Whatever mixed messages may have come from the Unionists over the past week or so, rather than be confused by them, Scots should take heart because Cameron, Osborne, Davidson, Balls and Alexander may have done us all a great big favour. It may have helped to lift the scales from the eyes of the "dinnae kens" the "I need more informations" the "fearties" and the "canny be botherds". The referendum on Scotland's future is only a few months away and Scots cannot afford to "no ken" or "no be bothered". Those who claim to need more information must be walking about with a bag over their heads or in some kind of dwam, because the one thing this campaign has had is a plethora of information. Unfortunately, much of it has been out and out dross, a mixture of assertions, propaganda, half truths and out and out lies. Cameron et al, particularly Osborne, has now annoyed Scots, to the extent that many of the "dinnae kens" are on the point of saying "Get stuffed, we are tired of being treated like some kind of nuisance that has to be tolerated for the sake of appearances."
More than four years ago I was active on the Tartan Army Message Board (TAMB) because I had written something in a Scottish Newspaper, which annoyed some cybernats, who decided to trash my name. Most of them had never heard of me and only a handful had a clue of my past history in the SNP, but I had said the SNP's adoption of the euro (they were still in favour of the euro at that time) was wrong. I only joined the site because my name was being trashed, but took the opportunity to develop the arguments about the currency, predicting it would be one of the most important issues if we ever had a referendum on independence. Unfortunately, the SNP's handling of it has been about as hamfisted as it could have been, pretending first of all, that what they were proposing was the same as the arrangement Ireland had in the 1920's, then that the other 62 currency arrangements throughout the world were all the same and this would just be another one. None of that was true and their duplicity has now come back to bite them - hard.
The SNP and the Yes Campaign have gone to such lengths to insist that the demand for independence is not about identity, that I can only conclude that some focus group has said something along the lines of, "We musn't stress differences. That wouldn't be nice and might offend somebody" Thus the party mantra has been, "This is not about identity, the Scots don't have one. Forget this nonsense about haggis and Burns suppers, the kilt, Gaelic and the heedrum hodrum stuff. So what if we can't pronounce the names of our mountains and glens, we must stress inclusiveness, so, Scottishness is out" As one American election guru, brought in to advise the campaign, is reputed to have advised, "Independence is too harsh a word and shouldn't be used" And hey presto, it wasn't until recently. Unfortunately, it is one thing to claim to pursue independence but it is quite another to actually want it. When Salmond, and now Sturgeon, threatened to refuse to pay Scotland's population share of the UK's debt, unless a currency union was agreed, they were saying in effect, "We won't pay our share of the debt unless London agrees to continue to run Scotland's economy, if there is a Yes vote." I always thought the whole point of being an economic Nationalist was to gain control of the economy.
Scotland has one of the most recognised identities of any country in the world and more importantly, it is one that is also one of the most popular and welcomed wherever we go. The English would give their right arm to have an identity that was a) as recogniseable and b) as popular as Scots have, but the SNP and the Yes Campaign are doing their damnedest to deny it exists. On the recent Stuart Cosgrove programme, "Five million ways to be Scottish" an English woman was asked to give an example of something that was peculiarly English, something that was recogniseable as being English. After much thought the only thing she could come up with was "a cup of tea". That just about says it all, but the fact that ordinary English people find it difficult to recognise themselves in a crowd, is no reason for Scots to deny their own culture in case it makes us "different". We don't have to stress the differences, we are different and everyone knows it.
Cameron's "We're all John Thompson's children speech" may have been lauded and applauded in his own circle but it cut little ice in Scotland. What is classed as nationalism, if it is played by Scottish groups in favour of independence, is portrayed as something much more acceptable, on a much higher plane, when played by the British Prime Minister or his acolytes such as Ruth Davidson; it is called British patriotism. It is the kind of patriotism portrayed so wonderfully at the Olympics, a spectacle from which Scots have benefited so greatly - or so it has been claimed but the evidence for which remains a bit of a mystery. Osborne has now let it be known that to be one of Mr Thompson's children in this wonderful family of nations called England er Britain, Scots must continue to play the role of subsidy junkies as laid out for us by the London media, or we will pay the consequences. Those will be border controls and anything else the Metropolitan elite can throw in our way. Those in Scotland who swithered about voting Yes in the referendum, on the grounds that England er Britain was such a happy family of nations, and, who have just discovered what being part of that family demands, will no doubt offer the usual plaintive cry, "But we didnae ken". The only appropriate response to that has to be, "Weel, ye ken noo".
If they still have doubts, they need only pick up any copy of the Daily Mail or any other English tabloid, to read a daily summary of all the functions of daily living which will be more expensive, poorer, cease to exist, beyond the capacity of Scots to manage, destroyed or otherwise disappear if Scotland votes to be like any other normal nation state, and choose to be independent. Of course, there are those among the London self-styled elite who actually believe that kind of clap-trap to be true and, whose only comment is "good riddance". But one has to question the mind-set of Scots who seem to believe that if we are to become independent, even with London still controlling our economy, Scotland would be the ONLY country in the world totally incapable of running our own affairs. They have such a low opinion of their own capabilities that they imagine that every other Scot thinks as they do and is terrified of being independent. How do they ever pluck up the courage to get out of bed in the morning?
So far, the debate so-called, has had the SNP and the Yes Campaign claiming little or nothing will change if there is a Yes vote. Alex Salmond was moved to announce that even if Scotland declares itself to be independent, he will still remain British. I suppose he can claim to be anything he wants to be but I fail to see how his being British, has anything to do with Scots deciding to be independent. On the other hand, according to the Unionists, civilization as we know it, will come to an end and we will even be denied the pleasure of seeing Eastenders every night (hopefully). Both sides have tended to pander to what they perceived to be the lowest common denominator, with the SNP seeking to allay fears which in some cases, do not even exist, and on the other, the Unionists attempting to frighten people with scare stories they last heard in The Big Book of Bedtime Stories. Both sides have bent the truth to such an extent that the perceived audiences would have had to have taken leave of their senses to accept whatever tale was being spun. This has led to both sides losing credibility.
In the few months we have left, is it too much to ask both sides to stop treating the electorate like fools. We know there will be changes. If there weren't, we would be sacrificing the opportunity to create a country that comes somewhere close to that which any decent person aspires. Scots have been crying out for change and independence can give them the changes they not only want, but which the poorest and most deprived of our people desperately need. Unionists can try to make a positive case for the Union, an impossible task, but at least they might gain some respect for making the attempt. Until now, they have done nothing to make any self-respecting Scot want to have anything to do with a neighbouring country that heaps nothing but bile and disdain on a nation with a history of which, in the main, we can be proud. Of course there are the idiots who claim that it was the Union, which released the talents that encouraged Scots to play such a large part in the Enlightenment, but that is simply another manifestation of the problem Nationalists have with the Union of 1707.