The UK Labour Con Trick

A few years ago I watched a Dispatches documentary called “Undercover in New Labour”. It was an expose of how New Labour manipulate the media and the electorate, by a reporter who went undercover in the Labour Press Office. She found how extensive they were at organised letter writing campaigns using templates, writing quotes for Labour politicians to use using templates, creating damaging websites etc claiming to be from other parties, using Labour activists to pretend to be members of the public when Tony Blair would turn up for a photo op, and more.

UK Labour are part of Better Together. Better Together have already been caught trying to portray Claire Lally as an ordinary mother, without mentioning her part in the Labour party. Jim Murphy has been seen in images with the same faces appearing in different places. This isn’t just a New Labour expose; it’s also applicable to Better Together. I doubt if it’s only UK Labour who are pulling these deceptions, but it is very clear they think it’s legit and will keep doing it if they think they can get away with it.

I urge you to watch this whole documentary, then think back to the various announcements, claims or news storms surrounding the Scottish Independence Referendum. Try to reconcile those events with these tactics. Remember this when someone from Better Together makes the unsubstantiated claim of SNP centrally organised cybernats abusing people.

 

On a side note, as I watch this again, something really galling jumped out at me. Early on when the reporter talks about politicians who want even the templates filled in by Labour press volunteers, they’re asking to be spoon fed, and do nothing at all. Keep this in mind when a Labour politician makes the claim of being hard working, and deserving of an 11% increase, or when they complain about a clamp down on expenses. They’re not even willing to modify the template themselves, to help the cause of conning the electorate.

Finally, move this campaign of deception out of politics for a minute. Imagine this was an investment scheme, to get people to put their hard earned money into a scheme thinking it was a sure thing that many had joined; isn’t that something the Serious Fraud Office would be all over?

I’ve Noticed A Pattern

Both sides in the Scottish Independence Referendum want household names to endorse their position. It’s a vote of confidence from someone that some people trust. It’s also an example of someone who’s done well in their chosen field. Since the Scottish Independence Referendum is a question about the future of Scotland, and affects the people of Scotland, it makes sense to have a famous Scot come out to endorse them.

I’ve started to notice a pattern in these famous Scots, and with the odd exception it seems to apply to all of them. Those who have built their careers in Scotland, and are still based in Scotland tend to be advocating for independence, while those who have moved to London to build their career tend to be advocating for the Union.

Scottish politicians in Westminster need to have an address in their constituency to pretend to serve those people. It’s a holiday home and postal address they can return to every so often. Their main abode is in London. Their main place of work is Westminster. Their aim is a comfy seat in the House of Lords. Scottish people in the mainstream media may or may not have a holiday home in Scotland. If they do it’s much the same, and perhaps a future retirement home. Their main place of work is London, where they’re a short commute away from the various studios, offices and interviews they need. Scottish people in the entertainment industry are travelling all over the world as their job. The place they do call their HQ makes sense to be within easy commuting distance of studios for all the same reasons as journalists; many choose either London, New York or LA as a large part of their job is promotion.

When they do come to Scotland, it’s invariably some wonderful leafy isolated cottage, where they can bypass the people of Scotland, and enjoy the wonders of the countryside in peace and tranquillity. The only people they interact with is a small village nearby who are just as content as they are with their way of life, and feel star struck that a household name has chosen their little village to buy milk and bread in, like an ordinary person. They don’t see the run down areas of Scotland any more than they see the run down areas elsewhere in the UK. That isolation is largely so they can escape the media intrusion and just have a taste of a normal life, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re isolated from the rest of us.

The fact that these people were born or raised in Scotland, or speak with a recognisable, albeit altered Scottish accent is neither here nor there. They’ve left Scotland to pursue their careers elsewhere. They’ve done well for themselves. Good luck to them.

Their opinions on a country they no longer want to live in should be irrelevant. They are also people who have managed to get into a position where poverty doesn’t affect them or their families. They are not affected by the way the government treat the most vulnerable in society. They are not affected by foodbanks or sanctions. No doubt they read about them, but as an abstract. These people have the finances of businesses. They think in terms of where to invest £100k’s not whether or not they’ll get to the end of the week before the electricity runs out.

