Look out Scotland, you just lit up the radar screens of the UK establishment. On goes the panic light.
Incredible coincidence occurs in Westminster
In an amazing coincidence, at Prime Ministers’ Questions today, David Cameron actually mentioned Scotland. (For Scottish readers, he’s the Prime Minister of the UK, pictured above.) Allegedly, Cameron wanted to debate Alex Salmond and offered STV News dates, but they “seemed to run away”. As excuses go, that’s right up there with the dog ate my homework. And it makes his previous statements about the debate being ‘for the people of Scotland’ look rather odd, albeit he has butted in on several occasions and encouraged foreign powers to do the same.
So perhaps we can look forward to a Cameron / Salmond debate now that the apparent disappearance of STV has come to light? I’m sure @STVNews will respond in due course.
Darling beaten like an egg-sucking dog
I think it more likely that we won’t see a debate, unless more private polls paid for with public money show even more support for independence. In any event, it’s looking like too little, too late, whatever the relative performance. Labour backbencher Alistair Darling was hung out to dry as the whipping boy to debate Salmond, and was roundly beaten like an egg-sucking dog the last time out. In last night’s STV debate, one of the highlights was actress Elaine C Smith demolishing the arguments of career politicians with her pithy, grounded and plain language.
So, now that things look so bad for The No campaign, and the international money markets have, recognising that Scotland’s GDP and oil revenue strengthens Sterling, in their merciless but logical way devalued the pound, Dave has said he will give the matter some more attention. This from the leader of a government that admits it has made no contingency plans should Scotland vote for independence.
Dave will send in the bruisers
If the great Etonian himself does not make another of his ‘seagull’ appearances*, we can probably expect to see his boot-boys piling in. The trouble is, most of his henchmen are, like Cameron, utterly toxic to Scottish voters of every political hue, so he is more likely to send up more of his Labour and Liberal front-line attack beasts. Sadly, also very toxic. Perhaps Boris? Theresa? Osborne? Same issue. And does anyone know what happened to Ed Miliband’s promise (or was it a pledge) to come and live in Scotland as the independence date came close? Maybe next week, eh?
* Seagull appearance: Fly in, make a lot of noise, crap all over everything, and fly off again.
Heads will be being bashed together at Number 10, and no doubt some very nasty rhetoric and threatening people will be coming our way. Spin doctors will have more scare stories, more threats, more ad hominem attacks on Alex Salmond. All aided by a media that is so blatantly biased, and swallows so much spin and dodgy data that it’s already on the radar of American PhD students for studies on media and government collusion. And perhaps the security services, sworn to protect the crown, might be encouraged to get further involved.
We’re not listening any more
The central problem is, they don’t understand that all of this is exactly what will drive Scots to vote Yes. People have tuned out of the constant droning, negative and threatening stream of drivel. They’re listening instead to grass roots campaigners, huge numbers of whom have no affiliation to the SNP or any political party, who are holding public meetings, manning Yes hubs, setting up street stalls, inviting questions, providing factual information, and are active across social media not just to lampoon and discredit, but to enlighten and educate. They are reading the Wee Blue Book from Wings Scotland and the blogs of Derek Bateman and former senior civil servant John Jappy. They are listening to a media that does not have profit as its main motor, but rather integrity, hope, and truth.
Troublemakers coming to town
In terms of public spectacle, we still have UKIP’s unspeakable Nigel Farage’s “Rally for the Union” to look forward to, as well as an Orange Order march through the streets of Edinburgh. Both events are clearly provocative with their timing so close to the referendum date. Mainstream media will naturally be all over it, as they know there’s usually a rammy, such is the poisonous nature of these organisation’s beliefs. So poisonous that a Better Together spokesman has said: “UKIP have no part to play in our campaign”. But the inevitable rammy will give them the oxygen of publicity, along with the dog-whistle sound-bites which they are both so practised in providing.
I have no doubt there will be a rammy, and gleeful accusations about rabid mobs of nationalists curtailing free speech. I’m also sure a disturbance can be arranged in-house if the genuine article does not appear. Social media savvies have advised Yes voters to stay well clear of both the UKIP and Orange Order events, and suggest turning one’s back in silence as a protest. UKIP and the Orange Order both consistently spoiling for a square go: Farage had to be escorted from an Edinburgh pub by Police, and a poor young lassie was injured on the head by bottle the last time these people strutted the streets. But the Scottish Police, who through the Scottish Police Federation this week gave the No campaign a stern written warning about the “potential impact of intemperate, inflammatory and exaggerated language”, will no doubt handle things professionally to keep the public safe, and will have a strategy to keep the photo-opportunity-driven flashpoints to a minimum.
So hold on tight, Scotland. I think it’s going to get quite ugly.
Turning your back in silence to all of these things seems a sensible strategy. Focus on the positive – Scotland’s future.
Remember this: The prize is a better country for the people of Scotland. And that’s only 14 days away.