Monday, 26 October 2009


According to the Scotsman (make of that what you will) the Viceroy of Scotland, Spud Murphy, is hoping to bring the Pope to Scotland. He is going to the Vatican City State this week for talks with Vatican officials and will meet the Pope during His Holiness's regular Wednesday General Audience (in other words with all the other people that are going to be there).

Right! Let’s just get this a wee bit straight. First of all Brown already told us HE is bring the Pope to the UK next year. Of course the Vatican refused to comment either way as I recall. Secondly Murphy isn’t going to be “bringing” the Pope anywhere. Benedictus XVI is the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome, but in matters of international diplomacy he is a Head of State and the supreme ruler of Vatican City State. So, the likelihood of wee Spud “bringing” him anywhere is just plain silly. I’m not, therefore, sure why the Scotland Secretary is going to the Vatican. If talks about the Pope’s visit to the UK are to be held, would not some minister for European Affairs be a more appropriate person?

Again according to that pretty disreputable rag, Mr Murphy said: "It would be a fantastic occasion if the Pope were to visit Britain. The Prime Minister wants us to work closely with the Vatican. It is too early to say if the Pope will be coming to Scotland next year, but it certainly won't be for a lack of trying on my part."

Well, yep I’m sure it would be a fine occasion if the Pope decided to come to Scotland. For those of his faith it would be a huge honour. For the rest of us it would raise Scotland’s profile and of course it would generate a lot of money for local businesses wherever the Pope went. (I mean no disrespect, heads of state mean crowds mean business.)

Although I have no religious affiliation with his church, I hope he does come.

It would be a travesty however, if Mr Brown or Mr Murphy decided to use either this story or His Holiness’s actual visit for any electoral or party political purpose, and this announcement and the Scottish Viceroy’s visit is very close to a certain by-election date, or am I just being a cynic?


On another topic, I saw a post today on Monty Burton’s excellent Universality of Cheese blog, and I really would suggest you have a look at it. It’s truly awesome.


  1. I welcome any visit from the Pope. I would be a real treat for Roman Catholics.

    That said, I do dislike quite strongly Jim Murphy trying to tilt political windmills over this issue. The Pope can and should travel and visit his flock, and it is surely the duty for politicians to keep their noses right out of it?

    Murphy also needs to consider what the Labour Party's latest supporters in the Orange Lodge would ;)

  2. Dean - I reckon it's an attempt to reassure the Catholic vote that Labour aren't turning orange.

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  4. As for Scotland’s newspaper, does anyone still read that now that it is printed in England? It’s surely hardly worth filling that white transit van that come up from Sunderland every day bringing the few hundred copies of Scottish edition of the Scotsman hot off the press.

    It would surely be more ecologically friendly if that small white van went straight to a recycling centre in England. It could drive along the border and wave a copy out of the window, that way there is at least a possibility that a Scottish person might see it.

  5. I though that Spud abhorred sectarianism in Scotland and here he is kissing the Pope’s ring in the secure knowledge that the Orange Order are already in the bag for Unionism. Let’s hope the two sides never meet.

    If his Holiness does come to Scotland (and I hope he does too) it will be interesting to see what that crowd will be waiving: Saltires or Union Jacks. I wonder if his gracious nobleness of Cumnock in the county of Shropshire cannot ask a question from their Lordships House about how many Union Jack space hoppers the Scotland Office distributed for the visit.

    And will the Pope not be meeting the First Minister then? How is Spud going to swing that? Puts his H in a bit of a spot then.

  6. It would be good for Scotland to have a visit by the pope but the last time he visited (before my time) according to old reports and stuff over 300,000 turned out to see the pope.

    I cant see that happening again.

    Now the question of the pope and the by-election, hmm well indeed. Springburn is predominantly Catholic and im not at all surprised if Spud will make an announcement before the by-election, even if the pope never said if he was coming or not the spud will spin it.

    If its not the pope Labour are snorting then its the Orange men. Labour really are desperate to win this by-election coz if they do then they will put it down as a gain.

    If the pope does come to Scotland then all i can say to the orange men is..

    "Orange men, i feel your pain"

  7. Dean:

    I deplore the idea that Labour would use the visit of a Church leader to their political advantage. The Pope should be (and I think probably will be) above the political fray.

