Of Course It Was Rigged

There is absolutely no question the referendum was rigged. Anyone can see that, you’d have to be asleep not to notice. The question is not whether the referendum was rigged, but how it was rigged. The way I see it, there are two levels of conspiracy at play here.

But first, let’s define what is meant by the term conspiracy:

  1. The act of two or more persons, called conspirators, working secretly to obtain some goal, usually understood with negative connotations.
  2. (law) An agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future.
    - wiktionary.org

A civil conspiracy or collusion is an agreement between two or more parties to deprive a third party of legal rights or deceive a third party to obtain an illegal objective.[1] A conspiracy may also refer to a group of people who make an agreement to form a partnership in which each member becomes the agent or partner of every other member and engage in planning or agreeing to commit some act. It is not necessary that the conspirators be involved in all stages of planning or be aware of all details. Any voluntary agreement and some overt act by one conspirator in furthance of the plan are the main elements necessary to prove a conspiracy. A conspiracy may exist whether legal means are used to accomplish illegal results, or illegal means used to accomplish something legal.[2]Even when no crime is involved, a civil action for conspiracy may be brought by the persons who were damaged.[1]
 - Wikipedia

Conspiracies happen. They happen all the time, and they are exposed all the time. It is not outrageous to describe the actions of several individuals within the UK establishment – government, journalism, business, civil service – as conspiracy.

But what kind of conspiracy are we talking about?

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“What Part of “No” Dont You Understand?”


I generally don’t bother with The Telegraph, or most newspapers in general. I might make an exception in future regarding the Greenock Telegraph due to it being Inverclyde’s local paper, but in general, I’ve forsaken the printed media as surely as I’ve decided to turn my back on visual media.

That said, this piece in The Telegraph inspired me to comment on a phenomenon I’ve noticed: this weird idea that because the referendum resulted in a No vote, pro-independence supporters should just stop campaigning for independence.

Ever since the Scottish Nationalists lost the independence referendum they have had trouble coming to terms with the fact that they lost the independence referendum (you need to keep saying it and eventually it might get through). From the moment the result was announced, humourless SNP politicians and some Yes voters north of the border have been searching for ways in which they can claim that really they won (when they lost). And anyway, they say, there is a storm coming, just like they said there was a storm coming when they swore blind in September that they were going to win the independence referendum (which they lost).

Isn’t it precious just how insecure this paragraph seems? Ostensibly it seems Iain Martin is repeating “they lost” for the independence supporters’ benefit, but the more you read it, the more it seems like it’s Martin who needs to keep reminding himself that “they lost.” The practically undisguised glee in repeating the mantra belies a strange fear that, maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t the resounding, crushing defeat we thought it was.

How, pray tell, is one supposed to “come to terms” with this fact? Are we to just give up on independence entirely, even though we saw a pro-independence minority of around 30% at the start of the campaign rise to 45% – and, if recent polls are to be believed, may well have gone over 50% since the referendum? Because 400,000 more Scots voted No than Yes, that means the 1.6 million who voted Yes are to basically be ignored? Chance would be a fine thing for the Unionists. But I’m not sorry to say, that isn’t going to happen.

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Red Flowers and White Feathers

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip, I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabouts of my friends nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much, I will not map him the route to any man’s door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me; never through me
Shall you be overcome.

 - “Conscientious Objector,” Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1934

The white feather has many meanings in different cultures. In British culture, it is a symbol of cowardice, of shaming those who refuse conscription to a brutal war:

At the outset of the war, Britain relied on volunteers to fill the trenches and recruiters were not afraid to harness the power of shame and embarrassment to fill their quotas of men to ship to the killing fields of France and Belgium.

One army recruiting poster, addressed “To the young women of London”, baldly stated: “Is your ‘Best Boy’ wearing Khaki? If not don’t YOU THINK he should be? If your young man neglects his duty to his King and Country, the time may come when he will NEGLECT YOU!”

The white feather movement unabashedly capitalised on such sentiment and within weeks young men were being confronted by women bearing their symbols of cowardice.The effect was often powerful and immediate.

James Lovegrove was only 16 when he was confronted by a group of women on his way to work. He wrote: “They started shouting and yelling at me, calling me all sorts of names for not being a soldier! Do you know what they did? They stuck a white feather in my coat, meaning I was a coward. Oh, I did feel dreadful, so ashamed. I went to the recruiting office.”

Despite initially being told to go away because he was under age, the recruiting sergeant eventually took pity on him and falsified his measurements. Lovegrove added: “All lies of course – but I was in.”
- A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: White feather for winner of Victoria Cross

A note given to the younger brother of a conscriptee. The boy was ten years old.

