This blog is in severe danger of turning into @Admin4TheYoonYoon Tweet-Watch, but here goes anyway...
Tom Harris : Comment 22 under Michael Kelly's Scotsman article really makes you feel positive about Nats: "GTF back to Ireland"
Joan McAlpine : Poison is endemic on internet. I get plenty of it from unionists whether Lab, Con or Lib Dem.
Tom Harris : Yes, Joan - the biggest problem is with unionists' comments on newspaper sites...Good grief.
Well, as it happens, Tom, I'm in a rather good position to comment on this subject, because I'm a Nationalist whose name is Kelly (for good measure my middle name is Michael) and I have been repeatedly and 'robustly' informed by a delightful unionist poster over a period of months that I cannot possibly be a Scot, on the grounds that my ancestry is Irish/American/French-Canadian. The 'name' of the poster in question is Moniker of Monza, and he posts at Political Betting. There are dozens of his ilk at that site, and elsewhere online. So don't try telling me there isn't a massive 'CyberYoonYoonist' problem.
Oh, and the fact that I don't know the real names of any of those CYYs brings me neatly onto this -
Tom Harris : Calling all Nat moon-howlers: You want to be another "Braveheart"? Well "brave" doesn't equate to writing poison under a pseudonym.
A sentiment with which I can just spot the one minor problem, Tom - namely, why have you posted your 'less constructive' Labour Hame pieces under the pseudonym 'Admin'? Or at least that was your practice until the leadership campaign was safely lost. Is 'bravery' a quality that only Nats should ever be expected to aspire to?
To turn to the Michael Kelly article itself...well, perhaps the best way of summing it up is that it bears an uncanny similarity to the irate letters Norman Hogg used to write to Scotland on Sunday circa 1995, and even in those days it was like entering a time-warp. Exhibit A -
"He [Salmond] remembers taking Mrs Thatcher on, while the rest of us recall that it was the SNP that started the Thatcher era. By bringing down the Callaghan government in 1979, the SNP forced a general election at the time most propitious to the Tories, and thereafter they ruled the UK for the next 18 years."
My money's on 2543 (for the year that Labour will finally dispense with that particular chip on their shoulder). But let's run through the actual sequence of events yet again for Kelly's benefit. The facts are these - the SNP propped up an extraordinarily unpopular Labour government for years in the late 1970s, and did so because they believed that Callaghan was acting in good faith on Home Rule. But after Scotland voted Yes to devolution in March 1979, Callaghan refused to honour that mandate. So what exactly was the SNP supposed to do - carry on propping up a lame duck government in exchange for absolutely nothing? It's true that they didn't achieve anything by bringing the government down, but neither would they have achieved anything by taking the alternative course - there would still have been no Scottish Assembly, and Mrs Thatcher's rise to power would in all probability have been delayed by only a matter of weeks (five months at the absolute outside). The idea that Labour could have overturned a 20+ point deficit if only they'd been given an extra few weeks is risible in the extreme.
Besides which, it wasn't the SNP that brought Mrs Thatcher to power. It was the people of the UK who did so by voting for her in a general election. The most sacred belief of unionists like Michael Kelly is that the will of the people of the whole UK must hold sway in Scotland - this is known as 'maturity'. Callaghan's defeat in a vote of no confidence (in which Labour folk-hero Gerry Fitt's abstention was just as decisive as the SNP's votes, let's not forget) merely facilitated and mildly accelerated the process of the UK electorate choosing a government that was more to their taste. So why isn't Kelly able to celebrate that? Isn't the fact that he feels unable to do so (especially after thirty-three years, for heaven's sake!) a rather strong indication that he is on the wrong side of the constitutional debate?
"And he [Salmond] is trying his best to fix both the timing and wording of the referendum question – the former on the grounds that he promised it would be held late in this parliament: a promise for which there is as little evidence as for a dragon’s fiery breath."
You mean, apart from the footage from the leaders' debates, and from several high-profile interviews? If both I and Hugh Henry imagined all that, then clearly we both believe in dragons.
"However, the Thatcher stopper deserves credit for being so honest in the assessment of his role. It is further to his credit that he kept quiet about his heroics for so many years, allowing us to believe that it was Tony Blair and New Labour that finally lanced the Tory boil."
Please don't try to change the subject, Michael - Alex Salmond was talking about his role in the downfall of Thatcher in 1990, not the Tory government in 1997. And if we're being strictly accurate, she was actually brought down by fellow Tories. Indeed, there's more than a grain of truth in the old joke that the Tories won the 1992 election because they'd succeeded in doing what Labour had tried and failed to do for over a decade - remove Margaret Thatcher from office.
* * *
I must say I disagree with Subrosa on her call for an entirely new national anthem to replace Flower of Scotland. It seems to me there's a disconnect between the people and elites (including the SNP elite) on this subject - the people have already made their choice of anthem, but the elite simply can't leave it alone. My guess is that if a new song was commissioned, it would be a repeat of what happened in Russia following the collapse of communism - the public wouldn't take the new anthem to their hearts, and we'd have to revert to the old one again after a few years.
It's true, though, that the use of Flower of Scotland at sporting events needs a bit of imagination - it should be played fast, and definitely not by a pipe band.