Well that was fun. Alistair Darling was reduced to a stuttering pointy fingered cabbage, jibbering on about a Plan B despite not having a Plan A of his own, nor indeed any positive vision for Scotland. But Alistair’s already decided that it doesn’t matter if there’s a Plan B, or Plans C, D through to Z and then starting on the Greek alphabet. They’re all rubbish. Scotland is the only country on the planet which is unable to implement any currency at all. Not even Yapese stone money. It would wreak havoc on the Scotland curling team.
The currency scare died on Monday night, when Alistair was forced to admit that “Of course Scotland can use the pound” – words that will haunt him until his dying day. In uttering them he spelled out the end for the carefully constructed strategy of fear and threat upon which he was pinning all his hopes, only to see his clever plan booed by an audience that wanted to talk about more important things. Of course Scotland can use the pound, and now that’s settled we can get on to discussing those more important things, like the vision for the future that Alistair’s not got.
What is it with insulting Panama? It’s the only country other than England and Ireland that Scotland has ever invaded, with that Darien business and everything, and they’ve had the immense good grace not to hold it against us. But now Alistair Darling has given us a new certainty from the No campaign by guaranting that the people of Panama will refuse him entry to their country after he spent much of the debate slagging them off. That’s him screwed his chances of a round the world cruise to escape the humiliation of a Yes vote then.
So on behalf of the people of Scotland, I’d like to say, Lo siento mucho Panamá. Discúlpanos – no somos todos gilipollas como Alistair. And we love the hats, we really do. Even if they do come from Ecuador. Games of bools just aren’t the same without them.
The debate was terribly shouty in parts. Alistair kept on asking for an answer to the question about the currency he’d already answered himself when he’d admitted Scotland would keep using the pound. Perhaps he thought that if he talked over the answer then it didn’t exist and he could pretend it hadn’t happened. Unfortunately that doesn’t work when you’ve just uttered the words yourself. It was fun to watch, a bloodsport even a vegan could enjoy. And indeed, many did.
Glenn Campbell didn’t intervene during the rammyness. His mind was was too busy wondering what he’ll do with himself after independence when he won’t be able to jet off to America to find people who are scandalised by the very idea that Scotland might get rid of nuclear missiles or release Libyans with prostate cancer from jail. Meanwhile Alistair’s finger was in overdrive, trying to ram home a message that no one’s listening to any more, dementedly pressing the PIN number on the imaginary ATM that he thought would spit out sterling debating points. But a currency, as we’ve all learned by now, only has value because people put their faith in it. Precious few of us put our faith in anything that comes out of Alistair’s gob, however much he jabs that finger.
Alistair was determined to make it all about Alicsammin, and so his jabbing finger was always hitting the wrong target. It’s about self-determination, it’s about trusting the people of Scotland. Alicsammin’s a big fat liar you say Alistair? Aye and does it not take one to know one? We’re voting yes so we can keep the lot of them on a short leash. It’s about changing our entire way of doing politics. Alicsammin gets that. Alistair doesn’t.
Alicsammin gave better than he got, and without the pointy finger for the most part. He was enjoying himself. His final words were suitably rousing and inspirational. This is our time, our moment, let’s seize it.
Darling’s last words were supposed to sum up the entire case for No. If ever there was a time to give us that long promised positive case for the Union, this was it. Instead it was about all the things we can’t have and we can’t do, all about Alicsammin and how we can’t trust him. A personal attack instead of a positive case.
Vote No for tribal politics – and for a political class that thinks we’re gullible and which atomises us into isolated fragments of fear. Vote No because there’s absolutely nothing that an independent Scotland could do better. Vote Yes for change, for accountability and collaboration. Vote Yes for Scotland to have the power to shape her own destiny. Vote Yes to build a society that’s worth living in.
But the twin highlights of the evening were provided courtesy of two women in the audience who cut through all the jargon. There was the woman who put Alistair on the spot over his backroom meetings with private health companies. Go Glesca grannie. I am now officially in love with her. Honey, I’m a gay man. But I’d turn for you. And there was the woman who summed up the entire story of this debate – the Yes campaign are fighting to save Scotland, the No campaign are fighting to save their careers.
So flush from the yessuccess, and reports that the post rammy polls were saying Yes had won by 71% to 29%, I watched the press review on Sky News for a laff. I really need to stop watching the press review on Sky News, but it’s become my favourite comedy show. Tonight’s featured two press persons, one from the Mirror and the other from the Mail, who were doing a very good impression of the cantankerous auld gits in the Muppets. They started off by declaring that the Scotsman newspaper had always been neutral in its coverage of the referendum and then wandered off deeper into the tangled jungle of the Brigadoon with Buckie that passes for commentary on Scotland on Sky News.
Mirror man and Mail man were quite sure that Alicsammin will have played very poorly with women, undecideds, Labour voters, SNP voters, the last remaining Lib Dem supporter, English people, pandas, Mirror journalists called Kevin Maguire, hamsters with tooth decay, people born on a Thursday, and combine harvester operatives. The audience was clearly biased, and a tiny number of over emotional Yes supporters were making a lot of noise which was going to put off undecided voters and make quite a few Yes voters jolly well change their minds after seeing the company they keep. And wasn’t Alicsammin terribly rude.
So it was another blow for Alicsammin then, although it was cunningly disguised as mauling for the No campaign. But they were of the view that it wouldn’t make much difference anyway, unlike the last debate which the media decided Alistair won and was of course another blow for Alicsammin and a gamechanger which meant it was all over for the Yes campaign.
The UK media will no doubt be full of damage limitation exercises today. A whole lot of words which essentially boil down to: “Our team got its arse kicked, and we didn’t like it.”
The tide is rising. The momentum is building. Yes is coming.