Monday, July 27, 2015

Good Morning The People Of Scotland

Presenter:  ...Derek McSmug is the SNP spokesperson for Really Complaining About Things.  Derek, thanks for joining us on the show.

Derek McSmug:  Thank you, Gary.

Presenter:  Derek, you said yesterday that a second Scottish independence referendum is "terrifyingly inevitable".  Does your party intend to bring forward plans for another referendum in the near future?

Derek McSmug:  Well Gary, I think it's no secret that we're in favour of Scottish independence!  (Laughs)  But no, we have no plans to hold a second referendum in the foreseeable future.  We're focusing on standing up for the people of Scotland against the Tories' swingeing cuts to public services, which the Labour Party is fully -

Presenter:  Well, if you're focusing on standing up to the Tories, why do you keep talking about a second referendum?  Why not move past that and focus on your work at Westminster, or on governing here in Scotland?

Derek McSmug:  Frankly Gary, I'm shocked and disappointed that you've said that.  You know that it's for the people of Scotland to decide whether there should be a second referendum and I don't think it's for the media to tell the people of Scotland that they mustn't discuss their constitutional future.

Presenter:  With respect Derek, it's you that keeps talking up a referendum, not the people of Scotland.

Derek McSmug:  Yes, and I think we had a General Election only a few months ago, in which - as you'll recall! - my party did rather well with the people of Scotland!  (Laughs)  But really, we're focusing on resisisting the Tories' swingeing cuts to public services, cuts which the Labour Party -

Presenter:  Okay, can you tell us exactly what it is that you're doing to protect Scotland from Tory cuts?  Because you seem to spend quite a lot of time appearing in the papers and talking about referendums, and monkeying about sitting in the other parties' seats, but not a lot else.

Derek McSmug:  Gary, we represent the interests of the people of Scotland at Westminster and I can assure you that the people of Scotland absolutely do not think that resisting the Tories' swingeing cuts to public services is worthless.  We just had a General Election that proved that, as you'll recall, in which my party did very well.

Presenter:  Yes, but -

Derek McSmug:  ...But on the subject of a second referendum, I do think that a second referendum is inevitable, but we're focusing on fighting the Tory - 

Presenter:  Well, if you're so focused on fighting the Tory cuts, why do you keep talking about a second referendum?  Why not just keep quiet about a referendum?

Derek McSmug:  Gary, I'm really saddened by your tone and so too, I'm sure, are the people of Scotland.  They don't want to be told to shut up about their constitutional future by the media and frankly, this is just the kind of distraction and smear tactics that we're so keen to get away from, so that we can focus on fighting the Tories' swingeing cuts.

Presenter:  But you don't seem to be doing anything to fight the Tory cuts.  You just keep appearing on TV shows talking about referendums and complaining all the time, without - if you'll forgive me - appearing to do anything useful.  Can you tell us about anything that you're actually doing?

Derek McSmug:  Well, I think that's typical of this broadcaster's condescending attitude towards the democratic will of the Scottish people, frankly.  The people of Scotland made their opinions clear on the matter at the General Election which, as you'll recall, my party did rather well in.  They want us to fight the Tories' swingeing cuts -

Presenter:  But you're not fighting anything, are you?  You're all just standing around making grand speeches, blethering about referendums and ensuring that you get your faces in the paper as often as possible! 

Derek McSmug:  Gary, I have explained this to you again and again, and it's just not sinking in.  We represent the interests of the people of Scotland.  They elected us - and my party did very well, as you'll recall - to resist the swingeing Tory cuts and, as for the prospect of a second referendum, that is up to the people of Scotland to decide.

Presenter:  But -

Derek McSmug:  And it's terrifyingly inevitable.

Presenter(Sighs)  Derek McSmug, that's all we have time for.  Thank you for joining us this morning...

Derek McSmug:  Thank you, Gary.


(For anyone who's mystified: this is a fictionalised and satirical version of interviews that play out on Scottish politics shows on radio and TV most days of the week.  It doesn't matter whether the topic is another referendum or the NHS or agriculture and, if anything, I'm being considerably harsher on the interviewer than on the interviewees).   

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Us vs Them, And Them As Well

I wasn't sure whether the ten-year anniversary of the 7th July London bombings is the appropriate time to be posting this kind of thing but, since it was apparently a good enough excuse for Tony Blair to once more ride his personal hobby-horses back into battle, I think it's probably enough for me.

Back then, I remember there being a lot of chat about the bravery of ordinary Londoners in just going about their business under the threat of attack, and it's certainly true that horrific bomb blasts targeting commuters is extremely intimidating stuff. 

There were a lot of loud declarations of collective courage on social media yesterday and if that's really how people feel, it's pretty admirable.  I don't even live in London and yet, idiots blowing up buses and trains is certainly the kind of thing that frightens me.  I don't mind admitting it, even though I'm aware that I'm highly unlikely to be blown up myself.

Nonetheless, I'm reminded that the decision to just get on with it in the face of threats isn't exactly an agonising personal choice.  Your boss isn't going to pay you to take a month off to get over your understandable anxiety, because the only two available options are - work, or starve.

I don't recall hearing that point made once at the time, although it could be that I've just forgotten.

Who knows, maybe the sight of officials proclaiming variations upon "we all stand together" following these types of terrorist outrages gladdens the hearts of the public.  Perhaps it fosters unity and steels people's resolve that We will not be defeated by Them.

For me though, watching Tony yet again declaring that he knows better than the bombers why they did the terrible things that they did, and calling for us to gird our loins and blow more shit up, reminds me now of what I thought then - that none of us had any choice other than to get on with it in the face of the bombers' murderous cruelty, and the then-Prime Minister's worrying lunacy. 

Assuming that I'm right about that, then it didn't feel much like Us vs Them, so much as it was Us vs Them, And Them As Well.  Certainly, you get the feeling that both believed in their own crazy way that they were doing God's work, and both seem to have been entirely impervious to reason or humility*.

*Addendum - In writing this, I went back to the Quail-In-Terror-Mortals video made by one of the bombers, in which he announces that the attacks were some kind of dip-shitted revenge for the occupation of Iraq.  Ignoring for now the utter idiocy of this idea - murdering these innocent civilians, to make up for the killing of those = profit - what strikes me now is how utterly childish the standard Jihadi clamour for public notoriety is.  

Khan's finger-waggy lecture was meant to intimidate, and no doubt succeeded to a certain extent, but it's notable that it resembles nothing more than it does an audition video for Britain's Got Talent - like a teenager singing a Katy Perry song into a hairbrush, or something.  

Here, we have a man yapping into a camera in the firm belief that he is striking a blow against the enemies of God, entirely oblivious to his own chihuahuan ridiculousness.  He says he wants justice, when it looks to me like what he wants is to get his stupid face on the front page of the Sun.  And he certainly got that.

Truly, a viciously stupid, boring little twat of the first water.