It's been quite a while since I last posted an epic exchange from Political Betting, but I'm veritably spoiled for choice this weekend. I could go with the hysterical reaction to my suggestion last night that it was rather fitting that the BOA's arrogance over the GB football teams had ended in failure, with the men's team following the women's team in being eliminated at the quarter-final stage. This was the typically restrained verdict on me from Sean Thomas, aka "best-selling international thriller writer" Tom Knox (nope, me neither) -
"He wants to break up my beloved country. And he's a liar. And he's not even British.
F*** him and the mangy, spavined, Irish-American-Quebecois horse he rode in on...
Nonetheless he wants to dismember my country.
In other, less tolerant nations he would be electrocuted as a traitor. Not least because his political "beliefs" so obviously spring from his Quebecois-Irish background, and have FK all to do with any spurious "Scottishness".
That said, I am glad we are peaceable and democratic, and I am glad he is allowed to express his vile, pettifogging and interminable lies without his scrotum being attached to electrodes - but I reserve the right to hurl abuse at him."
But it was an exchange earlier in the day, also on an Olympic theme, that really took my breath away. The fact that even one or two of the Tory usual suspects thought that Antifrank had gone too far tells its own story...
Antifrank : The SNP do need to decide how they wish to react to the three (so far) gold medals that Team GB has won with hybrid English/Scottish teams. Even a casual viewer might decide that the two countries are "better together" in this respect at least.
Me : No, that depends on the casual viewer's preconceptions. Many will be thinking "we could have had a Scottish bronze here, if the Scottish gold medallist had teamed up with another half-decent Scottish athlete".
Antifrank : I refer you to my first comment. That you would prefer an inferior but racially pure team is very revealing.
Me : That is a deeply offensive lie, utterly unworthy of you as a serious poster, and I would ask you to withdraw it.
Antifrank : I infer from your last post that you prefer to see Scots only bronzes to mixed English/Scots golds. What's your beef?
Me : Do you actually understand what the term "racially pure" means?
Antifrank : Do you actually understand the avatism that the SNP routinely flirts with?
Me : This is utterly pathetic. Stop trying to deflect, and address the point. Do you accept that I do not want a "racially pure" national team, or don't you?
Antifrank : Would you prefer a pure Scots team of inferior quality or a mixed English/Scots/Welsh/Irish Team GB?
Me : I really thought you were better than this, Antifrank. You're now resorting to sophistry, and you know it. "Racially pure" means ethnically pure. You've now deleted the word "racially" to lend creative ambiguity to the meaning.
Won't wash. SNP-style Scottish nationalism is civic nationalism - all ethnicities, all creeds.
Please withdraw your earlier comment.
Antifrank : Stop playing with primary school nationalism. Civic nationalism would celebrate success. You have made it clear that nationalism outranks performance in your eyes. I think you need a major rethink of your priorities.
Me : I'm sorry, mate, but all the bluster in the world isn't going to get you off the hook here.
Your claim was that I want a "racially pure" national team. Do you now accept that you were wrong? It's a very simple question, and I await your answer.
Antifrank : What upsets you about having English team members alongside Scots, if not their race?
Me : It does not upset me. I thoroughly welcome it. I look forward to people of English origin competing for an independent Scottish Olympic team, just as they do at present for the Scottish Commonwealth Games team.
Now that your absurd misapprehension (more like unthinking prejudice, frankly) has been corrected, will you withdraw your earlier comment? Yes, or no?
Antifrank : Your position is now hopelessly confused. You seem to be complaining about the current arrangement under which we can have mixed nationality teams, while wanting pure Scottish teams that do worse than mixed nationality teams. Make your mind up!
Me : What in God's name are you talking about, man? Do you honestly believe that what you've just said makes any sense, or is this the most desperate attempt at deflection yet?
Do you, or do you not, accept that I do not want a "racially pure" national team?
Corporeal : Antifrank, nationality is different to race.
Surely you comprehend that?
Antifrank : (to Corporeal) In the context of Scottish athletics, show me how the difference is meaningful. I doubt the average SNP headbanger is imagining a Scottish Usain Bolt lookalike when they talk of a Scots only team. More likely something off the back of a porridge oats box.
(to me) Given that you have stated contradictory positions on this thread alone, I'm no longer sure what you want. Your main objection to the current set-up if your last post is to be believed is to the name Team GB.
Me : "In the context of Scottish athletics, show me how the difference is meaningful."
I believe the name you're searching for is Ifeoma Dieke. And if you define people of English origin as being of a different race, it makes a huge difference, because a significant minority of the Scottish population is of English origin.
"I doubt the average SNP headbanger is imagining a Scottish Usain Bolt lookalike when they talk of a Scots only team. More likely something off the back of a porridge oats box."
Congratulations. You've just lost all credibility when talking about Scottish politics in the future. You evidently don't know the first thing about the SNP - the first political party to be represented by an ethnic minority MSP.
"Given that you have stated contradictory positions on this thread alone, I'm no longer sure what you want."
What I want is remarkably simple - I want you to withdraw your deeply offensive and demonstrably untrue earlier comment.
If you think I've contradicted myself (hint : I haven't) please set out the nature of the contradiction in vaguely comprehensible language, and I'll address the point.
"Your main objection to the current set-up if your last post is to be believed is to the name Team GB."
You're becoming ever more bafflingly absurd by the minute. Why would a Scottish national team be called "Team GB? If that really was my only objection, it would be a rather superfluous one.
Antifrank : Reconcile
1) " "Would you prefer a Team Scotland bronze over the Team GB gold?"
