Mr Fudd, who adopted the pseudonym “Iain Gray” to sound more dynamic and interesting, accused the Scottish Government of not acting urgently enough on funding for higher education. He wanted an urgent review or an urgent committee or something. Something that of itself negates urgency.
First Minister Ecksworth Salmond said the timeline was the same as that south of the Border and that, in the meantime, his administration was looking for a “Scottish solution”. A Scottish solution? Surely, that would mean giving England all our resources and then being called subsidy junkies when they give us a fraction of these back? That’s the solution most Scots seem happy with.
Never mind. Eck reminded the charismatic leader of the Popular Fuddite Front that the cuts currently being planned by the coalition in London were started by that hero of the people, Lord Mandelson (Lab).
This point of information brought the usual seated fits from the batty bauchles on the Labour benches, the air turning damp with bile and spittle, two words that they should translate into Latin and put upon their party crest. The other day, I wondered what these bauchles do with salaries of 50-odd thousand a year, and got a picture of one of them leaving Aldi with a bag of oven chips the size of a car. But I digress.
Eck noted: “I see the Labour members shaking their heads.” It is their cranial default position. Theoretically, you could keep pointing out the cuts they’d planned themselves and their heads would eventually shake clean off.
Fudd, however, admired the brisk efficiency with which Englandshire had come up with a solution (“Kill the poor! Cut everything!”). In his book, it’s not so much what you do but how quickly you do it. Here was a man in a hurry. A man, too, with a fine grasp of economics. He wanted £1.7 billion of additional spending at a time when the Scottish budget was being cut by £1.3 billion. Presumably, he wants the Nats to look behind the couch. Certainly, no other source for this largesse was adduced.
Fudd made a fine allusion to education minister Michael Russell taking “a leisurely stroll through ideas”, and added perspicaciously: “You would almost think that the First Minister knew it would be someone else’s problem by [next year].” Cynical fellow, and you’d be tempted to think he might have a point, if it weren’t for his track-record of talking total tosh the rest of the time.
Eck said, fair enough, if you’ve a solution, Comrade Fudd, let’s hear it. The silence was deafening, though Elmer mimed histrionically, his mooth twisting into grimaces, while his peculiar eyes sparkled like cheap fireworks. Eck tried to help him out, with a reminder of the Labour leader’s previous solutions: raise council tax; don’t raise council tax; raise council tax but put a cap on it. Up, down, up a bit. Anyone remember The Golden Shot on telly?
Eck reminded Fudd that he had another golden shot: “Now, he has got one more question. Maybe he will give us a wee inkling of what his policy is.”
Elmer looked about his person for a wee inkling (and we all thought: “Try the trousers!”) before replying lamely: “That’s right, I’ve got one more question because this is First Minister’s Questions.” I could see Karen Whitefield (Lab), aged 4 and a half, struggling with the logic. The question, Elmer said, was: what is the answer? To be honest, I was getting a bit fogged now too, particularly when Elmer added: “Of course, if he had one, we wouldn’t believe it anyway.” I think this is what is called constructive opposition.
The previous night, he added, Ecksworth had reminded his audience, at a do to celebrate the Reformation, that our universities had been founded by papal bull. “Now, they’re being jeopardised by Alex Salmond’s bull.”
Whoa, there! That John Bullshit came perilously close to being unparliamentary language. I could see presiding orifice Alex “Hercules” Fergusson looking up the index of standing orders for bovine excreta.
The First Eck retorted: “Well, I tell you, if Elmer Fudd is going to become a statesman” – security guards raised their brollies for the predictable mouth-foaming from the Labour benches – “then he will have to recognise that it’s best not to telegraph his jokes so far in advance.”
True, you could imagine Elmer sitting up all evening working on that one. He probably sat grim-faced – at a do to celebrate the Reformation, of all things – scribbling notes from his thought processes on his napkin: “Bull? Something with horns. Of a dilemma. Or cow. Say he’s a silly cow. Salmond’s a silly cow. Cow doesn’t begin with s. Shame. No alliteration. No shit. Salmond’s a silly shit. Can’t say that. Salmond’s a silly bull. Bullshit! Got it! ” An evil grin spreads across his face, as he thinks: “That’ll get them laughing in the gallery.” Nope.
Scarlet-clad temptress Annabel Goldie is usually good for a laugh, but yesterday the Tory leader was greetin’ aboot a Euro-directive to give prisoners the vote. She asked Eck what he thought of that. Eck said that, as he understood matters, it was the Conservative government in Londonshire that was framing the legislation.
Annabel looked baffled by this intelligence. She shrieked: “The Prime Minister said yesterday that the prospect of votes for prisoners was sickening. He said it made him physically ill.” Yes, apparently he was unable to finish his caviare. Still managed the oven chips, right enough.
As for Eck, Annabel averred he didn’t want prisoners in prison in the first place. “He wants convicts in the community, and you can just see him outside our Scottish jails, brandishing his placard: ‘Freedom! Vote SNP for a soft-touch Scotland!’” Ha, nice one, Auntie Bella.
Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott crooned “Fly me to Dunoon”, as he lamented the lack of a ferry for the quaint nuclear resort. And whose fault was that? Salmond’s, of course! Eck said the matter was being looked at, but wondered, given Lib Dem support for the London coalition’s cuts, how they could continue their traditional tactic in Scotland of asking for additional spending on everything.
Tavish shot back: “I’m not asking for more money.” Ooops: manna from Heaven for Ecksworth. Rubbing his hands with glee, he averred: “Let me welcome this self-imposed declaration that Tavish Scott is not going to ask the Scottish Government for more money in his questions.”
He added: “I intend to hold him to that … and the next time he stands up and asks for more money … I’m going to ring a bell and tell him he’s out of order.”
Yup, folks, from now on it’s ding-dong merrily on high spending.