What If We’re Not Stupid?



Categories: Commentary

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64 replies

  1. I have always said, Labour’s apparent shambolic response was deliberate obfuscation of entrenched lie-du-jour. And based on having the press in which many do not read beyond the headlines.

    Complacency on our part could cost us a battle. We have to be out there communicating with those who do not have the internet.

  2. Just watched Alastair Campbell on Scotland2015 spout the same evasive pish regarding post May 7th coalition etc.
    The overriding interpretation is that Scottish Labour and all who sail within her ship, consider the Scottish electorate to be a bunch of fucking morons.

    It now must be the duty for all of us who are politically engaged , to explain to everyone who may be less aware of events , that by voting for Labour they are essentially signing a certificate of self approved stupidity.

  3. Absolutely excellent article. Except I actually think Labour died in Scotland a long time ago when political idealists stopped joining it. In May it will probably be finally declared dead

  4. An excellent article Robin, I truly believe that they are working under the assumption that we are indeed daft and will forget the many very inconvenient truths about the bias of the MSM that we discovered in the referendum campaign. They managed to terrify or pull the wool over enough of the voting public to win that vote.
    However as you suggest while broadly speaking the YES vote has remained rallied around the SNP , the better together “team” is very far from a cohesive unit. The unionist parties foolishly thought they had won a war instead of which they created an army which will in the end destroy them

  5. What if Unionists still had a real moral compass?
    What if half the MSM were not brainwashed Establishment dupes?
    What if the other half were not control freak/compulsive liars who get their kicks from thwarting people’s aspirations?

    Maybe then, truth, fairness and democracy would begin the climb out of the dustbin of history.

  6. “What if we don’t want a unionist alliance?”

    I think this is an important one.
    There seems to be a patronising assumption that all NO voters are hardcore unionists, and will just fall in line to vote Tory or Labour.

    But I think most people understand that this isn’t a re-run of the referendum.
    I think many people voted No reluctantly, or because they believed in the promises of substantial home rule and wanted to give that a go first.

    It looks like a strong SNP group might be the best bet to get that..
    To prevent the Smith commission proposals getting watered down to nothing.

    And to just generally stand up for Scotland’s interests.
    Labour isn’t really trusted at this time.

    If Labour were smart, they would offer far more than the Smith proposals.. and actually come up with the radical home rule that Gordon Brown lied about… instead of just having Jim Murphy pretending to be this ultra-Scottish patriot – which just comes across as transparently fake BS.

    • Better than not watering down the Smith commission proposals, there is no reason not to just tear them up and ask for real reform.
      The vow was always a Tory initiative, and with the electorate set to return no majority for any party, there’s nearly no chance of another Tory government unless Labour MPs vote to support one.

  7. Excellent article Robin,

    Westminster has never before encountered the situation of (as they undoubtedly see it) ‘too much Scottish representation at WM’ before and are responding to even the idea of it in the expected way by crying that there will be a ‘democratic imbalance’.

    The fear of this threat to the Westminster chums club may be based somewhat on the terrifying idea that the ordinary rUK electorate may then perceive many of their own representatives as compared to ours, weak ‘place keepers’ who have stopped caring about anything except service to themselves.

    (Imagined heartfelt plea of long term MP to the ‘Scots contingent’) – “christ folks, you want to tone this ‘representation stuff’ down a bit, you’re making the rest of us look bad”

    It’s going to be absolutely fascinating

  8. I am a tad astonished to be the first person to congratulate you on a post with both fire and passion. There have been a few of them around recently, the Wee Ginger Dug is on roll right now and that guy at WoS, whassisname, has been eating unionists for breakfast.

    Great post!

    May this be the first of many that get it.

    (Your Fritzl comment reminded me of the Adams Family – probably before your time. The Labour Party and The Adams family are equal substitutes:

    Sorry about the ad at the start)

  9. Excellent piece of writing, thanks Bella.

  10. I enjoyed and agreed with your article Robin, I would appreciate if you could give reference to the newspaper articles and journalists you mention.
    I am often offshore and don’t always have the opportunity to follow debates in depth. References would assist me.

