Oh yeah and william Wallace died for you, ya bastard.
Today’s winner in the drive by insults. although a close second on the doorstep was quisling and lying Bastard.
Now, I don’t need a lie down after these expressions of well-developed political opinion. I am a politician after all. Worse (in their view) I have the temerity to be promoting an argument for No in the referendum. If these were one-off, events I would merely tweet about them and pour some sarcasm over them but sadly they aren’t. They are a feature of the most divisive political campaign I have been involved in.
I wonder when it became acceptable to shout profanity from passing cars? It must make them feel so manly? Virile perhaps? Probably about the same time as the rhetoric of stupidity got ramped up in this neverendum campaign. The people at the top are responsible for setting the tone of campaigns and this has been well and truly set.
Cybernats are now an accepted part of the online firmament and their equally unsavoury britnat descendants. If perhaps a little thinking, about the beast being spawned, had been done then perhaps cybernattery would not have been tacitly supported. It is now too late to put that genie back in the bottle.
Intimidation and worse are the legacy of this (it’s all a jolly good wheeze) laissez-faire approach to controlling (or advising) the supporters of the campaigns. The mob shouting down Jim Murphy, the destruction of signs, posters and a rather suspicious fire at an office are all portents that the nutters have gotten loose and the leadership have been pretty slow (deliberately I expect) to do anything about it.
Foreign hate sites promoted and then disowned (by the Yes campaign) and we have a toxic brew of idiocy and a recipe for a disaster to follow.
Then finally ‘Day of Reckoning Sillars’ and his threats to anyone who is not fully on the SNP/Yes orthodoxy and we are heading for a doozy on polling day. ( There will be crowds standing at polling stations if the number of different organisations that have registered are anything to go by. ( farmers for yes FFS.))
Add in the pied piper of Niddrie who will be marching to and from the polling station with yes voters (in case they get lost?), with face painting and balloons (can’t decide what to laugh at first).
This is probably the biggest decision (politically) that we will make as a nation and the debate has been woeful, descending to anti-english rhetoric and utter denial of anyone who raises an alternative view. However, the Better together campaign isn’t lily-white either.
It appears to me that both sides have forgotten Dr Martin Luther King’s ‘The means we use must be as pure as the aims we seek.’ Some of the tactics are deplorable.
Anyway the point of this post wasn’t the above….
I want to take everyone beyond polling day and ask a few questions.
Are you a democrat?
What if your side doesn’t win? What if it is very close?
What will you do / feel then?
We are on the cusp of a very narrow margin for either side and a 97% registered to vote (almost double our usual turnout) and an expected turnout in the 80’s.
The division and bile stoked so hard in this campaign has nowhere to go on the 19th. What do you expect the outcome to be? Violence on the streets? Windows smashed? riots? cars keyed? Tyres slashed? long-term grudge held? A them and us to develop?
IF Yes is the outcome? Euphoria for the yessers and a day of reckoning and a stuffing of treacherous quislings like me? And capital flight and economic plagues the like of which will be hard to endure?
IF No win? We can’t go back because there can be no celebration of the divided society we will have. Grudge and grievance will be the norm for years. Back to the poor wee downtrodden us crap that has festered for years. Riots and wrecking perhaps? we wuz robbed will become the national phrase.
Whatever the result we will all have to abide with the result but there will be no way anyone can claim it as a settled will of the Scottish people or any kind of mandate. It is a divided society and a mess.
How do we put the ugly side of this debate back in its box? While I agree that there has been increased engagement some of it has been very negative, anti politics engagement.
We are used to division in Scotland (sectarian) but not on this kind of scale. It is how we heal this after the 19th (I know polling day is the 18th but the result will be on the 19th) that will be the hardest task we face. Both sides will use the result to beat the other for years.
So what will you do?
Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
I suggest you better know what you are going to do if you don’t get the result you want. And I suggest you do it before the result is in.
We need to be able to look at each other after this. Certain language needs to be stricken from political dialogue, because traitor, quisling, liar, paedophile, scaremonger are really not acceptable. Something some people (who should know better) have decided to forget.
‘Democracy is the worst form of Government, save for all the others’ Winston Chuchill. I think he was thinking of times just like this.
A ‘funny’ thing happened to me today.
Sitting in my car (bedecked with a better together sticker) in a car park waiting for my (undoubtably) better half to get a missing ingredient for tomorrow’s tea (second time we had been at the shops tonight) , I was given the finger, backed up with a call of ‘independence ya bass!’
Hmmm, I thought, (Ok, I thought Eff off) that will work to convert me to your argument. Then I decided to break my long fast of blogging and comment tonight.
Now, before anyone has a apoplectic fit, I am not saying that these fine specimens are representative of the Yes campaign or the people involved in it. I am a politician and, as such, used to the ocassional barb. I don’t have thin skin (and need a wee lie down after such an event).
However, it got me thinking that things are not moving in the direction that most scots would accept as healthy. Online, we are often guilty of being a little acerbic or unkind about those who don’t share our views. The notorious Cybernats are often mentioned but there are lunatics on the No side too.
They say that culture flows from the top down (a bit like the brown smelly stuff) and we have become very much more unpleasant to each other on this very singular item. It is not surprising that the impact has been a widening out of the language and behaviours that we are seeing.
At Scottish Labour Party conference, a placard wielding Yes supporter waggled his homespun, mis-spelled, message at me. I was amused more than anything else but thought that on a sunny afternoon in March I would have been able to find many, many more interesting things to do had I been in his shoes.
Sadly, I expect that the idiocy will continue for the next nearly six months and then the tallying up will take place.
If you think it is getting hostile now, enjoy this period because it will get much worse (I expect).
Anyway, on September 19 (the morning after the night before) or whenever the decision is called, what then. If the count is close then half of the country will be mightly aggrieved and the wailing and gnashing of teeth will commence. Recriminations will abound and then the finger pointing will commence.
I expect No to win, and I am campaigning for that to be the case but there’s a long way to go.
Afterwards my main worry is that, as a society, we wont be able to look at each other (let alone talk sensibly to each other). It is hard enough now. Politically it will be carnage and at all levels theere will be spite and bile from those who have lost and smug, condescending triumphalism from the winners.
How we get over this will be a determining factor for years to come. Politics will be irrevocably changed for this generation of politicians.
Which of these words would you accept being called and not react negatively to?
Collaborator, traitor, so-called-scot, quisling, scoundrel, coward, Britnat, feartie
Swivel-eyed Nat, Sep, separatist, fantasist, Cybernat, tartan tory,
I would expect, not one of them. ( I kept them clean, but there are much worse). So why then are these flying around and hurled willy-nilly around the place (comment threads on news articles are a real eye-opener (or eye-waterer))? It is because those at the top have given the lead and the trooops have followed. The twitterspere and blogosphere are full of unpleasantness that is really unnecessary and unhealthy. The responses to those who dare disagree with the Yes (or No) campaigns are vitriolic and poisonous. Its time that the moderate voices spoke up and put these folks straight.
We are not debating with each other but sloganising each other. Utterly specious and I am sooo glad I am not undecided, or I would end up not undecided but utterly disgusted.
I didn’t get into politics to spend my time on the constitutional settlement. I did so to make things better in the town I represent and live in. No one gets elected to make things worse.
However, I have to accept that this question needs addressed and once it is answered I hope not to have to do it again.
Calling for people to be aware of the impact of their words would be pointless (and a bit hypocritical as I have ocassionally been less than measured in my utterances) but someone needs to start winding back the insults and jeers. Sadly, I think we are passed the point where much will change.
Playing the man (or woman) and not the ball is ingrained now.
174 days to go………