I love the English. I love my brother-in-law and my two nephews. I love The Beatles. I love The Rolling Stones. I love The Smiths, The Sex Pistols and Joy Division, The Who, Syd Barrett, The Kinks, Match of the Day, Shakespeare, AA Gill (so English he’s even Scottish), Martin Amis, Isaac Newton, Siegfried Sassoon, Byron, Milton, Frances Bacon, Banksy, Damien Hirst, Daley Thompson, Steve Ovett, Wat Tyler, David Attenborough, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Newsnight, John Bonham, Michael Palin, John Peel, Mark Radcliffe, The Guardian, Five Live, The Fall, Wire, Manchester, Oasis, Piccadilly Records, London, Blur, Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House, Soho, Kilburn, Camden, Tony Benn, The Rough Trade Shop, The North-East, The North West, The TV Personalities, the English girls; Victoria Coren, Nigella Lawson, Grace Darling, Elizabeth Fry, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Emily Bronte. I love Charlie Chaplin, Eric Morecambe, Cary Grant, Stan Laurel, Thomas Payne, Tim Berners Lee, Stewart Lee, Billy Bragg, Shakespeare, Larkin, Ealing Films, Creation, (label not bible) breakfasts, the humour and even the irony.
It seems the feeling isn’t mutual. The only thing thriving in England is virulent anti-Scottish feeling. The negativity and intransigence is palpable. It’s not just from guys called Dave driving white vans, reading The Sun defecting to UKIP. It trickles down from on high. Boris the jester, oh daft Boris being the buffoon, easily plays into the nasty role in the Tory narrative. People don’t think it’s irresponsible when it comes from Bullingdon buddie Boris and his banter…“It’s Ajockalypse Now. People are looking at Ed Miliband and they’re getting bad visuals of him popping out of Alex Salmond’s sporran like a baffled baby kangaroo.” Thus says the man who wants to build a train line costing London 50billion so people can get from London to Birmingham 15 minutes quicker. Johnson will be attending cabinet meetings in between his job as Mayor of London, an elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, columnist for the Telegraph and writing books about Churchill. Heaven knows where he finds time to lead his busy private life…(He married Allegra Mostyn-Owen, who he met at Oxford and divorced six years later, then he married barrister Marina Wheeler, their marriage was beset with countless rumours of affairs. In 2004, Boris admitted a four-year affair with Petronella Wyatt, who he had got up the duffer and she had an abortion. He was sacked from the shadow cabinet for lying about it. In 2009 there was another shocker, this time over the paternity of art consultant Helen Macintyre’s daughter. She had an affair with Johnson and her partner discovered the child wasn’t his following a DNA test. In 2013, a court ruled that it was in the public interest for the press to report that Johnson was the father. In other words, the man who criticises and pillories and acts as the Conservative clown prince has had three affairs (that he’s been caught for) and one lovechild. He may be more appropriate as a guest on Jeremy Kyle, than the latest vague addition to the Cabinet.
This pressure applied during the election campaign was blood thirsty and ferocious. You can understand Alex Salmond demanding an apology from the Prime Minister for the toxic, anti-Scottish nature of the Conservatives’ general election campaign. This included a huge billboard campaign in London with Salmond’s image everywhere depicting him as a pickpocket. It fed into the anti-nationalist consciousness.
Enter stage left, the rather subtle delicate little flower, Frances Barber who thinks the SNP are Third Reich Nazis. Normally I’m on to actors using Twitter seeking attention, no such thing as bad publicity etc., but she sounds like she’s getting her craic cocaine from Walter White.
When people are hurting and fearful they always look for something or someone to blame. Sadly the Conservative victory wasn’t down to the SNP success in Scotland but the utter and abject failure of Labour to engage with the public. Many people were unconvinced with the economic policy, but the sad fact is that Ed Miliband was portrayed as a useless inept leader who couldn’t eat a bacon sandwich and that’s the sort of stuff voters remember.
Just a thought, why is Harriet Harman the acting leader? Get her in now.
Michael Gove was given a role in the cabinet as justice secretary. His nightly over familiar and cosy chats, sorry interviews on Newsnight clearly did the trick, upped his profile and means he’s now in charge of the human rights act. If he handles that as well as he did the education portfolio then god help us.