  11. Right on the money as usual Robin. I think this is a cataclysmic shift in Scottish politics. Labour might be in the wilderness for generations now unless they lock themselves in a room, have a good clear out and look at themselves and are prepared to prove their integrity and commitment to working class ideals under microscope conditions.

    And many would want an ebola suit before examining them at length just in case.

  12. My biggest fear is that the answer to the question “What if we are not stupid?” is that 2million if us are stupid, so stupid that they voted against their own freedom!!!

    • Agreed, it appears that Labour have many supporters in Scotland, I truly cannot understand this! They appear to believe what Jim says. SNP have a lot of work to do and, cannot be complacent. Great piece.

    • Agreed, many Labour voters around, SNP cannot be complacent. Please do not trust the polls!!!

      • Exactly, there’s a real risk that the polls are flattering us as they did in the ref, we know about shy Tories and shy Nos so there could be shy Labs too.

    • Great analysis & article. If the SNP support holds solid in the polls over the next few weeks, we’ll all need tin helmets. Just wait to see the British vitriol & dirty tricks campaign step up yet another gear in the last few weeks of the GE campaign … and we can expect BBC North Britain & ITV/STV to lead the muck-spreading … like Question Time, Scotland Tonight or the recent ITV Border travesty.

      I’m afraid over many years I’ve come to the conclusion that most Scots of my generation (I’m 63) and my elders are fearties … nae backbone …. But come it will, For a’ that!

  13. “Labours vote shedding skills” That was a good one:)

  14. Thank you for a timely, thought-inspiring piece of writing.

    Will the facebookers and twitterers work hard to spread the above message, please. We are being hammered by the Establishment in all its public forms and need to respond using today’s channels. I’m an ‘old’ independence supporter and my forte is on the street talking to individuals but you, can I say younger folk, can speak to thousands. (Apologies to all older people who are not as lazy as I am when it comes to learning new technology.)

  15. “creepy and insincere” sounds about right.

  16. Personally I feel the same interest and excitement now as I did during the referendum campaign when I felt sure it was going to be a YES. Many NO voters I knew who would not even discuss things are silent again on the subject of the general election. So I have no idea if there has been any movement on their part towards the SNP or any other Yes party . I fear many will still rely on the MSM and I know for a fact that most are not even aware of Bella , Newsnet, Commonspace etc . and although some regularly dabble in online shopping or Facebook , the thought of getting your news online is still not the norm. I enjoy reading the long ,in depth articles etc but it takes time many don’t have. This worries me . It took me a whole year to read up and attend many events before I felt satisfied I could make a truly informed decision . Even if folk are willing to listen they have a lot of catch up to do in short space of time . How can we distill so much in an effective way. Btw how long was the tory poster with A.Salmond and E.Miliband in his pocket allowed to linger on every news programme and every channel last night? The tories are good at this stuff with a picture that is now stuck in peoples minds right up to the election. Its a powerful image and Im remembering all the women I spoke to last year who just said I don’t like Alex Salmond full stop. Im worried that all the brilliant writing on sites like this will not be enough – did I hear right that the image is to appear at 8 second intervals or something ? Talk about Big Brother !- Ive got a t-shirt somewhere that reads ‘Big Brother is watching me but Im not watching Big Brother ‘ a joke on the tv programme maybe I need to dig it out.

  17. Excellent work, Robin.

    What is worrying me at the moment is the seeming lack of campaigning effort on the part of the SNP.

    Angus Robertson is a solid and convincing orator, to date, however, he has been anything but a solid and convincing campaign organiser.

    A timely piece from you on the matter,would, I’m sure, help put some fire under him.

    Thanks, again.

  18. What if you just accept that you lost and grown up?

  19. Perhaps if you aren’t stupid, you presumably would not have compared Britain’s treatment of Scotland to the suffering of a woman and a family who were raped and imprisoned for over twenty years by their father and their grandfather. The irony is, Robin, that you completely lambasted David Hamilton for being a misognyist (and rightly so, his comments were unacceptable) but think it is perfectly acceptable to use an analogy (presumably for hyperbolic affect-never okay) about a domestic and sexual abuse victim?

