Sunday, 5 April 2015

Vespa crabro

An admission: I am fucking terrified of wasps. I dislike the sound they make when they buzz. I hate the way they move. I dislike the way they follow me when I have a can of coke. I fear their stings. I have a bit of a phobia of them, actually. I like bees, they're fluffy and cuddly, and they're quite sound: they know the craic - I'm not going to hurt them, and they're not going to hurt me, because we have a mutual destruction pact: if I hurt a bee, it'll sting me. And it'll be sore for me, and the bee will die. So why would we hurt one another?

Wasps are different. They're the opposite of bees. I've been scared of the little bastards since I was a child. They even look evil. If one comes near me, I flap in terror, like a pigeon trapped in a bin bag.


I thought this would be the scariest thing I could face - an animal which can sting and poison me repeatedly and fatally, with no risk at all to itself. 

So you can imagine my horror when I came home from work one day three years ago and turned the bath on, and noticed on the wall a massive hornet. From head to sting, the beast was at least 15cm in length, and it was the width of a damn good cigar. 

You will be proud to know that I stood up to the creature like a man. I ran out of the bathroom in terror, closed the door, and chapped my neighbours' door to ask for help. After Radek and Wojciech got over their laughter, they came in to assist in the disposal of the brute. 

With no insect repellent, they attacked the devil with a full can of deodorant. It fell from the wall onto the floor, but kept moving. A can of air-freshener got it subdued onto the bath mat, and a couple of rapid blows with a newspaper dealt the coup de grace to it.

I sat and had a cup of tea to recover, and then pulled the edge of the bath mat onto the landing, intending to flip the corpse out of the window. And, do you know what it did? It twitched! It was still alive after all that.

Never, ever underestimate the survival instinct of a creature made of approximately four parts acetylcholine, two parts malevolence, and one part violent subjugation. 

And that brings me neatly onto the Scottish Labour Party. 

The polls are not good for them now. They are set to lose anywhere between half and all of their seats in Scotland at the upcoming Westminster election, punishment from an outraged populace disgusted, not so much at their position, but at their behaviour in the independence referendum. 

But never, ever underestimate it. The air-freshener of the National party might be skooshing merrily into the spiracles of the Labour hornet, and the deodorant of the Socialists, Greens and RIC, as well as disgusted ex-Labour voters working its way through the thorax of loyalism, but the trachaeae can close when we least expect it. 

And that's what's behind the concerted effort this weekend, a last, desperate effort to save Scottish Labour from the rolled-up newspaper of the Scots. Collusion between the British civil service, the British regime, the Scottish Labour Party and the right-wing press designed to undermine the Scots' confidence that we can splatter the hornet over the linoleum with the repeated application of a sandal. 

The British are well aware that the survival of their state - their nuclear weapons, their value to Nato, their strategic military position, their place on the UN Security Council, their "big player" status, their influence, their wealth - relies entirely on Scotland remaining a part of the United Kingdom. If Scotland goes, then at a stroke, Britain becomes a second or third-rate power with little to offer the great powers and a correspondingly declining influence. 

So the British, in the knowledge that only Scottish Labour can continue to maintain Scotland's place in the Union, are abandoning their traditional antipathy to the party and are doing everything in their power, by fair means or foul, to promote and to save the Scottish Labour Party. 

Let's not gloat at the polls. They're worthless until the final vote is counted. 

Redouble your efforts. Get out and canvass for the anti-Scottish Labour candidate most likely to win in your constituency. 

Let's make sure that on May the 8th, when we go to throw the bath mat out of the window, that there isn't a faint buzz. 

Don't be complacent. 

Don't let them back in.

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