Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Seditious Acts Thwarted By Scottish Accent

I thought this was hysterical; not the fact that he’s sick…but the last three paragraphs:

RON Brown, one of the UK’s most colourful and controversial politicians, is fighting for his life in hospital after a reported organ failure.[...]

The former Labour MP for Leith, 67 - who gained notoriety for visiting Colonel Gaddafi, his interest in the 1980s Afghanistan regime and for battling the poll tax - was rushed to Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.[...]

Brown took a close interest in Afghan politics during the 1980s and acted as an adviser to former Afghan president Babrak Karmal, who wanted more rights for women and was in favour of unions, but was eventually toppled by CIA-backed forces. He went on to become head of the British-Afghan Friendship Society.

Brown was even a target of the Soviet spy service, the KGB, who wanted to turn him into a mouthpiece for Kremlin propaganda. The high-profile Russian defector, Oleg Gordievsky, who was head of the KGB London station in the early 1980s, said that Brown had been one of the promising targets for the Russians, but that they had to give up on him because they could not understand his broad Leith accent.

During an interview with Scotland on Sunday last year, Gordievsky said: "Ron Brown seemed very promising. He was very willing to meet us. He didn’t know that we were KGB and that we were spies, he thought he was just meeting with contacts from the embassy to promote peace and understanding and socialist brotherhood.

"The only problem was that we couldn’t understand him at all because of the accent. We tried and we tried and we tried to figure out what on earth he was saying. We listened to tapes. We just couldn’t understand him. We had to give up because there was no point in talking to someone if we didn't know what he was saying."

I can totally commiserate with Oleg Gordievsky: I used to date a Scotsman. Sometimes after having him repeat something 3 times, I would just smile and hope for the best. And if it was really important, he would assume an American accent…which although condescending was rather good, and highly amusing.

Well, I guess the UK can be thankful that those Scotsmen have such incomprehensible accents.


Blogger Sarah said...

When I lived in France, I was good friends with a Scot. When he met new Americans in the bar, his first sentence would always be something extremely lewd, and they NEVER understood him. Having spent months around him, I could understand what he was saying, and it was great fun watching him insult someone and have them smile and nod!

6:23 AM  

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