I'm sure you know who I mean when I ping that ringing moniker into your mental domain or heid. It's Annabel Goldie, of course.
Suburban siren, Tory temptress, darling of the doily set, spinning spinster, duchess of democratic jollification, Annabel sounds the death knell to the silly idea that politics cannot be fun.
You say: "We all know that. But what has the old gal gone and done noo?" I'll tell you what yon former Scottish Conservative leader has gone and done noo, I mean now. She has only gone and persuaded the Scottish Parliament to debate the Glasgow-based soap opera – bear with me as I check my notes – River Island. No, that's a shop selling tight trousers. River City.
That's the one. You know the thing. Talk among yourselves while I look it up on Wikipedia. OK, here are the salient points: BBC Scotland; 10th anniversary in September; 500,000 viewers (that's nearly everybody; surely not?); Shellsuit Bob; murder; obsession; rape; suicide; kidnapping; pornography; burning caravan; jail.
Tales, then, of everyday life, with the notable exception of alien abduction. I trust the above synopsis does the series justice. Confession time: I've never seen it. I'm not being snooty or disrespectful. I'm just not a soaps person. They always seem to involve folk getting themselves into a right state.
But I've been introduced to citizens who watch three or four such shows a night. I thought it was pathetic, until I realised that – as usual – I was no better. For I watch DVD boxed sets obsessively, loving the characters and caring for them. For months at a time they become the most important people in my life, apart from the usual suspects, such as Lord Sainsbury the grocer and Mr Gregg the baker.
Here are a few favourite shows from recent years: Smallville, My Name is Earl, Firefly, Mad Men, The Big Bang Theory, The Waltons. Laugh if you will, but I close the curtains and eat toffee popcorn while I watch them. Sad? If you say so. But I'm happy. Now, some people will be unhappy that such a subject is to be debated in that baby of parliaments, Holyrood. If you have arms about your person, you may be tempted to get up in them. Desist.
Brace yourselves, for I'm about to tell you what politics is about: life. Yes. That shocked you. But it's true. It isn't just the economy, stupid. That economy mantra is one of the most disingenuous arguments around: to wit, the one that says you cannae discuss something because it isn't about the economy. The economy is important, talking about it less so.
I first became aware of this chicanery when Holyrood was battling against a tide of irrationality and devilry to ban fox-mangling. The manglers and their allies said parliament shouldn't be "wasting time" on such matters. In other words, they didn't want it discussed.
That didn't stop them ululating wildly about the threat to rural jobs. Oddy enough, the manglers' predictions came true, and the countryside is now a barren wilderness full of unemployed peasants being attacked by packs of rabid foxes.
Today, the mantle of discussion-killer has been inherited by the sovereignty-manglers, ululating that a minor matter such as independence is a distraction from the stupid economy. Which is ironic, as the Scottish Parliament has jurisdiction only over fruit consumption, fags and booze.
Sure, maybe there ought to be limits to what can be discussed. Even I came up in passing once – literally just a couple of sentences – drawing derisory comment from a rival newspaper.
But there's plenty of time, particularly in a parliament with nursery powers. You can easily set half an hour aside in a parliamentary day to discuss something light but of clear import to ordinary people, such as football, alien abduction, or soap operas. And let's face it, parliament is the biggest soap opera of them all. It's River Twitty, starring Annabel as Bet Lynch, Alex Salmond as Albert Tatlock, Willie Rennie as Shellsuit Bob, David McLetchie as Phil Mitchell, Johann Lamont as Ena Sharples, and Lord George Foulkes as Albert Square.
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