These are getting so numerous now we needed a place to keep track.
And this one might just take the entire cake stand and banana hanger.
It’s former Tory MP and junior minister Edwina Currie, speaking about someone called “Alex Salmon” on Radio 5’s Stephen Nolan show on Saturday. (From 2h 16m on that iPlayer link.) We do recommend listening to all six-and-a-half minutes. It sets a very high standard from the off, but somehow maintains it the whole way through. Enjoy.
A stunning piece in the Telegraph eventually ran away with the vote in our British Loony Of The Week poll at the weekend. But what we didn’t realise at the time was that we were in fact only conducting the first semi-final. We’ve got two more absolute crackers for you to enjoy today.
As our Twitter followers will know, we’ve experimentally decided to reserve Saturdays for light-hearted comic banter, as a bit of relief from the serious business of politics.
Of course, this week politics has been so absurd – from “Better Together” deciding it was Better Apart to Gordon Brown promising Scots that if they vote No he’d increase their taxes and send the money to England, and the still-ongoing Faragemageddon – that it hardly seems necessary, but we’ll stick with the plan.
With that in mind, then, it’s time for… British Loony Of The Week!
We’ve spoken before on this site about a couple of political concepts based around different ways of winning votes by bombarding the electorate with untruths so relentlessly that they come to be accepted as fact.
One of them, the “Big Lie”, was a term infamously coined by Hitler to describe a strategy regularly deployed by the Nazis in which a falsehood would be perpetrated which was so diametrically and spectacularly at odds with the reality, people would instinctively reject the thought that anyone would have the bare-faced audacity to say it if it wasn’t true, and therefore it must be.
Language needs some kind of brand new term, though, to accurately encapsulate the magnitude of what Scottish Labour have just tried to pull off.
Your jaw just drops sometimes at the sheer cheek of it.
“I am pleased that this impartial body has […] rejected the nationalist attempts to silence their opponents by setting spending limits that would have given them an unfair advantage.” – No campaign leader Alistair Darling, in a post on the “Better Together” site today.
Remember: the “nationalists” wanted to let the No campaign spend £250,000 more than the Yes campaign – a funny kind of “silencing” and a quite unusual definition of “advantage”, let alone “unfair”. Instead, the Electoral Commission has recommended that the Yes campaign be allowed to spend more than its opponents. We’re trying for all we’re worth to work out why Mr Darling considers that a victory.
For goodness’ sake. Despite believing we’d laid the issue to rest once and for all, we’re STILL getting comments and tweets from readers who haven’t grasped Alistair Darling’s simple, straightforward explanation of whether Scotland’s decision in the independence referendum would be irreversible and forever, or whether we would instead quickly and inevitably find ourselves back in the Union.
Since you clearly found our previous quotes from the “Better Together” chairman inexplicably ambiguous, we’ve gone back and found a couple more from the same interview that should DEFINITELY clear things up.
We must admit, we thought Ian Davidson would be a shoo-in for this particular award after his unforgettable implosion on Newsnight Scotland in August. But then we read something twice as mad and half as comprehensible. It was a piece from STV News in October, based on some comments by unfortunately-named Scottish Labour “deputy” leader and hereditary MP Anas Sarwar. We’ve read it eight or nine times now, and we still have genuinely not the slightest clue what he’s wittering on about.
We’re going to step through it line-by-line and see if we can get it to make any sense. Feel free to join in if you’ve got any ideas, because we’re stumped.
This is what our dear old pal, the arch-loyal true-believer Scottish Labour activist Duncan Hothersall, appears to believe happened (or rather, didn’t happen) yesterday:
This is what actually did happen:
“Alex Salmond is quick to point to the high levels of welfare in Scandinavia but those universal benefits are paid for by high levels of taxation. Scotland cannot be the only something for nothing country in the world. And I will not tolerate a country where the poorest pay for the tax breaks for the rich.”
– Johann Lamont, 25 September 2012
We’re trying really hard, but for the life of us we can’t formulate an interpretation of those words that ISN’T saying universal benefits in Scotland are “something for nothing”, and that DOESN’T attack them on the grounds that they represent a subsidy of the rich by the poor. Can any keen students of doublethink help us out?
You tend to expect legal professionals to be a bit more careful with their words than this. Over the last few days we’ve been documenting the bizarre mental collapse of staunch Scottish Labour activist Ian Smart, a practising solicitor from Cumbernauld who’s managed to arrive at the conclusion that there won’t be an independence referendum at all, but if there is and there’s a Yes vote then Scotland will almost instantly degenerate into a poverty-stricken fascist dictatorship with no elections, 100% unemployment, compulsory Gaelic in schools and cannibalism in the streets.
We don’t plan to carry on doing so beyond today, because right now it’s starting to feel like laughing at a car crash while the fire brigade are still frantically trying to saw bodies out before the petrol tank goes up. But the extraordinary breakdown Mr Smart suffered late last night on his Twitter account isn’t an isolated incident among Labour figures at the moment, and we’re a bit worried there could be a toxic leak of some sort in the water system at John Smith House which might harm innocent visitors.
We’re quite cynical folks, especially when it comes to Scottish Labour. We expect little from them, although even then we’re still sometimes surprised. But a couple of pieces today from two of the Scottish party’s most prominent – well, let’s use the word “thinkers” and keep things civil – raised our eyebrows good and proper.