There won’t be much in the way of updates over the weekend. I’ve got to do exciting things like cleaning the toilet and de-minging the oven. All those joyous wee jobs that you keep putting off in the vain hope that perhaps a magic pixie will come in the middle of the night and do them for you. But the magic pixies are all fully occupied creating a grassroots movement out of plastic offcuts for Better Together, courtesy of a Tory donating millionaire and a London PR company that specialises in rebranding through the medium of New Age woo, as discovered by Douglas Daniel, writing on Wings Over Scotland.
Millionaire Tory donor and city financier Malcolm Offord got together with London based branding and marketing company Acanchi and the right wing think tank the Centre for Social Justice and spontaneously started a mass movement. The clever little things. And they even managed to attract more attention from the UK media in just one day than pretty much the entirety of the vast and truly grassroots movement forming the diverse yes campaign has grown over the past two years – a grassroots movement that now dwarfs the official yes campaign in size.
Offord is an advisor to the Centre for Social Justice which claims to seek “effective solutions to the poverty that blights parts of Britain”. It’s a right wing outfit set up by Iain Duncan Smith in 2004, in the wake of his Epiphany in Easterhoose when he realised a more effective solution to the problem of getting re-elected was to sell benefits cuts to Tory voters by dressing them up in a glossy package of hangwringing.
The Centre for Social Justice was described by Tim Montgomery of the Tory website Conservative Home as a part of the Conservative movement. Offord was formerly the director of the organisation’s North Britain branch, Social Justice Scotland. The Scottish branch seems to be defunct, or at least its website is no longer online. Not much grassroots movement there then.
Acanchi wants to rebalance Project Fear’s chi to reposition it in the Scottish voting market, or somesuch. There’s very little difference between PR woo and New Age woo – which most often consists of shallow misunderstandings of ancient, complex and deep philosophies. Chi is the energy that runs through the universe in Taoist belief.
It’s sort of the Chinese version of the Mediaeval European belief in the four humours that were supposed to regulate the health and well being of the body. If they got out of balance you got sick. Project Fear has obviously got far too much bile and melancholy. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much all they’ve got. Good luck with rebalancing that then.
Acanchi was founded by Fiona Gilmour, who describes herself as a “thought leader” and a “leading expert on country positioning strategy”. People pay a lot of money for fancy sounding words with ambiguous meanings. That’s what kept ancient Greek readers of the entrails of oxen in business. Same principle as chi, but you get sausages at the end of it. Better Together should have tried that instead. We might not get a positive case for the Union but a piece and square slice is always welcome. They missed a trick there.
The company was responsible for a new slogan for the Tourism Board of the island of Mauritius. For a reported £625,000 they came up with “Mauritius, c’est un plaisir” a slogan which was immediately subject to widespread ridicule for its blandness and for costing almost £50,000 per letter.
Acanchi accepted a contract from the Israeli government in 2008, in an effort to boost the image of Israel in the UK. According to the pro-Palestinian website Intifada-palestine.com, Fiona Gilmour, claimed Acanchi aimed to “unlock the magic that can be used to create a compelling brand positioning”. Adding, “We believe that success for a country, city or region brand can be achieved by discovering, defining and channelling this chi into a brand positioning that reflects the core truths of a place.”
This isn’t really going to help much when one of the core truths about Scotland is that we famously have more pandas than Tory MPs. If we had a quid for every time someone’s said that joke there would be no need for a sovereign oil fund. You’d have thought that a company heavily influenced by Chinese philosophy that’s discovering defining and channelling Scottish chi would have known that already.
Another core truth is that making use of ancient Chinese religious philosophies which aimed to bring balance and health to the universe in aid of a bunch of self-aggrandising careerists who worship money is some pretty bad karma. But I’m sure Acanchi have a chant and some scented candles for that.
Anyway, I don’t think we need to worry too much about a London PR company’s attempts to use magic against us. This is Scotland. We invented druids. And they can curse.
And in other news.
I’ve just had a wee look at April’s site statistics. Amazingly there were over 80,000 page views, and just shy of 20,000 unique readers. That’s incredible for a wee blog written by someone who represents no organisations, no political party, and well – just takes the piss. It’s obviously not just me who thinks the Westminster parlie is risible.
So hello to all the new readers, lovely to see you here. You come from all over the world, and a special hello to whoever it is who reads this blog in Mongolia. The dug gets into a yurt with a wifi connection. That’s a 21st century grassroots movement for you. The independence message is even reaching the vast grasslands of the Mongolian plains.
Must be our chi.
And because we’ve got some shit hot druids.