Friday, 9 December 2011

Scottish pandas, Scandinavian salmon and Chinese dissidents

This is one of my series of lunch time blogposts.

I'm ashamed to say that I make a point of not commenting on Scottish affairs - mainly out of ignorance and out of fear of being swamped by cybernats frothing at the mouth at an Englishman daring to tell Scots how to run their lives (in fairness, I do have a regular cybernat visitor in my coment threads already - but he seems fairly tame).

However, I was reading Private Eye this lunchtime and I noticed a brief piece about the two Chinese pandas that have arrived at Edinburgh zoo. Although Private Eye neglected to mention that the pandas were drunk within two minutes of arrival (that's a joke by the way) they did mention a few interesting facts.

The first is that the pandas are not a "gift" to Edinburgh zoo as they remain property of the Chinese government - which is why Edinburgh zoo will be paying £1 million+  over ten years to lease the animals.

The second is that the arrival of the pandas coincides neatly with the Scottish and Chinese governments agreeing to export thousands of tons of Scottish salmon to China - something which has meant the expansion of 441 Scottish fish farms with the associated increase in pollution.

The reason for the sudden boom in Scottish salmon exports is the Chinese banning the import of Norwegian salmon following the Nobel Prize Committee deciding to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident and artist Liu Xiaobo.

Whilst it's depressing that the Scottish government is boosting their economy through complicity in China's appalling record on human rights and the suppression of free speech and protest, it's not exactly unique in doing so.

What did strike me though is that, by doing this, the Scottish SNP government are rather sticking two fingers in the air at the Norwegian government's decision not to bow to Chinese pressure to interfere with the Nobel Peace Prize committee.

Which is odd given that the SNP have been going on lately about how they want to be much closer to the Scandinavian countries. I won't say anything else now so that at least I'll retain a little bit of a chance of avoiding cybernat wrath.


  1. To be fair, Salmond has raised human rights with China -

    Also read a joke on facebook.

    China has given Edinburgh Zoo two giant pandas. Hugely overweight, massive tits and two black eyes. Its like their Scottish already.

  2. True, but the cynicist in me says it won't have been anything more than the token protests made by all politicians for the media whenever they meet with Chinese officials.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

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Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

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