Nature abhors a vacuum. I abhor referendums. Put them together, and you've got the current political climate in Scotland.
With perhaps the exception of a pistol duel, there can't be many worse ways to sort any political issue than a referendum. It's essentially a mass seance: first there's a frisson of excitement, but before long it's just big sways from one end to the other, people losing control of themselves before freaking out and never wanting to talk about it again. But as of this Thursday, people on both sides of the argument, be it Mary Doll, Liz Hen or Bob "Old Grey Mare, She Ain't What She Used To Be" Geldof, called off their respective goons, and lord knows there have been plenty of them. Gordon Brown nailed it pretty hard, though.
Ultimately, despite the Yes side's fine attempts to chart a positive, social demcoratic, trident-hostile macro course into unchartered territory (Norway left the Kalmar Union in the 16th century, and look how well they're doing!), and despite the No side's reckless complacency and oftentime smugness, Alex Salmond's plan for independence is a bit too much like moving out of your parents' house to live in their basement. A lot of the bases that would underpin the nation are based on levels of optimism and good fortune Del Boy would find hard to sustain, and even during the campaign things got a bit crotchety. Besides, independence without your own currency, head of state or health system seems to rather defeat the purpose. Also, if Scotland goes independent, it would make it increasingly less likely than another Scot would ever present a future series of Wheel of Fortune. Is the legacy of Nicky Campbell, Carol Smilie and, to a lesser extent, John Leslie something we're willing to throw away?
As Scotland makes their big crossroad decision, in the States it's already time to consider who might be the next President, less than three quarters of the way through the current one's term. This week Hillary Clinton went to one of the many food-themed political events in the US in the state of Iowa. Iowa is known for two things: being the home state of Slipknot, and being the first primary in the Presidential season. Hillary getting such an early start in the Nu Metal State could make for a stunted Democratic primary season, with nobody daring to take her on. She's probably spent the last eight years perfecting her Harrison Ford impression from Air Force One, but unlike most airplanes, booking early is no guarantee of getting the seat cheaply or easily.
One of Hillary's great strengths is her popularity in Irish circles, due to her and her husband's work in Northern Ireland. And this week Ulster lost one of its biggest characters, Ian Paisley. While his "bellicose pain in the arse" to "meaningful contributor to society" ratio is about 9:1. he at least mellowed enough in his old age to become one half of a double act nobody ever thought they'd live to see. Also, his more enduring legacy is a party full of lads who table parliamentary motions warning Asian car marques about Republican propaganda, think the Giant's Causeway was named after it's builder and are shit scared of gay men's blood. As a kid, Paisley was a bogeyman to me. As an adult, he was the man who made some peace and gave sermons outside City Hall at Friday lunchtime. I'm glad we both grew up.
If Ian Paisley's public persona can change so dramatically, there may yet be hope for Kanye West, known the world over for his can-douche attitude. The latest in his interminable line of cringey arrogance is hectoring a concert reveller for not getting up and dancing, despite the fan's inherent difficulties in so doing. Even Kanye has been outdone though by the people at Urban Outfitters, who this week bought their tickets straight to hell. Having plenty of previous in "FFS, why?!" strain of controversy, they raised ire for selling a sweater with "Kent State University" written on it, replete with some manner of blood splatter design. KSU was the location of the deaths of four unarmed students during a peaceful Vietnam War protest, making the shirt incredibly inappropriate and the company irredeemable assholes.
After such tastelessness, what better way to cleanse this week's palate than with a story about Bill Murray, a man whose sole purpose in life is to remind us all that magic exists in this world? He's been at it again, showing up at party and dancing and air guitaring. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.