Yes Yes Yes…I think


Ever wonder if it’s worth it? Ever think to yourself that while you’re sure about independence personally, you have real doubts about your fellow Scots making it work?

I have to admit I do. The degree of self-doubt, ignorance, lack of interest and all-round cynicism is sometimes near overwhelming. And if that accounts for a majority, as the polls indicate right now, it must lead to concerns of how well we will cope if there is eventually a narrow Yes.

Will all those doubting Scots, the disparagers and naysayers, suddenly accept that it’s over and it is time for them to move on. They will then transform themselves into active, ambitious independistas and put their shoulder to the weal?

I had three encounters in the last week that led to these thoughts. The first was from a businessman who intervened in a discussion about independence which had been positive. We were developing points about inter-country relationships, Westminster shortcomings etc when he stepped in. “I would never vote for that balloon from Aberdeenshire (I assume Salmond) or that loser Sturgeon. I work in England a lot and I never have any trouble being a Scot.”

And that was it. In essence, he despised the First Minister and Deputy and wasn’t racially abused when travelling in the South. Therefore he didn’t need nor want his country to be independent. It was one of those moments where I simply didn’t know where to start so I didn’t. You can’t really argue with deep personal animosity and he is entitled to his view. But, I wonder, what will his attitude be if we vote Yes? I suppose whatever his misgivings he will have to carry on to keep the business going and will be irritated at any administrative loose ends created – if any – by cross-border trade, although I would think that can only relate for example to where he pays tax as there is no trade barrier in the EU. But his view seemed to be based on hatred of politicians – very common – and a skewed version of identity politics. To me, it didn’t sound as if Scotland has such played much of a role in his life.

The other example put to me is out of the Better Together Fear playbook. The question I was asked is, basically: Oil is the only real asset we have and what happens when it runs out. If we are looking ahead say 30 years, you are imagining a horizon of shifting sands. It’s hard to say what the economy will look like but that surely applies to the UK too. Oil is less a percentage of Scotland’s economy than it is in Norway and financial services is one massive basket of highly dubious value to the whole UK as events of the last five years have shown. In any case how do they think Denmark will survive in 30 years time – minus oil – or Norway or New Zealand, living without the open trade area of Europe and lacking its subsidies? I mean, how the hell does any country survive…?

Are we devoid of thrust, drive, ingenuity…have we no smarts, as the kiwis would say? How cowed have we become that some of our mature intelligent citizens have such a craven and self-denigrating view of themselves and their country? Do they look at the spires on Gilmorehill and see only Glasgow University or do they also perceive world class education which brings in students from around the globe and which enhances our society at every level including the economy…are they unaware of the strength of our renewables industry and its potential…or of life sciences…digital technology sector…our still strong financial companies and the massive associated areas of tourism and food and drink?  And, yes, oil and gas. And fishing…

My point is that I wonder if we deserve independence because, let’s be honest, voting Yes is only the start. The real work begins afterwards and there will be no hiding place and plenty of opportunity for the doom-mongers to complain and criticise.

My third engagement was entirely different. It was with one of the leaders of the Yes campaign who was brimming with optimism and genuine belief. He told me: “You know we’re going to win this.” He is compelling – and logical. It isn’t just assertion. Yet I was burdened by the memory of the cynics and there is an aspect of the Scottish psyche that makes the gloomy ring true. Have we come to believe that were are not deserving of anything better? That getting the best and being bright and self-assured is something for  others to enjoy.

We really are too ready to accept the criticisms of others. It’s as if we have no fight. That we are to be scoffed at, as if London ministers telling us no one will want to defend our country, that we wont be able to create an intelligence service or we will turn on ethnic minorities, is somehow what we deserve. Perhaps we really are broken as a nation. Perhaps the truth is that after all of those years and all that social conditioning, we accept deep down that we are in effect British now before we are Scots, something I believe a No vote will indicate.

The tragic side of this is that it isn’t really the fault of those British ministers. They’re actually giving us our cue to wake up and realise how they truly view us, which seems to be with ill-disguised scorn. The fault lies with the Scots, as it always has. It is our own people who are the block to the kind of change that might unlock a better future and yet so many of them are content to be led by those whose case is built almost entirely on emphasising our perceived inadequacies – not just subsidy-dependent and not clever enough to run our own institutions – but in the mouth of a self-declared leftie like George Galloway, incipiently racist. So – as Ian Smart and Jack McConnell also tweeted – we will eventually turn on immigrant people to vent our frustration when we fail. Can you imagine the enormity of the insult that implies to all Scots…that first, our attempts at running our own affairs will fail (because were not up to it?) and then, our cleverly conceal hatred of foreigners and Scots of overseas origin will erupt in what – a Golden Dawn riot of racist violence?…this from the so-called Left.

