Thought for the Day

What would be a truly Scottish outcome to the referendum? A late surge wins it for Yes? Stalled Yes support leads to easily win for NO? How about this: Yes wins the arguments but narrowly loses the vote….

Doesn’t that sound exactly like the type of result we’re used to? Scotland nearly gets it right. Despite all the evidence pointing one way, just not enough Scots were convinced to back the plan that would set them on the road to prosperity. And the alternative? More years of austerity with falling living standards as hopes for extra powers fade when Tories close gap on Labour.

As part of a kenspeckle life in the media I was for a while a reporter on church affairs (no, not the Cardinal-type of affairs). In that guise I covered the General Assembly and one of my favourite moments was when the immensely talented and irascible Rev Andrew Herron ran the Kirk like Moses with the staff of righteousness in one hand, a lamb under his arm and the burning bush behind him – or so it seemed. It was from this formidable and widely-loved minister that I first heard the old saw about the sinner who thinks he’s done his best only to be told by the Almighty he was being diverted from the Gates of Heaven to Lucifer’s door for a slate of misdemeanours of which he claimed to know nothing. “But, Lord,” he wails. “I didna ken…” I can still hear Herron’s voice of doom today.

You see, I detect a threadbare tone to the scaremongering – all that stuff about costing us hundreds of pounds each for being independent, neatly omitting the bit about our living standards falling with no prospect of improvement and public spending down to the levels of 1948. If it’s a few hundred quid we’re missing, I suggest binning the  Trident replacement. And wasn’t it proto-Tory Danny Alexander who told us a year ago we might be up to one pound worse off? He’s changed his mind now. I wonder what all those Highland Lib Dems make of the activities of young Danny now and if they ask themselves what Russell Johnson would be saying. (I did love a dram with Sir Russell, a fag sucker like myself in those days and utter dependable for a bit of subterfuge and bitchy gossip – about his own side of course. That’s the whole point of an hour in the bar).

I also think the EU argument has pretty much corpsed. They’re limited to quoting Barroso now with no attempt at saying what it actually means because there is no answer.

The currency is laughable, especially after the Debt admission. I take it that’s why “Westminster sources” – I guess Fluffy Mundell again – has been briefing that Salmond is boxed in on the date of independence as March 2016. This looks like an attempt to wrest back the initiative after being routed over the debt promise by the Treasury. Here’s a question: Supposing the negotiations take longer than 18 months, what happens? Chaos, screams Westminster. But why? They’ll take as long as they need and if the date slips, what changes…? Johann will say Salmond missed his deadline and he’ll blame London. Also, why would a journalist buy the line that London needs only to sit on its hands and delay without agreeing anything while the date gets closer? You have to be joking. This is a massive embarrassment to London who will want a speedy settlement – I do not say an easy one – but a speedy one to show the world that it can still run its affairs efficiently. The whole onus is on London now that they have the debt burning a hole in their pocket.

In relation to all those international treaties Scotland will have to sign up to and it taking for ever. It’s not true. Almost of all them are automatic in that they will continue to apply to Scotland until a formal signing takes place and some of them we probably don’t need at all.

It may of interest that I emailed one of the lawyers who wrote the British government’s legal advice on the status of Scotland – I wont say which one because I suppose it may be technically private email correspondence – and he told me that the only international agreement Scotland will require to be smart about is EU membership. The UN, NATO and every fisheries, compliance and legal treaty will be a formality…although I personally think some finesse will be needed on NATO. We need to make sure we don’t swallow the lies coming from those brave Scots in the London government bending the ear of journalists.

My point is that the Unionist argument is unravelling and by polling day it will be the fearful and the gullible who still buy the line that they aren’t worth their own independence. But that might be enough, just enough, to win for No. And from then on we will hear them complain that they didn’t realise what would happen, they were told everything would be fine and we’d get Devo Max and it was too risky to back independence and I will hear again the voice of the Rev Herron booming down the years delivering his killer line from the Almighty… “Well, ye ken noo…”

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23 thoughts on “Thought for the Day

  1. By coincidence, I was just reading an essay on aspects of Scottish literary culture in the 1960s, including the 1962 Edinburgh Writers Conference, and I paused over the lines that Edwin Morgan quoted, from a poem by Margaret Tait, when he made his address on that occasion. His subject was ‘The Young Writer in Scotland’.

