Angry Man One
There are days I awake cursing those who voted against my country’s interests. Salmond’s penultimate pronouncement jumps to mind, “Don’t wake up on the 19th wondering what might have been”. And I get angry. I despise them. I despise their timidity, I despise their irrational fear, I despise their stupidity. Reading of some individuals weeping as they put their shaky cross in the No box on the ballot sheet does nothing to lessen disgust.
Lay aside astonishment at anybody voting for a government so openly riddled with corruption and sleaze, awash with proven links to newspapers and police forces that subvert justice. Lay aside how thought control and black propaganda made sure people would weaken if lies are repeated endlessly, day in, day out. You are left asking yourself, who caused us to believe Scots are incapable of running our own country? Who taught us to cringe? Who? J.K. Rowling did not manage it all by herself.
How could No voters not foresee the repercussions that would fly back to pain us, hurled by an unreconstructed Thatcherite administration hell-bent on speeding up neo-liberal grip – shrink the state, weaken government, keep wealth in few hands.
The signals were not subtle, they were blunt, bellowed by touring loudspeaker, endorsed by the BBC. Cameron gave us no time to grieve. On the day after came “English votes for English laws” a glaring contradiction for a shared United Kingdom parliament. Why the surprise? After the bully-boy tactics of the UK pound sterling declared an English-only pound, there was bound to be kicks to come. Scotland was guaranteed Scotland to get a ferocious beating for daring to exercise its will.
Only a Scot is paralysed by the thought of full democracy.
Angry Man Two
It was nauseating to witness Labour, the party created by Scots, uniting with the Tories and the wishy-washy Lib-Dems. Democracy dumped in the pursuit of power. No matter if a voter was neutral, neither SNP nor anti-English, if they deigned to vote for Scotland’s self-governance they were branded either a Nazi or a communist. Those exchanging ideas and views via the internet were automatically Nazis, “cybernats”, sometimes written as ‘cybernatz’. Jock and Sweaty no longer applied. We are Nazis.
No one thought to educate by attacking the insidious historical revisionism spewed by Westminster’s fat-bellied army in its desperation to keep hold of its wealthy northern territory. Instead, replies were far too terse, ‘a smear’, ‘fear mongering’. None dared to engage and point out the achievements of communism that were not Stalinist purges. To the Right-wing a socialist is a Stalinist. We cower in case red hailstones fall on us. By those flesh branded terms Westminster hopes to perpetuate extreme globalised capitalism.
Scots and English politicians who tell Scotland it is too weak to govern, promote a revisionism that tries to equate Nazism and communism. English proponents of freedoms for English-only revitalise horrific crimes of Nazism, while burying those of colonialism. They raise the false notion that any attempt at radical social change will always lead to internal strife. Tribalism, they aver, a term exploited to the full, extends suffering and failure. But on the 19th September the people giving a Nazi salute were not waving Scotland’s flag, they were holding aloft the Union Jack.
Angry Man Three
I cannot think of any method by which Bush and Blair can be hustled into the dock at the Hague. Given that the invasion of Iraq is regarded illegal by the UN security council, (a majority vote) its secretary-general, and overwhelming international legal opinion, it must by the same yardstick be considered a war crime: what the Nuremberg tribunal deemed the “supreme international crime” of unwarranted aggression.
Yet today we have Tony Blair fancy free, flitting between interviews denouncing a Labour candidate for his party’s leadership as lethal to party unity. Blair must feel supremely confident his name is not written in mud in the endlessly delayed Chilcot Report. Together with Labour’s old discredited guard, almost all now Lords at £300 a snoozerama, they make hideous faces at their errant socialist, claiming Corbyn will spoil the Garden of Eden they created, yet they stand in a barren field filled with capitalism’s giant hogweed.
Corbyn has said, should he be elected leader of the Labour party, he will declare the Iraq war illegal. How naïve. His colleagues are doing their best to undermine his reputation, and have mounted a witch-hunt to eject any potential supporter. They will surely fiddle the internal party election too. That angers, that and watching him receive the same barbaric treatment the Scots got when we proposed a new way of doing business.
Angry Man Four
Having tried to smear Scotland’s first minister before she had barely stepped into the political spotlight, the British Establishment leaped with glee on the name of SNP MP, Michelle Thomson, spotted among the millions of would-be adulterers and swingers, (how did they find it so fast?) in the uber-hacked love-nest website Ashley Madison. (The name suggests an expensive shoe shop.)