    It isn’t. Ever.

    • Completely agree and I’m disappointed there’s been no response from Bella regarding this. The reference was completely hyperbolic, unnecessary and unhelpful. We’ve had enough of this kind of language from unionist sources and the media in general both during the referendum and in recent days. Surely we should rise above it both in direct response and in general action? Lead by example and all that?

  20. Nice piece. Inciteful and honest. I dislike mcternan, mcdougal and their ilk with a passion. Watching mcternan at that Tory meeting confirmed him to be exactly the kind of little toad I thought he was. A character straight from ‘ The Thick of it’.

  21. Have to agree with Elaine Fraser about the Tory spinmasters, Satchel and Satchelbaggers use of divide and fear tactics.Must get on to the main media and the street.
    By the way The Independent has a great video spoof of You’re So Tory Supermarket with David Cameron head on the big bum model.

  22. im sure the closer we get to election we will be inundated with english votes for english laws
    which will distract all sensible coverage but outrage the average english voter

  23. “we didn’t realise it was going to be the Fritzl family and you were going to keep us in a basement and abuse us.”

    Really?

  24. If we weren`t stupid we wouldn’t have NO to our own country`s independence on 18th September 2014.

  25. I agree with Lauren. Using the reference to the Fritzl family to get a laugh was completely innapropriate. Child abuse is never funny.

  26. Good article with some great links. A people that campaigns peacefully and democratically for the basic human right of self-determination being so abused.I knew it was happening but didnt realise it was so institutionalised until the past year. Shame on them and proud not to be one of them.

  27. I remember in an article in Bella, at the time just before the referendum when the MSM were having one of their hysterical fits/witchhunts, which as we all know used to last for days on end. I remember the author asking “who is going to stand up for Scotland”. This was just after Alex Salmond had forced his spin doctor to apologize for a misunderstanding.
    The sentence “who is going to stand up for Scotland” is just as pertinent now as it was then. Imo the SNP are far too timid, almost comatose at times.
    How many readers here can remember waiting for the big campaign from both Yes and the SNP, yet it never materialized. How many thought that Yes and the SNP were waiting until the closing stages before going into overdrive. How many hoped that the SNP and Yes would stand up against the slander, the scurrilous lies, the misinformation, the smears, the name calling, the demonizing of pro-independence supporters, the intimidation of activists, and the demonizing and demeaning of Scotland’s first minister, yet all we got was silence.
    The coming campaign by Westminster, the MSM and the unionist parties is going to hit the SNP like a sledgehammer, and being positive and filled with hope is, I’m afraid not going to cut it.
    My biggest fear is that the same appears to be happening again. Scottish ministers should be taking the media to task, should be making complaints to the EU, should be confronting it head on and should be facing down biased journalists, yet all we appear to be getting is the nicely nicely, softly softly softly approach from the SG. A shit storm is coming our way. Who is going to stand up for Scotland? And by that I don’t mean by the use of militant action.

    • I think the point is that WE have to do it. Do we know any Labour voters? Have we talked to them? Have we made them think about Murphy’s u-turns and outright lies? Have we discussed the Smith Commission with them and talked about what it means compared to what the SNP is proposing? If we’re going to be the most energised, politicised electorate in the world, we need to act like it. Start by sharing this article with someone. 🙂

      By the way, I think the Fritzl reference is fine. It’s an extreme metaphor, but it’s an extension of a well-worn conceit of a the union as a marriage, from Stanley Odd’s Marriage Counselling to the “messy divorce” line spun most lyrically by George Galloway. The article is an invective, a polemic, and as such the pitch is high. Extreme emotions call for extreme imagery.

