Thursday, 29 October 2015

If all you care about is independence, you're an idiot

You have to watch ideologies. Once they build up a head of steam, it becomes hard to stop them going too far, at which point they begin to wreck discourse.

It feels to me as if Scottish nationalism is becoming, or has become, one such ideology. 

If Scottish nationalism means thinking that Scotland should be an independent nation, and that Scottish culture and language are a thing, then count me an adherent. For all the protestations during the referendum that none of us Yes supporters were really nationalists, to varying degrees we probably all were.

For those Yes supporters still adamant that there’s not a nationalist bone in their body - fine. But we all have to take responsibility for the direction of Scottish nationalism if we ever want to see the movement for independence succeed.

Maybe today is just one of my bad days, but it seems like the optimistic, outward-looking, inclusive movement I was so proud to be part of in the summer of 2014 has died an ignominious, off-screen death and been reanimated by idiots.







                 
I don’t doubt the existence of nice, smart, sane Nats - indeed, I know many of them. In fact, I know they are in the majority. But the minority are loud. Too loud, very “proactive” on social media (although the word in this case seems counter-intuitive), and obnoxious to boot.

I am losing track of the amount of aneurysm-inducing conversations I’ve had with “my own” side. One such exchange was just the other week, during the unbelievably depressing stramash that occurred on the political twitter-sphere in the wake of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup defeat to Australia.

“Surely,” an idiot tweeted, “if you’re implicitly against the idea of Scotland being a nation, then you are by definition anti-Scottish?”

This kind of coarse logic, completely devoid of empathy for those who disagree, completely unwilling to even try and understand why they might, is more commonplace than many of the nice, smart, sane Nats I know can possibly be comfortable with – the idea of the “90 minute patriot” that Jim Sillars so regrettably introduced into the Scottish political lexicon over 20 years ago.

My girlfriend voted No. My grandmother voted No. Friends of mine, colleagues of mine, classmates of mine voted No. For my girlfriend’s birthday, I put her presents in a tartan gift bag and wrote on the accompanying card: “Sorry about the tartan. I know you hate Scotland.”

For the avoidance of doubt, this is what is called a joke. The idea that people who I might once have considered allies are saying this kind of thing without irony is tragic and dispiriting.

I’m from a middle-class town called North Berwick, a half-hour drive from Edinburgh, which heavily voted No. They were unconvinced by the economic case, by the arguments on currency, on mortgages, on pensions. Polls do not suggest any great shift among these people.

Like it or not, these were and are their concerns, and they were and remain legitimate until we produce arguments that win them over. Lots of people like this rejected the independence proposition because they simply didn’t believe it was the right choice.

If we don’t engage with those 2 million plus and understand their decision, instead of using sporting occasions to castigate them and question their patriotism, newsflash: we will never, ever win.

There’s a similar attitude to the “mainstream” media (THE BIASED MSM©), with the ever-growing sense that anything critical of the SNP government or individuals within the party is a Unionist smear-campaign designed to discredit the Scottish people.

I can’t say I don’t get it. You’d be hard-placed to find a Yes campaigner who wasn’t pissed off at media coverage during the referendum. But snarling at fair-minded, decent journalists on Twitter, like James Cook from the BBC, or Mandy Rhodes from Holyrood magazine, or Kevin McKenna from the Guardian, will do no-one any favours at all. 

A personal favourite example of this is probably the person who called for a boycott of all No-supporting newspapers - including the Guardian, whose pro-independence columnists have included Mike Small, Lesley Riddoch and Irvine Welsh (to name three of many) - as well as The Herald. 

The Herald - whose final editorial line by referendum day was a cautious, qualified No, flirting with neutrality - is, of course, owned by the Herald Group, who also own Scotland’s only pro-independence newspapers, the Sunday Herald and the National. 

I asked if they were planning to boycott them too. Someone responded: “Point taken, but no.”

Media literacy is not the same thing as implacable hostility to the media.

               


We need to understand the function of journalism in a democratic society. Citizens have a right to hold journalists to account, but dismissing any and all journalism that contains criticism of the SNP as simply another addition to the “#SNPBAD” hashtag is diversionary and pathetic.

