Chaos theory

A guest post by Samuel Miller (Macart)

‘Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including meteorology, sociology, physics, engineering, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions—a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.’ (WIKI) (IFS and OBR TAKE NOTE)

Well folks, we’ve just witnessed one of the most historic votes in the UK’s chequered political history, a vote which has registered on the international media Richter scale and for very good reason. The political map of these islands is telling us a very interesting story indeed today, quite literally a tale of two nations and their preferred choices. Most especially in Scotland’s case the message couldn’t have been made more clear, so seismic was the popular shift.

Apparently though, that message is yet to register in some quarters. In the corridors of power only one word echoes in ministerial offices and conference rooms whenever the ‘Scottish question’ is raised. A word, which is then blasted all across these islands with the aid of a very helpful and deeply concerned meeja… CHAOS. A word they appear awfy fond of using whenever Scotland’s representatives are discussed on telly or in the big daily titles. Not that they’d like to cause a panic or anything you understand, but it does conjure some wonderful imagery.

You can picture it now as 56 SNP MPs take their seats in the Mother of Parliaments (wavy lines for cut scene). Policy wonks, civil servants and spads will be defenestrating from upper floor executive and ministerial cludgies (where they find all their inspiration). Cabinet secretaries will be running through Whitehall screaming in tongues and wearing their underpants on their heads. Ministers will be sitting in darkened rooms, deeply depressed, pondering the fall of empire and considering which offshore account to hide their lobbying profits in. Crushed party leaders have fallen on their metaphorical swords (real ones being sharp, pointy and lethal), whilst booking that one-way ticket to Rio they’ve always promised themselves. The Thames will foam with ruined Bolly and the city will implode as bankers and financial services leave en masse for the continent in a wave of uncertainty (its always the uncertainty). The economy will crash AGAIN and all because the people up there simply don’t understand how our democracy should work.

Didn’t the people in Scotland realise there’s only meant to be two (*) properly sanctioned parties of government? So to avoid unnecessary unpleasantness, best to let the plebs know just what they’re dabbling with before they get carried away with the whole political engagement malarky and usher in ARMAGEDDON (more wavy lines as cut scene ends).

*A third smaller party, (also on message), usually acts as an enabler when the other two fall out over domino night skullduggery in the Westminster bar (see under recent Con-Lib coalition or Lib-Lab pacts various). Predictably this third party has recently suffered somewhat of a setback in the shape of a catastrophic lemming like desire to throw themselves into ill advised partnerships and the added hindrance of an enormous dagger protruding from their back.

Yes, the SNP apparently represents one of those small changes in a previously contained dynamic system. The outcome of introducing this whole democratic engagement/change thingy to such a delicate system as Westminster politics? Utter uncontrollable, unpredictable chaos, complete carnage, that’s what. So get it straight people, voting for who YOU wanted was bad for democracy in the UK today. We know all this mainly because its been stuffed down our necks day in and day out for the past month by any title you care to mention, most broadcast channels with a studio couch to hand and by every shark in a suit cruising the lofty corridors of Westminster with a sound bite to spare. Or is there perhaps a more likely explanation for the current narrative of Scots/SNP bad and progressive parties and concepts leading to chaos? I mean they haven’t exactly been clear on just why SNP input would lead to such an awful future.

Perhaps, just perhaps, some deeply self interested people merely wanted to hang on to what they’ve got and don’t care who they have to crap on in order to do it. That the current anti Scottish, anti SNP hysteria deployed by the Conservative party, but used on an ad hoc basis for some time by all the establishment parties depending on who needs to be frightened today, is simply a dangerous, thoughtless political ploy to retain as much power and influence as possible. All of the establishment parties do so love the smell of fear in the morning, it’s their favourite campaign strategy after all. The difference this time? Well this time there were two significant differences.

