Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baloney, sir!

As my last post was related to a ten-day-old Alan Cochrane article in the Daily Telegraph, my eye was drawn to Cochrane's billing on the Telegraph website - "[he] cuts through the baloney and explores all corners of the devolved government in Edinburgh with vigour". Just alter a few words and that's close enough to true - it's rather more that he generates the baloney himself and makes sure no corner of devolved government is left undistorted. Baloney exhibit A - "the local income tax, known to everyone as the 'Nat Tax'." Now who exactly is this everyone? Well, there's Cochrane himself, his well-trained parrot, he's working very hard on his goldfish...

Let's face it, almost nobody apart from Cochrane called it the Nat Tax. The problem, it seems to me, is that he's primarily talking to a non-Scottish audience and he's very self-conscious about it. It's a trap we've probably all fallen into at some point or another - he's presenting the version of our country that he'd personally want outsiders to believe in. He probably thinks it's all true when he says it. I saw a similar phenomenon during my interminable 'debate' with the American gun enthusiasts a few weeks ago - the odd British person (displaying what Paul Keating might have called a 'cultural cringe') was periodically popping up to say something like "I'd just like Americans to know that not all of us Brits have surrendered".

Aye, that's right. Some of us told Bush exactly where to go.

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