The depths of their national self-loathing seem to be unlimited. Of course if we believe in our country’s ability to run our own affairs, we are, according to the main party of the Left, a virus infecting everyone. Wasn’t McConnell proposed for a gathering of former First Ministers to help negotiate a deal with London? Why doesn’t that fill me with optimism?

The only brightness I encountered was with our friend at the Yes campaign where it seems the optimism is of heroic proportions. I know there are critics of Yes but when you look around at the unremitting tirade of belittling propaganda I think you have to salute their virtuous sense of mission and belief.


(and I’m feeling better now, thank you)

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62 thoughts on “Yes Yes Yes…I think

  1. Those perpetrating the unremitting tide of belittling propaganda are in fact a small minority. After independence they will go back under their stone.

    The problem at the moment is that our media, and the BBC is leading in this you have to face it, is pushing that unremitting tide for all it’s worth. As a result a large number of people believe it and in some cases go on to repeat it themselves. This latter group is a majority, but will not persist in these neanderthal attitudes after independence.

    We don’t have to “deserve” independence. It’s not a good-conduct prize. It’s an opportunity, and Scots are no less capable of taking that opportunity and making a success of it than any other nation. More capable, perhaps, if you look at some of our history.

    And “what will happen when the oil runs out”? In the immortal words of Mr. Micawber, “something will turn up”. It won’t be 30 years, in fact it may well not be this century. Who knows how society will have changed by then, what energy sources we will be using, or how trade relations will play out. The future, that far ahead, will always be uncertain. It’s just as uncertain within the union – in fact arguably more precarious considering the way London always grabs the lion’s share of scarce or diminishing assets for its own benefit.

    For goodness sake, Derek, get a grip. Carpe diem.

    • Roibert a Briuis

      Absolutely Get a Grip Derek. Do you still live with your mom and dad and get pocket money OR did you jump into the BIG WIDE WORLD and make your own way……………Its not for me to measure your success here/there. but you seem to have made some progress in the broadcasting world. Played the game obviously UNTIL……..the game and your morals were fighting with each other you probably became a ‘difficult employee’ then the head count had to go down and surprise surprise your name was in the frame – you were not needed for whatever reason and they binned you.

      FFS man grow up. GOSH there will be problems and GOSH some people will still be assholes (i wont name names but the usual culprits i would expect) and want to be stupid and place obstructions to our progress into a BETTER Country a more balanced one between the have and the have nots. Nope its not going to be all Milk and Honey AND it is NOT all about Oil and it is going to take quite a while 10/20/30 years BUT so long as we make positive progress the reward for us all in Scotland AND future generations MUST BE worth pursuing.

      Few of us leave behind any lasting legacy………………BUT this time WE CAN leave something immense behind us for future generations YES YES YES

      For the absence on any doubt i think CAPS being SHOUTING is too stooopid for words…even these words

  2. There is a very small but powerful response to the negative opinion – just ask them Why? And let them flounder for an answer. What you have described is what I call the ‘Unionist cringe’ – after all it’s only unionists or the “Proud Scot but…..” brigade that express such negative ‘asperations’.

  3. As Noam Chomsky said,
    “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”

    Time to step up Scotland.

    entire article here!articles/vstc1=ronnie-cowan

  4. Never mind Derek, we all have our down days, if you really want cheered up, that’s if you haven’t seen it yet. watch a recording of Johann Lamont’s performance at FMQ’s of this week and the look on her face at the way Alex Salmond puts her in her place. Priceless!

    • Derek articulates a feeling that us definitely out there , self doubt. But who perhaps, has not been troubled when it comes to making really import decisions. I chanced careers about 10 years ago and I can tell you, there was a wee bit worry of how I would get by with a young family to support.
      Guess what, things worked out, not only because I worked hard, but because I knew that I had that inner faith and drive to succeed. Derek’s experience with the businessman is one which the no campaign know only too well and of course they will tap into the self doubt by any means possible. I would counter such negativity with the line that Scotland as a community is tasked with renewal and yes, there will be a bit of hard work. Most people I reckon know that you never got rewards simply by wishing them. Our generation have the opportunity to do something wonderful. As Arnie would say, self doubt is the disease, independence is the cure!

