As the referendum debate has progressed, there has grown an increasing clarity as to what the tactics of ‘Better Together’ are.
Described by some of its very own members as ‘Project Fear’, the shameless assault on the trust and passive ignorance of the people of Scotland (and the rest of the UK) is astonishing.
In years to come, this onslaught of smear, misrepresentation, lies and intimidation will hopefully be consigned to the history books. But make no mistake, it is an onslaught. All you have to do is look at the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of pro-independence campaigners to see daily evidence of these underhand tactics. They don’t even blink if they lie to the electorate. Just look at the Ashcroft polls farce of the last few days: don’t reveal the sources, lie about the figures, stick them on a poster with a photo of Salmond, get someone relatively insignificant to say “Oh that?? That was all just a daft mistake!” and hey presto! Mud sticks. Whatever it is that BT excrete seems to be at least as adhesive.
We don’t want to be talking about this sort of nonsense though, but we cannot simply let the rot get a foothold. We’d rather be talking about the improved democracy an independent Scotland can enjoy, and the ability to affect our OWN futures better, rather than hoping a bunch of unelectable Tories and ‘Lords’ occasionally agree at Westminster. I’d debate that all day long – and win!
What ‘Better Together’ are possibly not realising though is that history is no longer merely the preserve of the victors to record. Should they manage to build upon their base of petrified sheep, the facts will remain, lodged digitally in blogs, independent online news sites and on the social network pages of millions.
There are two main types of ‘Better Together’ follower: the petrified sheep and the arrogant ‘British til I die!’ lot – the latter leading the former. There may be others, but those are the two major groups.
We Scots are often described as having a chip on our shoulders – a description I would argue is false. But false or not, there is a massive, entirely tangible and justifiable one forming right now because of their actions. This is what ‘Better Together’ are inadvertently achieving: a bigger and far deeper distrust of the UK establishment than has possibly ever existed among Scottish citizens before.
If Scotland votes for independence next September, we can move on. We can forget this sorry episode, if not entirely forgive. But it won’t matter – we’ll have a new country and future to build.
If Scotland votes against taking responsibility for itself however, there will be a far greater unofficial campaign than ever before and a very large number of disaffected voters.
‘Better Together’ are making their own bed. I only hope they’re prepared to lie in it.
It’s not a question of if we win, buy when.