Still Not Over It

As the SNP continue to dominate in the polls leading up to the Scottish elections, the Nevers’ butter-fingered grasp on political reality becomes more and more frenzied. They truly seem to believe that their views and that of the rest of the 55% recorded in the official result are identical. They seem to think everyone who voted No despises the SNP as much as they do. They seem to think everyone who was recorded as voting No was voting “Never.”

And so we have lunacy like Tom Gallagher actually suggesting that David Cameron campaigning in Glasgow would be a pretty grand idea:

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“Cameron should magisterially progress down Glasgow.” Glasgow. The third highest Yes-voting constituency. A city where the Prime Minister’s party achieved a paltry 6.9% of the vote across 7 constituencies, where the SNP achieved 55%.* He thinks the Tory Prime Minister parading down a city street “showing folk who’s in charge” would play well. In Glasgow.

Midvale School for the Gifted

Bless you, Gary Larson.

But this sort of wilful myopia is not restricted to commentators such as Mr Gallagher – it is a malady rampant among sections of the Scottish news & media.

SNP to shun ‘independence day’ amid claims breakaway Scotland would have faced fiscal disaster

That is the headline, and thus, takeaway opinion, of this article in The Herald.

THE SNP is set to downplay the landmark date that Scotland would have left the UK if the country had voted Yes in the independence referendum.

According to the timetable set out ahead of the historic 2014 poll, Scotland would become autonomous in just weeks, with March 24, 2016, earmarked by Alex Salmond as his proposed ‘independence day’.

A series of events are planned by pro-union campaigners to highlight the fiscal position what would have faced a breakaway Scotland in light of tumbling oil revenues. The tax take from North Sea oil and gas is expected to hit £100 million in 2016-17, compared to between £6.8 billion and £7.9 billion forecast by the Scottish Government ahead of the vote.

The Herald’s choice of headline is predictably leading, suggesting that the SNP are “shunning” or “downplaying” what could have been our Independence Day because of those claims that Scotland “would have faced fiscal disaster.” The Herald has form in this – I guess their copy editors went to the same school as Cracked Title Guy – but it’s only deeper in the text that we get a contribution from an actual SNP source:

The source, while saying campaign schedules were yet to be finalised, suggested that Ms Sturgeon would not make a “big deal” of March 24. He said: “It would have been independence day had there been a Yes vote but obviously that’s not the case now, so I think it’ll be more a case of using the date to mark the dissolution of parliament ahead of the election and firing the starting gun for the election campaign.”

So the SNP are choosing to concentrate on an election which would, by 24th of March, be only two months away, rather than mark the anniversary of what might have been – which is naturally different from marking the 18th of September, an anniversary for something that actually happened. Sounds like a plan.

SIU

But as ever, the article ends on an anti-independence note, surreptitiously providing a plug for the new Scotland in Union campaign**:

The campaign group Scotland in Union are expected to hold a ‘last day of the Union’ event in Edinburgh on March 23, which insiders said would be a ‘celebration’ of the country’s decision to reject independence. The Scottish Tories, attempting to present themselves as the party of the UK ahead of the Holyrood elections, are also expected to make a point of marking the date.

A Scotland in Union source said: “The idea is to hold an event in central Edinburgh, where we’ll highlight that we could have been on the cusp of £8 billion of cuts but instead are protected by the strength of the UK.

“It’s been shown that financially, this clearly wasn’t the right time for Scotland to become independent, and our polling has shown people aren’t keen for another referendum. Our event will be an open celebration in realisation of the fact that we dodged a bullet by voting No.”

The brass neck of it…

See, here’s the eternal conundrum of “pro-union” campaigners: they tend to be not so much “pro-union” as they are “anti-independence.” Everything is about how bloody terrible life in an independent Scotland would be, how horrible our existence under the SNP One Party State would end up, a neverending nightmare of low oil prices, business flights, border patrols, and space monsters. The supposed “positive case for the Union” is framed in aggressive, militaristic language that emphasises size and power – UK funding lets us “punch above our weight,” being in the UK means being part of “one of the largest economies in the world,” having more embassies means “safeguarding our national security,” our mighty armed forces make us “a force for good in the world.”, everything perceived to be bad for independence is a “blow to Salmond/SNP/Yes.” Punch, largest, huge, biggest, strongest, force, blow, ruin, slam – it’s like a Saturday morning cartoon power hour.

