Thursday, March 8, 2012

The latest confected Joan McAlpine 'controversy'

As a result of my slight mishap the other night, I'm a bit late on catching up with the latest confected 'controversy' about a Joan McAlpine utterance. As we all know, her views were cynically misrepresented last time to fit the outrage certain people were determined to feel. For instance, here's our old chum "Braveheart" -

"MSPs who think that their opponents are "anti-Scottish" because they want to have a say in the referendum"

Which, of course, bears absolutely no resemblance to what Joan said. Without wanting to put words in her mouth myself, I think I'm on in reasonably safe ground in suggesting that she would have no problem whatever with opposition parties having their say on the referendum in the appropriate democratic forum - the Scottish Parliament. What she was characterising as "anti-Scottish" was their attempt to circumvent the democratic process by bypassing the inconvenient reality of an SNP majority in Holyrood, and instead interfering with the referendum via the quasi-colonial route of Westminster. Not quite the same thing, is it?

However, it's true she did use the words "anti-Scottish", which arguably left her open to such misrepresentation. This time, however, her detractors haven't got a leg to stand on. Ian Smart has written an utterly hysterical piece excoriating her for comparing Scotland's relationship with the UK to "domestic violence". There is no direct quote from Joan in the article, which is hardly surprising, given that she said no such thing. What she did say was this -

"Eventually she recognises the relationship for what it is - an abuse of power."

And of course the abuse of power Joan is referring to is financial, not physical. The comparison is with a relationship in which a man will not "trust" a woman with her own money, because she will "squander" it, and in any case "it belongs to them both" anyway. I can hardly think of a more apt analogy, given that Scotland's natural resources and tax take go direct to London, and in return we are generously "given" a very limited "allowance" to do very limited things with. It's also an analogy that some of the more thoughtful unionists (such as my fellow subway passenger Wendy Alexander) ought to appreciate, because it highlights the very deficiency with the current constitutional settlement that the Calman process was intended (but failed) to address.

If Ian Smart is offended that anyone could dream up a comparison between Scotland and a woman beaten by her husband, he ought to be looking in the mirror, because he's the one that thought of it, not Joan McAlpine.


  1. Conan, thank you for my first chuckle of the day!

  2. GrassyKnollingtonMarch 8, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Hi James, I think the faux outrage from the likes of Smart is entirely in line with what I would expect from him. I'm not even surprised by the Burd especially having followed her tweets about the Rev Stu.

    The funny thing is when Kate Higgins found herself in earnest disagreement with him she told him on twitter " I feel sorry for you in lots of ways. But have seen your like come and go in the SNP. You don't last you never do"

    She also told people "This one is very rabid, scarily so. Conceals his identity, claims to be a Reverend. It's a little sinister"

    It seemed a bit of an over reaction from Kate Higgins and I don't think I've ever seen RevStu claim to be a man of the cloth. It's a user name.

    My point is that because the Burd disagreed with RevStu she exaggerated about the nature of what he'd written. That's a theme among nat bashers ( a club Kate Higgins perplexingly wants to belong to ).

    If you write something that people disagree with online you become a "vicious cybernat".

    Your views can then be handily dismissed and as Kate Higgins did with RevStu as you are obviously beyond the pale.

  3. "misrepresented... to fit the outrage certain people were determined to feel"

    Couldn't have put it any better. Marvelous turn of phrase.

  4. I side with RevStu in some of his contretemps with Jate Higgins. Not sure about her motivation but I think she goes along with Divide and Rule tactics of Establishment, e.g over employment

    As to idea the RevStu is disguising who he is. What a laugh. He makes it very plain who he is, he admits who he is, a journo I've been reading in magazines for years.

  5. I've just caught up with the Rev Stu v Kate Higgins exchange. I have every respect for Kate, but I must say her complaints about anonymity in this case seem a bit silly. When I first visited her blog, all I knew about her was that she was "the Burd". I didn't find that sinister, nor did I conclude that she was pretending to be a chaffinch. It was several months before I found out her real name, and learned that she's moved in important circles over the years. Even now, my knowledge of her background is a bit hazy, and as far as I can see there's no biographical information on her blog - at best, there just seems to be an assumption that people ought to know exactly who she is and where she's coming from politically.

    Maintaining a bit of mystery is entirely her prerogative, but surely the same prerogative applies to others?

  6. Where is Kate coming from politically. She claims to be independence minded and to be an intimate of workings of the SNP

    I can't speak to that as I am not a member of the SNP and until recently I had not heard of her

    But she only seems to sympathise with Labour activists and MPs

    In one kerfuffle with Rev Stu, rather than accepting that he actually might have a point when he argued that all unemployment was bad and that only concentrating on one group was playing into the divide & conquer tactics of theCoalition, just as it sets private sector against public sector and well against sick, she excoriated him.

    In short she seemed tobe going from the Johann Lamont speech of the week.

    I confess "The Burd" confuses me as she seems happier with the Labour Party as constituted now, even joining the Labour blog "Better Nation"

  7. Anon : I don't think there's any doubt that Kate is passionately in favour of independence - she even supported the Bella Caledonia spoilt ballot campaign during the AV referendum, which I personally thought was a total and utter waste of time. (It was quite refreshing NOT to be the "rabid Nat" on that occasion!)

  8. James

    I'll accept your judgement, you know her better

    Still confused as to why someone who argues on Social Justice, even if I think she dilutes the argument, would keep company with Labour, who are pretty damn lose to the Tories on most issues

    Takes all sorts I suppose