      • The Fritzl reference is not fine. Robin said “Britain, when you told us how much you valued us in your family of nations, we didn’t realise it was going to be the Fritzl family and you were going to keep us in a basement and abuse us.” The years of rape, torture and abuse suffered by Elizabeth Fritzl were some of the most extreme on record. Robin’s analogy trivialises that abuse.

  28. Looking forward to Labour’s vote brought down from a lorry load to a barrowload. They sold out the workers and Scotland for their own global greed. A Subservient party branch not fit for purpose for any free thinking person in Scotland.

  29. What if Murphy doesn’t have any new policies that he actually thought of all by himself? I know,it’s a rhetorical question.

  30. I genuinely thought the article was going to address the weakness in the nationalist argument that has been rolled out since September and referenced many times in these comments. What if the people who voted No were not stupid and voted to preserve the UK for good reasons. I find it makes more sense to assume that Yes and No voters each voted for good reasons and those who spend time throwing insults of stupidity or fear at the other are playing to their own gallery. Usually they do not take responsibility for being rude and alienating people, which is the effect of calling them stupid. So what if the NO vote is not stupid and will find a way to act, in a free democracy, to preserve the integrity of the UK.

  31. I don’t think most people think that others voted no because they were stupid, at least it hasn’t been suggested in my personal circles.

    Like yes voters, many voted no for a whole host of different reasons, too numerous to mention here. But let me mention 3 deciding factors which I think are very important.

    The first important factor in the no vote was that many (not all) felt intimidated and bullied both by the British state, their corporate friends, their friends in the international community and the MSM into voting no.

    The second factor was that many (not all) voted no out of a personal dislike of Scotland’s First minister brought about by the constant personal attacks and vilifying of him by the MSM.

    The third factor was the so called vow. How many were swayed by the vow I don’t know, as there is, and can be no scientific data which will reveal how many changed their vote because of it. I do know, that whenever the subject has been breached in my circles, several have said to me, that they thought that we getting home rule or devomax. I have heard and read of many others saying the same.

    As said above, many voted no for a variety of reasons to numerous to mention, but I would consider it a safe bet to wager, that if the above 3 factors had been removed from the referendum then the outcome would have been totally different!

    • All the following are just taken from the comments on this article. I haven;t bothered to look at every post but expect to find more of the same . I assume being here means that this is part of your personal circles

      It now must be the duty for all of us who are politically engaged , to explain to everyone who may be less aware of events , that by voting for Labour they are essentially signing a certificate of self approved stupidity.

      the radical home rule that Gordon Brown lied about

      Britain is a bust corrupt state going nowhere fast; ye cannae ever trust Perfidious Albion Thinking Scots got the picture long ago.

      The remaining No voters were pragmatic (to be polite about it) or were bullied, cajoled, seduced, pressured, deceived and tricked into it (to be a bit more honest.)

      So the minority who voted YES are politically savvy, intelligent, knowing etc etc and the majority that DEMOCRATICALLY voted NO are not. And that was in a straight run off.

      I wonder if some on the YES camp don;t want to take the debate further because they have run out of arguments that might persuade people to change their minds and instead have decided to indulge their hurt feelings by calling others names

      • In my job I have to persuade organisations to shift from mission critical IT infrastructure that is working, but maybe not optimally, to my company’s alternative.

        It will be definitely be costly. It may be risky. I have to persuade them that the costs and risks are manageable and that the benefits of switching will be worthwhile. The customers know that in many cases the grass will be greener on the other side of the fence, but they also know that getting from side A to side B is the difficult bit.

        Strangely enough I have never found that telling them that they are stupid, scared or naive works……

  32. There’s a lot about this post I don’t understand – for example, the rhetorical question “What if unionism and Toryism isn’t the same thing?” Well, we know they’re not. Fifty five percent of the Scottish population voted in favour of the union, though only eighteen percent (on a historic basis) of the population are Tory supporters. So who on earth has been saying they’re the same?

    Similarly, the idea that “the number of true unionists in Scotland…is probably about thirty per cent.” Again I say no. It’s fifty-five percent. We just had a referendum – remember?

