Wretched Things

We men are wretched things, and the gods, who have no cares themselves, have woven sorrow into the very pattern of our lives.
– Achilles, The Iliad

For whatever reason, the people behind the theft of our democracy wanted us all to share, comment, & get very worked up about this video, from a TV programme that came out seven years ago. That this should be amplified so widely now rather than any point in the last seven years immediately puts me on edge.

I’m not a classical scholar by any means: my use of a Latin quotation from an Ancient Roman source in this site’s header is merely because I prefer, when possible, to use the original source – one not obscured by the unavoidable bias of translation. I’m deeply suspicious of people who overuse (or improperly use) certain words & phrases from dead languages, which you’d think would put me at odds with my great appreciation for history & classical scholarship. As expected, there was a clamouring of “he’s rambling,” “gibberish,” “terrible pronunciation,” and whatnot, while others responded with “actually not bad,” “brilliant,” “didn’t understand a word of it but it was highly entertaining.” For the most part, to my immense frustration, the vast majority of comments on either side were deeply unhelpful – mostly pronouncements of credentials (“I’m an ancient Greek scholar & what he said was nonsense/flawless”) without anyone providing something that would be useful – like, say, providing the bit of the Illiad he was speaking, saying why it was nonsense/flawless, old-fashioned stuff like evidence, you know. You’re just expected to believe them because they said so, rather than because they prove their case forensically. That it was both sides doing this shows why we’re in this mess.

I find the whole episode highly instructive on many levels.

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The Crossroads to Independence

I’ve had to change that widget three times now. First it was 29th March 2019. Then it was 12th April 2019. Then it was 31st October 2019. And (for) now, it’s 31st January 2020. I’d say things were getting ridiculous, but really, how could you tell the difference?

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The War Among The Vampires

He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.
The Lord of the Rings, Book I, Chapter V, “The White Rider”

A while back I speculated that the EU Referendum was being used as a proxy war between two different factions within The Establishment.

On one side, you had the Nativists: these are people who have – or at least believe they have – genuine pride and concern for the United Kingdom, a belief in their nation, and a willingness to put party-politics aside for what they perceive as the greater good. Despite their selfishness & arrogance, for whatever reason, they really do care about the UK’s international reputation, its territorial integrity, and its wealth. This is exemplified by the likes of David Cameron, Theresa May, John Major, and other pro-EU figures in the UK Government Party.

On the other side, you had the Conmen. These people might talk a big talk about the United Kingdom and Great Britain, or even let the mask slip & talk about England – but in truth, it’s all lip service to their voting base. They don’t care about the UK, its people, its borders, or even its wealth, even in a nominal sense: all they care about is themselves and their own coffers. This is clear to see in the likes of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage, and all the other squillionaires who look set to make themselves even more rich in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

So what does this mean for Scottish Independence? I have a bold theory.

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Killer Klowns from Outwood, Surrey

Please stop misusing the word ‘clown’

With regard to your recent article and headline (Our elders are supposed to be older and wiser. But not these Brexit clowns, theguardian.com, 21 December), I am a prize-winning international musical clown, part of an honourable profession, and am deeply offended by the misuse and misrepresentation of “clown” in connection with parliamentary or other forms of chaotic behaviour.

The constant use of the word “circus” in the press to denote a mess or bad behaviour is also distasteful. Unlike the comparison the press constantly draws, a clown or indeed a circus must be orderly and efficient to work properly. And in the case of a circus, it takes teamwork – which is the opposite of the impression the press gives.

Please could the fourth estate find other words to describe political behaviour.
David Konyot
Tilney St Lawrence, Norfolk

With the greatest of respect to Mr Konyot, I am being very specific in my reference to the current cabinet as clowns. While I would be loth to presume to tell you all about your profession, my impression is that the work of a clown is to present the semblance of chaos and pandemonium with highly trained and practised routine by experienced and disciplined performers. In other words, it’s all an act. That’s what I’m saying. It is not (always) incompetence: it is deliberate and concerted actions designed to provoke a reaction and set certain responses in motion. The question is, are these charlatans truly as incompetent as they appear, or is it a masterful act of deception that would make Keyser Soze proud?

Last time, we catalogued…

  • a Prime Moronster who says a town in England is worth more than the most populated region of Scotland
  • a Clowncellor who said Scotland having any control over its own affairs was “constitutional vandalism”
  • a Home Secretrickster who couldn’t wait to cut Scotland’s funding
  • a Foreign Secretrickster who passionately advocated for full-fiscal autonomy for Scotland before voting against it every chance he got
  • a Brexit Secretrickster who said Scottish people should be disenfranchised following a Yes vote even if they were still part of the UK when a General Election was held,
  • a Clowncellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who seems to resent Scots more than most of his own party
  • a Defense Secretrickster who immediately claimed a No vote as a victory for his party

So who else is there? Doo-doo-doodle-oodle-ood-doo-doo-doo

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Don’t Sleep – The Clowns Will Eat Us All

When Julius Fučík composed Entrance of the Gladiators in 1897, he was no doubt thinking of the blood and thunder spectacle of the ancient Coliseum: mighty warriors from all across the Roman Empire thrust into brutal combat against slaves, beasts, and one another. The Thraex beats his wicked sica against his battered parmula; the Murmillo’s burnished manica glinting in the blazing Italian sun, his face obscured behind the grill of his cassius crista; the Retarius brandishes his mighty trident and man-catcher net. The crowd rocks the walls of the Coliseum with their acclaim for their heroes. The bombast & majesty of the piece made it ideal for ironic juxtaposition for circuses in the early 20th Century – it worked so well that this magnificent fanfare became forever linked to the slapstick & satire of the circus clown.

Of course, in the 20th Century, it’s come full circle – from the music being used to offset the silliness of clowns, nowadays the piece seems best served to ridicule people with rather high opinions of their competence.

In the 19th Century, it was the theme for gladiators.

In the 20th Century, it was the theme for clowns.

In the 21st Century, it’s the theme for politicians.

So what does this troupe have in store for Scotland?

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Whoever Wins, We Lose

I could actually weep for some of the people in our country:

I genuinely don’t understand the logic of anyone whose view of Scottish independence is affected by who is or might be Prime Minister, or which party is in government. It very much suggests they haven’t understood the question.
– Some Numpty On Twitter Who Already Gets Too Much Attention

It is everything to do with the question – because “who is or might be Prime Minister/party of government” is never our choice. It is the choice of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland together. One of those countries outnumbers the others 8 to 1.

More than that, it isn’t just who is Prime Minister now, or who may be Prime Minister in the future – it’s every single Prime Minister in my 35 years of existence on this planet.

My first Prime Minister was so beloved of my fellow Scots that the Number 1 song in Scotland on the week of her death was “Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead.” My second Prime Minister (even if he is, in retrospect, far and away the best in my lifetime) led the UK to financial disaster and aggravated the forces which led the UK to where it is now through his sheer incompetence. My third Prime Minister is a war criminal who conspired to steal Scotland’s resources. My fourth Prime Minister sold even more of Scotland’s resources to mitigate his cataclysmic mishandling of another financial crisis. My fifth Prime Minister, who cannot be mentioned in the same breath as pigs in polite company, presided over cruelties, scandals, and catastrophes that would give my first Prime Minister pause. My sixth Prime Minister has become a punchline.

Six Prime Ministers in my lifetime, and arguments can be – and have been – made for each of those six being the Worst Ever.

At least until Seven.

So who will that be?

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