Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chris(t) returns

Although entirely unreasonably, nonetheless it has been put to Roadrunner that since his return to the blogosphere his posts have been characterised by a certain sympathy with - if not predisposition towards - the new SNP administration in Scotland. While confessing to a growing unease that Scotland was coming perilously close to resembling a one-party and fundamentally clientilist state under the previous regime (a view partially confirmed by Labour's on-going inability to come to terms with being in opposition) and thus delighted with the change in government, RR emphatically denies any specific political affiliation. As evidence of this, let RR alert you to this feature in yesterday's Education Guardian which seems to be taking self-delusion, self-importance and self-promotion to new heights. And this from a new intake SNP MSP who has only (partly) returned to the best small country in the world after an absence of 25 years. Oh, and who commutes here from Aberystwyth. But apart from the sheer scale of the ego that is evident from the quotes attributed to Christ, RR is left musing that whilst Tübingen University - one of his current employers - might be "proving flexible about his political involvement" wherey he continues to combine a professorship there with his new job as an MSP, one wonders if the Scottish electorate - his other current employer - will be just as philosophical if not flexible about having a part-time politician looking after their interests.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not see how insulting an SNP MSP proves political unaffiliation. Nor do I see how the article he adduces as evidence takes 'self-delusion, self-importance and self-promotion to new heights'

Thursday, June 28, 2007  
Blogger RoadrunnerReturns said...

The hagiographical style of the usually excellent David Walker is epitomised by statements such as:

“His first post in the new parliament is as ideas generator and adviser to the first minister and SNP leader, Salmond.”

Now – sorry – but there is no such post in the ‘new’ parliament (which has, of course, not been new since 1999). So where did the descriptor come from? Scouting around of web sites relating to the new government singularly fails to throw up such a position. Self-promotion or self-delusion? And so it goes on, and on. There is much in the piece that makes the toes curl, and to be fair probably not all of it (?) can be laid at the door of our redoubtable MSP. But surely this Churchill-ian imagery of the returning visionary ready now – at last – generously to give his homeland the benefit of his considerable gifts – gifts that could only be fully brought to fruition from distant shores – is just kinda, well, yucky really. OK - maybe it's just me...

Thursday, June 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The descriptor comes from the author of the article and not Harvie. The tone of your comment is to attribute this to Harvie which you now deny in your answer. The piece might well be 'yucky' (sic. The one inference one can reliably draw is that you do not like Harvie but as I siad before that does not show you political unaffiliation

Thursday, June 28, 2007  
Blogger RoadrunnerReturns said...

OK - benefit of the doubt. Point by point. 1) Granted the MSP did not, himself, pen the article. But if CH didn’t contribute the salient copy, I feel a duty to write to the Editor of the Guardian and alert him to the fact that one of their journalists is going around inventing 'ideas' positions in the Scottish Parliament, not to mention advisory roles to the FM (and apparently omitted from the list of the other FM’s Special Advisers that was announced a couple of weeks ago...tut tut.). 2) It is, of course, quite impossible for RR to 'prove' political non-affiliation so I have to let that stick to the wall. 3) Personal likes and dislikes? Don't really come into it.

So, we are left with the two outstanding substantive points raised in the original blog and subsequent comment which you fail to address. 1) First the self-confessed part-time nature of his employment as an MSP (unless this too has been invented by a pesky journalist). Does this seem satisfactory to you? Did those who elected him know about this? 2) The returning-hero bit. Come on, be honest - doesn't it make you cringe just ever so slightly?

No amount of pedantry on your part can evade these points. Looking forward to your comment.

Friday, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) You should write to the Guardian then
2)But that is the clear implication of your piece ie the fact you can attack a SNP MSP means you have no real affiliation with the SNP)
3)They do not but then the tone of your article does imply a degree of, shall we say, disrespect?)
Substantive points: though both were raised in your original piece they were not touched upon in my comments
1)Apoint of concern and genreal principal but not, I suspect, applying to him alone.
2) 'The returnning heor' is your interpretation of the original Guardian piece

Friday, June 29, 2007  
Blogger RoadrunnerReturns said...

Let this be the second last word…I’ll give to you the last one. OK?

It isn’t for me to correct the Guardian: it is for CH to correct any inaccuracy – intentional or otherwise – that appeared in the piece. I know of no such correction. Second, I know that other MSPs have had remunerated employment other than from their MSP duties - Gordon Jackson, QC, being perhaps the most ‘celebrated’ instance in the last Parliament. But surely that does not make it right or appropriate? And – unless I’m very wrong – none have actually held a remunerated position that actually involves them being out of the country to be entitled to it!

On the issue of respect. Whilst it is far from my area of expertise, I have, genuinely, the utmost respect for CH as an historian of modern Britain and Scotland. I have enjoyed reading, No Gods and Precious Few Heroes. And having heard him speak on a number of occasions I acknowledge that he is an engaging raconteur and, perhaps, something of a public intellectual (although perhaps not quite in the same division as Ascherson, Nairn, and Devine). But this isn’t about ‘respect’ far less ‘affection’. Which it is about is the type of attitude displayed in the Guardian article which does not leave me at least with any respect for him as a politician capable of understanding, far less making a real contribution to solving, the raft of contemporary economic, social, health, housing, educational, and myriad other difficulties that confront many ordinary Scots. That is the job of an MSP. Yes it’s early days, but look at his stance over the Edinburgh trams…presented in the Guardian as being courageously rebellious to his party’s manifesto position, only for him to dutifully fall behind SNP line when it came to the vote a couple of days ago. That wasn’t about principle. It was about political naivety at best, arrogance at worst. One feels that further misadventure beckons…good luck Bruce Crawford.

Friday, June 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) I only said you should write to the Guardian because you said you would - are you resiling from that?
2)Whether the type of attitude (or more precisely) your interpretation of the type of attitude displayed in the Guardian article is counter productive is a matter of opinion and that applies both to the attituude displayed and your interpretation of it. I would comment in respect of the latter that arrogant etc people often make effective politicians. There is certainly enough evidence of that around us. The character traits for good and effictive politicians, as for chmpion athletes, might not be ones we would want to encourage in the general population
3)The MSP register of inerests will be published on Friday July 6

Friday, June 29, 2007  

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