If not mixing metaphors, this has been one of those jam packed, bullshit weeks.
Andy Murray limped onto Court 1 at Wimbledon from a hip ailment, the great white hope of Brits United and, beaten by a serial American lobber of no great subtlety, limped off again as a failed Scot, at least that’s how the newspapers predictably described him.
For a day Joanna Konta became the on-off honorary Brit, ‘real’ Brits happy to ignore her parents are Hungarian and she born in Australia. In fact, she had represented Australia in 2012. Then again, Australia incorporates the Union Jack in its flag, making Konta more acceptable to unionists than Murray who’s Scottish, a nation that has its own flag.
To cap it all a Spaniard won Wimbledon’s women’s singles, Garbiñe Muguruza, just the type of Jeanny Foreigner the Brits dislike.
Meanwhile casualties of the Grenfell Tower conflagration found themselves emblematic of our times through no fault of their own. Treated as if a mob from the French revolution intent on murdering London’s aristocracy, they’re pushed from pillar to post. They demanded homes where they had once lived, a full and wide ranging inquiry into the reasons for the destruction of Grenfell Tower, and a bed for more than a few days. If you listened hard you might have heard Theresa May whispering “Now is not the time”.
The blame for the fire that engulfed their lives is shared by so many who made money out of them that we can expect the British establishment to close ranks and protect the guilty. The absence of any organised, concerted official help for all the disorientated, traumatised families and individuals is a good example of neo-liberal Britain.
Cheap high rise blocks are human filing systems. Had Boris Johnson got his way and bought water canon to quell annoying proles it’s far from certain he’d have ordered the canon used to help put out the fire.
Somewhere in a lonely television studio, a journalist asked Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, if she’d prove to viewers that she was really human and not the automaton she appeared to be, the one that repeats vacuous slogans, and thinks Scotland a naughty child to be ignored.
May duly obliged, and admitted she’d shed a tear on seeing the results arriving of the smash and grab election she herself had called. Her tears were not for the dead of Grenfell Tower, or people living here for decades taken from their homes in the middle of the night and deported, or for anybody who had had their welfare withdrawn and committed suicide.
She cried a little because she was as grossly inept as a prime minister as she was a home secretary and a lot of people had noticed.
Back in the UK’s northern territory, sometimes referred to as Scotland, a group of smug, self-satisfied new Tory MPs posted tweets of their hard working day. Admiring crowds referred to in the tweets assembled to greet them were mysteriously few in number.
According to their tweets Tory MPs lead a hectic life. The list of visits to game fairs, raspberry farms, prosperous Perthshire businesses, and inevitable selfies with the right-wing fisherman’s union, tell us all we need to know about their priorities and prejudices.
“Here we are fighting Scotland’s corner”, they tweeted, gritting their private dental care implants, only to be told by their own party in London, Scotland will get nothing, nada, zilch, so for Christ’s sake, look as though you’re busy doing something in the community.
Hence, the plethora of photographs of grinning men in suits shaking hands with other grinning men in suits, and not a poor person in sight.
BBC Northern Ireland decided that the penis waving festivities of Loyalist marches and their attendant bonfires held all over blighted Northern Ireland make good wholesome entertainment for the masses. BBC duly devoted shameless hours to Orange antics. This is what the BBC like to call balance and objectivity.
BBC NI executives, accountable to MI6, must have decided that, since the DUP are now running the UK by proxy, it’s time to show their supporters in the best possible light. Just as the BBC are solely responsible for popularising the odious UKip and all its bigotry, hatred and violence are long overdue a make-over, a case of whitewashing orange extremists.
The photograph of one member with a swastika tattooed on his neck reinforced the general view that Propaganda Central should be shut down immediately, and only loveable old presenters such as David Attenborough or Monty Don allowed to continue broadcasting.
In another act of judicial balance an unemployed man was given six months for stealing a bottle of water in London, while a Unionist zealot was given praise for threatening to take up the gun and bullet should Scotland ever revert to self-governance.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined forces with Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones to fight the great land grab and extinguisher of human rights that is the Repeal Act.
The Act will effectively snatch all powers from the European Union and put them in the hands of Westminster, completely undermining the sovereignty of Scotland, its Treaty with England, and any fervent Welsh nationalist who thinks the plodding sentiment “Bread of Heaven” cringeworthy.
Sounded every inch owners of a shoe retailer chain, Sturgeon and Jones said:
“We have repeatedly tried to engage with the UK government on these matters and have put forward constructive proposals about how we can deliver an outcome which will protect the interests of all the nations in the UK, safeguard our economies and respect devolution. Regrettably, the bill does not do this. Instead, it is a naked power grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution and could destabilise our economies.”