It also sends a disquieting message: journalism that contains criticism of the Nationalists or their government is not real journalism, and is not worthy of consideration.

The reflexive mockery of anything critical of the SNP is an understandable response to the sense many Nationalists and other independence supporters have had of being hounded for years by an almost uniformly hostile press.

But the old media is changing before our eyes. For one thing, four of Scotland’s eight newspapers endorsed the SNP at the last General Election.

The old media is also shrinking; ceding territory in the digital era. A minority of nationalists glory in the ever-diminishing workforce of The Scotsman, like their glee at the fate of hundreds of Scots steelworkers. “Karma chumps,” as one of them tweeted, due to the Steelworkers’ Union backing for a No vote. 

However fringe a view this might be, it’s not that hard to come across, and represents a level of spite that will create nothing but alienation. 

Unfortunately, it’s not even just perceived No’s getting this sort of treatment. Other pro-independence organisations are beginning to experience similarly myopic, reductive arguments.  

One friend of mine, part of new pro-indy left-wing alliance RISE, has said he has been accused of being “a splitter” and even “a secret unionist”, and thinks there are “a rising number of ‘you’re either with us or you’re against us’ SNP members.”

His planned SNP constituency vote in next May’s Holyrood elections is now in doubt.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Greens faced accusations of betrayal for daring to oppose Full Fiscal Autonomy, based on a principled position they had maintained throughout the referendum campaign that fiscal powers would be insufficient and potentially even damaging without control over monetary policy.

You can agree or disagree with that, but alienating the Greens for their position is surely detrimental to the cause of the independence movement.

There is a nasty, personal, paranoid and perennially upset politics growing within pro-independence networks, and I do not believe it is merely restricted to a periphery of zoomers on social media.

The never-dull blog ‘A Thousand Flowers’ would be the first to admit that they really, really don’t like Tommy Sheridan – and it is a fair comment to suggest that their reports on the Solidarity-run ‘Hope Over Fear’ rallies might come with an obvious agenda.

Nonetheless, they have made increasingly sobering reading. 

At the most recent, last month, they report “bubbling away not so far under the surface” is “some backwards, worrying rhetoric.”

From one speaker who “furiously bellowed about ‘traitors’”, to another who spoke of “a proud Celtic nation about to break with their foreign masters”, it gets rather hard to dismiss this stuff as the hyperbole of an overzealous fringe when it’s produced on a stage at a rally with thousands of people.

“Oh, but Tommy’s not the independence movement,” you might argue. And you’d be right. But in the space of a year, his ‘Hope Over Fear’ organisation has staked out a large claim within that movement on the back of strident rhetoric of an increasingly ethnic nationalist bent.

This stridency and anger is also exemplified in sections of the pro-independence media and blogosphere – with ‘Wings Over Scotland’ the most well-known example.

Disclaimer: I often enjoy Wings, and Stu has always been pleasant to me. I used his website as a resource during the referendum and thought it contained some of the best analysis anywhere in the media – new or old. 

But with the referendum over, a bitterness permeates his writing, while the negative reaction to his abuse of JK Rowling was laughed off as people getting upset at a bit of potty mouth against a billionaire. His comments section laughed along, peppered with the odd personal attack on Rowling. 

Like most Yessers, I was hardly delighted when Rowling came out for No. But I could at least respect her for putting her money where her mouth was. What is anyone getting out of attacking her personally now?

At such times it feels as though Rev Stu has abandoned any notion of persuasion in favour of preaching abrasively to the converted, while carving out a niche for himself as prince of the ad hominem.

But he’s always been the abrasive sort, courting controversy. That can make for decent or at least entertaining journalism, but whether he (or any of his pro-indy detractors) like it or not, Stu now finds himself an important figurehead in Scotland’s independence movement.

Even in 2013, he was writing posts validating the hardline nationalist view that a No-voter was not a real patriot:

Jim Sillars got in a lot of trouble in the early 1990s for calling Scottish people ‘90-minute patriots’, suggesting that they were proud Scots for the duration of football matches but then happy to meekly submit to UK rule after the final whistle. He quickly backed away from the line under a barrage of criticism, even though it was demonstrably true.

“Happy to meekly submit” is not really very far away from “quisling” in terms of connotative meaning. I wonder how many No voters would merrily agree that they are indeed - “demonstrably” - meek, submissive cowards?