Firstly, during this election, the target audience was the English electorate. An electorate constantly bombarded by an increasingly right wing dominated media and their commentariat. Readerships and viewers primed through this saturation to suspect all things poor, radical, progressive, or worse yet… foreign. The hope of course was that such fear of the other would deter people from voting for Labour in any numbers in those key marginals. The method? Set some dog whistle headlines, make up any old thing to fill column space, the more outrageous the better, apply some photoshop liberally and hey presto instant villain created for readerships to other and resent. I mean who needs cogent policies to inform a campaign when you can direct people’s anger toward, and their vote away from, a handy set of scapegoats right?

That Labour singularly failed to combat this obvious and societally corrosive ploy speaks volumes in and of itself. I mean surely Ed would stand up for his concept of ‘One Nation’ UK? Simply put, Labour HQ had no answer, its a narrative they had a hand in creating themselves during the referendum. Labour’s own divisive, bitter, tribalist anti SNP tactics pumped full of steroids and fired right back at them from their erstwhile partners in crime. Ohhhh, can you feel the Karma?

Secondly you had the unintended audience of the Scottish electorate themselves. Right on the back of a hard fought referendum, a now politically clued up and engaged Scottish electorate looked on in horror as the government and establishment, who mere months earlier had begged them to stay, now turns on them like a rattlesnake and drags their democratic choices, their name and their culture through the Westminster sewers in pursuit of that big chair in Downing street. It used to be you could count on the fact that most papers had cross border titles and it was one message for this electorate and another for that electorate, no one being any the wiser. Well not in this digital age its not.

No, today thanks to the wonders of social media, the interwebby, 24hr news coverage and hi tech communication we see what’s being said about us on both sides of the border and doesn’t it make eye watering, not to mention informative and instructive viewing? You can see how party politics, government and the media really work to manipulate perception and influence voting. Its cold, deliberate, callous and utterly self seeking. No one who claims to represent a state body or the people in its care and exercises such a campaign of orchestrated resentment, between two neighbouring cultures in a supposed ‘partnership’, is fit to hold the post of leader. No system of government which exists upon such a structure of manipulation is fit to govern and no media worth its name as representatives of the fourth estate should be caught dead capitulating in the societal division and othering of their own readerships for either material or political gain. Yet here we are with a majority Conservative government no less.

Our governmental system of choice is broken, with countless instances of economic ineptitude, democratic imbalance, corporate compromise, corruption, and calculated manipulation of public perception on display. The mainstream media is both corporately and politically joined at the hip to this system and last year we, as a nation, narrowly chose to give both yet one more chance at making the partnership work. At the moment though, I’m not really feeling the love coming from either Downing Street or the meeja anymore, are you?

So what can our new parliamentary representation do in the meantime? Well they can do what they were invited to do by both Better Together and in particular Prime Minister David Cameron…

“It’s only Great Britain because of the greatness of Scotland, and the thinkers, writers, artists, leaders, soldiers, and inventors who have made this country what it is. So a NO vote means faster, fairer, safer and better change. And this is a vital point: Scotland is not an observer in the affairs of this country. Scotland is shaping and changing the United Kingdom for the better … and will continue to shape the constitution.” (My bold)

… they can join in, just not necessarily in the way Mr Cameron would like or expect clearly.

Our representatives can bring a little of their own particular brand of Chaos Theory to Westminster, altering outcomes with the smallest of changes at crucial stages in the creation of legislation. That raft of SNP MPs can use their newfound visibility to introduce people to the concept of the Common Weal, voting in parliament with conscience, with empathy and with care for the electorate’s needs to the fore. But more importantly they can use the committee panels, parliamentary procedure and political weight to effect change within bills and amendments. They can use such leverage to NEGOTIATE on our behalf as any partner should do. Remember, government isn’t just all about the debating chamber and the vote, it’s also about where and how the bills are created.

On the public level, we have demonstrated through our own personal vote that neither the media or big government owns our choices and that being independent of thought isn’t a bad place to be. In fact, as we are all aware, its quite empowering and THAT I believe is what truly scares the bejaysus out of the establishment parties and their media. That their ability to manipulate and direct others should lose its hold, that it may even come to an end if enough people start thinking for themselves. Imagine, people may even decide to change not just how politics should be conducted, but how politics should work for them. Oh, the horror.

