This is, indeed, a time of flux, political and otherwise. At the outset of 2014, who would have predicted that by the start of November, we would have new leaders of both Scottish Labour and the SNP, and that Hamilton Accies would be officially the best football team in Scotland. As Johann Lamont herself might have said ‘people in Hamilton are not genetically-programmed to being top of the league’. Similarly, the fall-out from the referendum could not have been predicted – especially a ‘no’ vote would lead to a trebling in membership of the SNP and to Labour’s poll-ratings nose-diving to a sixty-year low. And while Hamilton’s run as league leaders may have come to an end, the meltdown in Scottish Labour looks set to run and run.
While most polls have Labour in Scotland on between 24% and 26%, one (albeit possibly rogue) poll had the Tories ahead of Labour by 1%. So the ‘new’ Labour project, launched twenty years ago by Tony Blair has come full circle. Not only do they agree with the Tories on public spending, not only have they campaigned alongside them in the referendum, they have now also attained the same popularity with the people of Scotland.
While Johann Lamont may think we’re not genetically-programmed to take political decisions in Scotland, she did finally make a political decision of her own, by resigning. She quit complaining that the Labour Party was running Scotland as a branch office. I thought that was the whole point the referendum, in which she was so keen to tell us to vote ‘No’.
In fact, Johann has spent most of the last three years telling all of us that we are much better-off being told what to do by London, that we are all to wee and too stupid to run things ourselves. However, she suddenly objects when her own party leader thinks she is too wee and too stupid to run matters in Scotland. If Ed Miliband did indeed think that, who would disagree?
Let’s face it, if London Labour hadn’t treated Scotland as a ‘branch office’ and parachuted Gordon Brown into the ‘no’ campaign, at the last minute, it’s highly unlikely Johann would have won the referendum if she’d been left to her own devices. However, to prove that the Labour Party do listen to the people of Scotland, the early front-runner to be the next leader in Holyrood is Jim Murphy, who – of course does – not have a seat at Holyrood. Mind you, if we are to believe the polls, the chances are that he won’t have a seat at Westminster next May.
This autumn in Scotland, we were in the unusual position of being the focus of attention of broadcast media from across the globe. As a result, we may have been unaware of momentous events happening elsewhere. For example, in Denmark, the government announced that in 2015, they intend to make sex with animals illegal. Yes, you read that right. From 2015, it WILL be illegal to have sex with animals in Denmark. In other words, at the moment it is legal.
It seems that the Danish government are concerned about the effect of the current situation on their reputation internationally. And, as a major exporter of bacon, who can blame them? Last year, people got very upset about the idea that their beef products could contain traces of horse. That’s nothing compared with the media shit-storm you’d get if traces of human were found in pork.
Furthermore, the Danes were becoming concerned by a growing sex tourism industry. I’ve been to Denmark, and I can tell you that alcohol is hideously expensive. This paints two disturbing pictures. Namely, that there are people who are so desperate to shag a goat that they’ll go to a country where beer costs nine quid a pint, or that people are travelling to Denmark to shag goats while they’re sober.
A recent opinion poll suggested that 76% of Danes are in favour of the new law. In other words, twenty-four percent don’t want a change in the law. Seen from a Scottish perspective, this is quite disturbing. The percentage of the Danish population who think it’s OK to have sex with animals is broadly on a par with the percentage of the population of Scotland who are still intending to vote Labour. We truly do live in interesting times.
Vladimir McTavish will be hosting a new political comedy show at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh on Wednesday 19 November, The Stand in Glasgow on 22 December and The Stand in Edinburgh on 23 December. Further details on www.thestand.co.uk