Mad as hell!

Kirsty Strickland is undoubtedly correct when she says: “It’s time for a new conversation.” Unfortunately, that is not what Nicola Sturgeon is proposing. Granted, we don’t know much about what she is proposing. But we know enough to be certain that she has no intention of reframing the constitutional issue. We can deduce from her guarded words and timid actions to date that she intends no more than a rehash of the 2014 campaign. She aims to have us all singing “the favourite songs of the 45% on repeat”. Her ‘big idea’ is to have the voters once again assailed by a bewildering barrage of “competing visions for Scotland’s future” none of which will be on the actual ballot paper when the referendum comes. Or all of them will be. Which amounts to the same thing.

The ‘thinking’ is that we need only make those ‘visions’ a bit shinier and more detailed and that’s all it will take to effect the breakthrough required. The conviction is that there are thousands of voters who are so scunnered with Boris and The Brits’ brand of raucous, cacophonous punk politics that they need only have a glossy brochure ‘vision’ of a different Scotland thrust in their faces vigorously and often enough and they will succumb to the lure. The future’s bright! The future’s any of the perplexing array of vivid colours blasting out of those glossy brochures to dazzle and befuddle. Or all of those colours. In which case, it’s all just muddy grey.

Kirsty is also correct to say that “the Scottish Tories will have to emerge from their bunker” at some point. By which she presumably means the British Nationalist/Unionist effort to counter the rerun of the 2014 Yes campaign being ‘planned’ by Sturgeon and the SNP. Call me radical if you will. But might it not be a good idea to consider what the ‘enemy forces’ might be carrying when they emerge from that bunker?

There is a body of opinion which holds that Better Together v2.0 cannot possibly resort to the same tactics and methods it used in the first referendum campaign. The argument goes that all the assertions and assurances offered by the No campaign having been proved false and worthless, they cannot possibly trot out the same stuff again. But why not? If the Yes campaign is to be basically the same as it was then, why wouldn’t we expect the same No campaign methods and tactics to be just as effective now as then?

Those who suppose the No campaign must devise a whole new armoury of dishonest and deceptive gambits because the old ones are dud, fail to understand the nature of the anti-independence campaign. The first thing to understand is that there was no anti-independence campaign. The No campaign in the 2014 referendum was not about making solid arguments against independence. Better Together had two objectives. First, generate doubt and aggravate existing doubt about change. Then provide the doubtful with plausible rationalisations for a choice based on irrational doubt.

Those who say they voted No – or who maintain that others voted No – because the Yes campaign failed to make the economic case; or didn’t answer the important questions about currency, pensions etc., are all labouring under the delusion that people vote according to what they know. They don’t! They vote according to what they feel! What they know – or think they know – is useful only to allow them to pretend to themselves and others that their choice was intellectual rather than instinctual.

It doesn’t matter that what they thought they knew turned out to be a confection of fabrications. They still get to claim it was the rational basis for their gut decision at the time. They can still fool themselves that their vote was an informed decision. They were not wrong even if the information was. Cognitive dissonance duly avoided!

The British political elite understands all of this. They know how it works. They’ve been working it for generations. They know that they don’t have to make a solid honest case either against independence or for the Union. Voters aren’t being asked about the Union, so there is no need to justify it. People are being asked only about independence. All that’s needed is to sow some doubt and nurture the ‘natural’ aversion to change while making it easy for folk to deny that they voted out of gut-felt trepidation and it’s job done. The British ruling elites have been using the same ploy against anything that threatened established power for centuries. It almost always works. It will almost certainly work again.

The doubt and post hoc rationalisation method will definitely work if the Yes campaign contributes to the confusion and insistence on a ‘positive case’ as it did in the 2014 campaign. It will be as easy now for the No campaign to generate and aggravate doubt as it was then. They need do no more than ask endless questions knowing that both the questions and the mess of mixed ‘answers’ emanating from the Yes campaign will contribute to the uncertainty. Throw in the testimony of a few ‘experts’ such as Neil F Oliver, which can be used to cover the embarrassment of fearfulness, and you’ve almost certainly done enough to have those hovering pencils in voting booths across Scotland incline towards the box marked No.

Bottom line! An appeal to the emotions will always beat an appeal to the intellect so long as it is easy to pretend that the appeal to emotion is an appeal to the intellect. All those facts and figures and graphs and charts and tables and studies and statistics and projections pouring out of the Yes movement’s various think-tanks serve no purpose whatever until after people have been made to feel that they must vote Yes. Only then will they come into play. If the Yes campaign fails to ignite the emotions then all that factual information is just kindling without a flame.