  5. Yeah, down days. I have them too. The difference is, mine take the form of absolute terror and horror that we’ll end up with a No vote next year. Never any reasonable doubt that Yes is the future we need to build the country we want. (It would still be the same even if we had none of the bloody oil. Oil is the cherry on the top of the icing on the cake. We need to eat the cake, not mumble that maybe we should stick with dry bread because we’re not good enough for cake.)

  6. You should challenge that meme like comment about Salmond & Sturgeon.

    First by going in the total opposite direction to create the same effect “I think Salmond’s done a really good job. Particularly over Grangemouth and puts most of the Westminster politicians to shame. Sturgeon also gets praise from health people that Jeremy Hunt would dream of,” (Even if you don’t believe it just do for the effect to see the reaction)

    And then ask him these questions:

    And maybe also add in what he, as a businessmen, finds more attractive about Ed Miliband as head of the executive that will have control of taxation etc?

    This “get Salmond” meme that the opposition run should be challenged instead of played to. It’s often borne out of little more than repeating what they think is the received wisdom and has no basis in facts. Folks who are Yes who don’t agree with him shouldn’t let denigration go by. Disagreement on policy, fair enough, but just emotive abuse with no factual basis should be challenged.

    To win a Yes we have to challenge perceptions based on what has been heard or overheard in the pub.

  7. We should stick with dry bread only because our supply of cherries might run out.

  8. Glad you’re feeling better…

    George Foulkes isnt….

  9. Even if our supply of cherries does run out, at least we’ll have eaten them ourselves.

  10. “according to the main party of the Left” Not the Labour party you are describing, I hope. If they are the left, god help us all

  11. What has Scotland got? Let’s think.

    Fishing, aquaculture, crops, livestock, food, drinks, world class and unique distilling, brewing, financial services, banking, education, research, IT software, engineering, construction, shipping, avionics, energy, hydroelectricity & renewables, coal, oil & gas and lots of water!

    Anything else?

  12. Aye Derek, your old ‘pal’ Gordon Brewer fits that description to a T!!
    Just think how we could be if we actually vote Yes!

  13. “…Oil is the only real asset we have and what happens when it runs out….”

  14. Derek after a particularly trying day, where I experienced first hand how as a citizen, our great and good services take your money , promise the moon and deliver zero I was fit to burst .My bank ( rip off) my energy supplier ( rip off) my supermarket ( rip off) , petrol ( rip off) so you can imagine the kind of mood I was in by the time I jumped in the car and headed for home and who should be on the radio but Janice Forsyth at wonderful BBC Scotland.
    Anyway, Janice was interviewing an Irish girl. As is her style, she let the girl explain her point of view. The girl ( a musician I think ) spoke about how Ireland has changed so much in recent years.
    Woman or companies being threatened with jail re contraception , woman not even being allowed to be a juror until recently ( not sure if she said 76, 86 or 96) this was the gist of the conversation and it started me thinking. Yes Ireland has a long history , facing what appeared insurmountable problems at times but the young Irish people I have the good fortune to work alongside are able, confident, smart, clever and aware. These mainly female colleagues are a product of a country that has transformed itself ( to me) over the last 50 years.-a blink of the eye in terms of its history.
    There may be some ah buts , but if Ireland can be a modern European country to live in , given some of its historical views Im blooming sure Scotland can drag some of its can’t see beyond the end of their noses( or self interest)in to this century.
    Praise where it’s due well done Janice and your guest, you turned a particularly hellish day where the reality of being a ripped off citizen in Britain was overcame by hearing how another country has shown it doesn’t take 300 years to improve. Ah Derek , “because we’re worth it !”

  15. There is a serious problem in self perception when Lord George Robertson can say “Scotland has no language and no culture”, and it passed without a word from ‘our’ press or TV broadcasters. Especially since he is Lord Robertson of Port Ellen on Islay where a quarter of the population speak Gaelic. You would think a go-getting reporter would at least ask the islanders what they thought of that!

