A Q.E.D. moment

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.

The art of being in without being in

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before (No, don’t!). Seems Labour doesn’t have its troubles to seek Brexitwise these days. It appears Mr Corbyn is making yet another attempt to square one of the biggest circles on his busy to do list by proposing an amendment to next week’s withdrawal bill votes. An amendment which is meant to pressure the government into ensuring access to the single market, but without yer actual full membership of any of its official bodies. (No swerry wurds people!)

“It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum,”

Clearly an attempt to win over remain elements within his party, which is fair enough.

Just one teeny speed bump to consider however…

“We can’t possible imagine a situation in which we would accept cherry-picking. We are responsible for guaranteeing the integrity of the single market,”

“The UK knows what the rules are that underpin that integrity because they’ve been helping us put them together for the last 40 years.” Michel Barnier (Feb 2018)

and

“These three points were already made very clear by the European Council and European Parliament, but I am not sure whether they have been fully understood across the Channel,”.

“I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and build a customs union to achieve frictionless trade. That is not possible.

“The decision to leave the EU has consequences and I have to explain to citizens, businesses and civil society on both sides of the Channel what those consequences mean for them.

“These consequences are the direct result of the choice made by the UK, not by the EU. There is no punishment for Brexit and of course no spirit of revenge. But Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27, and businesses should assess with lucidity the negative consequences of the UK choice on trade and investment and prepare to manage that.”

“I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits. That is not possible.” Michel Barnier (July 2017)

Of course, if Mr Corbyn doesn’t want to accept the fairly unambiguous statements made by Michel Barnier? Then perhaps this observation by Martin Donnelly, former Permanent Secretary for the Department of International Trade may be of use?

“The single market is a coherent tapestry of economic and social regulation. Pulling out one strand is very hard to do without changing the whole picture. And so far the EU has been consistent in its commitment to keep the single market as it is, with a single set of rules for all.”

Setting aside ALL of that parliamentary amending, voting, abstaining and party political strategies waffle for a moment. Three things kinda stand out for even the mildly politically engaged person. 1. The jist of the amendment would tend to suggest that Brexit would appear to still be going ahead. 2. The EU have made it pretty clear that there will be no access to the single market from those outwith its regulatory bodies. 3. Given those fairly clear statements above, just how would a government of any stripe achieve this seemingly impossible ideal agreement?

As of this moment, neither Labour nor the current Conservative government are exactly forthcoming on the ‘how to’ part tbf. Maybe it’s a kung fu thing? Like walking on rice paper without leaving a dent. The art of being in without being in.

This amendment is supposedly an olive branch and a step towards compromise with remain elements within the ranks of Mr Corbyn’s PLP and membership. Personally, I’m not entirely sure Mr Corbyn understands either the nature of what is clearly a binary choice for many, or the resolve of the EU to maintain its charter.

Arguably, over the period since the referendum, merely the effects of the vote for Brexit have impacted on near every aspect of life on these islands. You have to wonder if the political class, in their dash to strategy, even notice what’s happening outside of their chambers.  Do they actually care about the damage that’s been done so far? The agreements they’ve endangered, both nationally and internationally? The pledges and settlements within their own competence they’ve ignored? The economic fallout? (which WILL visit every business and every home)

Remember. Merely the effects of the vote for Brexit. NOT Brexit itself. Not yet.

There does appear to be quite the consensus from evidence gathered so far, whether it be governmental impact reports or commentary from the business press, that Brexit has the potential to cause immense, near catastrophic, damage to the UK’s economy.  Kinda leaves a person wondering, why persist without consulting the population on what is clearly a material change in both information and circumstance? But then, Westminster government does have a habit of ignoring such things. If they don’t suit (cough).

The clock is ticking down to the June summit, by which time both a transition period deal and future trade pact discussions are supposedly meant to be on the cards. Tick, as they say, tock. No pressure guys. (Taps watch) Readers can draw their own conclusions as to whether UK gov are anywhere near ready for that summit.

So far as Scotland’s electorate is concerned? Soon as the deal (whatever it is) becomes clear? Well. It’s very likely that it’ll be your turn to have a say and make a choice.

 

(A rough guide of key Brexit dates can be found HERE.)

