It seems all of a sudden, the world has noticed us. The news has been near constant in its appraisals and comments on the referendum. A single YouGov poll showing the merest of Yes leads – a mere 51% – has thrown the entire United Kingdom upside down. The masters of the three Westminster parties have marshalled their forces and flown to Scotland. The Big Beasts of Labour have risen to shake their awful manes at the calling of the Establishment. Heralds have been sent to the Tory Elders of the Shires to mobilize. The UKIP contingent are consolidating their power as the Orange Order prepares the greatest march in the group’s history. All to stop the Scots from voting for independence.
The fearmongering has failed to stop the growth of the Yes movement. The bargaining has failed to sway the reluctant. The lies have failed to obscure the truth.
Look at the papers after that YouGov poll. Look at the headlines, the angle, the tone, the direction.
Only one, the i, actually seems to put the focus on Scotland, with the rather neutral “Scotland Heads For The Exit.”
Now back a year or so ago, support for independence was still in the 30% range. It was easy to say there was only a small fringe of hard nationalists surrounded and supplemented by idealistic but foolish romantics and optimists – the other 70% (for it was simply assumed that undecideds were really Nos that didn’t know it yet) were reasoning, rational beings who didn’t care for this nonsense. It was unusual, but not outrageous, that not one of the thirty-plus daily national newspapers sold in Scotland backed independence.
Now, that “small fringe” has grown to the point where half of the electorate are “nationalists.” Yet still, even when it’s clear almost 50% of the electorate support independence, not a single one of the national daily newspapers sold in Scotland openly backs a Yes vote. Think about that – half of the voting population are almost completely unrepresented in their national press.
Yet not one of the ones I’ve seen say anything along the lines of “Independence Backed By Majority Of Scots.” None say “Ten Days Until We Become A Nation Again.” No “Ten Days Left Until Scotland Rejoins The World.” Not so much as an “Independence Within Scotland’s Grasp.” Think about how perverse that is – that half of a nation’s electorate are still being considered separatists who dare to “break up the United Kingdom” or “lose the Union.” Never a positive, always a negative. Britain will break. The Union will be lost.
Think about the papers in the event of a Yes vote. Will any of them say anything remotely positive? Will we see “After 300 Years, Scotland Will Be A Nation Again?” Will any paper declare “Scotland Chooses To Stand On Its Own Two Feet?” Hell, will any even go with a simple “Scotland Votes Yes?”
Will they hell. Mark my words: it’ll be a repeat of what we saw ten days before the referendum. All of them, even Scottish editions, will not celebrate the independence of Scotland, but will lament the loss of the Union.
“The Union is Lost.”
“A Disunited Kingdom.”
“End of an Era.”
“Britain Is Broken.”
“A Country Torn Apart.”
The BBC, STV, Sky, and all the other news channels will be just the same in the event of a Yes vote. The constant assumption that Independence will be disastrous, the implication that more than half of all Scots have destroyed everything. According to the UK press, the 19th of September will be a day of national mourning, as profound and devastating as the death of Diana, as the British Establishment beat their breasts in agony and impotent rage. All while those narrow, xenophobic nationalists rejoice and triumph.
Yet despite the veritable onslaught from the mass media, I’ve found I’m not disheartened or intimidated at all – in fact, I find it positively galvanising. The British Establishment have begun their assault – all their might and influence will be heaved upon the independence movement over the next week, and they will stop at nothing to secure a No vote. All eyes are on Scotland, for what seems the first time in centuries. Think of that: the British Establishment, so sure of their glorious clout and prestige, are now giving us their full and undivided attention – and they are losing. All the Westminster politicians are scrambling to stop the avalanche, only to realise you cannot stop it. It’s too late.
All for this little nation, a tenth the population of its larger partner in the UK, only a smidgen of the EU, a fraction of a percentage of the world. Look at the power we exercise with the mere possibility of independence. Look at what we’ve achieved by simply proving that more than half the electorate could vote for independence. Imagine what we could do when that’s ratified with a Yes vote. This is what it’s like to be a real country – not a shire, not a region, not a district, but a country.
All this negativity? All these scare stories and threats and bribes? They’re just giving us strength. We’re not frightened. We’re not threatened. And we’re not buying what you’re selling.
We’re taking what is ours, Westminster. We are taking no more than our fair share, that which you have taken from us over the centuries. Not our oil, or our resources, or even our gold – but our pride, our sovereignty, our destiny. And our brothers and sisters in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England – indeed, the world – will be watching.