The Audience is taking to the Stage

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People queueing to register to vote in Glasgow, Sept 2 2014

By Mike Small

Increasingly desperate now, senior Unionist figures in Scotland are beginning to look like children on the beach digging a moat to stop the incoming tide. The older children know what’s happening, but the younger ones still believe if they dig fast enough and deep enough…

As people queue out the door to register to vote in Glasgow, and an eight per cent leap to Yes is accorded in just one month, the No campaign releases vans with signs suggesting that if you love your children you’ll vote No (“Scottish Independence: Vote ‘No’ If You Love Your Kids, Suggest Better Together Posters”). Not VERY sophisticated. They suggest that the Better Together team are on a slow learning curve after the carnage of Patronising BT Lady. But this is the problem with big corporate PR campaigns, it’s very difficult for them to respond quickly to a rapidly shifting ground. These are politicians with nothing to say and no way to say it.

Meanwhile realisation dawns amongst the vast Yes movement that it’s no longer ‘we can do this’, it’s ‘we are doing this’. That consciousness is infectious.

None of this should be happening at all.

As Peter Arnott notes: “Better Together is supported by every major media outlet in Scotland, print and broadcast as well as every newspaper and broadcaster in London.”

But against this backdrop, incredibly, it’s now within our grasp.

The outpouring of cultural revival continues. Two massive pro Yes concerts are coming up: the first ‘Songs for Scotland’ tomorrow at Oran Mor features Dick Gaughan, Shooglenifty, Loki, Lady Alba and a stellar line-up of trad and contemporary musicians; the second ‘A Night for Scotland’ #VoteYes Concert includes worldwide triple platinum Scots rockers Franz Ferdinand, titans of noise Mogwai, cult indie-rock band Frightened Rabbit, McIntoshRoss, a collaboration between Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross, and folk icon Eddi Reader. On Friday Imagination: Scotland’s Festival of Ideas kicks off. This, like Commonweal, is mass WeThink. We are designing the future together.

So it’s a mixture of hard politics and a sea of cultural celebration. But also, one by one, the key myths of the campaign have been stood up to and argued down. The economic arguments have been won or been deemed insignificant, but other key myths have now melted away.

It’s Anti-English

After repeated efforts from English celebrities to ‘lovebomb’ Scottish voters, English Scots for Yes’s open letter to England attempts to address the “distortions of the truth and fabrication” about Scotland and why people in Scotland are voting Yes. The full open letter can be read on the English Scots for Yes website here. It states that:

“As English people involved in the independence movement, we feel we are confident in saying that anti-English sentiment has been virtually non-existent in our movement. What people in Scotland want to escape is the Westminster regime, not the English people.’ On the economy, the open letter argues: “We are currently held back, just like the North of England is held back, by a UK economy and political system which supports international finance against all other industry sectors. In the UK we have the greatest regional inequality in Europe. That is a problem for Scotland and for the rest of the UK. We want independence to start addressing that problem.”

Now, here comes the Yes Train.

Women Voters are No Voters

Continuing a trend that’s been slow but clear for some time now the proportion of women voting for independence has also increased, from 37 percentage points a month ago to 42 points. Doubtless the terrible backlash of BT’s advert car-crash will accelerate this trend. The campaign’s insistence in defending the ad against overwhelming evidence added fuel to the flames.

They are not so much shooting themselves in the foot as actively sawing their own legs off.

Labour will Win the Day for the Union 

Labour was supposed to be the frontline troops. But now the numbers don’t look good at all.

The pro-independence vote among Labour supporters has risen from 18 percentage points to 30 percentage points in a month. While the proportion of Liberal Democrat voters supporting independence has also increased – doubling to 24 points.

