Vladimir McTavish – A Kick Up the Tabloids

‘At least Liz the Lettuce waited until she had been elected party leader before she pressed the self-destruct button’.

I’m currently working in Australia, but even here we felt the shockwaves of Nicola Sturgeon’s departure. As we enter the post-Sturgeon era of Scottish politics, many are still in the dark as to why the First Minister resigned so abruptly. The real reason behind her decision may never be known.

Some readers of this publication will no doubt have an inside track on Sturgeon’s resignation. Was it because of the fall-out from the Gender Recognition Reform Act? Was it because of the endless trolling from TERFs or because of internal disputes over the direction of the indolence movement? Or was is it, after nine years in the job, nine years of daily vitriolic headlines in The Daily Mail and the Scottish Daily Express that she finally reached the conclusion ‘fuck this shit, I’ve had enough’. If she did, who can blame her?

I’m probably showing my age here, but the thing that strikes me most about the leading contenders is that they are both very young. Humza Yousaf is the same age as my youngest daughter but he’s a likeable bloke and, importantly, a fan of stand-up comedy. He was a regular front row member of the audience in a small gig in Dundee and was always very enthusiastic in his enjoyment of the show. So he obviously enjoys a laugh. Kate Forbes, on the other hand, might enjoy a bit of a laugh, but only ‘a bit’ of a laugh, provided that the laughter only occurs before eleven thirty on a Saturday night and after eight o’clock on a Monday morning.

Front page of newspaper

While Humza may be young Forbes is even younger, but holds views that belong in a previous century. Some of her opinions even my granny would have considered out-of-date. My granny who was a regular church-goer and died in 1968, in case you’re wondering. It is somewhat sobering, no pun intended, to think that the next leader of the SNP could be more socially reactionary than Ruth Davidson.

The idea of a member of the Free Kirk running the country is not worth contemplating. But it has to be contemplated now that Forbes has thrown her hat into the ring. It would not only be damaging to the SNP, but also to the entire independence movement. What would a Scotland run by Kate Forbes look like? I can tell you, it would look like Dingwall in 1958.

There would be no gay marriage, and probably no gay anything else for that matter. There would be no shops open on Sunday, no Sunday football and no Sunday newspapers. Pubs would shut at 10pm and not be open on Sunday. Hanging out washing on Sunday would be made illegal. There would be no Sunday television, not even Songs Of Praise as singing in church is a heathen activity. That is not to say we would not be allowed to do anything on Sundays. There would still be a myriad of options such as going to church, reading the bible, taking a walk and praying. And, in exceptional circumstances, going to the toilet, provided you did so without making any noise.

Kate Forbes is, of course, free to express her views, but those views look likely to scupper her political ambition. I’m guessing that Forbes also disagrees with assisted suicide. Indeed, she appears to disagree with it so enthusiastically that she decided to kill off her own leadership campaign without any assistance from anyone else. Her statements on same-sex marriage on day one of her campaign made me think she had herself had decided ‘fuck this shit, I’ve had enough’ before the leadership contest even got under way. This is the second act of political hari-kari to have happened in the last six months, after the spectacular implosion of Liz Truss back in October. But at least Liz The Lettuce waited until she had been elected party leader before she pressed the self-destruct button.

There is little doubt that this is a bumpy stretch on the road to independence. However, the movement is bigger than any individual. And Unionists should not get too cocky about claiming the game is over. A hundred Rangers fans dancing a conga around George Square does not represent a sea change in public opinion.

Vladimir McTavish is appearing at Glasgow International Comedy Festival on Sunday 26th March