The white rose of shame, the Zippo of lunacy

Today’s post features two stalwarts of the Scottish separation movement who may or may not be happy to be seen in each other’s company. Both perpetrate actions that combine offensiveness with stupidity and more than a dash of unintended humour.

Let’s start with the fruitier, the loopier of the two, Mr Sean Clerkin of … well, of what? He was of the Scottish Resistance but now seems to be of something called Action in Scotland, the Resistance having lost 1/3 of its membership (one Piers Doughty-Brown) in a split of historic proportions. Amongst his earlier wheezes were the attempt to bring war crime charges against David Cameron under something called the Kellogg-Brand pact of 1928 and the great Tunnocks’ Tea Cake protest.

This weekend he appeared in one of the less salubrious parts of Glasgow to burn the union flag. In the background were retail premises labelled ‘Untouchables’ and a man in a kilt who, sort of on cue, played Scotland the Brave on a set of bagpipes that belched flames. It was not clear what gas powered his pipes although there are various possibilities. After a long rant about the evils of the ‘butcher’s apron’ (qui vive) Clerkin attempted to incendiarise the flag with a lighter that wouldn’t work until an accomplice gnome (who had already made an incoherent contribution about Scottish history) stepped forward to give him a hand, and a light. The whole was conducted in front of a passing trickle of sundry indifferent Glaswegians, not one of whom stopped to see what lunacy was underway. So much for Yes city.

Videos of all the stunts I’ve mentioned can be found on YouTube. I’m not giving links to them for fear of feeding the Resistance/Action’s illusion that they’re making a contribution to anything apart from filling time in their own empty lives and giving the rest of us some amusement. Meantime, here’s a photo of Sean (left) with some other separatist punter:


My other fruitloop of the week is not so amusing – long-standing SNP councillor Joe Wallace, provost of Midlothian council since 2012. If you’re not familiar with the role of provost, it’s not unlike the traditional English mayor, a figurehead who is expected to stand above party politics and represent the council with some dignity at civic events, for example Remembrance Sunday commemorations.

Provost Joe got some stick last month for criticising the army (it has a large barracks in Midlothian) and their allegedly dumping ex-servicemen with various problems in Midlothian. The media took up the case and the offence he caused: you’ll find many reports of his words online.

Luckily, Midlothian council record all their meetings and place the audio online. So I don’t have to rely on the wicked mainsteam media to blacken councillor Wallace’s name. Here are his words verbatim as accurately as I could transcribe them:

Cllr. Wallace: Besides us approaching the Scottish government and, and asking them to, erm, to mitigate once again for Westminster cuts, maybe we should be, especially MELDAP [Midlothian and East Lothian Drugs and Alcohol Partnership] thing, er, because we are, er, we have the army in Midlothian and I find that the, er, MoD imposing on us time and time and time again, maybe we should be approaching the MoD and saying ‘Seeing you send us these people with these problems, send some money to go with it.’ We’re expected to give people, er, houses, er, jobs, and things that after, if they’re called a veteran, a veteran is somebody that can sign up for one day to the TAs, and I believe that in Scotland we have something like 200,000 people that can be called a veteran, it’s maybe time for us to approach the UK government and the MoD and say ‘Please send us some money to help us deal with the problems that you created by sending these people to illegal wars.’

Un-named councillor: I’m not actually sure what you’re asking there, Joe, I’m not so sure what the MoD or the army has to do with this or am I missing something?

Cllr. Wallace: I think you might be missing something convener because the MoD, er, send us people with mental health problems that come out the army with drugs and drink problems and they get passed on to us. The MoD take no care of them whatsoever, maybe about six months and they get passed on to the NHS. And Midlothian are expected to give these people houses and jobs.

Un-named councillor: I’m actually glad this is being recorded. Thank you councillor [indistinct name], because I’m sure the public would love to hear that kind of statement (Source: Council performance review and scrutiny committee 7 September, audio here)

It is believed that councillor Wallace was sober at the time.

Amidst all the incoherent verbiage, I’m sure you get the point: he doesn’t like the army and thinks it dumps ex-soldiers with drugs and drink problems on Midlothian. This despite most ex-service personnel being thoroughly decent people, and the army being a substantial employer in his area that, I’m sure, goes out of its way to maintain good relations with the council, because that’s what the armed forces do. Wiser SNP politicians than councillor Wallace in turn go out of their way to maintain good relations with the forces locally. To give credit where it’s due, check Moray MP Angus Robertson’s relations with the army and RAF in his constituency.

Since it’s a day for portraits, here’s Joe Wallace in all his civic finery when he was appointed provost:


Note the buttonhole? It’s the white rose of Scotland, yet another of the many symbols of nationalism beloved by the SNP. Beloved because of the short poem The Little White Rose of Scotland by Hugh MacDiarmid – the rose ‘that smells sharp and sweet— and breaks the heart.’ The SNP like it not only (perhaps not even) because of its sentimental associations but because MacDiarmid was the quintessential nationalist poet, a complex man with both fascist and communist sympathies who also wrote:

Now when London is threatened
With devastation from the air
I realise, horror atrophying me,
That I hardly care (On the Imminent Destruction of London, June 1940).

The SNP ‘56,’ as they were, all wore what they believed to be Scottish white roses on the first day of the new Westminster parliament in 2015, although they were actually English or foreign cultivated roses, presumably an Interflora bulk order.

Do you see where this is going? If Messrs Clerkin and Wallace can be so incoherent and rambling, perhaps I can be cut a bit of slack in that direction.

I suppose what I’m saying is that these two small examples of what I will antagonise some by calling ‘the mind set of the nationalist’ do actually tell you something. They tell you that symbols are excessively important to them, whether it’s a flower or a flag. They tell you that incoherent rambling is central to much of what they’re about, whether lunatic fringe or mainstream SNP. And they tell you that they may not mean to be funny, but by God they can be.

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2 Responses to The white rose of shame, the Zippo of lunacy

  1. wujeanty says:

    I despise MacDiarmid (real name: Christopher Grieve). When he was writing that poem about London – which was on top of incendiary drivel he’d been writing for years (eg, ‘The swine in London are Scotland’s only enemies’) – my granddad was serving there with the Scots Guards. Thus, if Grieve had got his wish, not only would millions of innocent Londoners have been wiped out, my granddad would have been killed, and yours truly would never have been born.

    And then there’s the repugnant Little White Rose. It is mean-spirited, pathetic, and – rather like the Nationalist movement generally – a bit naff. I mean, ‘…that smells sharp and sweet – and breaks the heart’ – it’s not exactly Tennyson.

    The fact that the Nationalists venerate this man every time they get sworn in tells you all you need to know about them: they are, to a man and a woman, utterly vile; and not a little silly for believing that Grieve’s nonsense verse is somehow high art.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with wujeanty. My father was not sent to London until later in the war, but he was in bomb disposal. He met my mother, a Londoner, during the war.

    Liked by 1 person

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