While the Liberals may not be statistically hugely important, they’ re a useful bellwether to middle Scotland. Rejecting the relentless negativity of No this week Denis Mollison wrote on Lib Dem Voice:

“How has our party got swept up into the negativity of Better Together, and how does one reconcile that negativity with the commitment of the Edinburgh agreement to negotiate in a cooperative way? The problem lies in a probably well-founded belief that discussing possible negotiations cooperatively in advance would lead to a realisation that they’re perfectly practicable, that Scotland could achieve political independence while maintaining close social and other ties to rUK. Hence the refusal to pre-negotiate, the refusal to investigate options – for example, to ask for an official EU position on continued membership for all present EU citizens – in favour of a simple scare story: if you vote Yes you will fall over a cliff. In contrast, much of the Yes campaign is genuinely grass-roots, and conducted imaginativelyintelligently and with a sense of humour. It is about self-determination, not nationalism.”

As a canary in the coal mine it couldn’t be sung sweeter.

The No campaign is moribund. They lack leadership. Alistair Darling is a busted flush. Jim Murphy is an aggressive Blairite. Douglas Alexander is a non-entity. George Galloway is unhinged. John McTernan is untrusted. Brian Wilson is un-muzzled. There are no strong women. Ruth Davidson is completely out of her depth. The ex-tabloid fluffers that hover around making noise are largely irrelevant.

On the radio this afternoon they said ‘both sides are encouraging voters to register to vote’. I think one side’s trying quite a bit harder than the other. The last thing that No wants is a massive turnout, and that’s where we’re heading.

The momentum’s irresistible. We are beginning to believe in ourselves.

 



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21 replies

  1. Fantastic. A few weeks ago I didn’t believe it would be possible for the referendum to do other than register a seismic shock to the Westminster/hierarchical system that might or might not have had some worthwhile outcomes. Now, everything seems possible. If I can convert one of my sisters (resident in Edinburgh) from a No to a Yes (I’ve got the ammunition to challenge every one of her views and assuage her fears) I will feel I have done my bit even though I can’t vote myself. I’m looking forward to Scotland demonstrating that there is an alternative. Now that’s a phrase I love to play with; there is always an alternative and if it is not obvious it needs to be sought for and the YES campaign with its wide array of local action groups is well on the way to producing new models of democracy that I hope will apply not only in Scotland but throughout the UK in due course.

  2. I live near Faslane – I’m watching massive amounts of dormitory accommodation for sailors (accommodation that would never be given planning permission by any local council, but it’s all under Crown Immunity), being built at Faslane because the Royal Navy is shiftng all their submarine fleet from Portsmouth and Devon to Faslane. The local weekly Helensburgh Advertiser has repeatedly used Royal Navy’s statement that they’ve made no contingency plans for independence because they don’t expect the vote to go that way. So is the Navy just sticking their fingers in their ears and singing ‘la, la, la, I can’t hear you’, or are we up against a huge challenge in terms of this Base? I would like nothing more than seeing an independent Scotland without Trident, but I think it’s going to get a bit scarier than chucking eggs in the next three weeks.

    And we have to be ready for that – not Jim Murphy bitching about being egged – but dealing with the powers that are not happy that Scotland wants to divest itself of probably the most important NATO nuclear naval base in the North Atlantic. Remember when New Zealand in the 1980s tried to stop nuclear-armed and powered subs and ships from just visiting their ports? The CIA helped to overthrow their Labour Gov’t.

    The next three weeks not only concern our course of maintaining good-will and a fair campaign, but we need to pay attention to the British gov’t’s deep channels to undermine what they find threatening to their powers, and the US even more. We need to be watchful and ready to counter what may come up in the next 16 days, without resorting to what they would love us resort to – i.e. violence, shouting, intimidation, etc. They will alight on every incident, but what worries me more is what they will do – there might be smears, disruptions, even incidents that we can’t imagine, but we’ll have to be ready to say ‘No this has NOTHING to do with us’, and let all our supporters know, because the newspapers are going to love anything that sullies our enthusiasm, tries to turn it into ‘nationalist fascism’, to further disgrace the vote for independence, which is NOT a vote for nationalism! This seems to be the BT’s latest newest ploy, since the currency meme is losing traction.

