The Devil himself has probably redesigned Hell using the shenanigans observed of the House of Commons and its inhabitants. It is clear they think a plebiscite on Scotland’s future will allow the common people the right to full democracy. This has to be stopped, at all costs. Scotland’s aspirations need a kicking.
The endless onslaught of vile abuse, undisguised animus, the malice fired at Scotland, its people and politicians, is outrageous; a nation belittled, reputations traduced. From taunts and defamation of labour politicians ‘punching the air with glee’ on hearing of the Royal Bank of Scotland in trouble to thuggish internet trolls, one no different from the other, it is hard not to be depressed about Scotland’s future. Demoralised by the blocking of open debate you feel like leaving the country to let scumbags get on with the task of killing hope.
England’s interests and concerns bear no relationship to the interests of the people of Scotland but they keep asking us to accept the status quo.
A lie told with confidence isn’t a lie
Absorbed in rerunning some of the contemptible attacks on our democratic rights in my head I became aware of a loud dispute on my car radio – a BBC Radio debate from Ayr in which one MSP, the conservative John Scott, displayed the kind of mendacity of which Westminster-wedded politicians are so skilled.
He uttered the whopping falsehood that Great Ormond Street Hospital will deny medical help to Scottish children in the event of independence. The BBC chairperson challenged him over his assertion, as did Jeanne Freeman (neat surname) also on the guest panel. Did Scott retract his claim, apologising for his error? He kept repeating it rendering dishonesty his accomplice.
A lie easy to refute
What medical practitioner is ready to dump their Hippocratic oath? They are asking to be struck off the Medical Register. A child ill or injured is brought to the hospital, pronounced of Scottish birth, and denied medical assistance? Who is stupid enough to believe that?
How many listening reasoned the incongruity? As it was, Jeanne Freeman, mightily angered and well-informed, spat out the rebuttal from Great Ormond Street Hospital itself. “We are working to reassure Scottish families who contact us about care for their children. GOSH has reciprocal healthcare agreements with numerous countries, and we regularly treat patients from across Europe because of our specialist expertise.”
Faced with a black and white refutation from the hospital authority Scott sustained the lie.
Hubris or conceit?
Did hubris stop him retracting the falsehood? Was he uncomfortable admitting an error? Is he brainwashed by the No camp to such an extent he thinks he deals in truth? Or is he an habitual liar, a jerk in US parlance, when it come to dealing with people and politics? I regarded his deceit indicative of the entire No campaign’s methods and pronouncements.
The No campaign defined itself as ‘Project Fear.’ Power is retained by the implementation of fear on the general population, frightened by monsters against whom they must remain ever vigilant, ever on guard. That’s the only way they can be convinced to allow a great proportion of their taxes spent making weapons of death and endless war.
What prompted my thoughts sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic was the way the press depicted the broadcast debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling as an outright win for Darling and the United Kingdom. Their pleasure resembled an Olympic win, hero on the topmost podium, flag fluttering in the breeze, national anthem playing.
Predictably they banner headlined it in violent terms: a ‘bashing,’ a ‘trouncing,’ ‘Darling leaves Salmond on the floor,’ the ‘gutting’ of Salmond.’ They proclaimed it in terms of a great victory of righteous indignation over feeble democratic rights. It was obvious to all but the blind and deaf that the victory celebrations began before the ‘Death Match’ began.
The filthy Fourth Estate
It is difficult to understand how the Fourth Estate, charged with upholding truth and justice for its readers and society, has managed to transform itself into a dust storm of Right-wing ideology.
Michael White, he of the rigorously clipped moustache and delivery, former political editor for the Guardian, got his propaganda in early. In a radio interview he described Salmond as clever, and smart, and good at outwitting opponents. On the other hand, Darling, he said, though a dry stick, was straight forward and honest. He ‘looked forward’ to Darling not making the knock-out punch, but winning by voicing common sense, a switch in character akin to a miracle.