Here’s an idea: instead of telling us all how bad this alternate fantasy Scotland could be, why don’t you try to convince us how wonderful our actual UK is without saying “it would have been worse if we were independent?” Spend “Independence Day” talking about how great the economy’s going, how we’re better able to help and support the vulnerable, how our position in the EU is safe and secure, how we can lead the UK instead of leave it, that all the powers of devolution are there and are possible, how our NHS is no longer under threat, how we’ve pooled and shared to protect jobs and services and pensions. Don’t talk about cuts that could have happened when we’re suffering cuts that are happening right now. Don’t talk about uncertainties when we’re months away from a referendum that’s currently striding on a knife-edge. Don’t talk about protection when we’re seeing attacks on civil liberties, privacy and basic freedoms from an emboldened establishment.

But you can’t, can you? In the four years since the Edinburgh Agreement was signed and the official campaigns for and against independence began, the positive case for the union – if it ever existed – was smothered by the cynical, cruel, desperate campaign of fear. It gets draining. It can’t be good for you. And it’s losing in the long run.

BrokenHeartScot

See, there’s another reason I think the SNP might not be choosing to mark our could-have-been “Independence Day,” and it’s nothing to do with perceived financial crises or fiscal disasters or whatnot. It’s because it hurts to think about it.

Put yourselves in our positions, Never voters. Imagine you campaigned for something that you believed with all your heart and mind and soul, only to come up short. Imagine knowing that this was your one chance to make good on your unofficial national anthem’s verse, only to realise your nation was the first in history to reject its own destiny. Imagine the devastation, the heartbreak, the misery that transcended any sport, any election result – the knowledge that chapping all those doors, walking all those roads, delivering all those leaflets, didn’t carry you over the finish line. Can you imagine it? Do you truly suppose that all Yes supporters are only motivated by hate and chauvinism, or at best, simply a silly idea planted in impressionable minds?

Over a million and a half people were in mourning – because 2 million people said No. But they did not say No with jubilation and confidence in their souls – it was with fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion. Only those who would never vote for independence under any circumstances were joyful – and we saw what that was like. I don’t want to be reminded of our would-be “Independence Day,” any more than I’d want to be reminded of the accident I could have avoided if only I was more careful; the opportunities I could have achieved if only I worked harder; the girl I could have married if only I said “I love you.”

So of course the SNP will not be marking our would-be “Independence Day.” Why would we torture ourselves with what could have been when we could concentrate on doing everything in our power to make sure No doesn’t mean Never? The 24th of March will serve as nothing more than a footnote in the road to independence, save in the minds of those Unionists who insist on fighting a campaign that, surely, they had already won. Why would a “decisive,” “overwhelming,” “settled sovereign will of the Scottish people” require another campaign to convince people of the benefits of the UK? Didn’t you just convince Scots a year and a half ago? Or are you concerned that things aren’t quite as “certain” as you assured No voters they would be following the 18th of September?

But by all means, Scotland in Union, carry on. Rub that salt deep into the wounds that will never truly heal. Continue to gloat and taunt and browbeat us about the disaster that would have befallen us if we had the temerity to take our destiny into our own hands. Because it only makes us more determined than ever – that we would never experience that heartache again. Come the next referendum, whenever it may be, you won’t break our hearts of steel.