You can’t buy this

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Been quite the weekend on the news front readers, but we’ll get to that real news in a moment. Also? Briefly on another tangent entirely and very much in the vein of WHO KNEW? Apparently there’s been a government leak which sez a no deal Brexit will be very, very bad. Near Hollywood disaster movie bad in fact. Food shortages, airdrops, carnage and chaos bad. Full-on three bears bad. Daddy bear BAD being the very worst!

“The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks.”

There’s also a mummy bear Brexit scenario, which is not quite as bad. Oh, and a baby bear Brexit which has probably only done something unfortunate in the woods near your back door. Mmmmm, not to be a party pooper, but isn’t this pretty much old news?

As for leaking/rehashing? Other than leaking being highly unsanitary, a cynic might suggest it’s also a good way for governments to test the water. As in – (Wavy lines) ‘This outcome is going to be soooo awful, but thenks to our unparalleled negotiating brilliance? We believe we can secure one of the slightly less kettastroaphic outcomes. It’ll only mean penury for the vast majority of the UKs public for several decades, but it could hev bin sooooo much worse. No. No. There’s no need to thenk us…etc’ (Wavy lines back to reality).

Just to be crystal? It never pays to assume that all of the public haven’t been paying attention. Many folk are already well aware that there are three scenarios and that none of them are good. They’re ALL pretty catastrophic outcomes and frankly no amount turd polishing or dumbing down a sales pitch, will alter the fact for those affected.

Now onto that real news.

Turns out there was a bit of a get together in Dumfries for the YES movement on Saturday (stop cheering at the back). Upwards of ten thousand attending decided to let the meeja, politics pundits and politicians, know exactly what they think of their recent commentary and musings on all things indy. I mean, we’ve pretty much heard it all by this point. The YES movement is divided because, growth commission, left politics, right politics, green politics, hates England, Islands will annex themselves, werewolves… reasons in general. Oh, and that people definitely aren’t interested in referendums.  No appetite etc, etc. Well? For the second time in recent history, clearly the YES movement begs to differ. Pretty damned impressive I’d say, considering these marches are organised at grassroots level.

That’s not the only thing they beg to differ on though. Some people may wonder at the use or need for these marches. Maybe they consider them twee, a bit fleg wavy, not serious politics or whatever (shrugs). Personally? I disagree with that kind of thinking. I think these marches do more for those who do matter in and to the world of politics. The people themselves. The right to march in protest or support of a thing, without inciting violence, is precious to our vision and practice of democracy.

In this particular instance, outside of the fact that they bring independence minded people together for a much needed morale boost in pretty dark times? They illustrate, unambiguously, that for every negative and hateful misrepresentation that’s been put out there about them and what they stand for, their reality is the polar opposite of the myth created by less savoury media and political elements. These marchers prove beyond doubt that their political engagement can be positive, peaceful and carry impact. A joy and a privilege to be part of. What the people of these towns and cities will see with every peaceful march can’t be unseen and what they hear, can’t be unheard. For a movement that has rarely received fair or equal representation within the UK’s media or body politic?

You can’t buy that kind of positive imagery.

The groups and individuals attending seem to perfectly understand the true meaning of social unity on and beyond these islands and the impact this solidarity can have when on display. Kinda knocks the meeja’s ‘movement divided’ narrative on its sorry wossiname, yes? Also pretty certain that most of the folk attending these marches have no illusions about why they’re marching and what they hope to achieve either.

I think they’re perfectly aware that independence is not an end in itself. It’s the means to an end. It’s the beginning of a Scotland yet to be, with all the possibilities and visions that entails. Clearly, unlike the folk in Meejaworld, it appears many in the YES movement don’t have a problem understanding the meaning of compromise or consensus to achieve a desired outcome. Again. Who knew?

Might be those marchers are fully aware that an independent Scotland has need of all those visions and ideas. That an independent Scotland needs as diverse a society and plurality of progressive political views as we can all summon. An independent Scotland yet to be and it really only needs one thing to make it possible. Your belief in the principle of self determination.

That principle should bind all of us under one banner. Don’t you think? That principle should unify the rich and the poor. The radical and the more conservative (with a small ‘c’). All parties, no parties. All creeds and all points of origin. Seems to me the folk attending these marches have a pretty fair grasp of that concept.

One last thought to be getting on with. The SNP, as the government of the day, may very well be our first government of an independent Scotland. How and ever, in the history we hope to write for ourselves from that day forward? It most certainly won’t be the last.

