Friday, January 8, 2016

A storm in a teacake.


"Tunnock's supremo laughs off threat of tea cake boycott and says sales are up since rebrand"

Screamed the headline.
Big news indeed. We will not be defeated!!

It made the national news when a Scottish biscuit changed its covering this week.  The infamous Tunnocks Tea Cake – Scotland’s best - is such a proud icon of our nation that there were about two hundred of them dancing in the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.  They have taken on a Campbell’s soup tin/Andy Warhol arty Zeitgeist.  It’s Scottish, it’s marvellous and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

The reason it hit the headlines was the fact that the branding has been changed by the company.  The proud Scottish lion rampant has been removed from the branding and the word Scottish has come off and been replaced by British, even as I type that I can hear the gnashing of teeth all the way from Holyrood. 

So putting to one side the extraordinary clever piece of marketing that got the Tunnocks tea cake on the front of every newspaper ( yes we do take our chocolate that  seriously!).  The fact that something so iconic has put its cards on the table for 'union'  is rather fitting at the moment of the way things are  going.  And I personally am quite glad the Tunnock' thing happened because there is far too much awfulness and tedium in the world for me to add to it by writing a blog about the political situation in Scotland.  I would rather sit in a bath of cold porridge and watch paint dry.

Every week there is another headline like this; ( todays!)  

"Phil Boswell: Scottish National Party MP to Face House of Commons Inquiry Over Complaint"

So far, I think five of the Scottish MPs are under Commissioner Review as they are suspected of being a bit naughty, not declaring this or that and to be fair to them I think it is because the week before they were elected they were doing something like working in a department store or sweeping the floor.

They do not have a political career behind them and it also means they are probably not fit for purpose for the job – that is not my opinion that is the opinion of one of the 'professional' Scottish MPs if you like. 

But if I was voted into Parliament tomorrow, I have no knowledge of where my money is, what organisations I am a member of and what I would need to declare or not declare. But I would like to think I would be clever enough to find out what was deemed unethical … and not wait to be exposed in the national press.  

The big problem is that the Scottish Government is failing.  The flood defences, the Forth Road Bridge, the crisis in education, the transport crisis, have all proved that the services which were supposed to be better for Scotland when under Scottish control are worse. And of course, the Scottish Government always has the excuse of blaming Westminster and the Independents just love that. There are more freebies being given away today, travel for certain age groups is now hugely discounted but (as usual)  no one explains how this is to be paid for and this is the entire problem with the Scottish Government. They say  marvellous things which are generally good ideas and good for the Scottish people.  Zooming about a country like this for free cannot be bad  but nobody explains were the funds come from.  Was it the cutting of the budget for the flood defences. A bridge that has collapsed so that there is now no West coast train link between Scotland and England- you get the train to Carlisle, then get stuck on a bus.

The fact that the repairs to the Forth Road Bridge were put off so then the bridge had to be closed- and is still only open to cars- no HGV's - and it is along way  round! And of course a huge boulder has just fallen down, causing the Rest and Be Thankful Road to be closed again and one of my patients had a two and a half hour journey for treatment. That's not the fault of the Scottish Government  but  it's interesting just the same - they had to blow the boulder up in the end!

And whilst that seems specific the ripples do go much wider, how much is that costing the industry of a small country like ours?  How many businesses are genuinely suffering because of these transport difficulties?  From a personal point of view I can see the changes in patients on the NHS.  The NHS has a target to get the waiting lists down however getting the waiting lists down often just involves a phone call to the patient telling them they are on the waiting list.  Scot free – lying over money from oil - over estimating by 85% and a lot of other things that make me very angry.

Here are the headlines:

Nicola Sturgeon urged to act over SNP MPs But she remains silent at the investigations going on about members of her own party. she is very good at keeping quiet!

Scottish National Party under fire over Forth Road Bridge Closure Financial Times- vital Transport links remain closed

Scotland and the missing alternative to austerity Financial Times-20 Dec 2015

Despite new debates, the SNP still risks being seen as little more ...
The Independent-5 Jan 2016
The Scottish National Party has long been skilled in the art of political choreography, carefully planning its activity in order to maximize its ...

Oil price slump leaves SNP with dilemma
Financial Times-15 Dec 2015
Facing a weakening economy, cuts to his main source of funding and a looming election, it is no wonder Scotland's finance secretary John ...

Sturgeon vows to raise education standards in Scotland
Financial Times-18 hours ago
The Scottish National party, particularly under former first minister Alex Salmond, has been criticised for focusing on independence rather than ...

I did try but I ran out of interest after the headlines.  And wanted to talk about chocolate again...

Caro Ramsay  08 01 16


  1. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love chocolate, and tasteless nincompoops.

  2. Chocolate covered tea cakes SHOULD take priority over politicians. And they are more honest.

  3. I can't believe the headlines in Scotland are the same as in Greece and the US. The only difference from Scotland's headlines is that in Greece they're in Greek and the US in English.

    Long live the Tunnock.

  4. Thanks for the comments. Yesterday it was announced that the nationalists are NOT including another referendum in their manifesto for the 2016 elections. I wonder why..........