Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tom Devine and Nationalism

The great Tom Devine (who this scribe has a great deal of time for) on the Guardian Politics Weekly podcast posted on Sep 19, 2014  reacting to the referendum result, summed up the result thus...

Alan Massie has made a fundamental error by referring to this dynamic as Nationalism .. I'm not a Nationalist. Many, many thousands of Scots who voted Yes are not Nationalists. This was a movement of the people for what they thought was the possibility of more control over their life...

Clearly that's how it seems to him. And he's an honest man. And yet if it looks like Nationalism ... and sounds like Nationalism..

Let's be honest, if we stumbled into a square in Poland or Lithuania and found huge crowds noisily brandishing their national flags, what would we think? Would we think... great .. this looks like the future? Clearly nothing to do with Nationalism? What if it was in Serbia or a Serbian populated area in Bosnia? Or a large French crowd in Paris? All good? Do we ever see crowds with UK Union flags? And if we did, what would our view be?
Nationalism may just be a bit invisible when you're inside it. It's just 'our' people. Isn't it?

In Bed with the Tories

Much anger has been directed at Labour post-referendum for being 'in bed with the Tories' during the referendum. Some facts. It seems that the Edinburgh Agreement .. yes .. stitched up between Salmond (SNP) and (gasp) that bloody Tory Cameron was quite clear...

PPERA (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000) gives the Electoral Commission responsibility for:
  • designating lead campaign organisations
That is, the referendum was to be run with two organisations .. a YES and a NO.
And how was that imposed? Through a series of lead campaign group benefits which are:
  • A higher spending limit than other registered campaigners
  • Free distribution of their information to electors
  • Referendum campaign broadcasts
  • Free use of certain public rooms

    Free distribution of information and campaign broadcasts are hardly negligible benefits, are they?

    So get this, The Electoral Commission officially designated the two main referendum groups Yes Scotland, which is fighting for a yes vote, and the pro-UK group Better Together as the official lead campaigns in the contest. Read it here if you've forgotten. 

    Funny that! Now of course none of that should really be surprising apart from to members of the swivel eyed fraternity. Here's another shocker for them. Did they know that during the Second World War Atlee (yes, the Labour Leader) served under Churchill who was... yes.. a Tory!      

    Friday, 3 October 2014

    Voice of the People or Nut Job?

    Honestly, what are sane people supposed to make of this from the Sunday Herald? 

    Above is the Voice of the People (only some of them of course - let's not forget the majority) rally organised by Melissa Moore, a "full-time mum" from Midlothian with no background in politics.
    Her whole face painted as a Saltire (that'll get the undecideds vote, eh?), organiser Moore said she believed the ballot was rigged, and the true result was a Yes, but added: "My message to everyone now is don't dwell on that. Look forward and let's get independence another way. We're not going to get a revote or recount."

    She honestly believes the vote was rigged - but we've not to dwell on that?? What greater charge can there be against our democratic process? Why bother with a referendum if it's that easy to rig? How was it done? If she believes it was actually a yes vote (why?) then over 200,000 votes (at least) have been altered from Yes to No. No one noticed? Were the council employees recruited from the No ranks only? And sworn to secrecy, presumably. And we've not to dwell on it? I think the Sunday Herald's spotlight should be shone a bit more brightly into the dark recesses of the Nationalists' psyche. Barking. 

    Bar the shouting

    Yes, it's all over. The quiet No voters came out and sank the most brilliant and successful campaign ever. How could that have happened? The Yes campaign was streets ahead, wasn't it? It was inclusive and positive! It was, wasn't it? The National Collective! Women for Independence! Common Weal! The No campaign couldn't hold a candle to them.
    Or are we maybe evaluating things wrongly? Is it possible that self-centred groups of shouty people with flags was actually counter-productive? And that they actually caused the defeat of Yes?
    It's somewhat ironic that the losing camp are now taking pride in calling themselves the '45'. We all know of the original '45' - the crushing and final defeat of the Jacobites which directly led to the destruction of so much of the culture of the Highlands and Islands.
    A Proper Charlie
    However, if we were to evaluate the 1745 Campaign according to the criteria of Yes Scotland, it was actually a stunning victory. What style! What panache! Can anyone remember any Hanoverian songs? Absolutely not. The songs of the Jacobites still raise the roof. And the battles! Prestonpans! Johnny Cope - how we still laugh and sneer at him, fleeing awa in the morning. And Charlie and his men made it all the way to Derby. A tremendous achievement.   

    I was reminded of this whilst watching Scotland Tonight of 30 September - supposedly a discussion on why Scotland didn't vote Yes with some key activists. Let's leave the last word to Stephen Gethins, in reply to a point made by Carol Fox about the 'bottom up' nature of the campaign, he stated  "that was key to the success of Yes".

    Pass me the smelling salts!