Bonnie Prince Bob – a Surprise in Edinburgh Central
Our occasional collaborator and contributor Bonnie Prince Bob is running for office. That’s not a sentence I had expected to write anytime soon [see his previous; the brilliantly conceived What Was Done? from 2017; his all-time epic takedown Jim Murphy Saviour of the Union (2015); plus of course his savage 2019 assault on festivilisation, There’s No Edinburgh in the Edinburgh Festival].
For an election approached by an exhausted and dispirited electorate – the highly marginal Edinburgh Central may now become a talking point in ways that no-one expected (see the other candidates here).
In fact the rise of independents in Scottish politics may point to a breakdown in party lines as the constitutional deadlock breaks the feasibility of ‘big tent politics’ where party machines can contain individuals unified by a single political aim but containing a multitude of actual views.
You may not like the Bonnie Princes style, you might not agree with everything he says (I don’t) – but Bonnie Prince Bob is speaking to issues about social cleansing, over-tourism, chronic housing failure, sacrificing the politics of class and inequality to all others, and the professionalisation of politics into an anemic form of managed decline that have been swept under the carpet for far too long.
Edinburgh in particular has suffered under misrule (by all parties) for decades and anyone raising these issues are routinely treated with utter contempt for doing so.
I have heard none of the professional political class speak with any urgency or meaning on any of these issues. The rise of BPB may be a warning shot that the dull binary politics of turgid managerialism aren’t immune from disruption, even in Scotland.
Bella starts its coverage of the Holyrood elections next week.