Keeping it real

When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.

I Cor. xiii. 11

When I was a child I believed as a child. When I was a child I could be deceived as a child is deceived. When I was a child I was wishful as a child is wishful. Now I’m a cynical old bastard I’ve put away childish notions. Now, I can’t be fooled as I once was fooled. Now, I don’t succumb to the facile hyperbole of the mainstream media as once I might. Now, I prefer to be realistic. Now, I don’t believe in Santa Claus, any kind of deity or soaring support for Yes as ‘reported’ in The National. Now, when I see headlines such as Scottish independence poll: Support soars to 55 per cent I don’t immediately break out the Cava and the party-poppers. I don’t head straight to to start a petition for the beatification of Nicola Sturgeon. I don’t assume the headline to be accurate. I don’t assume the numbers quoted to be anything other than something between rather misleading and downright dishonest.

I’m not miserable. I’m often angry or frustrated or despairing or all three at once. But I generally manage to maintain a sense of humour even while being tenaciously realistic. I have dreams. But I’m not a dreamer. I have a vivid imagination. But I don’t dwell in any of the worlds my imagination creates. I live in the real world. The colours here may not be as vivid and there are no lemonade springs or whiskey lakes. But I don’t suffer the crushing disappointment of discovering the truth having eagerly embraced the fantasy. There are no hard landings when your feet are permanently planted on terra firma.

I have a theory that the reason people tend to get more cynical and ‘grumpy’ as they grow older is that they are making the most of the faculties which they are at some level aware may soon depart them. When dementia lurks close by the capacity for being realistic is better appreciated while it lasts. And as appreciation of realism increases so does impatience with the foolish, childish fantasising of others.

It’s odd, is it not, that the people who complain most bitterly about the way the mainstream media ‘spin’ stories are so often the first to seize on the spin that accords with their own prejudices. And the most virulent in condemning the ‘negativity’ of those who decline to be similarly duped. Yesterday, I noticed that some of my comments below the line on a National piece about what a wonderful job Nicola Sturgeon is doing had been censored. The censored comments were all responses to a particular SNP/Sturgeon loyalist with blinkers the size of barn doors and a vicious intolerance for anything that appears to cast doubt on the claims made about what a wonderful job Nicola Sturgeon is doing. You know the type. This one responded to my criticism of their Sturgeonist zealotry with the usual guff about how I must be a closet Tory because I can’t remember the last time I kissed N-cola’s expensively shod feet. And, disgracefully, accusing me of misogyny just because the individual I was criticising happened to be (or claimed to be) female. Like I say, this sort of stuff will be wearyingly familiar to most of my readers.

One of the censored comments observed that taken in the direction of it’s logical conclusion, the position of the #WheeshtForIndy mob is that even if Sturgeon is doing something which would be disastrous for Scotland’s cause one must not write about this but instead write about something positive – regardless of whether this positive thing is real or the product of media manipulation married to childish credulousness. This, I am branded the spawn of Satan when I point out the unreality of the success claimed by and on behalf of Sturgeon in pushing up support for independence. If simply sticking to the facts and reasoned arguments makes you a bad person then I am a very bad person indeed and content to be so.

As others work themselves dervish-like into a state of ecstasy over reports of soaring support for Yes I’m the one standing by with the wet blanket ready to douse the flames when the fervent and faithful spontaneously combust. I make no apology. If the aim is to make progress towards a particular destination then it is essential to know your present location. It is vital that we are realistic about where we stand. What if we’re in the wrong place and facing the wrong direction?

Here’s an example of the kind of hard, rooted facts to which I cling while others are swept away on a tide of grandiose rhetoric and self-delusion.

The average for Yes in the first 10 polls after Nicola Sturgeon became SNP leader and First Minister was 45.6%.

The average for Yes in the most recent 10 polls is 44.9%.

Everything in between is irrelevant if all you want to know is where Scotland’s cause was at the commencement of Sturgeon’s incumbency and compare this with where that cause is now. It wouldn’t matter if the polls had genuinely soared to 99% some time in 2018. We would be fools to pretend we were still at that level when the current evidence is telling a very different story. That story is that while Nicola Sturgeon has been in charge support for Yes has gone from a rounded figure of 46% to a rounded figure of 45%. Taking margin of error into account the very best that can be honestly claimed is that the fight to restore Scotland’s independence has gained not one millimetre of ground in the seven years that Nicola Sturgeon has been SNP leader and First Minister. Because there has been no fight.

The paragraph above is enough to make me a favourite hate-figure of the SNP loyalists and apologists. I really don’t care. Or, to be more precise, I don’t care about the puerile name calling and such. I do care about denial of the reality of Scotland’s situation. I care that Scotland’s cause is put at serious risk by the blank refusal of some to acknowledge that something is wrong. We need to be pragmatic. We need to keep it real. But first we have to get it real. And what a forlorn and thankless task that is proving to be!

