The End of Times

Some good news to start…the relaunch of Newsnet is imminent. We’ve undergone a transformation – OK, a website redesign – and opened up the original site to more content with a heavy focus on reader-led content, both in citizen journalism and in being a forum for what you are thinking.

Details will follow but we are taking the successful template and broadening the output into all areas of current affairs, not just politics, while maintaining our commitment to the Yes movement. Our aim – to be an essential part of your information toolkit heading into the general election in May – all based at

We want a deeper engagement with the site’s followers including subscription (to keep us on the road), ideas, articles and images – both photos and video – and will issue invitations to events we will stage. I’ll keep you informed.

You’ll even find this blog on the site. (I think the marketing people call this cross-fertilisation and many of you have made plain you already link the blog with fertiliser).

On which point, there is much talk of a continuing rift in our politics and for the need to reach a rapprochement. Gerry Hassan has laid out a plan for how we conduct a new politics (some of which I even understood).

Now I agree with a lot of this. First, there clearly is a divide which is what the referendum was all about and that chasm cannot be crossed in any short-term amicable arrangement of ‘agreeing to disagree’. The divide was exactly what the referendum was about – some of us believe in Scotland and put it first and some of us believe Britain is pre-eminent and takes precedence. I’m not sure how you compromise on that because if you ask: are we supposed to believe that after a Yes vote, Ian Davidson, Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and Michael Kelly would give up the Union and offer their efforts to making independence work, I think we know the answer. They would have to appear to do so, of course but isn’t it more likely they would point to every mishap and say they told us so? In fact, the truth is that Unionism is already doing that after a No vote by revelling in the falling oil price and linking it – inaccurately – to independence.

But we shouldn’t be afraid of core disagreements and instead embrace the areas where there is understanding by putting the acrimony to one side. Democracy decided that there will not be independence – until there is a material change in circumstance – and the job now is to get the very best deal and strive to make it work. But how do you ‘put it to one side’ when you read revealing detail in the Guardian and the Telegraph of how they constructed a programme of deceit and misinformation and deliberately used fear to win the day?

Has anyone – like the Daily Mail’s Jim Murphy – explained why they did that? Can they tell us why their love of – whatever it is…the British state, Westminster, Churchill, the Archers…is so important that they had to create what m’learned friends in the High Court used to call ‘a tissue of lies’?

Would it not make sense to have public hearings in which the key participants tell their side of the story to the people rather than the journalists and in a forum where they can be challenged. Did you know for example that Alastair Campbell (another Iraq warmonger, whatever his other credentials) was advising Better Together? Did he disclose that to Salmond before interviewing him for GQ magazine in which Salmond’s honest assessment of Putin was blurbed by the mag as a pro-Russian endorsement?

Can we have an explanation from the Palace for the Queen’s deliberate snub to constitutional impartiality by allowing a campaign group to put words in her mouth?

Will NATO officials unburden on how they agreed to follow UK diktat and pretend Scotland would be barred from membership? Would you like to know what was the genesis of the Barroso politicking now debunked by all informed observers?

Look how key institutions in public life have been debased and in some cases destroyed in our eyes as mere tools of the Establishment and pretty incompetent ones at that…the Civil Service, once revered for neutrality, now exposed as a political front for British interests against the Scots and awarding themselves prizes for so doing (confirming that this charade of neutrality is a trend dating back to McCrone); the Treasury, whose head publicly joined the Unionist Front politicians to deny the Scots access to their own currency; the CBI (I fall on the floor and I laughing); ‘The Business Community’, the men and women who put profit before people and country; the Financial Sector, ditto; the BBC, reduced under the spotlight to a steaming pile of self-preservation and threat; the Labour Party, too Establishment and too stupid to foresee its own downfall.

The kind of healing that is being sought involves forgetting what they did and forgiving a campaign that sunk to previously unknown depths of mendacity and intimidation in a toxic mix of self-serving, anti-Scottish gesture politics that temporarily saved their skins while destroying the credibility of all involved. Who emerged with credit and is now rewarded? Labour? The Lib Dems? The Tories? Is the British state enriched by the experience?

