A KICK UP THE TABLOIDS


If we were in any doubt that the Tory government had planned to stick the boot into Scotland at the earliest possible opportunity, it was made plain with its plans for English Votes for English Laws, or EVEL for short, or indeed EVIL to be perfectly accurate.

Indeed, the Tories’ attitude to the British people could be neatly summed up in the brief exchange between Boris Johnson and a London taxi-driver. ‘Fuck off and die, in that order’ was the Mayor of London’s response to a legitimate question from a cabbie genuinely concerned that his livelihood is being threatened by unlicensed, uninsured cowboy operators.

In fact, I believe that the most significant part of Boris’s remark was the three words ‘in that order’. Not only would this government prefer it if working class people were to die, but also it would prefer them to do so out of their sight, to avoid any inconvenience to passers-by, embarrassment to foreign tourists and unnecessary stress to the Emergency Services. After all, if people are to go around dying before fucking off the tax-payer may be landed with a bill for the disposal of the corpses.

Outside of the SNP, however, what is the opposition? Last week, I watched that new Channel 4 drama series, Humans, in which people and robots become inter-changeable and it becomes impossible to tell them apart. Half-way through, I switched channels to watch the Labour leadership candidates’ debate. After five minutes, I wasn’t sure whether I was still watching the programme about the robots.

At least Jeremy Corbyn brings a novel approach to the contest, in that he actually appears to be interested in politics. According to The Scotsman, Corbyn could make history if he is elected as the next Labour leader, as he would be ‘the first leader of the Labour Party in nearly 100 years who has a beard’. The fact that he could be the first leader of the Labour Party for thirty years who is also a socialist seemed to have escaped them.

Thanks goodness for People Power. The End Austerity marches in Glasgow and London were an inspiring reminder of protests past, with a bit of showbiz glamour. Perhaps they thought Charlotte Church might get them some coverage in Hello! magazine.

But what does it say about the Labour Party that Charlotte Church, a 20-something millionaire who has been a millionaire since she was a teenager, is more interested in ending austerity than any of the Labour leadership candidates? Russell Brand, who urged young people not to vote, and then changed his mind and told them to vote for Ed Miliband (practically the same thing really) was heckled for his support for ‘new’ Labour.

Many at the London Rally looked to Scotland for inspiration. One banner had the aspirational message of ‘Fuck it! I’m Off to Scotland!’ Yet while the SNP’s electoral success and its opposition to austerity have inspired many south of the border, not everyone is impressed – most notably so-called ‘historical expert’, Dr David Starkey, who claimed that the SNP were ‘just like the Nazi party’. While this was deeply offensive to Scottish people and to victims of the Nazis, it also ignored all available factual evidence. For example, he obviously has not looked into ScotRail’s punctuality record.

Elsewhere in the world, we are still witnessing the tragic loss of human life in the Mediterranean, as people desperately try to reach a new life in Europe. Once again, the attitude of the UK government is very similar of that of Boris Johnson to a London cabbie. Contrast that to the attitude here in Scotland, which is much more welcoming. I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, in Scotland, and particularly in the Highlands, we have a lot of space. Secondly, there is the historical context to that space, in that three hundred years ago, people from this country were packed into boats and sent out to sea, many never to reach their destination in the New World.

And finally, the scandal at FIFA not only continues but deepens on a daily basis. The unease of the granting of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar had created enough unease even before the raft of arrests on corruption charges and the resignation of Sepp Blatter. The feeling among many is that to send out a message to FIFA, the major nations should boycott the World Cup. And I think they should. Let’s face it, if the major nations of football such as Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina, France, the Netherlands and England were to boycott the World Cup, Scotland might stand a chance of actually qualifying.

Vladimir McTavish will be appearing in ‘Scotland: 45 Events That Shaped A Nation’ throughout the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe at The Stand Comedy Club from Friday 7th to Sunday 30th August (except Monday 17th) at 6.15 pm www.thestand.co

Photograph

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