2007 - 2022

10 things that will secure both my votes in 2016 (may contain traces of satire)

index# 1 Ban the BBC

Yeah ban the BeeB. Well everything except Dr Who. And those wonderful long form Adam Curtis documentaries that pretty much lay out how our society came to be dominated by public relations and consumerism. (You know…all the things you say the BBC are trying to hide from us) Oh and also Radio 6 and the World Service – let’s keep those. And the wildlife stuff that leaves me breathless. But aye, apart from that ban it all.

Let’s watch ITV4 make up the shortfall. Let’s embark on the democratic equivalent of turning out the lights at night – leaving ourselves prey to nightmares we’ve had the luxury to forget. Gangsters that’ll make Guantanamo Bay feel like Butlins. Cowboy traders that will take your money and not even bother to run because nobody is coming after them. Journalism has many functions as well as spoon-feeding us things we want to hear or serving dollops of plane crash porn. Whether we like it or not the media outlets we claim to despise do perform a very important role when they aren’t being overly-hysterical or brazenly biased. They give us a foothold in some kind of agreed reality from which to diverge and form actionable beliefs and judgements. Well, fuck that! Fuck David Attenborough. Fuck hummingbirds feeding their young in slow-motion during a fucking monsoon. Fuck bullet ants being infected by their corresponding fungi, being quarantined by other bullet ants while tripping out their tentacles, before climbing up the nearest tree until they reach the canopy where they literally turn into mushrooms that warn off the rest of the ant colony. Fuck that coz Nick Robinson.

index#2 Use all the money the Third Sector spends on catering to fund a space program that pays volunteers for their time.

The recession proof Third Sector has become a bit of a free for all. The £5bn cornerstone of the Scottish economy relies on the altruism of 1.6m volunteers. As someone who has put in a good few hours of voluntary work I can tell you it has become a by-word for free labour. If there’s something needing done then let’s find money to pay people for doing it and perhaps cut back on the buffets and team-building jollies.

#3 Ban applause in the Scottish Parliament

In a noble attempt to demonstrate a divergence from the rowdy, aggressive House of Commons culture, we have created something far smugger. Namely, our elected representatives routinely applaud themselves. And usually for no special reason either but rather a kind of tribal instinct. Not only do they get subsidised food, free taxis, buses, flights and ferries but they also get to sit in work and heap praise on their mates. Politicians should respect the fact we find them annoying enough as it is and show a bit of contrition.

# 4 Invite all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to settle in affluent West End suburbs

Why do we send people who fleeing poverty and violence to the East End Glasgow? Given that so many of our commentariat are keen to welcome people no matter the social implications then I think it only fair they take their share of responsibility for the complex cultural integration process. Not only would it be a more just distribution of responsibilities but it would actually give people fleeing religious war and economic oppression an opportunity to experience how the other half live. They can’t get that insight holed up in a drug-addled close in Govanhill. Hyndland should open its doors and let Syrians experience the joy of half hour queues for cheese and pavements not caked in dog excrement. Why not pay a refugee to polish your shoes as you enjoy a cranberry and brie bagel on Ashton Lane or let a family of asylum seekers sleep in the glove compartment of one of your fleet of climate-change defying cars?

# 5 Make news literacy part of the curriculum

The only thing more dangerous than mainstream media bias is our own audience bias. We have been raised to expect the press to do our thinking for us and now that we have ‘new media’ we can throw the toys out the pram and head directly to our op-ed of choice. But this is self-deluded. A little bit of all the news is far more balanced, even if just to know what other people are thinking. The buck stops at the citizen. The critically minded citizen is the ultimate check and balance against all forms of corruption in a democratic society. News literacy is as essential as literacy and numeracy in an age of endless information. Boycotting everything only narrows the funnel of information.

# 6 When pundits get it wrong there should be consequences.

These days you don’t have to sacrifice much to be regarded altruistic and enlightened. Apparently just voicing your opinion is charity enough. But what if our pantheon of talking heads had more on the line than simply the dilemma of whether to mute you on Twitter or not? What if every week their career hinged on whatever prediction they chose to make? I’ll vote for a party that advocates the keeping of scores.