It is because their campaign was a revolting mess of corporate money, landowning interests, dodgy businessmen, careerist academics and supercilious politicians without principle that history is even now according them the contempt they deserve.

I will always work with anyone who wants genuinely to improve Scotland (although Smith, like Calman, is not nearly the answer – both suffer from foetal inadequacy syndrome). But it will be done with civility rather than warmth as the stench they created in the name of Union will linger long.

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30 thoughts on “The End of Times

  1. I would have settled for being able to comment fully on Newsnet articles. If the ridiculous limitations on commenting remain, no other changes are likely to make the site any more appealing to this reader.

    • Here I would agree Peter, unable to return within 30 minutes, to reply to a comment, made it very unappealing.

      • That and the ridiculous character/word limit. Several times I have attempted to comment on an article but have given up after a number of attempts to say what I wanted within this totally pointless limit, and have finally given up. They should just be honest enough to admit that they really don’t want comments, and turn the facility off.

        • I’m prepared to wait and see what it looks like, but I’d given up on the old version for these and other reasons. It’s going to have to be a hell of a transformation before I’ll be back there.

  2. Bugger (the Panda)

    I am sorry Derek but, do you think we are going to get any explanations or apologies from the people who committed these political atrocities against the people of Scotland, who continue to laugh at us and see Scotland as a useful resource for their masters and themselves?

    No, any meaningful discourse is only going to come after Scotland is independent and the Queen can be at the head of the queue to engage with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It will be televised..

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      I also endorse Peter’s comment on Newsnet’s comments policy.

    • Bugger (Panda extraordinary) Hell will freeze over, or we will be gone and not be bothering before we get a SORRY from them and that I would have to say is likely to happen.

  3. So many things about the campaign stick out to me as being perverse.
    The Secretary of State for Scotland advocating annexing Scottish territory to England was particularly repulsive to watch.

  4. I think only real change will happen when the people of Scotland take their future into their own hands.
    We are looking I think for a more radical way to make our country prosper . There are at least sixty million people in England , we have to go it alone with our little five million . But other countries have done it and made a success of it (WHY CAN’T WE ) Lets start to believe in ourselves and put all of us first.
    I was born in a labour heartland NORTH LANARKSHIRE, and I know how badly the people there felt let down by Labour .that is why they voted YES. Their are only in my opinion three Scottish parties SNP
    SSP and the SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY. We have the power in our hands to model our country more on the lines of the Nordic Countries a more holistic approach . PLEASE DO NOT BLOW IT>

  5. Steve Asaneilean

    It’s as you say Derek – engage with civility yes. But forgive and forget? No, not until there is an honest confession and an acceptance of culpability (though even then forgiveness might be a struggle and I will certainly never forget).

  6. I don’t see how we can work with the existing set of politicians from the No side. We all knew there would be no depths to which they would not sink and so it has proven. We also know the current crop of Labour, Conservative and Liberals are largely self-serving mediocrities interested in their own advancement and political power and have little real interest in fairness, equity, social justice and equality. Conservatives actually believe in unfairness, rewarding the rich while taking away from the poor, while Labour’s fiscal management was so incompetent they didn’t manage much better. (see J Hills “Good Times, Bad Times…. for all the gory details)

    They also despise research – anything which doesn’t fit with their political manifesto is dismissed and so they embark on policies, like austerity, which have no support in empirical evidence. Everything they do is guided by the political philosophy of their party no matter how lacking in evidential support it may be. And where there isn’t the evidence they make it up – like the argument that there are some estates where generations of families have never worked.

    I don’t know if the SNP would be any better in an independent Scotland, but the first task is to gain independence and then get rid of career politicians and political parties and have an informed (by research) debate involving the whole population about what kind of society we want and how we achieve it.

    Though, I would want to propose one over-riding inalienable principal, which is that we should aim for a society where there is greater equality of incomes and wealth which would solve a lot of the problems currently facing the poor, the disadvantaged, the disabled and which are only going to get worse under Cameron & Osborn.

