Truth and consequences

According to the Guardian, a UK Government minister who the paper claims would play a major role in negotiations following a yes vote – so not Danny Alexander or Alistair Carmichael then – has admitted that a currency union would happen. According to some reports, the person in question is an “uncomfortably senior Tory”.  Which rules out Vince Cable, who would otherwise be the likely suspect.

The truth is it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that our Westminster masters are beginning to realise that the independence campaign is not drowning under a tsunami wave of scare stories. Scotland has learned how to surf. The more they throw in, the higher yes rises.

It was another lost in translation problem with the Scottish vernacular, the UK Government didn’t understand at first that when Scotland responded to Osborne’s threat with “aye, that will be right”, we were not in fact agreeing with him. The penny has now dropped, along with Better Together’s poll ratings. Meanwhile the independence campaign keeps surfing higher.

The minister even admitted what many north of the Border have been saying for a while, that the no to a currency union is a tactic in the referendum campaign, but after a yes vote everything changes and there will be less of the foot-stamping petulance and more of the reasonable discussion on matters of mutual interest. He hinted that Westminster might be willing to enter a currency union, but only if Scotland will negotiate on, say, Trident removal. Which is bound to provoke another “aye, that will be right” from a considerable section of the Scottish populace. Getting rid of the weapons of mass destruction sitting 20 miles from Scotland’s largest population centre is a moral question. A currency union is a matter of money. I know which is more important because I’m not a Tory MP.

But the main point is that Better Together’s currency claims have been debunked, not by a pro-indy blogger, not by an economist, not even by a rogue backbencher. They were debunked by a UK Government minister at the very heart of the anti-independence campaign. Better Together has been sowing a minefield of lies. With a few words in the shell-like of a Guardian journalist who isn’t Severin Carrell, the anonymous minister deliberately trod on the biggest landmine in Project Fear’s armoury. The damage limitation squad was rapidly deployed, but the corpse of the currency threat has exploded into a pink mist. There’s nothing left to put back together.

Of course that hasn’t stopped Better Together’s bitter enders from trying. It’s just people being emotional, as Alistair Carmichael was trotted out to blubber, and as one insider said to the Guardian’s reporter:

“We went early with the currency union announcement in the hope that a rational, rather than an emotional, judgment will prevail among voters,” one Better Together source said. “But people have got to believe we mean it.”

And there’s their problem right there. People don’t believe Better Together on the currency, nor about anything much else. They’ve been caught out too many times in the past. These are the people who brought us the economic crisis, the war in Iraq, the expenses scandal, the lack of accountability in just about every UK institution you care to mention, and on and bloody on… You’d think they’d have realised that their credibility tanks contained nothing but a nasty smell.

In a referendum where the central question for the Unionist campaign is “does Scotland want to give Westminster another chance”, the low esteem in which the public hold the political classes demanded their truth and candour from the beginning. It required the renegotiation of public trust. It meant listening and learning. And if they’d done that they’d have realised that they should have snapped up the offer of a question on the ballot about enhanced devolution, and come up with a credible and meaningful proposal. We’d be in a whole different campaign, and Alistair Darling wouldn’t be knotting his distinctive eyebrows.

Instead we got a promise to conduct a positive campaign followed by a barrage of fear and scares. The entire premise of the Better Together campaign strategy is itself a lie. Disnae bode well for the rebuilding of public trust does it. And now one of their insiders has more or less admitted they’ve been lying on the currency all along.

Better Together is paying the price for relying on lies as a campaigning tool, even when you can trust a friendly media which won’t probe too far into uncomfortable questions – at least if you can maintain a semblance of keeping a lid on things.

It starts off with a promise to be truthful. But then you tell a little lie. Then you have to tell a big lie to keep the wee lie sounding plausible. Then the lies run away with you and you begin to sense that people don’t believe you any more. So you tell a really big lie, or three. Yet this only causes people to doubt you even more. And so the lies grow more colourful and fantastic and contrived. By this time you have lost track of your lies and no longer know what’s the truth and what’s the lie. As the contradictions slam into one another like Eric Joyce in a House of Commons bar, in your panic you end up exposing your own lies, and your stories lie shattered around your feet amidst the wreckage you’ve created from the lives around you.

By this time you’re left with as much credibility as a devolution proposal from Johann Lamont. And even a friendly media finds it difficult to ignore, because now their credibility is on the line too.

Like many gay men of my generation, I spent quite some time in the closet. My straight friends and family didn’t know I was gay. For much of my 20s I lived a double life and got very good at lying. I know a lot about lying. And I know that lying takes its toll. There’s a heavy price to pay for lying, even if you’re not found out. When you spend your life trying to pretend to be something you are not, you lose sight of everything that has real meaning and value. Which is why one day I woke up and something just snapped. I thought “och fuck this”, and came out and started living truthfully. It was the best decision I ever made.

