Fuel for anger

That’ll be one more thing that supposedly helps drive up support for Yes without that increase in support ever being reflected in the polls. Just like Boris Johnson becoming British Prime Minister was supposed to drive up support for Yes and Brexit was supposed to drive up support for Yes and countless other things were supposed to drive up support for Yes. Yet despite all this help, the polling for Yes has flatlined since 2014.

But as is so often the case, the headline is misleading (Joanna Cherry: Tory attack on human rights will help drive up support for Yes). So misleading, in fact, that Joanna Cherry is entitled to feel annoyed about the misrepresentation of her expressed views. Nowhere in her column does she say that the British state’s assault on human rights will help drive up support for Yes. What she says is that it “can only aid the case for independence”.

Some may protest that this is hair-splitting. But I assure you it is not. What Joanna Cherry actually says versus the borderline dishonest claim in the headline offers a clue as to why all these claimed Yes boosters have failed to do any of the boosting claimed. It’s because these boosters don’t work on their own. The assorted iniquities of the British political elite “aid the case for independence”. But only if making the case for independence is itself driving up support for Yes will boosting that effect have anything to work on. For there to be a booster effect, there must be an effect that can be boosted.

The truth that Sturgeon/SNP loyalists find so unpalatable is that the Sturgeon/SNP approach to the constitutional issue which focuses almost exclusively on making a positive case for independence hasn’t worked since 2014. It probably stopped working some time before the fateful vote in September of that year. But it definitely hasn’t been at all effective since.

It may be argued that there has been no actual campaign over the past eight years. An argument frequently deployed by people who also insist that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP and they themselves have never stopped campaigning. They are, of course, oblivious to the mess of contradictions involved in simultaneously claiming that various things are driving up support for Yes while explaining the lack of actual increase in support for Yes by the fact that there has been no real campaign while also claiming that campaigning has never stopped and congratulating themselves, their leader and their party on doing such a superb job of winning people over to Yes when all the evidence indicates that not a single person has been won over to Yes. This, of course, is explained by there having been no campaign despite the simultaneous claim that campaigning has never actually stopped. But the lack of an actual campaign – when not contradicted by the claim of continued campaigning – doesn’t explain why there has been no increase in support for Yes due to the effect of these external factors which are claimed to be driving up support for yes.

Confused? You ought to be! And all this while the polling for Yes sits impassively within the margin of error range of 45%. Arithmetic cares nothing for the wittering of Sturgeon/SNP loyalists. Or misleading headlines in The National.

Joanna Cherry is wrong. Things like the British state’s erosion of human rights don’t “aid the case for independence”. They make the case against the Union. Cue further accusations of hair-splitting. But small discrepancies can have major effects on the effectiveness of a political campaign. Being just a tiny bit off course at the stage of understanding the context in which the campaign is being conducted can mean missing the objective by a huge margin. The longer the journey, the wider the margin. It is absolutely essential to understand as fully as possible where you are starting from before plotting a path to where you want to be.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, a single-issue political campaign is no place for partisan prejudices and preferences. Tribal loyalties and antipathies can only distort understanding of place and direction. Those tribal loyalties blind the afflicted to failings and failures that may be seriously detrimental to Scotland’s cause.

The Tory (Wrong! British!) attack on human rights will not drive up support for Yes. Nor does it directly “aid the case for independence”. The appalling behaviour of the British political elite has the potential to help Scotland’s cause. But that potential will only be realised if these things are used to fuel a concerted effort to make a case against the Union powerful enough to rouse the anger of Scotland’s people.

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6 thoughts on “Fuel for anger

  1. Lets face it Peter, the Scots are not the French by a long shot, we’re far too apathetic, most Scots will take as much shit is Johnson can throw at them and just moan about it but do nothing, that’s why we’ve been stuck in this union for over 300 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What ‘nationalist’ politicians seem still unable to comprehend is that people do not necessarily vote on what is in their best interests, their vote is based largely on their ‘values’. What determines our values is culture, and the environment in which our culture is influenced and developed. Culture (and language) is what gives us our identity, and hence emotion in that respect. In any imperial or colonial environment there is also something called ‘cultural assimilation’ and the ‘colonial mindset’. Lets not forget here the well-established theories of ‘cultural imperialism’ and ‘cultural colonialism’. Many Scots are well aware of the ‘Scottish cultural cringe’, though less certain of how to define it or why it exists. All of which suggests that ‘culture’ and the way in which an imposed alien culture gives a people their ‘values’ (and identity) forms a key determinant of Scottish independence.


    Liked by 3 people

  3. Shakespeare’s plays were set in Denmark, Scotland, Verona twice, a mythical island, Venice twice, Athens, Rome at least twice, Egypt, Troy, and some were even set in England.

    That was cultural diversity, 400 years ago.

    The most popular Scottish playwight/dramatist of today is probably Armando Iannucci (Shakespeare also wrote comedies), who you would accuse of ‘cultural assimilation’. Culture is such that most people have probably watched his work and most people don’t know who he is. I would think that most Scots don’t even know that Lord Byron was Scottish. That should be described as nothing more or less than ignorance.


    1. Having respect for other national cultures and languages is the polar opposite of cultural and linguistic imperialism which seeks only the domination, marginalisation and obliteration of native/national cultures and languages. In instances of independence/decolonization (from cultural oppression and economic and political exploitation), Frantz Fanon noted that:

      “If culture is the expression of national consciousness, I will not hesitate to affirm that..it is national consciousness which is the most elaborate form of culture. National consciousness, which is not nationalism, is the only thing that will give us an international dimension. Far from keeping aloof from other nations, therefore, it is national liberation which leads the nation to play its part on the stage of history. It is at the heart of national consciousness that international consciousness lives and grows. And this two-fold emerging is ultimately the source of all culture.”


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