Do we really need any further demonstration of “how broken the Westminster system is“? And if we do, does that not suggest the independence campaign has signally failed to fulfil its purpose? After all, circumstances could hardly be more propitious for an effort to persuade the general public that the British political system is a ruinous mess. But, apparently, that message still hasn’t been successfully conveyed to the general public. This surely raises serious questions about the methods being used to convey the message.
Is anyone asking those questions? Are searching questions being asked of those who are responsible for determining strategy? Have any answers been forthcoming?
Elsewhere in today’s National, we find news of the launch of a “new Independence campaign based on ‘internationally successful’ model”. Turns out it’s the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) again with the first of what I’m sure will be many “new” initiatives it will launch this year. In fact, there is nothing new at all. It’s Voices for Scotland which was first launched – or should that be last launched – in 2019. Apparently, this organisation “encourages members to speak to undecided voters to persuade them to back the independence cause”. Hooray for blue-sky thinking! You really left the box behind on that one, team! Who knew that the way to conduct a campaign to persuade people to support a cause might be by trying to persuade people to support that cause? Using “gentle persuasion”, no doubt.
What’s actually happening is that the SIC has heard about the recent calls to set up a new Yes campaign organisation and figured they might be getting sidelined so they issued a statement about the launch of a”new” initiative just to remind people that they’re still around. The trouble is, the independence movement has even more such ‘initiatives’ than the Scottish Government has mandates for a new referendum. Is nobody asking why?
The obvious reason for needing a proliferation of such initiatives is that the previous initiatives haven’t done what they were initiated to do. They have left the independence campaign still needing further demonstrations of “how broken the Westminster system is”.
In real life, if you were being shat upon you would tend to be aware of the fact. There would be unmistakable indications. You’d be likely to detect the signs and register the fact of having been shat upon. In politics, it can be different. In politics, established power has at its disposal a vast apparatus dedicated to diverting your attention from the fact that you are being shat upon by the ruling elites. Should you be one of those tiresome individuals who are not easily distracted, that same media machinery can be deployed to convince you that what is raining on you from above is not faeces but pixie dust. Only a fool would mistake the boons and favours bestowed by a beneficent government on its people for sewerage! You’re not a fool, are you?
To date, the independence campaign has been almost entirely focused on describing a place where you don’t get shat upon. Or, at least, not so much. And if you do get shat upon, it doesn’t smell as bad. Whatever! It’s better than your present situation. Now, here’s a funny thing about people! People are perfectly capable of simultaneously not believing in the existence of such a place and being comforted by its existence. Tell them tales of a land where they won’t be shat upon and part of them will reject the notion and part of them will find such solace in the idea of a better place to come that they are better able to tolerate the place they’re in.
It doesn’t matter which of these mindsets dominates. Both make the individual less likely to succumb to the blandishments of the independence campaign and more susceptible to the dire warnings and glittering promises being churned out by the establishment’s propaganda machine. Or, to put it another way, shown on BBC1.
What the independence campaign has NOT been doing – or doing enough – is screaming “Yeeeuchhh! Look at the ordure that’s pouring down upon you! Look at the filth! Smell the stench! For goodness sake, get out of there!”
What the independence campaign has NOT been doing is pointing to the source of that effluent. Lest you have become too immersed in my metaphor (see what I did there?), I’m talking about the Union.
There are in Scotland, unfortunately and inexplicably, a significant number of people who take the view that the best the people of Scotland deserve or can hope for is more excretory product evacuated from Britannia’s bowels. But there are many others who might be persuaded that the shit-shower has become intolerable and that they should cease to endure it.
The British state is not just broken, it is diseased. Scotland has managed to stay relatively free of the malady that has afflicted England-as-Britain. But we are not immune. The longer we hang around, the more chance there is that we will be infected. To get out of the shit, we have to break the Union.
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