This is a recent example of the kind of correspondence I get and from which I mostly shield you on the blogsite.
Zero comments? More like an Ongoing Monologue than your lofty claim of an “Ongoing Dialogue”, Derek. If only you could respond that you were simply a voice crying in the wilderness. But sadly you are just an embittered fired hack whinging in the West End, The gulf between your own opinion of your intellect and the reality is larger than that of Persia. Please just stop these pointless outpourings and accept your opinion is of no interest to anyone but your own super-inflated ego, which simply masks an abyss of utter inadequacy. Have a happy September 19th. William Lithgow.
So what? Well, I reprint it here because it exemplifies not just the character of the No engagement such as it is with the blog, but I think encapsulates their attitude to the whole debate.
Here is an intelligent voter (he’s heard of Persia, albeit now an archaic term) who has taken the trouble to read the blog – and thus contradicting his own point that nobody is interested. In order to reach the blog post he is referring to – Know Who Your Friends Are from December – he would almost certainly have to have read maybe 30 or 40 previous posts. Despite this intensive immersion in my writing he has nothing – absolutely zero – to say about the subject of independence or anything else I have written about over the last year.
The particular post dealt with the published list of Better Together donors which I excoriated. Sample: ‘Its mixture of Bertie Woosters and rapacious financiers and bankers, dodgy military types and corporate traitors should be available on my Kindle under Humour any day now. You only have to add in the Ian Taylor money linked to Vitol to complete the picture of a miniscule moneyed elite up to all sorts of dubious activities sanctimoniously bleating about the threat to our mighty country. The threat is surely to their money and status and that’s what this ragbag of grotesques are really worried about.’
It would sting anyone who had for example recently given money to Better Together and was an easy target for a Unionist response, I would have thought. But instead William avoids answering any question or justifying any position. The simplest thing is to sneer, deride and run. It is the written equivalent of failing to turn up for debates and is symptomatic of the whole Unionist case, harnessed as it now is to the single mad question of What’s Your Plan B?
This was a question until the government made it clear there was only a Plan A and to constantly demand there must be an alternative is beyond childish. The polls show Scots unconvinced that currency union will be denied and no campaign can beat the same drum endlessly and pick up points. They have made their point and the voters’ instinct will surely be to say – Move on.
It really doesn’t look as if this ploy has done anything to win over voters. It may have hardened No voters around a single point which they can all use as a group mantra – and I have to say, I’ve never seen Labour activists look happier now they’ve got a simplistic slogan to shout and a finger to jab – but it hasn’t stopped the rise of Yes support.
What’s your Plan B? doesn’t tell us about social justice in Unionist Scotland, doesn’t lay out a vision for higher wages and improved lifestyle, says nothing about national health prospects, harnessing the renewables revolution or defend the elderly and the disabled.
It is the vacuum at the heart of what is essentially a Labour offer that is so scary – no story, no mission, no vision. And that failure to generate a creative alternative to the soaring ambition of Yes is more pronounced each day. To me the email above sums it up – stop complaining, stop trying, don’t bother, nothing will change, give up. It is essentially a sad paean to failure.
*And they lace their words instead with the predictable abuse. In fact, far from there being zero responses to the blog piece, there were 39. William just didn’t take the time to find them.
*Retiring I think is not the same as being fired. The BBC wanted me to stay.
*If I am a voice in the wilderness, it’s a crowded wasteland. There are up to 13,000 readers a day and wide sharing. There are nearly 5000 followers on Twitter. I reach thousands more through internet radio. This week I am speaking at an event every day – including the Fringe yesterday, Business for Scotland tonight.
*If any regular reader can point to high-flown claims about my intellect, I’d like to see them. My correspondence says the opposite, that I talk myself down too much is the common reaction.
However I am bitter – about our national wealth being squandered, about the faces of the people in see up Maryhill Road which I have to explain to my children, about Julie Webster’s foodbank doing brisk business, about the failure of our media to find collective intellect and a backbone. Oh and I’m pretty cross about nuclear weapons too.
But what really makes me bitter is the empty cackle of Unionists with nothing but juvenile taunts when a great national question must be answered. We should take heart from their echoing silence on the issues that matter and remember that the platoon of wealthy spivs and landowners that bankroll their case shows where the true heart of Unionism lies – in London and its moneyed elite.
(Still, I don’t suppose anybody will read this or respond)