    I expect that the Vatican officials will see through Murphy's pleading, and arrange for the visit of his Holiness in November 2010, when Spud and the rest of the chancer party will be but a distant and rather unpleasant memory.

  8. Scunnert: Yeah, you're right there. They were probably horribly embarrassed by the support of the Orange lemons so close to a by-election in ward with a fair-sized catholic vote.

  9. Munguin: I fell about laughing at that one. I have this image of a wee white van struggling along the borders with a small bundle of Hootsmen that no body wants... awwww.

    You make a good point. The last time that London arranged a so-called high level visit to Scotland, it was an ex-secretary of the UN and Brown insisted that he should NOT meet the First Minister and NOT give interviews about the fact that he had been banned from meeting him. (Such is the level international politics played Brown's way. Talk about toys and prams!!!!)

    I seriously doubt that the Vatican, or indeed the Pope himself, will agree to playing politics in that way.

  10. Spook:

    I'm not sure about the crowds being any smaller this time. Catholic church attendance has increased over the years, possibly because of the number of Polish people working here.

    If Labour are using this "announcement" to tell the faithful in Glasgow North East that they haven't abandoned them for the Orangemen, then they have, in my opinion, sunk even lower than before. And that's hard.

    Still, as Munguin points out, that wee van with a dozen or so copies of the Hootsman, is a measure of how many people are likely to read about Spud's wee jolly to Vaticanland.

  11. Spooky, I was just a lass when John Paul II came to Scotland and yes the crowds were huge, but a large portion, like wee heathen me, were there to see a popstar, or, like everyone standing beside me on the Mound, were there to see the Antichrist.

    Picture it, a beautiful warm evening in May, sun blazing over the Castle and shining down on the Mound, me with my hair in bunches, new sandals and a plastic lion rampant. I was always drawn to the rampant, it might have been a warning sign, but I think it was just the bright colours. So, there I am, all excited, wondering what the Pope will look like, what he'll be wearing, what will he sing, will he wave to me? I can hear him coming up the Mound. "That's the Pope!" I remember saying.
    The roar gets louder and here he comes! Round the corner and straight towards me. Suddenly, all around me everyone reaches into their raincoats or up their jumpers, some are wearing boobtubes (well it was the 80's!) so it took them a bit longer. In they all reach, rummage around, flick og the wrist, et voila!!

    It's a fraking ultra-Protestant ambush! A real pitchfork and torch riot-cum demo! I'm stood right next to a sinister-looking Pastor called Jack who looks uncannily like the Delgado Master! Oh! And over there! It's a great big Reverend Doctor!! In a second I had leapt from Wembley Stadium to Trafalgar Square! But not in a good way!

    And they're off! Up against the barriers, Polis shoving back, "Go Home Pope, Ya Bass!" ringing in me ears, punched this way and jostled that, and it's angry, they're bellowing, and there's the Holiness and there's me trying tae wave, and smile at the Pape and my airm's gaun twa directions and near breakin and ah'm off!!

    So I ran down Market Street and saw him on Princes Street, and then again at St Mary's, and then again in the morning when he got the helicopter tae Bellahouston. So I count as 4, and then there's the Pastor, and the Reverend Doctor. We weren't all taking the Holy Pledge, but it was a laugh.

    What was the question?

  12. Sophia,

    You paint a lovely warm glowing picture (in bits at least) of your mispent youth... Thank you for that.

    Erm, you haven't been on the cooking sherry, have you? ;-)

  13. Good point, i forgot about the amount of polish who would die to see the pope. Personally i hope the TV is good soz i don't have to go and see the German in cloth.

    Oh aye, spud will milk this pope mantra for votes, they have to win Glasgow North East and only the Pope can deliver that.

  14. Miss Pangloss..

    Well dear what a wee shame that was. A wee girl with her innocent little bunches going off to see the pope but got caught up in a big naughty crowed on the mound and people shouting terrible things at the old man dressed in white with the funny hat.

    Well at least you got to see your pop star 4 times, think about the people in the Vatican how have to suffer him on a daily basis ? Uh huh!!!

  15. I hope Labour know what they are doing Spook. The Pope here and the Orangemen there. They are playing with matches, and that's never a good idea with their level of intelligence.