    • I definitely expect another Zinoviev letter, say on 12th September in the Daily Mail etc. something about a shadowy Swiss company involved in large foreign currency dealings linked to close associates of the FM or MI5 planting explosives on Radical Independence Campaigners in Murphy’s constituency or a leak about child sex abuse in the SNP

      I initially thought Murphy was an ejit but is his nonsense all about the foreign media being softened up to accept the cancellation of the Vote to prevent further “instability” after some manufactured incident. He is obviously a second rate careerist so why is the BBC giving him such exposure about “nationalist mobs”

    • “Remember when New Zealand in the 1980s tried to stop nuclear-armed and powered subs and ships from just visiting their ports? The CIA helped to overthrow their Labour Gov’t. ”

      Hmmm, I was living in NZ, adult and compos mentis while all that was going on (my first vote was to vote in said 4th Labour government) and I remember no such thing. The 4th Labour government shot themselves in the foot with radical neoliberal economic reforms that were not in their manifesto. The two main architects of that ended up in the Libertarian ACT party.

      Public dissatisfaction with politics and politicians utilising FPTP majorities to enact secret policies resulted in a petition and then referendums on changing the voting system to MMP, like here in Scotland except the party votes are tallied nationally, not regionally (that is the ‘SNP stopping’ variant that didn’t). Political chaos ensued, parties schismed and formed larger groupings (sometimes at the same time) an the public got to grips with having two votes and party lists.

      When the dust eventually settled we got a National (Tory) led coalition. I would like to know what the CIA’s role was supposed to be there and even if there was one it was a failure: the no nukes ship policy is still in place and has become a shibboleth in NZ politics. NZ is effectively in a position halfway between being non aligned and in a pact with the US.

      This meme may be current in left circles here in Europe but it is absolute conspiracy theory bollocks.

  3. Influential English peeps like Sir Paul McBeetle have spoken up for me as wanting the union to stay. That really bugs me Sir McBeettle you sayin’ stuff on my behalf. On the contrary, I like many other English, is and are full square with the inspiration of Scots independence.

  4. I’m proud of my fellow Scots. They have worked hard to get the truth out there to their fellow citizens. The have by-passed the biased MSM.
    Many Scots have made the effort to assess the scare stories and research a more plausible outcome.

    For once it is not about the professional politicians and journalists who sell their soul for state/owner reward.

    Scotland has woken up to the reality of what the future could be. It may not be a direct path, we may not do it in a generation. However we will take a very different path. We will build a fairer Scotland and we will continue to hold politicians accountable – no more private clubs for the elite class to dictate policies.

    In Scotland the people will be Sovereign and they will DEMAND that their voice is heard.
    Bella/NewsNet/Wings/RIC/Jimmy Reid Foundation etc etc will be around to ensure that change of direction is reported and reviewed.

  5. There Is An Alternative !

  6. Reblogged this on mainstreamsubmarine and commented:
    Our gritty Scottish runner is around the last bend and she is overtaking all the knackered arguments as they head to the line.
    Scotland will win by a distance!!
    WHAT A FINISH!!!

  7. I am a 73 year old pensioner who has campaigned in the past for Winnie Ewing, Margo McDonald and Jim Sillars and others so I have believed in independence for many years. At the start of this referendum I was wholeheartedly enthusiastic but I regarded it as just a step in the right direction as we realistically didn’t have a chance of winning. I am delighted to say I am being proved wrong. I honestly believe that there is a distinct possibility if not probability of there being an independent Scotland in my lifetime. If it turns out to be so I must say “Thank you fellow Scots”

    • I am also in my 70th year and would also like to say: thank you to all you activists, you have worked so hard to benefit the well-being of all your fellow Scots, the finishing line is now in sight and we are now unstoppable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Jack Turner.

