I have a piece in today’s Scottish Review on the civil unrest in England.
It was prompted by an interview on the “Today” programme with Boris Johnson, a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth, a man who seems to walk into any job he wants regardless of his apparent lack of qualifications to do the job, and a man who, along with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, is a former member of the Bullingdon Club, famed for acts of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
When Johnson, without a trace of irony, accused kids from backgrounds blighted by inner city deprivation and who have little chance of anything but the most menial employment of having an “endless sense of entitlement”, I just about choked on my cornflakes.
Thanks to the Scottish Review for publishing my thoughts on the matter.
What a wheeze! Scottish Review reports on the “Who’s Who in Scotland” opinion poll to find the greatest Scot of the last 25 years. Lots of politicians, a few writers, a couple of musicians, no actors or sportsmen, The Review asks for nominations for your own personal choice of the Greatest Scot of the last 25 years.
I’d need to think about Great Scots since 1986 (such a bland lot, it seems, and so little history to consider), but my immediate response would be to redefine the exercise by considering the Greatest Scot in my lifetime. A knee-jerk reaction – and I may change my mind, but I doubt it – would be for World Formula One Racing Champion Jim Clark. Hell, I even sent off a nomination to The Review before I realised I’d got my dates all wrong!
Dashing, handsome, quiet and apparently a real gentleman, he thrilled the world with a new form of driving that revolutionised motor sport. And yet, he was always happiest away from the track on his Berwickshire farm, eschewing the playboy lifestyle of the Monte Carlos of the world. He was typical of a thrawn Scottish mindset that turns up in wellies and rolled up sleeves and just damn well shows them how it’s done, then heads off back to the sticks, mission accomplished. It’s the attitude that seemed to epitomise what Graeme Obree brought to cycling, or that prompted the Scottish rugby team to walk – shock horror, walk! – out onto the pitch at Murrayfield to stuff the English in 1990.
I now have no time for motor sport – it’s boring, it’s elitist, it’s technical – but in Clark’s day, when death was a constant companion on the track, racing drivers were the most dangerous men on the planet working in the most dangerous profession. I still remember writing a news report on his accident for my Primary school class newspaper: for all its inevitability, it was up there in the top ten tragic deaths of the 1960s, just a short head behind all those horrendous political assassinations that blighted the USA.
So that’s My Lifetime Great Scot: any suggestions from you?
Here’s a link to an opinion piece I wrote published in today’s “Scottish Review”.