Sunday, 3 May 2015

Hogwash Central

Further transcripts of my contributions to Michael Greenwell’s The Polling Station podcast over the last few days. There’ll be new episodes here each day until the election – and, don’t worry, they’ll include some sensible discussion as well as my off-the-wall observations!


If ever there were a party whose abject witterings deserve to be brought to a halt by the impact of a giant Monty Python foot, it’s surely UKIP and its hogwash-spouting pinhead of a leader, Nigel Farage. His claim this week that the SNP is “openly racist” and “fuelling anti-English resentment in Scotland” can be explained only as a desperate appeal for work on the comedy circuit, although if Nige is intending to have a go at the Edinburgh Fringe I’d suggest he invests in a Kevlar onesie.

It’s a classic case of what headshrinkers call “psychological projection”, denying unpleasant impulses in oneself while attributing them to others, like a Brussels sprout enthusiast unleashing a mammoth fart in a lift and looking round accusingly at everyone else.
Xenophobia has always been dear to Kippers’ hearts, even though some of them believe it’s spelt with a Z, because it’s easier than thinking up coherent policies.  They don’t even have to get elected to promote it; they just have to shake their fists and snarl convincingly and craven lickspittles in the Tory and Labour parties will do their dirty work for them.

Nigel won’t be coming up to Scotland to explain himself since, according to grand number-crunching guru Lord Ashcroft, he has a fight on his hands to win his target seat of South Thanet.  With only a small number of floaters in UKIP’s talent pool up here, the party’s storytelling duties tend to be delegated to David Coburn, a bloke with the hide of a rhino, the grace of a hippopotamus and the intellect of a Flowerpot Man – and, bizarrely, also an MEP, proof that proportional representation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

David also has a strained relationship with the truth.  In fact he’s just been indefinitely banned by Wikipedia, after repeatedly editing his personal biography - 69 times in six days, to be exact - to remove references to him comparing Scottish government minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza (ooh, not racist, mister, just a joke, wink wink) and mangling SNP candidate Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s name in various sexist and derogatory ways.

Voters of Falkirk, the only truth that matters is that in a few days David’s fate is in your hands.  I’m sure you’ll choose wisely.


If you watch First Minister’s Questions expecting enlightenment, then good luck to you; you’d have more chance of learning harmonic theory by listening to a bunch of police sirens.  This is especially true in the present feverish pre-election period, when, for Labour at least, the idea of challenging the Scottish Government on devolved matters has been comprehensively chucked oot the windae in favour of blowing giant raspberries at the SNP.

I presume that’s why Kezia Dugdale spent so much time yesterday yammering about “Referendum 2”, a sequel which just isn’t in the 2015 SNP manifesto no matter how hard you look, even if you ask Superman to turn his X-ray vision on it.

To be fair, her performance showcased her full range of cheesed-off expressions, so perhaps she’s not entirely comfortable with what she’s being ordered to do.  Maybe she comes skipping into work each Thursday bubbling with innovative ideas about how to hold the Government to account, only to be given the hair-dryer treatment by a team of scrotum-faced spinmeisters, who say, “Chuck all that in the bin, Kezia, your job’s to preserve the Union, so here’s some scary old horse-poo about a second referendum.”

There was actually a decent line of questioning about education hidden in Kezia’s diatribe, but, like a shiny new penny in a tea-chest of filthy old washers, its chances of coming to the surface were roughly on a par with Katie Hopkins being appointed head of the Diplomatic Service. 

It was left to Ruth Davidson to show how it should be done, using her recent photo-opportunity experience as a tank commander to launch a few howitzers on educational attainment at the First Minister, and, in the process, inflict a bit more collateral damage on Labour’s reputation as a credible party of opposition.

Just to assist Kezia and her Labour colleagues, plus Willie Rennie, who dunderheadedly raised exactly the same topic and, guess what, received a blootering similar to Kezia’s, let me spell it out. Nicola Sturgeon won’t rule out a second referendum because it would be presumptuous of her to do so.  We, the people, are in charge of this now, and we’ll ask for one when we’re good and ready.  

No, don’t thank us; it’s been a pleasure rectifying your educational attainment gap.


There’s no shame in struggling to understand what the hell Ed Miliband is on about; even experienced translators with advanced qualifications in balderdash are frequently stumped.  His meaning tends to be shrouded in the sort of linguistic mush that excites focus groups but makes the rest of us reach for the Ibuprofen, and he moves in mysterious ways, especially when he’s trying to step off a platform.

So is there any significance in his apparent claim that he’d hand the Tories the keys of number 10 rather than do a post-election deal with the dastardly SNP?  After all, the SNP canny be bothered with a coalition, and it’s not as if they’ve been cold-calling Labour HQ with other fabulous once-in-a-lifetime offers.   

Of course, it’s a massive sop to the voters of Middle England, force-fed unspeakable bile by the media and now terrified the SNP will murder them in their beds.  For Scotland, it’s Labour showing its true colours as a protection racket: “Vote for us or else”.  Given how we normally react to such threats, it’s tantamount to cutting Jim Murphy adrift in a dinghy that you’ve previously used for machine-gun practice.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing the how the “no deals” policy will affect Labour MPs’ behaviour. Perhaps they’ll have to wear la-la-I-can’t-hear-you ear muffs in the Commons restaurant, in case an SNP MP offers to pass the salt. Or they’ll be obliged to slam a door in their own faces rather than allow Stewart Hosie to hold it open for them, and hurl themselves under any taxi that Pete Wishart offers to share.  

But there’s one other, perhaps ominous, way of reading Miliband’s words.

Could they be the first glimpse of a grand Labour-Tory coalition, or at least an agreement for Labour not to intervene while the Tories insert the last few sticks of dynamite into our public services?  Those who’ve postulated this nightmare scenario have until now been considered wild conspiracy theorists who also believe that Martians are trying to contact them via their kitchen utensils. 

Still, isn’t it a teensy-weensy possibility? It would all be for the good of the nation, of course, at a time when we’ve got the future of a new royal baby to consider.  Democracy UK-style:  Scotland votes neither Labour nor Tory and gets both.  The Queen wouldn’t just be purring, she’d be doing cartwheels through the cat-flap. 

Still, in a strange way, it would bring her closer to her Scottish subjects.  She doesn’t have a vote, and to all intents and purposes neither would we.


  1. morag branson3 May 2015 at 17:31

    I'm loving and hating this run up in equal measure. But one thing for's different!

    By the way, "cheesed off" and "scrotum" should not be in same paragraph. lol

  2. Surely 'corgi flap'? Keep them coming, rest days are on the horizon.

  3. Twelve out of ten again Mr Maestro.
    I make no apologies for repeating myself but to misquote Thomas Jefferson the Father of US Independence.

    "When the Peoplefear the Government you have Tyranny
    When the Government, fear the People you have Comedy"

  4. I was wondering who it was doing that section on The Polling Session. It's probably my favourite part. Almost sounds like you're sneering when you're talking.

  5. That's me being whimsical, honest. If I were to sneer the microphone on my laptop would melt.

    1. If you're being whimsical then you clearly have a very dark whimsy.

  6. Thank you so much W.

    Can hardly see the keys to type for the streamers running down my face.

    Thank you sir. A real tonic.