Westminster lives a lie, a not very important European power trying to cling on to former glories, pretending the Union is something it is not. They’ve lost sight of everything that has real meaning and value, and can’t tell the difference between truth and lies any more. And the lives that suffer the consequences are mine and yours and the disabled auld guy along the street, the lassie on the zero hours contract waiting by the phone as the electric meter counts down to cold, the lad who can’t find a job and has to think about leaving.

I was much better at lying than Better Together, because I never got found out. They’ve been found out. And I fervently hope that come the 18th of September, Scotland will wake up, muse on the condition that this country is in, and think “och fuck this” and vote yes.

Then Scotland can live truthfully.


32 comments on “Truth and consequences

  1. Och, you’ve fair got a way with words, sir. Made me laugh out loud. Keep up the good work.

  2. […] Truth and consequences […]

  3. […] Truth and consequences. […]

  4. Eilean says:

    As a devoted “Follower” of the Rev. Stu I emailed my Labour representatives (Jimmy Hood, Michael McMahon and Siobhan McMahon, aren’t I the lucky one) asking for clarification on their policy on income tax in the event of a no vote.

    I did receive a reply from Siobhan McMahon which included this statement “The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.”

    Those that suffered Johann Lamonts interview with Gordon Brewer on the BBC will recall that Johann totally and unequivocally ruled out Scotland having a lower tax rate than the rest of the UK.

    So which one is telling the truth and which is the lying toe-rag? Well apparently Richard Baker (Labour) has sent out an almost identical email (to Siobhan McMahons) to his constituents that made a similar request for clarification.

    The Labour party they tell you one thing in public and another thing in public. And like you say Better Togethers lies are unraveling all over the place.

    Here is a link to the relevant article on Wings over Scotland.

    • Jamse Davidson says:

      I received the same reply from Iain Gray, Constituency MSP ,SLAB , East Lothian.
      He invoked the memory of Keir Hardie and pointed out that Labour were the party of devolution.
      First of all they would not recognise any of Keir Hardie’s princilples if they were sitting pon their bottom lips. And secondly Labour only became interested in devolution when Eck whispered in their shell likes – Ahm gonny get ye- and he did.
      SLAB are now, and will remain in their present form, British Labour with a See You Jimmy wig on.

      • hektorsmum says:

        Seems we Wingers can expect that having sent a cut and paste that we will receive a cut and paste back. Pity they did not actually watch their beloved leader’s interviews, or is it another case of doing a “Wendy”.

  5. macart763 says:

    First class post Paul.

    Yeah, unnamed high ranking Tory minister… hmmmm.

    I’ve posted same elsewhere, but I don’t believe this is a case of unsanctioned loose lips. Smells more like another bout of very public negotiation without pre negotiating with a side order of water testing. Somebody that senior makes decisions or acts under higher direction. The FM didn’t buckle under the weight of Westminster and media pressure and neither did the YES campaign. We all held our ground and its taken W1 by surprise. Time for a different tack – cash for nukes. How will that play?

    I’d say same tactic applies for us once again. Stick to our position and hold firm to the white paper. They didn’t want any pre negotiation, I reckon we should honour that stance and let them spin on their own strategy until they recant it publicly. 🙂

    Seriously, they must think we button up the back.

  6. Juteman says:

    The BT mob will be looking to create divisions in the Yes camp. Hopefully, no one in the Yes camp gives them a chance to create one over the nuke issue.

  7. Steve Bowers says:

    I think those naughty chaps in Westminster might be having a wee “stir it” moment, they’ve linked this with the Nukes staying and that’s a no no for me !

    Meanwhile , enjoy this….

  8. cearc says:

    Nukes staying, is not just a no no for most of Scotland but for the non-proliferation treaty as well.

    They really do think we are stupid.

    ‘As the contradictions slam into one another like Eric Joyce in a House of Commons bar,’ LOL!

    Paul, your writing is absolutely on a roll lately, keep it up!

  9. In politics lying has become a way of life, so much so that many of our so-called representatives would not know the truth if it slapped them in the face.

    As for the unnamed source — as it mentions Trident, what about Hammond. He may not be seen as a major player in the No campaign, but he must have had significant input, not merely in rhetoric but in the running down of defence personnel in Scotland in recent years. As defence minister he would be involved in negotiations, and his mind would be forced to accept the possibility of a major decision having to be taken over its existence. That possibility may be preying on his mind and he may be desperately seeking a way to keep his toys at Faslane.

    Like others, I believe Trident has to go and that it is non-negotiable, though I accept the timescale may have to be varied by a few months to achieve its safe removal, but certainly not for any significant length of time.

    Trident’s removal will be the visible proof to Scots and the world that Scotland is going to stand on her own feet and do her own thing within the community of nations.

