Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some Random Referendum Points

- A work colleague today observed of David Cameron and Ed Miliband that what the UK needs is more of the strong, conviction politicians of yesteryear - men (and presumably women) with the vision, principles and willpower to get shit done without a lot of spineless waffle and faffing about.

And this is fine, as far as it goes.   We could respond with a few acid remarks about other nations' "strong politicians", but I can think of a few examples from these very shores.  Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair spring to mind, and I think it'd be reasonable to say that their take-no-prisoners, my-way-or-no-way attitudes have, in their own fashion, led inevitably to the insane position in which we all now find ourselves. 

A more relevant example though is Alex Salmond himself.  Nobody could deny that the First Minister has a vision, doubt his principles or question his willpower.

It's unfortunate for everyone however that he envisions a nation that can do fuck-all whatever it likes and ride out the consequences without significant cost; that his principles encompass blithely dicking off vital economic and financial problems as irrelevancies that will quickly rectify themselves, and that he apparently possesses the strength, willpower and commitment to convince at least half of his countrymen that e.g. only whiny twats would ask difficult questions and actually expect answers.

Now, who knows?  Perhaps the FM is correct and we can indeed bring a viable nation into being through the force of our sheer determination to forge a more just and prosperous country.

I'm just saying that, you know, him believing it, doesn't make it so.

While it's possible that a few more bulldozer, I'm-right-you're-totally-wrong politicians in London might have curtailed the worst of the unionists' endless, hilarious slapstickery, I've always kind of preferred those MPs who spent less time grandstanding about, oh, showing Vladimir Putin that we won't tolerate his nonsense, and considerably more time worrying about how he or she intends to get the damn bins emptied.

And that's boring, yes.  But then, boring, bin-emptying politicians are a lot less likely to explode the nation in a fireball of war, economic meltdown and bad debt.

- Speaking of which, I see John Major's been telling everyone who will listen today that if Britain is about to turn up its toes, then it's definitely Labour's fault.

This is fun, not least because Major was part of the government that looms largest in the grotesque bestiary lurking at the back of the Scottish psyche.  It's also hilarious because it's actually true that Labour bears plenty of blame, and yet Major diagnoses precisely none of the reasons for why that is. 

Nonetheless, Major's intervention represents the Tories getting their ducks in a row for the inevitable post-referendum pissfight, and it isn't going to be pretty.  Yes or no, expect omni-directional, bullshit-boiling seethe from absolutely everyone.

- Meanwhile, it's been great fun watching the possibly imminent destruction of Britain dawning on the print press.  My favourite part was the headlines earlier this week, along the lines of - An independent Scotland would make the Queen sad.  Look at her sad, sad face. 

Quite who this is aimed at is beyond me - the only people in Scotland who give even the vaguest of fucks what the Queen thinks about anything are the elderly, a few Red-handed Rangers fans and a smattering of raging poshoes, and the lot of them are either solidly in the no camp or actively handing out fliers for Better Together.

It speaks volumes about the sheer detachment of the national press from events north of Carlisle that, at the first hint of a threat to the established order, they immediately wheel out our mouldering monarchy to troll the Scottish populace.

Without exaggeration, I'm confident that e.g. the weepy-Queen-pimping press would've got better results if they'd told us that a no vote would make Ian Beale cry, prompt Rolf Harris to self-harming and goad Boris Johnson to suicide.

- And I think everyone's probably spotted the stark tonal shift in popular depictions of Great Britain this week. To the casual reader of the right-wing press, the UK is usually depicted as somewhere between a stabby, strumpet-infested nuclear wasteland of feral scum, sofa-riding moochers and scimitar-waving Islamist lunatics, and a particularly arsey EDL rally.

Suddenly however, Britain is now the world's most successful political union - a wonderful, bounteous Eden of amity and plenty with a glorious record of harmonious tranquility.

The casual reader must stop to wonder what happened.  Certainly, when I read those Mail editorials in the context of the paper's broader themes, the message I take from it is - Scotland: Please don't abandon this pestilent, Gestapo shitehouse.  

And if it looks like that to me, as a reliably consistent plaguer upon all houses, you can imagine exactly how it looks to your average wavering yes-voter.


Matty said...

"Suddenly however, Britain is now the world's most successful political union "

I think that must be the most astonishing myth currently being peddled by supposedly intelligent people. If it's so "successful" why isn't support for independence at about 10%? Why are we even having this vote?

Don said...

Sanest comments I've read on the referendum. What f*cking choice - the gestapo sh*thouse or believing that b*llshitter Salmond that we can have everything we want in tartan utopia.

Can they both lose?

KBPlauer said...

Very funny. Salmond's confidence (as in "confidence trickster") infects his supporters, who wave aside questions of an economic or practical nature as so much irrelevant dogs barking while the caravan moves on.

A week to go, and then back to a semblance of sanity.

Phil Beesley said...

You folks north of a random border should remember that other citizens of the union are unhappy about how power is centralised. For the next week, the eyes are on Scots, and get on with whatever you wish to do.

Irrespective of your response, Independence or Devo Max, English politicians will be asked to address English regionalism or federalism. The questions and solutions will be more substantial than the cobblers New Labour presented at referendum to citizens in the north east of England a few years ago.

Our neighbours in Wales and Northern Ireland will no doubt chip in some ideas.

flyingrodent said...

Phil is largely correct, and one of the worst things about the Indyref is that, not only is it stultifyingly dull and a vast inspiration for liars and bullshitters, but it's also virulently contagious.

Phil Beesley said...

As a Lancastrian, I can joke about England being better off if Yorkshire separated as a region. As a neighbour, I would wanna be with Independent Yorkshire if there was not an Independent Lancashire.

Within these islands, the only folks who want to be run by London, are folks who live in London. I argue for regional politics; the boundaries of regions should be established by debate.

Are Shetland Islanders in favour of Scottish independence? We'll allegedly know in a week. Nobody asked them about their identity question.

Organic cheeseboard said...

Again off topic but I was impressed to see Nick Cohen claiming today that Martin Bright gave up journalism to found The Creative Society. Funny that, because The Creative society has been running since 2009 when it was "new deal of the mind". At that time Bright was political editor of the Jewish Chronicle and remained there til 2013 when he left to join Tony Blair's charity, which employed unpaid interns -something Brighty's charity was meant to be dead against. And Bright still seems to be writing journalism anyway, including that hilarious expose of his own stupidity at not understanding that the Tony Blair Faith Foundation might have something to do with the reputation of, er, Tony Blair.

Am guessing Nick was trying to help out his old (personal) friend whose charity just relaunched. But it's a bit rich to do that (via outright lies) in a piece which is meant to be an attack on the old boys' network...