Sunday, 5 April 2015

What the hell is up with The Daily Telegraph?

Regular readers of Private Eye might be aware that The Daily
Telegraph is having a few internal issues: in order not to upset advertisers, they ignored a story about the HSBC, and have trouble telling the difference between advertising and editorial. The Independent has recently forgotten that it is a newspaper and not an on-line click bait service, and The Guardian remains the home of half-baked leftist columnist who imagine that condemning the burial of Richard III is a valuable political statement in the age of food banks and the NHS being sold off to the mates of the government.

But The Torygraph  is really going for it. It's like watching an elderly colonel have a public nervous breakdown, jibbering and paranoid. Before the last election, they did a piece that tried to undermine Nick Clegg  - if they'd waited, Clegg was going to do that all  by himself - and this time, they are having a bash at Nicola Sturgeon. However, when they went after Clegg, they kept it ad hominem. For some reason, they've decided that it is necessary to take down the entire Scottish electorate.

I am not an SNP supporter, nor do I welcome the triumphalism that greeted Sturgeon's success in the leader's debate  - my wariness of politicians reminds me that the last leader who did well on telly was the Lib-Dem boss, and his clegacy is a generation of disenchanted ex-students. But, seriously, the intemperate language used by Bruce Anderson suggests that he wrote his article for future generations to learn from his mistakes.

Let's  start with the personal attacks.

La Sturgeon was effective: clear, confident, combative without being shrill. One could add a fourth “c” word: cold.

It is less a question of a splinter of ice in her heart, as a few scraps of heart tissue clinging to an icicle. She has all the human warmth of a tricoteuse waiting for a tumbril.

Oh come, everyone knows that shrill is a word that is only used of women - if she wasn't shrill, why mention it? She didn't have shit all down her trousers either: unless Brucie expects a woman to be shrill? And who cares if she is cold? David Cameron was all 'call me Dave' in opposition, a warm, smiling clown. His attitude towards the poor is pretty fucking callous, despite his 'warmth.' 

Also: the metaphor? Bit of the old body horror, there. I'm all for describing politicians like monsters out of a horror film, but picking for attention in this way is like... giving out speeding tickets at the Indy 500?

And the 'c' word? Really? 

Her down-to-earth tone will help to hide the fact that the underlying economics are nonsense. “Our Lassie showed the English what for,” the Nats will be saying this weekend. There may not be time for the hysteria to subside.

Unlike readers of newspapers, I don't actually know what the 'underlying economics' here are. But, if they are nonsense, Bruce could explain why. Instead, he launches into a remarkable rant about The Scots.

Meanwhile - 'our lassie' and 'hysteria': has Bruce not been to the the feminism 101 class? A wee bit patronising, both to the notional Nats and Sturgeon - not to mention bringing up a condition that was long associated with women. 

At this point, a troll may wish to suggest that I am pushing my luck by calling Bruce on 'hysteria'. Hopefully, there is a feminist psychologist who can explain why hysteria is a contaminated word.

But let's see how he describes 'the Scottish public mood'.

Over the past few months, millions of Scots have been baying at the moon. The most bizarre fantasies have not only circulated; otherwise sane people have given them credence. There are supposed to be massively valuable oilfields whose existence the English are concealing...(this) is now part of everyday discourse.

Undermined by ... the end of the British Empire... often a job-creation scheme for Scots... Once a Royal Duke lowered the final Union Flag, it was easier for malcontents to claim that Scotland was England’s last colony. (Those sentiments are expressed in characteristic language during the film Trainspotting, much the most depressing portrait of Scotland ever written or broadcast.)

On any sensible audit of the Thatcher years, Scotland should regard her as a benefactor... Thatcherism created the conditions in which the new industries could flourish... Her voice did not help; it set many Scottish teeth on edge. That was a childish reaction: there was a lot of childishness about, encouraged by both Labour and Nationalist politicians.

So there was a quarter of a century of demonisation, which drove economic common sense out of Scottish public debate. By the end, many young Scots had come to believe that Scots’ values were superior... Mrs Thatcher and her English capitalist friends hated the Scottish ethos, which is why they had set out to destroy the Scottish economy. This brainwashing explains why Nicola Sturgeon will have earned huge applause in Scotland for attacking Ed Miliband from the Left. Scottish Labour helped to sow the dragons’ teeth, never expecting that the dragons would turn on them. They ken the noo.

Not since the Thirties has a once great nation been in the grip of so many delusions. This is malign thraldom, and it is not clear how it can be ended. Nicola Sturgeon and her party are on the side of Trainspotting Scotland, not Enlightenment Scotland. Yet there is no sign of Scotland coming to its senses.

Where do I start with this? The idea that Thatcher was generous to Scotland, but her voice (probably shrill) was the problem - not her policies? That conspiracy theories are the talk of the steamie ( a twee expression Bruce failed to use to enhance his Scottish credentials, aiming for the  full-on Fife dialect instead) is news to me. And Trainspotting is many things, but not a state of the nation address.

It's all nasty, petulant moaning, betraying a negative attitude to women in politics and patronising an entire country - the sort of thing that is a gift to the SNP, consolidating the idea that they are the outsiders in the political game. You'd almost think that The Torygraph wants to see a swing to the SNP in the election, because that might damage Labour's presence in parliament. 

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