I’m still waiting for the BBC to send a brace of B-list Scottish celebrities and flaky hacks to England to record personal documentaries interviewing loquacious locals on why they want independence from Europe, the place that subsidises their very existence, their infrastructure. That’s what Scotland endured throughout its democratic plebiscite on regaining independence; so, we should be given the same opportunities to belittle and patronise, and generally mock our neighbour for being ‘uppity’ and ‘chippy’.
England lives off hand-outs from what is fairly described as the Brussels’ Formula, a system by which England’s Treasury send a million pounds to the European Fund – made up from Scottish and Welsh taxes – and Brussels sends back £10 million Euro, better known as welfare to help needy farmers in the Lake District hose down their cattle in time for an appearance on BBC’s ‘Countryfile.’ (“England’s Treasury”: Westminster political parties refused to share our pound sterling therefore implying erroneously the Bank of England is theirs not the UK’s.)
Why is the BBC so dilatory? (Please excuse the ‘Tory’ part of that word.) Where is our equivalent of toothy Janet Street Porter, striding manly across the cultivated Borders countryside from Galashiels to … Galashiels, and without a police escort? She was given lots of air time to ask selected Tory landowners in her gobbled Cockney why they don’t like the SNP government yet want to remain in Scotland. Without our lovely people wandering around the red brick back lanes of English towns being condescending to locals how are we to know what to think and how to vote on the question of European membership?
Merely having toothy Eddie Izzard from the English colony of Aden interviewed by toothy Andrew Marr is not enough. Izzard isn’t Scottish and therefore unable to speak in our well-known sub-English tongue. His native tongue is a meandering whimsical jokiness. Moreover the dual imagery he conveys confuses. How does he decide each morning which side of his Lycra shirt and pants to button?
Switching male and female clothes one day to the next can complicate life if fastidious enough to follow eccentricity to its logical end. How can you convince people you’re a serious political intellectual when choosing a hat for interview is the first concern? (George Galloway, please be advised.) One day he wants Scotland to forget its democracy, the next he’s happy to do a few gigs there and take our money.
The Italians tend to produce better comedic politicians than us, and I’m not referring to Boris the Buffoon. One only has to think of the subversive plays of Dario Fo to see the difference. His own stand-up comedy routine Mistero Buffo is a master class in improvisation and political satire. I’ve yet to see any British comedian come close. Our comedians can’t make up their mind what their aim is, British or socialist? A true socialist would reject everything Westminster stands for. Fo was awarded a Nobel Prize for literature for his left-wing essays and plays, such as ‘Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!’ and ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist, a work performed the world over.
And again, where is our equivalent of toothy newsreader Gavin Esler to interview MI5 clandestine funded phony grassroots movements containing three members and a red setter, the secretary on holiday in the Seychelles. He needs only one man ‘somewhere near Scotland’ ready to say he is responding to a massive cry for help, you know, doing his duty for Queen and Country. Somebody should explain how best democracy is to flourish in a way that is consistent with Tory rule.
Why can’t we have one of our dearly loved rock stars, Rod Stewart, send an emissary to an awards ceremony to read a message of affection scribbled on a Starbucks napkin.
We have media savvy broadcasters to choose from. There’s always toothy archaeologist and hair restorer Neil Oliver to stand in Glasgow’s George Square with a crown of people behind him shouting, “England we love you! Don’t leave Europe!” Oliver is always ready with a forgettable line and a perplexed expression when discussing history – he’d be ideal. Has BBC Scotland, or even Scottish Television organised one of its own to help us out.
Surely we can organise BBC Scotland correspondent Brian Taylor to interview some typical Pakistani-English locals in Bradford or Leeds to tell us how they feel about the possibility of ‘swarms’ of foreigners, (to quote David Cameron’s allusion to locusts) coming to Britain to take their jobs and houses. Those people contribute to our culture, they must be apprehensive about so many immigrants coming from the likes of Germany to sell us VWs, Audi’s, BMW’s and Mercedes Benz.
