LIFE is interesting. No, it is, seriously. Just when you think you’ve got it sussed, it birls aboot and where do all your philosophies, knowledge and assumptions go, readers? Correct: oot the windae.

On a windy day in chilly autumn, leaves are blown hither and yon in Highgate Cemetery. See them scurry and dance round the tomb of one Karl Marx. And what is Herr Marx doing, readers? Correct: he’s birling. He’s birling in his grave like never before.

Lord knows, he’s probably birled more than any cadaver in history, as his name has so often been taken in vain and his predictions have all gone awry. But he’s now going round like a pair of big red pants in a tumble-drier as the latest developments in British society become clear.

To wit: as the royals, the bourgeoisie and even the aristocracy swing left, the proletariat is swinging right. I should make a clarification here. Some idiot mentioned “British society” earlier, but it’s really just England we’re talking about here.

Scotland is a special or basket case, complicated by a different sort of nationalism (left rather than right), and always determined to show that it’s a different kettle of fish from the E-people that we are now too frightened by the ruling PC culture here even to name. You might even surmise that, if England were left-wing, Scotland would be right, though I doubt it.

Scotland is an overwhelmingly proletarian country, more these days in the psyche than the job description, but the same could be said of the North and Midlands of England, where the competition for working-class votes is currently being fought mainly by two right-wing parties: the Tories and the Brexit mob.

How on Earth has it come to this? The Tory press is delighting in the development, declaring Boris Johnson a “working-class hero”, even in areas that once had pits closed by the self-same Conservatives.

One is tempted to dismiss all this as hype and wishful thinking, but it appears to be borne out by opinion polls, at least so far, which are putting Conservative support as high as 47 per cent among social class C2-D-E voter and 43 per cent just among social class D-E, with the Labour Party nearly 20 points behind.

At the same time, the psychotically anti-Brexit Lib Dems are now polling in disproportionately high numbers among the wealthiest sections of society. One imagines they’d be the party which Harry, Meghan, William and Kate – perhaps even Charles – would support, if convention (as distinct from law) allowed them a vote.

Brexit, of course, has been the complicating factor, but it has also set in motion a deeper and wider distrust of the liberal, metropolitan elite, with ite tiresome PC witch-hunting and arrogant sense of entitlement. Proletarians look up from their pints of bitter (sorry, love a bit of stereotyping, me; don’t worry, there’ll be a whippet in a flat cap along any minute) and see insubstantial people over-educated in impractical subjects lecturing them about life, where conjecture replaces reality and fairies fill the air.

But proletarians backing the the party of the rich? That’s rich. I can’t see it lasting. The prevalence of food banks and the sick stories of inhumanity surrounding Universal Credit must already sit uncomfortably in the minds of working-class voters who want Brexit but not the workhouse.

Indeed, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party might have been better placed to take these votes, as it’s fairly quiet on the economy, even if closer inspection reveals that it is apparently against taxing the rich and in favour of mythical bilge like “self-reliance”.

I confess myself lost by all this. If I happened to be passing Highgate, I’d be tempted to bung myself in beside Mr Marx and go birling roond with him. But maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe we need to shake ourself up, to take a wee birl, question our assumptions and defenestrate our philosophies. Certainly, life has become more interesting, except for viewers in Scotland, where it remains pretty much the same.

For some years now, we’ve been stuck in limbo, neither tortured in Hell (unless watching Question Time) nor yet sipping nectar (Irn Bru) in constitutional Heaven.


IN a new upsetting development for the royal family, Prince Charles has become involved with an Italian fashion house to produce a “capsule collection” (no idea) of claes.

As Charles sports all the latest fashions from 1923, it isn’t clear what this is about, though one fashion writer predicted “Milanese sleek minimalism”. Yes, that’s what I’d anticipated. Sleek, ken? Sustainability also gets a shout-out, based on the fact that Charlie wears the same jaickits for decades. I’ve got pants and socks like that. They actually walk about by themselves now.

Disturbingly, the Italian outfit is called Yoox Net-a-Porter, which Wikipedia tells me is a name “composed of the male (Y) and female (X) chromosome letters linked to OO, the infinity symbol or the ‘zero’ from the binary code”. I see. No wonder I drink.

Certainly, if Charles has any say, even the T-shirts will be double-breasted. What is it about two breasts that this peculiar man loves?

Even more disturbingly, the project has recruited artisans to produce the duds “in a remote part of Scotland”, which turns out to be Dumfries House, three miles remote from Cumnock.

How discombobulating to read of such sinister goings-on in our simple, innocent Scotia.


HOW almost amusing to see nuclear weapons become an issue in the election. The usual old question was put to aspiring prime ministers: “Would you press the button?” The media’s expected answer is: “Yes, of course, old boy. Probably need a bit of a stiffener first, but life goes on, eh? [Whispers to aide:] Does it?”

This week, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said all countries’ nuclear missiles had to be destroyed or humankind would perish. That would arguably be a bummer, though he’s probably right, even if it’s not clear how we can get rid of ours while madder, badder countries keep theirs. My own view – that we should invade them all – has few backers at the time of going to press.

The whole thing, including my view, is ridiculous. In reports back to my own planet, I’ve observed: “The Earthlings would fire any politician who threatened to sock someone on the nose but applaud one who threatens to incinerate millions of men, women and children.”

To his credit, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has said (in 2015) that he couldn’t press the button. However, there’s always the chance that, during the four-minute warning, he could change his mind a few times.


THRAWN. That’s a good word, though it has about it a hint of negativity that I don’t think really applies to the people we’re about to discuss.

You say: “Who they, like?” They be folk that still have black and white television sets. Seriously, their heads have not been turned an inch by all the flat, wrap-around, LED, HD, 4K, smart, dumb, pixel-soaked numbers that are foisted on us now.

They’ve just stuck by Old Reliable. Of course, perhaps they’re cash-strapped or, dare I say it, a little simple. I like to think not. I like to think they are solid folks untouched by passing fashions and hype, like these admirable men who still have the long hair styles of their youth.

According to figures from TV Licensing Scotland, 383 black and white sets are still in use across our grey country, with 136 of these in Glasgow compared to just 41 in swanky Edinburgh. The figure across the UK is 6,000, and this on the 50th anniversary of colour on BBC One.

Progress. That’s another good word, though it isn’t all good and, indeed, is not always as black and white as at first it appears to be.

Read more: W inner of the election could be the spinner with the lexicon