    My point here is simple. We mustn’t be carried away by wishful thinking. Our task is to convince the fifty five per cent, not to pretend they don’t exist.

    • I thought that Toryism/unionism point was slightly awkward, but the argument is sound, i.e. it’s naive of the hardcore unionist media (Alan Cochrane, especially) to think that long-time Labour supporters can be expected to drop everything and vote Tory just to keep the SNP out. Most voters are just not that passionate about the union.

      On your second point, it seems to me that Robin is suggesting that only maybe 30% of people value the union in and of itself. The remaining No voters were pragmatic (to be polite about it) or were bullied, cajoled, seduced, pressured, deceived and tricked into it (to be a bit more honest.) That leaves us with a good chunk who are open to independence but aren’t convinced yet – what Alex Salmond called “the deferred Yes.” Those people are probably savvy enough to understand that the GE is not a re-run of the referendum, but might be a vote on the degree of further devolution we actually get. Since most of that 35% probably want something closer to Devo Max than the Smith Commission proposals, they’re probably open to voting SNP for that reason (and, y’know, competence, trust, likeability, being Scottish etc.) The unionist hordes don’t seem to get that. It’s ironic that as the SNP proposes a new constitutional framework for the UK (or at least for Scotland’s place within it) and makes the case for how Scotland can interact with the UK in a better way, it’s the unionist ultras who are still fighting last year’s campaign, not anyone on the Yes side.

      • Thanks for your reply. Sure, Robin is suggesting that maybe 30% of Scots value the union in and of itself, and you seem to be suggesting that the remainder may vote on the basis of the degree of devolution we actually get.

        My core point is that this is all entirely hypothetical (i.e. made up). So when you say “most of that 35% (not sure where this figure comes from) probably want something closer to Devo Max than the Smith Commission proposals”, I say – how do you know?

        Let’s address what we know to be true, and not what we would like to be true .

      • “Let’s address what we know to be true”

        Well, where to begin: Britain is a bust corrupt state going nowhere fast; ye cannae ever trust Perfidious Albion and its elite/establishment; red and blue tories are one and the same; all we ever get is short economic booms followed by long economic busts, plus frequent wars and the usual mess left afterwards; etc etc etc

        Thinking Scots got the picture long ago.

      • The remaining No voters were pragmatic (to be polite about it) or were bullied, cajoled, seduced, pressured, deceived and tricked into it (to be a bit more honest.)

        This is what I mean. Just imagine if you can that they weren’t, how do you argue in favour of independence when you stop blaming the people who voted no. What new ideas and arguments can you offer

        How about voting no because you think that there are sound economic reasons for doing so (including the resources to support a welfare state and wealth creation) and that a country without its own currency isn’t sensible?

        Also how about a basic distrust of nationalism as an ideology anywhere in Europe, one that defines your political identity by where you live.

        How about a sense of unease at the sentiments hurled at those in Scotland who are Conservative supporters such that it didn’t seem that the new Scotland would be place that they’d want to stay.

        You don;t need to agree with these reasons but they are not based on being deceived tricked etc etc. You really need to drop this diatribe and re-engage in the debate. Does calling No voters stupid etc makes the Yes camp feel superior? Is that what this is about

        Try please to move this discussion on.

      • Anton – my apologies. That should have been “the remaining 25%.”

        I think we can take a pretty good guess at what people want. The split in numerous polls over the years has been roughly 30% status quo (and/or or LESS powers to Scotland) and the rest split pretty evenly between independence and some substantially stronger devolution package. Even based on things like the Ashcroft snap poll after the referendum, we know that a lot of people voted No on the basis that more powers were coming. So yeah, we shouldn’t assume that all No voters are hardcore British nationalists and not all Yes voters are Braveheart-loving, English-hating, haggis-eating seperatist scum. There’s a chunk the middle who could blow either way depending on the arguments and who are certainly more comfortable with a debate about improving devolution than a straight in/out choice. We should be focussed on winning them over.

  33. STICK YOUR HEAD BETWEEN LEGS & KISS YER ARSE GOODBYE Murphy’s popularity NOSEDIVES 33% to 26% in latest YouGov poll*.