Yes, of course."
2) " "What upsets you about having English team members alongside Scots, if not their race?"
It does not upset me. I thoroughly welcome it."
We have that in Team GB already. So I conclude that you object (superfluously as you say) to the name.
But on the assumption that you are going to contort in some way to stick by statement 1, you still have the basic problem that you prefer purity over success. So I see nothing to apologise about.
Me : Sigh. OK, I will try to make this astonishingly simple principle even simpler for you.
a) Team GB as presently constituted is a multi-ethnic team representing the territory of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
b) Team Scotland after independence will be a multi-ethnic team representing the territory of Scotland.
I want b) not a). That is, as you will note, rather more fundamental than a "name change".
Now will you please withdraw your offensive earlier comment? If not, why not?
Antifrank : You have confirmed that you prefer purity over success. What is there to apologise for?
And you are simply wrong. What you want is no more fundamental than a name change. If a team comprising Smith and McDonald compete for Team GB or Scotland, what difference does it make apart from satisfying small closed minds in either case?
Me : "What is there to apologise for?"
Because you falsely accused me of racism, and that's offensive.
I used to have a great deal of respect for you, Antifrank, but the way you've wriggled this afternoon...well, others can make their own minds up.
Antifrank : We can agree on "purity obsessive" then.
Me : I'm afraid we don't agree on anything. Your claim that there would be no difference between Team Scotland and Team GB other than a name change is literally the most risible thing I've ever read on PB - and that's quite an accolade.
Do you actually believe this guff?
Antifrank : That you have no answer to my example other than bluster shows that I am right.
Me : Antifrank, pomposity and self-satisfaction isn't going to get you off the hook either.
What "example" do you want me to answer? I'm extremely eager to do so, I can assure you. I'm looking forward to you admitting you were wrong.
Antifrank : There are ten uses on this thread of the words "racist" or "racism". These are the first two occasions on which I have used either. Is the SNP's position on this issue connected to race, however? Of course it is. What beast do they think they're poking when they prod their stick at this?
Me : "There are ten uses on this thread of the words "racist" or "racism". These are the first two occasions on which I have used either."
But this is not the first time I've used the phrase "utterly pathetic". How exactly do you think you can say someone wants "racial purity" without believing they are a racist?
"Is the SNP's position on this issue connected to race, however? Of course it is."
That is another lie. If you think you can justify it (hint : you can't) let's see some hard evidence. I can claim Sweden has a tropical climate until I'm blue in the face, but it doesn't make it true.
"What beast do they think they're poking when they prod their stick at this?"
I look forward to the translation of yet another incomprehensible comment.
Antifrank : No need to apologise: I have, of course, been highly inflammatory on this thread. Some of my words have been deliberately written to be misread, though the correct meaning has always been there for those that take the time to read them.
Me : I'm trying very, very hard not to laugh.
"And for my final trick, ladies and gentlemen, I will pretend that my foot-in-mouth syndrome was a cunning plan right from the start."
Don't give up the day job.
Antifrank : But James, everything I wrote is true. You would prefer a Scottish team that was racially pure to a successful Team GB team. You've made that quite clear.
Me : Another deeply offensive lie. Please link to where "I made that clear". Please do so now.
Antifrank : It's your chance to disavow it then.
Would you prefer either:
1) Scottish team, comprising McDonald & McCloud, both from Aberdeenshire farming stock of impeccable racial purity and getting a bronze medal for the Scottish team or
2) McDonald & Smith, the latter from Suffolk farming stock of equal English racial purity and getting a gold medal for Team GB?
Me : Why should I give a monkey's whether they're "of impeccable racial purity" or not? Have you actually been listening to a word that I (or Carlotta Vance for that matter) have been saying this afternoon?
Antifrank : Have you actually read what I have written (as opposed to superimposing your own concerns) at any point this afternoon?
Me : Unfortunately for both of us, the answer is yes. This was your original claim -
"you would prefer an inferior but racially pure team"
That was an offensive lie when I first read it, it is an offensive lie now. It will remain an offensive lie on every subsequent reading. Withdraw it, please.
Antifrank : Let's go back to my example. Are you saying that you would in fact prefer option 2? It goes against several of your posts on this thread.
Me : No, I would not prefer Option 2. I would refuse to choose either option because they both imply that racial purity was a factor in the selection of the teams. That goes against everything I stand for.
Now will you withdraw your claim, please? If not, why not?
Antifrank : No, I stand by my claim that you would prefer option 1, based on the evidence of your responses on this thread. (The racial purity, I acknowledge, is something that you vehemently deny plays part of your decision-making process, but you have confirmed repeatedly your desire to see Scottish-only teams performing, even if mixed Team GB teams would do better.) Given that, I have nothing to withdraw.
My point stands. Narrow nationalism is more important to you than success. That is completely wrongheaded.
Me : As Andy Marr might put it, you look like a smaller man today, Antifrank. You've been given umpteen opportunities to extricate yourself from the claim of racism - I would have happily accepted an apology or withdrawal, but instead you prefer to be an offensive buffoon.
Suit yourself. I'm off to watch the tennis.
In actual fact, it trundled on for quite a bit longer than that, but it was just going round in circles by that point, so I won't bore you with the rest. However, there was one gloriously ironic bit when he refused to answer my question as to whether he would rather be represented by a Team GB than by a Team Europe, and if that didn't imply that he preferred "narrow nationalism to success". I then asked him if according to the precedent he had set, I was now entitled to "infer from his previous responses" that his answer was indeed Team GB. He loftily replied that "this is simply something I don't care about".