Did that fringe political party you were cheer-leading turn out to be an incompetent farce in government? Did you foresee the Tories winning the General Election in 2015? Or the rise and plateau of Jeremy Corbyn? No? Then why should anybody care what you think now? You’ll have to earn that credibility back before your next lucrative speaking tour I’m afraid.

# 7 Reduce expense entitlements of MSP’s

Last time I checked the bill for MSP’s expenses was about £15m a year. In context Glasgow City Council cut 20% of core funding to hundreds of small community groups to save a paltry £1.6m last year. MSP’s are paid enough. They should be able to cover their own bus and train fares like the rest of do. I would be happy to raise their salary slightly to cover this. But £15m is just a slap in the face for everybody who is struggling. Sort it out.

National Collective Press Conference, Royal Faculty of Procurators, Glasgow# 8 Compulsory law taught in secondary schools

Law is the most fundamental concept in our society. Every citizen should have a basic grasp of key legal concepts as well as a working knowledge of their rights and responsibilities. Too many people are blatantly unaware of their rights with regard to so many areas of life and this is needlessly exploited – not least by the legal profession. If everyone has to learn a foreign language then surely they should have to learn a bit about the legal system of their own country too? If it’s proven useful maybe do the same with economics at a later stage?

# 9 Partisan art and culture needs a new name

Only in Scotland can you be called a satirist without ever criticising the Scottish Government. I’ve learned more about challenging power watching Paul Merton stare dejectedly into space.

# 10 Humanise Education

Western society has evolved in order to pacify our restless natures by providing everything we could possibly want and more. There is, however, one fatal flaw: we are human and the things we think we want are often bad news for our well-beings. At present our economy is largely based on providing fleeting comfort from the self-centred fear and existential angst unfettered materialism brings but what if we could begin to move beyond this? Let’s make education as much about dealing with our human problems as it is about getting a job. Money management, forging and sustaining positive relationships, building self-confidence, sex education should be looked at holistically; an approach that integrates everything we know about the human condition directly into the curriculum for the benefit of all human beings. If capitalism is here to stay then at least let us try and broaden the scope of its efficiency.

Comments (25)

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  1. Gordie says:

    Hope nobody got paid for this one

  2. C Rober says:

    Someone been reading my alter ego’s blogs?

  3. Gralloched says:

    I’m a retired Scots lawyer.
    Several of my acquaintance have long advocated basic legal education in schools. The law governs every minute and action of our lives. Far from lawyers being content with this general ignorance of the most basic precepts of the law, I was not alone in being aghast at the damage and mess that is a consequence of this ignorance. Wholly avoidable damage that the legal system is left to clear up.
    Wishy washy ” civics ” is useless. Direct engagement with law is necessary.

    1. Gordon McShean says:

      I like the implications in your expression “… is left to clean up (!).”

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      I wonder when civics became “wishy washy”? That’s definitely not what Patrick Geddes intended.

  4. Jim Bennett says:

    No Ed Reardon?
    The most disgraceful article ever by Bella. I’m withdrawing my support for this unionist apologia right this minute. Just another SNP bad attack…….. =;o)


    1. Jim Bennett says:

      For the avoidance of doubt, my comment above comprises 100% satire…apart from the Ed Reardon bit. By all means do away with the BBC but please spare Ed Reardon!

  5. Alf Baird says:

    Just one overrriding SNP policy commitment is necessary for Scotland’s national elections in May: that is, to create an independent Scotland (i.e. the SNP’s ‘vision’). A subsequent elected majority at Holyrood could bring forward an Act, as occurred in most former ‘dominion’ and colonial parliaments (i.e. now independent states), regardless of what Westminster ‘reserves’, though the latter should reciprocate with a similar Act (generally does too). Alternatively, Westminster could show its displeasure, seek to dissolve Holyrood and impose Governor-General Mundell…….to govern us revolting Scots ‘responsibly’. The latter does seem rather unlikely, however it might be more entertaining than the present charade whereby MSP’s ‘manage the shop’ on behalf of our Tory masters. It would inevitably also hasten independence. So, where are Scotland’s ‘roaring lions’?