It’s fair to say the Rev isn’t exactly mellowing with age, but his influence since the referendum has grown markedly. He should consider that more thoughtfully.

He is not alone. The SNP too need to watch what they’re doing. This brings us to English Votes for English Laws

Let’s acknowledge a few things here. 

First: up until very recently, the policy of the SNP’s Westminster contingent was not to vote on matters that only affect England - period. Exceptions have recently been made - or threatened - over tuition fees and fox-hunting. 

Secondly, the Tories promised EVEL in their manifesto and won a majority, meaning they have as clear a mandate to put it into law as the SNP did to call the independence referendum in 2011. 

Third: Nicola Sturgeon has already let us know via Twitter that she’s actually rather pleased with EVEL, as she thinks it “will drive support for independence”.

Going by social media, you’d be inclined to agree with her, with every aggrieved nationalist out baying for Cameron’s blood and having hysterical legal debates about whether or not EVEL has breached the Acts of Union.

And apparently, a whole bunch of people who want an independent Scotland now think it is an outrage that a Scot might never again be UK Prime Minister.

But what do the 2 million plus who voted No think? Will spittle-flecked members of the Scottish Resistance be able to convince them that this “feeble, milquetoast” Parliamentary reform (in the words of Lalland Peat Worrier) constitutes the relegation to second-class citizenry that will compel them to cast a future Yes vote?

Colour me unconvinced.

But where are the keyboard warriors taking their cues from? 

Well - the SNP for starters. Nearly all of their MPs have rounded on the long-heralded change with hyperbole worthy of having just had the Enabling Act thrust on them. As pro-indy commentator and former broadcaster Derek Bateman put it

Some of the Nationalist hysteria is enough to induce a wry smile and a knowing wink - this is one we can build a grievance on.

But the people who do most of the brick-work in building these grievances are social media users and activists - and more often than not, they take it to extremes.

That’s what scares me about a Donald Trump or a Nigel Farage - I see the stuff they’re willing to come out with on TV or in print and I think, “Christ, if that’s what they’re saying, I wonder what their supporters are like.”

So when Stewart Hosie seemed to quite deliberately conflate, at his recent Party Conference speech, criticism of the SNP’s record in government with “talking Scotland down”, is anyone surprised that the more ardent nationalists adopt a “you’re either with us or you’re against us” mindset, or wind up using expressions like “traitors” and “anti-Scottish”?

Take a look at any number of the Scottish nationalist groups proliferating on Facebook, many with thousands, some with tens of thousands of members. Paranoia, conspiracism, descriptions of Scotland as enslaved or oppressed, and death wishes against Tory politicians are all rife.

Lifted from one of the ubernat Facebook groups

 Note: the fanatical Unionists are just as bad and often worse, and also take their cues from politicians, journalists and prominent figures. The ugliest example of narrow tribalism I have come across comes from a Unionist, and former Labour MP, David Hamilton, who described “the Nationalists” as “our enemy all of our lives” (before rather more infamously going on to describe Nicola Sturgeon as “the wee lassie with a tin helmet on”).

Talk of enemies and traitors is in the political air now, and it is not only poisonous to discourse but dangerous too. As much as the majority of people don’t think this way, nationalism of this kind is able to breed virulently in the right conditions - in an atmosphere of endless grievance and counter-grievance.

You will never hear me say that nationalism, broadly defined, is inherently bad or cannot do good things. It can and it has, in many countries. I’m not all of a sudden saying Scottish nationalism in of itself is a bad thing - indeed I think, as far as nationalisms go, and certainly until recently, ours has been relatively positive.

But when the “hardcore fringe” begins to number in the many thousands, I believe we need to take a good, long hard look at why that is so. 

For these nationalists, the independence question is all that matters. Everything they think - about politics, about economics, about other people - stems from the binary mindset of “you’re either for independence/Scotland/the SNP or against”. An increasing illogic seeps in, a paranoia that sees media bias in the most neutral, balanced of analyses, and is fed by an echo chamber that pro-independence politicians and the nascent pro-independence media surely have a duty to try and bring back to reality, rather than fan its flames.

