In May, there was a momentous occasion in Scottish politics. The Speaker of the Westminster parliament, John Bercow, chose to chide SNP MPs for the heinous crime of applauding briefly and respectfully at the conclusion of a colleague's speech.
On the BBC's Reporting Scotland that evening, Jackie Bird switched between delighted glee that the enemy had been told off, and ululating in spasms of fauxrage at the very idea that Ra Nats were in the British parliament at all.
|Jackie Bird announcing some SNPs applauded|
Every newspaper was predictably outraged. The Nats were branded pirates and terrorists. Labour denounced the SNP as "goons", " infantile", and "stupid".
There were rants in - this is not an exhaustive list - the Daily Mirror, Daily Record, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail (a five-page spread), The Scotsman, the Herald (cost of a Herald: £1,20; cost of the Herald: £40.000 in advertising), STV and the BBC. The tone of the coverage was hysterical. One might have thought by the fevered tone of the coverage that some SNP MPs had held a sobbing queen Elizabeth down on the floor of the Commons while Alex Salmond curled one out on her face.
(Applause, incidentally, is a terrorist attack performed by fascist subhuman goons when the SNP do it, but a fitting, dignified tribute when it's done after Tony Blair's last speech to the British parliament, or indeed, in tribute to John Bercow).
I was struck by the difference in the tone - or lack thereof - of the reporting today when Labour MSP and former "leadership" hopeful Neil Findlay screamed unparliamentary abuse across the chamber, shouting down the First Minister as she delivered a speech in Parliament today. As sniggering Labour MSPs sheltered Findlay from the presiding officer, the country - keenly aware of Kezia Dugdale's personal, and definitely-not political campaign against people being rude about Scottish Labour on the internet, stretching to writing columns for the Hitler-supporting Daily Mail and posing for photos in The Sun with Kezia Sad Face on - waited for the Labour "leader" to take action against rude behaviour in her own party.
It waited, dear reader, in vain.
It is odd that the Labour outrage over SNP MPs "disrespecting" the British parliament by applauding a colleague's speech was not replicated over Findlay disrespecting Parliament.
But it's not an isolated incident.
In December, James Kelly, a slack-jawed yokel who has, inexplicably, found himself an MSP, was thrown out of the chamber for refusing to accept the authority of its presiding officer (perhaps it is coincidence that this is another example of a male Scottish Labour MSP behaving in an offensive manner to a female counterpart; perhaps it's indicative of a male-dominated, bullying party of overgrown schoolboys).
The question arises: has Scottish Labour, always suspicious of devolution and now realising it will never govern the devolved institutions again, reacting to its loss of power and influence, its near-loss in the independence referendum, and its moribund status in the polls, by seeking to undermine the public approval of the devolved institutions by trying to present it as unworthy of respect; of a "pretendy parliament" peopled by second-class politicians, and to be considered far below the esteem enjoyed by the Westminster parliament?
A Scottish Parliament viewed as a laughing stock would suit no party better than Scottish Labour. Might this be behind their decision to continually offer a front-bench of talentless thugs, Edinburgh lawyers and intellectual pygmies?