Brollies up, ladies and gents, as we prepare to be sprayed with more immature ordure in the baby of parliaments, the numpty nursery, the kindergarten of cack. Actually, I do a disservice to many MSPs with these childish ascriptions. But, speaking personally, I can’t wait for the summer holidays. The toll of hearing retold porkies, unabashed hypocrisy, and hateful claptrap has been heavy on my soul.
I turned up at the national nuthouse, expecting the usual text: “You control nothing, Salmond, but it’s still all your fault.” The SNP, always tactically bonkers, never point out the asburdity of this, instead committing the hideous error of trying to convince everyone that they are indeed in control of the country, and that they’re doing a good job in their suits and everything. They’re as much in control of Scotland as Peru is of the European Union.
Labour leader Elmer Fudd, rebranded from Iain Gray, waddled into the chamber like a hamstrung llama and offered the following hee-haw: “What would the First Minister think of a Government organisation which plans to spend £0.5 million on a ‘visual identity transition’?” Eh? Well, this at least was something different.
First Minister Eck Salmond, known to himself as Leader of All Scotia, replied in a tired voice that he was sure Mr Fudd was going to explain “to a startled chamber” what this meant.
Mr F did just that: a “visual identity transition” was quango-speak for a £0.5 million name-change for a youth employment organisation, Skills Development Scotland, which was now going to be called – wait for it – Scotland: The Works. Gordon H. Bennett. Asked Elmer: “Why are they wasting our money on this?” Good question.
Eck declined to answer it, but took the opportunity to point out that SDS, or S the W as I suppose we must now call it, had exceeded its target of 20,000 new apprenticeships.
Fudd said the organisation was also planning to spend £1.68 million on a “marketing and brand migration plan”. Greeugh! What awful “mumbo-jumbo”, as the leading Fuddite correctly called it, adding: “Let’s not forget that this is the organisation that booked Paul McKenna for unemployed youngsters. Maybe they’re going to get him back to hypnotise the First Eck into handing this cash over.”
Retorted Eck: “Can I just say to Elmer Fudd that the Paul McKenna joke was not very effective the first time he told it some months ago. It’s less effective now that it’s been recycled.”
Maybe so, but I was with Fudd on this. Branding, rebranding and so forth was the leitmotif of the New Labour era. Now the New Nats are at it, and there’s just nae need. I don’t know if the Eck knew much about this instance but, if not, he should do his nut and cancel the whole ridiculous exercise.
Apart from anything else, how does it always cost so much just to change some headed notepaper and the sign above the door? Nonsense, all of it and – at a time of cuts – criminal nonsense.
After their traditional general election massacre in Scotland, the Tories are thinking of rebranding – disguising more like – themselves. Name-changes might included The Scotch Persons’ Party, Patriots for Powerlessness or, with respect to deputy leader Murdo Fraser’s mad outburst the other day, Spirit of Bannockburn. The last named needn’t be a problem. Most of their members will assume it celebrates Edward II.
Twin-set diva Annabel Goldie, in a refreshing change for Holyrood, sought not to blame Britland’s economic woe on Eck, calling it instead “Labour’s mess”. But the Tory leader asked of the top Nat: “What is he going to cut and when is he going to cut it?” Oh, they love cutting, your Tories do. Can’t wait.
Eck said an independent review was under way, but added that manically slashing and burning right away was not the way forward.
Annabel, with a machete stuffed in her suspender belt, was not impressed, saying: “The First Eck is like a man who refuses to fix a dripping tap then wonders why the house is flooded.” Plumbing the depths there, gal.
Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott said the SNP Government, “backed by the Tories” (loud laughter, given the irony of a Lib Dem making such an accusation), were limiting the measures needed to tackle climate change.
Eck said the target of a 40 per cent reduction in harmful emissions by 2020 had been agreed by the whole Parliament, and compared with 34 per cent set by Westminster, where the Lib Dems now had so much influence.
Tavish: “But Mr Eck is not in charge of the UK.” Not yet anyway.
Sarah Boyack (Lab) got on her green rocking horse to call for the boiler scrappage scheme to be extended, prompting Eck to express confusion at some Labour representatives (Baker, R., Kerr, A., and McNulty, D.) calling for cuts to be implemented immediately, while others were forever demanding increased spending on this, that and, arguably, the other.
Pauline McNeill (Lab) demanded the implementation of proposals from the Calman Commission, which considered with a half-open mind every constitutional option except independence – making it the Calman Omission – and whose recommendations may now include Scotia having control over drink-driving. Well, whoop-de-doo.
Oh, and there was some kind of income tax scam. Said Pauline: “If the First Minister continues to reject the principle of devolving tax powers” – loud laughter – “does he not miss making this Parliament accountable for what it spends?”
The Nat laughter concerned the Lib Dem-style divergence between Labour in London (Labour Lite) and its boorish Scottish branch (Labour Lout). Eck pointed oot that, when in power, the UK Labour Government had rejected nine of the 23 Calman proposals, many dealing with finance, and had stopped, for example, Scotland getting 50 per cent of the proceeds from tax on dividends and savings.
Sandra White (SNP), who missed her true vocation as a launderette manageress, said the general election results showed Scotland and England were two different countries. Well spotted, San. The only way to a fairer society, she said, was to get an independent Scotland. Can’t argue with that. Unless, of course, you’re Scottish and, by definition therefore, a total arsehead.
Eck said it would be good if Scots could get the Government they voted for instead of one that other people voted for. Er, didn’t the Scots – see definition of arsehead above – vote Labour?
Hugh O’Donnell (Lib Dem), addressing the subject of violence against teachers, said of Eck: “I’m sure he would agree with me that even just shouting can be a form of abuse in any workplace.”
I think this was aimed at Eck, who turned it on its heid, assuming Hugh was attacking the Labour benches “for shouting during First Minister’s Questions”.
Actually, apart from Karen Whitefield, aged four and a half, and the usual harpies – and, unusually, Patricia Ferguson – they were a bit quieter than usual. I don’t know if someone had had a word. Certainly, I noticed Karen nervously looking towards the presiding orifice, Alex “Hercules” Fergusson, every now and again. It reminded me of the way Manchester United players look nervously towards their own Alex Ferguson, whenever they’ve muffed a chance. I wonder if Parliament’s manager fancies loaning our own Wean Looney to England for the World Cup?