The status quo works well for them. It’s understandable that they only see the world in a way that filters out those at the bottom of the pile. It’d only pile on the guilt that some have a lot while lots barely survive. Governments around the world, and the politicians running them all pander to the rich. They want the photo opportunities for their own PR. They all want to be attractive to the rich with money to donate or invest tucked away in tax havens.

That’s not to say that some of those people haven’t earned their wealth and titles. Many of them have, while others have inherited it. We don’t grudge them that. We do grudge them being ignorant of the plight of those at the bottom, and trying to prevent those people who badly need a better future from getting it.

So when someone with a connection to Scotland raises their celebrity head above the parapet to endorse either campaign, ask yourself where they’re based. If they’re based in Scotland, they’ll almost always be endorsing independence. If they’re based outside Scotland, they’ve already registered their lack of faith in Scotland, so the endorsing of the Union is a mere formality.

I’ve Never Felt Ashamed To Be British Before

I’ve never been one of those who celebrates Scottishness. I’ve not given much thought to the question before. I’d always looked at it in ever increasing circles without any special affinity to any part of it. Scotland is the smallest of the circles, I’m a Scot, so I fit there. Next up is the UK, Scotland is part of the UK, so I’m a Brit. The UK is part of the EU, so I’m European. Any time a form asked for my nationality, I never thought much of it, either Scottish or British was a valid answer.

I’ve never bought into the stereotypical Scottish culture stuff. I’ve had haggis a grand total of three times, only one of which I enjoyed. I’ve never been to a céilidh. I get irritated by bagpipes most of the time; the national anthem at sporting events is arguably the exception. I’ve never worn a kilt, and I doubt I ever will. I have no interest in Hogmanay as a particularly Scottish thing. I treated Braveheart as more of a “meh” when it was doing the rounds in 1994. By the same token, I’ve never bought into the stereotypical UK stuff either. I have no love for the Monarchy, the BBC, or the Imperialist warmongering and condescension done by the Westminster elite.

I’ve always considered these things just an irrelevance. I didn’t choose to be born in Scotland, I just was. I didn’t choose that Scotland was part of the UK, it just is. I’ve never felt that any of this was either something to be proud of, or ashamed of. Nobody should be ashamed of where they come from. The negatives usually come from people and institutions they have no control over. In the case of the UK, most of those negatives come from the British Empire. That was all but over by the time I was born.

Over the last year or so things have changed. As the Scottish Independence Referendum was gearing up for the race, I started to be drawn towards little things that came from Scotland, and viewing them with some pride that fellow Scots brought these into the world. When I’m in online chats with Americans, and they’ve never knowingly experienced any Scottish culture I found myself pointing to YouTube videos by Deacon Blue, Hue & Cry, The Proclaimers etc. I find myself promoting Still Game. All of this I do with pride as a Scot. None of it had any pull towards or away from Scotland as an independent country, or part of the Union. It was just a bubble coming to the surface.

I expected both sides in the Scottish Independence Referendum to put forth a cohesive campaign, and that we’d have a choice between two positive futures. The contrast in the two sides has been astounding. I’ve found positivity, logic, humour and a sense of fairness in the Yes camp. The No camp has made me ashamed to be British for the first time. Of course you can’t judge either campaign by the nutters on the edges, but you can judge it by how the leading figures behave.

The depths Better Together are stooping to con the people of Scotland into voting No is breathtaking. The contempt for the electorate is on full display. The mainstream media establishment blatantly colluding with them is unforgivable; all the while the UK government are preaching about “great British values”. We have ever increasing poverty while we cheer on the lavish taxpayer funded lifestyle afforded to the Monarchy. Day by day the Police State grows as the vulnerable find themselves yet again in the firing line for more austerity measures. All the while the Better Together camp are insisting that we can’t do any better, that we should just vote for the status quo. Is this supposed to be the Britain people are proud to be a part of?

