Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff The Outrage Bus

Nancy Nicolson
I've posted about manufactured outrage before, but yesterday's Daily Express really takes the biscuit with Scottish pupils taught to sing for separation. The cause of this trip aboard the double decker of outrage buses? The Quango Education Scotland has put a teaching resource on its website called Scotland's Songs.

The site gives the lyrics to hundreds of Scottish songs and the background and recordings of some of them. Only a few feature in the Express expose of the Scottish Government's dastardly plot to indoctrinate the youth of Scotland with, erm, their own culture. Of course, Lord George Robertson famously argued that we don't have our own culture or languages, and as part of the dastardly plot, the website has songs in Scots and Gaelic as well as English.


Let's savour the outrageous outrage from rent-a-quote politicians:

Better Together Spokesman:
“This is an outrageous example of taxpayer-funded political propaganda. It is a deeply cynical ploy aimed at presenting a distorted view of history to people who will, after all, be voting next year.
 “This exposes the lengths SNP ministers will go to in order to get people to vote for independence.”
Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Mary Scanlon: 
“The SNP is abusing the education system to promote its own separation propaganda. 
“It should be up to teachers to use the material they choose, but there is no doubting in the run-up to the referendum the Scottish Government is trying to influence things with an independence slant. 
“First we had Mike Russell insisting all colleges play a video of him at graduation, now we have an influx of divisive anthems for the classroom.”
Not all of the songs on the website warrant a ticket on the outrage bus. The outrage is caused by the inclusion of the following songs and the blurb they come up with to justify their inclusion is at times beyond parody:

Shock-horror!
One of the political songs on the Education Scotland website, which is designed to be used by both teachers and pupils, is The Freedom Come All Ye, by the late Scots poet Hamish Henderson. It is regarded as the unofficial anthem of the independence movement and was recently sung en masse at the Yes Scotland rally on Calton Hill. 
Hamish always railed against it being used as a Scottish anthem, seeing it as an international anthem. But those nasty separatists sang it up a hill so it must now be expunged from the national canon.

The Outrage Bus gangs aglae on the M8
Another is Both Sides of the Tweed, a protest song against the Treaty of Union which was written by the Glaswegian folk singer Dick Gaughan after the 1979 Devolution Referendum. On the website, Gaughan is quoted as saying: “The verses call for the recognition of Scotland’s right to sovereignty and the choruses argue against prejudice between our peoples.” 
My understanding is that it was written by James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd and Dick Gaughan made some minor amendments to give it contemporary relevance, although Dick attributes the original words as Trad. A lifelong Leither, Dick put the tune to it.

Nurse! Ma Pills! Someone's just flashed their Burns' Songs at me!
Two of Robert Burns’s most famous works – Scots Wha Hae, the official song of the SNP which is sung at the end of party conferences, and Sic a Parcel of Roguesare also on display. With regard to the latter, the website states that “many Scots were angry in 1707” and suggests that Sir Walter Scott – who was a prominent Unionist and Tory – was against the formation of Great Britain. 
As if reporting the private parts of some flasher in a park, two of Burns' most famous songs are also on display. There are dozens of other Burns songs on the site which don't warrant a mention. Does the website suggest Sir Walter Scott was agin the Union? No, it doesn't. Here's the only mention:
Many Scots were angry in 1707. Sir Walter Scott summed up the popular Scottish attitude of the time in the words of one of his characters: 'I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament - men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stones when they werena gude bairns - But naebody's nails can reach the length o' Lunnon.'
Apoplexy!
Education Scotland even appears to be pre-judging the outcome of the referendum by listing the various “candidates for a Scottish national anthem”, including Caledonia, The Freedom Come All Ye, Scots Wha Hae and Scotland the Brave
So Scotland can't have an anthem if we vote No?

Jacobites and Lefties, whatever next?
There are also numerous Jacobite songs, as well as a number of left-leaning political works. They include Ding Dong Dollar, “the anthem of the Scottish Anti-Polaris movement of the 1960s and beyond”, which remains popular with protestors at Faslane naval base. Students are also encouraged to learn If It Wisnae for the Union, “a song in praise of trade unionism”, which was adapted by Billy Connolly into The Welly Boot Song. 
I've said for a long time that if the Jacobites were half as good at military strategy as they were at songwriting, the Stuarts would still be on the throne. It follows that if the lefties were half as good at political strategy as they are at songwriting we wouldn't have Cameron in Downing Street. When did you last hear a Tory political song?

Aaaargh! The Russians are coming - and THE IMMIGRANTS!
Another song pays tribute to the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, while All Jock Tamson’s Bairns are Coming Home, by Steven Clark, welcomes refugees from “Iraq, Zimbabwe, Turkey and Somalia”.
Welcoming immigrants? I bet that had the Express readership choking on their cornflakes.

Outrage at a song about an outrage.
Who Pays the Piper? by Nancy Nicolson attacks the “immensely rich companies” involved in the North Sea Oil industry, which is described as being “fed by workers’ lives”. 
To cap it all, irony is just a ferric adjective. Who Pays the Piper is about the Piper Alpha disaster. The advances in safety in the North Sea since that event are testament to the constructive use of the outrage voiced by the whole nation at the time.

Yours truly and Nancy Nicolson singing a duet in 1998.