Doomed or Idyllic: Scotland Independence Debate Caught Between Rabid Utterings of Opposing Camps
MICHAEL J BLAIR
So it’s only six months until we get to vote on our country’s future.
For the past eighteen months we have been bombarded with opinions from all sides of the debate. The “Yes” side telling us how we would live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and the “No” campaign telling us we will all be doomed if we don’t stay in the UK!
Both sides are adamant that they are correct in their thinking and their prognosis. Somebody has to be wrong. Or do they? As usual, I suspect the truth will be somewhere in between the rabid utterings of the opposing camps.
I come to this as someone who is completely undecided and I’m sure I’m not alone!
I think reasoned argument is how to convince people, not merely ramming statistics down our throats! Trying to make us feel as if we can’t be true Scots if we don’t swallow all the “Yes” campaign’s utterances without question, isn’t the way either.
Both sides have their “big hitters” out on the campaign trail. The First Minister, Alec Salmond, his few remaining hairs spiked up to give some impression of youth, eyes bulging, busy telling anything which looks like a TV camera or a reporter’s microphone, how a yes vote will give us his version of utopia.
His deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, is a plain wee lassie who wears more pancake makeup than a Barnum and Bailey’s clown. She basically parrots whatever her leader says. Never at a loss for words, she’s on television at every opportunity, countering anything and everything the “No” camp have to say!
Anyone who disagrees with the message of the “Yes” opinion is instantly denounced as a traitor to this cause! A fool, who shouldn’t really live in Scotland!
There are the usual sprinkling of minor celebrities and ex politicians ready to utter anything their camp tells them. Desperate for any kind of exposure to resurrect a flagging career! Major celebrities are wisely saying nothing. They would be in a no-win position.
On the “No” side of the debate is ex Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling. A man of such standing and renown, people ask who he is! All thinning white hair and Muppet-like black bushy eyebrows. This man tells us, in a low very serious voice, how a yes vote will lead to disaster. Pestilence and plagues of frogs will be nothing compared to what lies ahead if we vote for independence! He is backed up by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury. A “Beaker” from the Muppets lookalike! He has all the charisma of a 1970’s bungalow!
Not many celebrities appearing on this side. Pestilence and plague not being an attractive proposition with which to be associated!
Every Scottish news programme has a piece on the referendum, day in and day out. It gets a bit tedious but of course politicians don’t think like that. They imagine that we are all on the edge of our seats waiting agog for the next pearl of wisdom to fall from their lying lips! Statistics and rhetoric abound! “Scotland can’t survive on its own”. “Scotland will be a richer country if independent”. Millions turn to billions as figures are bandied about with little care for accuracy. As long as your billions sound more impressive than the opposing side’s figures!
First Minister Salmond takes to the airwaves to pronounce another way in which independence is the only way forward. His round face dripping sweat and mock sincerity. His army of “Yes” foot soldiers tramping the streets wearing the smiles of the certain, pushing leaflets, wanted and unwanted, through letter boxes across Scotland.
Meanwhile in the “No” camp, Mr Darling and his band of equally fervent followers, take their argument to the somewhat perplexed and terminally bored masses. Sometimes as many as seven people! To say Mr Darling is dull is an insult to dullness. He has it down to perfection. In a humourless monotone, he tells us how independence will be the ruination of Scotland, and the Union must be kept. He may well be right but he doesn’t make it look like it will be much fun.
Mr Salmond at least tries to get a small amount of humour into his statements. This is to make us feel he’s one of us. A good guy. A man you might want to have a drink with or share a bookie’s pen! Not a public school toff who doesn’t know the price of a loaf of bread! (I don’t and I actually buy bread!)
The “No” campaign is made up of an unholy alliance of Conservative party, Liberal Democrats and the Labour party. They all agree with one thing. They still want to have power.
The “Yes” campaign is mostly the Scottish National Party. Which are currently in power in Scotland. They are, amazingly, behind in the polls to the most boring assortment of politicians who have ever gathered!
So now if anyone says independence won’t work, they are instantly vilified as traitors to Scotland and should push off to England where their kind belong! Not much of an argument for the democratic process!
I don’t know if Scotland will vote for independence in September but if we do, I wonder who would be the opposition to them in parliament? Would we become a one party state with the opposition pushed to one side? Answer there came none!
If dullness counts for anything, the “No” campaign will win hands down. And possibly Scotland might decide it likes dull! Or it may believe the “Yes” campaign’s vision of a quasi socialist utopia!
During the coming months I will keep you updated on the comings and goings of the independence argument. The ups and downs. The lack of tension and the plain silly.
Nudge me if I doze off!
Michael J Blair contributes to DDA from time to time, and he can be reached at: email@example.com. His Twitter handle is: @mmjblair
[Scottish Nationalist graffiti, photo by TreveX]