As I’ve said more than once or twice, the SNP are currently gatekeepers. They can only hold that gate open for so long before a Westminster government, desperate to consolidate its waning power and resource base and seeking to draw yet more constitutional power to itself, actively moves to close the gate and dump the key in the deepest trench in the ocean.

Personally? At this point I’m for kicking that gate off its hinges altogether.

Oh, and one more thing!

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Righto then. One more time with feeling. This is going to be short and sweet, but I think it’s an important issue. So listen up!

In my post Mushroom farming the population, I stressed the need to support Scotland’s emerging new and traditional media sources. iScot, Independence Live, Phantom Power, The National, Truly Scottish TV and of course, your fav indy sites/blogs. They’re going to be needed and needed soon I’d say. So giving what you can will, I’m sure, be greatly appreciated.

Why will they be needed soon? I’m guessing because, (one way or another), political actions taken over this summer and autumn will define and determine a LOT about the Scottish population’s future and future choices. People will need to hear the opposing and alternative view to the mainstream diet of Westminster narrative and the ever more frantic and reactionary bumtrumpetry of the metrocentric opinion shapers.

Scottish news IS NOT made in London. It’s made in Scotland by you the people(s) of Scotland. It’s time we viewed the world through a lens of our own making. ‘Course it’s not just about Scotland’s population talking about Scottish news and events. It’s also time we discussed and listened to our own views on world events. It’s time we read our own views on world events.

If we want to ‘stop the world because we want to get on’? If we want the world to listen to us and to what we have to say? If we want to join in? Then as a population we’d better start having our own opinions to put forward. Mmmm… Probably also an idea not to have other people offer an opinion on our behalf, write cheques on our behalf and sign us up to… stuff… on our behalf.

It’s a big ask given hardships going on around us right now. Money is tight and it’s going to get a LOT tighter. But if ever there was a year in which those outlets for our voices and opinion were needed? Well, you can fill in the rest for yourself.

 

This is my last post before our host comes back from his well earned break. As ever, I’d like to thank the readers for bearing with my ramblings and for contributing below the line. Also? Make sure you tidy up the mess and get rid of the bottles before Paul gets back, or I’ll be in bother.

 

You get what you give

A guest post by Samuel Miller

You know, I still can’t get my head round it. So many questions and so few answers. Especially given the headlines of the past few weeks. Questions are good though. For instance, just what makes some people put others in harms way? Why mislead to manipulate opinion, when you know others will suffer? When the political class sit down for their triangulation sessions, debate their tactics and strategies over tea and biscuits and such, (or is it latte and biscotti these days? *shrugs*). Do they even for an instant consider the impact of their actions? Is winning the argument, the power, the advantage, so important that they forget the why of ‘government of the people, by the people for the people’?

When did it become a competition, a sport? When did win at all costs include laying waste to the prize? Make no mistake, the population IS the prize. The population is the nation and a nation… is only as good the sum of its parts.

The point of government is to care for your ALL of your population without fear or favour. To put bread on the table. If you’re a civilized, even progressive, society? It’s about how you care surely? How you care for your elderly and your infirm. Keep safe and free from harm those in your charge. To legislate and create laws that don’t cater for the advantage of demographics, but protect, nurture and provide freedom of choice for ALL. It’s a covenant, a contract between the people and their choice of legislation. THIS is what generates confidence, pride, community, empathy and … unity. As a concept, it doesn’t appear to be rocket science. You get what you give.

Does any of that resemble today’s UK? Is today’s politics really what the Conservatives, Labour and the Libdems consider the traditional and acceptable rough and tumble of the adversarial system? Are their actions toward the populations of the UK, in any way, the actions of responsible government? I mean, these parties have formed the backbone of the system of UK government for generations. Their practice of politics, their management of the responsibilities and powers of government, ARE what shaped the UK we see today.

So what happens when what you give is mired in self interest, greed, demographic exclusion and a less than considerate approach to mass manipulation? In our own experience here in Scotland. When the political establishment or their more committed chums in Meejaland assault the Scottish government and essential services with questionable figures, or out of context claims. Y’know, their version of what they laughably term ‘holding to account’. Is that what we want them to do? Is that how we feel politics should be practised? What does that do to us, d’you think? What does that say about us?

When you misrepresent, mislead, break trusts and undermine. When your tactic du jour is to inspire fear, mistrust, even hatred of others amongst your population. When you place the rights and democracy of your population at risk. When you treat others with arrogance, ignorance and disdain. Well? You WILL get what you give.

