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Get Real

I had a pretty busy day yesterday but did manage to scan some of the Sunday papers. Some stories in particular were heavilly featured in the Scottish press, chief amongst them, the afterglow of the Obama victory in the States.

The burden of expectation on Obama is becoming heavier by the day. What has happened in the USA is a change of president caused by a change in national mood. That national mood has been further caught by the outcome and now follows the expectation. Barack Obama will I feel change one thing more than most and that is American foreign policy. This is perhaps the easiest change. It will bring home young Americans to their families and that of course will be popular. However Obama has an absolutely massive job to effect change in a recession in a country where vested interests, conservatism and religion combine more than in any other country.

Moving to this side of the Atlantic, I posed the question last week ‘has the SNP bubble burst?’. It’s clear that Alex Salmond has been hoist by his own petard somewhat but some commentators have been to quick to highlight the Glenrothes result as some sort of turning point for Gordon Brown. Of course the financial and political situation is so unpredictable, this humble blogger can offer no certainty on what will happen. However I seriously wonder if Glenrothes is anything more than a blip. The banking rescue seems a hurried and muddled, cobbled together short term solution for the economy. Am I the only person who wonders at the base rate drop to encourage us all to borrow our way out of the recession? and what about Brown’s wish that ‘Mortgage lending should return to 2007 levels’. How many business basket cases will borrow their way to default?

I can see Labour shifting back into reverse in the New Year in an unprecedented period of unemployment, house repossessions and business failures.

Finally the Sunday papers were full of the stushie over Celtic holding a minute’s applause rather than a minute’s silence as a remembrance for British servicemen who have died in conflict. A certain element of the Celtic support see themselves as some sort of Irish Taliban (despite some having no or only a tenuous connection with Ireland) ready to oppose anything Scottish or British, particularly if that includes a military slant. Of course some of their counterparts across the city at Rangers yearn for the Scotland of the 1950’s where Conservative Unionism and a protestant establishment was the order of the day and they let that be known vocally with tedious regularity. In 2005 when a minute’s silence was held at the Scottish Cup semi final for the passing of Pope John Paul II, Hearts fans booed, chanted and jeered (probably fuelled by the fact that their opponents on the day were Celtic) the whole way through.

However I digress. Celtic knew that there was enough of an element in their support who would embarrass their club and Scottish football should there have been a minute’s silence for British servicemen at Saturday’s match. They held instead a minute’s applause in which the naysayers were drowned out. I hear that the vast majority of the Celtic support took part in the tribute. Some inevitably didn’t clap and some made a fuss. It’s a free country and surely many of the servicemen who were being remembered fought for such freedom. I acknowledge that the rest of Scottish football managed to uphold the silence impeccably and of course that is how it should be.

However I think Celtic took a sensible decision in the face of reality and they have come in for far too much criticism here. What if they had held a silence and even 500 out of the 60,000 had not observed it? The same commentators who are criticising Celtic would have been the very ones to have gleefully seized on that.

I wish that the Old Firm would simply bugger off to England and take the Pope and the Moderator of the General Assembly (of the Church of Scotland) with them. However both clubs are tackling sectarianism and their more lumpen acolytes head on. Lets not criticise either of them in that endeavour.

An Apparently True One…

A callow youth in a Glasgow sheriff court was mumbling as his cross examination began. The judge had been unable to make out a thing. ‘May I remind you to speak clearly young man? From now on you must make sure that every answer you give is audible – is that clear?’ ‘yes Your Honour’ spoke the callow youth. The exchange continued ‘Where do you work?’

‘Audible’ came the reply.