IDS and Co are leaving a horrible impression..
AS we countdown to the independence referendum of September 18, 2014 - comedian Rory Bremner believes there should be more Scottish political satire on the telly.
SOME things in life are too important to be taken seriously, says Rory Bremner, one of our sharpest satirists. He is talking about politics, of course.
Certainly, his impressions of Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell exposed New Labour for the sham it had become – especially over the Iraq War, which Rory campaigned against.
The comedian was born in Scotland and, although he has been away a long time, recently bought a house here.
Now he’s searching for our national funny bone by turning his attention to the independence referendum of September 18, 2014. He asked me to show him around our parliament last week for his forthcoming BBC programme, Rory Goes to Holyrood.
Rory is as hilarious in the flesh as he is on the box. We discovered a mutual love of Stanley Baxter and reckoned we probably watched the great man together as kids in the same audience at The King’s Theatre pantomime.
Rory does a mean ‘Parliamo Glasgow!’ and can also recite Baxter’s famous singalong cloot song: “Gie’s a punna burra furra murra. See’s a dauda choklit furra wean...”
He’s right that there needs to be more Scottish political satire on the telly. Spitting Image made household names of politicians we would otherwise not have heard of back in the 1980s and 1990s, and shows how comedy can draw real people into the democratic process.
But while there is a lack of Scottish satire on the telly, that’s not through paucity of talent. The best is out there – on the internet.
Nationalcollective.com is a site put together by some really clever artists and entertainers not aligned to any political party. It includes the writer Alan Bissett’s excoriating monologue Vote Britain and a crazy Top of the Pops-style countdown of the Top 10 Unionist Myths Debunked.
I liked the way it dealt with the “Alex Salmond is a dictator myth”. As well as ludicrous footage of Darth Vader, it features right wing American Republicans on Fox News spouting the same stuff about the “autocratic” President Obama as the
anti-independence campaign say about the First Minister.
In fact, they are both democratically elected popular leaders. Get over it.
Over on Twitter, Frankie Boyle, Limmy and Greg Hemphill all spar about politics. Another site, bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk lampoons the scare stories put out about Scotland’s ability to govern itself.
But my favourite piece of Scottish political satire is just days old. Last week Alan Smart, known as Citizen Smart on YouTube, posted a reworked version of the famous Jeely Piece Song to protest against The Bedroom Tax.
It already has almost 127,000 views and thousands of protestors sang it at the march and rally against the tax in Glasgow on Saturday.
The original, by Adam McNaughton, was about the plight of kids moved from tenements to skyscrapers in the 1960s slum clearances.
“Oh ye canne fling pieces oot a 20-story flat. Seven hundred hungry weans will testify tae that!”
Alan’s protest version goes:
“Oh you canne hiv a spare room in a pokey council flat. Iain Duncan Smith and Co have put an end tae that.
“They say ‘live in a smaller hoose’ they say that is their plan. When the odds against you finding one are 99 tae wan.”
The last verse finishes:
“Now ma auntie’s in a wheelchair, but these Tories dinnae care. They say they have a deficit, she’s got tae pay her share.
“Sixty pound a month they’ll take, then leave her tae her fate, whilest gien millionaires a tax cut, cause they say they’re due a break.”
That’s the thing about satirical humour. It leaves a very bitter taste.