THERE are some words that I loathe and when I see them in print I physically recoil, words that not only convey meaning but come wrapped in bitter and malign intent. One obvious example is the word “separatist”, a term used by Unionist politicians and their liveried attendants in the press, because it can be laden with negativity.

It is a word they use as a linguistic distraction to avoid using the word independence, which conveys a sense of normality and the system of statehood that most nations of the world have arrived at.

Another repellent word is “nippy” a term used usually by men in as a sexist descriptor for women who are not afraid to articulate opinions. It is the chosen insult that sad Unionist trolls give to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when she delivers policy directives that do not suit their angry accounts on social media.

But the word I really resent is the word “luvvie” a pejorative word for actors, performers or people who earn their living in the creative industries.

Make no mistake, it is a word dripping in hate and comes with all the sneering contempt of those who do not value our culture.

The word “luvvie” has been doing the rounds this week as UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak bungled his way through an interview about the impact of coronavirus on the creative community.

Sunak asserted that many jobs may not be viable and should seek to retrain. He has since tried to backtrack on his words saying they did not only apply to the creative industries, but if Sigmund Freud was every looking for slip this was it.

Sunak has been held up as a Covid-19 demi-god and a prime minister in waiting: a good-guy Tory who hands out to the poor.

Yes, Sunak has been superficially generous with tax income and national debt, but do not be fooled. He may be more competent than Boris Johnson, but he is immersed in the Tory philosophy of the free market, unrestrained banking and the voodoo economics of the hedge fund manager.

Sunak is a former head boy at Winchester College and an Oxford PPE graduate who is comfortably married to a billionaire’s daughter and moves in the gilded circles of wealth, where paying tax is an inconvenience to be avoided rather than an obligation to society. When the chips are down it will be the City of London that jerks his chain, not Scottish musicians.

This week, Sunak’s mask slipped and he put out signs to professionals in the creative industries that their livelihoods were unsustainable.

We have travelled a long way since Tony Blair’s “Cool Britannia” brought the creative industries to Downing Street as national heroes in a thriving global marketplace for ideas.

Not so long ago in 2012, the former mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “When people think of London, invariably it is about the breadth and depth of our city’s unrivalled creativity.

“From the gowns and the glamour of fashion to cutting-edge design and some of the brightest and best people working in film, London is home to astonishingly talented people whose inventiveness, drive and entrepreneurialism contribute to a sector that brings in around £20 billion and employs 386,000 people.”

Last week Johnson was ducking behind Sunak as they brought the bad news that Covid-19 is laying waste to the creative community.

As freelance people in the arts and entertainment sector retaliated, the word “luvvie” reared its head in print and online. The implication was threefold. Firstly, that people who work as actors or musicians are less worthy of our support than other sectors of the economy, secondly that these creative workers are prone to over-emotionalism and need to calm down, and thirdly by implication that they are not “real” jobs as measured by a virility that still lingers in society.

CORONAVIRUS has been a cruel master to some trades and less cruel to others. For example, I know a landscape gardener who has never been busier, working outdoors and delivering a project for people who have had to spend more time at home.

I also know musicians and actors who have not earned a red cent for months and fear that their livelihoods and that of their children will be permanently disfigured.

One person I have huge lifetime respect for is the Scottish acoustic musician Rab Noakes (aka the Scottish Bob Dylan). When I was a young teenager, drinking underage in pubs in Perth, Rab would play the local folk club at the County Hotel.

It had one redeeming feature for those of us already sold on soul music – a late licence. I often sneaked into see Rab and minesweep drinks from hippies. His comments on the Chancellor’s words could not have been more poignant: “I’m 73. I’ve got a dodgy hip and I’ve had tonsillar cancer. I forget why I’ve come into the kitchen.

“A major activity/income for 55 years has been singing and playing guitar. All my gigs have evaporated. Do you have a suggestion regarding what I should retrain for?”

An army of actors and musicians retaliated. I had a sardonic laugh at the Scottish musician, Brian McAlpine who darkly volunteered to re-train as a sniper.

As Johnson and Sunak rattled around soullessly in a Tory conference with no delegates, Johnna Town, a lighting designer in Theatre and Opera and Chair of the Association of Lighting Designers waspishly added: “Loved your speech this morning @RishiSunak I assume you will rig you’re own stage, seating, sound system, lighting rig, video screens for next year’s conference.”

A number of former students of the Scottish Youth Theatre recently staged a peaceful demonstration in George Square in Glasgow, protesting its imminent closure. Golden Globe winner Brian Cox has written to Nicola Sturgeon to urge her to step in and save the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh.

In a black week charted by the doyenne of theatre critics Joyce McMillan, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, The Lyceum, Dundee Rep and the Tron Theatre in Glasgow also announced their closure until further notice.

It is difficult see how Scotland square the circle of the pandemic with a healthy live theatre.

We can place pressure on the Scottish Government to mitigate some of this through public funds but only in the knowledge that Holyrood has no powers to take on national debt and supercharge public spending.

We can demand that live spaces are opened immediately but only in the knowledge that it will exacerbate an already rampaging pandemic.

When this is over we are duty-bound as citizens and as “luvvies” to demand a public enquiry into the near-criminal levels of money that have been wasted on failed and questionable procurement.

Governments are always quick to shine a torch on the shortcomings of the public sector but one of the great scandals of the pandemic is the vast sums of money that have leaked out to the private sector, whether it be ferries, personal protection equipment or consultancy services. That is the exchequer Sunak presides over.

We could also take more powers into our own hands and navigate a different way out of this scandalous mess, but then again I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m a supporter of Nippy, I’m a “separatist” and deep down an unreconstructed “luvvie” too.