    Only in Scotland
    Do those who love you kick you in the face.
    They do it on purpose.
    They feel they have to.
    They feel they must
    – For a valuable lesson, so they believe.
    But we don’t need the lesson.
    We’d rather those who loved us just loved us.
    We don’t need the kicking in the face.

    ‘Face-Kicking’ is included in Tait’s collection The Hen and the Bees (1960). The essay I was reading is by Morgan’s biographer, James McGonigal. See: The Scottish Sixties: Reading, Rebellion, Revolution? Ed. Bell & Gunn.

    I wonder whether it’s an engrained thing, that we expect to be let down. Perhaps this time we can lovebomb ourselves, rather than kick one another in the face, and get over it.

  2. The No gang seem to be fractured and fractious. They seem to be working towards different tactical plans and the Idea that AD could be a competent Ring Master is simply laughable.

    They have dug so many obvious bear traps that they have forgotten where they put them and keep falling into them themselves. they haven’t the wit to have mapped them and told their partners.

    The SNP have had decades to prepare for this and seem to have cogent joined up tactics blending seamlessly into a coherent strategy with a real time line.

    If it were not for the MSM and their lack of true impartial journalism, the No campaign would have been long counted out for 10, Pity a real independent Boxing Referee person was not included in the Edinburgh Agreement. He could have put the No side out of their misery.

    Still it makes for good cabaret.

    My vote is for a 60/40 Yes win, based in a surge in the last 3 weeks. I have 200 Pounds on it at 4/1

  3. Pedant that I am, I fear Andrew Herron nicked his joke from Lord Braxfield, the pitiless Scottish judge who used it on a defendant who, on being found guilty, said, “Ma Lord, ah didnae ken!”, to be told, “Well ye ken noo!” before sentencing him to hang.

  4. I honestly can’t see a No vote winning.
    When folk see that question in the privacy of the ballot box, my fellow Scots will do the right thing.

  5. I’ve talked to people often about this.
    Also been looking at Southern Ireland and New Zealand, just in case it doesn’t get through!

  6. To be fair, scaremongering lost its effect a long time ago. 2007 proved it and 2011 showed it in spades. Unless Better Together come up with cast-iron guarantees of meaningful Devo-Max (which they will not and can not), Indy will win.

  7. I, too, have nightmares about the very real possibility of spending the next 20 or 30 years saying “well, you know, we did tell you this would happen if Scotland voted No; but did you listen? And now we’re all fucked because you didn’t listen. Thanks a bunch, you whining tosser”.

  8. Great and to the point as always, keep it up for all our sakes.

  9. Derek, at least 56% will vote YES. I’m absolutely sure of this. Just keep on being a believer for we all look forward to your excellent pieces of writing.

  10. I’ve said previously that if my fellow Scots vote no then I will not entertain a single complaint or gripe from anyone when Westminster f***s us over to stop this happening again.

    If we vote no then were a nation of gutless cowards, bottle merchants and fully deserve everything Westminster has lined up for us.

    Think on people………think on!

  11. I did wonder if you had forgotten the punchline.

  12. Derek.
    I note that your name appears on tomorrows/(today’s) edition of Headlines. I look forward to your comments. BTW I have emailed the programme to ask why BT will not submit 4 questions to Newsnet Scotland.
    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/8596-why-did-better-together-silence-itself

  13. My prediction is for a YES vote of 57% possibly 58% if it becomes clear that Cameron is in line for another win. We need a few more conversions of well kent Labour figures to jump ship.

  14. After 1979 a lot of friends I’ve known since primary school admitted they should have voted Yes. They were duped, pure and simple. They then placed their trust in Blair in 1997 to step down, sooner rather than later, and allow Gordon Brown to take over the reins and bring about the society they aspire to. Once again they were gulled into following London’s line. Will they vote YES this year? Honestly, I don’t know. Previous experience seems to teach them nothing about the duplicitous nature of the British establishment. I am patience personified with them. “What about the North of England?” they ask. “How is your fairer Britain project going?” I reply, of guys who are reaching their sixties. If Scotland votes NO, and I find they are part of that vote, my options will be murder or suicide. (Joke) Hopefully, the past will come back to thwart the Westminster machine. Who now trusts them? How many chances do we need? How many will we get? Gut feelings count for nothing, but eyes are being opened and the internet has played a huge part in this. More power to you Derek. We are with you.

