Early March 2020, Australia.
We are now in the third month of the year of 2020, and it is fairly safe to say that the world is probably in a worse state than it was twelve months ago.
Despite this, I keep hearing the same pedantic argument about whether 2020 marks the start of a new decade or the end of an old one. For those on both sides of this ridiculous debate, I would simply say this: ‘Grow up and get a life, for fuck’s sake’. I couldn’t give a toss one way or the other. We should be hoping that 2020 is better than last year.
Personally, I’m not holding out a lot of hope about that. I’m currently in Australia, and when I got here three weeks ago, a quarter of the country was on fire. I don’t think many people who saw their homes burnt to a cinder were particularly bothered as to which decade it was when their entire lives went up in flames. Having said that, I was prepared to fly halfway around the world to enter this burning inferno of a country rather than to stay in Britain on 31 January and be witness to the grotesque waving of Union Jacks and the bunging a bob for the Big Ben bongs on Brexit day.
As the bells bonged (or more accurately didn’t bong) a month beforehand and 2019 came to a close, many people in Scotland were more preoccupied by the fact that our cousins South of the Border had been taken in by the promises of a verbally-incontinent philandering sociopath who had lied to the country, lied to MPs, lied to the Queen, and attempted to shut down Parliament. I don’t think anyone was that concerned at the time as to whether New Year’s Day was the start of the Twenties or not.
Incidentally, for what it’s worth I don’t think we should even have had that election in December. Instead, we should have been given a second referendum on Europe. Because Boris Johnson said he would rather die in a ditch than postpone Brexit. And I think that should have been the choice on the ballot paper: ‘Do you want to postpone Brexit or see Johnson die in a ditch?’ We all know how Scotland would have voted on that question.
In fact, we should also have had another referendum with a multiple choice of whether:
A: 2020 is the start of a New Decade
B: 2020 is the end of an Old Decade
C: 2020 is the Start of the End of the World
Scotland, of course, is seen as a beacon of hope to the rest of Britain. I have lost count of the number of times since the election that friends, family, vague acquaintances and total strangers from down South have been in touch with messages such as ‘Do you take in English refugees?’ I am sure I am not alone. Scotland, as Nicola Sturgeon constantly has stated, wants immigration. Our economy needs it, and our ageing population requires an injection of new people from outside our borders. However, if every single person in England and Wales who is pissed-off with the prospect of five years of a Johnson government were to up sticks and move to Scotland, I’m not sure our infrastructure would be able to cope. We could be looking at forty per cent of the population of England, plus almost all of Wales deciding they would like to re-locate up here. That’s coming on for twenty million people.
Of course, we could make space by chucking out some of the Scots who don’t really buy in to what our small country holds true. Here would be my list:
• ‘Sir’ Iain Duncan-Smith: Boris’s promise to ‘love bomb’ Scotland in 2020 proved to be yet another lie before 2019 had come to a close, when he awarded a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours to this odious bag of shit. It was a real kick in the teeth to those who’d had to queue up at food banks for their Christmas dinner. This is the man who thought up Universal Credit, the Bedroom Tax and the Rape Clause. He is probably responsible for more suicides than the Japanese air force in World War II.
• Ruth Davidson for her spineless resignation speech as Scottish Tory leader when she cited ‘family matters’ as the reason rather than her loathing of Johnson and his cronies.
• Michael Gove, for obvious reasons. Seriously, I have less than 1,000 words for this piece, so there’s no point in starting on a list of what makes him such an arsehole.
• Jackson Carlaw who voted Remain in 2016, but was out campaigning for Boris three short years later. The man is totally featureless save for his overly-florid complexion. If it were scientifically possible for a potato to suffer from high blood pressure, it would look exactly like Jackson Carlaw.
• Rod Stewart, for tweeting his delight at the Tories’ election win. Celtic should either ban him for life from Parkhead, or chuck him in with the bamsticks from the Green Brigade and see if he manages to still be alive by half-time. Hopefully he won’t.
So here we are at the start-or-end of the new-or-old decade. Britain, at the moment, could only be more messed-up if enough members of the royal family were to be killed in a plane crash or wiped-out by Coronavirus to put Prince Andrew on the throne. England has now voted twice in the space of three-and-a-half years to commit increasingly masochistic acts of self-harm. I’m still unclear which was the worse: voting for Brexit or voting to put Boris Johnson in charge of the whole doomed project. Either way, if you’re vaguely compassionate and don’t live in Scotland, the prospect for the next ten years is bleak. At least we have a potential way out of this mess. Let’s take it this time. Then we will be able to look forward to a bright new future, regardless of what decade we happen to be living in.
Vladimir McTavish was due to perform his solo show ‘60 Minutes To Save The World’ at The Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow on Sunday 22nd March, as part of the 2020 Glasgow International Comedy Festival. For more information on future events go to www.thestand.co.uk