What a week for the lesser of two evils.
Trump versus Clint
Worldwide television reminded us that the United States of Amnesia is still the most powerful nation in the world, though it’s losing ground in influence, but whoever is made president will affect our lives no matter how far away we live, or how little we give a damn.
Trump versus Clint dooked it out on television, their first broadcast debate. He is boastful, a braggart and deceitful. She is smug, hypocritical and deceitful. She perfected her best Cheshire Cat smirk as visual defence against Trump’s standard monosyllabic, misogynist shots. He has a few standard enemies besides women: “Believe me”, “China is the problem”, “Russia can’t be trusted”, and “The wall”.
Trump relies for his support on the mass of disaffected, disenfranchised low paid and poor Americans, their irrationality stoked up by the dosh injected into the right-wing, racist Tea Party by the reclusive, undemocratic billionaire Koch brothers. Clinton relies on the rest of us thinking Trump is idiotic. Both are pillars of the establishment, both own chunks of the street we live in, and both offer us protection is we pay up on demand.
I don’t know who coaches Clinton to grimace like a Chinese Buddha, but Trump has engaged the horrific Nigel Farage to help his ascent to the presidency, the penultimate level before taking possession of the Almighty’s chair when it becomes vacant.
Only one has experience of political office, and only one is a woman. The other takes a womanly interest in his appearance. Both sport architecturally shaped hair styles. If you like Trump you hate life and love golf. If you like Clinton you hate White House interns and love comprehensive emancipation right up to and including president of the USA.
The wise advise we should choose neither of two evils. (The saying has been misinterpreted ever since it was coined.) In Trump versus Clinton’s case that’s sensible advice because neither offer a vision for our future.
However, one choice, the wrong choice, guarantees disaster. Therefore, Americans are forced to vote for the lesser of two evils.
Dugdale versus Corbyn
It was Labour conference week, skies red with atavistic socialism. Or at least it seemed to be. Salty tugboat captain Corbyn survived a coup against his lack of leadership and too-lefty ideals. His Scottish branch office manager Dugdale backed the wrong candidate for leader while pretending she was just as happy with the result. The politician she did back returned to well-earned obscurity, if only I could remember his name.
Corbyn is a man who appears to talk sense yet is incapable of implementing it. He is not helped by dint of getting tripped and trapped by the right-wing of his party. Dugdale talks gobbledygook. She’s the eternal ingénue. She is not an achiever. Corbyn has an unerring ability to let success slip through his fingers at the point of achieving it. He is not a dynamic person, and like Dugdale, not a good public speaker.
Both claim to want the best for Scotland, and both talk to the electorate in Scotland as if wearing a paper bag over their head. They complement each other. Neither can accept Labour is lost and not found in Scotland. Understandably, Dugdale wants “more autonomy” for her branch office – as if there is exists partial autonomy – but Corbyn her boss wants less, a lot less, “no more powers, no more money, no more referendums”.
The former shadow chancellor Ed Balls fears Labour “as it stands, is never going to be elected again”. Balls was one of many Labour politicians to repeat Tory refusal for Scotland to share our jointly owned currency, and then lost his seat in the general election. He thinks old Labour is still a winning formula. Labour’s self-delusion is complete.
For all the Corbyn’s reinvestment in basic social democratic principles, he makes plain he will not give Scotland new powers, will reduce its block grant, won’t allow a second referendum on home-rule, and thinks Scotland is actually North Britain. He also thinks Labour can win back many seats in Scotland from the “council budget cutting” SNP, overlooking the sensitive fact the same budget comes from the UK Treasury, and is getting reduced in real terms year-by-year.
On the evidence before us we assume Corbyn is asking we vote for the lesser of two evils.
Plebeian Class versus Business Class.
No such thing as a ‘business class’ seat exists on Edinburgh to London flights. Unsurprisingly, the same prevails in the reverse direction. There are ‘flexible’ tickets which allow you to cancel and rebook without financial penalty.
The airline calls those type of bookings ‘business’ class because predominately business people use them. Book ordinary cheaper tickets and then ask to change your flight or cancel it all together incurs more cost in surcharges. Politicians working at Westminster frequently get delayed by meetings. A flexible ticket is the sensible choice.
The Scottish Daily Express, a rag that manages to land on newsagents shelves made from dried, reconstituted toilet paper dredged up from sewers, tried to twist the use of business class tickets into a smear on SNP MPs, and Mhairi Black SNP MP in particular. (On European flights SNP MPs and MEPs use economy class.) The rag falsified the headline, saying, “Scottish MPs claim almost £600k of taxpayers money in luxury flights”, [my emphasis] adding a photograph of a seat from an Emirates Airbus next to it as if you get one on a BA domestic flight plus a Swedish massage; a non-story calculated to mislead readers who rarely get past a headline.
The calculation was for all Scottish MPs not only SNP parliamentarians. Readers are left to the shocking conclusion, the further away you live from London the more a flight will cost.
Business class or economy class? A flexible ticket allows waiting in the passenger lounge, and some free lite bites and coffee. A good place to bone up on the day’s committee papers and constituency letters. Economy class offers you nothing but strain, pain and extra costs, the terrorists having won the day on airline travel. Either way you still have to go through security, queuing to remove shoes, belt, money, and teeth.
Ticket choice is clearly another case of choosing the lesser of two evils.
Scotland versus England
A group of thugs chased a Polish man down a street in Harlow, Essex, the same good time Essex so beloved of television reality shows. They watched as two of them beat him to death for being ‘foreign’. The forty year-old had a family.
A Westminster politician avers that the SNP espouse nothing but racist nationalism. Independent, confident Scots are now classed as ‘separatists’, though an autonomous Scotland will keep the Union of the Crowns. England has decided it hates foreign people so much it will cut off co-operation and life with Europeans.
Poles first arrived in Scotland in 1850, and have been welcome ever since. In fact, Scots are so liked by Poles some places in Poland have Scottish names. The country boasts several villages and districts named Nowa Szkocja or Szkocja, (New Scotland), and Polonised Scottish surnames are surprisingly common – MacLeod became Machlejd, for example.
Bonnie Prince Charlie, who led an ill-fated attempt to regain the British throne for his family in 1745, was half-Polish. His mother was Maria Klementyna Sobieska, the granddaughter of Polish King Jan III Sobieski. Scots and Poles go back a long way.
The City of Edinburgh recently erected a statue to Polish war sacrifices in World War II and their warrior bear. After the war the bear lived in Edinburgh zoo happily until its death in 1963. Krakow has been twinned with Scotland’s historic capital, Edinburgh, since 1995 – a partnership that has yielded benefits to both cities, including closer cooperation between the University of Edinburgh and Krakow’s Jagiellonian University.
If one tabloid newspaper is to be believed – and that takes some nerve and suspension of disbelief – a young Polish boy was knocked around by two adolescents while walking in Edinburgh. We can thank the odious Ukip and the Tory party for stoking up hatred.
Nevertheless, the evidence is overwhelming. If Polish, looking for a safe place to live and work, the lesser of two evils can only be – Scotland.