Sunday, 28 December 2014

Buttons

There are a couple of articles in the Telegraph yesterday guaranteed to raise the temperature of the most mild-mannered of independence supporters.

The first is by Christopher Booker and is short, but not sweet.  The second is by Bruce Anderson and is a much longer (and more tedious) read.

In both cases the same old buttons are pressed, looking for a reaction from the people of Scotland.  Interestingly they don't really get that reaction in the comments below, which are also pretty button-pressing in their own right.

So what are these buttons?

1. All Scots hate the English
Last September, when it seemed possible that the United Kingdom might be torn asunder, many people wondered why the Scots had become consumed with such bile towards the English (Christopher Brooker)
2. Scots are all subsidy junkies, living on benefits
Today, it seems as if the only political argument in Scotland is the struggle between the Nats and Labour for voters in the Central Belt, many of whom live on benefits, most of whom used to be unthinking Labour supporters. Enterprise Scotland, aspirational Scotland, hard-working Scotland: all are being ignored in a competition for the support of those who, if offered a job, would run a mile.  (Bruce Anderson)
As long as Scotland is part of the Union, the English are entitled to prevent the Scottish government from implementing crazy policies – because otherwise, England will have to pay the bills.   (Bruce Anderson)
 If the Scots were indulged with devo max, the Highlands would be blighted. The Scottish financial sector – still an indispensable part of the Scottish economy – would migrate to England, as would the great majority of entrepreneurially minded Scots. Anyone with any get-up-and-go would get up and leave. Under devo max, the English would find themselves subsidising Scotland’s ruination. (Bruce Anderson)
3. The SNP are a new form of Nazi party
Indeed, there might seem to be so little distinction between Labour and the Nats that they could easily join forces. As no one else is using the label at the moment, why not call themselves National Socialists? (Bruce Anderson)
There are no guillotines or concentration camps in Scotland. But even though most Nats have never heard of Rousseau, they are his disciples, behaving as if anyone who does not share their version of Scottishness is not a proper Scot.  (Bruce Anderson)
4. Alex Salmond is a joke, as is the Scottish parliament
But today much of that glory has departed. The Scots have turned in on themselves, becoming petty, sour and envious. Alex Salmond may have his absurd dreams of a Scotland that can somehow “go it alone”, disfigured by thousands of useless windmills, dependent on North Sea oil just when its value is plummeting and it is fast running out. But this once clever politician looked increasingly like little more than an inflated Third World bullfrog, as he presided over that joke of a “government”.  (Christopher Brooker)
5. Cybernats and intimidation
During the campaign, there was a great deal of physical intimidation. The moral intimidation continues, and so far, we have seen little in the way of counter-attack. (Bruce Anderson)
6. Too wee, too poor, too stupid
It is worth making a brief excursion into philosophical piquancy. In 1765, Jean-Jacques Rousseau met David Hume in Paris. A man of immense good nature sustained by a stoical Tory scepticism, Hume was one of the glories of the Scottish Enlightenment. Neither he nor his Edinburgh nor that Enlightenment could have existed without the Union. (Bruce Anderson)
 Although the dole junkies of the Central Belt would be consumed with rage, they would not be half-witted enough to vote for independence if there were no means of paying their benefit. If it should turn out that I am over-estimating their intelligence, let them go. (Bruce Anderson)
English politicians allowed themselves to be bounced into Gordon Brown’s vow, which amounted to giving the Nats all the devolution they asked for, even if that meant turning Scotland into a separate – and wretchedly governed – country. (Bruce Anderson)
The reason why the Scots have come to this pass is that their once-proud nation has become a sad provincial backwater. They have lost their self-respect. (Christopher Brooker)

And so on and so tediously on.

And yet, interestingly, you can detect a note of real fear under the rhetoric.  The patrician dismissal of Scotland as a poor country full of ignorant savages unaware of their own history sounds to me like people whistling in the dark, trying to comfort themselves from something they find pretty scary.

We're going to see a lot more of this type of rhetoric in the first half of next year, during the general election campaign.  We need to recognise these button-pressing articles for what they are and not rise to the bait. The Establishment seem to be afraid of our independence, so we must be doing something right.

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