By Paul T Kavanagh
Recently the Honourable Member of the House of the Undead, Zombie George Robertson of Killing Nationalism Stone Dead, complained bitterly that punters call him nasty names. And this is true, there are plenty Scottish punters who call George Robertson nasty names, I can think of a few myself. But Scottish punters are not a political party or elected public officials. Those of us who belong to the great unwashed can say what we like. It’s called democracy and freedom of speech and opinion.
Last weekend, the Guardian’s pet Unionist columnist Ian Jack published an extraordinary exercise in passive aggression in which he uncritically accepted George Robertson’s cybernat slurs, and used them to launch himself off into a strange twilight world of 1950s nostalgia when the received wisdom was that Scottish nationalists were swivel eyed extremists who hated the English. Apparently if you want Scottish independence you need to hate everything England’s ever produced. That’s the Scottish nationalist Dr Who fan club buggered then. No more cybermen for cybernats.
Labour is losing the online campaign for independence quite spectacularly badly. Aided and abetted by media commentators whose critical faculties melt down like a Japanese nuclear reactor when faced by the prospect of Scottish independence, Labour wants us to believe that online campaigners for Scottish independence are orchestrated and organised by the SNP. We’re not just opinionated punters, we’re special, we’re cybernats.
As a cybernat I think I’d know if I was acting on instructions from Alex Salmond’s secret underground lair. The fillings in my teeth resolutely refuse to receive any messages. They can’t pick up Radio Clyde even if I stick my tongue in my molar and turn it up to 11. I did once think they’d tuned into something, but it turned out to be tinnitus. I’d been listening to Johann Lamont at Furst Meinister’s Questions, so it was an easy mistake to make.
But we don’t pick up instructions on our molars. We’re adults and have wisdom teeth. Labour doesn’t even have that amount of wisdom. The toothless wonders of the Labour party lost their socialist bite many years ago, all the better to sook up to the big bad wolves in the City.
What George Robertson and his Labour pals are really upset about is the death of that 1950s Scottish deference that is Ian Jackson’s stock in trade. They desperately want a return to the red white and blue tinged misty eyed nostalgia. Not so long ago being a Labour politician was a passport to the status of a Monseignor in a Catholic village in 19th century Ireland. We should be lighting a candle at the shrine of St Jim Murphy the Invisible, patron saint of responsibility dodging and credit claiming. Instead we’re standing up and saying that the priests of Labour have shafted us.
It’s not supposed to be like this. We’re supposed to sit on Father Ed Miliband’s knee like good little girls and boys, and if we complain we’re getting felt up it can only be because we’ve been listening to Tories. In fact we must actually be Tories, because Labour is infallible and is the One True Church. When we get felt up by Labour it’s a Union benefit and we’re meant to be grateful. We’ll get our reward in the great jam factory in the sky.
So do we actually have anything to feel upset about? Are we wrong in our belief that Labour has abused and molested the people of Scotland? Let’s restrict ourselves to Labour’s Scottish pratfalls and episodes of self-harm, and draw a discreet veil over incidents like Phil Woolas, formerly a minister in Gordon Brown’s government, who was found guilty of electoral fraud and barred from standing for public office for three years, as well as that entire Iraq war episode and everything Tony Blair and Gordon Brown said and did over 13 years.
First out the SLAB gaffe gate is the House of the Undead’s very own Zombie George Foulkes of Zebedee on Acid. Foulkes’s idiocies are legion, in any compendium of Stupid Things Labour Politicians Say, he’d merit a Harry Hill special all to himself. A helium filled balloon has greater weight and substance than George. He’s had his foot in his mouth so often that Heston Blumenthal is including it on the menu of his new restaurant. George’s gems are too numerous to detail, but amongst other things he’s referred to Alex Salmond as Mussolini, and once claimed that the only reason the SNP government was being responsible in office was to lull people into voting for independence, and added that they were doing it deliberately.
His latest foulkes-pas was that “cybernats” were the same as Holocaust deniers. He was referring to supporters of the small minority SDA party, which claims that Labour only delivered the Holyrood Parliament because some Nats lodged some papers with the Council of Europe. Denying Labour’s role in devolution is like denying the Holocaust, according to George. That’s a flattering comparison which his Labour colleagues are bound to thank him for.
This remark was made on Holocaust Remembrance Day. You’ve gotta hand it to George for tact and sensitivity.
Poor George, he can’t even insult people properly, and his name has given rise to a new verb. To foulke: to prove the opposite of what you intend by making a misfired insult. As in “George foulkes the argument for independence.” He’s a bit of a foulkewit really.
This Foulkewit was once MP for Cumnock, along with the rest of his party he likes to think he’s the heir to Keir Hardie, founder of the Labour party and also once a resident of the town. Keir Hardie’s first manifesto included a commitment to abolish the House of the Undead. If a generator could be hooked up to Hardie’s spinning corpse in the Glaisnock Street cemetery in Cumnock, Scotland could meet its renewable energy targets immediately. Perhaps that’s Johann Lamont’s energy policy, but we’ll never know, because Johann doesn’t believe in clarifying any Labour policies except the one that says if the SNP support something then she must be opposed.