  7. Much of what the Guardian revealed about BT was predictable – just ‘The Thick of it’ come to life. Politics as usual with an added frisson of risk. What I find hard to forgive, though, was the refusal by BT to engage in the debate at the grassroots level – town hall meetings and so forth, and indeed to block it wherever they could. That is such a breathtaking abuse of the very idea of democracy that it makes one realise that the corruption at the heart of the establishment goes very deep.

    • Seconded. ‘Yes’ were happy, even eager, to put up speakers at debates, & have stalls at public events. In total contrast ‘No’ would decline to attend events, often refusing at the last minute, thus ensuring there was no chance of getting replacement speakers. Their refusal to have stalls at events often meant that for ‘balance’, ‘Yes’ were denied the chance to set up their own stall. The BT mob really tried to shut people up, and to shut down debate.

  8. Derek

    Well said. As so often before you have articulated what lesser mortals feel but struggle to express. It is important that we baseline what happened and this article for me goes a long way towards doing that. I particularly like this sentence:

    “It is because their campaign was a revolting mess of corporate money, landowning interests, dodgy businessmen, careerist academics and supercilious politicians without principle that history is even now according them the contempt they deserve.”

    For me, that is the truth of the matter and we all have to accept that this is what happened. There was no honour in their victory. The No campaigners were prepared to behave in a not very nice manner. Does that make them not very nice people? I don’t know – some are and probably some aren’t.

    Perhaps those of us on the Yes side were naive. While we did not get everything right, there was honesty, openness, even exuberance. Compare and contrast that with the cynicism, distortion, manipulation of the weak and vulnerable and the “end justifies the means” approach of the unionists. We must learn the lessons and whenever indyref 2 comes along, as it will, the one thing we must not be is naive.

    I’m glad to hear that Newsnet is about to be relaunched. I found it a valuable source of information during the campaign. And I’m glad to hear that it will be more participatory – that was its previous weakness.

  9. I’ll engage with civility, I’ll even go so far as to say I have no real gripe with the NO voter. Whatever their motivation, its their choice and they were prepared to live with the consequences I’m sure. However, I will never forgive or forget what the established Westminster parties and the media did. There will be no reconciliation, no olive branch, no meeting halfway. There will be no meek acceptance of the political or societal status quo and there will be a reckoning at the ballot.

    They go. Their cast system, corruption, closed tribal attitudes and party before people hymn book. Their geo politics and world posturing with accent on feet under ‘big tables’. It all goes.

    No partner within the current UK can progress whilst Westminster calls the tune.

    So no, that divide will not be crossed and there is no going back in the box. They are done and the start of the true healing begins in May.

  10. Threats, lies, media manipulation et al do not a democracy make.

    ‘Democracy’ more like.

    If I trick someone into giving me money does that not make me a conman?
    If so, then why not when people are tricked into giving away their vote?

  11. Just a bit puzzled by the reference to Gerry Hassan.

  12. The current articles in the Telegraph and Guardian seem to treat Scotland with contempt and the posts in response are just terrible: Better Together, I think Not!

  13. Having not read but been informed as to what was in the Telegraph, this is a continuation of their coverage of the Referendum in which the Rebellious Scots had to be put down. I was a commentator on their pages until I could no longer stand dealing with the disgusting people there.
    I used to wonder how people who saw themselves as Unionists could actually want to stay with these. What and who did they think they were talking about, it wasn’t just the likes of me as a Nationalist, there was no discrimination, when they said Scots or the more nasty Scotch, they meant all who lived over the border. I once asked a Unionist and got a very unsatisfactory answer, I think he thought he was excluded though how.

  14. Good news. I’m looking forward to the relaunch of Newsnet. I found it a great resource during the campaign and feel an investigative approach will be welcome. Exposing the lies and fear mongering will be enlightening and a “site of record” will be a good resource for future campaigns.
    Most of us, like the native Americans, Africans and Indians before us, are just astonished at the ruthlessness of British Establishment. It’s their capacity to astonish that is their greatest weapon. Recording their duplicity will take that weapon away.