The only interpretation one can make of White’s bull crap is Salmond is untrustworthy while Darling is crushingly upright. Trust one, not the other. Darling who flipped his house twice is honest. Darling, forever poised between a cliché and an evasion.
In the event, Salmond was not at his best but by no means was he over-shadowed.
Darling – man of clichés
Darling spoke as he has done a hundred times before, steadfastly refusing to be specific on anything, especially the powers Westminster might offer Scotland, running a mile asked if Scotland could be a successful country, (he has stated that in past record) while Salmond stuck to his guns and his principles reaffirming his party’s determination to negotiate with a sensible Westminster after the Referendum is won.
At one point Darling blurted out a well-rehearsed sneer. “Have you ever considered you might be wrong?” The audience fell into a cacophony of yells and jeers at the insult. Oh, how wonderful. The elected First Minister has just been sellotaped and mummified. That’s what we want to see – smartass quips from a Mensa muncher. Darling the cold assassin. You had to strain hard to hear Salmond’s statesmanlike, sharp riposte almost lost in the noise. “But, Alistair, I’m saying you are right when I quote you when you stated a, ‘shared currency is the best arrangement!'”
We are asked to believe Darling, a man with a charisma bypass and little ability to connect with people, who dictates what we should think, somehow won the day turning Scotland’s oft cited, mysteriously coy, ‘silent majority’ into No voters. (If a majority is silent it impossible to quantify what opinion is held, or how many make it the majority.)
Observations of television debates
It is pointless bussing in a ‘balanced’ audience. We get from it what we expect, two or three groups of people making plain their prejudices and allegiances. Few, if any, will alter their opinion after hearing the candidates debate. We, the television viewers, learn just as little if anything. We root for our man. If he is too polite we want him to be a bruiser. If he is a bruiser we want him to coin waspish zingers. A debate before a television audience is a very artificial place. I believe television producers know this and so aim for drama, a fight in a boxing ring, their intuition telling them that arrangement promotes the political status quo and boosts audience numbers.
A better format is the low-key, face-to-face interview around a table, a black featureless backdrop, nothing to distract the concentration, one or two interviewers at the most asking a mixture of researched questions and questions sent in by viewers.
It won’t stop a politician from lying through his teeth, but we might get a better chance to analyse their responses, their reactions, their facial expressions, to hear them taxed over their political record, but above all, see them given time to answer questions at length, to get beyond the sound bite and the slogan.
Fear and lies and loathing
If the result on September the 19th is No, the people of Scotland capitulate to the bullying of Westminster and Whitehall, they will do it out of a combination of fear and bloody lies. How do you forgive those who denied democracy by subterfuge and dishonesty and intimidation? In that event I’d be content for a second coming of the Spanish Inquisition.
The bogus historians who pop up with their revisionist history to teach us Scotland was never under threat to join a union with England, we were willing citizens, are proven liars. They indulge in the architecture of violence propounding false theories and speculation. I tried to read one, but once I put it down I couldn’t pick it up.
Their mendacity is the architecture of political incarceration. What we are experiencing now in heavy-handed hectoring, in the bullying, in threats, in false promise, is almost a carbon copy of what was experienced by the people of Scotland in 1707.
The banks are part of it, the investment institutions, exercising a kind of absolutism – don’t punish us, we are the very foundation of capitalism and your security. If you do we will leave you in massive debt – they destroy the opportunity of democratic revolution.
I shudder at the retribution Westminster is ready to heap upon us mandate lost.
No is a vote to become North Britain, permanently, a small, feeble province.
As Professor Tom Devine says, our pre-eminent historian, ‘The Union has served its purpose. It has run its course. The loss of Scottish regiments since 1957 loosen military ties, the loss of external destructive forces of old, such as fascism and the Soviet Empire, that once helped unify a nation,” (he would be justified adding the weakening of America’s influence to his list,) “when you put all of those things together there is very little left of the union except sentiment, history and family.”
Professor Devine is voting Yes.
On the 18th of September history will be in the grasp of the people of Scotland.