to the UK’s national broadcaster and has adopted BBC 6 o’ Clock News coverage as the model on which to base both his political career and his Union rescue attempt. The cunning plan consists of ignoring all things Scottish except for the occasional story about cute red squirrels. Scotland looks really wee on the weather map anyway, not much bigger than Hampshire and certainly far less important.
But Jim’s been busy with things far more important than the future of a distant speck on the BBC weather map. It was Labour conference week and he was needed to hang around suspiciously being an unsubtle Gollum to wee Dougie’s Hobbit, both of them determined to get their paws on Ed Miliband’s ring.
Labour needs a high profile and charismatic Scottish leader after the wake up call the party received in May’s election when Alex Salmond gubbed Wossiname. Now Labour will devolve to Scottish Labour all the things that are devolved to Holyrood except the stuff that Ed can’t remember, like the NHS which Ed seems to believe is a UK institution that he’ll get to be in charge of.
Ed keeps himself fully abreast of the details of SLAB’s leadership travails because Scotland is vital to his rapidly receding chances of getting the keys to Number 10 and Jim and Dougie would knife him in the back in much the same way that he knifed his own brother. Ed wants one of them to throw their hobbit hat into the ring so that he’s got one less challenger for his own leadership to worry about. But Jim and Dougie reacted to proposals that they stand for the Scottish leadership with all the enthusiasm of Gollum and Frodo being presented with a ring from a Christmas cracker.
Trying to put a brave face on the also rans, Ed told a BBC interview that there were three great candidates, all of them have first rate qualities and two of them had names that Ed could sort of remember and sort of pronounce. There’s Tim Horrace the MP blogger who doesn’t allow comments he doesn’t like, Wossisname’s deputy Joie Anné La Monte, and the Other Guy.
Tim Horrace thinks of himself as a moderniser, which is Labour party code for “well what was wrong with Tony Blair anyway?” Tim wants to modernise SLAB like Tone modernised the UK party because that worked out so well for everyone the last time. He’s fully open to dialogue as long as you agree with him.
Joie Anné La Monte has now given up her career as a circus entertainer, where she shot daggers at party colleagues while blindfolded. Given Labour’s propensity for spinning, this took some skill. Ms La Monte can even give a dirty look through the Hazmat suit that is necessary attire for surviving the toxic atmosphere of SLAB meetings.
The Other Guy is the front runner for the leadership. He stands for eh, and possibly some um as well. He always wanted to be a somebody, but should have been more specific.
The flaw in the Unionists’ cunning plan to stop Scottish self-determination in its tracks is that they think it doesn’t matter if the Scottish parties are led by non-entities. Deep down Jim Murphy believes he’s James Bond, and Alexei Salmondski and the Scottish Nationalist Plotters are hiding out in a secret bunker somewhere beneath Ailsa Craig from where they beam mind control waves to the unsuspecting public.
It is just common sense that secret underground lairs self-destruct after James Bond turns the knob on the washing machine the wrong way, because evil supervillians always employ Jim Devine’s electrician.
Newsnet Scotland can now exclusively reveal the Unionists’ fightback strategy. Once Double Oh Murphy has gained access to the secret underground lair and smashed Alex Salmond’s central heating system with a rolled up copy of the Scotland Bill, the entire Scottish nationalist project will explode in a shower of tartan. Happy North British people will dance and rejoice in the streets amidst red white and blue bunting, and it’s not even July in Larkhall.
Then Murph can make off with Ann McKechin in a dinghy and wait to be rescued by a group of non-sectarian Unionists taking the Stranraer ferry to Belfast to celebrate Britishness by having a wee walk about.
And they all lived happily ever after, except Ed Miliband because Jim’s still got his eye on Ed’s job.