WHICHEVER fat fingered BBC technician “accidentally” substituted some film of a psychotic rampaging gorilla for the latest film of Nicola Sturgeon making threats deserves some sort of award. Give that man or woman a Nobel Prize for services to humour.
There is a long history in Britain of turning people like Sturgeon into a figure of fun. Throughout our history we’ve been coming across little people who like to give us ultimatums.
They usually look rather funny even when they try to look stern and serious. They gesticulate as they whip up a crowd of adoring worshipers. Sometimes they bang their shoe on the table as they tell us that they will bury us. Other times they simply underestimate us. Britain will have its neck wrung like a chicken in three weeks said some little man who has now been forgotten by history. “Some chicken … some neck” said a man who hasn’t been forgotten by history.
Since June we have all been waiting for disaster. The least Polish sounding man in history, Donald Tusk, keeps making threats. Perhaps someone on the BBC could push the wrong button again and show a clip of a rampaging elephant in a kilt. EU politicians keep telling us how they will make an example of Britain by showing that anyone who dares to leave the EU will be punished. It’s like a re-run of the Grexit crisis of 2015.
Stern Angela Merkel wasn’t willing to give anything to Greece and although the Greek people were brave enough to say No, their Government wasn’t.
If the EU is a prison with guards who are ready to shoot anyone who dares to leave, this is not a reason to stay. This is a reason to start digging tunnels called “Tom”, “Dick” and “Harry” and once more show our European friends that there is a way to escape tyranny.
Nicola Sturgeon desperately needs taking down a peg or three. In my local SNP shop you can buy framed Sturgeon portraits to hang on your wall. The cover of the last SNP manifesto consisted entirely of a picture of her. This is outside the normal conditions of British politics. How many Labour supporters had posters of Harold Wilson? How many Liberals had posters of Joe Grimond? For goodness sake few indeed were the Democratic Unionists who had posters of Ian Paisley.
A person with a framed picture of Margaret Thatcher would be considered an obsessive, even by Tories. We laugh at such people. We prick their bubbles. No one but a deluded fool commissions a monument to themselves with one of their quotes attached to a rock that will endure forever. (It won’t last by the way.) It’s no more permanent than the Ed Stone.
How many of Nicola’s red lines have been crossed since June? Firstly she was tempted to hold an immediate referendum on independence because Scotland voted one way while other parts of the UK disagreed. But she didn’t. Then she said if Scotland didn’t get to stay in the EU, she would hold another independence referendum. But she didn’t. Now she says if Scotland doesn’t get to stay in the single market she will hold another independence referendum. But she won’t.
But you must take me seriously cried the little gorilla. This time I really did see the wolf. OK I confess the last few times I was making it up, but this time I’m really, really serious. I imagine the wolf may struggle with actually swallowing this gorilla, but then again this isn’t actually a problem because there isn’t really a wolf. There never was a wolf, just a little gorilla that keeps crying "wolf".
There was quite a lot of rather ludicrous fuss on the news about Nicola Sturgeon’s latest threats. But what it amounts to is this. She is going to start consulting about a bill over which the Scottish Parliament cannot debate because it is outside its competence. The Scottish Parliament likes to have debates about things it doesn’t control. Just like Nicola Sturgeon it loves to wave its arms around making gestures, looking stern and talking big. The correct response to this is laughter.
It is for this reason above all that Nicola the gorilla is the best piece of political journalism I’ve seen all year.
A longer version of this article was first published here on Effie Dean’s blog Lily of St Leonards, it is always worth a read.