Loving some kinds of Englishness, hating other kinds: BBC Question Time drives me to the edge


Image: http://news.diginate.com/


I shouldn’t have watched. It’s happened before. David Dumbledore’s incompetence, nastiness, smugness and barely concealed contempt for us, the presence of the wholly unacceptable, mean, right-wing, xenophobic, selfish, narrow face of Little England broadcast right into your face at your own expense can test any man. I did watch last night, Thursday 13th October 2013. The SNP conference would be discussed and Alex Salmond would be there. I should have known better and watched something else. It’s too late now. I’ll tell you more about it below.

I came away hating some aspects of Englishness so much that I had to go and find something to remind me of the other better forms of Englishness that would soothe me. I thought back to my teenage years and my love for the Kinks, the Small Faces and the Who. I remembered how Iris Murdoch’s tiny beginner’s book on Existentialism had helped me pass an essay. I jumped forward decades over other English-born figures of inspiration and finished with frankly loveable Jeremy Corbyn, today. I know he’s opposed to Scottish independence but he’s got reasons I can respect. The thing that helped most was the Anglo-Welsh, London-born, Ray Davies’ song ‘Better Things’. Think of your heart, play it and singalong:

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky,
And hoping something better comes tomorrow.
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness.
I know that better things are on the way.

Here’s hoping all the days ahead
Won’t be as bitter as the ones behind you.
Be an optimist instead,
And somehow happiness will find you.
Forget what happened yesterday,
I know that better things are on the way.

It’s really good to see you rocking out
And having fun,
Living like you just begun.
Accept your life and what it brings.
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things.
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things.

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky,
And hoping something better comes tomorrow.
Hoping all the verses rhyme,
And the…


We can all choose our own better days to hope for. I choose to hope to get away from some forms of Englishness, especially English Imperialism and its bloody results. I know we Scots took part, some of us too enthusiastically, but that only makes me want away even more.

You might not need to actually know what was said but, if you do, here are words said which drove me to the edge and to write this. There’s always an upside. Some of you are listening to ‘Better Days’ when you might not have.

It started with an audience member talking about playing the ‘best-of-three’ thing with her children before asking ‘How many referendums do we need?’

Isn’t that revealing? We’re like children. It isn’t our referendum until we grow up. It’s clearly a family affair. Another audience member reinforced this view by wondering why the English, the Welsh and the Northern Irish family members didn’t get a vote. Now there’s a nightmare, a family where you can’t leave unless the others let you. Isn’t that a Stephen King story? Actually, isn’t it lucky for Brexiteers that it’s not the EU family? A third audience member was allowed to tell fibs about the Scottish economy unchallenged by Salmond. Right at the beginning, Dimbleby, with a sneer on his face, had gone to Damien Green, Tory Secretary for Cruelty to the Poor and the Disabled, to answer the question. Not surprisingly he took the opportunity to lie blatantly about failures in the Scottish education, health and police services. I’ve written many times to tell the truth on these and you can find it on this website (some urls below). However, most nasty of all, was Daily Mail hack, Isabel Oakeshott, exposer of David Cameron’s Pig-gate scandal, who said:

‘Scotland is more of a (sic) economic basket-case than Greece. How will you pay for your welfare bill without us?’

Sadly, she’s not the only one who thinks this.

It’s not fair on the family. We need to grow up and pay for ourselves. We’ve got to get away. Please let us go.

Further reading:








4 thoughts on “Loving some kinds of Englishness, hating other kinds: BBC Question Time drives me to the edge

  1. Bryan Weir October 14, 2016 / 8:05 am

    I watched this last night too and when it finished I was left totally simmering, with a nasty taste in my mouth. Alex Salmond was strangely muted. He had opportunities to take them to task for the lies they were uttering but he failed to take these. He was being shouted down but he is used to that.

    Dimbleby was his usual jocularly, condescending self. In his usual cuddly old uncle David guise he allowed false claims about Scotland to go unchallenged again and again. The detestably superior Isabel Oakeshot was allowed to sling insults about Scotland much to the glee of the audience, who seemed to be unanimous in the view that Scotland and the Scots were a joke, worthy only of ridicule.

    Salmond actually did touch on the all important question about why England so badly wants us to remain part of the union if we are such a liability but his question was ignored by Dimbleby and drowned out by the cackling of the other members of the panel. I think that this is one question they can never answer and it should be forced on them at every opportunity.

    All that I take from Question Time now is confirmation that the English largely see Scotland as a mere bagatelle – an unwelcome intrusion – a joke that they can freely ridicule. That only hardens my resolve that we are completely incompatible. We need a divorce as soon as possible on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown. Perhaps we should be grateful to uncle David and our other “superiors” in his inner circle for illustrating that so clearly because I think it will sway some of the undecided.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. johnrobertson834 October 14, 2016 / 9:18 am

    Indeed, my thoughts too. Why don’t people like Oakeshott campaign for Scottish independence in the interests of England? It would be logical given her beliefs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Clydebuilt October 15, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    What struck me was the audience’s reaction to Oakshott telling them that Scotland’s economy is a basket case or that our NHS and Police are failing…….they cheered……they cheered at the news that their neighbour has big problems…..
    I believe it was just the audience, and isn’t typical of the whole country….. Having said that Cameron won a majority suggesting that Labour would be in the pocket of Alex Salmond…


    • johnrobertson834 October 15, 2016 / 8:46 pm

      I find it disturbing and deeply hypocritical when they huff about supposed ant-Englishness on our part.


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