    Or in another case, a noble Lord from Northern Ireland,wrote a letter to the Scotsman, recently, saying this,
    “Should there be a Yes majority then we in Northern Ireland, being closer in both distance and culture with Scotland, would have to decide whether to remain with England or remain with Scotland”.
    He added a bit about how would Scotland manage without the block grant!

    I would ask readers to ponder what the man wrote, then consider that this dimwit, sits in the House of Lords, drawing £300 a day, and makes makes and votes on laws that govern us. He would be considering the constitutional arrangements if we vote Yes.
    I would have thought any Labour, socialist reporter, print or TV, would be onto this in an instant. There are 800 of these in the House of Lords.
    Nothing so far.

  16. Amen to all that wisdom and optimism. Keep taking the tablets Derek, and keep writing. We all distribute your stuff. It was Eleanor McEvoy by the way- got tickets to see her at Woodend Bowling Club (surreal but true) on Sunday. No way can the no’s win. We’ve got the boots on the ground.

  17. I’ll tell you what cheers me up, Derek, and that’s the resurgence of political thought and creative thinking all over the place among Yes supporters. And the number of people who have seen the light about their old political habits and have become interested in their country’s future, maybe for the first time. That’s not going to go away. There’s a growing determination that when we win this we are not going to revert to relying on second raters and vested interests to guide our futures. A negotiating team of former first ministers? Pull the other one…

  18. Derek
    I usually pop out to the local supermarket and a buy a bottle pf bubbling French white.
    Chilled and served with some pate on oatcakes works for.
    Mind you the whote Vimto only costs me €6.00 but on the other hand I am surrounded by Magz Currans dreaded foreigners.
    I am running into the food and wine part by listening to Caro Emerald.
    Try YOU tube, Caro Emerald and Liquid Lunch. It might however bring flashbacks to your post Rugby heid of earlier. The music is good though, even when you sober up.

    As is inscribed of the tomb of W C Fields,
    “I’d rather be in Philadelphia”

  19. @farrochie
    Also we are a hugely attractive tourist destination.

  20. Perhaps there is some reason to be nervous about the consequences of a ‘Yes’ vote. What if the 2016 election is won by an unreformed Scottish Labour party under the ‘leadership’ of J Lamont? However, there are very definite reasons to be scared of the likely consequences of a ‘No’ vote. So cheer up and keep blogging for independence.

  21. Derek, We all have days of despair which is why we rely on sites such as WOS and NNS and all the other blogs.
    If these didn’t exist we would not know that others think as we do and that would be depressing.

    When you realise that the entire MSM are anti indy in particular the BBC it is a wonder we are at a possible 37% Yes.

    The problem is the BBC seem to be untouchable and I can’t understand why so many journalists are not ashamed of themselves.

  22. Ask the Salmond-haters what it is they don’t like about him. Is it the free prescriptions and the free education? Or is it for failing to privatise the NHS? Or maybe for saving Grangemouth? More police on the streets? The council Tax freeze? I could go on.

    p.s. Lord George ‘cha n’eil canan no cultar ann an Alba’ Robertson. Oh dear.

  23. I met a man today like the one you describe Derek. He told me that he didn’t want live in a Scotland which is ruled by that dictator King Eck and what would we do when the oil ran out? Sell heather? He couldn’t be reasoned with. I think Yes voters have usually looked at the evidence and use that to arrive at a point of view. People like these two arrive at a point of view and then work backwards to manufacture evidence which supports that view. Consequently they have to reject all other evidence which contradicts it. That’s why they won’t engage.

    • I had a conversation recently with a woman who told me she was anti-independence because she didn’t like Alex Salmond and she didn’t like the nationalists because she “knew about Germany’s history and what happened there”. I had to point out he was a Scottish nationalist, not a German National Socialist. Her response was, is there a difference? That’s some of the mentality out there. The tragic thing is this person, like me, was another ex-BBC employee. Through gritted teeth I humbly suggested that yes, there was a difference and that I didn’t think we were heading for a totalitarian state quite yet. But it was a very depressing conversation to have to have.