                       

If Scottish independence is all you care about then you need to open your eyes and take a look at the world.

We can say all of this is just the preserve of a minority and dismiss it if we like - again. I did this often and loudly myself during the referendum campaign, in the face of the hysterical campaign of harassment against “cybernats” by the tabloids. 

We can point out that the Unionist trolls are just as bad or worse if we like - again. That’s fine, and maybe even true.

We can cast it all as an unfortunate feature of an irrelevant social media echo-chamber - but that would be mistaken. The pro-independence movement was built online, and many independence supporters - including myself - use social media as a vital resource for keeping informed.

People argue that social media doesn’t constitute “reality”. Of course it does. It’s people who use it, after all. Indeed, as a conduit for allowing people to say what they really think, it arguably provides more insight than debating with strangers in a pub.  

Are the people who will dismiss the arguments made in this article so certain that the unpleasant, febrile atmosphere that can easily be discovered within pro-independence networks online has not manifested or will not manifest itself similarly on the streets, in the “real world”? 

Are they sure the prominent voices within the independence movement who function as key influencers for such groups bear absolutely no responsibility for the rhetoric of the “zoomers”?

The reality is that there are idiots in our ranks - and they’re getting louder. The movement for independence needs to get its head around why that is - and then do something about it.


22 comments:

  1. Great article, very valid points, the reason I have left a number of Facebook groups since the referendum is down to the idiotic idea that the SNP can do no wrong. The greens being the only credible party that can hold SNP to account is a shame. The more constructive opposition the SNP face, the better their policy would become. SNP member and sick of the idiot described hijacking the cause.

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  2. Excellent piece thanks. Loki: 'The paradox of nationalism is that you actually do your country a great disservice by blindly supporting and validating government.'

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  3. Minor point here (and nothing on the thrust of your argument) but I'm not sure I'd associate Kevin McKenna with "fair-minded" really.

    I'm an advocate of cycling - namely, the utilitarian, near ubiquitious cycling of The Netherlands and Denmark. Unfortunately, Mr. KcKenna wrote an unhinged article about it, putting him in the same august company as ... umm... Rod Liddle, Jeremy Clarkson and Matthew Parris - the latter of whom notoriously called for people on bikes to be decapitated. Easily a full house in the "Cyclist Hate Bingo Card" https://www.flickr.com/photos/carltonreid/10739147314/

    Here's the article in question:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/28/stop-pampering-scottish-cyclists

    and he followed it up with another moronic dig in a later article:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/26/scotland-balance-books-tax-cyclists-and-joggers

    Ever since then, I've taken a rather cock-eyed view of his oeuvre and can see echoes of his deranged hatred of cycling in it. Despite his avowed socialist leanings, his rhetorical style - hyperbole, fabulation and bluster isn't not a million miles away from your typical right-wing reactionary hack - his history with the Scottish Daily Mail somewhat bears that out.

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    1. Yes, Kev has an odd bee in his bonnet about cycling, - or maybe just the noisiest of many bees.

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  5. To a small degree I agree that some Nats are over enthusiastic... but... you seem to have lost the reasoning behind their "enthusiasm"... as for decades the establishment that politically controlled Scotland allowed anyone with nationalist leanings to be hammered... "tartan tories " being a mild example of their childish name calling.... however.. behind their underhand dealings they stitched up Scotland by hiding the McCrone report... "" chronically in surplus ""... or had wee secret meetings between the great "intellectual" Brown & one Mingus Campbell in order to gerrymander any democratic election that would empower the SNP...
    So.. my two examples are as nothing in comparison to the innumerable devious manipulations that the No Scots employed during their disastrous tenure in control of Scotland... therefore ....they reap what they sow.
    These complaints are over & above the daily grind of living amongst a third world infrastructure that an Oil rich country supported by No people have graciously seen as acceptable... and I make no excuse for not being a rabid SNP supporter.. in fact I find their attitude... too middle of the road to appeal....

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  6. Great article which I enjoyed reading. The child of an English mother and a Dad who was Clydebank born and bred... I refuse to choose between either "Nationalistic identity" but declare myself British at any opportunity.

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  7. What can say but, honest.
    Well done ��.

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  8. A great article, thanks for writing it. I agree with much of it and it nails a few things that have been worrying me since we lost the referendum. What follows is anecdotal evidence/therapy.

