According to some, the Queen’s Jubilee is a ‘once in a lifetime experience.’ This doesn’t make much sense unless you happen to be nine. I might not remember much about the Golden Jubilee of 2002 or the Silver Jubilee of 1977 and, for the same reason (I have a limitless capacity for zoning out), I won’t remember much about the Diamond Jubilee of 2012 in about a week’s time either. But that’s not to say they didn’t happen.
You might think a country in chronic economic decline shouldn’t be celebrating one lucky individual’s 60 years of privilege. But personally I’m agnostic about the monarchy in that I don’t care whether we dispense with them now or dispense with them later.
The toadying in the UK capital has been wall-to-wall. David Cameron led the way, requiring a new sycophancy scale after his tribute to the Queen broke all previous records. But in Scotland, with just a reported 100 street closures compared to 10,000 in England, most marked the Diamond Jubilee by trying to avoid it, choosing to go mountain-climbing or pot-holing in the hope of finding rarefied BBC-free air.
However, the Diamond Jubilee gave Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council, or the Orange Order as they’re now known, an opportunity to cement their love-in with the bowler-hatted. Council leader and Lodge-Appeaser-General Gordon Matheson, still classy, had already granted 22 different Orange Walks in Glasgow for the Jubilee weekend, which didn’t leave an awful lot of room for normal people. But the Grand-Orange-Botherer went one further by using taxpayers’ money to fund Lodge-organised street parties to honour Her Majesty.
A council spokesman said the money was provided “on the basis that the events are in public places and anyone can attend,” implying that inclusiveness was a key issue. When I suggested on Twitter that Glasgow residents attend dressed in green to test the parties’ inclusiveness, the general consensus was that, in the interests of public safety, this was not advisable. Glasgow City Council – pure quality.
Orange in an altogether different way, Tommy Sheridan has also been in the news. His brief incarceration ushered in a period of calm thoroughly enjoyed by most of us but unfortunately, following his release and the arrest of the Prime Minister’s former media director Andy Coulson, this has come to an abrupt end. Coulson was detained this week on suspicion of having been responsible for the News of the World and was then charged with inciting further acts of name-clearing by Sheridan.
Sheridan has long-standing issues with the Murdoch press but then, apart from Jeremy Hunt, who doesn’t? I would prefer that he return to politics where he is occasionally useful and renounce his professional name-clearer status where he is not. Sheridan’s ego is now seeking independence.
George Galloway on the other hand, despite being his equal in ego, has no time for independence. Like myself, Galloway is technically Dundonian and it would be easy to dismiss his bizarre rants as just a Tayside thing. But when the angry one took on the Nats in Muriel Gray’s favourite newspaper, blaming Dundee seemed unjust. After all, jute-town had suffered enough through association.
A lifelong teetotaller, Galloway is quick to accuse detractors of having been on the cream sherry whilst increasingly striking me as somebody who could use a drink himself. His uptight notion of English-hating Bravehearts may as well have come from the Telegraph or the National Enquirer, so divorced was it from reality, whilst references to the White Heather Club and Brigadoon showed how well-informed was his understanding of the current debate.
Also keen to perpetuate the Braveheart image, The Herald thought it a ripping wheeze to have Mel Gibson spearheading the launch of the Yes Scotland campaign, consolidating its status as Scotland’s most intelligent newspaper. Mel Gibson was unavailable but the Yes Scotland launch went smoothly nevertheless. Its supporting website fell into some initial difficulty when it seemed that simply by following their Twitter account, your image could be displayed on the site alongside a caption that said you were of ‘independent mind.’ This was clearly a concern. Everyone knows that it takes more than a follow on Twitter to be of independent mind and when the deputy editor of Scotland On Sunday appeared to be of independent mind we all knew something was wrong.
After lengthy howls of protest from various shades of ‘No’, the glitch was fixed and Scotland On Sunday staff were once again dependent. This was a relief as in their confusion some had already taken to distributing SNP literature.
One of the first to spot the glitch was scarlet minx and hearty imbiber, LaFlamme. LaFlamme suggested in a not altogether practical way that web visitors should have to pass the following test before being allowed to proceed to the Yes Scotland Twitter account. This seemed somewhat strict to me and it was probably better just to fix the glitch, but LaFlamme is not somebody who takes ‘No’ for an answer.
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For more on Tony Boaks and his satirical fiction, see Tony Boaks’ Despairing Notes – Easily Mistaken For A Funny Blog. Or follow on Twitter @gregmoodie.