Sarah Palin’s prank call

November 2, 2008

In all the furore over the BBC Radio 2 prank call from Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to Fawlty Towers’ actor Andrew Sachs, a brighter type of prank call was played on Sarah Palin by two Quebec DJs Marc Antoine Audette and Sebastian Trudel Audette.

The Masked Avengers, as they are known, phoned Sarah Palin pretending to be Nicholas Sarkozy.

‘Nicholas Sarkozy’ talked to Sarah Palin about hunting, killing baby seals and his wife being so hot in bed! And from his house he could see Belgium!

A transcript of the prank call can be found at Daily Kos.

Eventually the Masked Avengers owned up it was a prank.

It was a prank call in a much better spirit than Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’ effort to Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs. For Jonathan Ross to tell a 78-year old grandfather that Russell Brand had ‘f**ked his granddaughter’ was in poor taste. Even if the grand-daughter, Georgina Baillie, is in a Burlesque group called The Satanic Sluts.

I don’t so much blame Brand and Ross for their call; sometimes comedy does go over the edge.

I blame the producers putting the show on air. Even after Andrew Sachs complained to the BBC that the call was offensive, it was still put on air.

If the call was pulled from the show and Sachs given a personal apology then all of this hoopla wouldn’t have begun.

Now Russell Brand has resigned, the Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas has resigned, and Jonathan Ross has a 12 week suspension.

Jonathan Ross is an experienced broadcaster and one of the BBC highest earners. His indiscretion, I felt, was worse than Russell Brand’s. Does his £18 million contract intimidate radio producers?

That’s the only thing I can think of why this call was aired.

Brand and Ross may have overstepped the mark. But they were doing their job. The producer wasn’t.

The BBC have now lost Brand and may still lose Ross.

They could probably do worse than give the Masked Avengers a shot.

They can see satire from their house.

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Glasgow East and Independence

July 26, 2008

There has been a lot of talk regarding the Glasgow East by-election win for the SNP.

Most commentators seem to agree that it says nothing about the support for Scottish independence.

I disagree:

One report in the course of the campaign struck me.

It said that SNP activists were extremely encouraged by the number of Labour voters in Glasgow East – whether they switched or not – who wanted Scotland to be independent.

It also said that Glasgow East constituents gave the highest percentage of ‘Scottish’ as nationality on their last census return forms:- 96 % ; compared to only 4 % who thought of themselves as British.

People vote for political parties for a number of reasons.

For Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to assume that people who vote for them don’t want an independent Scotland are living in cloud cuckoo land.

(The reverse that all the SNP voters don’t want independence is true as well. Only a vast vast majority want independence! In the Glasgow East election for instance they no doubt picked up votes from unionists wanting the discredited London Labour Government out.

If unionists really believe that the SNP is a single issue party then they would need to believe that all the SNP voters want independence.

If not, maybe those who have actually read the SNP manifesto and discovered it wasn’t just one page long with the single word ‘Independence’ then maybe they would realise that a referendum is probably the best way of finding out true public opinion.

Of course, the convention given by unionists is that the SNP need at least 50% of the Scottish MPs in Westminster or a majority of MSPs favouring independence in Holyrood to make independence happen.

Whichever happens first – by weight of numbers or by referendum – is fine by me!)

Ah but what about the polls they say – clutching to some selective polls that says that Scots don’t want it.

Equally nationalists are just as guilty of clutching to their polls that say Scots do want it.

As with most polls on independence it depends on how the question is phrased. Here’s a guide to the poll results.

The truth is until that question is asked formally in a referendum we won’t even have a real measure of public opinion to go on.

Look at the dodgy polling results for Glasgow East for instance.

The last one from Progressive Scottish Opinion only four days before the result put Labour on 52% and the SNP on 35 %.

As you can see that poll was utter rubbish, given that the SNP have just won the seat!

Polls are wrong a lot of the time. Its a fact. If they weren’t we wouldn’t have expensive elections in this country – we’d just phone up a few hundred folk in the constituency and then appoint the appropriate MP, MSP or councillor. No need for hustings, election budgets, PR etc. but just a small dent in the phone bill.

Glasgow East shows that there is now no safe seat for Labour even in its west central Scotland heartlands.

The fact that residents considered themselves Scottish not British, and that many Labour supporters favoured independence made switching to the SNP all that easier.

For that reason alone, given a bit of good fortune and a SNP impetus to change things for the better in Glasgow East, it gives the nationalists a great chance to secure the seat in the next Westminster election.

Labour must now fear a domino effect in Scotland that could decimate them politically.

One of the reasons the SNP wanted a referendum in 2010 was to show just how well they could govern Scotland. Now that was a prime reason for the vote switch; a popular Scottish SNP Government versus an unpopular London Labour Government.

Now that the SNP have succeeded in Glasgow East, a former Labour stronghold held since 1922, it shows just how popular this SNP Government is.

Part 1 of the plan accomplished.

Part 2 is the referendum.

And all this unionist claptrap of neverendums is just that. Claptrap!

They quote Quebec as a place of neverendums. Quebec has had two referendums for independence in its entire history. Once in 1980 and again in 1995. That’s it. Neverendums? Claptrap!

They quote John Mason when he said “When you are asking someone to marry you, sometimes you have to persist.” on his view on referendums – if – and thats a big improbable if – the SNP lost the 2010 referendum.

What do they think he was going to say?

“Oh well, we’ve lost a referendum, might as well disband the SNP!”

Cloud cuckoo land again by the unionists.

All that would mean is that the SNP and the other independence parties would need to try harder to convince people.

The issue might be kicked into the long grass for a while, but the political football will always return to the field of play so long as there are nationalists on the park.

But that’s all conjecture.

Right now, the nationalists are cruising the political match, banging goals in for fun. Unionist team captain Gordon Brown has done nothing but score o.g.s!

Glasgow East has seen another unionist red carded and time is running out.