Diplomatic message

Oh dear. People in Scotland don’t believe Project Fear’s currency threat. A series of economists don’t believe it, and have popped out of academia to challenge Better Together’s threat in erudite sentences which include economic buzz words like ‘quantitative easing’, ‘balance of trade deficit’, and ‘see that George Osborne, whit a balloon’. Tory cabinet ministers don’t believe it – and they’re so gullible that they believed Maria Miller’s excuses. And now even that bastion of reticence and tact, people who have diplomatic in their job description, the representatives of foreign governments based in the UK, are saying they don’t believe it either.

But it gets worse for Alistair Darling’s master plan. In the estimation of these furren diplomats, Scottish independence looks likely. You can be certain that this opinion will have been reported back to capital cities all round the globe, where governments will now be preparing for the very real possibility of a 19th of September when Scotland reappears on the world stage after a 300 year absence billed below the Krankies in an austerity panto at the British Empire theatre.

And despite what Project Fear tells us, the world will welcome Scotland back into the community of nations. Because one of the things about being a small country out of the way on the corner of a continent, with pretty scenery, a rich history, and culture by the bucketload, is that we have never actually pissed anyone off seriously enough to make them hate us. Apart from Tories and UKIP voters, but they don’t talk to furreners anyway. EXCEPT LOUDLY AND IN ENGLISH.

Take Spain as a furrexample. Project Fear’s recurring ibero-meme is that Spain might block Scottish entry to the EU in order to discourage the Catalans, or even just to express their disapproval of what ABC, aka Franco’s Favourite Newspaper, calls los movimientos rupturistas. I’ve already argued in previous posts that there are many reasons why that’s not going to happen, so won’t repeat them here.

But I have every confidence that the Spanish government will change its tune after a yes vote. I lived in Spain for 15 years and am fluent in Spanish. I have many close friends of varying political opinions on the Catalan question. People I consider family. I know a range of former work colleagues and associates.Β  So I think I know more than a Better Together press release writer about opinion in Spain regarding la independencia escocesa.

The truth is that irrespective of their views on Catalonia, people in Spain are overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic about the idea of Scotland returning to take her place amongst the independent nations of the world. This is true even of people who vote for the Partido Popular, the right wing party of Mariano Rajoy.

It’s certainly true that many people in Spain have a highly romanticised, and even stereotypical, view of Scotland – but their romanticised stereotypes are highly positive ones. My favourite romanticised stereotype was the view that Scotsmen are deeply romantic. A view which can only be held by those who’ve never slept with one.

Both sides on the Catalan question hold the Scottish referendum debate up as a model of democratic legitimacy and reasoned argument. Both sides fully accept that Scotland is a nation in her own right, a nation in every sense of the word. Unionistas point to Scotland and say “Scotland was an independent state until historically recent times, they can be a state again”, while independentistas point to Scotland and say “Scottish Unionists recognise Scotland’s right to self determination, why can’t Spanish Unionists recognise ours?”

By the way, it’s far easier to express some political concepts in Spanish than in English. In Spanish you don’t constantly have to have annoying arguments about all independence supporters being nationalists and just the same as Hitler. Spanish has the useful word independentista – which means a person who supports the right to self determination, and nationalism doesn’t come into it. English just has the word “nationalist”. Unfortunately the English version, independentist, makes you sound like a tooth puller for independence, or someone who does freelance fillings. Perhaps those are the ones we use to receive the secret signals from Alicsammin’s underground lair… hmmm… But I digress…

Yet according to Project Fear, Spain is the country that is the ground zero of international naw-ness to Scottish independence. Spain ought to be hoatching with people who object vociferously to Scottish independence. And it’s true that in the columns of right wing Spanish newspapers you will find the occasional OBE Juan. But go speak to Spanish people, and you find very few objections and a whole lot of positivity. That’s a picture that repeats itself all over the globe, just ask one of the hundreds of thousands of Scots who’ve made their lives in furren pairts.

Foreign governments – at least the democratic ones – by and large reflect the views of their people. It’s only Scotland that gets lumbered with governments which are completely unrepresentative of the popular will. And people in foreign countries, especially European countries, have positive views about Scotland. Foreign governments take the idea of Scottish independence in their stride. This doesn’t mean there will be no problems or issues. But if there are issues foreign governments will be open to negotiation, and they will negotiate in good faith and with good will.

Better Together has shrugged it off. It’s just a wee flush in the trajectory of a campaign which has already negotiated several toilet U-bends, and descended down the sewer some while ago. They’re not worried, because they say they haven’t actually started campaigning properly yet. No, they really did say that, or at least Severin Carrell reported in the Guardian that they’re saying it in private.

Which does kinda make ye wonder whit the feck they’ve been doing up to now, if they’ve not actually been campaigning properly yet. Has all of Project Fear just been an improper campaign then? It’s nice to see that Better Together finally recognise what most of Scotland has seen for quite some time. It’s a pretend campaign of togetherness involving people who would cheerfully send each other’s grannies off to the tender mercies of an ATOS interview, and which spouts pretend threats and invented warnings. But in a little while, they’ll be properly pretend threats. And they will pretend that it will make all the difference. They’ll lay astroturf and pretend they’re growing grassroots.

