The term ‘engineering consent’ is another way of describing thought control. George Orwell had a lot to say about thought control. He wrote an entire novel around the thesis entitled 1984. He was twenty years out. We in Scotland are subjected to it day in, day out.
Our media relegates truth to obscurity.
Orwell said “War is Peace”. We’ve endured decades of war in the Middle-East to protect our way of life from ‘terrorists’ … people stirred to revenge by endless war carried out by us in the Middle-East.
Orwell said “Freedom is slavery”. If we believe this nation’s enemies, Scotland’s constitutional ambitions, its goal of attaining real civil rights, attempts to keep our oil, all those things enslave us. Wealth in Scotland’s hands is deemed a terrible burden.
Orwell said, “Ignorance is strength. We’re told to forget our history unless it’s shameful, forget we’re Scots and show allegiance to nebulous ‘Britishness’. Look to Westminster, for there lays “strength and stability”.
In 1984 Oceania is governed by an all-seeing, all-knowing, strong and stable leader called ‘Big Brother’. In the tyranny of United Kingdom Theresa May is ‘Big Sister.’
To hell with democracy
As we watch the ugly sight of every British political party blocking Scotland’s right to hold a second plebiscite – their slogan: Bugger-all Power to the People – radical thinker Professor Noam Chomsky suggest the Labour Party is destined to remain rudderless unless it unites with the upsurge of protest in England, the Momentum group.
Momentum is a grass roots campaign group established in 2015 to support left-wing policies. Call it, reinstating people power. Momentum exists to persuade, quite a novelty in this age of nasty right-wing power politics where black propaganda, lies, and fake news keep us all guessing and bemused. You could say, Momentum is Orwell’s ‘Proles’.
Chomsky is the author of a book on USA-centred thought control covering the 50s to the 80s. It was entitled ‘Necessary Illusions,’ (1989). On the UK’s current predicament he dismisses unionist flimflam, on record stating Scotland can prosper staying in the EU, though he, like so many of us, wants the EU to throw off its bureaucracy, and all of its racism. Chomsky believes in being an activist. He knows corrupt, errant administrations invariably offer concessions to mass protest movements, though admittedly it can take time. That Corbyn has the smarts enough to follow Chomsky’s advice is in serious doubt.
Reconstructing the self-destructed
As soon as Corbyn crosses the border into Scotland he’s lost. Like a man showing early signs of dementia, what should be familiar is suddenly unknown and hostile. He’s visibly uncomfortable. For a man of the people, described as ‘gentle and kind’, he’s incapable of applying democratic principles to Scotland’s population. He abuses free speech by repeating propagandist rubbish. “Scotland can’t survive on its own.” You can’t tell him apart from the repellent Theresa May and her Tory Pretorian Guard of carpetbaggers.
A ruminating cow can see Labour needs to reconstruct itself in the interests of working people, to have at its core concerns human and civil rights if it is ever to appeal to the majority of people again in England. Scotland needs a new-thinking, free-thinking left-wing movement, but one constructed after independence is reinstated. To create a new party now will only divide support for self-governance.
The smearing of Scotland
May told an outright lie. With her MPs accused of electoral fraud, she retorted that all parties were guilty of fraud, adding ‘even the SNP’. This was a blatant lie.
Scotland’s First Minister – how I long for that title to be Prime Minister – Nicola Sturgeon refuted the sly allegation immediately, and so did the Electoral Commission. They confirmed they have never fined the SNP for anything.
May’s intention, and that of her advisers, is to paint a picture in our minds of the SNP as morally vulnerable as any other political party.
Our dishonest press reported the lie as truth. Corbyn said nothing – a sure sign he’s not quick witted enough to gain an advantage over his Tory opponents. The Tory’s rag-bag of carpetbaggers in Scotland’s Parliament stayed silent. This is thought control at work as exercised by disreputable politicians who crave power.
Silence is collusion. Newspaper editors are first to scream loss of press freedom when they see censorship, the last to uphold civil rights for the rest of us.
It takes a high level of courage to get a Tory politician to rebel against Theresa May’s attempts at engineering acquiescence, but MP Peter Reynolds MP wrote as follows:
“Her refusal to engage in any proper debate is pathetic and brings shame on the Conservative Party. Her bluster, barking and abusive style at PMQs is nothing to do with debate and not only is she refusing to take part in any TV debates but she’s avoiding any contact at all with real voters. …. It’s not ‘strong’ to evade debate, to silence your opponents and to use government authority, power and facilities to undermine them. In fact, it’s probably unlawful as a misuse of government resources.”
Fifty shades of grey
Engineering consent takes many forms, from repeating empty slogans into which you are expected to drop in your meaning, to faking adoring crowds told not to ask questions while you give a speech called ‘a talk to factory workers’. Food banks in the modern age in a wealthy country are explained away as ‘a caring society providing for the needy’.
