Question Time 11th February 2021
Michael Forsyth (Conservative)
Ian Murray (Labour)
Stephen Fitzpatrick (Businessman)
Angela Haggerty (Journalist)
Jeanne Freeman (SNP)
Given the venue, your humble author, through gritted teeth, must begin this week’s review by fulfilling a gentlemanly obligation to congratulate the Scottish rugby team on their Six Nations Twickenham victory over England last weekend. With greater enthusiasm, he must also congratulate them for not taking the knee. Having said that, one could not help but notice the winning try was scored by a certain Mr Duhan van der Merwe. One of the Clackmannanshire van der Merwe’s? Upon checking his biography, we discover that Mr van der Merwe was born in the Western Cape. That’ll be near Kilmarnock. And educated at the Hoërskool Outeniqua. Perhaps closer to Troon? We also discover that Duhan is six foot four, weighs sixteen stone and is a Saffer. Moving rapidly on, QT Review will laugh at Angela Haggarty instead.
The first question came from Catherine, something about quarantine and Australia. Ian Murray (Labour) couldn’t understand what she said either and preferred to talk about the inward variants research from Aberdeen University. You can tell he’s a Scot, he expected the taxpayer to pay for Hotel Quarantine.
Michael Forsyth (Conservative) wanted the vaccine done quickly here. There were red country restrictions in England but a closed border from all counties in Scotland. It was impracticable to close the border until everybody in the world had been vaccinated, he thought.
Jeanne Freeman (SNP) looked like Michael Forsythe in a black wig and with big specs, and Michael was looking a bit rough. The quarantine should be entirely all countries, said Jeanne, not red ones and green ones like with England. When challenged on how to do this, Jeanne blamed the Tories. Most travel into Scotland is via airports in England, said Jeanne. In among the waffle, she didn’t know what to do about it.
Angela Haggarty (Journalist) spoke from the big screen. The hate laws are very strict in Scotland. Is it possible to prosecute a room for hosting Angela Haggarty? She appeared to be broadcasting from one of those Glasgow pubs where the windows have been bricked up. The debate is about borders and the constitution but it should be about public health, she rightly observed.
Stephen Fitzgerald (Businessman) could feel the fear. He’s been reading his accounts! Politicians are paid to lead. He saw lots of hope. As well as the vaccine, better therapeutics are imerging.
A fuller QT Review biography of Stephen Fitzgerald is available here. The key point being that the businesses he is involved in don’t make any money. Since his last QT appearance, in October 2020, another set of his OVO Energy accounts have been published, showing annual losses more than doubling to £106 million. Also last year, 2600 employees were made redundant and the company was fined over £10million by OfGen for miss-charging customers. Last month Stephen resigned as a director of OVO and was replaced by former Virgin Media Chief Finance Officer, Bill Castell, previously a long-standing Barclays Bank bean counter. Tellingly, unlike during his last appearance, Stephen made no attempt to plug the company.
A lady on the screen wanted the borders closed, even any internal borders. Looking very Royston Vasey ‘local’, she seemed the type who might want a lockdown even without a pandemic.
Question two. If the SNP get a majority in May’s Scottish parliamentary elections, a referendum?
Angela said they’d be no authority to prevent a referendum. Angela claimed there had been lots of SNP electoral victories. They’ve never had more than 50% of the vote though, Angela (I think).
Michael told us the last independence referendum was a once in a generation opportunity that had passed. He thought all of this talk of a referendum was to distract from the SNP government’s dreadful record. He highlighted the huge drop in educational standards north of the border.
Rt Hon Lord Michael Bruce Forsyth, Baron Forsyth of Drumlean, is a former Minister of State for Scotland and a former MP for Stirling. In 1996 he was named parliamentarian of the year. Since leaving parliament, he has been Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at JP Morgan and Deputy Chairman of Evercore. According to Bloomberg, Michael currently has positions at Secure Trust Bank, Hyperion Insurance Group and J & J Denholm. He is member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, Chairman of the Tax Reform Commission and a board member of Robert Fleming Ltd.
Hasn’t he done well since becoming a Freemason!
Jeanne Freeman looked on gruesomely as if an ornament reserved for an electoral booby prize. She said the people had the right to choose and keep on choosing until they chose what Jeanne wanted. Freeman was previously a member of the Communist Party and Labour Party but subsequently converted to capitalism and joined the SNP.
