Scotland has a new governor general, Alistair Carmichael has replaced Hermann Moorester because Westminster wants a bruiser to lead the anti-indy campaign, and David Cameron needs a stand-in for a debate with the Eck.
Davie can’t be seen getting involved in the independence debate, people might think he was Scotland’s Prime Minister or something.
Apparently the tone from Westminster hasn’t been negative enough, and the No vote – the default position – has continued to sag in the polls despite Project Fear’s barrage of lemons for the Scottish media to sook on. Hermann Moore was negative, but he did it with a sad face and George Osborne thought his heart wasn’t really in it. Project Fear needs more shouting, smearing, and questions that are only difficult because Westminster refuses to provide an answer to them.
Unfortunately Westminster is forced to select from a small and diminishing gene pool. The Bullington Boys just can’t get the staff these days. Paddington Mundell would struggle to bruise an overripe tomato, and as a stuffed toy and not a real bear he pretty much rules himself out. Danny Alexander is busy on a youth training placement with Darth Vader, and Jo Swinson is fully occupied furthering the position of women in politics as Nick Clegg’s tea-lady. So that just leaves Alistair Carmichael as Westminster’s bruiser of choice.
They have to make the best of the poor hand they’ve been dealt, which is why the papers have been full of reports informing us that Alistair is a big hitter. What the reports didn’t mention was that “big hitter” reference is to his score in Angry Birds.
Although Alistair reportedly has a track record for haranguing BBC staff members, for the rest of the Scottish population being threatened by Alistair is indeed like being savaged by a bear, albeit a koala bear. With a diet consisting solely of eucalyptus, the No campaign is hoping that Koalamichael’s fresh breath will cover up the stinking smell of the message.
But we shouldn’t underestimate him. Koalas can be deadly, according to recent news reports koala urine is loaded with the chlamydia virus which makes your wullie hurt, unlike the virus of nationalism which makes Wullie Rennie hurt.
In an effect to dissuade Scots from getting into bed with the nasty nats, Koalamichael’s tactic will be to turn the indy debate into a urinary tract infection. So no great change there then. Rank discharges issuing from bellends is pretty much all we’ve seen from Westminster so far.
The truth is that the No campaign’s options are limited. In the absence of a positive case for the Union, a clear statement on what “extra powers” Holyrood will be offered after a No vote, or any willingness from David Cameron to debate the issue, turning the campaign into a stream of rancid urine is the only tactic they have left.
This is because the No campaign is desperate to avoid engaging the public. They didn’t want this debate in the first place, and they certainly don’t want the Scottish public to think it through for themselves. The paucity of the anti-independence argument cannot withstand even casual scrutiny. When the greatest intellectual defence the Union can muster is articulated by Magrit Curran – a woman who is to incisive thought as a game of Operation with a dead battery is to neurosurgery – you know they’re in trouble.
A series of recent debates have shown that once voters engage with the issues around independence, people previously considering a No vote switch to Yes, often without bothering to pass through Don’t Know on the way. This occurs even when the debate is framed negatively, much to the surprise of Kirsty Wark and the production team of BBC2′s Newsnight last month.
The tone was set with background graphics assuring the audience that Scotland would be amongst the SMALLEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD (in capital letters just so we wouldn’t miss it), and the debate was held on the Union Bridge over the Tweed which we were helpfully informed was a symbol of the unity between the two nations. It was all straight from the Better Together songbook.
Showing her faultless grasp of joined up logic yet again, Magrit Curran was on hand to tell the audience that she doesn’t want her children in England to turn into foreigners. Although she somewhat spoiled her own point, such as it was, by admitting that she felt Irishness was a part of her identity too. Kirsty failed to pick Magrit up on this, preferring to verbally assault Nicola Sturgeon about currency.
Despite the Land of Hope and Glory mood music, the audience of undecideds returned a pro-indy majority of 68%. An obviously rattled Kirsty muttered that the result wasn’t scientifically valid. This point also holds for the anti-independence arguments, as the audience on the Union Bridge could see all too clearly.
Meanwhile students at Abertay University, 59% of whom declared themselves No voters at the start of the debate, found themselves being subjected to a meandering rant by George Killing Nationalism Stone Dead Robertson, who assured them that Scots have no culture. But if we stay in the Union we can have a culture, the No Campaign are keeping it in a petri dish in the clap clinic for us. Alistair Carmichael will produce a sample on demand.
The students were unconvinced and realised that nothing George said couldn’t be cured by a course of antibiotics, which in Scotland you can get free on prescription. If we stay with the Union it’s likely our NHS will be privatised, meaning a cure for Unionist clap will be out of reach for many.
The debate saw a No majority turn into a Yes majority of 51%. That’ll be George killing nationalism stone dead again. Let’s all give him a big clap.
The reason this is happening is because scare stories follow the law of diminishing returns. Eventually the point comes where the scare stories pass the invisible dividing line between Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead. The No Campaign is now deep into Scary Movie VI territory, recycling old gags with a bigger budget.
The No campaign is all astroturf and no grassroots. The problem with negative campaigning when you have little or no grassroots support is that it’s like an erection in a viagra famine. It can only be kept up for a short while, and then it fails to penetrate. By that time your butchness credentials are shrivelled, wilted, and the object of widespread derision.
The only remedy is to keep pumping up the wee Wullie with the oxygen of media appearances. Which explains all you need to know about the leader of the Scottish Lib Dems. But as the scare stories lose their traction, they can only go in one direction. Down the clap clinic with the koalas.
Last week’s dose of the clap dialed the scareometer up to 11. It’s going to cost Scotland billions to establish a defence force, and for that money all we’ll get is a telephone hotline and a recorded message saying “We surrender” in Korean, Chinese, Russian and Arabic. Assuming we adopt MoD cost control practices, that is.
There was plenty more in a similar vein. We can expect plenty more to come. But it’s not going to work. The Yes campaign has thousands of willing volunteers who are motivated, enthused, and positive about an inclusive, progressive future in an independent Scotland. Positivity is infectious, it’s the virus of Scottish nationalism, and it’s getting spread door-to-door and in meetings, debates, and gatherings across the land.