Scotland is getting the British Empire playbook turned on it. I now know how others must have felt. It makes me ashamed to be British. I had seen this in the abstract through historical documentaries. The UK is rotten to the core. The only option for any self respecting Scot is to vote Yes. I now consider myself Scottish, not British.

First Impressions Last

In every aspect of life, we all zero in on our lifelong interests gradually. We get a taste for the overall ideas, and hone in on the particular aspect of it that feels right to us. In the entertainment industry that can be the one album that comes along at a time in your life that just feels like it was made for you. You become a lifelong fan. You may not like every single or album, but you still consider yourself a fan. In politics, it’s what makes you a lifelong supporter of a particular party. You may not like every leader, front bench member or policy, but you still come out to vote for them in the election.

I came to political awareness at the end of the Thatcher era. She wasn’t just any leader in the UK. In Scotland she was someone who knew the Tories couldn’t lose in Scotland because very few Scots voted Tory. This gave her a free reign to test out policies without any lost votes. The unions had a decade’s worth of all out assault by the Tories. My defining album as I came to political awareness was of the hated Tory party consisting of wealthy English folks waging war on the ordinary people. When Thatcher was finally ousted, the Tories had the chance to dispel some of that damage. They didn’t. This impression lasts.

When the Tories used the “you know what happens when Labour get in” angle it’s powerless on me. As a toddler I wasn’t much of a politico. I have no memory of living under Labour’s ’70′s rule. I made my impressions based on the era; Thatchers Britain.

This applies to everyone who comes to political awareness as a time when things around them are very polarised. People coming to political awareness now, probably weren’t alive when Thatcher was in charge. They’d most likely come to awareness when Blair, Brown or Cameron were in charge. Blair’s place in the history books is an illegal war costing the lives of countless people. Brown was the guy who inherited the PM job and couldn’t win an election to keep it. Cameron is the guy who’s using every opportunity to punish the poor and reward the rich. All of the Westminster parties have proven themselves unelectable to enough of the electorate that none of them got a majority of the vote.

The Scottish Independence Referendum has been opened up to 16 and 17 year olds. Debates have been taking place in schools all over the country. These young people are the future of our country, and they’re becoming politically aware. Like me at the end of Thatcher, they don’t care about stuff that happened before they were born, or were too young to remember. They care about the recent past, and the present.

Compare the current government in Westminster, and the current government in Holyrood. In Westminster we have a coalition government slashing and burning everything in the name of austerity. Just when these young people are waking up to the concept of public services like the NHS, how it’s funded and how vital it is as a safety net for everyone, they’re seeing a government determined to have it run as a for profit service. That applies right through the range of things most people would consider public services, like the Royal Mail. As if destroying the safety net isn’t enough, there’s a regime of sanctions forcing the already vulnerable into even worse poverty. In Holyrood we have a government elected by a landslide majority who are protecting those same public services where they can, with the limited powers they have.

You can’t of course just compare the current governments and their policies. It’s important that you look at the previous governments too. A General Election can change the way a country is governed, so it’s important to get a taste of that. In Westminster we have a decent comparison. We went from a Labour government to a Tory led Coalition government, while in Holyrood, the difference was the size of the SNP majority.

We have a comparison of how Labour and the Tories differ on their views of public services that affect everyone. Labour outsource them to the private sector and charge the cost to the taxpayer, while the Tories sell them off as for profit companies. They’re both run for the benefit of profiteers, just in different ways. It allows Labour to claim they still value public services. On foreign policy it’s no change. They’re both happily backing the US on their Imperialist adventuring.

Any government with a tiny majority will struggle to get their own way; they are easily outvoted. This is fine when the voting is presumed to be rational. As young people are coming to political awareness, they’re seeing the visceral irrational hatred of the SNP by Labour in particular. It’s not a difficult leap to get to “no matter what the SNP try to propose or how good it is for the people, Labour will oppose it because it’s from the SNP”. Despite this, the SNP managed to do enough for the ordinary people of Scotland to be entrusted with a second term, elected on a landslide majority.

Just as young people are understanding how the various parts of the machine all fit together, they’re looking at the combination of the two parliaments, and how that relationship works between Holyrood and Westminster. Since Holyrood is still very much a “living memory” thing, it’s also valid to bring that into the equation. Young people in Scotland are growing up at a point in history where they have their own parliament, unlike previous generations.