Seizing upon her nickname as a juicy morsel to prove not only Tory and Labour politicians are sexually deviant, the Right-wing must have been disappointed to have their prejudices incinerated on learning it had been harvested, that is, lifted by an unknown and dumped in the site.
As well as having the cheekiest grin of all new MPs, Michelle is a stressed out mother, a constituency MP, and a Westminster politician, chasing back and forth Edinburgh to London, with absolutely no time for a bit on the side, even in a train toilet. (The automatic doors have a sneaky way of opening after locking, just as you sit on the pan.) Jeremy Bullock of Centrix Software took a close look at the account. Nothing stands up.
Here’s what he found…
(1) The email address is flagged as invalid. (2) The account was last updated on 30/04/2015. (3) The postcode given is EH12 7AF, a place she does not live. (4) Date of birth is wildly incorrect, 01/01/1978. (5) Her nickname is stated as ‘michsnp’, rather a give-away. (6) There’s no data to confirm identity. (8) There are no credit card transactions recorded for her, an odd omission.
In other words, somebody was being mischievous. Editor of the Telegraph, Mail, and Sun are now chewing their office carpet, already well frayed at the edges. Could this former professional musician’s appearance as ‘an MP to watch’ have staff at GCHQ excited, ready to mark her as a person of interest? What an honour.
Angry Man Five
Last year, we had the unsavoury antics of BBC journalist, Andrew Marr, thrust at us. By insult he promoted his abysmally inaccurate history book when he attended the book festival at Edinburgh’s International Arts Festival. This year, another BBC journalist, Nick Robinson, repeats the exercise to promote his book. (Did they exchange notes?)
Their partisan pettiness is wearisome to explain in detail other than to add, Alex Salmond describes the BBC’s coverage of the referendum as a disgrace, and Robinson’s attack on “Putin-like” protests against the corporation as something over which Robinson should be “embarrassed and ashamed”. Trust Salmond to be diplomatic.
Marr and Robinson are truly dishonest brothers in slime. But their attempts at self-aggrandisement, “we survived a million attacks from cybernats and arise better people” prompts remembrance not of the propaganda seen during my tenure at the BBC, but the odd, surreal moments.
Here, in no special order, are a few to amuse on this festival day:
One of my three programme researchers spent more time discussing her handsome hubby and the new VW Golf GTi they were buying, than actually doing research. When the car arrived at the office, she stopped work, left her desk, and spent the rest of the day driving it around Glasgow. On getting rebuked for abandoning her post for an afternoon she was promoted to junior producer.
A department colleague had a ‘private’ chat with me in which he objected to two Catholics included in a youth discussion section. Separating by religion was not a chore I assumed part of producing television programmes. Without being specific, he warned me I was “asking for trouble.” I noticed he had a thumb missing. “Removed by a Fenian bastard. The fucker used an axe.” True or false, he never explained what he had done to attract the crime of torture other than being a loyal Protestant and a ‘Brit’.
An executive announced publically that the BBC doesn’t commission many Scottish productions because there’s “not enough good talent to choose from”. The same executive issued an instruction by memorandum – memos are the staple diet of the BBC – that any worthwhile idea submitted by an independent company was to be rejected by due process, but sent to him for assessment. Presumably he implied if good, the BBC would steal it.
A different head of department, in fact, the (then) head of film, suggested I deposit 10% of the television purchase price in his Swiss bank account if I wanted the BBC to buy my film for transmission. I left his office empty-handed, and in despair of ever making films in Scotland. No one can convince me he was the sole bad apple. Historical record since tells us the BBC should be hung upside down and shaken until its pockets are emptied, and then sentenced to serving the community in perpetuity.
And finally, an arts producer on the point of arranging a discussion on the novel ‘Lanark‘ told me “We English consider Alisdair Gray a national treasure. You Scots should read him, sometime.”
The BBC was then and is still full of patronising Oxbridge graduates who know damn all of Scottish culture outside what they glean from a quick expenses-paid visit to the Edinburgh Festival. Some try to ingratiate by mentioning our majestic mountains and beautiful countryside by the ‘locks’, but the effect is to distance not attract. In between times, Scotland does not exist.
As a Scot denied his rights, it is easy to remain perpetually angry. The trick is not to release anger like a sluice gate, but to fire it like a well-directed hose, the kind preferred by London’s mayor against protestors, only in our case to knock flat the enemies of Scotland’s democracy. Believe me, no matter how far I travel in England I have yet to find that promised Garden of Eden the politicians illustrate in their manifesto ‘brochure’.
Yours, aye – still fuming.