There’s only one real campaign in Scotland. That’s the yes campaign and its army of ambassadors who are out chapping on doors and changing opinions one by one – and it’s only just beginning. There’s 160 days to go. Let’s use them well. There’s a whole lot of don’t knows and wavering no voters out there. Let’s show them that independence means giving Scotland back her voice, being welcomed back into the community of nations, and sending a diplomatic message of our own –

Hello world! We’re back!


14 comments on “Diplomatic message

  1. macart763 says:

    Yeah, haud me back. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for their proper campaign to start. Should make a real change of pace to go from a weekly diet of fear, uncertainty and doubt to er… ramped up fear, uncertainty and doubt.πŸ˜€

    Oh Jeez Paul, I honestly don’t think they saw the flaw in their cunning master plan. I mean look at it from their point of view. They are UK gov with a monster state machine, the media in their pocket, finance and big business connections up the Yin Yang. How could they possibly screw it up so badly with all the big cannon on their side? Just keep telling people, with yer best serious/concerned face on, that you people aren’t capable of running your own show. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary.

    I don’t think they saw that in this age of digital communication there’s no place you can hide from the facts. That you can effectively create your own counter media. That for every business who threatens doom and plagues in event of independence there are others who see opportunity. That you have your own government in your corner expressing confidence in its electorate. Worse that there’s people out there who simply won’t be intimidated or frightened out of voting for a better way.

    ‘Course by that point you’re kind of stuck with the first strategy you thought of. Fear, uncertainty and doubt layered on day after day with rapidly diminishing returns. Would anyone be stupid enough to buy into a ‘sunshine strategy’ now? Does anyone really buy into the idea that they and neighbours are uniquely incapable, of all the peoples of the world, of running their own affairs? That oor wee country of five plus mil, with all its resource and experience doesn’t have enough chutzpah or smarts to care for its electorate?

    The question though is should we? Well, primo example of your caring sharing Westminster representative this week in the form of Ms Miller.

    The answer to that question is ‘HELL YES’.πŸ™‚

    • Westminster’s corruption has once again been brought into sharp relief by the “Miller” affair, Macart. How anyone can consider allowing themselves to be in thrall to this mob is beyond my ken. To watch a cabinet minister, Jeremy Hunt, scurrying to sit next to the leader of the House of Commons, Sir George Young, when Miller gave her 32 second “apology” over her false expenses claim, shows to me the rats are all in it together. If this had been any other person in society, in other words not an M.P, surely they would be in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court, charged with fraud.And yet a goodly number of oor ain folk are still considering voting to saty under the control of Westminster. Maybe it;s just me, but I find that unbelievable.

      • Macart says:

        I seem to remember some young fella went before the beaks during the recent London riots and got hauled over the coals for purloining a bottle of spring water from a smashed up shop.

        We have a commons chamber filled to the brim with people operating within a system which has ripped the public off for millions in expenses over decades. Serial thieves and what, a handful have served any jail time at all? Nepotism, patronage, corruption, cash for access, cash for questions, free range manipulation of the media and they hold themselves as the moral compass of the UK. Somehow this jail bait feels they are above electoral judgement. Parliamentary privilege.

        • Yep, totally agree, Macart. And not only the Commons. What about the unelected mob in the House of Lords?. These, for the most part, buffons, sitting alongside convicted criminals, have had the gall recently to interfere in the renewables industry in Scotland, taking some little power away from the Scottish Government. I asked the question the other day what happens to these trough-swillers once we become an independent country? Will the English still pay for these “proud scots” to sit in London and influence their laws. I hope not and they end up out on their airse, and don’t return to Scotland, ever.

  2. Capella says:

    I think of it as the DUFF campaign. Doubt, Uncertainty and Fear of the Future. Soon the DUFFER campaign is about to start, same as before but Endlessly Repeated. It’s going to be a long hot summer!

  3. iheartsotland says:

    Thanks for another great blog. Always a great read,insightful and funny in equal measure.

  4. […] (11/04/14): Wee Ginger Dug wrote this today: “By the way, it’s far easier to express some political concepts in […]

  5. bringiton says:

    BT realise that their top down media campaign has failed to deliver what they expected.
    They have no great popularity at ground level in Scotland (I definitely believe that most Scots consider themselves to be Scottish and only fear holds them back from independence).
    So,the only way they are going to get any sort of grass roots campaign going is to bus people in from south of the border.
    Hope they are giving out language lessons for the volunteers.
    “Standard” English won’t go down too well in rural Aberdeenshire or urban areas of Glasgow for example.
    Thanks Paul.

  6. gerry parker says:

    Another great article Paul. We need to continually show that Yes is the natural and widely supported response to the question.7th June, Yes in the Park (Strathclyde park that is)


    Twitter and Facebook accounts too.

  7. wee e says:

    Jist a wee quibble. My eyesight isn’t great — I’m finding it hard in some lights to notie links embedded in the plain text. Could you maybe think about trying a colour that contrasts a bit more?
    This is about the only quibble to be found: your writing is great – pithy and powerful and witty – and very insightful. You add a personal depth to the debate that isn’t found anywhere else.

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