Tuesday 22 December 2020

He's behind you (and behind everyone else as well)


This time of the year is traditionally panto season. The theatres may be closed, and the professional actors furloughed, ‘resting’, or looking for alternative employment, but as the saying goes, ‘the show must go on’. We just need to look elsewhere for it. One of the more well-known pantomime characters is Wishee-Washee, although many know him less affectionately as Keir Starmer, a knight of the realm and scourge of the Scots. Fresh from his triumphant demand for “strong, clear and decisive leadership” during the pandemic (why he would lay down criteria which so definitively exclude himself as well as Boris Johnson is beyond the scope of this post), he’s ventured into the Neverland of federalism which has seen so many of his Scottish colleagues join the brigade of lost boys.

In evolutionary terms, a dinosaur on auto-repeat in hot pursuit of the federal fairy (aka Tinkerbell) is almost as useful as (or, to use the corollary, marginally less useful than) a crocodile which has swallowed a clock, so step forward Gordon Brown. He has apparently been closely advising Wishee-Washee on what to say, and that advice – given how effective and useful it’s been over the last ten years – has inexplicably been taken by Wishee. The result is that his grand plan to save the union, which Wishee passionately desires for reasons which he can’t adequately explain (but which don’t matter anyway in the magic of Neverland), amounts to a proposal not to have a strong, clear, or decisive policy himself but to set up a commission under the tutelage of the crocodile to tour the realm and find out what other people think before deciding what he may or may not think.

Thereafter, and always providing that the commission comes up with the right answer – the responsibility for ensuring said answer has been devolved to the crocodile, but can be withdrawn at any time as befits a devolved power – he will promise that, in the unlikely event that he wins the next election, he will implement further devolution of powers to Scotland. Wales is largely considered irrelevant because it’s in a different pantomime; and anyway Nobby the Panda Drakeford (a non-speaking role) has managed to ensure that the peasantry still vote for the ‘right’ party here. The probability that any commission advised by either a crocodile or a dinosaur will come up with concrete answers to the key questions about how devolution can be made irreversible whilst characters such as Abanazar Johnson stalk the land, and how any federal or quasi-federal system can deal with the fact that one of the member states has 85% of the population, power, and wealth is low. But it is a fairy-tale, remember. And it’s a fairy tale with a purpose – the prime objective is to provide an apparently rational basis for Wishee to agree with Abanazar that the Scots should be denied a vote on their own future whilst the commission take a few years to come up with a non-answer to the wrong question.

In a good pantomime, the villain always loses in the end, and the hero wins. It’s interesting to note that one of the best-known pantomime heroes, Peter Pan, is usually played by a petite adult woman. I’m sure the Scots can think of someone suitable for the role. And as long as life imitates art (and it usually does), the outcome is assured.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Peter Pan is at risk of losing her/his halo in all this. Long before she unmasked herself at a wake ( why do people bother with such ghastly events in these days of transmission?) she was already accumulating negative scores due to the divisive adoption of an overly enthusiastic stance on the gender identity/transgender ishoo. 2021 promises to be a big year for Scotland but could be undone by wearing the blinkers ( not the mask). And blinkers inhibit the ability to see a threat approaching from the blind side. Hope she wakes up in time.