The whole point of the Scottish Independence Referendum is about the relationship between the two parliaments, and whether or not it provides the best future for the people of Scotland. Young people have the most to gain from making the correct decision, as they have the longest to live with the consequences.

As part of that unusual sharing of power arrangement, there’s the concept of “if the same party is in government in both parliaments at the same time, surely the results would be amazing”. If you have two parties who hate each other having to negotiate, you’d expect a slow tortured process. If they’re both from the same party, with the same vision and the same goals, it should be butter smooth. We had that; Labour held both offices. Despite that, as these young people were going through primary and secondary school, Labour went from controlling both, to losing both, and being widely seen as not being able to win the next General Election in either country. What happened?

If you’re leaving school now, facing a future where you’re liable to be sanctioned for anything, the only jobs you can get are zero hour minimum wage ones and people around you are relying on foodbanks, that’s pretty bleak. It’s your day to day existence. It’s not some philosophical thought experiment. If you’re constantly told that there’s no money to cover basics, while being forced to subscribe to the BBC to be shown more sycophantic coverage of the Monarchy and their latest taxpayer funded lavish expense, that’s an impression that lasts. If you’re looking to a future under a different government, you want to think there’s something possible that’s gonna improve day to day life for you. When Labour say they’ll be just as harsh as the Tories, that hope is gone. When Labour even add insult to injury and say they want to remove benefits from your age group, without changing the prospect of more jobs, well, that impression lasts too.

In the past, the mainstream media would play a large part in informing people, and setting their opinions. Now these young people are seeing an all out assault on the SNP as some sort of evil force of nature who want to destroy Scotland with their madness. They are seeing the SNP being rolled into the Yes Scotland campaign as one in the same. This doesn’t match the awareness they’re getting as they learn about what’s going on in their lifetime. Not only does that set the SNP up as the underdog being bullied by the UK establishment, it pushes those young people away from getting their information from the establishment, with a resentment of being treated with contempt. It sets the SNP up as the one mainstream party fighting for Scotland.

That impression will last.

Sewing The Seeds

UK Labour and their Scottish Labour counterparts have been running on fumes for the last decade or so. They know they can count on people to vote and support Labour because they’ve always done. Their parents and grandparents before them have all voted Labour because Labour is the party of the ordinary person. They know that a lot of these people are not even remotely politically aware, and won’t even look at the current iteration of the party, they’ll just turn up on polling day to proudly vote for the ordinary person.

With what Labour are doing in Scotland, you’d think they’d know better. They’re taking a huge gamble with the future.

First off, the voter registration for the Scottish Independence Referendum is considerably higher than for any other election in the UK for decades. In part this is because people who are not normally politically engaged, are getting engaged for this. It’s also in part because people aged 16 and 17 are allowed to vote in it, instead of the regular 18. Since 16 and 17 year olds are eligible to vote, debates have been taking place in schools all over the country, further driving the registration numbers.

The world has changed. It’s no longer the message from central HQ that prevails. People are being informed by each other. In that regard, the smearing and negativity of the mainstream establishment is having a limited effect. It contrasts wildly with what ordinary people experience. Imagine being told about this crazy wild west on the internet where anyone who sticks their head above the parapet is targeted with vile abuse. You have to be curious about this right? You go in search of it, and find it’s nothing like as one sided as it’s portrayed, or as bad as it’s portrayed from the Yes side. By that time, you’re drawn in to a welcoming world of humour, debunking and educating. The word of mouth battle is overwhelmingly being won by the Yes side.

The determination to link the SNP with Yes as being one and the same thing is a huge gamble. The Yes side is winning the war, despite the constant barrage of abuse it’s getting from the establishment. If first time voters, specially those aged 16 and 17 get it into their heads that independence is a bright future for them, and that Better Together have all but tattooed the independence medal onto the SNP, who do you think just won a loyal voter for life?

