Kick Up The Tabloids


Global events during the run-up to polling day, made for less press coverage of the Scottish Election. However, you have to hand it to Barrack Obama. As an opening gambit in a re-election campaign, taking out bin Laden certainly trumps Alex Salmond’s pledge to freeze council tax.

However, the result of the Holyrood elections was no less historic as the SNP swept to an overall majority, as the people of Scotland stuck two fingers up to all the other parties. We stuck two fingers up at Labour for their complacency. We stuck two fingers up at the Lib Dems for their treachery. And we stuck two fingers up at the Tories, because we like sticking two fingers up at the Tories.

It’s obvious that Scotland had two things to say. Firstly, that they cannot forgive the Lib Dems for the Westminster coalition, their share of the vote being on a par with the Monster Raving Loony Party. Secondly, the people of Scotland are also still saying “Iain Gray? Who he?”. The Labour leader ran an amazing campaign, traveling the length and breadth of Scotland for an entire month without once being recognised by a member of the public.

Even the demonstrator who confronted him in Glasgow Central Station was obviously a bit unsure as to who he was, as he was holding a placard demanding an end to Tory cuts, a cause I had thought Iain Gray shared. However, as history will record, he did not stoop to the easy response of debating the issues. No, he took the dignified option of running away and hiding in a sandwich shop.

I bumped into Iain Gray at Kinross services, when he was traveling up to Dundee for the leaders’ debate, and saw him receiving the toilet key from the woman behind the counter at WH Smith, who showed no flicker of recognition as she handed it over. Which pretty much summed the man up for me. Not only his anonymity but his lack of ambition. I’m all for a hands-on, man-of-the-people approach to campaigning, but anyone who aspires to be the leader of our nation should get someone else to fetch them the keys to the lavvy. Gray had pledged to create 250,000 new jobs if elected. And he ended up creating one new job. The trouble for him is that it’s his own job as leader of Scottish Labour.

So dramatic was the SNP’s victory that it even took the Royal Wedding and bin Laden off the front pages in England. While I found the outpouring of patriotic bollocks on Wedding Day deeply depressing, I was heartened by the attitude of the people of Glasgow, who decided to mark their day off by having a booze-fuelled rammy with the Polis in Kelvingrove Park. However, it did amaze me that people camped out overnight outside Westminster Abbey to get a view. Having said that, I’m going to camp out overnight outside Westminster Abbey so that I don’t miss a moment of Thatcher’s funeral.

Those who’d hoped to see bin Laden’s funeral were of course to be disappointed, as the US Navy Seals dumped his body in the sea. This sounds to me very much like “The dog ate my homework” and will only lead to conspiracy theories and reported sightings for years to come. Incidentally is it just me, or was anyone else confused when they heard that the World’s most wanted man had been killed by Seals ? I think the whole thing was a cunning plan by bin Laden himself, to publicise his back catalogue of videos being re-released on Blue-Ray.

However, I did think “A Royal Wedding and bin Laden’s killing in the same week, what’s happening that they don’t want us to know about?”. Perhaps they were trying to deflect attention from the AV referendum. I do think people were both apathetic and confused about the AV referendum. Some people thought they had two votes in the referendum and put 1 next to Yes, and 2 next to No.

It does seem a strange approach to voter apathy to give people who aren’t bothered about voting once the chance to vote several times. I think the public was even more confused by the role of celebrity transvestite Eddie Izzard as the face of the “Yes to AV” campaign. This merely added to people being confused as to what the letters AV actually stand for, as if we were having a poll about cross-dressing. Now had he been campaigning for Yes to the Transferable Vote, then there would have been widespread confusion.

Proportional representation, in whatever form, is never a fail-safe option. This year’s Scottish election is an example of a positive outcome for. However, it has in the past delivered a number of disastrous results. Hitler was elected by PR. More recently, it was PR which gave the Labour Party Ed Milliband. The Labour leader, or the other Millliband brother as most people know him, is to have an operation to cure him of his nasal speaking voice. This is caused by sleep apnea, which apparently causes him to wake up with a jolt in the middle of the night. I reckon the reason Ed Milliband wakes up with a jolt in the middle of the is that he’s still in a state of shock about winning the Labour leadership.