A QT Review biography of Ms Freeman can be found here. The important point being, Ms Freeman and her partner, Susan Stewart, are serial public sector troughers and quango queens. Previously through two companies, Freeman Associates and Susan Stewart Communications. In the interests of equality of opportunity, Stewart was company secretary of Freeman Associates.
If Jeanne and Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Nationalists want a referendum, they can have one and pay for it themselves. A precedent has been set. In 2000, transport privatisation billionaire Brian Souter spent a million pounds of his own money on a referendum aimed at preventing the repeal of the Scottish version of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. Section 28 prevented pro-homosexual teaching in schools. In Mr Souter’s referendum, a clear majority voted to keep that legal clause. Over one million Scots voted in favour of Souter’s recommendation, more than had voted for any political party in the 1999 Scottish parliamentary election.
At this point, we might as well highlight the link between the SNP and the Nazis. Arthur Donaldson was in the SNP and an enthusiastic Nazi. That’s him in the kilt pictured with the Hitler Youth. Between 1960 and 1969, he led the Scottish National Party. There is an Arthur Donaldson lecture at the SNP’s annual conference. Shame on them.
Stephen said an independent Scotland could be a thriving country (with no money and no currency, Stephen?). He redeemed himself by introducing an important caveat, that it takes years to build things up when you set off on your own. What Stephen and the others misunderstand is that Scottish nationalism is not based on a rational understanding of economic or other issues. It is based on rabid anti-English racism.
Ian agreed with Michael, that talk of a referendum was because of the SNP’s inability to defend its record on other issues. Currency, re-joining the EU, a hard border at Berwick, the oil price, the focus should be covid recovery instead. He then spoilt his copybook by adding that Scotland should be in the UK and the UK should be in the EU.
Ian Murray is the MP for Edinburgh South and the Labour Party’s sole remaining MP in Scotland. In his list of members interests, Ian declares a bewildering array of transactions labelled as if ‘the filling in of opinion surveys’. Reluctantly, on last week’s QT Review, Puffins were forced to assume (of Thangam Debbonaire) that this was a euphemism for prostitution. No disrespect to the man but, even trapped in a room with Michael Forsyth on the coldest February night for seventy years, it’s difficult to see Ian being worth £75 for 15 minutes. Might these sums of money be a cover for his trips to the bookies? Might the local charities he claims to support through these transactions be (like this author’s) unwelcome donations to the home for lame horses and three-legged greyhounds and the turf accountant’s retirement fund? Similarly puzzling, is Ian’s claim that a trip to see Hearts against Motherwell can be worth £200. Does he stretch out across ten seats like a recumbent Roman Emperor? Having eaten all the pies along the Gorgie Road?
Angela had a bit of Brexitphobia too. We’re in a crisis anyway, so this might be the time to do it. As if making things worse might make things better.
Last week, QT Review made gentle josh at the expense of Chester public schoolgirl Wanda Wyporska’s unsellable work, “Representations of the Witch in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800”, officially the 3,047,026th best selling book on Amazon.
Be careful what you wish for.
Armed with an HND from Cardonald College, Glasgow, and a diploma in journalism, Angela Haggarty writes alongside West of Scotland gentleman of words, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. For some unfathomable reason, their light-hearted rom-com romp, “Downfall: How Rangers FC Self-Destructed” proved somewhat controversial. A controversy not diminished by Mr McGorillabrain also contributing to the Celtic News Now blog, and deepened further by his previous gig on SinnFein IRA’s Republican News.
Regarding the reaction to “Downfall: How Rangers FC Self-Destructed”, a Mr David Limond of Ayr, taking a break from summarising Kiddegard and reinterpreting Nietzsche on his unofficial Rangers podcast, laid into Ms Haggarty to the extent that he subsequently received a six-month jail sentence for “sending a threatening communication aggravated by racial and religious prejudice.” Everybody’s a critic.
Elsewhere, in the Amazon Reviews, the good and kind, tolerant and progressive, people of Scotland pass their considered literary opinion on Ms Haggarty and her writing partner’s prose:
“Load of rubbish from a man who likes to con guillable foos”
“0 stars for the facts that the man is a Rangers hater and a proven liar”
“a good book for the illiterate that wear the green and grey hoops
be better off concentrating on the sick and depraved history of the unwashed mhob!”
“The years of jealousy and rage can be felt from the pages of this utter tripe.”
“i seen a rather disturbed woman reading it upside down”
“hate to think I have given money to this sad individual”
“you ca hear them quite clear on the tv singing IRA songs & singing about killing scottish sdiers only he never mentions that fact”
“easily the worst effort I have ever come across”
“Lies written by an author who has such hatred for all things British/Scottish and Unionist. Phil 3 names is a true master of the ficitonal fantasy.”