    I certainly don’t think the situation is hopeless, once you strip out the vanishingly small number of out and out zoomers we’re left with a lot of passionate, energetic people who unfortunately don’t have the first clue about effective campaigning but want to do something.

    I know a lot of otherwise perfectly nice, reasonable people who come across like total arsewits on social media, who’ll happily sit up all night arguing with an obvious troll but
    didn’t chap a door or deliver so much as a leaflet during the indyref. Similarly, even during the
    referendum campaign there were folk who actually felt they’d made a real contribution because they went to a meeting or a rally, or if they were super active went to all the rallies
    and meetings they could. Curiously enough these are usually the same folk who think the referendum was fixed but want another one next week anyway.

    So that’s their bad points but they’re also well meaning, as far from blood and soil nationalism as you can get, generally left leaning and I believe people who could prove to be an asset.

    The central Yes campaign, in my view failed to train enough activists and were very fortunate there were so many experienced and talented people willing to take the initiative at grassroots level. Imagine how many activists we’d have now if they’d done more than announce activist training, invite sign ups and go on to train three men, a dog and a shop mannequin or however many it was.

    In addition I think it was a mistake for the official Yes campaign to simply wind down. Had it continued as a scaled down research and activist training organisation, it could have provided a useful place for many who now faithfully trot along to Hope Over Fear rallies. Regardless of what you or I think of HOF, it is providing leadership and activity for the Yes movement. It wouldn’t be that hard to provide better and more constructive leadership, we’re failing to do so and we either address that or leave them in charge.

    Yep, there is a troubling zoomer element but it’s ranks are swollen but folk who have something useful to give. Yes, they’re as frustrated as they are frustrating, yes they get a bit carried away but they’re not useless. They have potential, if someone is willing to realise it.



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  10. Good article with minor flaws on the Rev and his inability to correct mistakes based on the wee blue book , he only ever focused on one year and his claims on oil were fantastical , especially his claims on oil over last 40 years.

    http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/wings-and-his-wee-blue-book-of-errors.html

    http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/wings-wee-blue-book-of-errors-part-ii.html

    I also agree in part about abuse although I feel nationalist are far worse and commit about 80% + of that abuse ! a simple list of who in the world of UK television , film and sport who got abused during the referendum and after will see the abused pro union list about 100 + times longer than the nationalist list.

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  11. Really good article. I am absolutly with you. The positivity of the YES movement during the Indy campaign has disapated and the tone has become much darker.

    Folk need to keep debating and trying to change minds but stay respectful and calm down a bit.

    You don't catch flies with vinegar as they say.

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  12. You've written an honest piece. Now, if you're on twitter, be prepared to be called a Unionist stooge, a traitor, a quisling, and being asked who is paying you for this, just as Iain McWhirter was for covering (very mildly) the scandal surrounding Michelle Thompson. The great scandal was that Business for Scotland is an SNP front – and still calls itself a non partisan think tank. All part of the lies and bad faith and the bad economics and the bad history which was the nightmare of the referendum campaign.

    90 minutes of patriotism is enough for anyone in peacetime in a liberal democracy. At a sports event, a jubilee, a coronation, a rock festival, a Burns night wave your flags with impunity. It's harmless and fun. But waving them for political purposes is very dangerous & that's my memory of the referendum – dismay at the hysterical flag waving.

    Hysterical nationalism will dominate Scotland's politics for the next decade or so. Nationalists give themselves oppressed airs as if they were Kurds or Poles during the Cold War. Negotiation is done by threatening referendums. As you say, criticism is taken as “talking Scotland down”. Everyone is prickly and touchy and every issue – immigration say, - petty point scoring. It miserable parochialism.

    Nationalism has poisoned the country. The literary departments of universities teach with a nationalist slant. The SNP want further control of the universities and will no doubt monkey around with the school curriculum to teach the correct interpretations of history.

    Meanwhile uncertainty surrounds the future of when/if there will be another referendum. I don't think there will but the threat/promise of it is disquieting and I would think discourage businesses from investing here.