  24. Today I was at presentation by Iain MacW (and Naught James) at Lennoxlove book festival. Iain MacW was upbeat and when asked to supply a game changing slogan for both camps, gave this for the YES to remind their fellow Scots; “NO, MEANS NO”. Naughtie James gave Ming Campbell’s for the NO side as “Independence is not just for Christmas”. The unscientific show of hands at the end gave ‘typical’ results (from polls other than Panelbase). I was suitable impressed, as the majority of the crowd were from ‘the Scottish Home Counties’ (Edinburgh and it’s environs) with Loretto tops etc. To remove doubts, Naughtie is clearly a NO, and I would say Ian MacW is clearly a YES.
    Derek you have to cheer up, many of us are looking forward to the rush of change in the Polls, which (as in 2011 remember) were ‘totally’ (in fact, they missed it!) late in catching the Zeitgeist of the Scottish nation. As wee Wendy says, ROLL ON!

  25. It’s my opinion that of all the great damages that Scotland being in the Union has led to, is the belief held by the majority (lets’s not kid ourselves) that we are incapable of governing ourselves and that we are TW, TP, TS. Now that is propaganda at it’s best. Someone should write a paper on it! I find this in the most capable and intelligent of people. Lost count of the ‘but can we…’ responses to my independence quest. I flip it by responding with a look of increduality. It works. I empathise with your post. It can be soul destroying dealing with this. But, as most things, those who do ie the minority, will do. And we will succeed. Will keep my thoughts re. those who buy in to TW, TP, TS argument to myself.

  26. I think we all have days when the sheer negativity of the No camp seems insurmountable. However, I think the problem is that such people assume that the status quo is working, that Westminster is fit for purpose and competent. Or perhaps they don’t, a third of the electorate never vote for anything. Disengaged and cynical (and oft times with good cause) they will gain say any suggestion.

    I have to say your businessman sounds awfully like a well kent face on the Facebook pages, even down to the not being abused in England non sequitur . He didn’t mention we would all lose our houses did he?

    If we obtain a Yes vote there will be enough people who will have a can do attitude to run the country, the professional politicians that saw Westminster as their gravy train will take stock and no doubt re-assess the source of gravy, casting aside those they have scared the bejaysus out of in the independence campaign in their bid to secure their position.

    In short, this is a struggle but the alternative by dint of doing nothing is far worse.

  27. “according to the main party of the Left”

    My goodness. Have you any idea how quickly you lose journalistic credibility when you use a phrase like that to describe the neo-cons of New Labour?

  28. Derek. I cut and pasted one paragraph onto my facebook page. Hope that’s ok. I found it quite inspiring. Thanks

  29. This is the part, which I think is brilliantly written:

    “The only brightness I encountered was with our friend at the Yes campaign where it seems the optimism is of heroic proportions. I know there are critics of Yes but when you look around at the unremitting tirade of belittling propaganda I think you have to salute their virtuous sense of mission and belief”.

  30. Eleanor McAvoy? I think she had a song just for you, Derek:

    “My Heart is low
    My heart is so low
    As only a woman’s….”

    Aw wait a minute it’s not for you Derek —- cheer up ya bastard!

  31. I’m English and have lived in the Highlands for 10 years, so the 2007 elections were my first. With the SNP forming a minority government I was excited about the prospect of a new form of consensus politics. Needless to say, I knew nothing about Scottish politics at that time but I began following what was taking place in Holyrood. I was disbelieving, shocked, horrified by turns over the next four years by the behaviour of certain of our politicians, and disgusted to see some potentially good legislation canned due to opposition for the sake of it politics. I am now enraged by the antics of Labour and Better Together.

    I worry when George Galloway and other of his ilk stir up division and promote racism and sectarianism. England is sleep-walking into disaster and I really don’t want to see Scotland caught in the crash when we have a way out. I wonder why Yes is not way ahead in the polls. I wonder where this curious lack of belief some Scots have in their country comes from. There cannot be many countries better equipped for successful independence than Scotland. I firmly believe in independence, most days I believe Yes will win.

    After a successful Yes vote, some disgruntled Unionists may be petty enough to try to scupper iScotland’s chances out of revenge on the Scottish people. But we do have leaders with vision and the ability to bring it about and I believe that most of the people of Scotland will support them. Scots have not lost their drive and ingenuity, its just that it has generally been necessary to leave Scotland to have the opportunity to pursue it. Until now, no-one has been interested in creating space for that to happen within our borders. My biggest hope for the future of Scotland is that Independence will enable Scots to be great in Scotland and for Scotland.

    There is far more to worry about if a No vote, bought with tomorrow’s promied jam, proves to yield only stale bread.

  32. We just need to hold our nose and jump knowing we can swim and swim we will. Otherwise we go down with the sinking ship.