    The latest YouGov poll
    Scottish leaders performance ratings:
    Jim Murphy=26%;
    Wee lassie wi’ a tin hat oan=62%

    Nothing here to suggest an extinction-level event on May 7 can be averted.

    * http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/2i4cik3x8y/Times_Scotland_150312_Website.pdf

  34. It does seem to me that t’elephant in the room is the circa 30% that wanted devo max and didn’t get it. Which way will they swing now might have been a good question for unionist politicians when the Smith Commission report was watered down.

    Well, they know now!

  35. Your last point is the most relevant one. I think the dog whistle strategy is a winner. I think a similar fear and pocket of gold strategy in the week before the referendum worked splendidly. Keep it simple duh. Why? Huge numbers of Scots are stupid or lazy or easily manipulated. It saddens me but it is the only conclusion I can come to for the fact that 55% of the population voted “No”. Huge numbers of folk don’t give a monkey’s about politics they are more interested in Gogglebox or some such tripe. They care only if it affects them directly and don’t really care about the bigger picture. They can be influenced to a ridiculous degree by personality politics because our society is empty of serious alternatives and is based on celebrity and “fame”. Sound bites do matter to a ridiculous degree.The referendum did improve political awareness and engage folk in politics better than anything has since my young student days.It is a welcome change and let us hope it does not go away because that will suit the shadowy establishment that really runs UK PLC very well. The internet played a part like in no other political event in my lifetime. There are many Intelligent, motivated people who look behind headlines or lack of them , peruse the internet, read a serious paper or follow serious political blogs. I believe a fair percentage of folk do this but not enough. This means that it is vital for us to use the dog whistle approach too and hammer home the unfairness of the political system, point out lies and deceit and most importantly of all hammer home the points that make the SNP the party for Scotland. Keep it simple , direct. For me this includes protection of the NHS, removal of Trident, left of centre policies, development of the economy rather than “austerity”. We need to point out the fact that despite huge efforts in Westminster they have made little progress to getting us out of the mire, we still are borrowing at a phenomenal rate and the main austerity cuts are yet to come. The economy is stagnating in the bigger picture and the reduction in unemployment relies too heavily on the immoral zero hour contract which benefits neither the individual nor the economy nor the exchequer. Time for change but achieving real change against phenomenal forces of darkness requires Luke Skywalker in a tin hat (aka Nicola) backed up by clever tactics and strategy.

    • Huge numbers of Scots are stupid or lazy or easily manipulated. It saddens me but it is the only conclusion I can come to for the fact that 55% of the population voted “No”.

      Here we go again.

      When will people who support the SNP learn that this is not a good a way to persuade people who thought they voted for good reasons, and care about the bigger picture (economic security, defence, tax, benefits, currency) now to change their mind.

      Many of them read good papers, are interested in politics and after having weighed all the evidence believe the UK is a better place and perhaps also that it is better to thwart nationalism in Europe whereever it arises.

      I’m sure Alex Salmond or any of the other prominent leaders of the YES campaign (I’m sure the First Minister;s bio being released now and featured in the Sunday Post has nothing to do with the general election) never ever ever are interested in personality politics or use soundbites.

      Or perhaps their attachment to simple soundbite (“it’s our pound too” springs to mind although I still don’t know what that means) is why the YES campaign failed to actually explain the items mentioned above well enough to persuade people to support them. It was easier to whip up a frenzy and shout at people than actually answer questions

      We’ll cancel Trident. So how does that affect our membership of NATO and relationships with the USA?

      Humour me. How would sterlingisation work and why is being like Panama and defaulting on debt owed to international markets a really good idea.

      And if you work outside Scotland for a company that is outside Scotland, how would you be taxed. And would we be in the EU or NATO?

      These questions are reasonable and are not asked by stupid people who represent the forces of darkness. They demand answers, and something better than being accused of scoring people

      Anyway keep slagging off the NO vote, as it simply makes them more determined to keep to their existing views

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