‘Boris and the Scarlett Sisterhood’ may sound like a late 80s goth-band from Walthamstow but it’s just a fragment of the now gushing diatribe of weirdness sweeping the media coverage of the election.
Trevor Kavanagh at the super soaraway Sun is less than pleased by the presence of Leanne Wood (‘socialist’), Nicola Sturgeon (‘doe-eyed’), Natalie Bennett (‘gurning’):
“In less than three weeks, if you believe the polls, this oddball coalition of Trots, socialists, anarchists and, until recently, obscure nationalists could be running Britain” he boomed incoherently (see ‘Sexism and red-baiting as the Sun warns of a ‘scarlet sisterhood’ of women leaders’.)
I don’t know who is supposed to be the closet anarchist amongst them but I don’t really think being First Minister qualifies as hiding in obscurity. Does it?
As the Anglo-British right now goes into some kind of catatonic state of anger, it’s like a competition to see who can be more mental. Trevor was doing well but clearly was out-weirded by Boris Johnson:
“You wouldn’t get Herod to run a baby farm, would you?,’ he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. ‘It would not normally occur to you to interview a convicted jewel thief for the post of custodian of the Tower of London. You would not dream of asking a fox to look after the henhouse or a temperance campaigner to run a brewery or Attila the Hun to work as a doorkeeper for the Roman senate. Any such course of action would be totally nuts. So can someone tell me why in the name of all that is holy there are some apparently rational people who are even contemplating the elevation of the Scottish Nationalist Party to a position of effective dominance in the government of the United Kingdom – an entity that they are sworn to destroy?”
And still they come. Not to be undone, the Tories wheel-out Norman Tebbit and Malcolm Rifkind, who, given his recent exposure in the cash for access scandal might have had the decency, or nous, to keep his marble-filled gob shut. Not a bit of it. In he stomped arguing that the SNP posed such an ‘existential threat’ that unusual tactics should be considered in next month’s general election.
Rifkind told LBC Radio that he would have to “think very hard” if he was still a Scottish voter about whether to support Labour or the Liberal Democrats at this election if it would keep out the SNP.
“Is there an alternative approach in the unique circumstances that’s going to be faced on May 7, is there an argument to try and stop the nationalists?” he said.
Giving a broad hint that he would abandon the Tories in Scotland if necessary, he said: “Whether I would do the same in those circumstances, I can’t say. One would have to think very hard in those circumstances.”
Think man! Think! Goddammit.
The trouble with such ruminations from lofty venal patricians like Rifkind is the world is going by as their grey-matter churns. Just as we thought he might be the well-connected mastermind to some co-ordinated strategy, up popped Norman Tebbitt (yes he’s still with us!) on Newsnight to rubbish such an approach telling the BBC that it was “pointless to irritate Scots just by shouting at them from Westminster”. Bit late Norman.
He told BBC2’s Newsnight that it appeared to imply that Conservatives in Scotland “should vote tactically for Labour as the lesser of two evils”.
Indeed. It does.
As the competition for election weirdness intensifies we have two further contenders. We won’t dwell too long on Chris Deerin’s idea that the use of a large font at the manifesto launch makes the SNP fascists. It’s his latest blethers in ‘Cap X’ – which is a wee blog that’s the far-right trying hard to be hip. He writes: “This aesthetic gigantism unavoidably gives pause for thought – there is something retro about it, suggesting the less edifying movements of 20th century Europe, with their palaces, monuments and arches. Might, scale, power – the language of nationalism.”
I don’t think we’ll ‘pause for thought’ too long Chris.
Perhaps more intriguing is the Wikileaks / Outlander / Indyref connection, a story that we assumed to be fiction till today.
Leaked emails show that David Cameron had met with Sony chiefs to delay the release of Outlander during the referendum lest we’d break out into a full-scale Tartan clad riot of pure separatism.
The email states: “From a SPE [Sony Pictures Entertainment] perspective, your meeting with Prime Minister Cameron on Monday will likely focus on our overall investment in the U.K. – with special emphasis on…the importance of OUTLANDER (i.e. particularly vis-à-vis the political issues in the U.K. as Scotland contemplates detachment this Fall).”
It’s such a sorry story, not least because it shows the fragility of the Cameron case. If the union is so good surely it can withstand a bout of Mills and Boon Highland romance? Apparently not.
Meanwhile, the Tories (blue variety) are intent on a sort of kamikaze-scorched earth campaign tactic by trying to terrify the English electorate about the prospect of the uber-reasonable Nicola exerting influence. Ian Bell in the Herald points out the obvious drawbacks to such an approach:
Michael Forsyth, Baron Forsyth of Drumlean, is more perceptive than his old boss. As he argues, talking up the SNP just to hurt Labour is one thing, and bad enough. It does Unionism generally no favours. But giving Scottish voters the idea that their participation in UK politics is conditional, that their choices can be ruled illegitimate if English nationalism is roused, will be lethal to the Union. Mr Cameron and those running his campaign don’t seem to mind. For some of us, that only confirms an opinion; for others, it will come as an education. This is where we stand in the Westminster scheme of things. So who wouldn’t want to see an end to an old confidence trick?
And so, in this mad election it turns it that Michael Forsyth is the sane one. That might be the craziest thing we’ve heard of.