Poetic injustice?

A sense of humour is always a “solatium” when you’re feeling victimised and quite a few readers will have enjoyed a happy cackle at your St Olaf Street correspondent’s quoting of Rabbie Burns against Alistair Carmichael MP, in his recent letter to The Shetland Times (21st May).

However, it’s surely a poetic injustice to imply that Mr Carmichael’s a “rogue” who’s been “bought and sold for English gold”. I don’t share our MP’s political allegiance but I do know him to be a conscientious, hard-working and honest constituency member.

I also know he did his damnedest to make the proposed “rainbow coalition” succeed and it was the diehard tendency of New Labour who scuppered it. That left only one realistic option and Mr Carmichael has had the political courage to try to make the Lib-Con coalition work.

I fear this will end in tears (because the Liberals have been conned and the Conservatives are not yet libbed), but to suggest that he acted dishonourably is unwarranted.
That quotation from the Bard of Alloway sent me looking for my Burns book, with its haggis-stained, tartan cover. There I found these lines from Tam o’ Shanter:

She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder wi’ the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;

And, in Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion on the same bookshelf, I found another old favourite:

O what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!”

Thank goodness we still have the Muse to take our minds off the distressing current affairs reported elsewhere in your columns.

Jonathan Wills


Add Your Comment
  • Greybeard

    • May 31st, 2010 11:53

    Jonathan is not quite right about alleged strenuous Liberal attempts to make a rainbow coalition work. Consult the article by Adonis on the New Statesman website for an account of what actually happened. David Laws and the other ‘Orange Book’ crowd were determined that such dangerous Bolshevism couldn’t succeed …


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