The sun is shining, the streets are heavy with footfalls. Activist hands are painted inky and the letterboxes of Scotland are singing. Up in the north west, the presses at the Kinlochbervie Chronicle - Scotland's only quality tri-monthly newspaper - are hot from their newest edition, with all the most up-to-date coverage from the Holyrood campaign. On Easter Monday, no doubt optimistically channelling the Passion Play of sacrifice and redemption, Scottish Labour relaunched its hirpling campaign by revealing, to universal surprise, that the Scottish National Party are nationalists. The Kinlochbervie Chronicle's political correspondent, Ecclefechan Mackay (MA), was on the scene. However, unlike the so-called "quality press" of Scotland's chubby midriff, Mackay followed Gray to the relaunch of his relaunch, held yesterday in the Highlands. In association with the Chronicle, therefore, I give you his exclusive coverage of the event...
"Labour launch re-launch launched"The Kinlochbervie Chronicle 27th April 2011
The rain was shining over Culloden moor yesterday, as Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray relaunched his party's relaunch with a keynote speech, attacking what he called the SNP's "execrable Jacobitism". In a passionate harangue delivered to a packed audience of five American tourists, Gray said "voters of Scotland, hear the message of hope I bring. Alex Salmond is a Jacobite relic of Scotland. Labour stands strong behind the House of Hanover and the 17th century Whig hegemony which has secured the Culloden visitor attraction for Scotland so well." Criticising the SNP's custodianship, Gray continued, "this centre was built to celebrate the triumph of His Majesty's loyal forces over the Young Pretender. Under the SNP, that message has been totally distorted. It's a scandal."
Widely interpreted as an attempt to shore up Labour's Hanovarian base, Gray warned that "the SNP's plans are not so much for Scottish Water, as for the King over the Water" and pledged that Labour would "speak up for ordinary, middle class public sector employees, loyal to the King and the best traditions of the Constitution". Reminding the electorate about "real threat" posed by Salmond's "junto of Jacobite knaves" after the Nats' famous victory in the Jimmiekrankie by-election of 1689, the Labour leader cited a range of SNP measures from Holyrood's last term, building up a comprehensive indictment of the disloyalty of his Nationalist opponents. Calling the SNP's register of tartans a "plaid-pretext for rebellion", Gray questioned the SNP's "claymore, targe and blue-bonnet apprentice" strategy, promising that a Labour administration would introduce "higher quality" apprenticeships, giving young Scots the opportunity to work in Brown Bess musketry production and in scarlet-coat dyeries. Pointing to the clear symbolism of the white roses, worn by SNP parliamentarians at the opening of Holyrood in 2007, Gray argued that "Alex Salmond's first thought on taking office in 2007 was to pin the Pretender's white cockade to his tit. Why should Scots expect any different in 2011?"
Notoriously neutral academic observer, Professor Mogg-Tallagher, believes that Salmond's conversion to Jacobitism occurred during a visit from the French ambassador in 2006, who promising the First Minister the title of Viscount Linlithgow and a tasting directorship in the East India Company, an Edinburgh currymerchant specialising in Gujurati and Punjabi cuisine, if the House of Stuart could be recalled from exile and successfully restored to the Scottish throne. "It's as plain as the korma in your tin platter", Mogg-Tallagher said. "Decent Hanovarian voters have to realise that a vote for the SNP is a vote for the Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart. Frankly, I don't see what's so Bonny about that and I believe most loyal Scots will agree with me and not that grovelling lickspittle, Alex Salmond."
Accompanying Gray's second keynote denunciation, Labour launched a slew of new celebrity endorsements. William Augustus, the "Red" Duke of Cumberland, said "the Honourable and right-trusty Member for East Lothian is the only Scottish politician who realises that this election is, first and foremost, about maintaining the Hanovarian succession. That's why he is my choice to lead His Majesty's Scottish Ministers". Calton Graveyard-based Labour voter, David Hume, 300, told the Kinlochbervie Chronicle, "I'm delighted to see that Scottish Labour is offering real solutions to our 18th century problems. Frankly, the SNP's dereliction of duty over the last four years has been nothing short of a disgrace." The Duke and Hume join Sir Walter Scott, manager of the Waverley United football team and Labour's only current supporter.
Interviewed by the Chronicle, Gray appealed to Scotland's liberally-minded Episcopalians of wavering loyalty to the Hanovarian line, identified by pollsters as the key "bobbing John" demographic in this election. Gray said "If you don't want Lizzie Windsor exiled to Germany and replaced by an effete, autocratic scion of the House of Stuart, don't vote SNP. It's that simple."
An SNP party spokesman insisted "Labour just don't understand that the real choice facing Scots is one between a Scottish or a German diaspora tyrant. The SNP stands up for Scotland". Labour's campaign co-ordinator defended his leader's speech, saying "All we hear from the SNP these days is their excellent new song of rebellion, stirring up Jacobite feeling. Iain has pledged to focus on what really matters: defending the Hanovarian succession from Nationalist predations." Sources close to 10 Downing Street say that the possibility of a Nationalist majority in Holyrood continues to provoke real concerns in London, but the Prime Minister's spokesman dismissed the claims. "Alex Salmond may be a great man for the gee-gees, but he'll be turned back at this Derby", he quipped. Prince Charles Edward Stuart inclined to comment. The campaign continues.
Other news in brief
Tory "common sense" policies philosophe-icly undermined
The Scottish Conversative Party's Holyrood campaign has been rocked by expert claims that "common sense is not so common". Monsieur Arouet, a French-born expert based in Fernex, reported his controversial findings in the authoritative Dictionnaire Philosophique in 1764. Tavish Scott has demanded that Goldie refer herself to the Electoral Commission immediately. Playing down any official action against them, John Lamont, Tory candidate for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire conceded, "Everybody's awfully embarrassed about this. We thought we were onto something, but the independent research is irrefutable. We can only apologise to the Scottish people." Another senior party aide told us, "we're confident Annabel Goldie's common-senseless relaunch tomorrow will mend the fences."