As we’ve pointed out previously. Maybe it’s about time they stopped for a second and took a look around themselves. Take a look at their precioussss, precioussss, political union. REALLY look and marvel at their works. How much societal unity is there to be had out there about now d’you reckon? Seems to me their practice of the dark science of politics has done a bang up job of fracturing any hope of uniting the populations of the UK. Maybe they should ask themselves one or two more questions. What is more important, the political union or the social union of these islands? In their drive to secure the one, for their own selfish reasons, are they truly willing to sacrifice the other?

It really doesn’t have to be that way. Scotland’s population have already seen that there are other ways to govern. Only a taste so far to be honest, but it’s a glimpse of something yet to be fully realised. Something with the potential to revitalise and repurpose the politics of all the nationalities of these islands. Redraw the nature of our national political relationships, our system of politics and secure the future of a social union. In my view, the only one that truly matters. Personally, I’ve never required any politician’s permission to care for friends or family wherever they are on the globe.

About that potential though.

Asking questions of those who have held power over our lives for so very long is a good first step. Reminding them that eventually you get what you give is another.

How bad could it be?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

They say timing is everything and given the nature of my previous post, this Q.E.D. moment couldn’t be allowed to pass. It appears that some folk yesterday were quite concerned about Scottish economic performance lagging behind the UK. Others? Not so much.  Very much a glass half empty or glass half full kinda story. Four quarters of continuous but modest growth, or why aren’t you doing as well as…etc? Depends on your outlook really. Regardless, what really caught my eye were the statements made by Mr Mundell, oor Secretary of State for not being consulted very much.

“It is good news that today’s GDP figures show that Scotland’s economy continues to grow. I note a modest improvement in Scotland’s important services sector, and encouraging growth in production industries.” (Super so far)

“However, it is increasingly concerning that a significant gap persists between Scotland’s economy and the rest of the UK. The Scottish Government has the powers to boost productivity and strengthen the economy, and must use them to close this gap. By making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK, the Scottish Government risks damaging, rather than growing, our economy.” (Aaaand there we have it. Also? My bold)

Which begs a question or two now doesn’t it?

Those unspecified powers Mr Mundell mentions must be quite the package. It’d probably be helpful if the Secretary of State for… whatever… could tell folk exactly what they are right enough. Also safe to say that there are folk out there who might disagree on whether the Scottish government has the powers it requires. How and ever, and for the sake of clarity, you’ll find who has competence over what HERE.

You’ll note where the responsibility for the economy of the entire UK rests pretty rapidly and don’t let tourism and economic growth fool you either. The Scottish government can invite investment, but it relies on Westminster to set favourable economic conditions. The SG can also stimulate growth in certain sectors, but again this relies heavily on the budget granted/available and those economic conditions set elsewhere at the time. The SG have only a percentage of tax raising powers and zero control of essential resources and revenue streams. They have no treasury and therefore no control over monetary policy. No control of employment legislation or benefits and clearly no control over foreign policy, borders, trade, immigration and so on.

I’d say they’re doing pretty well all things considered. In fact it sounds very much to me like a case of tackling some fairly severe economic challenges with the legislative equivalent of having one arm and both legs tied behind your back. Personally I’d have thought it perfectly reasonable to assume that when a Scottish government in full control of ALL of the above powers fails, then folk could have a wee gripe. Mibbies it is just me though. (shrugs)

Just to put things into further perspective given the impending Brexit. HERE is a link to a list of UK recessions and their effects on the overall economy, with 2008’s crash on the bottom. Worst Q was -2.2% in Q4.

So, just to be clear. It’s taken a central government, in full possession of all economic levers, ten years NOT to have ditched austerity ideology. A period which has seen unprecedented wage stagnation, draconian changes and swingeing cuts to the UK’s benefits system, massive growth of food bank culture and cuts to services reported across the board. A state legislature in FULL possession of ALL economic levers. Personally I’d say that’s worthy of a gripe or two, but then I would.

Anyway, now we get to the interesting question on the subject of those economy growing zooperpowers. Given both HMG and Scotgov’s impact assessments consider a 2-2.5% contraction is currently the best case (soft Brexit) scenario for Scotland. Also taking into account the all too evident hardships which the recession of 2008 has delivered over the past ten years. Just what do you reckon the effect will be of a 9% contraction of Scotland’s economy in event of the worst case scenario?

