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David MacKenzie's Diary

Can you do laughs when the agenda is real heavy?

A week or so ago the Local Heroes affinity group conducted a gentle forensic raid on the Labour Office in Airdrie, in order to out a dubious hombre by the name of John Reid who has been linked to Al McKayda. This unsalubrious shop is the hole-in-the-wall for the same Reid, when not providing the muscle and the sweet-talking on behalf of the business operations of one Tony Blair.

The complaints against this Saruman lookalike are many and various, but also peculiar due to his expertise in mathematics and salesmanship. He was the man who was asked about the bombing of Afghanistan and came back with a sum for an answer. He had got out his slide rule and calculated that only 0.0002356% of the land mass had been affected by the Warriors on Terror. His skill of irrelevant persuasion was such that none of the dumb clucks at the press conference got round to asking how many vital organs you could cram into that percentage. Like Jabba the Hutt he is also apt to get emotional and overwrought when anyone dares challenge or attempt to harm his pet monster, Our Glorious Deterrent.

A forensic piss-take

As we put together the doodahs for the operation, the hazard tape and the character assassinations in the form of posters and a banner, and the dust for the cloven hoof-prints, we were on horns, not maybe as sharp as your actual dilemma, but jagged enough, considering on the one hand this is a dude with some serious history, not excluding stuff that would tend to raise the eyebrows of your average lawman to the middle of his cranium, but also considering that we Heroes can't seem to do things without having a few giggles on the way. Which is as much as saying, can you do laughs when the agenda is real heavy?

Some of us maybe figured fun and nonsense was as out of place as a fart cushion at a funeral, while others were on edge to do the whole forensic piss-take with glee. In as much as we Heroes ever resolve anything we resolved to give it a go, see how it went, hope for the best, etc. Personally, I was full of the usual doubts, worries, hesitations and wishes to be home at the fireside watching Relocation, Relocation, Relocation.

CSI Airdrie hit the streets

Came the day and lots of biting wind and wet. Eric and Brian, in suits that had seen duty in the Sopranos, albeit on bodies of different shapes and sizes, went into the bureau, leaned on the squeaky counter and engaged the clerks in persuasive conversation on subjects that made them seem a shade uncomfortable and anxious to be home for their dinners.

On the sidewalk, Babs combed the area for traces of the activities of the syndicate while Lance and David tied the hazard tape to trees and drainpipes, though you could tell that their education had not been completed in the Scouts, or even the Guides, while Una and Jane interrupted the peaceful citizens of North Lanarkshire and supplied them with information depicting the said Reid as a character with a bad affect on the health of any neighbourhood he resided in. These citizens, with a couple of exceptions, did not jump to the defence of their local representative with un-parliamentary language, or even an “Airdrie kiss”, but seemed mighty amused that his suite was being given a good going over. And even the guy who was walking off with our banner in a bin bag, having spotted the good quality rope, was actually promoting ethical and sustainable recycling.

Popping the spell

Being, yet again, a late discoverer of the bleeding obvious, I could see that the hoopla and buffoonery is not a mere byproduct of such endeavours but is in with the bricks. Our Minister of Defence and so many like him depend on an illusion of normality to surround them to prevent the full realisation of what is going on, and a harmless gibe or two can help to pop the spell. And, always presuming that the calamity has not already overtaken us, a bit of fun can inhibit our own tendency to go off the wall.

David Mackenzie is press officer for Trident Ploughshares. He writes for PN in a personal capacity.