Earlier today, I heard The Tartanissimo braying away on local radio that the dispute at Grangemouth
would be more likely to be resolved if there was a decline in comment on that matter from the outside. I immediately took this to be an invitation to the rest of us to shut our mouths and let the real people get on with sorting it out; a familiarly insolent, arrogant, and typically, and block-headedly, Scotch comment of a type which comes too easily from that gentleman, and one which I am quite happy to ignore.
This dispute seems to have originated in the alleged conduct of an employee in political matters which might very well not be within the scope of their contract of employment. That individual appears to have been exonerated of any impropriety by their party. Unless claims of inappropriate behaviours towards colleagues have formed part of these allegations, it's hard to see what business of their employers' such allegations might be.
If the facility at Grangemouth is of such vital importance to the smooth running of the country that its closure for any period could cause the disruption to our way of life which is being claimed, it would seem to me that the case for bringing it into public ownership is unanswerable.
I hope that common sense enters the matter. To paraphrase Chesterton, we live in an age which proclaims its common sense but which all too often engages in uncommon nonsense, and disputes of this type fall into that category. I am sure it is of the greatest importance to the people involved, just as I have heard it suggested that gambling upon which particular raindrop will reach the bottom of the window first is a popular pastime in prisons. Taking the wrong teacup from the cupboard, never mind using milk from the wrong carton, can be a solecism capable of blighting working relationships for years. Vastly more productive partnerships than any at Grangemouth have terminated permanently over trifling matters; Gilbert and Sullivan fell out over the positioning of a carpet, and one can only wonder what an operetta they'd have made of Thatcher versus Scargill.
We live in a world that runs on certain things, principally rules, budgets, schedules and timetables; yet the invisible grease in the gears of everything is goodwill. Without commenting on the specifics of this dispute, it seems to me that disputes of this type almost always originate either in one person deciding they just don't want another person's face around any more, or someone deciding they want to get into someone else's face without regard for the consequences. So it's a hearty 'Grow Up!' to all concerned on this one - and if they can't do it for themselves and their own dignity, perhaps they could do it for, you know, the sake of the nation?
A similar sentiment could be uttered to the Congressional Republicans, for all purposes apparently intent on manufacturing a fiscal Gotterdammerung on a global scale
. One had rather hoped that the party of Lincoln, Coolidge and Reagan would not Kamikaze itself, but then again perhaps this was too much to expect from the party of Hoover, Nixon, Ford, Bush and Bush. As strange as it is to say, it all makes me very glad that I live in the United Kingdom. In this country, we only have the SNP, Sinn Fein, the DUP and the Liberal Democrats to contend with - in America, the nutcases really do have their hands on the levers of power.
However, if they do actually succeed in doing what they seem intent on doing they will at least have proved one very important point, and it's one that's very important to them. If they crash the system, they will prove that government really is indispensable, and in some cases the bigger the government you can have the better, and they will make themselves redundant trying to prove the opposite. It might just be a very long time before a Republican is in the White House again.
Human politics is bullshit; bullshit that's made polychromed and gaudy and shiny in order to make it attractive to the eye, like a child's toy, and just as incapable of holding a serious person's attention; nationalistic bullshit that's designed to make us think that we're different from other people in other parts of the world who don't look or sound like us. It's sometimes necessary bullshit, if only just because the idea that it's there sometimes lets the largest number of people enjoy the quietest possible lives; and yet it's bullshit we just can't seem to get right, because the Bismarckian concept that the people don't need to know where the laws and the sausages come from is also wrong, because that denies human dignity. Most of all it's just a wearisome living of life not in every joyous moment of precious, sacred life but in a loop, the universal and very often wilfull ignorance of history among political machines meaning that the same crises get repeated over and over again at varying intervals. I sometimes wonder whether there's a Crisis Repeating Machine out there somewhere, a bit like a washing machine, on which politicians can select programs which enable them to repeat crises at intervals of one, five, ten, and even thirty years. The same things keep happening in our history again and again and again and nobody in charge ever seems to learn.
That's just human nature, I suppose. I don't even read newspapers any more, if only because the volume of paper used to produce them seems to be grossly disproportionate to the volume of news they contain. A prime example of this is 'The Daily Mail', a publication which I have become convinced is actually a very subtle work of satire. I fully expect the Scottish edition to one day carry a story of how a man was convicted at Perth Sheriff Court of inflating house prices by injecting cellulite into the buttocks of Sheriff McCreadie (and my congratulations to their phenomenally productive stringer at Perth Sheriff Court, whoever that gallant soul might be; Dickens in Parliament could not have bettered their industry in ensuring that the world shall not fail to know who's been misbehaving in Scrumboggy). The only piece of political advice I will ever give my son is to read as much history as he can and then make up his own mind (I will also tell him that when he hears those particularly affecting and evocative pips in the theme tune of the BBC News he should be able to trust everything that comes after them; hopefully those in charge of BBC News will have as much trust in him as I do in them).
Bearing all that in mind, it would be very nice if the Congressional Republicans could get their heads out of their behinds and start behaving rationally. They might not think that compromising on sub-paragraph (xviii) of Article 3, Section 8, Paragraph (xxxvii) is the best thing for America in the long run; but at this stage in the game, it might be the best thing for Americans - and they're the ones who count.
So here's to a healthy dose of peace and blessed sanity breaking out in the world. We could all do with it.
Labels: The Blogger's Deepest Thoughts