Great performance from Ian Blackford appearing in the farce Prime Minister’s Questions at the Westminster Odeon. If theatrical outrage and thundering castigation could restore Scotland’s independence I’d be off right now ironing my Saltire ready for the Independence Day parade, content to leave it up to Ian. But thundering rhetoric does not a political process make. Every time we witness one of these performances these days we are left asking what’s next. That was great, Ian. Do you have anything else? Maybe finish with a song and dance routine?
There’s certainly a place for theatre in politics. Ask any of the great political performers. Winston Churchill. Adolph Hitler. George Gal…. How did his name get in there!? But when politics becomes all theatre it becomes mere circus to go with the mouldering stockpiled bread. When there’s nothing but theatre then then democracy is being sold short.
What I and thousands like me want to hear is for Ian Blackford to close one act with the stentorian declamation only to open the next with a thoughtful soliloquy on what he plans to do about all the stuff that’s roused his ire. What is he going to do?
Nobody could ever accuse Mr Blackford of having a limited range. On the contrary. He can do all of three speeches. The one with the dire warning about what the British government is about to do before they do it. The one loudly objecting to what the British government is doing while it’s doing it. And the one angrily protesting against what the British government has done after it has done it. Then it’s places again for a repeat performance. Ad nauseam!
Here’s the thing, you see. I’m fine with Ian Blackford giving the British Prime Minister an “almighty scolding”. I’ll applaud that. But I don’t really care what the British Prime Minister does so long as he’s not doing it to Scotland. So the “almighty scolding” scene is never going to win Ian Blackford an award. Or even a standing ovation.
It’s great that he’s such an accomplished actor he can convincingly be offended on cue and consistently to the same vein-throbbing degree. But when he comes off stage and starts being a Scottish politician again we expect him to do more than just rehearse for the next show. We expect him to do something to stop the things he complains about so melodramatically week after week after FFS not another one!
Because here’s the other thing. See that stuff the British are doing? It’s not pretend. They’re not play-acting. It’s not just a story. It’s all real.