A cautionary tale related by our very own Citizen Cuddis about Newsnet’s favourite MSP Kez and her exciting new adventures in charge of Scottish Labour*
An automated voice assures Kezia that her call is important. Less important than putting a man on Mars, maybe. Though more important than getting your nails did.
The voice goes on to explain in an autobot accent that the company’s service consultant—Gus—is experiencing hyper-normal call volumes. And that this is causing Gus’s stress levels to soar. He is on the verge of ripping off his headset, then his clothes, as a prelude to throwing himself off the pier head at Oban with a small fire safe tucked down the back of his M&S trousers.
Kezia reckons that this spike in demand for customer service explains why she is 168th in the queue and has been hanging on the line since the milkman delivered the semi-skimmed that morning.
Suddenly, a connection. A new—but still not human—voice.
“You are through to the Nat-Basher’s Misinformation Hotline, sponsored by snpbad.com. To leave a bitchy comment about Nicla’s shoes, hairdo or handbag, press one. To pass on a half-truth, bent further out of shape than one of Uri Geller’s soup spoons, press two. To feed a Unionist press officer with a five star howler spun more rapidly than a fairground candy-floss, press three. For all other miscellaneous items of gratuitous malice, press four.”
Kezia chooses option four, and connects at last to a fellow human. The fellow human delivers his introductory spiel.
“Good morning, caller. You’re through to Gus. I joined the Labour Party back in the days when Neil Kinnock had hair. I am a ranting, raving, howl-at-the-moon Unionist and ‘No’ supporter and proud of it. How may I help you rubbish the SNP today?”
“Hi Gus,” Kez says. “Did you know that Alecsammin used to cheat at Monopoly? He hid Monopoly money in the elasticated tops of his school socks and used it to buy hotels to which he was not entitled. He was the scourge of Primary five, ye ken.
“Gus, you have no idea how shocked I was when I made this up. If Alecsammin can perpetrate a fraud in a board game, how can we trust him to run the Scottish economy?”
“Do you have any evidence for this … Monopoly fraud?” Gus asks.
“Evidence? I’ve never been asked for evidence before,” Kez says, suspicion haunting her tone now. She recalls how, only the night before, she had taken a cold call from someone talking in a European accent she could not quite place.
The caller asked for the square root of her social security number—a diversionary tactic she suspected—a random selection of her favourite passwords, a comprehensive list of sort and account codes and her grandmother’s Co-op divvy number. She has been edgy ever since.
“I understand, and I know you’re our best customer and all that, but we need evidence,” Gus repeats.
“Since Carmichael got caught with his French knickers round his ankles.”
“If I had any evidence,’ Kez splutters, I wouldn’t be talking to you. Evidence? Whatever happened to trust, Gus.” She hangs up.
It has not been a good day for Kezia. And it’s about to get a good deal worse. While she waited to connect to the Nat-Basher’s Misinformation Hotline, some Albanian cyber-twister raided her bank accounts, using some old lady’s Co-op Divvy number to break through the firewall.
As a result, Kez’s purse is now emptier than Ma Hubbard’s dog.
* Yes, yes, we know – there’s “no such thing as Scottish Labour”…