For the small amount of time I spend on BBC news these days, I should qualify for a licence fee rebate…never see oor Sarah at night, miss GMS during the week and would rather date Katie Hopkins than watch Sunday Politics. (I’m also scared to watch it because Andrew Neil keeps sending me angry tweets). But I do, when able to locate the dial from under the duvet, turn on Radio Scotland on Sunday mornings mainly because by the seventh day I’m ready for a relaxed, discursive tone and since I don’t buy the papers, like to hear what I’m (not) missing.
Switched on sometime after nine today to hear what appeared to be a double-headed presentation of a programme called Good Morning Scotland although they were discussing the papers with two journalists as they used to when it was called…hang on, I’ll remember in a minute. Was it Crossfire? No…Headlines. Maybe…or was it What the Fuck Are We Doing to Sunday Mornings?
The managerial nincompoops at Pacific Quay have done more to screw up the Sabbath than Sunday opening at B and Q. Is it a plot to drive folk back to the kirk? (‘I’d rather sit on a hard pew sucking a pandrop than listen to this…’)
Why is it do you think that Radio Four, with whom we used to compare ourselves in the dim and distant days before the disastrous promotion of Jeff Zycinski to Head of Radio – still arguably the worst single appointment in Ken McQuarrie’s reign – come up with programme ideas and retain them, year after year, building an audience? What is the schizophrenic indecision of Zycinski doing to a once admired service that sounds as if it can’t make up its mind between couthy local radio shows and serious but accessible current affairs output?
I met an old friend from Scotland on Sunday yesterday at the SNP rally in Edinburgh who asked if I was glad I was out of newspapers. Yes, I replied, I escaped the madhouse. And I feel the same about Radio Scotland. I wonder how many others still inside share the sentiment. Good luck to them all, including the wise and witty Issy Fraser whose weekends are probably lying in ruins.
The story that has me gasping is the Miliband interview in the Observer in which Ed offers to be the champion of unhappy Tories. Now he’s clearly appealing for any votes he can muster and fair enough, but it’s the quoted identification of ‘moderate Tories’ that jars. Just think what that message says in Scotland…he might as well hang up a Surrender sign over the Murphy campaign. Having slapped Jim down over spending cuts, he now kicks him in the groin with his Tory appeal. If you’re a One Nation Tory, you can safely vote for me, he’s saying. I’m not really left wing, but safely in the centre.
The contradictions this illuminates are many. For instance, Labour’s attack on the SNP is that they pretend to be on the Left but aren’t really distributive and vote against living wage and ending zero hours contracts – oh, the irony. Didn’t Ed directly challenge Nicola about bringing in a Tory government in 1979 (or was it 1870, can’t remember.) I’m pretty sure Ed was part of the Better Together campaign which specifically brought together Labour and the Tories. His chosen Chancellor may also have sat beside Osborne and told the Scots the currency wasn’t theirs.
An appeal to Tories to let him be their champion is the clearest sign that the game is up in Scotland because even in East Renfrewshire where Murphy faces the drop, he has to pray for Tory support, bleat for it quietly on the doorstep, but can’t possibly admit it openly.
Vote Labour, Get Tory. Labour – the party for today’s moderate Tory. Tories – My name’s Ed and I’m your man.
You know what…I bet Murphy knew nothing about this in advance…hadn’t a clue he would be dumped in it again and landed with another headache just when the polling evidence confirms the Flood.
A Labour insider told me during the local elections in 2012 that an announcement by Balls that Labour would not reverse Tory cuts had come out of the blue without any warning because London hadn’t remembered Scotland was going to the polls. Luckily for Labour the tame Scottish media didn’t make the most of it but it was an example of what Lamont said: Scotland is a branch office. And here it is again…‘and I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, that if you are a right wing voter horrified at Scots influencing the government and perhaps a teensy bit worried about an EU referendum, you can safely vote for Labour. You won’t see the difference. I say to Tories everywhere – I represent you and everything you stand for. I’m Ed, the Labour/Tory candidate…’by