  33. My minor contribution is to print copies of the Common Weal outline and distribute among friends and people I meet. The response has been positive. Perhaps it would be better understood as Common Decency. i.e. a framework for a Decent Country run by Decent people for Decent people.
    Independence must enshrine fundamental changes from the corrupt society we will leave behind in a written Constitution.
    If people believe that this can happen, they will vote Yes.

  34. I think you are spot on with the Anglo Scots attitude.George Galloway is a walking talking hypocrite.I doubt he would ever suggest that his beloved Eire .Was not a better country after freeing itself from mother England.The difference between the Anglo Scot and the Scot who lives elsewhere in the world is.The Anglo Scot sees everything from the distorted prism of England.They are only concerned for their own careers and usually step in to say something negative about their country.Think about it Galloway,Alex Ferguson,Gregor Fisher,Jim Murphy..there are more.The world Scot Alan Cumming,Sean Connery rtc.Only ever step in to talk up their country and look positively on its role in the world.In other words they have a perspective out with the,London Westminster bubble.This is no coincidence.The English and the Scottish Raj are in an unholy alliance of self preservation and receipt.The irony being that Galloway thinks Scots are racist as they might want to reject British nationalism.Yet how many black or Asian people in England would describe themselves as English.They don’t as they are not comfortable with it.Yet in Scotland Asians are very happy to call themselves Scots.Scottish is an inclusive nationality.Hence I am comfortable calling myself Scots even if I have an Irish name and ancestory.Am I comfortable being British absolutely not for obvious Bnp,Royalist,colonial,imperialistic connotations.There is no pride in that detestable flag particularly as a Catholic Scot and the Rangers,Orange order connections up here.So George don’t ever call me a racist.I want independence to bury the Unionist bigotry that is a shame on all of us.

  35. ‘you have real doubts about your fellow Scots making it work’

    Would that be the ‘comfortably numb’ section who work at the BBC and follow Labour & the Unions like sheep ?
    Because you know what Derek, the rest of us will make it work, you know we will !

  36. Oh – and since we dont recognise the Dictator suggested as King Eck, we can’t wait for that great ‘Division Bell’ to prove that case in point.

  37. Although I support independence as well, I quite often have doubts about whether we will be able to achieve it. People in Scotland have been conditioned to think that we cannot run our own affairs. Your encounter with the businessman is fairly typical of the No campaign. They are becoming increasingly hysterical as their arguments are incredibly negative and bitter. They lack logic and intellectual credibility as well. Their only tactic is to denigrate their opponents, with Salmond in particular getting demented abuse thrown at him. I think the Yes campaign can safely right off at least 30 per cent of the Scottish electorate. Either they are British nationalists, big and small conservatives, or are sufficiently afraid of change to vote Yes. History shows that political campaigns that seek meaningful change almost always have problems in achieving their aims, or run into entrenched opposition. That is just the nature of the beast I am afraid. However, this opposition can, and hopefully in our case will, be overcome. We will need to take the heat, but if we continue to argue our case in a moderate, rational, and logical way, then there is every chance of success next year.

  38. Roibert a Briuis

    I hear that HS2 is now ‘planned’ to run to Glasgow and Edinburgh…………….desperate stuff that – I wonder if that is before or after it is binned. Next week it will be going to Dundee Aberdeen and Inverness with a branch line running to Skye slung under the Sky bridge – pure fantasy stuff. Probably Blair McDougall will be the driver with a darling wee conductor………… You know the only truth here ……. Is – they can see the light in the tunnel and they know its a train coming to mow them down

    As wee Wendy said bring it on YES YES YES

  39. “prosperity for Scotland and no Union”

  40. No need to despair. Think of the multitude of negative people who told us for years that having a Scottish Parliament would be a catastrophe, because we were too wee, too poor, too stupid etc. Then, when we got the parliament, the people who carped endlessly about the cost, the design, the financial over-run. Where are they now? Their girning stopped and Scotland moved forward. Now they have found a new cause to bleat about. They will disappear after a Yes vote. Hopefully some of them will emigrate, taking their misery to new lands that they can drag down.

  41. To put not too fine a point on it Derek, you’re not your brothers keeper. You are only in charge of your own principles, choices and decisions. You can no more make people positive, strong or convinced in the benefits and rightness of an independent Scotland than you could lift a bus with one hand. You can lead by example. You can point in a direction. You can even throw a ream or two of facts and figures at them, but people have to want to look at the other side of the debate in the first place. They have to believe there is something better, want something better, that they are capable of achieving something better.