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14 thoughts on “Keeping it real

  1. Good piece Peter. On the money.
    For some out there NS can do no wrong. As Craig Murray pointed out Indy has not progressed. That’s hardly a success. NS seriously needs to up her game.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Peter I’ve seen your comments on the National. Calling people brainless or stupid or even gullible breaks the National’s Full Rules, number 1 of which is this:

    1. No abuse, threats, insults or bullying (which applies to ALL people, including public figures, other commenters, newspaper staff and people featured or mentioned in the article).

    Personally I’d like to see both the National AND the Herald enforce this rule far more. You might be robust enough to take it, I might be robust to take it, but why should anyone post their opinions to be abused and called stupid, fool, moron, idiot, traitor or indeed, “a closet Tory”?

    The idea below the line on the National is to encourage debate, specially from those who are undecided or soft NOes. I hope they delete more aggressive comments and try to restore some sort of respectful debating there.

    The comments left from you on that article are fine as they address the topic and are not ad hominems.


    1. Thanks for the lecture, sonny. You can’t imagine how grateful I am for your approval of my comments.

      I manage fine without censorship here. Although I’m definitely considering something to deal with patronising arseholes.


      1. It’s your blog grumps. You can abuse whomsoever you like. That reflects on you, not them.

        Your comment was about the National “The censored comments”, and I pointed out that your comments would have been deleted because you failed to observe the community rules, NOT censored for any actual opinion. There IS a difference. Here, check them out if you can read:


        1. I get that you genuinely don’t understand what I was talking about. But why do you have to flaunt your woeful lack of comprehension in this tiresome fashion? And, no! I am NOT going to waste my time explaining it to you. Experience tells me that once you’ve got hold of entirely the wrong end of the wrong stick you cling to it tenaciously.

          Time, I think, to go back to ignoring your ‘contributions’.


    2. Incidentally, the comment that said “your still a whiney little pig” should have been deleted, and for constant anti-English posts, that commenter should be banned completely.


      1. yesindyref2 – Not wishing to be a pedant but I am, I think on the topic of little pigs I think you mean “you’re” above rather than “your”.


        Liked by 2 people

      2. I cut and pasted what someone else said about him, so it’s “your [sic] …”. Another poster called him “Peter A Wet Blanket Bell”, which is at least reasonably grammatical. It still breaks that rule, as does this: “What a pompous, arrogant little man.” from the same poster, even if it’s all true it’s’ not “community” spirited.

        Onywise, time to move on, there’s hearts and minds and a referendum to win. The YES movement gazing at each other’s navels in disgust or admiration isn’t going to get us Independence,


  3. You are quite right regarding any criticism of the (lack of) leadership of the SNP or of those advocating the approach of the SNP to the constitutional issue results in name calling and accusations of being a something-or-other-ist.

    So you are a misogynist if you accuse Nicola Sturgeon’s legal Secton 30 Gold Standard doctrine-cum-faith route to restoring Scottish statehood. Similarly if you express your dissatisfaction of those who idolise her, hang on her every raised eyebrow and personalise the matter by automatically yielding ownership of The Cause to the FM you are clearly a woman-hater.

    Failing that you are a 5th Columnist or simply a Unionist.

    The complete absence of argument or rationale is simply replaced by this childish name-calling by those who thing everything is just find and dandy with Scotland’s (perilous) position and plight.

    I despair.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a technique that I remember well from the first referendum campaign and BTL comments on The Scotsman and The Herald. Post something the BritNat trolls find ‘challenging’ and they will respond with a catalogue of accusations purporting to be justified by your submission. Meanwhile, they ‘report’ that submission knowing that nine times out of ten the moderator will just delete it. The accusations are then assumed to be accurate based not on the now invisible content of your comment but on the basis of it having been deleted. The moderators aren’t the censors. They are just being used.


      1. I posted on the Herald, usually the first post in at 4 O’Clock in the morning after some hours of research and preparation knowing what the story might be – like a new report from the IFS. I had some of my own replies deleted at times for going over the top perhaps with the likes of OBE (who was actually a good laugh and a very useful stooge), but NEVER for actually politely posting, on topic and within the rules.

        You are talking rubbish, Calum, the moderator, was completely fair and impartial – he deleted OBE and other unionists too, if they went too far. it’s those rules you can’t be bothered reading and following. Like this one:

        Be nice…

        Robust debate is encouraged, but personal attacks on individual posters and any personal squabbling between posters isn’t permitted. Don’t attempt to post personal information about other contributors. Material which we consider to be defamatory, inflammatory or offensive in any way is liable to be deleted. Threads may be closed at any time at the discretion of the moderators.

        Do what you like on your own blog – and you do. But if you post on other forums, you should be aware that they have rules, and that you should follow them.


      2. I should add taht, because I followed their rules I was very quickly post-moderated [1] in 2012, one of the very few Indy supporters that were, hence I stayed there and packed in posting on the Grun.

        [1] Meaning that my postings appeared straight away, rather than having to wait to be approved.


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