The Emperor’s new clothes

So, the first priority for the Emperor is to get himself some new clothes. His suit is no longer a la mode; folk point to him in the street and whisper. Some even openly guffaw. The old clothes have to go, but what to replace it with?

Fortunately, the Emperor has employed a tailor of some renown and expertise.  Though there are many who doubt his talents, and in fact question whether he has any at all, the tailor is perceived in most quarters, as being one of the best there is.  What he appears particularly to be good at is invisible mending, a skill which is indubitably going to be required in looking after the Emperor’s attire.

The tailor shows the Emperor some fine cloth options but the Emperor is not happy. To cut, shape, fit and sew an outfit from scratch?  That would take too long and there’s a big event in May for which the Emperor needs to be properly booted and suited.

Instead, he spies some items hanging at the back of the tailor’s shop, waiting for collection. “What about those”, he asks.  “Ah”, says the tailor, “they’re orders for other people. I can see why you like them. They’ve been skilfully made, beautifully cut, expertly sewn. Because these people took time to choose, to research the right clothes before deciding on what to wear.  Also, they picked styles that suit their personality. Perhaps, Emperor, you should do the same?”

But the Emperor had no idea what might suit him. He had a few suits hanging in the wardrobe but wasn’t sure they fitted anymore. They just didn’t seem the right thing to be wearing.

Then the Emperor spotted something vibrant hanging on its own. “Bring me that”, he instructed the tailor. The tailor began to protest: “But that is for quite a different customer, one with a real sense of their own style, who knows what they like and what they should be wearing. I really don’t think…”

No matter. The Emperor insisted the clothes be brought to him.  He tried them on and posed in front of the mirror.  So it was a bit tight across the chest and a bit baggy on the bum. Nor was he sure that purple suited him – even if he was the Emperor – but he liked it and liked how it looked.  He felt good in it.

The tailor rolled his eyes. “Really, Emperor? I really do think you should at least think about wearing a colour that suits you, that you can call your own.”  “Nonsense,” replied the Emperor, “Let out the seams here, tighten the fit here and I’ll take it.”

And so, the Emperor stepped out onto the stage for his first public engagement and the crowd gasped. The women in particular were astonished. “That’s our clothes he’s wearing,” they muttered. “What made him think he could just take our clothes and not tell anyone where they come from?” asked one. “That’s the new Emperor for you,” added another, “Doesn’t care whose clothes he’s in, he only cares that he’s wearing something, anything to dazzle the crowds.”

“Ah well,” the women agreed, “He’ll get found out soon enough.”

And guess what? He did.



Wanted: a political Super Nanny

Oh, where is Nanny McPhee when we need her?

In quick succession, we’ve had Ian Davidson (Labour) threatening to give Eilidh Whiteford (SNP) a doing, or telling her she’s had a doing, but not, like, in a sexual way.

Followed by an SNP National Executive member burnishing her rising star somewhat with an over-zealous appeal to the sisterhood to protest against Mr Davidson’s supposed history of bullying and intimidation.  Mr Davidson threatened to sue, his Holyrood colleagues demanded the SNP hold an internal inquiry.

We’ve had the Scottish Liberal Democrats dissing the prospect of an independent Scotland in a “cartoon” poster by suggesting that gay rights would be suppressed and the death penalty introduced for crimes against the state.  While Willie Rennie, their leader, was having a day off, no less.

Elsewhere, a very important SNP yoof person reckoned Lord Foulkes was probably “drunk again” and Labour reacted with “fury”.  Another internal inquiry was demanded.  Better that, I suppose, than a public flogging.

And in an astonishing valedictory address to the Scottish Labour faithful, Iain Gray threw his toys, and reason, out of the pram, warning his successor of the alleged “poison politics” of some SNP supporters.  I’m amazed none of them folded before nominations officially opened.

Spats, spats and more spats.  All of it puerile, none of it productive.  A bad dose of politicians behaving badly.  As @aidanskinner wailed on twitter, “it’s looking like a very long four and a half years”.  Indeed, only one set of council elections, a European election, a UK election and possibly/probably a referendum to go.  What fun awaits us.

Enough already.  Scottish politics is in dire need of a political super nanny to pull them all into line.  Auntie Bella, who is redundant come Friday, suggest the Tories?  Eh, no.  We need a nanny not a matron.

Imagine.  She/he could instil a little discipline and order to proceedings.

A naughty step, where all the miscreants could be parked – a minute for every year of life, meaning Ian Davidson could be on there a while – until they’ve learned their lesson and said sorry.  Like they mean it.

Time out.  Is a little silence from everyone too much to hope for?  No utterances, no emails, no pressers, no tweets, no retorts.  Golden indeed.

How about a reward chart?  A little shiny sticker for every politician who manages to say something nice about one of their colleagues.  And a great big smiley face for every courteous exchange with an opposing member.

Finally, seeing as how we’ve had twelve years of weekly Chamber sessions in Parliament being opened with prayer and faith-based homilies and appeals, I suggest we replace it – or add to it – with circle time.

For the uninitiated, circle time isa time for children to gather together to share their personal feelings and ideas about anything that is significant to them“.  It’s billed as a “very practical resource for creating positive behaviour“.  Good enough for bairns; could it work for brattish politicians?

It’s not like there aren’t a few pressing issues demanding our politicians’ fullest attention.  Remember the economy, stupid?  A Eurozone crisis recently narrowly averted, now increasingly looking like it’s back on?  Cuts?  Strikes?  Welfare reform?

It’s all far too depressing.  While our world threatens to crash and burn, politicians and their followers fiddle, making mischief with each other, when they should be much more focused on the stuff.  that.  matters.

Like this:

When my youngest daughter turns 5, I have been told I must attend an intervew on her birthday at the job centre and I will then have 2 weeks to find a job or I will lose my money for 3 weeks.  But there are no jobs and how do I live with 2 kids with no money for 3 weeks?… I cry myself to sleep and have now lost 2 stone in weight with worrying about how I will live with no money. I’ve been cutting back and we have been living on only beans and candle light for 3 months. I have turned all hot water off in the house so I can save money for when they stop all my money as i can’t get a job…”

Does Scottish politics really need a super nanny?  Of course not.  It just needs our politicians to grow up and get on with doing the job we pay them handsomely to do.