Saturday, 25 April 2015

Sweet Little Lies

Here’s an edited transcript of my contributions to Michael Greenwell’s The Polling Station podcast over the last week. You can listen to it each day here – I’ll be back on it on Monday, and before then Michael has plenty of other fab guests to knock your socks off.


Hats off to our Prime Minister for a quintessentially Cameronish performance on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show.  Being interviewed by Marr is like being mugged by a blancmange, so you rarely get the chance to show off your core skills, but even so Dave rose to the challenge and produced a 15-minute masterclass in tetchiness, obfuscation, bribery and downright scaremongering, including the following brazen but completely unfounded assertions.

(1)    Food bank usage, roughly 62,000 per annum when the Coalition took office, had shot up to a mind-boggling one million because… wait for it… the Tories had considerately begun the practice of advertising food banks at job centres, and not because the Department of Work and Pensions was being run by an incompetent psychopath.

(2)    Despite mountains of evidence, Dave wasn’t too feart to debate with ordinary folk, but was in fact the only party leader out meeting the public.  This will be news to the extraordinarily gregarious Nicola Sturgeon and even to Jim Murphy, who may spend his life surrounded by rent-a-crowd placard-carriers but still finds time to yell at pensioners in the street.

(3)    Surprise, surprise, a post-election deal involving the SNP, who “didn’t care about England, Wales and Northern Ireland” and didn’t want to see “our country” succeed, would be “calamitous” and “frightening”.  Labour, Dave claimed, were already planning to cancel road projects in the South of England, presumably because the SNP’s chief fixer Angus Robertson had threatened to break their knuckles if they didn’t.

Best of all, the interview provoked a Twitter intervention from none other than Jim "not a spoof account, you couldn't make it up" Murphy himself, castigating Dave for his obsession with the SNP.  Dave may have walked away with the day’s prize for telling porkies, but when it comes to unintentional irony, there’s still no-one to touch creepy Jim.


Sorry, folks, have to bite the bullet and mention the Daily Telegraph again. Once a respectable paper of record, albeit with the manner of a dyspeptic brigadier general, it’s deteriorated in recent years into a spiteful, hate-filled rag you wouldn’t use for wrapping your chips in case they got covered in drool.

Having been taken to the cleaners over Nicola’s chat with the French Consul General, it’s out for revenge – and the SNP manifesto launch was its big chance.

Out came the big hitters.  Boris Johnson, who knows the Latin word for everything and the true meaning of nothing, likened the SNP to King Herod, Attila the Hun and voracious weevils munching the timbers of a church tower.  Iain Martin, ostensibly a journalist but actually no more than a puerile Twitter troll, compared the manifesto launch to a Nuremberg rally.   

But the big lie came in the morning headline. SNP PREPARED TO PARALYSE ARMED FORCES UNLESS TRIDENT IS SCRAPPED.  It turned out this was all Stuart Hosie’s fault for innocuously remarking on Sunday Politics that the SNP would vote against spending they didn’t support.  Bleedin’ obvious, you might think, but it inspired the Telegraph to concoct a nightmare scenario of the defence budget being frozen, Our Boys going unpaid and having to forage in the countryside for nuts and berries, and Vladimir Putin moon-walking unchallenged in Trafalgar Square.

The only problem is, even if this ludicrous interpretation were true, the maximum number of SNP MPs would be 59.  To paralyse defence spending, 268 of the remaining 591 would have to vote with them.  Including nearly all of the Tories. A brilliant way to spite Ed Miliband, to be sure, but also electoral suicide, don’t’cha think?


The prize for “boggle-eyed hysteria of the day” went to snivelling wretch Piers Morgan, who oozed himself on to the pages of the Daily Mail to describe Nicola Sturgeon as “the most dangerous woman in the world”. Yikes!  Previously she’d been the most dangerous woman in politics, then Britain. Where would her ambitions end?  Was an army of Cybernats, under the influence of a control device masquerading as a coffee-maker, already constructing a Death Star to give her dominion over the universe?

Actually, the truth was more mundane.  Piers, who’s an expert in faking a good scoop, had simply plagiarised Lord George Robertson’s Big Book of Burbling Idiocy, specifically the chapter where an independent Scotland ditches Trident, NATO instantly falls apart and the forces of darkness obliterate civilisation, leaving only cockroaches. Including, very possibly, Piers Morgan.

As for “terminological exactitudes”, well, that too was a no-brainer.  Which is appropriate, because it came from Jim Murphy. Breaking the embarrassed silence after his come-uppance from cold-eyed head office hit man Chuka Umunna, he’d blurted out his now-infamous Tweet that the SNP manifesto had “broken a promise” over a second referendum.

Well, no, Jim, “once in a generation” wasn’t a promise, it was a personal opinion from Alex Salmond, who carefully described it in those terms, as you’d have heard if you hadn’t been yelling “SNP BAD” at the hatstand.  And, even if it was a promise, it hasn’t been broken because the SNP haven’t actually called a referendum. They didn’t rule it out, but neither did they rule out free unicorn-flavoured ice-cream for every teenager or Scotland annexing China.