The SNP will be seen as the only mainstream party in Scotland who actually fought for Scotland, it’s future and it’s people. The Yes campaign is a cross party of disparate folks, including those like myself with no party affiliation but that won’t make any difference if the Unionists insist on making Yes Scotland and the SNP into one YeSNP.

Every General Election for a long time to come in an independent Scotland will have an army of people as willing footsoldiers for the SNP. They will be engaged in fighting to ensure the SNP don’t lose power so they can further the goals laid out in the White Paper. That paper of course isn’t the SNP’s, but remember the Unionists are tattooing the two together. They’ll be up against an ever dwindling number of people willing to fight for the Scottish departments of the UK parties.

With Labour conceding that they don’t have anyone in the wings capable of challenging Alex Salmond or the SNP in the foreseeable future, and their ties to UK Labour glueing them into an ideology the people of Scotland don’t want. I can see why they envision a long time of SNP rule. It’s all of their own making too.

The SNP out Labour’d Labour by taking the role of the party for the ordinary person, now Labour are helping to create a generation of very loyal SNP supporters, members and activists. These people of course are at the start of their adult lives. Not only do they have many General Elections ahead of them, they’re about to start families. They will be proud of having lived through an event in Scotland’s history. They will pass that on to their children.

The fumes powering Labour are a passive army. It’s people who pay little attention to politics, and only ever see Labour as a word mentioned in their union information or attached to one of the talking heads on a political news item. It’s vastly different from creating an active army of people who will feel empowered to be politically active. They are being infused with the belief that they can make a difference. They will continue way beyond the ballot in September in some way. They will make friends on Yes stalls that spark life long enthusiasm. They will turn some current Labour supporters into SNP voters.

Labour as it is now is doomed to oblivion in Scotland, the values Labour were founded on are still very fertile ground among the electorate however, so Labour can rise from the ashes with a reborn party that goes back to their roots. It won’t involve any of the current Scottish or UK Labour people, but it will be a Labour party capable of winning General Elections in Scotland; unless their vilification of the SNP and Yes Scotland as one entity douses flame repellent foam all over the ashes before it can catch hold.

The SNP couldn’t have played this any better if they’d tried.

The New Surface Traveller

Notice anything odd about this advert for the Microsoft Surface? We have a traveller squeezed into a window seat on a train extolling the virtues of a compact device with the features he needs to work on the go. Notice the one thing he never actually does in this scenario?

 

He’s always holding the device like a book. Not once does he have the device out as a tablet, or on his lap as a laptop with the separate keyboard. The demonstration of the kickstand part is on a flat surface where the concept would actually be practical; not on someone’s lap.

Word Association With The Flag

We’ve seen a recent attempt by Westminster elites to brand the Saltire as anti-English. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s simply Scotland’s flag. Let’s compare the imagery that comes to mind when the Saltire and the St George are flown shall we?

First off let’s look at the context in which most people see any flag, and especially not the one from the country they live in. In diplomatic circles for the TV cameras this is simply about identification. You may not know the people talking, but you can see by their flag what country they represent.

The most likely context any of us see a flag other than our own is with sports supporters. If Scotland fans go away to Paris to watch Scotland play, Parisians will see a crowd of people in kilts, tartan bunnets with the ginger hair and draped in the Saltire. For decades now, Scottish fans have been welcomed all over the world. When we turn up to a World Cup, we mingle with the fans from other countries, drink with them, and enjoy the games side by side. The association with the Saltire is cheery and good natured.

Contrast that to the imagery from a crowd of English fans turning up to watch England play. For a long time England have had a hooligan element that followed them around. A tiny minority of the English fans turn up to cause trouble, but it brands the St George. The response when people see a crowd of St George flags, is to board up the streets; there’s every chance it’s a rampaging mob. A rowdy crowd can easily be a scary thing, even if the folks in that crowd are peaceful. You’re just waiting for that spark that kicks it off.

The St George isn’t seen as anti-Scottish. It’s seen as anti-anything-not-English.

Scottish fans haven’t been entirely innocent, there’s always a tiny minority of numpties. The point is that you have to look at the number of incidents, the frequency of the incidents and the size of the incidents. England have been kicked out of Europe for being unable to get their hooligans under control. Even after they got back in, the various Euro’s and World Cups have been marred by England fans rioting.

