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words are powerful things

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………




It’s more than the economy stupid!

As a grumpy individual I find myself shouting at the television / twitter and online blogs more often these days.

This week (like far too many others recently) has been dominated by the referendum process.  Sorry THE REFERENDUM process.

It is important.  It is like oxygen to the SNP, the single most important issue for them.  Less so for others.

For me, however, two more years of this and I’ll lose the ability to watch the news.  It is bad enough that the Beeb is (allegedly) pro anyone and newspapers don’t print news but if I have to suffer endless rehashes of  this morning’s #marr #murnaghan then I’m going to be entirely unhappy.

Polling about how people will vote if they are £500 a year better off or worse off is pathetic and likely to be as reliable as Michael fish in 1987.

Polling ‘If the Tories were likely to win in 2015’  is equally specious.  Democracy in action eh?  do we only want democracy if we get our own way?

This filler of time is all Alex Salmond’s fault (slightly kidding here).  If he had hurried up and ‘called the date sooner’ then less of this guff would be experienced by us all.

The Economic arguments are important to THE REFERENDUM but a largely uninformed electorate (on economics) will struggle to cut through the misuse and clever language (Eg Relative surplus is a case in point – paid in 53bn got out 63bn. comparisons of marginal differences in deficit is not a relative surplus – it’s a relative deficit of large proportions.  In other words we’re up to our necks in debt and they are up to their chin.)

Alex Salmond builds in caveats on almost every issue while trying to sound plain speaking (great trick for a politician) one which I think we have all had enough of (All Tony Blair’s fault – he started it obviously).  I am complaining but I can respect his clever use of language to give him wiggle room.

However, wiggle room is not what we need on such a stark national choice.  Yes or No, in or out.

In Nato, Keep Queen, Keep Sterling, Get rid of Trident (when safe to do so FFS), In EU but no Euro / Shengin, free care for the elderly, free this that and the other (ish) (and never a whisper about how we will pay for it) and don’t mention Council Tax freeze that is crippling local authorities (nor the now sunk Local Income Tax).  A far cry from statements of the past and looking like a ‘don’t scare the horses approach!

Now this wasn’t meant to be a rant about SNP or Alex Salmond but I got distracted.

The Yes Campaign are equally as guilty of obfuscation and this is entirely unnecessary.  The choices are stark but need facts and evidence not assertions.

This fuzzy Guff about ‘Britishness or Scottishness’ is built into us all and to varying degrees it will shape our viewpoint.  But do we really need a never-ending stream of this?  Probably not.

We need facts on the Economy.  (Robust data presented in a factually comprehensible way)

We need facts on EU membership and the implications. (Legal advice published before any vote)

We need facts on other institutions that impact on our society. (Legal, political and social)

None of these are being addressed with facts, they are being addressed by assertions and spin.

A post yes vote (or no vote for that matter) needs to have a clear position on these vital elements.  Otherwise THE REFERENDUM is a ‘trust me’ poll based on a pastiche of Mibbe’s Aye, Mibbe’s Naw.

How on earth do we expect voters to make an informed decision on a fundamental issue?  Let alone the 16 & 17 year olds who will be asked to choose too!

Fair, transparent and legally binding.  At this rate it will be based on Braveheart and olympics.

Not good enough.







Moore fumbles negotiations

Where have we heard this before?

Tomorrow the Prime minister (Big Dave) and the first Minister (Wee Eck) will have a signing sesh.  This isn’t some huge diplomatic meeting but rather a procedural step on the way to the referendum.  (I’ll bet there will be pipers and tartan everywhere and wee eck will be in his best tartan troos)

Negotiated brilliantly by Michael Moore (LD MP) who effectively fell hook, line and sinker for the devo-max question two gambit.  He gave away everything in the cabinet to stop the safety blanket question that Wee eck didn’t really expect to get anyway.  It was a fiction dreamt up by the SNP and hung out as bait.  Sadly the daft laddie that is Michael Moore (and others) fell for it.

Sleekit and canny, Wee eck will have to manage his smugness on Monday or Dave will realise just how much he has been had.  The incompetence of Mr Moore is even more shocking when we consider that he was negotiating with Nicola.

Of course, it might be that he was terrified of her and just gave her everything to avoid being savaged.

What exactly are the terms then.

1 question.  Written by Wee eck.

16 & 17 year olds allowed to vote. (just as wee eck wanted)

August 2014 date. (wee eck’s timetable for a post Bannockburn party)

So all the unionist demands are being met then?  Michael Moore seems to think so.  (not sure which ones, however)

Will it matter? Probably not.  The scots electorate are currently disinclined to support separation from the Rest of the UK (all because of the Olympics and Ryder cup – obviously).  A ha, I hear the zealots yell but just wait until the Bannockburn bounce.  I fully expect them to stay disinclined when the time comes.

Funding is going to be the last little problem to be given up by Mr Moore, we don’t have details but Wee Eck wants the chance to use his lottery windfall and deny the others their chance to use their funds.

Wee eck wants a fair roll of the dice but wants two rolls just in case.

Mind you, by giving the Nats everything they want, they will have no-one to blame when they lose in 2014.  It wont stop them doing so, of course.

Perhaps Michael Moore is playing a blinder and aiming to deal with the SNP for years to come?

Nah, dinnae think so.

Well done Eck another blinder.  Bollocks.