A note given to the younger brother of a conscript. The boy was ten years old.

But it is not the same across the globe.

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Bon Cop de Falç!

"Encara podem pujar... i ser una nació de nou..."

Encara podem pujar… i ser una nació de nou…

I’ve often wondered about Nationalism, even long before the referendum came along. Scottish independence is always something that seemed right to me, and I simply couldn’t understand why the Scottish people dwelt in this sort of limbo between regional and national status. How could we be our own nation, with our own national legal system, national education, national health services, national trust, national arts organisations, even national football teams, yet not have control over our national finances, national welfare, national resources, national defence, national budget? It seemed like we were a nation in only some respects, and a region in others. Yet why have we never had a direct say in exactly what respects we are a country, and in which we are a region?

Today, Catalonia must make their decision on a similar question to the one Scots made on the 18th of September, but for them, the stakes are even higher: in Spain, there is no rhetoric about Catalonia being part of a “family of nations.” You cannot really be a “proud Catalan” while still being a “proud Spaniard” as if they are both nationalities. Most damning, the Spanish government are refusing to recognize this referendum. Already we’ve seen brutish displays of colonial might in the form of tanks cruising along roads, attempting to cow the population into subservience. We’ve been there.

Go For It Catalonia

I’d love to say my interests are entirely selfless, but it shouldn’t need to be said that I do hope that a successful Si vote in Catalonia will help galvanise the continued fight for independence in my homeland – and that of other countries throughout the world. For all the filibustering about the Evils of Nationalism, it’s clear to me that the vast majority of independence movements are not based around the old ideas of conquest and supremacy, but the simple desire for self-determination. Whichever way the vote goes, I feel like my reaction would be little different to my reaction to Scotland’s vote – and tears either way. For any vote for self-determination, especially in the face of such adversity from a larger, controlling polity, is a victory for the self-determination of all human beings.

Future Europe

Consider: what if it was different? What if the seat of Spanish power was centralised not in Madrid, but Barcelona? What if the dominant language of Spain – and thus, a great proportion of the world – was Catalan, not Spanish? What if the national anthem of Spain was not “Marcha Real,” but “Els Segadors”? Would we not respect the right of the Spanish people to assert their independence? Would we not see the injustice of a nation not having control over its own national affairs? Would we not urge them to take responsibility for themselves, cut themselves from the ties that bind them, join the cloud of butterflies with those nations already free?

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you well, Catalunya. Vote Si – for yourselves, and for all of us.

Catalunya triomfant,
tornarà a ser rica i plena.
Endarrera aquesta gent
tan ufana i tan superba.

Bon cop de falç!
Bon cop de falç, defensors de la terra!
Bon cop de falç!

Ara és hora, segadors.
Ara és hora d’estar alerta.
Per quan vingui un altre juny,
esmolem ben bé les eines.

Bon cop de falç!
Bon cop de falç, defensors de la terra!
Bon cop de falç!

Que tremoli l’enemic,
en veient la nostra ensenya.
Com fem caure espigues d’or,
quan convé seguem cadenes.

Bon cop de falç!
Bon cop de falç, defensors de la terra!
Bon cop de falç!

I’m getting fed up with this.

Humpty DumptyIt’s easy to see why this might be seen as an inflammatory gesture (ho ho). Just seven weeks after 1.6 million people had their hearts utterly broken, East Sussex City Council saw fit to promote an effigy of the democratically elected First Minister of the Scots, brandishing a 45% spoon, wearing a Yes badge, and accompanied by Nessie wearing a Tam O’Shanter. Which is to be incinerated in a mass conflagration in Lewes. (UPDATE: not this one! See updates below)

So, predictably I fear, I’m rather annoyed about this. But I think it’s important to put forward why, and I think there are quite a few layers to it.

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Independence Live in Inverclyde

Independence Live

Once again the Eye of Independence roved over to Inverclyde – this time, Independence Live staged an event at the Crawfurdsburn centre in Greenock. Imbedding is disabled, but you can view the video on Youtube.*

A number of important & influential figures from Yes Inverclyde were present: at the table were Ronnie Cowan, campaign manager and Our Supreme Leader; Gary Forbes, Port SSP revolutionary and Yes Inverclyde Shop stalwart; Jenn McClafferty, one of the many Labour supporters who’ve torn up their membership cards in the wake of New Labour’s antics; and Mary McGlashan, one of the heid Women for Independence Inverclyde division. A number of others, such as Fiona Cook (formerly of Labour for Independence) and Ian Ramsey (formerly of the SNP) were present and contributed. Microphone duty was handled by some bearded longhair in a leather jaikit.**

Topics of discussion ranged from how to bring the message of Yes to the 55% (in our area 50.1%), disagreements on just how evil New Labour are and how much hatred of them is preferable, whether we should keep up the positive campaign or start scaring the wits out of No voters with the reality of a No vote, pros and cons of a Yes Alliance, stories and anecdotes from their times in the referendum campaign, and the occasional interjection of percentages and number crunching from that bearded guy. Most of all, though, were great suggestions of ways to move forward, how to engage and enrich the community, and what to do next.