  16. Tris..

    The Orange men will be silent knights lamenting crap through Catholic letter boxes to save the union.
    I would happily take 10 pope's on the back of my bike to one Orange man , disgusting urinating trolls the lot of them.

    I do think Labour are taking on more than they can chew, keeping the Orange men happy and then brining over the pope, summit will snap!!

  17. Spookums...

    I'm so glad I posted this item... I can go off to bed tonight and have sweet dreams of Sophia in her bunches and you with 10 Popes on the back of yer bike....

    If I wake up screamming I'm gonna phone you.....

  18. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksOctober 28, 2009 1:54 am

    Suppose Mr. Murphy will actually meet the Pope? I had assumed that general audiences at the Vatican were like the Queen's big garden parties. Thousands of people....and you might catch a glimpse of her from a distance.

  19. That's a good point Your Noble Dannyness.

    I've always thought that the general audience was when you got to see the Pope as he passed among a group of pilgrims. If you were lucky he would address a few words to you and you might be given the opportunity to kiss Peter's ring.

    It seems a strange thing for The Scotsman (a newspaper, once perhaps the best in Scotland, but now an almost bancrupt rag, printed in England, I understand, and virtually the mouthpiece of the dying Scottish branch of the dying London Labour Party) to brag about. It's rather like bragging that you went to a garden party at Holyrood and Princess Alexandra was within ten meters of where you stood, but looking the other way.

    Maybe someone who knows more about these things would care to enlighten us as to what a general audience means?

  20. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksOctober 28, 2009 3:56 pm

    From the Vatican website, etc., it seems that the general audiences are a way for tourists to see the Pope.....held in St. Peter's Square and various other places. You have to get a ticket, which is free. Apparently, travel tours of Rome may include a ticket to a general audience as a part of their Pope package.

    One website described a "general audience" as you and 100,000 people in St. Peter's square. A "semi-private" audience is you and maybe 10,000 people in the audience hall. On the other hand there are private audiences available to heads of state, heads of government, and other high ranking officials. This is probably what Mr. Murphy is attending. But he might wish to take a really close look at his ticket to be sure.

  21. Thanks for the research Danny. I know can always count on you for that!!! :)

    The so-called "newspaper" that carried the story said that it was the General Audience he was going to. So in short wee Spud will be there with at least 9,999 people at best. What a muppet.

    Danny, for your info, the Secretary of State for Scotland is probably the most junior post in the cabinet, as his workload is very limited. He is, theoretically Scotland's man in the London Cabinet, and the London Cabinet's man in Scotland... a sort of Viceroy if you like. Most domestic legislation in Scotland is carried out by the Scottish Government and Murphy has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Prior to Jim's appointment to the post it was a part time job (in fact the Secretary of State for Defence double as Scotland Secretary and he was running two wars at the time!!)Such a junior man is unlikely to be granted a private audience with the Pope, although he may well be dealing with the Prime Minister's business with Vatican Officials.

    By the way, I find it strange that God's man on earth will grant private audiences to those and such as those, but the rest of us must share him with 9,999 + others.

  22. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksOctober 28, 2009 7:21 pm

    Yep Tris, you and I will never have a private meeting with the Pope. And Murphy certainly does seem to be a rather junior official by these standards. As you observe, he probably will meet with some "Vatican Officials," but to say that he will "meet" the Pope at his regular Wednesday General Audience seems to be a considerable exaggeration.

    American Presidents always get to meet Popes it seems, but sometimes with less than spectacular results. Ronald Reagan was literally nodding off during one of his meetings with John Paul II.....head falling forward, then snapping back up, again and again. Diplomatic gifts were exchanged when Lyndon Johnson met with Paul VI in 1967. After Pope Paul gave Johnson a medieval painting, Johnson gave the Pope a PLASTIC bust.......of Lyndon Johnson.

    But then, George W. Bush gave Pope Benedict a stick. Yep, a stick. Well in fairness, it was a walking stick....and it was carved.......inscribed, in fact, with the ten commandments......YES, the PROTESTANT version.

  23. A plastic bust Danny.... For heaven's sake, and you might know that DubYa would make an arse of himself! LOL