*Showing my work:

Glasgow Central: 39,318 (turnout) 20,658 (SNP) 2,359 (Tories)
Glasgow East: 42,417 (turnout) 24,116 (SNP) 2,544 (Tories)
Glasgow North: 36,922 (turnout) 19,610 (SNP) 2,901 (Tories)
Glasgow North East: 37,857 (turnout) 21,976 (SNP) 1,769 (Tories)
Glasgow North West: 43,854 (turnout) 23,908 (SNP) 3,692 (Tories)
Glasgow South: 48,778 (turnout) 26,773 (SNP) 4,752 (Tories)
Glasgow South West: 40,921 (turnout) 23,388 (SNP) 2,036 (Tories)
Glasgow Total: 290,067 (turnout) 160,429 (SNP) 20,053 (Tories)

**Scotland In Union follows 229 people as of this post. While most are the usual suspects of anti-independence journalists, writers, politicians and activists (many with numbers in their handle) some of them are quite interesting choices for a supposedly positive campaign: several dedicated antiSNP trolls, an ordinary mother, and two other magnificently successful campaigns which share their goals. The first three accounts they chose to follow were a troll, a pathetically cringey parody, and an account dedicated to being anti-SNP. Positive case for the union!

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7 thoughts on “Still Not Over It

  1. Finnmacollie says:

    Excellent article. Straight from the heart.

    I have now participated in two referendums (1979 & 2014) when I believe we were cheated. In 79 we were promised better devolution by the Tories in return for a No vote and anyone who did not vote (even the dead) was deemed to have voted No. In 2014 the gullable/fearful/unsure voted on a third option which was not on the ballot paper. On both occasions the promises made went unfulfilled.

    btw Brilliant video.

  2. “Cameron should magisterially progress down Glasgow’s Byes Rd & give the Bravehearts apoplexy.”
    He forgot the flowers with which grateful Scots would pelt the Magisterial Limousine, a la George Bush.
    Really, the British can be awfully tone-deaf.

  3. Jim Morris says:

    March 24th Perhaps “Could’ve, Should’ve Day”

  4. macart763 says:

    They lied… about everything. They bought a win, a pause, on false pledges and a never to be delivered devolution journey. Simple as that.

    Since the reaffirmation of the most glorious union in the universe, Scotland has been treated to austerity ideology, its population and political representatives mocked on a daily basis and dragged through the gutter of the UK media and the delivery of HMGs promises delayed with grudge and malice.

    The government’s attempts to ‘deliver’ a Scotland Bill package, piss poor on content and deliberately concieved to carry detriment for both our parliament and population was beyond transparent. In point of fact their entire attitude reeked of arrogance and condescension – basically ‘what are you going to do about it?’ That story is not over and in five years, if we’re still hanging around, its a chapter that will be revisited by both parliaments.

    So why can’t they let the referendum alone, move on, forget?

    Because they know, as we do, what they did, what they are doing now, who did it and why.

    They also know there will be another shoe dropping because of their actions. They’ve earned it.

  5. Andy Fletcher says:

    I agree wholeheartedly there is no positive case for Union or indeed Unionists.

    With regard to oil surely the point to make is if the tax take from North Sea oil and gas does hit £100 million in 2016-17, it would contrast to the £200 billion bonanza promised by the UK Government ahead of the vote. We know whatever figures they give are creatively massaged anyway.

    The UK Government is used to political intrigue and involving its allies in furthering its aims. The US had rules preventing oil export but changed them to export in this period. The Saudis keep production high despite uneconomic price levels but get weapons sales, help against Human Rights complaints and a free hand in military interventions and exporting religious extremism. Iran came in from cold and was allowed to export oil again and Cameron said it was his initiative. The UK maintained tax levels as production and investment fell depressing them further. Wouldn’t surprise me if the UK was also involved in the reported imbalance of paper barrels traded outnumbering real barrels by 80 :1. The UK has probably worked hard to lower price. A Government which thinks nothing of overthrowing other Governments and destroying other countries isn’t going to shrink from manipulating markets for its own ends.

    The calculation is surely to try and provoke a 2nd Referendum while price is low before time loses too many elderly Naws and before more younger Ayes get a vote. The numbers still behind the SNP despite record levels of UKOK propaganda are encouraging. Perhaps Cameron’s negotiated exclusion of the City of London’s financial businesses / banking from European oversight are with an eye to preventing Europe having an impact on Independence negotiations one day. They play to win but if there was a level playing field our representatives would wipe the floor with them.

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