There's always been one thing missing from the world of state visits: the yearning tones of Charles Aznavour. Last week David Cameron finally put that right.
Xi may be the face I can't forget
Disgrace the voters will regret
When people notice what a price they have to pay
Xi may be the Queen's new special friend
Inward investment without end
And, since it's best not to offend
I must be careful what I say
Xi may build a flagship nuclear plant
Or an obscene white elephant
On terms that mean your household budgets feel the heat
Xi may prove a costly man to please
Renewables are on their knees
Because we've slashed their subsidies
To keep him sweet
Xi, whose reputation can't be seen to fail
Whose enemies are swiftly thrown in jail
No-one's allowed to hear their shrill protest
Xi, who if you wave a 'Free Tibet' placard
Deploys his goons to hit you good and hard
That's the leadership I love the best
Xi may dump his bargain-basement steel
While Cambuslang and Scunthorpe squeal
Without a pang of sorrow anyone can see
Me, I'll take his piles of tainted cash
For all my pervy chums to stash
While you lot face austerity
My sugar daddy will be
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Mibbe she’s guilty,
Legally or morally,
Or mibbe she’s no’.
Thought you might like a summary of the Michelle Thomson affair in haiku form. Just for a teensy-weensy bit of variation after the media’s non-stop drone assault of the last three weeks. God, I knew they were biased, but I didn’t suspect they’d try to bore us into submission. Do they realise the latest YouGov poll is screaming at them that this approach isn’t working, or is there a longer-term plan to dissolve our brains with repetitive drivel?
Gary Robertson, who’d be a baby-faced assassin if he weren’t two syllables short, was the latest to crank the well-worn handle on Friday morning. With SNP membership at its highest ever (despite, in shock news for UKOK zoomer Adam Tomkins, other parties being available), the conference buzzing and feisty delegates limbering up to tweak the leadership’s nose on land reform, Gaz still managed to waste 40% of his Good Morning Scotland interview with Nicola Sturgeon on what she knew about Thomson, when she knew it and why she endorsed her instead of melting her with a death stare.
Hi, Gary, welcome back to the remedial class. Some of the following words have more than one syllable, so this may hurt a bit. Bit of background to start with. As you may have spotted, Jockistan’s temerity in electing 56 fewer Unionist stooges than its cereal-packet instructions dictated has set the Establishment’s hackles bristling like a giant lavvy brush.
Such is the panic that GCHQ has invoked the emergency “National Anthem protocol”, demanding that sedition be hushed and rebellious Scots crushed. Unfortunately Fluffy Mundell is a piss-poor substitute for Marshal Wade, unless the intention is to bleat us all to death, so step forward Plan B: discredit the SNP at all costs, before those uppity North Brits banjax everything by giving them a second majority in Holyrood.
Accordingly, an informal cabal of Unionist ne’er-do-wells has spent the summer rummaging through the SNP’s bins, nostrils twitching at anything with weapons-grade whiff potential. Now, here’s a wee question. How did it take them a gobsmacking four months to come up with anything on Michelle Thomson, whom the Ashley Madison smearette, reading between the lines, had already identified as someone with serious enemies?
Either the witch-hunters have the brains of a chipolata, or Ms Thomson’s alleged wrongdoing wasn’t as flamin’ obvious at selection time as some unctuous castigators of the SNP’s candidate vetting procedures would have you believe. (Yes, I refer to Jackie Baillie, who if hypocritical bollocks could drive a turbine would single-handedly revolutionise Scotland’s renewables prospects overnight.)
In that light, it’s overwhelmingly likely that all Nicola knew about Michelle when she endorsed her was that she was prominent in Business for Scotland, ran a property company and, since she didn’t come across as a complete numpty, was probably aiming to make profits. Furthermore, ladies and gentlemen of the trial-by-media lynch mob, it remains possible that Ms Thomson herself wouldn’t have gone beyond that assessment. You’ll search in vain on her LinkedIn profile for anything that says, “Wicked Witch of the West, cackling hoarsely as she dances through the ruins of gullible householders’ dreams”.
As to whether she, or indeed anyone, broke the law, I don’t have a scooby, and nor does grinning Gary or sanctimonious space-hopper Jackie. But, in truth, the last thing the baying mob wants is for her to be found guilty of a crime. It would introduce certainty, always a bugger for those who profit from chaos, and after the obligatory flash-fire of embarrassment Nicola would simply push her under a fleet of buses packed with children singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam and the SNP would step gaily into the healing process.
The morality issue, now the main focus of opposition chuntering, is harder to pin down. That’s largely because of the guff-riddled smokescreen the Herald has been farting out on a daily basis, in pusillanimous attempts to tarnish Business for Scotland, Ivan McKee, the Law Society and just about any SNP figure who’s ever bought a house that’s subsequently risen in value.
Now, the Herald has been skating tipsily on the edge for years, but this collapse into bampottery is hair-raising even by its lamentable standards. Did Michelle once wheedle Magnus Gardham into accepting 50p and a book of luncheon vouchers for a maisonette she subsequently flogged to Donald Trump for a million? You honestly have to wonder.
It seems clear that the Thomson strategy included picking up bargains from mortgage-throttled home owners desperate to chuck it in and start again. You could argue that that's a vital component of the financial eco-system, and profit margins visible from outer space simply reflect the balance of risk and reward, but it’s a difficult case to make without sounding ever so slightly like an automaton. What if the SNP, driven by enough of its 114,121 consciences, were to propose radical reform of said financial eco-system? Would Michelle blithely vote for that, then invite all her chums round to toast marshmallows in the flames enveloping their business model?
On the other hand, it’s odd that Michelle’s alleged “victims” spent five years somehow failing to notice they’d been ripped off, before the media’s serpentine whispers gave them a crash course in disgruntlement. And, if she’s so patently guilty, why did her accusers need to sex up the evidence against her by taking some vaguely aspirational froth from her company web site and wrenching it mercilessly out of context until she looked like Cruella de Ville’s twisted sister? When Ruth Davidson goes into full indignation mode at First Minister’s Questions, with a face like fizz, it’s a dead giveaway that the underlying argument is pish.
Perhaps the SNP should take it as a compliment that they’re being held to such high standards by Labour, who have just ennobled a convicted pyromaniac, and the Tories, who still employ double-dealing shape-shifter Grant Shapps in a senior role, and the Lib Dems, who’ve got not only the over-promoted buffoon Carmichael, but a gallery of grotesque weirdos going back to Jeremy Thorpe and beyond.
Michelle, scandale, sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble. So the smearathon grinds inexorably on, with truth and due process lying dazed in the gutter, wondering what’s just clobbered them.
Meanwhile the world turns, and the voters yawn, scratch their nether parts and continue waiting patiently for May 2016, when they’ll vote the way they’ve been planning to all along.