  10. Andrew Brown says:

    Well said, I really do enjoy your blog. I especially liked your comment about knowing the difference because you’re not a Tory MP. It’s spot on. Regarding Better Together’s credibility it reminded me that some years ago someone once said to me “honesty’s not just the best policy – it’s the only policy”.

  11. hektorsmum says:

    May I say that I agree with what the above poster has said, and that isn’t because I have too. Great post Paul, and may I say as one who uses the Aye Right phrase quite a lot I know they do not understand it.

  12. yerkitbreeks says:

    Coming out as you describe sounds so challenging and I can only admire from afar. Will we admire all those middle class ” I’m all right jacks ” ( sort of like me ) who put the possible minor risks to their pension arrangements ( not returns, by the way, only arrangements ) ahead of love of the soil. Guess we’ll see them appear when it’s definite that YES is ahead.

    • andygm1 says:

      As one of those middle class “I’m all right Jacks” who has been campaigning for independence all my teen and adult life, despite any risks to my pension, please be assured that there are many of us who appeared before many of today’s campaigners were born. Don’t forget that in 1974 30% of voters cast their ballots for SNP candidates. These people are in their 60s, 70s and 80s now.

      • hektorsmum says:

        Yes Andygym1 and we are still voting and when I consider my pension, I think I am willing to risk it.

        • Dealan-dé says:

          As a 38 year old man i am also willing to risk my pension. If we stay in the Union i doubt i will ever recieve it because by the time im old enough westminster will have anolished retirement.

  13. Garry h says:

    Great blog keep up the good work!

  14. […] According to the Guardian, a UK Government minister who the paper claims would play a major role in negotiations following a yes vote – so not Danny Alexander or Alistair Carmichael then – has admi…  […]

  15. JGedd says:

    As a wee ginger myself, let me say that I greatly admire the Wee Ginger Dug’s blog – it’s one of the best things to come out of pro-independence blogging. More power to you, Paul.

  16. liz says:

    ‘the independence campaign is not drowning under a tsunami wave of scare stories. Scotland has learned how to surf’ – that’s brilliant!

    I really loved that post and you have to admire Alex Salmond the man is a political heavy weight – no pun intended as he is on a 5 2 diet – I was going to say genius but that sounded a bit OTT.

    The punters on the Guardian are going mental at the thought of a CU which is one reason why I think this comment from the ‘unnamed source’ has been released now in the hope that the rUK voters will have forgotten about – there will be no CU etc etc – by the next election.

  17. Chris Welton says:

    I’d sure like to watch all of the Tories’ meters count down to cold.

    Wonderful imagery, thank you Paul.

  18. Les Wilson says:

    Another well written article that covers the issues well. I have an easy way to think of the Unionists, do not believe ANYTHING they say, do just that and you understand everything.

  19. Les Wilson says:

    Sorry for such a quick post again.
    Thinking about what has been said by the Westminster ( person ). He suggests that with a YES vote the pound might be negotiable, he suggests against Trident remaining on the Clyde.
    He and others look on it as Westminster’s biggest Ace card.

    Personally, I do not think that is the case, not in the way he means and certainly not against Trident, that is not going to happen. Their biggest issue among big issues is, IF we do not enter a currency Union, this would leave their debt issues to be much more worrisome for them.

    They MUST have us in the currency Union or their decline speeds up. That, is, in my view their biggest worry, so if I am right, we need not worry about Trident remaining, it just will not happen, it would not, regardless.

    With Trident off the table, their disguise will slip as they ever panic over the cost to them, coming home to roost. Plus the Scottish GDP would not go through the sterling are in order to prop it up. So it is all smoke and mirrors, we will have strong hands to play. I trust the SG to play it rather well.

    • Nigel Mace says:

      Absolutely right. There’s not only no deal on Trident – but there is no need to do a deal to get a currency union. Westminster needs one desperately. The obvious Plan B, informal pound for us and all the Uk’s debt for them and then rUK having to borrow without any backing from Scotland’s oil and gas, is their worst nightmare. Apart from being incompetently stupid, this ‘leak’ was designed, if it was thought out at all, merely to try to sew dissension over Trident – and the Express is rather confirming that view with their nonsense headline follow up.

  20. Eilean says:

    Regarding the neuks as Scotland is not and will not be a party to the International Nuclear Proliferation Treaty it will be illegal under international law for Scotland to retain nuclear weapons anywhere in its territory post independence. However I do expect common sense to prevail as to the actual timing so perhaps not actually independance day.

    The MOD wont let us know but I hope the future Scottish Government informs us of when the last sub is due to sail out of the Clyde. I want to stand on the banks with a big banner displaying the words. “Get Tae F**k and Dont Hurry Back”

  21. Hilariously, the off-the-record quote is from one Mr. G. (Gideon? George? Take your pick!) Osborne.


  22. “Scotland has learned how to surf.”
    Would make a great T shirt slogan.

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