    Nationalism is damaging, and European history shows how damaging it can be when unleashed. Scottish nationalism, with its post 60s anti-racism and careful inclusiveness, is less damaging than, say, Serbian nationalism. But it's a dangerous thing to play about with – as some Nationalists like yourself are finally recognising.

    As for Rev Stu –. He's pleasant to you – well you agree with him. His abuse of Kevin Hague at chokkablog who counter-crunches his numbers is vile. Eg his twitter “Now I've got Mad Mental Kev “Find me a Daddy” Hague cluttering my timeline again.” - referring to some personal stuff Kevin Hague put on his blog about the various “dads” that floated through his difficult childhood. That is prize shit behaviour – not banter. Nats should feel some disgust that their prominent guru is a fairly repellent human being who can't conduct a civil debate about numbers.

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    1. To echo many of your points Rosie my wife is from Ukraine enough said on the dangers of Nationalism I think.

      I also reiterate your point on business confidence.

      The oil crisis leaves (and will continue to leave) a huge hole in Scotland's public finances, as I highlighted in several blogs back in January. It is simply dishonest of the SNP to continue to claim that independence or indeed Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA) wouldn't make Scots considerably poorer either through lower pensions, less public spend or considerably higher taxes or some combination of all three.

      Independence is dead for a generation on economic grounds alone and we sure as hell dodged a massive bullet last year by voting NO.

      The SNP should take itself above the cybernat rhetoric and admit that to that reality and start addressing how we fill the huge hole in our public finances left by the effective elimination of oil taxation revenue. This will not happen through our own entrepreneurial spirit we rank only behind Tyne and Wear in the UK on new business creation - we seem obsessed with public spending, politicians and the constitution.

      The only way we will recover is through massive inward investment so we have to make ourselves attractive to external inventors and that means ridding ourselves of political uncertainty around independence. We should also rethink our hatred of fracking as there's massive potential in Scotland in this area.

      Anyway nice to see a YES voter with some intelligence on this issue with one exception - Wings. He has no place in Scottish politics with his bile in my view.

      Thanks
      Keith Steele @keithRsteele




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  13. And Sam Mitchell comes along and proves the case...

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  14. Lets start by getting something straight /.. Stuart Campbell isn't , hasn't been or ever likely to be a "Reverend" which may be a good place to ask why he has the need to call himself such ? If he wants to prove his identity otherwise then why doesn't he do it ? https://ahdinnaeken.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/exclusive-fake-reverend-exposed-as-self-serving-sham/ and of course such ramblings as https://ahdinnaeken.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/america-deserved-911-said-reverend-who-laughed-at-it-all-on-tv/ and this sort of behavour are not that of a "decent" human being https://ahdinnaeken.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/wings-over-scotland-creepy-as-fk-3-surveillance-and-intimidation/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=6830&relatedposts_position=1

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  15. Unionists always considered themselves the peers of their fellow Britons throughout this island, and not one iota more 'meek' or 'submissive' because of it. Only thanks to the SNP, and their 'more powers', and EVEL that necessarily comes with 'more powers', is that communality being broken. Unionists never wanted anything to do with that whole saga, and many never wanted anything to do with a Scottish assembly. And all the while the SNP try to orchestrate a crisis in our name, by bitching and moaning about nothing. There are no fanatical unionists anymore. Just cold, informed, hard-earned hatred toward a ridiculous churlish and cultish political movement which has trashed Scotland's reputation forever.