  15. If I am feeling particularly cynical and pessimistic, I think that, in view of what happened in 1979, a truly Scottish outcome to the referendum might be a modest majority for Yes with a moderate turnout, followed by a refusal by Westminster to grant independence on the grounds that not enough people had voted for it – the old trick of counting a non-vote as a No vote. Labour might win in next year’s general election, and I do not remember any pledge by them to honour the Edinburgh Agreement. In any case, a negotiated independence reqires UK legislation, which might be blocked by a backbench revolt in the Commons or by the Lords. For this reason, I hope the result is a substantial majority for Yes, enough to be a mandate, as a last resort, for a unilateral declaration of independence.

    • Agree about the HOL.The whole point of the unelected HOL is that it can be a very convenient place to block legislation that PMs don’t want without having to be seen to do so.
      I can see a narrow Yes vote in Scotland resulting in attempts,especially by Scottish MPs,to dispute the outcome and prevent loss of their jobs.
      As soon as the result is verified,the SG must pass a bill which ends the Treaty of Union and thereby restoring full sovereignty to the Scottish parliament.
      Dispute that!

  16. The sheer grim horror of a NO vote fills me with fear. To see, the day after NO, the smirking,sniggering and sneering NO camp,loudly proclaiming how wonderful they are, before they then set about their next big task, which will be to destroy or cripple Devolution and the Edinburgh Parliament. I shudder. These people, it must be loudly said, right up to polling day, aare traitors, pure and simple, who are betraying the hopes and dreams of all those who vote YES. They are Quislings. In 1945, all over Europe, they were taken out and shot. Now let me be very clear. If there is a NO vote, and there are “Reprisals” by the London government, and repression of Scotland’s existing powers and rights, this is going to lead, inevitably, to political violence. I watch, with horror, the repetition of the History of Ireland, over “Home Rule” from 1890 to 1914. History does repeat itself. No sane Scot would want any kind of violence, but the sheer grimness of life after a NO victory, as the Scottish Government found itself relentlessly eroded and suppressed, bit by bit, would provoke a considerable wrath from Scots. as they watched, helpless, what the Tories and UKIP did to Scotland and her people. The nightmare cometh, if there is a NO. I think it is time that someone said the “Emperor has no clothes”…The NO camp are not for the interests of Sccotland. They are traitors, pure and simple. Every public figure who speaks out and demands no is a traitor, plain and simple. They must be challenged, every place and every time they show their face, and demand NO. The aalternative is too awful to even think about, but will happen, if we do not defeat the “Traitors within”……who are essentially a fifth column for the English Tory Party.

  17. Oh ye of little faith! They voted YES to Devolution, having been denied it 20 years earlier. There would been no secret, Thatcher deals devastating the Scottish economy. The further North the higher the support for Independence. It will be YES. Westminster will not be able to delay any longer. They need Scottish assets to guarantee their debts. Westminster has been weakened by it’s own corruption and lies. Westminster consists of mostly sinners, troughing on the weak and vulnerable. Feart.

  18. HoL can only block legislation, twice?

    HoL is a total undemocratic, waste of time and money, which should have been abolished long ago.

  19. “…they were told everything would be fine and we’d get Devo Max”

    It’s unsettling how many people including journalists like Kenny Farquharson still believe that a No vote will lead to more and very significant powers being devolved to Scotland.

    The frightening part is that the phrases “more powers” and “Devo-max” are always undefined and unquestioned. We will get more powers, more powers will be given, Scotland will have a parliament with lots more powers except it’s never explained what these powers are, how they will help Scotland and why Westminster will give them once the threat of independence is gone.

    It’s a self-deluding little bubble and defining what more powers or devo-max really mean bursts that bubble so it’s always unquestioned. As the White Queen explains to Alice, “The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today”.

    The worry is that a lot of Scots will vote No because they’ve convinced themselves, despite no evidence to back it up and plenty of evidence that they’re wrong, that jam tomorrow will be served.

  20. Part of the outcome of systemic domestic abuse is a condition called Learned Helplessness, where the victim is so thoroughly downtrodden and battered mentally that he/she is subconsciously incapable of escaping, often making excuses to avoid change.
    I do sometimes fear that the Scottish National Psyche has been so battered that we as a Nation may fail to escape.
    Pray to God I’m wrong

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