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Thursday, February 03, 2005


Compensation culture

In a wonderful advertisement for devolution, a Tory member of the Scottish parliament has registered a formal complaint to the effect that Shakespeare "misportrayed" Macbeth.

Alex Johnstone MSP has tabled a motion, which "regrets that Macbeth is misportrayed when he was a successful Scottish king."

Johnstone's attempt to overturn Macbeth's image as a murderous villain is being supported by 19 other MSPs from the SNP, Green and Socialist parties. I am relieved to see that the Liberal Democrats have so far resisted the temptation to leap on this dubious bandwagon.

The authority that Johnstone cites as evidence for his claim is none other than "an American professor who has visited north east Scotland." So that settles it.

In case you were wondering why a Tory should be launching a campaign of the sort more usually associated with the left, Johnstone explains:

"The Conservative Party has been the victim of revisionists in the past and we will try and revise the Macbeth story."
I'm not sure I see the connection but, given the dire straits the Tories are in, it's worth a go. And if this campaign takes off, no doubt we will soon be invited to wear tartan wristbands, to show our solidarity.

In the meantime, I don't see why the English should be left out. I am considering demanding an apology from whoever depicted King Alfred as a burner of cakes. I have not yet decided the type of ribbon or wristband sympathisers should wear, and fear that all the available colours may have already been taken. If so, I suppose I could always demand a ten-minute silence.

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