The Old Firm is back!! I made dinner yesterday, to avoid any need to venture outside today. Instead, I’ll be embracing the spirit of the festivities by focusing on petty vendettas, historical grudges and calling people names. Thankfully for me, God created John Mason MSP.
Shettleston’s favourite son is Scotland’s answer to the political evangelists you might get in the US – and I really mean Scotland’s answer. He’s like the tepid, watery squash which accompanies a stale custard cream in a grim church hall somewhere (anywhere?) on the central belt on a dreich Sunday afternoon. Definitely the one who looks over his specs at you disapprovingly when you’re laughing, not the one who shouts about fiery damnation.
No single human has developed the art of wasting time in Holyrood quite like John Mason and he is undoubtedly the voice of Scotland’s bemused and bewildered community. He’s treated us to some belters over the years, for better of worse. So in honour of a life long rivalry with an old foe (who I’d really be quite lost without), here are some tales from John Mason’s book of revelations.
“Some people like football”
This week, Mason put a motion forward, in Parliament, noting that that there was football today, that this football was “significant” for many people and that he hoped everyone would behave themselves. In Parliament. There was a complete absence of any mention that there was football yesterday and not a word on the potential for football tomorrow. Frack knows where Scottish Labour were, when this matter of national importance was on the table. We suspect Jim Murphy was away playing football somewhere. Some people like football. In case you missed that.
Hello! Hello! We are Yes Scotland!
If, as Mr. Mason himself suggested, you attach some significance to football, you might occasionally go and watch it. But beware! John is a man on a mission to clean up the terraces of Scotland, one Yes campaigner at a time. The backdrop of sectarianism has resulted in legislation which gives unprecedented new powers to the Polis and courts. Many have criticised the current approach, which has resulted in fans being harassed and even criminalised while a more “creative” definition of sectarianism is applied to the huge number of sectarian parades still blighting Scotland. But Mr. Mason thinks we’ve not gone far enough, and said he’d expect the Polis to arrest someone wearing a Yes badge at Hampden. The notion we could challenge sectarianism and racism without calling for the mass imprisonment of people who wear old badges (annoying as they may be) seems lost on John, and perhaps his party…
We don’t know how to queue like we used to
Bloody Americans. With all their stupid words and stupid days, they can’t even queue properly. And now they’re coming over here, bringing their Black Friday and their lack of queuing. Terrible. Dreadful.
So goes this John Mason motion at Holyrood denouncing Black Friday and all the associated rushing about. Down with this sort of thing.
“Some people” are homophobes
Let’s not fuck about; I wouldn’t spend my time rifling through his Parliamentary contributions if it wasn’t for the fact he was the primary opponent of equal marriage, which he wasted more time without really saying anything about than pretty much anyone else. Again, no hellfire and brimstone, no eternal damnation, just awkwardly getting in the way.
His parliamentary motion back in 2011 stated that some people didn’t agree with gay people getting married and was signed by 3 other people, including disgraced former SNP MSP Bill Walker. The motion concluded that no-one should be forced to “involved in or approve of” same-sex marriages. Legislative scholars will notice that both a system of nationalised compulsory same-sex coupling and the ability to enforce approval of gaiety on everyone were missing from the Equal Marriage Bill eventually passed, perhaps due to John’s intervention.
Suffice to say, he opposed the legislation anyway, despite it not being able to make him approve of, or be involved in, marrying other men.
We’re not very evolved round here
Mason recently put forward a motion calling for creationism to be taught as being a “valid” belief system in schools, which science cannot disprove. Teaching kids what people of all faiths and none think about things is entirely reasonable, and it’s what happens. Science doesn’t rest on its inability to disprove the creation of the world as the work of cosmic deities nor does faith rest on what can or can’t be proved by numbers or test tubes.
It is, nonetheless, complete and utter bollocks to suggest that there is no evidence for evolution and it’s not suddenly the role of Government to provide state assistance, by declaring as “valid”, one particular interpretation of a specific religious text. An education system which gives kids the critical faculties to figure this stuff out for themselves should be possible without making politicians table amendments at Holyrood to ensure the inclusion of their own cherished creation myths in the national curriculum.
Who knows what trip to the shops, sporting event or query about the nature of the cosmsos John Mason will be musing over in the coming weeks. He may not be the most evolved politician in the playground but he certainly has a knack for taking up parliamentary time with what should be his innermost thoughts.
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