  15. The BT campaign was run by people who subscribe to the Henry Ford school of politics where everything is calibrated,quantified,reduced to it’s most common denominator and then placed on an assembly line for public consumption.
    This system is encouraged by the centralisation of power in the UK represented by the Monarch and the London establishment.
    Had the Yes campaign followed this example,we would not have been anywhere near the 45% Yes vote that was obtained.
    It was only by giving people power to organise locally as they saw fit that we almost made it over the line.
    Surely lessons will be learned from this?

  16. I am puzzled when I think of the possibility of the possibility of compromise with the NO side.
    They not only threatened to do all in their power to wreck the economy of an independent country by removing or destroying anything to which the word “shared” might apply, they are now doing their all to wreck the economy of North Britain.
    There can be no compromise.

  17. Pleased to read that Newsnet is about to come back from the skeletonish offering recently. With respect Derek you missed the “celebrities” from your list of those who set out to deceive and humiliate Scots. Pity those very wealthy celebs do nothing about poverty in their own country! Shameful nonentities!

  18. There will be no reconciliation from me until all the people who were involved in the NO campaign are kicked out of office or if media, huge changes are made in their journalism.
    The two articles last Sunday in the Telegraph were an absolute disgrace. Anti-Scot even racist at times. Yet not a word of reproof from any of the former NO people. The ‘journalists’ involved, Anderson and Booker are no better than ‘posh’ trolls who are no different from the 1000s of others who were revelling in anti-Scot bashing below the line. Why is that acceptable in the UK?

  19. ” and that chasm cannot be crossed in any short term agreement of agreeing to disagree” no it can’t Derek.
    Every button pushed
    The role of the media-
    The role of big business-
    The Labour Party-
    The Libdems-
    The role of Officialdom-
    The role of the Monarchy-

    How do you reconcile with people who will fight tooth and nail to resist change, while casually quashing every trust or belief you had in the institutions you grew up with?

    • You don’t.

      You fight them and you work to replace them with new institutions which will hopefully be of more service to the population.

      They’ve burnt their bridges in that campaign. They’ve shown their true face to the public and just what they are capable of in the defence of their establishment, their status quo. It was a pretty ugly face to boot. 🙂

  20. Their tactics during the run up to the referendum were everything I thought they would be. I had hoped Scots would see through it and vote Yes anyway. I was looking for something around the 70% Yes, but sadly it didn’t happen. I, and I suspect many of the Yessers and subsequent joiners of the SNP will not be so laid back in our approach to the 2015 GE and 2016 Scottish elections, We’ll fight for every last vote this time, even when the press is giving us a healthy lead………..Have a good New Year everyone and let’s get ready to batten down the hatches in the run up to what I believe is going to be the most important General Election in 3 centuries.

  21. The means to their end will inform and shape what they achieved. No yes voter can ever be reconciled to accept their version of Britain, as it is a place drenched in fear and uncertainty. No vision, no hope. It cost the unionist parties dear. It cost labour most of all, sacrificing its Scottish branch to just hold on by the skin of their teeth. Having went willingly into that cul-de sac the Tories made for themselves, labour have no option now but to keep tapping that vein of negativity.

    They could not articulate a hopeful vision of their union and chose instead to lie about how scary it would be without it. That they chose to do that, speaks volumes as to how utterly useless the union actually is.

    Scottish labours answer to its impending doom? Cut price memberships. Clearly its the price of the polished turd on offer that’s the problem.

  22. Lorraine Barclay

    The world is collapsing around us, wars have been started in our name and the establishment are monsters, no other word for them.

    The Scots came together, shared information and discussed Independence, we are a network of people who want a fairer more democratic way of life and who are connected through sociall media. We need to use these networks to educate and yes, forgive the no voters, they were bullied and lied to.

    We need to look at what is happening around the world and wake up. The destruction of the planet is at a crisis point, the politicians here and worldwide have other plans and they are not what I want for my children.

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