  6. Jamie says:

    If that was supposed to be funny it wasn’t.

  7. Robin Stevenson says:

    Absolutely fascinating

    No no, I don’t mean this S**t article by the wannabe mythical Norse God of mischief, I just find it fascinating why Bella chooses to subject us to this guff?

    1. Broadbield says:

      It’s life Jim, but not as we know it. It doesn’t appear to have a brain.

  8. Kemsane says:

    Have you been infiltrated bella,strange subject matter.

  9. Frank says:

    The quality of articles on this site gradually gets worse. I give Bella another year…

    1. Sorry you feel so negative Frank. What content that we produce do you like, if any?

      1. Robin Stevenson says:

        Sorry Bella

        I think I was being rather unkind with my comment above, but I’ve read this guys articles a couple of times and find his particular style falling way short in comparison to some of the great writers we’re generally presented with? Ok ok, I know you like to give us a broader perspective from all camps, but Loki reminds me of one of those really bad comedians at the “Stand” Y’know the ones that aren’t that funny but you feel you have to at least try to laugh just to be polite? Sadly, with this guy, there doesn’t seem to be the following main act to save the day. [Where’s Thor when you need him?]

        1. Everybodys different. Some people love Loki’s stuff. We aim to publish a diverse mix of stuff, from serious economics, to essays, polemic and lighter stuff. Hope you’ll stick with us and find the stuff you like.

      2. Frank says:

        Not sure what you mean by ‘native’ editor; anyway, it’s been a while since I read anything on here which really jumped out and got inside my mind. But maybe I’m expecting too much. Others I know are saying the same thing and whenever I read articles like this one, I always think WTF am I doing on here. But hey ho I’m a creature of habit. The reviews of Paul Mason’s book were okay and informative. But other than that it’s pretty mediocre. I have actually noticed a trend towards mediocrity across many of the new social media platforms – the journalism on common space is pretty dire; Wings is well……..better not go there; but I still tune in most days; maybe that’s says more about me than it does Bella. Maybe I’m just feeling down that I’m back to work tomorrow.

        1. Sorry, I meant ‘negative’. Bloody phone. I’m sorry you think we’re mediocre. So would it be fair to say you want more in-depth and challenging content?

  10. John Craig says:

    Paragraphs 4,5,7,8 and 10 all looked quite desirable aspirations to me, but what would I know being stuck in a world where I can only vote for UKIP.

  11. James Gourlay says:

    Paragraphs 4,5,7,8 and 10 look OK to me. Don’t know what other peoples problems are with the article. Does the slight criticism of the Scottish Government ruffle some feathers?

    1. Frank says:

      Too be honest I think it’s a class prejudice thing people have against Loki. Or the fact that he tries to be profound but instead comes across as rehearsed and clichéd. And anyone over the age of 18 who likes hip hop is…………………………..

      1. Alf Baird says:

        I tend to agree that responses are possibly related to a class and hence cultural difference. Loki’s ideas may seem radical, but only to those (‘and such as those’) who aspire no further than what they now call ‘responsible’ governance (e.g. the SNP, well orf/professional classes, the overpaid unionist-elite who still run Scotland’s 200+ public/semi-public institutions etc). However, to those brought up in the schemes, unemployment, poverty, and held back by societal barriers to opportunity, its not radical enough.

  12. Matt Seattle says:

    It is a brave thing to put yourself in a position where you know you will be misunderstood. Foolish too, perhaps, but still brave. I’m disappointed at the negativity of the comments. The article is well written, elusive – which bits are satire and which bits are serious? – and it questions assumptions – mine, anyway.

    Before his time, though not before mine, who remembers “I am Loki, wizard of lies” from another Scottish wordsmith?

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      Here here!

  13. Rob Connell says:

    Once again, interesting stuff from Loki. As usual, I agree with some parts and not others, but never dull.

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