On the ground, this is the imagery others see when a bunch of England fans come round the corner. They may well be peaceful fans, but the locals and the police will expect it to kick off. They’ll want those fans to move on as soon as possible. They won’t feel safe until those fans have moved on. They won’t want fans of any other countries to mix with them in case something kicks off.

It’s probably worth saying that it seems to be an English football thing, apparently their rugby fans are like everyone else. They want to proudly support their team and not causing trouble with anyone. It’s also worth noting that in recent years that has decreased, however, if you have decades of branding in one direction, it takes a lot of undoing to turn it around.

It’s not just the football hooligans that brand the flags, it’s the BNP too. When people see BNP marches on the news, with a bunch of skinheads draped in the St George railing against anything foreign it brands the flag too. That also applies to the same types of people on social media. It makes normal English people wary of when they can or can’t display a flag they should be proud to display. They don’t want to be associated with the football hooligans, or the BNP.

Look at the difference in how you’re treated on holiday when you say you’re British. Those who can’t identify the Scottish accent assume you mean English. Mention that you’re actually Scottish and their whole demeanour changes. You’ve made a friend. That sort of change doesn’t sink in overnight. That’s the result of a drip drip drip drip word association with the touristy stereotypes from a country.

Most people only understand other’s countries through the odd news report, or watching a sporting event, or meeting the odd person from that country. The same applies when you meet someone from a country you don’t know well. You trawl your mind for the obvious connections in common. I know little about the Netherlands, but I know Van Persie, Robben, Cryuff etc

Is any other national flag tainted with such a bad image around the world than the St George? Perhaps the Stars and Stripes or the Union Jack because of their countries Imperialist foreign policies. Trying to project hatred and bigotry onto the Saltire is the sign of desperation. It doesn’t chime with any reality the electorate are living in. It will backfire on the accusers, but then, the entire Better Together campaign seems to be following that pattern.

If the Saltire had that association, I’d never display it. Eagle eyed readers may note that I’m proudly using it as my logo for my blog. I refuse to display the Lion Rampant as it denotes support of the Monarchy. That aside, even that has a much better image than the St George in people’s minds.

A Comparison Of Grass Roots

Getting an idea of how well something is supported is a bit of a guessing game. There are so many factors to take into account that affect the results you see, and therefore the conclusion you draw. This post explores the claims of widespread grass roots support for independence, and for the Union.

I am an independence supporter. I am not a member of any party. I am not affiliated to anyone. I started as undecided and expected both sides to put forth cohesive logical arguments for their cause. Before Blair promised Devolution, I kinda knew my approach to the question of independence. My heart was always going to vote for independence. To do otherwise would be a betrayal. It’s not a decision to be taken on emotion or sentiment. It’s a decision that has no do-overs. It needs to be taken by the head, not the heart. I always knew that I’d want to be wooed by both sides, and whichever made the most sense would get my vote. If it made sense to stay in the Union, I’d vote against my heart.

I expected to see both sides offer something that made sense. I saw only one side do that. I kept asking the Unionist side to put a comparable case forward. I’ve come to the conclusion that when you stop to reassess Scotland’s current position, and the conditioned assumptions, the Union makes no sense whatsoever. It’s not the close call I honestly expected.

As an independence supporter my circle of people on Twitter are mostly of like mind to me. I interact with a lot of people who have come to the same conclusions as me in their own ways. They’ve examined the case for both and found the Union wanting. They’re all active and passionate in debating these issues. They don’t get that way when the case fails the logic test. Something that fails the logic test does not get volunteers to fight for it. That requires people being paid not to follow the obvious logic.

Twitter is a self selecting echo chamber. I support independence, I tweet and blog about independence, I follow other independence supporters and chat with them. Twitter knows I support independence so it suggests other independence supporters for me to follow. This means that I have no idea what the ratio of people are on Twitter. For all I know the independence people could be outnumbered 10 to 1 on Twitter, I’m only seeing a handful of them in conversations. I also have no idea how many, if any, are people being paid to take the positions they take. Twitter is a global platform, so I have no idea if an account is in Scotland or not. That applies equally to both sides.

