28 August 2013

Jakeys Scotland: Salmond's queerest re-branding yet


(Full copyright to this photo belongs to comedian Jamie Andrew, who I'd like to thank for putting this image in the public domain. I'd also like to thank the two men portrayed in the photo, and the photographer, all of whose names I've unfortunately not been able to find out.)

     After Police Scotland, Survivor's Scotland, Scotland's Railways, One Scotland & Creative Scotland, we're all real bam-pots not to have seen this one coming: Salmond has decided to re-brand that loveable section of the Scottish population who sniff glue, drink their weans disability living allowance & then give their wives a real doin, all while relentlessly maintaining that irresistible, gallows-type Caledonian patter -- yes, we're talking about the jakeys -- as a part of Old Alba's socio-independent social fabric that we can all feel good about. Jakeys Scotland. Giving his press statement this morning not, as usual, from the oh-too 'Let me show you ma Peploes' -ambience of the steps of Bute House, but, instead from in front of one of the few surviving old men's pubs down the bottom of Leith Walk, Salmond was clearly revelling in his coup de grâce:
                                             "For decades we've felt uneasy about our Europe-topping levels of heart disease, alcoholism & poverty-caused, very early deaths. With less than 13 months to go to the Referendum, it would be ungracious of me to start harping on about the W.H.O's 2002 report on people in certain areas of East Glasgow dying, on average, aged 52, at least 22 years earlier than citizens born in the same year in the west of the city. But we need harp no longer: 

 the presence of these jakeys amongst us should no longer cause us a blush of shame but a burning flash of pride, from the lion that shall roar. No longer should the jakeys now, sadly, rarely heard invocations to, 'Gie's a swally', put to passers-by in our city-centres at midnight, be ignored by the cappucino-fied that walk among them. No, us careerist types should learn, again, to carry a hip flask, and take that swally with the jakeys, posing, if the need arises, for the Chinese tourists' smart-phones while we gulp. Why feel embarrassed about a group of guys who an independent Scottish government, lead by myself, will do sweet Fanny Adams to help, in terms of even a willingness to change structures of inequality? No more embarrassment -- let's get them their drinks in, let's give them a platform, let's network them -- I can envisage particularly promising cooperations with both Police Scotland & with Creative Scotland.  The old caricatures of the jakeys, epitomised in the Trainspotting quote 'It's shite being Scottish', can be taken to the bottle-bank along with the other empties. Who's to say that the folk who are drinking, drugging & eating themselves to death aren't having just as good a time of it as the righteous, & who's to say that they can't, through Jakeys Scotland, do their bit for Scotland's Nation's Cause? It's only shite being Scottish if you give into Irvine Welsh's sub-Nietschean nay-saying. What are the jakeys good for? I contend that within 5 years we could get a jakey's old council flat in the east of Glasgow kitted out as part of  Critical: Heritage Scotland, and listed as one of the top 5 visitor's attractions in Your Yuan, Please, Best, Scotland. And just as you'll still see some authentic jakeys use the international gesture for 'you're a wanker' when confronted about their own verbal violence, I'll let no one, and let alone a jakey, tell me how many times I can use the word Scotland in one press statement. About jakeys in Scotland. About Jakeys Scotland."
      Which only leaves me to defer to the excellent, open-access Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL), for the etymology of jakey. I like to believe it comes from jaikie, the Scots for a jackdaw, a bird afflicted with a reputation for scruffiness and trickery. The alternative is to believe it comes from jake, slang for methylated spirits: a jakey drinks meths, it's implied. Any English, or Irish or Welsh out there, who've also heard the word jake or jakey used in everyday speech? The Online Etymological Dictionary (2013) adds to the debate, stating that a jakey is the pejorative term still used to describe 'an Amish man by the non-Amish of Pennsylvania Dutch country', i.e. a bumpkin, a person beyond the pale. Are we looking at an accidental collision of etymologies giving us a common meaning for jakey today in Scotland, and elsewhere? Gorgeous ambiguity, of a type that won't help Salmond one bit, in his attempt to steal, by re-branding, the contents of our daily lives.

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