Last but by no means least, the SNP representation we have chosen to send down with our democratic mandate CAN and WILL hold all of the establishment parties to account for their referendum pledges and force them one way or another to either back their referendum rhetoric with action or publicly declare them undeliverable. As for what happens should Westminster’s establishment declare those referendum pledges constitutionally (as they see it) undeliverable?

Who knows? Its chaos theory and can be extremely unpredictable, but I’d say even casual observers have a damn good idea.

45 comments on “Chaos theory

  1. Hairy Angus says:

    Good post Macart

  2. The Vole says:

    Reblogged this on The Orkney Vole and commented:
    “… the SNP representation we have chosen to send down with our democratic mandate CAN and WILL hold all of the establishment parties to account for their referendum pledges and force them one way or another to either back their referendum rhetoric with action or publicly declare them undeliverable. As for what happens should Westminster’s establishment declare those referendum pledges constitutionally (as they see it) undeliverable?”

    • Kangaroo says:

      NS should just tell DC

      “The settled will of the Scottish people is for Home Rule within the UK. I am together with the 56MP’s proclaiming Home Rule. All powers previously residing with Westminister are transferred to Holyrood with immediate effect except those powers which are necessary for the functioning of the Treaty of Union. The 59MP’s will continue at WM as Scotlands representatives on all matters affecting our joint position as members of the Union.”

      DC has limited options

      1. Call in the lawyers to argue the constitutional case. – Too slow as we would be long gone.

      2. Arrest NS and the 56MPs as traitors. – Civil unrest followed by indyref2

      3. Tanks on Scottish streets. – Civil unrest followed by indeyref2

      4. Withdraw funding from Holyrood. – We set up our own Central Bank. (Sounds difficult but is actually very easy to do)

      The above has the following benefits

      1. DC gets EVEL

      2. England gets rid of the subsidy via Barnett

      3. The Union is preserved.

      4. Scotland remains in NATO, EU and other such treaty obligations are preserved

      5. Scotland gets all the powers it needs to progress its political, social and economic interest.

      Everyone’s a winner.

      In short DC is stuck with nowhere to go

  3. mogabee says:

    Well said macart. People in Scotland no longer looking towards Westminster for their eyes are wide open!

    This next stage in the Scottish saga is fascinating. People I know who were no at the indyref are beginning to talk of the possible outcome of more powers beyond even Smith+++, incredible!

    • gerry parker says:

      One thing they could do is look at all the public submissions to the Smith Comission that were not considered due to time limitations.

    • Saor Alba says:

      We have indeed, as a people, moved on! The next stage will be extremely interesting.

  4. Pam McMahon says:

    Good article Mcart, I always enjoy your stuff. One of the hopes from our vote last week will be to awaken others in different parts of this sad union to their own political deficit.

    I see #TakeUsWithYouScotland was trending on Twitter a wee while ago. (Sorry, I don’t do links) so I think people are starting to realise how badly served they are by Westminster and it’s media spin-monkeys.

    We were the Scottish butterfly last week and maybe the fluttering of our wings will encourage other butterflies to also take wing. Thanks for this excellent piece.

  5. Marie Clark says:

    Hear hear Macart. Very well said sir, summed it up perfectly.

    We all recognised project fear 2, and also were aware that it was directed at the English voter. But what a horrible way to treat Scotland. We were everything from fascists to nazi scum. That silly twat Ian Smart is still at it. So we watched and waited and delivered OUR verdict. They didnae like it did they.

    So after loving us last year, and begging us to stay, had to take them up on their offer didn’t we after being forced to stay. Good little citizens that we are,we used our franchise to select a team to look after us and Scotland. Used their first past the post system and still delivered what we wanted. Now we are all the bad guys, and, they try to ignore us and shut us out. Big, big mistake.

