Here’s the foreshadowing of where Malcolm is heading with this post:
Any pop-ups you get with that hot-link are entirely your own problem. Ms Davidson is already taken (by Saskia Halcrow).
Meanwhile, the headline.
Last Saturday Malcolm trogged across London to Richmond, for Northern Stage and Live Theatre’s Close the Coalhouse Door. It’s currently touring rep theatres (which includes the National, where the production values went on steroids) across the country; and it’s as good as it was in 1968.
In passing, if there were to be Paradise, some Elysian Fields, Malcolm hopes there to find an ethereal and eternal Richmond Green, on a sunny Spring day, complete with decent pubs (the Cricketers for Greene King, the Prince’s Head for Fullers, the Britannia) and a proper working late Victorian theatre (as above).
But … Jingoism?
Well, Jingo started, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, as:
A conjuror’s call for the appearance of something: the opposite of hey presto!, by which a thing is bidden to be gone. Hence, an exclamation of surprise at the appearance of something. Obs.
It then slithered [By Jingo!] into one of those oath-substitutes that can be decently used in respectable fiction. Then into MacDermott and Hunt’s music-hall song applauding Beaconsfield, in 1878, who had despatched British warships into Turkish waters, to forestall a Russian advance:
We don’t want to fight but by jingo if we do,
We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, and got the money too!
We’ve fought the Bear before and while we’re Britons true
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.
Well, they had to wait a bit, but today Russians and their money are welcome in the Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Just look for the multi-language signs, observe the linguistic pecking order, and draw your own conclusions.
With the end of Empire, we haven’t heard “Jingoism” trotted out so often, recently. Malcolm looked, in vain, at the index of Paxman’s book, and found it omitted.
The spirit of Jingo, though not the term itself, continues in one particular connection: Anglo-Scottish relations. Even more specifically, in the way the Tory Party treats its branch-offices in the occupied territories.
Now, don’t get Malcolm wrong here: he is incapable of making a case for Tories of any description. Yet there is a certain “lost puppy” appeal about successive leaders of the Scottish Tories, and the way they have serially been dumped on by Tory Central.
For six years Annabel Goldie struggled to make any kind of advance. She didn’t have much support from across the Border, which — in all truth — might be the best thing to happen to Scottish Tories. In September 2010, the autumn after the spring General Election, there was this:
Scotland on Sunday has learned that, since the general election, senior figures in the UK Conservative Party no longer consult or communicate with their Scottish colleagues.
As a result, Scottish party leaders have been virtually shut out of all decision-making roles and they are no longer invited to top-level strategy and policy meetings.
Indeed, the isolation of the Scottish party has reached such a pitch that Scottish leader Annabel Goldie has not spoken to David Cameron since the election, while SNP First Minister Alex Salmond has held five conversations with the Prime Minister since he took office.
One party insider said the Scottish leadership had been “cast adrift” by Westminster, which had ceded political control of the country to its coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats.
Once is happenstance, twice is circumstance, three times is enemy action
Ah, yes: the wit and wisdom of Auric Goldfinger.
SCOTTISH Tories last night accused David Cameron of undermining the party’s leader north of the Border after the Prime Minister’s U-turn on the independence referendum date.
Despairing MSPs said the party in Scotland was “not even on his radar” and accused Mr Cameron of hanging Scots leader Ruth Davidson “out to dry”.
The angry comments came after the Prime Minister told a reception at the Scotland Office in London on Tuesday night he was not “too fussy” about the timing of the referendum – effectively conceding to the Nationalists’ wish for a vote on separation in the autumn of 2014.
He made his comments even though Ms Davidson has fought to hold the public line that delaying the referendum date for more than two years is unacceptable.
Last night Mr Cameron was accused of having no regard at all for the views of the Scottish party.
One senior MSP told The Herald: “The real significance of this is David Cameron clearly doesn’t think he has done anything wrong because the Scottish Tories are such an irrelevance we are just not on his radar. This was not wilful or deliberate or even careless. It just showed it did not occur to him the view of the Scottish party or its leader might even matter.”
“Crooked nose” Cameron has, in effect, sent a gunboat into Scottish territorial waters. Its “friendly fire” has just blown out of the water the Scottish Tories.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer political band of brothers and sisters.
Last word to Alex Glasgow, from the First Act of Coalhouse Door:
A is for Alienation, which made me the man that I am,
B is the Boss, who’s a bastard, a bourgeois who don’t give a damn.