I must admit that I thought that starting the referendum campaign early was a daft move. People have short interest spans and after the 6 weeks of a general election campaign people are usually sick to death of the sight of politicians. What, I wondered, was it going to be like after 2 years?
I had thought that an early referendum while the independence movement was basking in the glow of a massive victory at the polls in 2011 was most likely to bring in the desired result.
And I was spectacularly wrong.
Better Together, with very little to rely on except “clout” and “power” and “superiority of Britain” and “WMDs” and “empire” (none of which is overly impressive to the average man on the street, anywhere in the UK, especially when his income is static and his inflation is 10%), has instead depended on lies and scares.
And at that they seem to have been unable to coordinate them, so they have contradicted themselves over and over again. You won’t get into the EU; you will have to have the Euro! It would make sense to use the pound; you won’t be allowed to use the pound! The oil is running out for Scotland; the oil is a valuable resource for the UK!
Then the scare stories and demands that “Alex Salmond must come clean on…”. The latest of these as the Rev Stuart pointed out, was hilariously inept. What would the rates of income tax, corporation tax and VAT would be in an independent Scotland, they whined, without giving us any idea what these rates would be in the UK!
This poverty of argument doesn't affect ‘died in the wool one way or the other’, voters, but as lie after lie has been uncovered as such… over the EU, the amount of oil, the pound, the Euro, passports, border guards, grannies in Carlisle, etc, the thinking, undecided voter surely has begun to distrust everything BT says.
Of course the appearance of the public school boys (and girl…girl? Theresa May?) arriving in Scotland for an afternoon and lecturing us that, alone in the western world we, the Scots, would be unable to defend ourselves, heat ourselves, pay our pensions, protect ourselves from terrorism, etc, ad infinitum, whilst all the time telling us that of course there is no reason why Scotland couldn’t manage alone (lest they be accused of using the “too wee, too poor , too stupid” argument, which they have doubtless been told, we find patronising) hasn’t helped their image.
|Probably a bad idea from the NO campaign's point of view.|
But I'm happy to welcome Eton Boy here at any time.
And Eton boys standing by golden thrones, reading from speeches resting on golden lecterns, all the while telling us that we will face futures of austerity only add to the general sense that the BT campaign really don’t understand us at all.
Change seems to be afoot though. The Herald and even the Scotsman seem, belatedly, to be producing a slightly more balanced reporting of the campaign.
Recently a Labour ex-First Minister warned the unionists that they should start to think about what policies they would present to an independent Scotland…something they have steadfastly refused to do until now. Why think about it; it’s not going to happen!
In the last week two Labour party grandees have said what we have all been saying for a long time: that we have no chance of a socially just Scotland while we are joined at the hip with a country which is pulling away farther to the right, offering services more and more American and consequently less and less European, much less Nordic, which is the chosen desire, it would seem, of Scots. Not only have these Labour senior statesmen said this, but they have indicated that they will be voting with the yes side and against Labour party policy. There are those who think that maybe it won't be too long before the aforementioned ex Labour First Minister joins the ranks of the Labour for Independence movement.
Of course, it hasn’t helped BT that people like Anas Sarwar and Johann Lamont are lamentably inept.
It actually doesn’t matter whether Sarwar’s absence from the Westminster debate and vote on the Bedroom tax made any difference to the overall result or not.
The crashing incompetence of a man who makes a monumental point, on live tv, of demanding that the Deputy First Minister bring forth a bill defying the London government (illegally), and then fails to turn up for a debate on that very subject in a parliament that does have the legal right to get rid of the morally bankrupt policy; a debate called by his own party, shows a remarkable detachment from reality.
Sarwar seems as distant from real people as his "honourable" friends opposite: Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and the other independent school millionaires.
The argument that it wouldn’t have made any difference if they had all turned up; the government would have won, was a condemnation of the very system of government that they support. If there is no point in turning up for that vote, because the government will win, why turn up for any vote. A government with a majority will always win.
Maybe the long game is paying off for the Yes campaign.
As folk like James Kelly and Stephen Noon have said, the reality on the ground is rather different from the results of opinion polls funded by London based newspapers (which as we all know can to a certain extent be engineered to produce a desired result).
So be of cheerful heart. Notwithstanding Cameron organising a red white and blue flag waving opportunity, just weeks before the referendum, I think we will win.
I’m glad I was wrong.