    Cameron has no chance of ruling his one nation. Does not exist. This union is well and truly broken and they only have themselves to blame. Independence is coming now, probably quicker than many of us expected. Good. The sooner we are out of this truly rotten union, the better for our wee Scotland.

  6. gavin says:

    Meanwhile, Count Smurphula is still Prince of Darkness. The Undead leading the political dead. BBC Hootsman was forced to concede tonight ‘Murphy has a few critics’, as the Brothers start to fight like rats in a sack. And that’s before they draw up the lists for next years election.
    The Southern press have no difficulty monstering Scots MP’s, especially those with a mind of their own. A cartoon portraying Nicola on a leash held by Cameroon is a joke of a joke, and they will soon learn Cameroon with 10% of the Scottish electorate has no hold, either on Sturgeon is Scotland !

  7. Dan huil says:

    Good article. Whenever I hear about “Chaos Theory” I always think about the “Butterfly Effect”.
    I’m now thinking about that wonderful Yes poster, which I saw in Bella Caledonia, showing a Saltire butterfly flying up to join other independent butterfly nations.

  8. Steve Asaneilean says:

    Spot on as usual mate.

  9. LOVE IT. Clinical dissection. Like an Adam Curtis documentary. 🙂

  10. davidmccann24 says:

    Great post Sam.
    As a wee aside I have posted this on my FB page, and wonder why it has not figured in any of the discussions so far.
    Hope this link works!

  11. xsticks says:

    The three ‘main’ political parties *are* the great deception. In reality there are only three slightly different flavours of the Westminster establishment party. As you say Macart they are desperately frightened by the prospect of 56 (oh, how I like to say that) Scottish SNP MPs that won’t be seduced by ermine, baubles and board room appointments.

    They do introduce chaos into the mix and who would dare try and predict where we go from here. The UK political system us in greater peril than it has ever been before. It will have to adapt quickly or it will die.

    My initial impression is that they will try to enforce the status quo and try to fob Scotland off with some minor powers over taxation without giving Scotland all of it’s tax take that currently goes through London: oil, whisky, crown estates, banking and financial services. They will be hoping that this will force the SNP to ditch some of our ‘benefits’ and that will damage the SNP.

    As usual Westminster will try to cheat us and if they do I think that will bring about Scottish independence within the next seven years as long as we prevent them from undermining the cause and grinding down our resolve. We just need to hold fast and be alert for our opportunities.

    Good to see you getting a more prominent platform for your excellent writing Sam and giving the WGD a break into the bargain. Thanks guys.

    • macart763 says:

      Oh they’ll drag their heels right enough. Their own back benchers and the Lords will be biting bricks over the very thought of even ‘gifting’ the Smith fudge.

      However, I think the more pragmatic of their own political class see the end result of their recent strategy and the constitutional bear trap that awaits should they not make even the attempt. What will be both public and clear to all is that they’ve had to be dragged to the table to fulfil their own pledges. That won’t be missed by the public or forgotten.

      Nor should it be.

    • Saor Alba says:

      They will be watched carefully, every step of the way. Alex is also on the back benches where his contribution will have the greatest effect. Macart’s analysis is spot-on.

  12. Dinna_fash says:

    Great stuff MacArt, been reading you for a while now and always find your words encouraging and thoughtful. Mair po’er tae yir elba.

  13. Gavin C Barrie says:

    Chaos theory leading to a panic actuality possibly. And right on cue Mundell cannot keep his mouth shut. Puff, and away you go Fluffy.

  14. MoJo says:

    Excellent piece , hope it is widely read …. thank you….

  15. brewsed says:

    The Wikipedia article of chaos theory contains much which one might to attribute to the processes carried out within the hoose by the Thames. Who is going to be labelled the “strange attractor” and where will hide the “jerk systems”?