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  16. It's hard to comprehend that anyone with a resonable IQ or even the basic understanding of finance could fall for Stu Campbells financial fiction, Stu Campbell does his best to try to try Kevin Hague presentations that show Campbell's WBB to be not worth the paper its written on. There is other blogs written by intelligent people who have the expertise and IQ's to see Campbells Wee Blue Book for the rubbish it is..see here for comments on both the White Paper "Scotlands future" and Stu Campbells Wee Blue Book from a Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University who should know a thing or two about economics ? "There are many laudable reasons to campaign for Scottish independence. But how far should those who passionately want independence be prepared to go to achieve that goal? Should they, for example, deceive the Scottish people about the basic economics involved? That seems to be what is happening right now. The more I look at the numbers, the clearer it becomes that over the next five or ten years there would more, not less, fiscal austerity under independence." , "Their analysis is unequivocal. Scotland’s fiscal position would be worse as a result of leaving the UK for two main reasons. First, demographic trends are less favourable. Second, revenues from the North Sea are expected to decline. This tells us that under current policies Scotland would be getting an increasingly good deal out of being part of the UK " ..and on the Wee Blue Book" in particular "This is certainly the impression I get from reading a lot of literature as I researched this post. The arguments in the Wee Blue Book are exactly that: no sustained economic argument, but just a collection of random quotes and debating points to make a problem go away. When the future fiscal position is raised, we are so often told about the past. I too think past North Sea oil was squandered, but grievance does not put money into a future Scottish government’s coffers. I read that forecasting the future is too uncertain, from people who I am sure think about their future income when planning their personal spending. I read about how economists are always disagreeing, when in this case they are pretty united. (Of course you can always find a few who think otherwise, just as you can find one or two who think austerity is expansionary.), So there you have it..the Wee Blue Book attempts to simply cover up the facts that Scotland would have been substantially worse of if it has voted YES. Read more for yourself here
    http://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/scotland-and-snp-fooling-yourselves-and.html
    Here is another educated accound of the Wee Blue book by " Scots Landing" a "Scots University Academic "
    Of all the arguments for independence put forward in the book, the idea that Scotland will be wealthier is probably the flimsiest of those on offer. As I’ve written in another article, claims about Scotland subsidising the rest of the UK are 1) not strictly true and 2) largely irrelevant in any case. On the “who subsidises who” argument there seems to have been a concerted effort on the part of Yes campaigners to ignore the 2012-13 GERS figures produced by the Scottish government which (somewhat inconveniently) showed that Scotland received 9.3% of the UK’s spending while only generating 9.1% of the UK’s taxation revenue – and that’s with a geographic share of oil. If pushed they generally just cite the fact that it’s only “one year” and quote the last five years’ figures as an alternative." Again the whole blog is worth a read to help understand how bad the Wings data actually is https://scotslanding.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/dissecting-wings-over-scotlands-wee-blue-book-and-why-im-still-a-no-voter/

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  17. part 2 : Note here is more Wings over Scotland "fact" busting, See how Fraser Whyte has corrected errors pointed out to him by Stuart Campbell and yet Stuart Campbell's error riddled work has not been corrected even once despite many people pointing errors out time after time after time..the aim can only be to continue to try to deceive by not admitting the Wee Blue Book is deeply flawed. https://whytepaper.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/meme-busting-wings-over-scotland-infrastructure-spending/
    Last but not least Kevins Hagues blog, as someone has already given you the two links that completely destroy the Wee Blue Book's credibility, i'd like to offer you Kevins original presentation on the White Paper (Scotlands Future". that demonstrates quite clearly that Scotlands economy is quite obviously in a much worse state that RUK (ie Scotland running the worst annual deficit in Europe). http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/chokkablog-videos.html Stu Campbell likes to try to rubbish Kevins data but they CAN be beleived totally as revealed by the own words of an SNP MP that Kevin met face to face recently " They started by flattering me: I was clearly a bright and decent guy and during the referendum I had been the only proper challenge on the numbers." I reckon that should be a very good reason to stop trashing Kevin Hague or continue beleiving whats written in the Wee Blue Book. A link to Kevins blog on his meeting with the SNP MP is here http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/the-absolutely-fabulous-snp.html

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  18. Great piece Dan. You've got a new regular reader.

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  19. Looking forward to seeing your reply when you have your essay finished, just in case you or anyone else hasn't yet understood where we WOULD actually be as a nation if we had voted YES http://www.economicsuk.com/blog/002120.html and http://www.cityam.com/224489/scottish-independence-plummeting-price-oil-would-have-plunged-scotland-deep-depression I hope you are actually taking time to look at all the references i've posted because while you logic on the human issues are good your arguements for Independence based on realistic Economics is very very weak ie beleiving that whatever Stu said was true..it isn't and won't ever be. It's really about time that "Yessers woke up to the fact they were spun nothing but lies ..ie see this tweet from 2013 as an example..there was no data at all to show there was going to be an Oil Boom it was a blatent lie to con people itno voting YES instead. History proves it was a lie. https://mobile.twitter.com/yesscotland/status/310700380390555648

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