The grandees of the Tory party fell on the their backs in hysterical laughter, amazed that no one had realised leaving Europe had the sole purpose of making England great again, Scotland and Wales a province, and Gibraltar a bargaining chip in the Craps game of life.
Earlier in the week, Boris Johnson was quoted as saying the EU could “go whistle” if it expected Britain to pay a hefty divorce bill. The cynical in Scotland were reminded of the threats by friendly England of death to all our first born when independence debaters dared suggest an autonomous Scotland need not accept any of the debts accrued by rUK.
Irony was everywhere, but most of all at Theresa May’s door as increasingly belligerent Remainers in her own party encircled her with nets and harpoons.
A candid shot of Tank Commander Ruth Davidson living it up in the Embra’s basement drinking dive, the Piano Bar, hit the internet. Bathed in a lurid red spotlight, the place had all the allure of Beelzebub’s kitchen.
At first I thought I was looking at the unfortunate gecko a nasty little oik chopped in a blender for amusement, but no, it was Rum Tum Tugger Ruthie cutting loose.
Had Nicola Sturgeon been caught gyrating with a bottle of booze in her gob, the shocked of Scotland, plus all the hacks, and all the Queen’s men, would gather around to disassemble her again. You can imagine the headlines: calls for her resignation adorning tabloid front pages: “Undignified Behaviour for a First Minister”. “Disgusting.” “Atrocious Example to Our Children.” BBC Radio’s ‘Call Kaye’ would mount two hours of inane open phone debates asking “Should a First Minister Get Pissed?”
Of course, Commander Ruth is given a free ride by the media despite being devoid of empathy for anything but her image. Her day job is almost wholly monopolised with plotting how to halt Scotland’s democratic progress, brightened here and there with the task of recruiting repulsive Loyalists she needs to accomplish the task of sedition.
Incidentally, but germane to the story, last time I drove by the Piano Bar at 2am in the morning a drunk was pissing down its steps, an age-old habit in Scotland’s capital, surely on the increase ever since the city voted ‘No’ to its own nationhood.
A television presenter who looks like a farmers wife, told the rest of us where to put our washing machines. A far as she’s concerned they’re unhygienic kept in a kitchen. Presumably keeping our toothbrushes next to the toilet bowl is also unhygienic.
Kirstie Allsop, daughter of a baron – and boy, does she sound like one – was shocked at the overwhelmingly negative response to her off-hand twitter of wisdom. “My life’s work is in part dedicated to getting washing machines out of the kitchen.”
Some people don’t have a washing machine or can’t afford one, that’s why there’s laundrettes. Some would like one, but their kitchen is too small. Others don’t have a home to put a washing machine in.
Television is crowded with self-appointed do-gooders telling the rest of us how to live our lives. They see life as a page from an Ideal Home’s magazine, perfect, tidy, with a bit of bought-in designer character. Kirstie Allsop thinks she inhabits such a page, when in reality she’s well on her way to becoming that infamous condescending home maker, the discredited American Martha Stewart.
Poor Kirstie’s leaving Twitter because of all the “abuse”, a glassy television celebrity who doesn’t like being told how to run her life.
“If it wasn’t clear to me from the Brexit referendum, it is very clear to me now that the British think the way we do things is the right way – better than anyone else’s.”
Well, yaa, Kirstie.
Slipping by almost unnoticed was the terrible news that the Kermit the Frog is to be given a new voice. Puppeteer Steve Whitmire who played Kermit for 27 years is devastated. For him it was easy being green.
I identified with Kermit very early in my arts career. Founder and first Artistic Director of Scotland’s National Theatre for new talent meant leading a life like Kermit, planning shows and musicals, juggling with big egos, bastard bureaucrats, and stroppy audiences. Kermit’s pleading voice is imprinted in my soul for evermore and a day.
Pitching for the job is Scotland’s own Kermit. Alex Salmond announced he’d booked a venue at the Fringe, the up-market Assembly Rooms, for an afternoon of political banter with guests and audience. Unleashed from the restraints of public office, Salmond is free to show his wicked sense of humour, his opinion of Donald Trump, and why anybody who writes off the movement to self-determination has their head in a bucket.
I’d get in line for a ticket now if I were a reader, sleeping bag and all, but I hope to interview the man after seeing the show and publish it here later. Roll up, roll up! See the man who thought Scotland should have the same rights as England! Marvel at the audacity, scream at the result.