Sunday 11 May 2003

A bourgeois dissents

Is Joyce McMillan the silliest woman in Scotland? So often, her articles start well, but you just know that it's only a matter of time before her instinctive establishment-leftism kicks in. This week she gets straight to the point for apparently we have enjoyed:
a vintage week for all the harrumphers, grunters, whey-faced control-freaks, Gradgrind miserabilists and establishment stuffed shirts of the current British political scene.
Joyce is of course talking about the swearing-in of new Scottish Socialist MSP Rosie Kane who made her parliamentary debut in blue denims and an off-the-shoulder blouse. The "sensible" Joyce then defends the outgoing Presiding Officer, Sir David Steel, from nonsensical charges of sexism (Sir David had a wee peek at Rosie), and puts the Education Secretary (though not of Scotland), Charles Clarke, in his place for his cretinous attack on universities. So far, so good. But then we get the other Joyce who proclaims that the appearance of Ms Kane and her fellow socialists is seen as a threat by some of us:
Of course, it is more difficult to remain open to debate and change in relatively wealthy and privileged societies, where millions of people have a great deal to lose, and a strong vested interest in defending the system - just or unjust - that delivered their prosperity.

But the sheer clammed-up misery of that kind of bourgeois life - always afraid of the mob, always terrified of dispossession, always enraged by insubordination and dissent, always dreaming up ever more obnoxious and untenable justifications for our own privileged position - should be enough to make any human being with a spark of moral or intellectual vitality yearn for alternative.

I am sufficiently "bourgeois" to think that Ms Kane owed it to her electorate to smarten-up a bit for her first parliamentary appearance - even her boss, Tommy Sheridan, understands that. What actually worries me, though, about Ms Kane and her friends is not their "insubordination" and "dissent" but that they really do plan to "dispossess" those of us who have earned our money fair-and-square and who do not consider ourselves "privileged" for having done so. Let me record my own "dissent" from the news that the 41-year-old Ms Kane has become a £48,000 a year tax-consumer who has only read five books in her life. And yes, one of them is Michael Moore's Stupid White Men.