[Editor’s note: Simon Campion-Brown has been given temporary leave of absence. I was going to use the infamous euphemism ‘Simon Campion-Brown is ill’ but, given the National Rust‘s principles and drive for truth, I prefer to admit to our readers that Simon’s view upon the Scottish referendum are so strident that I have taken the editorial decision to cease publishing them.]
Since the weekend – for understandable reasons – the media has been chockfull of media coverage of the imminent Scottish vote upon independence. Until about a month ago, it seemed to me, it was effectively a non-story because there was scarcely a British politician, pundit or commentator that felt the outcome would be anything other than a minimum 10-point ‘No’ victory.
However, logic, reasoned argument and truthful facts count for very little when confronted by raw emotion and sentiment.
There are a number of contributory reasons as to why things have come to this. Widening the franchise to include 16 year olds and denying Scots who live outside Scotland the vote were two, of course.
One theme that I have noticed is a left-leaning prejudice amongst middle-aged and elderly Scots voters. It is not universal – there’s a general acknowledgement that Over-60s may be natural ‘No’ voters because of fears over the safety of their pensions – but it is definitely there.
It is based around the notion that, for forty-odd years, those in Scotland have not had a Westminster government that they voted for and that, if only they went independent and thereby had ‘control’ over decisions north of the border, they would emerge into the sunny uplands of wealth, prosperity and some sort of Caledonian socialist utopia.
There’s no way of proving whether this is what happen after a ‘Yes’ vote and, of course, there are huge inherent risks involved if it does not.
But it seems to me that, at this stage, none of this matters.
Both sets of campaigners have been cranking up their desperate attempts to ‘get their votes out’ and/or persuade the undecided, if only because ultimately they’d never forgive themselves if afterwards they felt that there might have been more they could have done to affect the result. It’s a heart-warming attitude, borne of the idealistic belief that campaigning actually ‘works’, but it’s wrong.
The truth is that the key voters being targeted are not listening to the succession of daily more extravagant promises being peddled by Westminster politicians in their desperation. I have no idea which way the vote will eventually go, but the political elite down South have now managed to give away a raft of ‘hostages to fortune’ (with far-reaching consequences that none of them have thought through) that will come back to haunt them in any event.
That’s why simple all ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ referenda are so dangerous.
In the 21st Century of the internet and ‘difficult for the Establishment to understand and control’ world of social media networks, the chance to stick the proverbial two fingers up at the political elite is too good an opportunity to miss.
You watch what happens when it comes to any ‘In/Out’ referendum on UK membership.
It doesn’t matter how Mr Cameron’s strange ‘negotiations for better terms and reform of the EU’ go – he could even return with a deal whereby the rest of Europe universally agrees to become a colony of Britain and be run from London on behalf of the greater good and I don’t believe it wouldn’t make one jot of difference – when and it comes to a referendum, those wishing to remain in the EU (no matter how sound their arguments) will have to overcome an in-built ‘emotion and sentiment’ 25% weighting amongst voters in favour of the UK leaving.