Foulkes has called Alex Salmond Mussolini, but Alex Salmond as [insert dictator of choice here] is Labour’s favourite round of Blankety-Blank, they’re only missing Lily Savage and the silver chequebook and pen. Ann Moffat MP likened Alex Salmond to Hitler, as did Uncle Tom Harris MP with a tired retread of the Hitler’s Downfall video. Denis McShane likened Alex Salmond to Slobodan Milosevic, and claimed it was ‘funny’. Denis is a gas at parties. That would be sleeping gas. We’ve also had references to the Kim clan – Il Sung, Jong Il and Baby Kim. We’ve had all the Kims except Kim Kardashian, and that’s just a matter of time. His Eckness has also been compared to Mugabe, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and enough Roman Emperors to fill three episodes of I Clavdivs and an orgy.
At the low rent end of Labour politics, though it’s difficult to tell the difference, South Lanarkshire councillor James Docherty said SNP supporters were traitors and called an SNP MSP a “monkey spare p****”. Labour issued a statement saying he’d been asked to express himself more “eloquently” in future, by which they meant he was to use insults that made grammatical sense.
Allegations that the SNP and supporters of independence in general are “anti-English” are too numerous to mention. It’s a regular fixture in the language of Labour politicians. Yet when Joan McAlpine said that their behaviour in trying to take control of the Scottish referendum away from the Scottish people was anti-Scottish, they reacted like elderly virgin aunties who’d just heard the f-word for the first time. The sound of pursed lips smacking and handbags being clutched was audible throughout the nation.
Then there was the move along now there’s nothing to see here expenses scandal. To err is human, to make up invoices for electricians is Devine. There was David Marshall who resigned as MP for Shettleston because of his nerves. He was nervous his expenses claims were going to be investigated. We had Alistair Darling’s serial house flipping. Alistair was an ideal choice for Labour chancellor because he knows how to extract the maximum personal benefit out of any loophole in a rule. Scottish Labour MPs loomed large in the list of “oops I accidentally overclaimed”.
Eric Joyce claimed over a million quid in expenses before his alleged emotional mishap with a Tory MP’s nose and a Labour whip’s face. Ian Davidson MP threatened a female SNP MP with a doing after he’d referred to the SNP as neo-fascists.
Gilbert Davidson allegedly intimidated a female colleague – not the first time the Glasgow councillor’s dealings with female colleagues have been called into question. Labour’s been strangely silent about their promised investigation into the event, and Gilbert survived the party’s reselection process which was supposed to weed out the “deadwood” and those who bring the party into disrepute. But let’s be honest here, if Labour weeded out all the deadwood in their forest there wouldn’t be enough wood left to make a box of matches.
Glasgow Labour is a record breaker. It holds the record for the largest number of councillors resigning from any party within a two week period. The weeding exercise turned into a guerrilla war as the weeds fought back from behind red-faced roses like Gordon Matheson and six marched off to found a new party of their own.
Frank McAveety, who was booted out from his safe seat in Shettleston, now wants to come back as a local cooncillor. Frank was forced to apologise for telling porkie pies to Parliament when he’d arrived late. He said he’d been delayed at some important meeting, but he’d really been scoffing pie and beans in the cafeteria. Then there was his battlebus claimed on expenses, which was seen less frequently in the Shettleston Road than an Embra tram. Glesca voters finally had enough of him in the May elections for Holyrood and weeded him out with a 12.6% swing to the SNP. But electoral paraquat doesn’t work on Labour weeds. Frank’s popped up again as part of Matheson’s gardening scheme for Glesca cooncil.
It’s a long and inglorious list. And just like the BBC and the tame Unionist media, I’ve not mentioned Stephen Purcell. Labour campaigns for tougher sentences for punters who indulge in drink and drug fuelled antisocial behaviour, yet when one of their own does it we’re supposed to sympathise with the poor dear’s mental health issues. We’re seeing the same schtick now with Eric Joyce and his struggles to cope with marital breakdown. Cable TV channels are already negotiating for the rights to make a mini series about it for afternoon television.
All these individuals are Labour politicians, elected or unelected. All supposedly represent the people’s party. These are not isolated incidents, this is a persistent and repeating pattern of behaviour. If the most right-on and politically correct social worker in the world was presented with this dossier, they’d diagnose a severe case of ASBO and recommend giving the ignorant little bugger a good slapping and taking his X-Box and toys off him for good.
Yet when the people who are underneath this sewage outfall of bad behaviour, name-calling, and sheer idiocy complain about it, the sewage pipe decries it as an orchestrated campaign of evil cybernattery. The sewage pipe doesn’t need to stop pumping sewage, it’s what a sewage pipe is for. It’s the punters who’re being unreasonable for objecting to being covered in foul-smelling dreck. Labour wants us to smell the roses, but we’re overpowered by the putrid stench of a political corpse.
With Labour it’s like sending a wean to the naughty step for scoffing all the pies and beans only for them to come back 5 minutes later saying “But can I still have a chocolate digestive?”
Labour isn’t a political party, it’s a delivery system for McAveety’s digestive biscuits. The only political certainty we can invest in the Labour party is the certainty that they’ve not listened to a bleedin word the voters have told them. Magrit Curran said, just a few short months after Labour’s electoral humiliation in May last year, “The time for reflection is over.” Over? Yese never even started. We’ll tell youse when it’s over.
In May’s local elections we can tell them they can’t get a biscuit, and send them back to the naughty step with a flea in their ear, to reflect on the notion that a period of reflection doesn’t mean admiring yourself in the mirror.