Anyhow, what’s it got to do with politicians?  We, the people, will decide.  Terrifying, isn’t it?


Where to begin with the Lib Dems?

They might as well talk to the trees as chop them down to make paper for a manifesto, because after the 2010 tuition fees fiasco, when they inexplicably mixed up the terms “abolish” and “increase threefold”, no-one will believe a single thing they say.  Their manifestoes are like a box of chocolates from hell:  not only don’t you know what you’re going to get, but it doesn’t really matter, because all the chocolates turn out to be rabbit droppings anyway.

None of this stopped them launching their Scottish manifesto at a patisserie in South Queensferry, where the flakiness of the pastry blended in with that of the politicians. Willie Rennie, needing to brush up his CV in good time for 2016, paraded his barista skills on a coffee-making machine, while everyone else looked around for plant pots into which they could surreptitiously tip the results.

Voters may be tunnelling with their bare hands through concrete to get away from the Lib Dems, but Willie remains touchingly, albeit glaikitly, optimistic.  He insists the electorate will give his colleagues another chance, because they offer balance and a middle way.  For example, faced with a choice of four nuclear submarines or zero, they opt for two, so the UK can still have all the downsides of nuclear weapons while deploying them in a completely half-arsed fashion.

Meanwhile, Nick Clegg was desperately bribing public sector workers by promising them pay rises in line with inflation – currently nil, but let that pass.  Everybody knows this policy has no chance of surviving the vampiric leer of George Osborne or the mad staring gaze of Ed Balls.  Like most Lib Dem policies, it’s like a sheet of lasagne:  it may look firm at the moment, but as soon as the heat’s on it’ll soften up and be submerged in a load of mince.


Ah, First Minister’s Questions, always a bonanza for the terminological inexactitude hunter.

Holyrood may not be able to emulate Westminster’s cacophony of braying, harrumphing and honking from our testosterone-fuelled imperial masters. But if you’re after sanctimonious guff, fake outrage and hilarious stairheid rammies, FMQs is the very dab.  Even if afterwards your ears feel as if they’ve been massaged with rusty cheese graters, at least you get some giggles along the way.

The cause celebre today was SNP candidate Paco McSheepie, or rather his disappointingly humdrum alter ego Neil Hay.  If you read the Scottish Daily Mail, he’s a vile Cybernat troll who’d benefit from a good tasering.  If you read Wings Over Scotland, he’s just an ordinary bloke who occasionally used to re-tweet satire and express his own views clumsily.  If you read both the Mail and Wings, seek professional help immediately.

Anyway, Mr Hay had apologised, so he was obviously guilty of something. “Sack him!” demanded Kezia Dugdale, even though, with postal voting already under way, this would create chaos. “Let the voters decide!” snapped back Nicola Sturgeon, confronting Labour with its worst nightmare.

I’ve got a feeling the voters may decide the whole thing is a bum rap, but as I’ve also placed a bet on Jeremy Clarkson opening a charm school before 2020 you’re entitled to have a few reservations about my judgment.  The real big lie  -  not of the day, but of the past three years – is the implication, snidely whispered by much of the press, that it’s always people on the pro-indy side who are doing the trolling and abusing, and never the pure-hearted Unionists.

That was why it was so gratifying to see Nicola follow up with a haymaker. “Will Kezia Dugdale take action on Ian Smart?” she asked, naming the high-profile Labour-supporting lawyer, much feted in fantouche BBC Scotland circles, who regularly regales his Twitter followers with descriptions of the SNP as fascist scum.  Poor Kezia looked totally discombobulated, as if a mongrel had just chewed up her favourite Barbie doll.  Well and truly telt.

It was blatant whataboutery from Nicola, of course, but sometimes – at the risk of sounding like David Cameron -  it’s the Right Thing To Do.

Want to hear more lies?  Click right here.


  1. You make my day. Between you and WGD, we are incredibly well served in the political humour stakes.

    I wish you could up the frequency though.

  2. Nailed it yet again William. Gaun yersel. 😊

  3. Listen to your Terminological Exactitudes every day. Superb!

    FMQs today provided a wide range of TEs from Kezia and wee Willie, both saying that the SNP are demanding a 2nd referendum, despite it not featuring in the SNP GE manifesto, and nor yet featuring in the 2016 Holyrood manifesto.

    Opposition at Holyrood is dire. It's become an SNP election broadcast at FMQs every week, because of the sad lack of policies and credible political opponents she is faced with every week.

    How can a political system grow and develop without a decent opposition?

    This is the coo's erse of their national parties, designed to fart out their national executive mantra, with no thought about the piles of dung they are heaping up, and no freedom to move into another field entirely.

  4. Outstand sir.

    Still laughing .

    Thanks William more please. :)