There is one thing you can look at as a gauge for the size of the grass roots support from both sides. Look at the organised debates all around the country. The people of Scotland deserve to know the issues. They deserve to go into these debates and have the issues covered and the claims tested. We’ve seen two patterns develop in these debates. Better Together often can’t find someone to represent their side, so the events are cancelled, and when they do manage to find someone to represent them, more often than not, more information leads undecideds to the independence side.

Look at these debates. Look at who represents the Yes side. So often they are regular people, often locals who ware passionate about the cause, and come armed with logic and reality. They are the grass roots, stepping up to take on the fight. Look at the debates that haven’t been cancelled. Look at who Better Together put up. How many of them haven’t been known establishment figures? Where are the grass roots Unionists willing to step up and debate their case with logic and reality?

I wanted to be wooed by both sides. I found an utter lack of any cohesive case for the Union. That’s a problem for those trying to defend it. When they’re on a platform, they’re hit with a relentless barrage of contradictions where just being on that platform at all harms your cause. The only sensible option is to cancel.

The problem with cancelling, is that it tells everyone not only that you don’t have any grass roots people willing to step up, but that you don’t have a position you can win in a debate, even with the experienced debaters like former PM Gordon Brown.

Think about that for a minute. People who get to the top in politics make their careers on their ability to debate others. They climb the career ladder by the art of rapid thought and multi faceted conversation, whether with journalists, lobbyists or other politicians. When even those experts can’t win against random passionate amateurs, their case really is hopeless.

It’s rather reflective of how the campaign has gone overall. Before the start gun was fired, the Unionists had about 65% of the polls in favour, the entire combined artillery of the mainstream media and all three Westminster parties. The level of a head start they had was ridiculous. It was always going to be a monumental task for independence supporters to overcome that. Despite that, we’re three weeks into June, and only a few points behind. By August I doubt any polls will show No in the lead, no matter how they manage to fudge the question or the sample.

Look on the streets. Look at the various stalls in towns and cities. Look at how busy and energised both stalls are. The breadth, passion and knowledge of the independence grass roots is very visible and obvious. Can you say the same for the Unionist grass roots?

A Vote Of No Confidence, Labour Style

We’ve seen a lot of Labour supporters and politicians obsessed with the SNP in general and Alex Salmond in particular that many of them seem to have lost the plot. They think this is a reflection on the SNP. It’s not. It’s much more a reflection on Labour and how their own party view their ability to change things.

Labour used to be the party of the ordinary person. Tony Blair killed that Labour party. He replaced it with something much more aligned to the Tories. That worked exactly as planned. It won over plenty of people in middle England and got him three terms in office. While that was working in England, it was having the opposite effect in Scotland. Labour went from a party of government here, to an opposition party, to the SNP winning a landslide victory relegating Labour to the sidelines. How did this happen? The SNP out Laboured Labour in Scotland with humane policies for the ordinary people.

Every party likes to claim that their opponents have stolen their polices. In this case they don’t even have that to fall back on. Labour weren’t offering those policies any more. The party moved away from the wishes of the Scottish people. The people saw that, and switched to a party who would offer those policies.

Politics is cyclical. Each party changes depending on who leads it, who they choose to have around them and what their policies are on health, education etc. Nobody looks at any party in it’s current state and sees that as permanent. It also takes time for a new leader to build that team around them and convince the electorate to vote for them. Labour have spend a while trying to persuade the UK electorate that Ed Miliband is PM material. I’m not sure how much longer they’ll see the “no chance” poll results before the penny drops and they replace Ed with someone the public could see as a PM.

Labour supporters don’t like Dave Cameron, so they look to who’s in the wings of the Labour party as a potential challenger to Dave. They look at the policies they could offer to swing enough people over to Labour. They don’t just give up.

