A couple of heartfelt points to make today with the vote less than a week away.
The first is to say Sorry. Sorry to everyone who felt hurt or offended by anything I’ve been writing here. I’ve used this space to let my emotions out as well as my thoughts and, reviewing some of my output, I can see how individuals would have taken offence.
I treat the blog as a platform for robust views, not the kind of half-hearted sops you get in the mainstream and, although I am revolted by deliberately divisive material in the Mail or Express, I acknowledge that I too have gone to lengths to wound those with differing views.
I think one of the strengths of blogging is that it should reflect how people speak on the street rather than the studio but even so, my passions have at time run too high and my words cut too fine. My rule is that I don’t write what I wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone’s face. On the other hand, some of it may have resulted in a punch in mine.
Fiery opinions do get read – who wants an equivocal, un-engaging blog – and have resulted in a serious following and even, I hear, some converts to Yes.
But with the time shortening, and in case I forget, I want to put on record my regret to those who have been on the receiving end. It’s not that my views have changed or that I didn’t mean it when I wrote it, but rather that you can’t go on treating others as enemies and remain sane (by my own measure!). So…sorry.
Check batemanbroadcasting.com for two great listens. I speak to Adam Ramsay of Open Democracy and Andrew Andrew Anderson, the human rights campaigner. They give a breathtaking perspective on foreign policy and how it could and should be so much better. http://batemanbroadcasting.com/episode-15-cusp-change/
And hear Andrew Wilson give his views on the blossoming of business opportunity and economic development. http://batemanbroadcasting.com/face-face-andrew-wilson/
The second point runs against everything I know. I have never dared to predict outcomes for fear of failure and ridicule and have a natural caution developed through years of disappointment.
So – still my beating heart – I believe we are going to win. I am convinced the tipping point has been reached, that it has begun a gradual movement and that, like the avalanche, it is building to an unstoppable rush.
I am sure some votes will be lost to the orchestrated harangue of the Tory government and the boss class as a cowed section of the electorate capitulates. But I think this has come too late and I also think it is the wrong constituency to reach out to Labour voters. Bankers, institutional investors and giant retailers are identified by Labour people as the problem, not the solution. Doesn’t Ed berate them in his demand for a caring capitalism? Yet now he endorses them interfering at a Tory Prime Minister’s behest in the democratic vote of the Scots…
And Labour people have watched as their own side joined hands with the Tories, took the money of the landowners and the millionaires, and argued against the very advantages they like the SNP administration for. There may be questions of long-term affordability, but why shouldn’t Scots desire universal benefits from their taxes?
Before next Thursday I expect half a million Labour voters to be committed to Yes.
They simply don’t hear a convincing leadership voice from their own side – not Johann and not Ed. Darling doesn’t speak for them and only Brown whom they know to be divisive and obsessed seems to capture any flavour of the fervour they expect.
But they wanted Devo Max. It was a no-brainer for them. But there was no consultation, no input required and just how wrong that decision was is confirmed by the last week’s panicked package of Devo Lite. I welcome Labour-minded Scots who have stayed true to the party’s principles and are brave enough to seek its rebirth here, where it began, in Scotland.
Their own side got it wrong and the constant uplifting message of social justice, resisting Westminster cuts and a new beginning – whatever their misgivings – has got through. And it chimes with the feelings of a significant number of the self-motivators who see that their own relative success has less meaning when so many fellow Scots are left to a brutal and short life.
In this respect I think the growth of food banks has been the single most important monument to a failing social agenda, a visible and heart-rending manifestation of decline for which hundreds of thousands feel shame.
They may even be aware that on September 19, Labour will launch a blistering publicity campaign against the Coalition citing the food banks as evidence of their treatment of the poor and yet have stayed silent throughout this referendum because of whom they chose as their friends.
There are 300,000 new voters compared to the last election, nearly 120,000 registered in a month. I don’t belief they are rushing to register to vote No to save the Union. That’s what the engagement means – new voters relishing their chance to make an historic mark in their first vote.
The groundwork done through the grassroots and the unflinching optimism is contagious – it works harder than the doubt and the fear – and this is when it pays off, just as people think of wavering they realise they have come this far and can’t go back.
So, there it is. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I believe Yes is going to win. I’m not even sure it will only be a close shave because an avalanche carries all before it.
Let’s say out loud we’re going to win. Let’s tell the bosses and the bankers and the Westminster politicians. Let’s tell the Scots – even those voting No (and some I may have offended!) – WE ARE GOING TO WIN.by