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Not alright

My interest in politics began in my mid-teens; its principal stimuli were the Oxbridge satirists who populated ‘That Was the Week That Was’ (it’s over, let it go) and gave us Private Eye, when it was a fearless rag that gave fewer damns about consequences than it does today. They were never short of material, since those were the days of John Profumo, Stephen Ward, Christine Keeler, the days of the decline of SuperMac and the rise of Harold Wilson, a man so devoid of personality, to this young observer, that he had to hide behind a pipe and a Gannex raincoat to be noticed at all.

As a guy predicted during a debate in Glasgow University Union, my Granny’s budgie could have won the 1964 election for Labour and Wilson duly did.

The first political speech I can recall was on the telly, Hugh Gaitskell’s ferocious rounding on his opponents within his party. I didn’t a clue about the background, but I knew that he was taking no prisoners.

Since then I’ve heard more than a few, and some have stayed with me. My then boss, Frank McElhone, perplexing some of his 1970s audience by beginning, ‘As Lord Wheatley said to me last week,  “Behind every successful man, there stands an astonished mother-in-law”.’ (Most of you will have to research that one.) Maggie at Perth in 1982, when she finished the staged autocue stuff, put her arm on the lectern and told her audience exactly why we were going to war with Argentina. The same lady two years later, the day after the Brighton Bomb, with SAS guys in the gantry above her ready for action if necessary. Ted Heath, around the same time, giving a one-hour masterclass on European politics to a tiny audience in Glasgow, without a single note. Barack Obama’s first inaugural. Neil Kinnock’s disastrous ‘We’re alright!’ speech that sent John Major back to Downing Street and ended his own career in Westminster. Five minutes of inspiration by Michael Foot in Glasgow, followed, unfortunately by fifteen minutes of arrant raving nonsense.

I’ve heard a lot, but never, until last night, had I heard a politician apologising for his own presence, as our Prime Minister did in Aberdeen.

No Dave, you will not be here forever, but the problem is, you’re here now, and the likelihood is, you’ll be here for another five or six should you survive losing the Referendum vote, given that Ed Miliband is unelectable.

Separation, he told his affluent audience in Scotland’s oil city, would be a painful divorce. Wrong again DC; it won’t be a divorce at all. It will be the annulment of an arranged marriage.

Categories: Politics
  1. Montaltoman
    September 16, 2014 at 9:11 am

    A paradox, a paradox a most ingenious paradox. I was told at school I was damned good at questions and useless at answers. Help me QJ please. Aye or Naw? Utopia or Union? Shia or Sunni? Socialist Republic or Bonnie New King Charlie? (No I can manage that one myself)! Now the tangled web – Burns or Wilde? Tea or Coffee? Beans or Peas? Effin the Pope or Effin the Moderator of the Church of Scotland? (take the easy option if you are verbally impaired),Top or bottom fermented? Blended or single malt? A Glasgow tram conductor once blew my mind by instructing “C’mon Get Aff “. Oh I think I’ll just go and play golf – now which course? Tall Pines or Woodspring? Oh Jesus, Allah or Buddha do I need some help QJ ?

  2. September 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

    You have too much time on your hands. I do not. Google all these and leave me alone. Or find the easiest, flattest course and play it.

    • Montaltoman
      September 16, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Will do! I sincerely apologize for my intrusions and wish you well. Many thanks, a Fan.

      • September 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

        No, my apologies. Your ‘intrusions’ are witty and welcome. I meant it when I was too busy for a dialogue, that’s all. Mind you, that was good advice re the golf course.

  3. Lisa Scott
    September 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Morning! I watched Cameron give that speech last night and noted where he had chosen to give it i.e. a very financially rich part of a financially rich city in our wee country. I suspect his audience was chosen carefully. No hecklers present. I’d have given him a wee bit of credit had he taken himself to a venue where he could hear first hand the reasoning behind a “yes” vote from ordinary folk. I think less of him (although I did not think that possible) for not allowing himself to be part of the debate. Where is the leadership skills in what he has done? Where is his backbone?

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