Shark-jumping for Britain

For anybody familiar with the idiom, David Torrance’s latest gobbet of distilled rancour must have prompted the thought that the proverbial shark had been well and truly jumped.

We are accustomed to Torrance’s clumsily contrived attacks on Alex Salmond and the SNP, of course. I’m not sure the bitter wee soul pens anything these days that doesn’t end up descending into an inelegant excuse to indulge his obsessive resentment of the former First Minister, who famously declined to take Torrance as seriously as he takes himself. But the way he shoehorns yet another such bout of petulant sniping into an article ostensibly about Donald Trump is beyond anything that even the most desperate team of TV writers might resort to as they are harried by producers to devise a plot-twist that might catch the attention of sensation-glutted couch-potatoes.

Drawing simplistic parallels between the politics of Trump (Trumpism?) and of the Brexiteers is, by any measure, a lazy device. But even this woefully shallow analysis is devalued by the attempt to drag the SNP into it. Even if this can be explained by Torrance’s pathological need to lash out at the SNP, the inclusion of the “Corbynistas” is just plain weird. A generous account of this weirdness might dismiss it as an intellectual indolence that leaves Torrance’s account languishing at the level of a gossipy “they’re all the same”.

Alternatively, we might see it as a feeble attempt to squeeze a modicum credibility out of a superficial display of even-handedness. Almost as pathetic as the compulsive name-dropping as if driven by a need to prove erudition. (I counted five instances.)

The most telling thing about Torrance’s banal lumping together of diverse political phenomena is what he omits. Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the British nationalism which, with its jingoistic bluster, clamorous exceptionalism and pernicious blend of entitlement and victimhood, arguably best bears comparison with Trump’s brand of politics.

The similarities between the Johnson/Gove/Farage campaign in the recent EU referendum and Better Together/Project Fear in the first Scottish independence referendum have been widely remarked upon. Maybe it would have been worth exploring the ways in which these efforts relate to the Trump campaign. But Torrance pointedly avoids tackling the issue of British nationalism. Why might that be?

Perhaps British nationalism is just so banal that it doesn’t occur to Torrance to think of it at all.

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7 thoughts on “Shark-jumping for Britain

  1. Dan Huil

    Torrance is obsessed with Salmond. Something to do with Torrance’s pathetic attempt at a biography of Salmond. The bbc loves Torrance of course.

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      The famous Salmond put-down:

      NOW that I have time on my hands to read newspapers, I noted the musings from my self-appointed biographer David Torrance (Why the Salmond magic is in need of a revisionist take, The Herald, September 22).

      I understand, of course, that thus far the general Scottish response to the referendum is the exact opposite of what Tory-leaning David would have wished, and also he must be totally devastated by my standing down – thus depriving him of a lucrative income stream.

      However, allow me just two observations. First, I hardly know David Torrance. And secondly – and much more problematically for a biographer – he doesn’t know me at all.

      Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP,

      First Minister,

      Bute House, Edinburgh.

  2. Geoff Huijer

    I pay no attention to the anything David Torrance does , says or writes. Unfortunately the MSM seem to ‘use’ him whenever possible.

    He is the epitome of a troll ‘disguised’ as a journalist.

    To paraphrase the late Christopher Hitchens ‘He should be standing on a street corner, shouting at passers-by whilst selling pencils from a cup’.

  3. Bert Logan

    Torrance, seeing a torrent coming his way. The little Toryism that rushes to find a BBC crew wherever he can. Ego and sad.

    Thats all he is.

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