Experienced my first anti-Scottish racism on Wednesday. I've lived in Scotland for fourteen years now and have experienced plenty of anti-English racism; usually from people in bars who were on my side while England were playing Germany but then, ninety seconds after the final whistle blows, decide to call me an English cunt. Oh how we laughed. Feels odd to be on the other side of it, but not entirely unexpected.
On the train down to That London, through That London, and out the other side Dorset-bound. I am pretty much a London expert now. The first time I went down there as an adult I spent the first day simply riding around the integrated transport system in awe. I thought that having a Lobster card would be creepy, RFID and all that, but it turns out to be fantastically useful—look at me, ma! I can go anywhere! They even have boats!
By now I just huff and glare at the other passengers and catch the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square and then transfer onto the Northern Line to Waterloo without a care. I still find London itself a little creepy. There are no old people in London. There are no disabled people in London—although I did once see someone on crutches. Everyone is just slightly too well turned-out and glamorous. It's as if the entire place, all seven million of them, are one giant Potemkin village. But the integrated transport system: that's nifty, and I can commute with the best of them.
Through London, then, and out the other side. Found myself on the train out of Waterloo sitting at a table with three young urban professionals, all wearing amusing cufflinks on shirts that would cost a week's worth of my salary. From the conversation I judged that they were in the business of buying and selling yachts to other, wealthier, young urban professionals. I was becoming increasingly aware that I was in England and that these were not my people, never were. At this point I was listening to Capercaillie on the ipod and eating a deliberately, relentlessly, nay dare I say it vindictively pan-European sandwich that I'd prepared earlier (sopocka and Leerdammer on ciabatta, trivia-fans) in an attempt to stave off homesickness. It was partially successful and that is because, where sandwiches are concerned, I roll twenties. I had crossed the border five hours previously.
Of the ticket inspector I asked a question which, I thought, would be a perfectly reasonable example of the genre:
Is there wifi?
There was a Silence, the kind of silence you only get when the saloon doors flap and the honky-tonk piano player stops mid-arpeggio. Said silence continued for about two and a half seconds longer than was comfortable, although it felt a lot longer while the Inspector looked at me—inspected me, no less— with narrowed eyes, as if I'd asked him for a happy ending. Eons passed, the civilization of man rose and fell, the civilization of cockroaches rose and fell, the civilization of squid rose and fell. Galaxies collided, then crashed and flew off. Then spake the Inspector thus:
No. The company's owned by a Scotsman.
Funny, that, said I. I've just had free wifi all the way down on East Coast Rail. That one's owned by five million Scotsmen.
Okay, no I didn't, but I was thinking it pretty loud.
The training in Dorset was all about time management, so mostly consisted of
To-do lists are good and
Get a to-do-list. Then there was a section on assertiveness, because the fundamental yet unspoken rule of time management is 1] and an indeterminate number of beers,
$FINANCE_DIRECTOR asked of me my opinion on the possibilities of Scottish Independence. I am a good manager who pays attention to his training, and I seize opportunities as they arise. This was a chance to test my newfound assertiveness, so I told him.
scotm, you would have been proud of me, although I suspect some of my figures were off. And I don't think
$FINANCE_DIRECTOR was convinced.
Currently entrained at 113mph, somewhere between Newark-on-Trent and Worksop, on my way back to a civilized nation, where we have free wifi. And healthcare.
This video, from 2008, is making a lot more sense now:
Mike Read. Ten minutes. Rapping. And then they got into power and we all wondered how come the Tories were so out of touch with reality.
I say they
got into power. We let them. An insufficient minority of the UK population voted Tory, and had we known about this Mike Read thing back then, we could have had those voters all sectioned anyway so those votes wouldn't have counted. Then we had five days of frantic squabbling and Kay Burley screeching that
the people voted for a hung parliament before, finally, a dishfaced twat liked by precisely no one went to ask the Queen if he could form a Government full of his old schoolmates.
It was the duty of every responsible citizen, as Cameron headed for the Palace, to rugby-tackle the bastard before he could get there. If for no other reason than to stop him wasting Her Maj's time. For the greatest dramatic effect, leave it til the last minute and do it with as much violence as possible.
Your Majesty, I humbly request permission to form a Government on Your behAUGHWOOFH!
I was occupied at the time (they had one from Stewart's Brewery I hadn't tried before, and one from Inveralmond), but the rest of you have no such excuse. Come to think of it, the BBC were in on it the whole time. It's no wonder they gave up on us shortly afterwards and turned evil—they'd done everything possible for us and none of us took the hint. Constant rolling news-helicopter footage of a Bentley slowly progressing along Whitehall.
And now we see David Cameron's car turning left at some traffic lights. David Cameron there, on his way to Buckingham Palace, where he is expected to ask Her Majesty the Queen for permission to form a government. His car is now pausing outside the crosshatched box before an intersection. Now he's turning right. The BBC Charter probably prevented them from outright coming out and saying it, but they came as close as they could:
THERE HE IS, YOU BASTARDS! GET HIM!
On further reflection, we should formalize this. In the event of a hung parliament, this should be how things are decided from now on: by a drag race down Whitehall. First one to reach Her Maj gets to form a government. All dirty tricks allowed. Gordon trips up Dave before he even gets into the car, then bounces his giant dish-shaped face off the bonnet, just to make sure, before he peels off. Then Nick comes up from the inside and slides sideways, tyres screeching, to a stop in front of the Palace gates. A cloud of dust and burnt rubber puffs down the Mall like papal white smoke. Democracy. Is. Served.
Makes a lot more sense than the current system, anyway.
The irrepressible and frequently incorrect dhothersall started it. It's not my fault, I promise.
So #indyrefpoetry is a thing. All of my efforts have been far, far too terrible to commit to the Twitters, but that's what I have a longform blog for, so now you all must suffer. scotm deserves credit for originally enduring all of these over IMs. He will testify that, although terrible, they were at least written very fast. Regular readers may recall that I seem to do all right at iambic pentameter. How bad can it be?( Pretty damn bad, actually )
My last attempt actually fit into 140 chars, and was
Oh, ye cannae shove yer Westminster oligarchs aff a gravy train. Thus was it indicated, quite appropriately I think, that it was time to stop.
ETA.( Oh, no, there's more )
I tried to do a pastiche of Sassoon, but it just isn't going to work. Sassoon is beyond my meagre skills. You should probably consider yourselves lucky.
No, I'm not going to do Rabbie, and you all already know why.