    • macart763 says:

      Fluffy, because I’ll never understand that vote, therefore its got to be a strange attraction and the HoL seems a natural home for the latter. 😀

  16. Paul says:

    Just when I was thinking “the WGD keeps getting better and better” , having shared many, and made mention of some of your comments, he only goes and gives YOU the floor! Made meh night 🙂

  17. jacquescoleman says:

    Excellent post. I thought I was reading the Dug with a new slant. Shows how good it is.

  18. arthur thomson says:

    Likewise, I thought I was reading the dug – it was that good; We need to give our MP’s time to organise and then we will start to see some very unconventional fireworks. Remember the Vietcong? They took on the apparently unassailable might of the USA and won. We cannot win using conventional tactics but we can and will win using guerilla tactics. That is what I hope to see in the months and years ahead.

  19. Nice one Macart; thought provoking of the provoking (if you catch my drift?).

    I feel in many ways that we in Scotland have used the alternative media to far greater extent & effect than our cousins down south have. But then, did they have any motivation, nae need to dispute their beloved MSM for staying on (apparent) message?

    I feel once that ‘monster’ has fully awoken for them, then the political landscape will really become entertaining throughout the UK…and for the ultimate benefit for us in Scotland.

    Here’s hoping that the ‘Dug’ goes for another long walk someday soon, allowing you access to his keyboard for another article.

  20. leavergirl says:

    Appreciate the post. Good points! A few thoughts:

    “That raft of SNP MPs can use their newfound visibility to introduce people to the concept of the Common Weal, voting in parliament with conscience, with empathy and with care for the electorate’s needs to the fore.”

    What about “power corrupts”? I think the odds are that the new MPs will be corrupted by the system they have to work within, as were their various idealistic predecessors. If they are to have better odds on their side, the electorate has to behave differently, to shift the odds for them.

    “Imagine, people may even decide to change not just how politics should be conducted, but how politics should work for them. Oh, the horror.”


    “the SNP representation we have chosen to send down with our democratic mandate CAN and WILL hold all of the establishment parties to account for their referendum pledges and force them one way or another to either back their referendum rhetoric with action or publicly declare them undeliverable”


    • macart763 says:

      Power does indeed corrupt, but I think all parties have been forced to sit up and take notice of what’s occurred within the Scottish electorate. It goes back to your own point of behaving differently…

      … we already are. We’re aware, engaged and active.

      Apathy and disenfranchisement is the ideal for the self interested. It breeds indifference, cynicism, depression even. Something we’re all too familiar with in our politics over the past forty years, until now. Now all of the parties know for a fact that they are under a public microscope in Scotland and the establishment parties have just found out what happens to parties who let us down. Woe betide any party in Scotland from now on, who doesn’t pay attention or any politician who misbehaves whilst in our pay.

      As for your second query? The SNP aren’t simply members of the UK parliament when it comes to the constitutional question, they are also the sitting Scottish Government and guarantors of our interests within the union treaty. Basically they wear the Scotgov hat in this instance. If they feel that the NO campaign and Westminster are in breech of their referendum pledges, its their job to firstly make this knowledge public, then ask us what we want to do about it? Remember, any serious constitutional infringement can spark a second referendum. That should focus some minds round tables.

      • leavergirl says:

        Right then, so there is reason for hope. But if I may, I would suggest that “the people” have a job to do, besides getting the popcorn (as someone below suggested 🙂

        I am familiar with small group process, and I know that those who set the agenda have an inordinate amount of power behind the scenes. The question that haunts me is… how can “the people” take back their agenda setting powers locally?

        The discussions in the indie media is one butterfly. But I have a feeling that other guerrilla tactics have a role to play after all. Because “the people” need to invent new ways to be counted, to be listened to, besides the blogs. Saor Alba!