Readers, of course, can decide for themselves whether they consider the economic powers of the Scottish parliament sufficient for the challenges ahead.

After all… how bad could it be?

Mushroom farming the population

A guest post by Samuel Miller

From the lack of serious Scottish political news out there you’d be forgiven for thinking that bugger all is happening. Not to mention you may be feeling a bit frustrated, anxious or downright borderline paranoid. Perhaps worth remembering, that one way or another this is going to be a fairly important year for Scotland’s population. There is a lot going on in political and legal circles people aren’t normally privy to and won’t necessarily understand the necessity of, (there always is). It’s also WHY we have a political class. They are there to administer and manage the process/procedures of government. They are there to deal with and within these legalities, adhere to their mandated pledges, and work in the best interests of the population in their care. That is to say, a duty of care without fear or favour. The REAL day job.

This lack of knowledge does NOT make the public stupid. A little explanation now and again can go a long way for people who aren’t anoraks, but who do feel anxious or afraid (bit of a theme of mine this week). You can see why it is also where the less altruistic, or less ethical, elements of establishment parties and the mainstream media find this lack of knowledge or engagement fertile ground. Mmmm… and by less altruistic and ethical,  I mean pretty much all of them and the horse they rode in on. (And do we really need to revisit every scandal, fib and theft in parliamentary history followed by a blow by blow account of the Leveson inquiry? Not to mention the sheer animosity displayed over the past several years by the vast majority of the UK media toward the concept of independence, the Scottish government and YES movement?)

Ignorance is their friend as we’ve seen time and again. They use people’s lack of political engagement and knowledge on say; constitutional law, the Scotland bill settlement, devolved and reserved issues, the nature of the Barnett formula, to basically confuse at best or make shit up at worst. They also create memes, project definitions and narratives to harm or hinder demographics and opposition as required (see under ‘Nat’s’ and YES movement’s major motivation apparently being hatred of the English and generally just being unpleasant, blood and soil, tartan terror, most dangerous wummin, blah de blah… sigh). Like chimps on a sugar rush, they chuck pooh in all directions knowing some will stick and become a set myth. Finally, these reckless, (some might say idiotic), elements have apparently limitless access to similar elements within a mainstream media which appears only too willing to disseminate and/or give credence to their guff. Oh, and the popular market saturation to spread it far and wide. The detrimental effect this has on wider society? Well, they don’t seem too bothered about that. A win’s a win and they can always create another narrative to sweep the scraps together at a later date when they need a vote or two. People will understand. It’s not personal. It’s just politics.

Charmers one and all really.

So here’s the pitch. People fear the unknown and as we’ve previously noted, not everyone is interested in politics or will be engaged by it. They just want it to work and have someone to blame when it doesn’t. These are the people who need to hear the opposing view and be provided with access to information and opinion which is counter to an often alarming mainstream narrative. New media sites like this, video media sources such as Phantom Power, Livestream, Truly Scottish TV and hardcopy voices such as the National and iScot, are the only balance and representation near half of Scotland’s population have at their disposal. The only opportunity to shine some light in those dark corners and dispel needless or callously engendered fears. Spookily though, even with all their power, access and wealth, the establishment are still fearful of such relatively small voices. That should really tell you something.

I mean, could it actually be that this new media does have a knack for cutting through wonk speak and metro babble? Might it be that butterfly effect thingy has some legs right enough? Clearly for some that would never do. Tut! Maybe also worth a thought readers, but with knowledge fear of the unknown lessens. Once you have seen or learnt a thing for yourself, it cannot be unseen or unlearnt. I’d say that without question and if it was at all possible, there are political and media elements who would deny people even this route to representation and self expression. Some folk apparently don’t like competition for their narratives. Who knew?

This year, of all years, with Brexit looming, austerity ideology still in full effect and a central government seemingly set on deconstructing a devolution settlement IT created to suit its own ends. This year, we need to focus on keeping these lines of communication open. Call it a hunch, but I think we’re going to need every means of reaching people we can get our hands on and in the not too distant future.

Without them? We go back to the days of mushroom farming and sleepwalking toward that cliff edge. Now I don’t know about you readers, but other than the aforementioned fungi, I can’t think of anyone who would appreciate being kept in the dark and fed on sh… manure.