*Link updated. An earlier version of this post linked to the “raw footage” which started recording before the meeting itself took place.

**Also should point out: at around the 48m mark, bearded gentleman mentioned an MP discussing the closure of the Clyde coastguard station – the MP in question was actually Iain McKenzie, not Jim Murphy. In fairness, you can see how the two could be mixed up:

Iain McKenzie & Jim Murphy. Or Jim Murphy & Iain McKenzie?

Iain McKenzie & Jim Murphy. Or Jim Murphy & Iain McKenzie?

To The Typing Bald Mammals at The Sunday Herald

Sunday Herald_Labour Dinosaurs

Dear Male/Female of your wretched insignificant species (delete as applicable),

I am the Mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. Perhaps you have heard of me, as upon my debut to the pitiful public of bipedal prey, the estimable New York Times deigned to deem me, among other things, “the royal man-eater of the jungle,” “the most formidable fighting animal of which there is any record whatever,” “king of all kings in the domain of animal life,” “the absolute warlord of the earth,” “the prize fighter of antiquity,” and, most notably, the “Last of the Great Reptiles and the King of Them All.” The insignificant creature who discovered me proclaimed me “the ne plus ultra of the evolution of the large carnivorous dinosaurs.” As such, I’m sure you shall consider my humble and subtle opinion to be superlative in the dominion of life on this planet.

I am therefore writing to you – no mean feat, given the skill and precision required in typing with non-pronated arms with but two digits upon your minuscule typewriters – to register my savage and primordial disgust at the comparison your newpaper makes between my mighty clade, and that of your puny political party known erroneously as the UK Labour Party.

First of all, the headline, “Inside the Jurassic Party.” While it would be obvious to point out that we Terrible Lizards reigned for far longer than the mere 56 million years of the Jurassic Period, what I would have thought even more obvious would be to choose a dinosaur from said period for illustrative purposes. Flattered as I may be to be chosen as representative of the Dinosauria clade, even one of your imperceptible in-utero hatchlings would note the discrepancy in choosing an animal from the glorious Cretaceous period to represent the “Jurassic” party. I’m sure Oxfordshire’s own Megalosaurus, the first of our grand tribe to be formally named by your impudent rabble of supposed “scientists,” would have been thrilled. Have we learned nothing from Michael Crichton’s blockbuster?

Secondly, and more irritatingly, is the perpetuation of the insidious correlation of dinosaurs to anything which is a) very old; b) has very old-fashioned views; c)  is not willing to change and adapt. This usage is deeply and gravely offensive to me and my kind. It is a cruel reminder of a very dark and bleak part of our history, when dinosaurs’ perceived failure to survive an extinction which wiped out three quarters of all life on earth was used to “prove” our clades’ evolutionary “inferiority,” to suggest that it was our inability to change which caused our doom. We dinosaurs were viewed as evolutionary failures, too slow, too stubborn, too stupid, and too primitive to survive. While such descriptions may apply perfectly appropriately to the New Labour Party, it cannot be applied to what is actually one of the most successful and dynamic clades in the prehistory of the planet Earth.

For every year of the 135 million we dinosaurs ruled the Earth, we evolved and changed with the times, into myriad new forms and roles in the ecosystem. We survived the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, the Toarcian Turnover, the Aptian Extinction, and the Bonarelli Event. Far from slowing to a halt, our diversity only increased as the Cretaceous period came to a close. We ranged from the size of tiny birds to the largest creatures known to shake the ground. I’m sure the New Labour Party would love to claim equivalent feats, but it is difficult to convince when the greatest morphological (and political) variance within their members ranges from Jim Murphy to John Prescott.



In future, I hope that the thousand apes scrambling over your typewriters will learn to better distinguish between the two groups. One group is an obsolete failure whose halcyon days are long gone, known by their dominance by withered geriatric ectothermic elders, their propensity for tearing each other apart to the point of mutual destruction, their complete lack of self-awareness and higher mental functions, and their woeful inadequacy and resistance to adapt in a changing world.

The other group are dinosaurs.

I trust this has been educational.


Yours sincerely,


The Mighty Tyrannosaurus rex