Why don’t we send toothy Elaine C. Smith to Eton to ask the form masters, the fag boys, and star students from the elite Bullingdon Club what they feel about the Tory party tearing itself apart, instead of showing immoveable, implacable certainty in the British way of life that is their hallmark, and that we expect?
They might not understand a word Elaine says but the cultural confusion will be mutual, and the purpose served, democracy seen to be done.
There’s available the opportunity to have BBC’s Question Time packed out with Scottish nationalists, the show transmitted from say Henley-on-Thames in a debate to include the well-balanced question, “Should England get those sweaty subsidy junkies in Scotland off our backs by leaving the EU?” I can hear Elaine’s barmaid-style hoot, “Sweaties? Have yous go’ nuthin’ be”er tae dae but criticise oor weather?
We have great cooks who could warn of the rising price of croutons should we jettison the French. I can think of Tom Kitchen who charges £19 for fish and chips with mushy peas served posh in a side dish, and you sit on a hard school bench to eat it. They know how to please diners. Maybe he could imply our whisky sales will drop, foreigners taking to scrumpy in 20 year-old bottles instead.
There are plenty of fine newspaper editors looking for the opportunity to promote themselves, but who cannot string two sentences together that makes political sense. Who can forget the likeable Kelvin Hall- sorry, Kelvin MacKenzie’s pithy ripostes on Question Time: “Erm, personally speaking, the jocks, gargle, plink, men in skirts, cough, Scotch drunk, gurgle, gurgle, Billy Connolly, fart, sniff, in my opinion”. These people always raise the level of debate.
Stark raving Starkey
Have we no one to match the high camp of wacky historian David Starkey proclaiming to the masses that England is a small, inferior nation full of vile, dirty men and women existing vicariously on the achievements of Scotland, poor irrelevant little England a barren, backward, self-absorbed place holding on grimly to the foot of a greater country?
In the cause of fairness we need somebody as dim-witted and history-blind as Starkey to offer viewers the reverse of what he said about the SNP, that English nationalism is similar to the rise of the Nazis, it is “striking and worrying”.
He described the SNP as a type of “virulently nationalist party” that had not been seen in Britain before. (Someone remind the cretin of Sir Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts.) Hence, the BBC should send somebody into the midst of London to pontificate irrationally, in a racist manner, about how the Tory party is so obviously a virulent nationalist party, hell bent on tearing the nation of two nations apart.
Our leading historian, Sir Tom Devine, thinks the opposite. He feels the rise of a mass movement for democracy a good thing, especially for a nation held back by the fiscal and imperially aggressive priorities of a dominant nation. He’s definitely not available.
There must be a second-rate Scottish historian keen to pick up the challenge. That person has a duty to emulate Starkey: “It’s time we call things by their proper names. That’s all I’m trying to do,” he said. Our man can finish his provocative oration but speaking as Starkey did, “Democracy doesn’t always get it right”, like Starkey diplomatically avoiding any mention of Hitler by simply adding “I shan’t mention Hitler.” (Note the impeccable grammar employed in the cause of demeaning an entire people.)
And what about interviewing one of our many wealthy financiers such as roly-poly Mr Pecksniff, the loveable banker Sir Angus Grossart. He could have a field day telling wealthy Londoners property prices will plummet if we leave the European Union. He should know, he has three properties, one a castle. We can even resurrect Fred the Shred and have him send out press releases warning of the Bank of England slipping into the Thames burdened with £2 trillion in debt if the EU isn’t there to bail it out.
There’s plenty of businessmen too to suggest they will close down their company and move lock stock and barrel to the Falkland Islands – but really only register it in London – if we continue to believe there is any benefit in eating pizzas or paella, or have Polish workers work all hours for low wages yet do excellent work.
Poll after poll shows the people of Scotland want to stay a member of the EU, but under independence negotiate membership conditions. Isn’t that what Cameron has just done, as well as reminding us all England said boo to the Euro.
So, come on BBC! You have to fair and allow Scotland to belittle and insult England for no good reason other than bare-arsed arrogance. One good turn deserves another.
Whatever happens north of Hadrian’s Wall the SNP is to blame. (Scottish Daily Record.