A guest post by Samuel Miller
It can seem, some days, that it’s a pretty grim old world out there for Scotland’s indy movement. An uncaring and intimidating central government dumping misery, general political chaos and legislation by diktat whenever the mood takes. See under EU omnishambles, devolution powers grab, universal credit scheme, bedroom tax, immigration policy… A REALLY big list! Mmmkay? (add your own pet theme). We also have a mainstream media of a fairly politically… assertive… nature, doling out pro UK/anti independence/anti Essenpee narrative on a near daily basis to be getting on with.
Mainly, (and as near as I can tell), ’cause them Essenpee and mad, cultist, indy cybernats are the evilest of the evil. What with their taking the pure pish out of esteemed colleagues and proper politicians like Ruth, Richard and thingy. Then there’s that marching and singing and laughing thing they do. FFS! They can’t even protest properly. There’s meant to be rage and general carnage in a proper protest. Shop windaes smashed, statues defaced and hunners o’ polis cars overturned. There should at least be water cannons involved somewhere. THAT’S HOW RUBBISH THEY ARE! Also? Just because.
Seriously though, this last few years has arguably seen one of the most sustained media/political assaults in post war UK politics that I can remember. And because the vast bulk of the media are so seemingly anti independence and SNP Scottish Government? It’s fair to say that pro indy views in the mainstream are somewhat of a rarity.
You can see where, over time, it may be difficult for people to accept that their political engagement has had any impact whatsoever. In short? If you are supportive of Scotland’s right to self determination, you can feel pretty much as if you’re being kept in the dark and fed on….stuff. (We’ve covered this one previously) You begin to wonder if its all been worth it? If investing your efforts, your heart and your belief in a thing was a mistake after all these years. A general feeling of the mountain too big and the river too wide can begin to seep into your thoughts.
I think most readers will be familiar with some questions you’ll see recurring in many (BTL) comments sections: What good are we doing if we can’t reach people? How do we combat the blanket coverage of the mainstream media? With Westminster’s control of the narrative and all the resources it can bring to bear, how do we convince others that we have a case to answer? Good, honest questions to be fair.
Please take on board. This is NOT your fault, nor is it the fault of the current Scottish government. No. This piece of soiled cloth can be laid squarely at the feet of the media and Scotland’s media in particular. Their job is to inform, present both sides of an argument, investigate thoroughly and present evidence. Yes? No? If half of your nation’s electorate aren’t, (or do not feel), adequately represented, supported or informed by their media, then the lack of adequate representation is pretty much on that media and no one else. Their choice, which is fair enough I suppose. They have an ideological preference and the freedom to express same. What they cannot then complain about, is that others may have theirs and act accordingly.
Perhaps this snippet may help lift some of those dark thoughts and doubts. Some data released from the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has caused a bit of a stir since last night. Aye, it seems there’s been a bit of a surge in support for an indy Scotland’s economy among other things. You’ll find a good commentary on Wings Over Scotland and it’s also featured in today’s National, both of which provide more detailed dissection.
If you check those articles out, you can see why both the meeja and the Westminster political class may have cause to break oot the antidepressants and camomile tea. You can also see why their ‘NO REFERENDUMS! EVER!’ rhetoric has been turned up to eleven over recent times.
There is no doubt however, that the swing is inexorably toward favouring independence. That there is a change coming. That confidence is growing in Scotland’s future governance being in the hands of those best placed to make decisions on the needs and aspirations of its population.
That’d be you mainly… Scotland’s population (cough).
Now this begs a question or two. Given that all of the above is reasonably accurate concerning Westminster’s political narrative and the meeja’s track record on all things indy to date. How did such fairly significant shifts in attitude occur in such a relatively short period? Fair to say that Westminster government’s own actions have had an impact and focussed a few concerns out there. Let’s face it, you’d have to be living in a cave in Cape Wrath to have avoided them. Also not much of a leap for many to conclude that this is probably the most shambolic, inept, isolationist and socially divisive government in living memory. Is that the whole story though?
Through all of the past four years, major elements within the UK media have still supported Westminster government and its narrative. In Scotland that narrative is often compounded with a distinctly pro union and anti indy narrative. So what has been the difference? What helps combat all of the influence of central government and mainstream media saturation?
Maybe just me, but in my opinion I’d say you and your continued engagement may have had something to do with it. You didn’t go back in your box. You helped grow and support your own media. You talked to family, friends, strangers in the street. You joined and supported pro indy parties and those who didn’t got involved any way they could. You gathered together in numbers and sang and laughed your way down high streets across the country. You did the job your mainstream media and political class would not or could not do.
You kept the opposing narrative alive and got it out there in any way you knew how. You helped bring people from no to yes and from no hope to the hope that we can be better than we are. You want to know what your continued engagement is doing? I’d say it’s changing attitudes where it matters.
I’d also say that should be considered quite the Q.E.D. moment.
No bad readers. No too bad at all.
This will be my last post before Paul gets back from his break. So as before, clean up the bottles and pizza boxes on your way out. Also? Many thanks for your company and comments. See you below the line and whatever you do, keep on talking.