  8. When we vote Yes. That is just the beginning, and it opens the doors for those in the UK/ USA establishment to say to Westminster “we warned this would happen, now will you let us get to work to destabilise Scotland and get things back in order.” As jabrady30@hotmail.com said above, the ride is about to become very bumpy. The UK has form on this over the centuries, and they do not act alone. The neo cons are very powerfull and will stop at nothing. Just look at the carnage we are seeing right now in the world, most of it caused by out side interference. Just because this is Scotland does not mean we are immune. Lets keep vigilant and do our best. Murphys egg tricks were a small sample of what lies ahead. People like him must never be allowed near the levers of power in an independent Scotland. Murphy, Carmichael, Tavish Scott, The Alexander twins, Bailey, all of them should be shunned and ostracised. They are treacherous snakes in the grass.

  9. I have just read that voter registration forms have been lost in Glasgow. I sincerely hope this isn’t true for so many reasons.

    • I read a comment a few months ago (can’t remember where) that the UN should have been brought in to oversee the referendum. I agree with that view 100%.

      At the moment, we don’t know whether the story about lost voter registration forms is true or not or, if it is true, whether there’s any foul play, but you’d have to be ridiculously naïve to believe the Brits will be anything like 100% kosher. Don’t put ANYTHING past them. Treat everything they say and do with the utmost suspicion.

  10. Mike you have written some brilliant stuff here. Credit to you. When the votes are in and Yes campaigners have replenished a pint or twa, I want to shake your hand and say Well Done My Countryman! There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come………..Our time has come. But as Nye Bevan said suggesting there was a lot of work to be done ‘We were the dreamers, we were the sufferers, NOW WE SHALL BE THE BUILDERS.’

  11. I’m encouraged by the level of awareness of the real possibility that those who feel threatened or angered at the prospect of Scottish independence might stage some event or incident to try to throw a spanner into the works. Everyone should be aware of what happened in Europe, especially Italy, in the 1980s when the so-called elites saw the rise in popularity of parties of the Left as a threat, fearing they would gain seats in the Italian parliament. The ploy was to carry out bombings and murders that could be plausible blamed on far Left groups. The tactic was successful. The Bologna Station bomb killed twice as many people as the 2005 London bombs (which all the real evidence shows was also a false flag event). In 1990 it was revealed that the terrorists were in fact right-wing paramilitaries trained and armed by … no guesses needed … the CIA and MI6. Swiss historian Daniele Ganser’s classic study on what was known as “Operation Gladio” ought to be required reading for anyone interested in the subversion of democracy.

    Today’s news that the markets have downgraded the pound as independence becomes a serious probability merely shows once again how corrupt the stock exchange system has become – though the manipulation of exchange rates and other tricks of the trade have been going on for a very long time.

  12. All this creativity is wonderful – but where are the plans to bus/cab/drive voters to the polls? All that counts is the vote on the day, and whoever gets that out will win.

    I know robocalls are abhorrent, but the candidates who win are the ones who get calls out with a number to call for a drive to the polling place.

  13. They will play dirty tricks. But what you have already accomplished, nobody can take away. Scotland is ALREADY different. Keep on keeping on, no matter what!

  14. Do you know that with this ‘Scottish thing’ going on at present we’re all focused on wonderful tartan. Methinks, there’s a great market out there to encourage the English to take up the kilt as county of other English conurbation ‘cloth pattern’. OK! Football teams have branding colours that could be woven into their team’s kilt. As a Kent man I’d be very happy to wear a kilt with a white horse threaded into the kilt Kent’s weave. What a brilliant celebration of Scotland can we all have in England, Wales and Northern Island too?

  15. Mike — we might well have met in Howard Place, as my parents knew Alan&Mary well, and still of course know Mary. This is an excellent propoganda piece and as such — more of it. I enjoyed the metaphor of the unionists sandcastles collapsing under the tide: can’t you have some words with Salmond’s speech writers, and pep things up there a bit. To stay with StephenPaulMacLaren’s athletics metaphor for a while: which runner are we, in which stadium, in which year?

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