Counting beans! Tallying scalps!

Boris Johnson’s “just not going to happen” remark looks a little less dramatic when placed back in the context from which it has been ripped in order to spice up the headline. If he’d said this in a different context it might have been possible to regard it as one of those pseudo-blunders which are so much part of the man’s style. It would not be at all untypical of Johnson were he to accidentally-on-purpose reveal his determination to preserve the ‘precious’ Union by whatever means by way of throwing some red meat to British Nationalism’s Scottish contingent.

It’s even possible that he hoped and planned for just such headlines as The National has provided. That way, be gets the desired appeal to hard-line Unionists in Scotland desperate to hear talk of crushing rebellious Scots while achieving the deniability provided by the context in which that remark was made. I suspect, however, that the shallowness of the man precludes such Machiavellian scheming.

What I find interesting and possibly informative about the unabridged version of Johnson’s comment is that he supposes the people of Scotland will reject the restoration of independence on economic grounds alone. This suggests that the focus of the British Nationalist campaign in any future referendum will be the economy. Perhaps even more than it was in the 2014 campaign. We can safely assume that a Yes campaign heavily influenced by the likes of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp will respond in kind. What we then have is a baleful battle of the bean-counters when what we need is something that will poke the people of Scotland with a sharp stick rather than something that will put them to sleep.

People don’t vote on the basis of facts. They vote what they feel, not what they know. The idea of a fact-based campaign is silly enough. A campaign based on the always dubious ‘facts’ of the dismal science is just ludicrous. In a political campaign facts are only useful to the extent that they can be used to make people feel something. This might be achieved with a handful of hard, sharp bullet-points. A litany of economic argumentation will achieve precisely nothing. Because nobody that matters will be listening.

Other than Boris Johnson’s apparent intention to deploy a combination of economic doom-mongering and the might of the British state’s propaganda machine against the campaign to restore Scotland’s independence, my attention was snagged by the response from Ian Blackford’s deputy Kirsten Oswald MP. In particular, what those remarks tell us about the SNP Westminster Group’s priorities. It may now be needless to say that the priority is NOT the restoration of Scotland’s independence. For Ms Oswald the main thing is to score political points by figuratively killing off Boris Johnson or, as a consolation prize, Douglas Ross. She talks of elections and not a constitutional referendum. She talks of taking opponents’ scalps instead of pursuing Scotland’s cause. She talks of the obsessions of the British political system – and seems very comfortable doing so.

With leading figures in the Yes movement intent on cooperating with the British as they drag the constitutional issue down to the level of economic mole-whacking and leading figures in the SNP contentedly immersed in the ways of Westminster, is it any wonder that I add worries about the conduct of the independence campaign to my deep concerns about the kind of referendum we may be offered. As things stand, Boris Johnson may well be right. It may be that Scottish independence is “just not going to happen”.



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6 thoughts on “Counting beans! Tallying scalps!

  1. Well, right now it’s Cruel Britannia vs anything else. Should be a pushover.

    It’s rational for the protagonists to talk about economics. Since that’s just the sum of society, politics and business any change from the status quo would mean change across the board. They wouldn’t want that.

    Independence means opportunity and a way of doing things differently. To make the most of it the current order needs to be cleaned out, lock, stock and barrel otherwise their gravity will simply drag us back to where we are now.

    It took Ireland a while to shake off the politicians of the past but now they are in apparently great shape. Estonia took a faster track and barring the financial crisis, in which they learned a few painful lessons with foreign banks, they also are doing well.

    Independence would wreck the SNP’s plans for the country. The likes of Benny Higgins wouldn’t want that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And The National, or more precisely the bulk of its comments btl, have fallen into the same trap regarding the pensions ‘expert’ that is Ros Altman (see https://www.thenational.scot/news/19926406.hard-imagine-uk-wont-honour-scots-pension-rights-post-indy/?action=success#comments-feedback-anchor and https://www.thenational.scot/politics/19926584.ros-altmann-happen-pensions-scottish-independence/?action=success#comments-feedback-anchor).

    In fact her real specialism lies in the sowing of fear, doubt and confusion.

    But so many people engage with this rubbish, wasting energy but thereby lending it credence. Getting dragged into the quagmire that is the objective of the article.

    Pensions will be paid. Scotland will be able to trade. Employment will continue. People will use money to transact, invest and save. And, finally, the World will just keep on spinning.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The pensions thing is perhaps one of the bigger scare stories going the rounds just now, and I have mentioned this a few days ago.
      The Glasgow Herald is particularly fond of it, as is quite a few of its pro London commentators on the Forums. It is quite impossible to get thru to these ppl.
      The problem we have is proving it is a scare story, For let’s be clear, this is one Independence “pitfall” a lot of folks have fallen for.
      The response from the pro Independence political leaders, has not been too helpful, to date.
      But as we know, and as Peter has explained to us, it would matter little what was said, for it will never be good enough for them.
      We must go big, then on the Constitution, and explain the very real limitations it imposes on Scotland.
      The SNP really must improve things and fast!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s that off-putting sense of entitlement again. It is not for me or anyone else to explain why we decline to support your party. It is for your party to explain why we should. ‘Vote for us or you’re stupid!’ is not the greatest campaign slogan ever devised. But that’s what we’ve had from Alba since its inception. Last year’s Holyrood election clearly showed how popular that message was with the electorate. Just like another party I could mention, Alba learns no lessons.

      At present, we have two parties each claiming to be the ‘true’ party of independence, and neither doing anything to persuade me that they are the one I should rely on to get the job done. Both demand my support solely on the basis that they sometimes talk about independence. When it comes to action, the SNP can but won’t. Alba might but can’t. As an advocate of the restoration of Scotland’s independence both these parties disappoint me in different ways but to much the same extent.

      Like

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