28 January 2009

"It was me, sir! Me sir!"

More on the recent budgeteering Brigadoonery.

Watching the scallcrows pecking at each other is always smirkworthy for those of us with a guilty, if carefully concealed appreciation for blood sports. David Maddox neatly captures some of the gusty humbug over at the Steamie. What strikes me as faintly curious, however, is why our dear, dusty chums the Liberal Demoncrats seem to be getting all excitable about the prospect of being wiped out by an early election.

Helpful souls that they are, they have claimed responsibility for Holyrood's most recent drive-by voting "incident" by confirming that indeed - "Lib Dems Vote Down SNP Budget".

That's that little conundrum solved then. Call Mr Harvie and tell him he's free to go.

Of course, if one was cynical, one might suggest that the Lib Dem hencoop is getting rather dull, and they're making eyes at the plucky cockrel of the Labour Party across the aisle, yearning for the old familiar coalition spankings. After all, who could blame aquiline-prowed Tavish for longing to enterain Iain Gray's smoky sweet (sic) voice in his lughole as he lounged on his ministerial récamier in Bute House...

"Mister Deputy First Minister, I've chalked my palms..."


Well, well.

Patrick Harvie MSP isn't to be so meanly purchased, it would appear. Frankly, I imagine poor Alex Ferguson enjoyed having his "Vice Presidential" moment and tipping the wink, although it would have been rather better show if he'd announced "sod the convention" beforehand and kept all the sweaty-fingered, hammy-fetlocked MSPs clutching their buns in anticipation about which way he'd fling.

A missed opportunity, methinks.

Geert Wilders: "A hairshade too far"...

I noted yesterday that neon-capped, loaf-haired member of the Dutch Tweede Kamer, Geert Wilders, is to slapped about a bit by the Dutch courts for comparing the Koran to "Mein Kampft" and making "one-sided generalisations" about Islam. I defy anyone to find the platinum-pated pillock particularly impressive, either as a politician or a cultural critic. If you don't believe me, watch him being interviewed on the BBC's optimistically entitled "Hard Talk". While declaiming against the Koran as a scabrous and violent text, he jauntily proceeds to defend Christianity and Judaism's own gloomy repositories of pious venom and divinely-sponsored violence, genocide and selective stoning of close relations - by imputing a reformatory and character to the New Testament. Inspired.

What strikes me as curious, however, is that both sides of this dubious little quarrel find it necessary to invoke the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. Our golden-haired Adonis of free expression wants Islam's holy text banned because of his assessment of its violence and "fascism". The dour-faced Hollanders of an appeal court in Amsterdam, with a cheeky winking symmetry, insist that "...the court also considers appropriate criminal prosecution for insulting Muslim worshippers because of comparisons between Islam and Nazism made by Wilders... In a democratic system, hate speech is considered so serious that it is in the general interest to... draw a clear line".

While a clear infringement of Godwin's Law on both sides, why are European courts so sensitive? Perhaps Article 10(2) of the European Convention of Human Rights would benefit from a few extra clauses outlining a more exhaustive list of all the permutations of speech and writing which vague, brainless, Nazi allegations might justify the infringement of. The Dutch touch about "balancing" the various elements is particularly jolly. After all, what sort of scales do you imagine they employed? Mealy-mouthed judicial rubbish, methinks. The whole things reeks of precarious authoritarianism, however gopherishly gauche the muppet-faced MP involved is.

One louche aside, since we're on the subject - its a curious thought that inside the Council of Europe, the key barrier now facing those of us who would advocate First Amendment style laws concerning freedom of speech is ... the European Convention on Human Rights. By sucking the whole issue into incessant exchanging and fudging metaphors of "balance" against a ludicrously long list of concerns, the possibility of a clean, muscular free speech provision totally disappears.

Stick that in your craw.

27 January 2009

Post: The First

Having been something of a bloggish lurker these past few years, I have finally determined to "grasp the thistle", "take the plunge" and whatever other ordeal-based metaphors you can scrape together - and give it a go myself. My intention at this stage is to contribute a little something to Scottish political blogging, while conspiring not to be too odiously partisan. Non-sectional odiousness, however, will be positively encouraged.