  21. Johnny come lately says:

    I wouldn’t advocate using guerilla tactics of any sort. The SNP do not need to use such tactics. The very fact that the SNP will act as representatives of Scotland, ask the difficult questions, do things by the book and avoid the 300 year old Westminster tradition of deals done on the backstairs will in itself be enough to destabilize everything.
    As this article articulates, a small change is enough to cause huge out swings in any delicate system.
    The referendum politically charged the nation even though it was a no vote. The consequence was the SNP becoming the 3rd largest party in the UK. The consequence of which has caused a political earthquake and all but completely wiped out the unionist parties in Scotland. The consequence of this is that Scotland is now ungovernable. The real consequences are about to start hitting home in the coming months when parliament is up and running. At the moment it is only posturing by Cameron and his cohorts. Popcorn anybody?

  22. jdman says:

    And it is commentary like that you will NEVER see in the Scottish press and television, not until we see Alex Salamond chairing the Scottish media and culture committee, then whats going to happen to us cybernats though? we dont have counterparts to George Ffffffffoulkes Ian Smart, Duncan Hothershall, Brian Wilson etc ? dammit! 🙂

    Brilliant Sam!

  23. jdman says:

    “I feel in many ways that we in Scotland have used the alternative media to far greater extent & effect than our cousins down south have. ”

    Couldn’t agree more Grizzle, under the guidance and leadership of people like Paul, Stu, Tris, et al ,we have become the future of reporting no matter what Alan, Cochrane, Torcuil Crichton, and David Torrance say, we have become the future NOW, and we should be proud of our efforts which have moved mountains though the millions of hours of work put in by people like Sam, Bob Peffers, Taranaich, and names too numerous to list here,

    Now is the time to push on to the last hurdle and take the prize which we all of us so richly deserve!


  24. Brian Powell says:

    One of the biggest issues for me was the determination of the Unionist parties not to have any kind of real debate. Then their pretence after the Referendum vote that they did have a debate.
    I don’t mean a debate only against the purely proIndependence group, but a open debate among their individual parties.
    It seemed to me humanly impossible that there weren’t those in the Labour party who wanted Independence. The LibDems, after a century of espousing Home Rule, should have had strong voices arguing for various possibilities.
    We got one feeble “reluctant No”. And a mass of negativity, but not only about a party, the SNP, but by association all those who stood with its position.

  25. Johnny come lately says:

    Without a doubt Scotland has used the new media to a far greater extent than England, and indeed to a devastating effect. Imo this has been happened out of sheer desperation when people have ben forced to seek information elswhere. Not to mention the valuable talent which has arien to fill this void. We are politically further ahead than England and England at a point will catch up.
    Sooner or later it will begin to dawn on a large section of the english electorate that the media is (to say the least) not being honest with them. When this happens people in England will begin to seek information elswhere and a new media will arise there also. Butterflies
    As for the old media. It is very telling that despite 7 months of misinformation, invented criseses, staged managed news outputs and smear and fear tactics Scotland has delivered a knockout blow to the established order. People in Scotland either don’t beleive the MSM amymorte or they just don’t give a *&%§.

    • Saor Alba says:

      Hopefully, people In England and Wales, who read this, will take your comment on board, Johnny and set up their own Wings, Bella and new media.

      It is also worth noting for them, that our engagement with new media to seek information elsewhere, has also given rise to a new daily newspaper, the National, which, together with its sister, the Sunday Herald, were the only papers to support our voices against the mainstream establishment news.

  26. Barontorc says:

    All these references about ‘getting what Smith asked for’ is falling into the trap of accepting the UK’s version of the severely cut-back list of recommendations Smith sent originally to London only to see returned within a matter of hours, as a smidgin of what was asked for. No doubt this residue felt ‘appropriate’ to the UK as good enough for the silly wee Scots.

    Do not also forget that the original ‘list’ has never been seen by other than the Smith Commission members and by Cameron’s bunch, but by all accounts was severely whittled down and carried the message that this is all your getting.

    The fact that ‘Lord’ Smith meekly accepted that situation says it all anyway with not a philosophical drop of blood spilt and the UK’s service then done and dusted.

  27. Morag Frame says:

    Hear! Hear!

  28. macart763 says:

    Many thanks for the comments folks and a huge thank you to our host for allowing ma wee rant. 🙂

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