Daily Archives: October 12, 2011

Some bigotries never go away

Try this:

A FORMER leader of the SNP has called on ministers to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage.

Former MP Gordon Wilson, who led the party from 1979 to 1990, said same-sex marriage would “undermine” the traditional Christian understanding of the institution.

He argued that if the issue of the 300-year-old Union with the rest of the UK is worth a referendum, so is over a millennium-and-a-half of Christian teaching and he called on ministers to hold one instead of simply consulting on same-sex marriages.

Now Malcolm has been married to a good Northern Irish (ex-) young Unionist (with good Clydeside connections) for … ummm .. well into five decades. Oddly enough, Malcolm does not need anyone to define for him what that mutual commitment involves. He suspects that all other members of the “happily-married” fraternity and sorority would concur:

  • It’s not divinely ordained.
  • It’s nothing to do with deism or vows in a place of worship.
  • Or even legalistics.
  • It’s good old-fashioned understanding and tolerance.
  • It’s a four-letter word, my friends: l-o-v-e.
Every couple — whatever their gender(s) — have to find their way to consensual endurance together.


Malcolm’s (alas, long-dead) headmaster (at the High School, Dublin) was a classical scholar.

On special occasions the great-and-good Dr Ralph Reynolds wore what he himself referred to as his “Grand Vizier” outfit — the full-fig gold-and red doctorial gown of Queen’s University.

Malcolm particularly recalls a dusty classroom in the High School, then at the top of Harcourt Street. Dr Reynolds discoursed on the Greek terms for “love”. The bit Malcolm recalls went something like:

  • Agápe (ἀγάπη) is what you feel for for parents
  • Philia (φιλία) is what you feel for your friend
  • Éros (ἔρως) is what you fell for your friend’s sister.

Malcolm doubts that many who went through the route of classical eddikashun didn’t get something similar.

So, let’s return to Gordon Wilson.

Wilson represents the years when the SNP was in the wilderness, between  the froth-and-fury of Billy Wolfe and the Machiavel “Wee Eck” Salmond. Let it be understood that Malcolm, not without qualification, was a Wolfe-man. Well, to be honest, since a youthful Bo’ness evening which involved amounts of heavy and many, many improvised verses of the Ballad of the Learig Bar.

Now, what — in any name of reason — is Wilson doing here?

If nothing else, the SNP — if it is to achieve a plurality — cannot afford to identify with any faction. And the religious elements in Scotland are just a wee bit too puissant and divisive to have as affiliates.

So: Shut up, Gordy!

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Filed under bigotry, Dublin., History, Homophobia, Scotland, SNP

Sez all ya need t’know!

Nick Robinson (some time President of the Oxford University Conservative Association) on the BBC website:

I have spoken to a wealthy backer of Liam Fox who says he and half a dozen others raised funds to pay for Adam Werritty to act as the Defence Secretary’s unofficial adviser — someone who, unlike civil servants, could be relied on to champion support for Eurosceptic, pro-American and pro-Israeli policies.

Compare and contrast (as they say on exam papers):

One of those donors was Michael Hintze, the founder of the CQS hedge fund and one of Australia‘s richest men, who allowed Mr Werritty to use a desk at his London offices. The tycoon supplied a private jet for Dr Fox and Mr Werritty to fly home from the United States in May.

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Like Jell-O on springs

That’s “Jerry” (Jack Lemmon) watching “Sugar” walking the station platform. Or, in full:

Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It’s like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it’s a whole different sex!

Here, far more mundane and depressing, is a whole different English language, from the Reuters comment on the day’s currency markets:

Technical analysts said the break of $1.5716 had triggered a double-bottom reversal pattern which would target a potential move towards $1.6160.

Childe-Freeman said if sterling closed above $1.5590, the 23.6 percent retracement of the Aug. 19 – Oct. 6 fall from above $1.66 to $1.5270, it would be a strong signal for a more bullish environment.

So, can Malcolm — none the wiser, and resenting having to pack the whole works to go transAtlantic — afford an iPad?


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Helmer: more hell for Dave?

Two high-level resignations in just a couple of days:

Both give the same reason: disillusion with Cameroonie policy back in Whitehall.

Malcolm has always held the notion it would be the European issue that broke not just the ConDem coalition, but — once again — also the Tory Party. Come the moment, the wedge-issue could be Labour, coolly and cynically, backing a referendum on matters European. If Merkel gets her way, that opportunity might come sooner rather than later — the dynamic is already building in Ireland (and Martyn Turner exploiting, as right).

Helmer is particularly blunt:

… my decision is dictated in part by my increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party.  I am finding it ever more difficult to defend the policies of the Coalition, not only on my key issues of Europe, and of climate and energy, but on a range of other matters besides.

I will have more to say about this in coming days.

Malcolm very much doubts Helmer will have much of use or ornament to say; and will go largely unreported. The climate-change-deniers, in particular, are the nearest approach to British Israelites and  flat-earthers the Tories have as statutory resident weirdos at the moment.

Even so, Helmer can put himself around. Yet another dissident voice floating around the Round Table circuit and Tory dinners is not what the party hierarchs would prescribe.

Helmer is, in any case, a loose cannon with a run-away tongue, prepared to pontificate on anything from sexual relations via religious faith and the divine right to break speed limits to serious politics.

Above all, as Norman Clegg said of Foggy Dewhurst, on their first meeting, “I confidently expect this one is potty on a full -time basis.”

The relocation of Helmer to Roy Clarke’s version of Holmfirth, rambling and ambling along that marvellously-named Upperthong Lane (better believe it!) , is none too fantastical, either. He’d fit right — well, far right — in.


Looking a trifle closer, there is an extra level here, and it’s one of intra-party factions.

By resigning at the end of the year, Helmer eases into place by co-option an also-ran Tory from the last euro-election, and so books a spot for the next one. This would apparently be one Rupurt Matthews, a fellow spirit on the frothing wing of the Tory Party.

The intention: so that CCHQ can’t fiddle the list come next election.



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