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I’m a traitor….apparently

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.

 

You can’t play politics with people’s lives.

Obviously, I am not the originator of this quote (and I’m not sure Neil Kinnock is either).

It is seldom that I am so utterly vexed by the political chicanery that goes on, that I am ashamed to be associated with other politicians.  Today was one such day.

Setting the scene.  A full council with a public gallery of demonstrators who want to ban the tax (the #bedroomtax, not the spare room subsidy or whatever nonsense the coalition call it).  A motion on the agenda, amendments and a long morning before we got to the main event, a debate on eviction policy of the minority Labour Council in light of the #bedroomtax.

All good so far.  The gallery got a bit excited (and hurled a few insults) mainly because they had to wait until after lunch and thought the motion wasn’t going to be debated.  However, all calmed down when it was apparent that after lunch the fireworks would start.

Seconds out, round 1

The motion (proposed by the SNP opposition) is not competent.  Shock!  well no, not exactly they already knew this (everyone notified in advance).  The final paragraph (and I wont bore you with the process) was different from the agreed policy of the council agreed at the executive just over a week ago (6 month rule in force).

72 of 78 (6 absent) councillors are geared up (and tooled up with pithy comments and speeches at the ready) stymied.  A collective defaltion.  Damp squib.

Ditch the last paragraph and we can get on with it.  It would have been all the way through the debate anyway.  No chance, the rules twonks (insert stronger if you feel the need) come out fighting.  standing orders and challenges to the provost’s ruling on the incompetent and an increasingly hostile set of exchanges fill the chamber.  Plenty of heat and next to no light as most of us new boys (and girls obviously) have no idea what standing order 60 is (or whatever number is being debated).

Suspend standing orders!  (because the proposer and seconder wont change the words of the last paragraph), Role call count so we have to answer agree or disagree to a call to suspend that is going nowhere.  Just so we can cast it up at you again in the future.

No suspension of standing orders as we collectively manage to make a total mess of getting the arguement (sorry debate) tee’d up.

Now the playground is really rowdy, with booing and name calling as councillors answer the role call.

The Gallery (not full of rules twonks) are incredulous and think the administration are trying to stop the debate.  One which we have prepared for, one which we want to have and one in which ( and here’s the rub) we basically agree.  definate political chicanery in action.

The Administration position is that we will not evict anyone who falls into arrears (because of the tax/subsidy thingy) who contacts the council and works with us to deal with the problem.  The incompetent motion – we will not evict anyone who has rent arrears from the bedroom tax.

Huge difference, obviously.

Angels on the head of a pin.

We wanted to have a debate that highlighted what we could do to protect our residents, we wanted a debate that showed Gidders/IDS and their gang were wrong, we wanted a debate that said we will protect you, the residents of Fife.  We wanted a debate so we could score some cheap points off each other (sorry sarcasm slipped in).

What did we get? Punch and Judy, rule this v Standing order that and a gallery of people who didn’t know what the hell was going on.  I might venture, that some on the floor of the chamber were in the same place (confused dot com).  In the end with no motion there was no debate.  Zip.  Nada. Eff all (to use the vernacular).  Rammy ensued.  Gavels banged and a few faces went red/puce or betroot.

Sorry it took longer than I meant to get to the point, and here it is.

You can’t play politics with people’s lives.

Fallout.

Now it will be a case of spin and counter spin, lies and mistruths played out in the press until we get to do it all again next time.

This bedroom tax is a disaster for many of the people we merry 78 are supposed to serve, after todays showing we have failed them terribly.  there will be over 5000 families across Fife (and 1300 more in housing associations) who will be worried about the impact of this change to housing benefit, who were looking to us to make clear what to expect, who wanted adults not children debating and deciding.

Their lives will be blighted (while most of the councillors will not be) and their purses constrained and all we offered them was finger-pointing and hot air and barely a whit of sense.

I have seen the spin tweets from fellow councillors and they just make us look like a bunch of twits (definitely insert stronger).

No wonder Politicians are reviled, distrusted and treated with contempt.  Sometimes we just help our poor public image along.