“a rabid Rangers hating sad man who has no life”
“penned by a small minded, bigoted blogger”
As proof of karma, a friend tells me that Celtic fans logging onto Amazon to give it five stars are subsequently bombarded with adverts for Rangers merchandise.
During a life more interesting, your humble author once ventured to an Old Firm game. An unforgettable experience, it took place in the East End of Glasgow on Sunday 2nd January 1988 at 2pm. Rangers number eleven, Mark Walters, is unlikely have to forgotten it either, with him being pelted with bananas and bombarded with monkey noises throughout the match. In his honour, some of the spectators even attended dressed as chimpanzees.
In order to avoid being killed, I pushed my way down to the front of the terracing to stand with the little kids, only to find myself amongst the Rangers fans who had tickets for the Celtic end. Fortunately, they were distracted by their goalie going past on a stretcher. Without substitute goalkeepers, Grahame Roberts went between the posts for the Teddy Bears, with the Hoop’s Frank McAvennie putting two past him in the second half. At the final whistle, there followed ninety minutes of even greater excitement, as I tried to get back to the railway station alive.
Dear Puffin, reflect on this, if Scotland were to leave the Union, this is what we’d be getting rid of.
Away from Glasgow’s sporting ruffians, there lies the kinder, gentler world of Scottish lady’s politics. Previously, Angela Haggarty was criticised for ‘outing’ Scottish MP Mairi Black on twitter. The conversation went like this.
Ms Haggarty’s newspaper, The Sunday Herald, put out a tweet complaining that Scottish nationalists had threatened to skin Herald staff alive. Ms Black’s girlfriend, pushing her vocabulary to its limit, replied thus,
“Well, I’ve spoken to senior SNP sources *smiley face in spectacles*. They give no fucks. They’d rather an honest media with journalists who don’t make up shit. Try again.”
Ms Haggarty, through her Captain Haggerty twitter handle, retweeted the tweet adding her own comment mentioning “Mhairi Black MP’s partner.” Tut tut.
Angela survived at the Herald. She also survived a change.org petition calling her a ‘vile bigot’ who should be dismissed. What she didn’t survive was supporting her colleague Graham Spiers who wrote about the Rangers board not having the “mettle” to tackle offensive chanting at the club. She was sacked. In a statement, Herald editor-in-chief Magnus Llewellin assured everybody that,
“While one of our advertisers is on the board at Rangers that was never an issue.”
Nice to know.
Weeks later she was re-installed but left again subsequently, citing a need to escape from the tolerance and nicey feelings. These days she describes herself as a ‘regular political commentator on BBC television and radio channels, STV and Sky News.’
Again, dear Puffin, if Scotland were to leave the Union, that’s what we’d be rid of.
Michael Forsyth had 20 billion good reasons for Scotland to stay in the Union: the money the English taxpayer has tipped on Scotland during the coronavirus crisis. He claimed, without quite saying it, that Scotland couldn’t manage without the English. Michael was making the mistake of being rational.
Jeanne put him right by having no answer.
Next question, referring to the civil war between the Alex Salmon and Nicola Sturgeon factions, is the SNP divided and in crisis?
The party is tearing itself apart said Ian. Jeanne said that wasn’t the case and then nailed her flag to the Sturgeon end of the cesspit. Stephen didn’t want to get involved in Scotland’s “he said / she said / they said,” parochial politics and wouldn’t answer the question. The treatment of transexuals in the party, said somebody from the virtual audience. It was Bruce’s turn not get involved in “she/her said / he/him said / they/they said.” She moved rapidly on, by reading out the question again.
The final question, is the government doing enough to address the fish and shellfish industry’s problems?
Michael blamed EU rules. It was the EU playing games and showing bad faith. He wasn’t wrong. We’re fishing with one hand tied behind our backs, said Ian. He had the Brexitphobia too. Is there a vaccine? Stephen thought there had been a problem with coastal communities for decades. Bruce told him he was wrong. When he wanted to re-boot the economy, Bruce told him he had moved off the question. Angela announced the fishermen despondent. Jeanne looked a bit like fish. The codfish eyes, the gaping mouth. She flapped about, as if out of water, complaining but unable to offer a solution. We are out of time announced Bruce, as if putting the poor thing out of its misery with a good hard blow above the eyes.
© Always Worth Saying 2021
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