Greenock Telegraph 7th April

Mogg v McGarvey

Most weeks, I am expected to listen in silence to the musings of Jacob Rees Mogg pontificating about his right-wing Conservative views. It’s never entertaining, informative or amusing. It always disappoints and that’s not just because of the content, it’s as much to do about the delivery. And I am sure that would annoy Jacob as he likes to be thought of as a great orator. He chooses his words to impress, his lexicon is large and yes that could be impressive but when it is wielded as a weapon to suppress those that he feels are beneath him, then it is arrogant and the stench of an air of superiority fills the room. Compare and contrast the atmosphere at the Beacon Arts Centre when Darren McGarvey came to town. Two more different characters would be hard to imagine. Mogg from extreme riches and McGarvey from abject poverty. Mogg had a private education at Eton and then Oxford. He has lived his entire life supported by the knowledge he has wealth and privilege to support him every step of the way. McGarvey was raised in one of the most deprived areas of Glasgow. He has worked for everything he has and lives day by day managing his alcohol dependency. He uses his intellect and language to challenge the construct of society, to ask how we got things so wrong and where we can make a difference. It’s not always comfortable listening because he doesn’t want it to be. Unlike Mogg he uses himself as the butt of much of his humour, and nothing like Mogg, I get the impression that behind the brash confident and often aggressive delivery, McGarvey is a compassionate caring man, frustrated by the inequalities that life deals out, genuinely seeking to improve society for all. A man aware of his own insecurities and not afraid to say so. Often in life acknowledging that we have doubts and that we don’t know all the answers is a sign of strength, rather than being so cocky, so self-assured and so full of oneself that we are incapable of considering anyone else’s view, especially if they move in different circles or come from a different background.