Scotland’s outstanding demand for autonomy, the right to exercise free will, is depicted continually as “divisive”, the cause of instability; open debate condemned as estranging.
The most common example of thought control we all encounter is limiting discussion. You are told certain subjects are not on the agenda. Only the range stated, (by the cartel running the institution) can be discussed, but everybody is welcome to express an opinion within those limits. (I can guess at the control wielded by the Board of Directors over Glasgow School of Art’s fire that blames no one. To make it a police matter loses the School its insurance pay out.) Whatever issue you wanted to protest about, you can’t. It isn’t on the agenda. You can always put it in writing to the director or CEO’s office but he’s likely to keep it there. Members of your committee never get to discuss your concerns. The issue is reduced to a minor problem.
An example of ‘hooking’ mass opinion
One of the best examples I know of engineering consent happened within recent memory. It took place in October 1990 when George Bush was keen to whip up killing fervour in the west to invade Iraq. The US and particularly the UK resisted intervention, after all, Bush Senior had beaten Hussein’s army into a pulp.
A fifteen year-old Kuwaiti girl, identified as Nayirah, appeared in Washington before the House of Representatives’ Human Rights Caucus. She testified that Iraqi soldiers who invaded Kuwait tore hundreds of babies from hospital incubators and killed them. They stole the incubators, and wrecked hospital wards on their way out.
The testimony was flashed around the world. BBC and UK commercial television all recounted stories of this ‘atrocity’. It gave George Bush the cue to call Saddam Hussein – a one-time close ally of the US – ‘the Butcher of Baghdad’. He was a ‘tyrant worse than Hitler.’ Even today, a former political editor of the Guardian newspaper, Michael White, cutting a debater off, swore blind Hussein had killed thousands of Iraqi children. In fact, our soldiers killed over 500,000 Iraqi children as part of our ‘shock and awe’ bombing and the internal attacks since.
The story of babies taken from incubators was everywhere. It was time to invade Iraq and save the world from Hussein’s cruelty. Bush used Nayirah’s testimony to lambast the Democratic Party for proposing sanctions alone. He wanted outright bombardment.
Nayirah’s tearful story swayed the American public. They backed an invasion of Iraq. The UK’s Prime Minister Tony Blair quoted it in his speech to Westminster to secure British participation in the unlawful bombardment and invasion. Mission accomplished.
A lie to engineer backing for the invasion
Nayirah was not what she seemed. She was the daughter of Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States. Key Congressional senators knew of her real identity as did some of the press, but they remained silent. It was a minor detail.
As readers will guess by now, her story was completely false. No hospital had been raided, no babies thrown to the floor, torn from their incubators. Indeed, nobody, least of all the press, had thought to ask why soldiers would want incubators.
According to Dr Mohammed Matar, director of Kuwait’s primary care system, who ran the obstetrics unit at the hospital named, there existed only a handful of incubators, some not working. Subsequent investigations, including one by Amnesty International, found no evidence for Nayirah’s allegations. But the baby killer fabrication did its job. The West went to war with a small nation that had not attacked it.
As soon as the USA invaded Iraq, Nayirah faded out of the limelight.
The weight of unionist lies
What can we do faced with a daily barrage of lies from unionists? The task is daunting. Politicians hostile to Scotland constitutional rights ‘misspeak’ at every turn.
Currently, the attacks concentrate on convincing a majority of people that a second referendum is unwanted, yet every poll shows a majority in favour, and a population that feels the Scottish Parliament should make the decision. The lies get top billing, the polls left to a few social sites. The onslaught continues unabated, and unashamedly.
Engineering consent is so prevalent these days, so ruthlessly promulgated, that when the SNP increased its vote share and local councillor numbers in local elections, the result was brandished by the other parties, supported by the media, as a magnificent Tory win. You don’t get more confidant than that.
Were he alive, Orwell would throw up.
Second was first, losers were winners, and black was white. The hope behind repeating a phrase at every opportunity, “The SNP’s days are numbered. Fewer are voting for them”, is one day somebody, a social commentator, will say exactly that without offering a shred of evidence for his opinion. And the rest of us will think it without questioning it.
Political rights are not composed by governments and scattered around like rice at a wedding. People secure civil rights, you and me, usually by constant argument and ultimately by struggle. Only when they become common practice can we relax.
The problem we have is, the press and television publish the mischievous, the malignant, and the illegal, none are accountable to the extent they are punishable for their temerity.
Should anybody attempt to remove civil rights they should be met by the strongest force from a democratically stable population – duly empowered.
And any agency publishing lies knowingly should be sanctioned.