In Scotland, the obsession with Alex Salmond is a pantomime from Labour people. When they claim that Scotland will have a dictator for life, in a democracy where the people vote, they’re saying “we have nobody even remotely competent to put up against him that the electorate would be fooled by”. They are looking at the current Labour leader Johann Lamont, and everyone at senior level of the party and seeing nothing of value. They are looking at the ties between UK Labour and Scottish Labour, and seeing no way to be able to offer the Scottish people what they’ve voted for in terms of policies, and they know they can’t appeal on the UK Labour policies. That’s why they’re in the abysmal position they’re in.

They see no future in Scottish Labour in putting up a credible alternative to Alex Salmond and the SNP. This isn’t just a cyclical thing, where the current situation is a bit low. This is a view that there’s not even a single shoot of grass that could be nurtured into something years from now. This is them giving up on ever winning back the Scottish people in their current form.

They’d rather see the Scottish people continue to be held back by the UK, than have a chance to thrive on their own. This is petty and contemptible from Labour. “If you won’t vote for us on our terms, we’ll help subjugate you.” Harsh? Maybe, but their voters in Scotland are getting a real eye opener. They are abandoning Scottish Labour in their droves, never to return. The phrase “rats from a sinking ship” come to mind.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the plan was working down south. It’s not. Despite the brutal austerity measures and industrial grade incompetency of the current Tory led government, Labour still aren’t seen as a credible alternate government. They’re selling the Scots out for nothing. It’s not even as if the people of Scotland are so unique among the UK that they alone want a compassionate and fair system. We are no different from the average person in Swansea, Hull, Leeds or anywhere else. Those compassionate policies will work well everywhere if only Labour would adopt them.

There is a way out of this, but a lot of them refuse to even consider it. An increasing number of Labour supporters have started a splinter group supporting independence. From what I can see, these are people who believe in the social policies and general fairness of Old Labour. This is ground the SNP have built their popularity on. This is fertile electorate ground. This iteration of the Labour party can win an election in Holyrood.

We’d see two parties both fighting over who best gives the electorate what they want. That surely must be a better future for all of us compared to what we have now; with Labour and Tories fighting it out in London to see who can privatise our public services the fastest, knowing it’s not what the Scottish electorate want, and knowing the Scots can’t do a thing to prevent it while they’re part of the UK.

Choosing Your PR Agency

Every country sends it’s diplomats overseas to take part in negotiations, and to speak up for it’s interests. In some cases countries are grouped together to send one delegation to speak for all. Think of this as the countries PR agency. They promote their country in terms of tourism, investment and a lot more.

In Scotland’s case, our diplomats are the UK diplomats. When the UK diplomats go abroad promoting the UK, they try to get a good aggregate result for the UK. The primary winner here is always going to be London. Anything that’s bad for London, but good for the rest of the UK won’t even be considered. Anything that’s good for London will be considered, even if it’s bad for the rest of the UK.

Imagine the scenario. At a meeting of world diplomats, a group of countries are talking to the UK diplomats about investing in the UK. “Where do you suggest we look at?” The UK diplomat will likely be London based. All of their world view comes from London. What are the chances that they’ll say “the Lake District” or “the Highlands”? It’s like asking a Daily Mail reporter what newspaper they think is the most informative for readers; of course they’re gonna play the home team card.

It’s like a PR agency with lots of clients, only one of which is Scotland. That in itself isn’t so bad. It becomes bad when one of the clients is also the PR agency. While Scotland is part of the UK, London is both our PR agency, and a competing client.

If Scotland is independent, imagine that same scenario. “Where would you recommend we look at?” The answer is going to be in Scotland, even if they still play the home team card of Edinburgh or Glasgow. We may not have as many voices because we’re a smaller nation, but we have them all voicing support for the same solution; Scotland. We’d also be in the position of being full time advocates for Scotland, not just taking a turn alongside various other equally worthy parts of the UK.

We’d also have the benefit of not being punished for the actions of the UK. A simple example is the voting against the UK’s Eurovision entry. It’s always political. The UK’s actions around the world result in that inevitable reaction. A song contest is irrelevant; diplomatic meetings in other countries are not. They bring in jobs to the country. The actions of the Westminster government around the world would no longer reflect on Scotland.