Scotland vs. Adjectavia

by | 10 Dec 2021

The timeline split in 2014. You're still stuck in Scotland but the Scottish Government has migrated to the other timeline - and everything there is BRILLIANT!

In the wonderful TV series Counterpart, something happened in the fictional 1960s which caused time to split. There were two versions of reality and each took a different course, each unknown to the other except for a small number of people who worked to communicate between these two now radically different timelines.

I can only assume that something similar has happened in Scotland. At some point in about 2014 time split and from there each version of the country set off on its own path. Part of the purpose of this website is to try to offer just a little bit of communication from one to the other.

On the one hand there is Scotland – you know, highest drug deaths, highest alcohol deaths, highest prison population, growing inequality, never-ending foul-ups by the Scottish Government.

On the other is Adjectavia. Adjectavia looks like Scotland (though only the pretty bits, and with only children or adults who each represent Something Important), but in every other regard it is entirely different. In Adjectavia great government is always making us safer, greener, fairer and more prosperous.

In Adjectavia we win so much, we win so often that we’re all sick of winning. Thoroughly sick of it.

One communication from Adjectavia came through the car radio when my partner was dropping off Common Weal’s Christmas merchandise at the post office. My partner sources Common Weal’s merchandise and puts a lot of time into finding small ethical Scottish businesses. As a family we barely shop in supermarkets now using small local shops or small Scottish online suppliers wherever we can.

Common Weal has been supporting ‘small’ for such a long time that I am in many networks of small businesses or small local voluntary organisations or local activist groups. Both of us are familiar with the world where the ‘little guy’ lives (though a very high proportion of the ‘little guys’ are women).

My partner was unconvinced by what she was hearing on the radio – it was Kate Forbes telling us that this radical and revolutionary new budget was a fresh start for Scotland in which the real winner was the ‘little guy’. My partner’s response was certainly succinct – “that’s total bollocks, they’re full of shit”.

In Adjectavia we win so much, we win so often that we’re all sick of winning. Thoroughly sick of it.

Earlier in the week I spent an hour talking to a student about public procurement, a system virtually designed to cut out the ‘little guy’ (designed as it was by the former CEO of a large corporation). I’ve campaigned to reform this and my experience is that the corporations won’t let that happen.

I woke up today to the apparent news that parties are off – but only if they’re being held in, you know, your small local pub. This does not affect big business like shopping malls, giant concert venues, casinos (essential socialising only, eh?) or major sporting events. Those remain untouched and it is you, the little guy, who is responsible for not meeting other little guys in venues also owned by little guys.

But that is but the tip of the iceberg. I worked with a network of small, local public health charities which were trying to make the case that when you are providing loneliness services it helps if you’re based in the community. They got the cold shoulder from government – when money was eventually announced for this it all went to big players.

Plus shall we not mention Scotland’s comparative record on local democracy? In Adjectvia it’s a new dawn for the little guy so long as the little guy doesn’t want a say in the new dawn. Or of course if the little guy wants to use a bank in this utopia.

Fairer? As our leaders spout on about how brilliant they are the reality is that if there is something in Scottish public life that the closed cabals of officials can get away with privatising, it will be privatised. Even chucking yourself in a freezing river is now a commercial activity.

That’s right. You know the Looney Dook where a load of people with more enthusiasm than good sense (if you ask me…) throw themselves into the Forth on the first of January, started a few years ago by someone who thought that would be a good idea? Well it has now been taken over by that sprawling Serco-of-public-events Underbelly which is charging £20 for the privilege. I bet it’s fenced off. I bet there is barely a person there who is on average income or below.

While some previous burst of adjectives was being sprayed at us a few days ago the Common Weal Care Group dug out the information that the big contract for designing the National Care Service has been handed to KPMG. This has almost certainly nothing to do with the fact that the National Care Service’s ‘Operating Lead’ in the Scottish Government recently joined them from KPMG.

Whoever is head of strategy in the Adjectavia Government appears to have absorbed their entire philosophy from something scrawled on a blackboard by a nutter who worked for George W Bush

But if all this leaves you out of pocket, that’s fine, because Shona Robison is in the National. The big news is that she’s making Scotland fairer, greener and more prosperous. The detail turns out to be funding for advice services which works out at about forty pence per person per year (after years of underfunding of Citizens Advice). Truly transformative.

One of the worst Covid records in the developed world and pretty well the worst record on care home deaths is a success. In Adjectavia there was absolutely no way anyone could have known that sending vulnerable people with a highly infectious disease into care homes would pose a risk (other than with ‘hindsight’). In Scotland’s timeline the world’s first analysed case of asymptomatic transmission was identified in January 2020 and both the Sage Committee and the World Health Organisation published guidance in February 2020 warning about this.

Greener? They just cut the climate change budget and gave £62 million to the oil and gas industry.

No matter, Adjectavia’s attainment gap in schools has been closed, it is a world leader in 5G, is on the cusp of a ‘green jobs revolution’ (again) and has achieved a radical new wellbeing economy. One almost wonders why it even needed a ‘bold and ambitious budget to set Scotland on a fresh new path’ (which is achieved by effectively freezing or cutting all the departmental budgets).

Best of all, Adjectavia is only months away from its independence. The excitement on the streets is palpable, tension is building and only a little light paperwork remains to be ticked off.

Whoever is head of strategy in the Adjectavia Government (the same person who is head of everything else…) appears to have absorbed their entire philosophy from something scrawled on a blackboard by a nutter who worked for George W Bush.

“When we act we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

The reality-based community is for losers, Adjectavia is for winners. Pick your side people – you could stay and fight for Scotland or you could drift off in an opium haze to a land where everything is for the good forever.

Except drug deaths. They took their eye off that one. And ferries (either building or operating). Or hospital death inquiries. Or exam cock-up. Then there were those problems with their legal advice. And…

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This