    If they they are too apathetic, afraid, browbeaten, self centred or propagandised, then frankly their only recourse is faux outrage or anger at the bogey man set up by Westminster and the media. They have no reasoning to fall back on as to why their country and its citizens are uniquely incapable of running their own lives effectively. They have no conscious will of their own only a mob mentality directed by others who do their thinking for them. A self destructive comfort zone if you will. The current mindset of such people has been generations in the making, it’ll take more than two or three years to break that mold.

    I don’t doubt for a heartbeat that independence is on its way and that this wee country of ours has the potential to be the best wee country in the world. Realising that potential is the trick and getting people to accept that this potential even exists is a bigger one.

    Baby steps, one miracle at a time. 🙂

  42. I always find it sinister when you write a page long comment and it miraculously disappears…Ahem. Maybe the thought police took it out!

  43. Derek,

    I too have come across some disheartening views from otherwise intelligent people (often women) who express distrust of Alex Salmond based on their sense that he:

    a) has eaten too many pies, and often laughs at his own jokes

    b) is the living embodiment of the Emperor Bokassa and, insanely, wants to rule the world

    c) is a trained oil economist

    (Well, to be fair, not many people mention the last one.)

    I think the problem is that many of us ‘civilians’ (for whom politics is neither a critical daily concern, nor even a diverting pastime) haven’t really thought about the subject of independence that deeply. Goodness, it hasn’t even featured as dinner-conversation for most people over the last few years, being somewhat of a ‘love that dare not speak its name’ in polite circles. So when one tries to engage in conversation with people on the subject, you often get a ‘default setting’ type of response:

    “Smug Eck? Boo! Hiss!”

    As people (I fervently hope) begin to inform themselves (despite themselves?) about the biggest decision we’ll take in our lifetimes, I suspect the daft reactions of the ‘that loser Sturgeon’ ilk will simply disappear. Of course, they might be replaced by a sincerely held and well thought through opposition to independence, but either way the national ‘conversation’ can only improve.

    • Regarding the ‘Salmond’ excuse when this is said to me I always make a big effort to point out that the referendum is not an election and is not about him. Most sane people will give a bit ground at this point, which I believe shows there is hope that reason shall prevail and real discussion can be had. Of course there are those who just do not want to engage, we can only hope they are a small minority.

  44. “The only brightness I encountered was with our friend at the Yes campaign where it seems the optimism is of heroic proportions. I know there are critics of Yes but when you look around at the unremitting tirade of belittling propaganda I think you have to salute their virtuous sense of mission and belief”.

    And that is why we WILL win
    that is all

  45. “c) is a trained oil economist”
    Because in an oil based economy its a bad thing to have a trained oil economist running the country?

  46. Mcart says
    “Baby steps, one miracle at a time. ”
    I want that, can I have it?
    only Mcart eh 🙂

    • Heh, I’m a glass half full guy. We’ll do it alright and we’ll do it the right way too by winning people over a little at a time. Basically we’ll lead the horse to water and let thirst do the rest. 🙂

  47. As a Scottish born and resident New Zealander I would say that Scotland as an independent nation has one advantage over NZ and I don’t mean the oil. It is the use of a solid currency, whether that be Sterling or the Euro. Don’t laugh, better to be using either than the mighty NZ$.

    NZ, where butter and cheese vary in price according to a combination of currency movements and world butterfat prices. Because the farmers have a choice to either sell to local producers or for export so the local market has to pay to compete. So next time you pick up some Anchor butter and pay for it in Sterling or Euros think of the people in NZ having to pay the same amount in NZ$.

    That is not to denigrate NZ as a small country, it’s a great place to live and is doing much better economically than we are at the moment (they didn’t have to bail out their banks). It helps that they do a significant amount of business in Asia which has not been recession.

    Scotland needs exporters with pluck who, with appropriate support from govt, can find such markets and develop them. It’s fine trading with your neighbours but when they are all in the same economic zone they tend to catch cold together. Diversify with Scotland’s manifestly excellent produce into other markets and we will be insulated better.

    We can only hope that a nascent Scottish diplomatic service would be tasked and resourced to assist and promote this.

  48. Bravo, Derek.
    Some things there that need to be said and heard. That should make us all take a moment to think.

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