Listening to 'Call kaye' this morning - about 40 seconds of it - which is all I can really tolerate. Its bad enough in and of itself, but not being a morning person anyway, its not a great way to start the day
There is a little known 1985 film called Cat's Eye which starred a young Drew Barrymore (after her ET appearance but before her substance abuse problems began in earnest.) In it, a wee troll-like character, climbs up on to children's beds, sits on their chest and steals the very breath from their body.
This is how I think of BBC Scotland on a week day morning - GMS then 'Call Kaye'. Unsuspecting citizens vulnerably dozing in that warm, fuzzy area between full sleep and wakefulness. Instead of a wicked little goblin stealing your breath - something else far more malicious is spooning poison into your ear.
Which blethering brings us to the point, one of the subjects of the phone-in was to let unionist supporters and poorly disguised Labour activists free reign on national radio for an hour and forty minutes. But in between the normal programming - the subject up for discussion was whether our elected representatives at Westminster were a true reflection of society in terms of class.
Apparently, according to a report the Financial Times the number of working class people sitting in Westminster has fallen from 16% in Thatcher's day to 4% these days. Meanwhile the British Social Attitudes Survey tells us 61% of punters regard themselves as working class.
The thing is, class is only part of the problem. I don't believe it would be right to exclude a person from a career on grounds of class - whether they are a blue-nosed toff in a penguin suit or a blue-nosed pensioner in January.
The problem is money.
How many of us can honestly say they know what its like to be poor? In the past I've thought I was poor - insofar as - I had no money, but, I always had someone or something to fall back on. We're talking about people who have absolutely nothing and no access to anything. They are wholly - often through no fault of their own - reliant on the state, a state ran by what has become a financial elite who have no concept of the meaning of being poor.
Knowing or not knowing what its like to have money will affect your outlook, but in either case probably won't mean you'd be a crap public servant - as long as you are able to empathise.
Iain Duncan Smith currently puts in place massive changes to the UK's welfare system, yet he has no concept of what its like to be a recipient of welfare payments. He married the daughter of the 5th Baron of Cottesloe and lives in a £1 million house given to him by his father in law. IDS is clearly not 'of' the people who's lives he's having such a deleterious effect on.
Is that his fault? Probably controversially - no.*
What's at fault is a system of government that allows someone like him to attain a position of such sway and effect, where he can enact the disgusting & immoral policies he's currently inflicting on welfare claimants. If you wanted an opinion on living with poverty and deprivation, IDS is one of the last people you'd ask - so why is he in charge of the department who's job it is to ameliorate & limit the very same thing?
Another case in point is the House of Lords, this is sold to us as an upper house which holds elder states-people, politicians and business professionals. They are supposed to oversee the activities of the 'Commons' parliament to limit or augment (as is required) the wilder imaginings of that house.
Its a vehicle for repaying political favours and rewarding sycophancy & patronage.
If it isn't, tell me how this man:
...managed to get himself ennobled? Jeremy 'who?' Purvis was a Libdem MSP for about 15 minutes and never had a job outside politics - yet - there he sits, earning £300 a day (plus expenses) as Baron Purvis of Tweed. I struggle to imagine what he brings to the table in terms of experience that would benefit those of us living in the real world.
It may be that Purvis and those like him are a sop, he had no money and didn't marry the daughter of a Baron - it may be that Purvis is Westminster's excuse for egalitarian government, (although in terms of earnings he's doing not to badly now right enough.)
If you want to get ahead in Westminster politics, you either need to have money or have such a strong interest in it, you'll sell your morals and/or marry for it.
The current system at Westminster favours candidates who have money or connections or both. A person struggling to hold down an average job (never mind the minimum wage) and perhaps juggle a family is never going to have the time or resources to 'run for parliament' - which after voting is one of the things we're told to do if we want to change things.
The alternative being offered to us living in Scotland is Holyrood. Its a young parliament not yet affected by patronage or vested interest, I dare say that will come. But its taken Westminster most of 300 years to get to where it is now, by the time Holyrood gets there, we'll have enjoyed a new, moderately un-cynical and non-self serving form of government for the remainder of our lives and be long dead.
Vote yes for a fairer form of government for the next four generations or so, at which point humans will be living in space stations because Earth's atmosphere will have become too thin to support human life. Only the 'Many Angled Ones' - multi-dimensional beings who in our reality manifest themselves as politicians and talent show judges - will be able to survive.
Which was probably their plan all along.
* IDS is still a cunt, let there be no doubt about that.