Dame Vivienne Westwood – the fashion designer and punk pioneer – has driven what may be the final nail in the coffin of the referendum on Scottish independence by coming out for the “Yes” vote.
“I hate England,” explained the English-born, English-raised designer to reporters at her show at London Fashion Week, where her catwalk models sported “Yes” badges and where her guests were treated to a statement printed on their seats explaining her position.
“I am so excited. Fingers crossed they will win. Because if they do, it could be the turning point towards a better world. They could lead by example”.
Even if I had never met Vivienne Westwood, I would find the fluffy incoherence of this statement troubling. As that double use of the word “could” only serves to emphasise, it is an aspiration based on pure faith, with no evidence whatsoever of any presiding reason, knowledge or understanding informing Westwood’s position.
But having encountered Westwood in a TV debate only a couple of weeks ago, I can confirm it is even worse that it looks. Westwood may well be an innovative and influential designer – Pharrell Williams wore one of her Buffalo hats at this year’s Grammy awards; the hat is so famous it now has its own Twitter account – but inviting her to offer her opinions on any of the day’s more heavyweight political issues makes about as much sense disinterring Albert Einstein in the hope he might offer some expert insights into the life and oeuvre of Justin Bieber.
Westwood had been wheeled on to BBC’s Sunday Morning Live Show to speak on behalf of another of the doomed causes she champions: the war on fracking.
The fashion millionairess’s main grounds for opposing shale gas exploitation, so far as I could decipher, is that she thinks capitalism is bad. As Westwood burbled away, all the guests on the show, together with the presenter, listened with the strained patience and polite generosity you might apply to a severe stammerer who’d been given the title role in your kids’ school production of Hamlet. It was painful, it was embarrassing and it was a massive waste of space, for we all knew that the only reason this rambling old dear had been given her time in the sun was because once, many years ago, she was the Sex Pistols’ chief couturiere.
I look forward with interest to seeing what other characters Alex Salmond manages to enlist for his “Yes” campaign in the last days before Scotland’s referendum. Westwood, certainly, has set the bar pretty high. But if Salmond is looking for heavyweights in the same calibre, he might want to consider a few of the following: Nookie the Bear (formerly of legendary ventriloquist double act Roger de Courcey and Nookie); Benny from Crossroads; Donny Osmond.
But if Salmond had been trying to round off the list with The Krankies then I’m afraid I have some bad news. Janette Tough (who plays Wee Jimmy Krankie) was interviewed last year about the referendum and here was her considered opinion: “Alex Salmond can sod off because I don’t want it.”