Everyone is becoming edgy and kind of toe curlingly, stupidly nervous. The Tory Party sent their colonial fixer to the house of Carlaw sometime between the Covid-19 Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland and last night, and Unionism in Scotland, seems to have surrendered. Adam “Up the Republic… oops… no, up the Union…” Tompkins has waved the white flag once more, and the big unionist parties have gone to the Avatar Creation Department somewhere, and dipped a bag of plastic bones into the flesh bath. We will see Ruth Davidson avatars, Tony Blair avatars, and fuck knows what the Lib Dems will come up with after their last attempt as some cross breed between those two emerged from the machine and called itself Jo.
Ungagged, that deeply disappointing lefty website that seems to be hated by all sides in Scotland, has asked me to aid in its ailing fortunes and write on Scottish politics. The last time I covered Scotland in any seriousness, I woke up at the back of a mobile cinema on one or other of the islands. All I could remember was a poster for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the fact I had got married in a registry office in Bearsden the day before. I was quickly divorced, but remain a huge fan of Teri Garr.
I also remember an incident in a capacious penthouse suite, atop a Glasgow hotel with a youngish politician and a velvet glove. I note that Tommy Sheridan, a firebrand leftist who seems to have been imprisoned since I covered his rise back in 2001, is involved in some kind of split within a new party that has not yet been formally forged.
I also note that the drinks reception after the First Minister’s Questions yesterday, were attended by Scottish Press Corps who had criticised Sturgeonator, as some sci-fi fans like to call her. I feel her taking down leaders of London based parties makes her more of a Blade Runner, though. Each of these unstable, injudicious, schlemiel seem to have been time wasting walking; nay running Aunt Sallys. The difference, I suppose, being that the Artificial Intelligence in Philip K. Dick’s book were, well, intelligent. Apparently by the end of the evening, a journalist friend had to use his credit card to order in more booze from the local hotel he was staying in, ignoring the departure of caterers and the dousing of the patio lights, the bulk of the conversation centering on the fact that it was going to take a lot of money to pay off the fuckers who had made it their jobs to do the Tories bidding. I’m reminded of Saigon.
All of this is, of course, revision for my upcoming series on Scotland. A series I hope to publish as a book. There is a huge market in literature on the falling of the colonies. And is likely to keep me into old age, if these legs take me there. The weirdly framed “Gorgeous” George Galloway, had led the way in that kind of thing, though he follows up with a good dose of litigation. The man is unstoppable in creating failure, though that is, of course, in everyone else’s mind. He WILL save the Union, like no other pet of Rula Lenska ever has. I expect no one will bring up his past, or post those cringe worthy videos online.
I brought this assignment up with my Landlord – Pub, not flat. The latter Landlord is a Lord Stewart of San Toi. Back in 2013 he decided he was going to evict me, in order to turn my pad into flats. I dispatched a friend to stay with a Lady in Waiting to the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. I was not going to lose this shithole just because some cunt wanted to turn it into offices. To cut a long story short, we found that the building had enough of its 1730’s features to be listed. We gathered a petition of over a thousand drinking friends. The chairman of the Planning Committee said he’d never seen such a party in Westminster City Hall after a planning application was rejected. He was later found naked, wandering through Hyde Park with a bottle of sherry.
Anyway. Weatherall, my Pub Landlord reminded me of my contact in The Doublet in Glasgow. A journalist of ill repute, whose name I will change to “John Iain”. John Iain was absolutely crocked when I phoned, using the bar phone of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Our conversation went something like this…
Me: Hello “John Iain,” I hope you are well.
John Iain: [Gutteral, incoherent noises]. Fuck.
Me: John Iain, I’m thinking of flying up to cover the Scottish election, which I understand is already gathering apace…
John Iain: [More gutteral, inchoate sentences] Lave ut tae me!
Now, from that, I felt he was telling me, a representative of the London Press, to stay away. Apparently not. At around 1.45 this morning, Weatherall introduced me to a woman who had been inquiring after me. I had been asleep. This sudden tiredness comes over me, even when I am in the middle of something, and my right arm is still sore, as I had fallen asleep on the stool in front of the one armed bandit video machine thing, while feeding it pound coins.
Now all that ensued after this is far too depressing to confront professionally… I am, after all, Weatherall’s best customer. In fact my bar debt alone, has kept lockdown Soho, China Town and most of the dusty drinking halls of Fleet Street, Soho and Cromwell Road from liquidation. I appear on their accounts. New currency is printed on the promise of my paying the bills. Let’s just say that the news that a plane was awaiting my boarding in a little airfield somewhere outside Happisburgh, Norfolk sent my Landlord into spasms. The woman seemed truly frightened by his mood swing, and when Weatherall leaned in to grab her collar to evict her from the premises, she screamed, “I’LL LEAVE THIS HERE!” dropped a business card and ran from the Pub. Weatherall can be brutal. But he understands finance consummately.
So, I am not sure if I should take the advice of my friend in Glasgow’s West End drinking hole for Journalists. Should I phone his pilot friend and abscond to the Central Belt to report the comings and goings, mostly goings, of Unionist Political Leaders?
Today I took myself to the Scottish Pub, Boisdale of Belgravia, to size up the Scottish Westminster crowd. Here I found Joanna Cherry, blowing bubbles into her gin, through a straw. I asked her about her thoughts on Carlaw and all she wanted to do was compare the knives in her back, to his. Her’s were more numerous, and literate for that matter. She mumbled something about women who give politics a bad name. About someone who she says, “Represents the darker impulses of the Scottish spirit,” and her head fell on to the bar. I felt sorry for her and told her she would get a job on a newly signed up Daily Record. She mumbled, “my job is to kick those rat bastards out of the temple, and put our people in charge. We’ve nothing to lose but our income…” and she fell asleep.
My fellow Cheshire Cheese alcoholic, Superjam, came slithering through the doors. I felt I’d been caught in flagrante. Not since when Edna’s husband came home unexpectedly two years ago finding me sitting naked next to her on a chaise longue, had I felt such a traitorous shit. We grabbed a taxi back to the less tartaned Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. And here I sit.
Scottish politics is gearing up to be a horses eyeball of a challenge for the Tories, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. Horses have an eyeball shaped in such a way that makes humans seem six times their actual size. Scotland is a huge landmass, with a population that is a fraction of the size of London. But the way the political narrative plays out in the next couple of years, will see London totally consumed by Holyrood as the Covid-19 Prime Minister makes it his post-Brexit imperative. He won’t be the Tory Leader that breaks up the Union, I wager. He’ll be long gone as the country dive bombs into a Brexit black hole. The PM may well have delivered the destruction of the UK as a whole, but he is much too cowardly to attend hustings with the First Minister, who by all accounts grew up and worked the neeps fields in Ayrshire, barefoot.
“In dietary terms,” said Wodzak, “being shod is rather similar to cooking one’s feet, as opposed to barefoot being raw.”
Westminster is about to have it’s feet held to the fucking candle.