POPE AND VAMPIRES IN SECTARIAN SCANDAL
Whilst the sighting of the first swallow of the year may suggest the start of spring, three events each year confirm that summer is finally upon us. These are: (1) The start of the round of summer rock festivals, signifying hedonism, peace and love. (2) Andy Murray’s exit from Wimbledon, signifying disappointment, frustration, Scottish under-achievement and the predictable nature of the headlines thought-up by tabloid sub-editors. (3) The Marching Season in Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland, signifying Neanderthal behaviour, religious bigotry and an over-consumption of Buckfast. (One can, of course, take in all three experiences in one by buying a ticket for T in the Park.)
This year, it was a little less predictable. Murray won at Queens and gave a pretty good account of himself at Wimbledon, losing gallantly in the semi-finals.
And this year’s Glastonbury Festival broke from all tradition, when David Cameron’s constituency chairman was found dead in the toilets. On hearing this, my first reaction was that there is nothing that this Tory government won’t do to appear hip and “down with the kids”.
However, on reflection, I realised that U2 and Coldplay had been headlining the Main Stage. Add that to a dead Tory in the lavvies and one is forced to ask: “Just how un-cool has Glastonbury become?”
But why was a Tory politician even attending a Festival which has always espoused peace and the alternative society? Controversial though it may seem as an opinion, I believe David Cameron’s policies suggest he is himself a pacifist at heart. What other Prime Minister has ever slashed defence spending when their country was fighting wars on three fronts?
Cameron started out by scrapping the Nimrod surveillance aircraft. It seems we no longer need surveillance now that we’ve caught bin Laden. Although, it would appear that the surveillance in Buchanan Galleries is still deemed essential. In other words, global terrorism has dropped down the list of public nuisances below shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.
Nimrod was scrapped because they no longer have enough money to run it. However, a replacement aircraft was commissioned, delivered, paid for and then scrapped. Furthermore, it cost money to scrap it. This is like going to the supermarket, filling up your trolley, paying for your goods at the check-out and then realising you’ve run out of cash, so you can’t afford the gas bill to cook any of it. So you then pay someone else to take your trolley round the shop and put everything back on the shelves.
Yet, at the same time as scrapping Nimrod the Government is commissioning a new aircraft carrier, but can’t afford the planes to go on it. So they scrap a plane that they can’t afford to run but go and buy an aircraft carrier when they can’t afford any planes.
This is like going to the supermarket, filling up your trolley, paying for your goods at the check-out and then realising you’ve run out of cash, so you can’t afford the gas bill to cook any of it. So you then pay someone else to take your trolley round the shop and put everything back on the shelves. You then going next door to the car showroom and take out a 10-year finance deal to buy a car that doesn’t have any seats.
Forget context, just who exactly is offended by someone making a sign of the cross? Two groups. Namely, Protestant Bigots and Vampires
There is no argument, however, that war is an expensive business. It is generally agreed that the Soviet economy went into meltdown in the 1980s because the Russians were attempting to fight a war in Afghanistan at the same time as hosting the Olympic Games. But then what government is ever going to be stupid enough to attempt that again?
Also, why fight abroad, when we’re busy enough fighting at home? This year’s Marching Season promises to be rather lively following the events of the last football season. In response to the upsurge in sectarian violence this spring, the Government brought a new anti-bigotry bill before Holyrood, yet wisely decided to postpone it for six months. This was smart thinking as the bill was well-intentioned in principal but flaky on detail.
Provocative Sectarian Behaviour could be punished by five years in prison. All well and good, but what constitutes Provocative Sectarian Behaviour? “Well,” waffled Roseanna Cunningham “in certain cases singing certain songs. And in certain cases, making the sign of the cross”.
Forget context, just who exactly is offended by someone making a sign of the cross? Two groups. Namely, Protestant Bigots and Vampires. It’s just as well this law had not been brought before the Scottish Parliament twelve months previously. Last September the Pope drove down Princes Street, making the sign of the cross to anyone who was in the general vicinity. A year down the line, he could potentially have been banged-up for a five-stretch in Saughton. And given the record of some of his colleagues, probably confined to the Beast Wing.
By the way, if there are any reported sightings of Annabel Goldie queuing for the toilets at T in the Park, we really will have entered a bizarre parallel universe.