If we are to burn down the Union then we need the controlled fire of righteous anger We need the searing heat of justified wrath more than the warm glow of hope. It is not enough that people be inspired by what might be. To break through the barriers of doubt they need the urging of outrage regarding what is. We need a campaign that makes people as mad as hell and refusing to take it any more.

11 thoughts on “Mad as hell!

  1. Even more depressed now given the current lot know nothing and worse, have learned nothing about sales and marketing since 2014.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kirsty Strickland says:

    “There’s no sense in playing the favourite songs of the 45% on repeat. We will need to turn outwards to the soft No voters and provide credible answers to the questions that stopped them crossing the box for Yes eight years ago”.

    That could be the opening line to a book called “How to contradict yourself in two successive sentences”.

    Kirsty could even highlight the “soft No voters” epithet that she employs as a particularly pithy example of oxymoronic phrasing.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Spot on, duncanio. Oh, and there are no ‘soft NO voter’, just NO voters, and, if you want to soften a NO voter, you won’t do it by appealing to them.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. “… Bottom line! An appeal to the emotions will always beat an appeal to the intellect so long as it is easy to pretend that the appeal to emotion is an appeal to the intellect… ” Yep! The trans lobby’s appeal in a nutshell. Most of us with any life experience at all see through that garbage. So, why not the NO campaign? Because it comes down toa bit more than mere feelings, Peter: it comes down to “I’m all right, Jack!” and “Divil tak the hinmaist!” which, although they might be termed ‘feelings’ are actually self-interest. We all practise self-interest to a greater or lesser degree, but when that self-interest of the few or the seriously deluded starts to adversely affect everyone else, it is time to call a halt and give these utterly selfish individuals a wide body swerve. In other words, sheer existential reasons must now come to the fore.

    Everybody wants more and better services but very few take that to its logical conclusion – that it has to be paid for. Independence tomorrow would be painful for some for a while, then it would start to pick up because, when your back is to the wall, there is nowhere to go but forward. Genius, entrepreneurship, investment all flourish when the opportunity arises. For years now, the Scottish economy has been going backwards, and the simple fact is that it will continue to do so, so long as it it harnessed to England as the UK’s needs and not our own. In no other circumstances would anyone in his/her right mind allow his/her neighbour to decide his/her family economics, based on that neighbours priorities for himself/herself. That is, basically, the reality.

    It is the middle-class in Scotland that stands four-square against independence, backed by all manner of self-interested British organizations and institutions, often run and managed by the same middle-class. The problem with the ‘feeling’ theory, Peter, is that most of this middle-class/business class/managerial class is not Scottish and cannot be appealed to on the grounds of Scottish patriotism and the greater good because its allegiance lies elsewhere. Even when they are Scottish, they are frequently British first. That is what happens when you allow every position across the social, educational, cultural, etc. spectrum to be filled by candidates from furth of Scotland because of ‘big is better’ sycophancy. No party has succumbed to that doctrine more than the SNP, whose very leaflets are often printed outside Scotland. We need to galvanize the working-class/non-employed class which are the ones that suffer every downturn in the economy way beyond their fair due. Otherwise, it will be a big fat NO once again, and I, for one, would not like to venture an opinion on what will happen then.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I wish I could remain in happy clappy ignorance of the facts. But I can’t.

    It is impossible to see how Nicola Sturgeon can be successful in any campaign playing to someone else’s rules, that of the British establishment. Particularly when they have a proven track record in cheating on their own rules.

    I am also concerned that the SNP politically would be happy to loose a what will be portrayed as fair and noble fight.

    I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I remember the biggest success of the SNP (making them unassailable in Scottish politics) was loosing in 2014.

    I am also loosing my usual tact and diplomacy skills with individuals who cannot see what a shit-show the whole situation has become.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. “People are being asked only about independence. All that’s needed is to sow some doubt and nurture the ‘natural’ aversion to change while making it easy for folk to deny that they voted out of gut-felt trepidation and it’s job done.”

    … and that is the fundamental problem with the independence vision-thing. The Glossy Brochure has to be perfect in every detail and immune to all attacks. To quote a certain organisation, after a certain incident, at a certain hotel:

    “Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.”

    The Unionists can sit and throw stones all day, every day. Only one needs to get through. Instead of trying to craft the perfect defences we should be stocking up on stones, lots and lots of stones.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. .The failure to reframe the debate and nail the lies of 2014 will be fatal. In a fight to the death the establishment will do what it takes to retain control of Scotland. Can we hire Mick Lynch ?

    Liked by 4 people

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