By John Davis
Nina Simone’s cover of the Donny Hathaway song For All We Know poses the question: For all we know, this may only be a dream’.
Was it just a dream – this idea of Scottish Independence? A dream that still struggles for breath to say its name, a dream that huge numbers of young people sought in September 2014 but could not be realised and a dream that they were told (mainly by their Grandparents) was aggressive, unsophisticated, unachievable and unaffordable.
This post discusses how the narcissism of Brit Nats is evidenced by the way they seek to throw mud at everyone else whilst avoiding the need to put their own house in order. In so doing, this post particularly throws mud back at the specific generation who voted No.
Before we go on, let it be said that not all people in the same generation act in the same ways, nor, do all Grandparents act same. Some Grandparents won’t fulfil the stereotype about to be portrayed and that this blog post takes a stance that risks alienating the very Grandparents that we need to reach out to in order to gain independence.
However, reconciliation requires a shift on both sides. And, for reconciliation to happen, No voters may need to accept that the stereo type the Better Together campaign portrayed (regarding Yes supporters) was unfair and the stereo type could, actually, be more easily applied to the generation that most voted No.
That is, this post’s argument is that – it is extremely insulting to the under 65s to have been characterised as aggressive by Better Together when their core supporter, historically, have a much poorer track record, themselves, on the issue of aggressive behaviour. In short, this post seeks to demonstrates that people in in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and also that Brit Nats, post Brexit, are participating in just the type of Xenophobic aggressive behaviour they incorrectly, unfairly and arrogantly accused Yes voters off employing in the indyref.
During the 2014 referendum, Better Together, the media and Brit Nat politicians, had the audacity to call us Yessers aggressive for peacefully, creatively and humorously advocating for a fairer, equitable, and more social justice independent Scotland.
When we realise that Better Together’s core vote was a Grandparent generation that promoted the routine physical punishment of their own children – the audacity, hypocrisy and ignorance of their campaign knows no bounds. Better Together’s core vote has short memories about their own aggressive behaviour.
A narcissist is very concerned with projecting his own superior self-image at the same time as deriding others for the very faults that he most fears are in himself. We can see this trait everyday in Donald Trumps approach to life.
Young People should not be surprised that they were let down by their Grandparents’ generation. But to be accused of being aggressive about independence by their Grandparents generation – takes the biscuit. These young people need to know that their Grandparents were the generation that accepted approved schools and list D schools, that accepted the imposition of 11+ and accepted (if not promoted) the physical punishment of children (in school and home). Indeed, at times it feels like many of that generation (that is now over 65 years of age) actually revelled in the physical abuse of their own and other people’s children.
Least you think I am doing them a huge disfavour, this was the generation that accepted and perpetrated the corporal punishment of children involving the use of belts, canes and birches. Yes, young people of today – your parents were often subjected to arbitrary punishment by your grandparents and this punishment could involve any implement they could get their hands on.
Research by Alderson and Phillips (see summary of their work here) associated adult attitudes on the physical punishment of children to two factors:
‘Our literature review found two underlying reasons for this contradiction: beliefs that children are pre-human becomings rather than real human beings, and support for “parents rights‟ over children’s human rights.’
So, young people of Scotland, many of your grandparents chose their rights over ours – when voting against an independent Scotland, they chose their rights over ours – when rejecting a new politics and they chose their rights over ours – when stopping us from moving to a more equitable society. They overrode our rights and treated us as naïve and ‘not real human beings’ when they voted for continued food banks, austerity, trident, low wages, some of the worst pensions in Europe and a welfare system that punishes disabled people and their families.
Polls tell us that those of the Grandparent generation now celebrating Brexit (with a kind of jingoism I haven’t seen since I was a child) are not the majority of Scots – by any imagination. For example, around a quarter of Scots want to be part of a Britain that is independent from Europe, about another quarter have their head in the sand and still want Scotland to be in Europe and the UK and around half of scots want to have a referendum within 3 years and become independent for the UK.
We only need 1 in 3 of people who currently have their heads in the sand to wake up and smell the coffee to gain a comfortable majority for independence. In the last two moths of the indyref campaign we were converting undecideds 2:1 compared to the No campaign. We should have that ambition for indyref2 – we should be aiming to get our vote to around 70%.
Its is deeply ironic that just as the sun is finally setting on the last of the ’empire’ that the narcissistic Brit Nats have rolled out their union jacks for one last deluded and triumphalist self-preening exercise.
Narcissists are notoriously selfish. Yes, young people – Our dream of independence was spoiled, suffocated and snuffed out by your selfish Grandparents who promoted a ‘seen and not heard’ approach to childhood. When they selfishly ensured you could not realise your dreams of independence – they reinforced their traditional perspective that your voice – the voice of young people – should be silenced. We live in a country where a fading generation took and in some cases continue to take pride in crushing young people’s dreams whilst clinging onto notions of empire, union jacks and racist triumphalism .
The racist out pouring’s during and since the Tory conference have been disgraceful. So much so I wrote to my MP this week asking him to ask Theresa May to apologise to my colleagues for the xenophobia she and her ‘boot boys and girls’ have sought to stir up.
My colleagues came from other countries to become Scots who now live here and are seeking to raise their families with us. They contribute greatly to my life and the lives of the other people we work with. My MP is the only labour MP in Scotland, Iain Murray – he of the union jack jacket. So we will see if he is up to the request or if he is one of those No voters who still have their heads in the sand and are happy to let xenophobia rage.
Leading up to the September 2016 independence referendum, the tactics employed by the Better Together campaign peddled vitriol to older voters sense of power, arrogance and snobbery. Better Together placed great effort on characterising Yes voters as violently aggressive thugs. Ironically, during the indyref there was only one incident involving a Yes supporter who was charged with throwing an egg at a politician (quickly reported by the BBC) .
In contrast, during the lead up to the indyref several British Nationalist supporters were charged with physically attacking and injuring a disabled man, a preganant woman, and middle aged man. On top of that, one person also threatened the first minister and there was an attack on a Yes stall at Heart of Midlothian football ground. To cap it all, on the night of the indyref result British nationalists carried out sexist, racist and violent attacks in George Square .
Such hypocrisy is known as purity by proxy – which involves the promotion of the idea that other people maintain virtue for us but we don’t have to live up to this expectation ourselves (see the books, ‘The Nashville Sound’ or ‘A Boy Named Sue’ for a more in depth definition).
Running parallel to the Better Together propaganda that, ‘Yes voters are aggressive’, was a theme of, ‘Scotland is too wee, too poor and too stupid to be independent’ . This theme followed a traditional mantra – ‘it’s the economy what wins it – stupid’ – that sought to represent as ‘make believe’, ‘an infantile dream’ and ‘fantasy’ the idea that Scotland could afford to be independent.
The remnants of the British Nationalist campaign aka Ruth Davidson and her 20% vote (4% less than Thatcher got in 1987 at the height of her unpopularity in Scotland) are still trying to blame Scottish people for the disaster that is the British economy. They don’t care how many Scots they throw under the Brit Nat Brexit ‘No-Single Market’ bus. Brexit is now a racist juggernaut that is out of control and all the racist noise obscured something else this week – the pound plummeted when the chancellors visit to the USA woke up the international currency markets to the ‘No-Single Market’ reality that now awaits the UK economy.
In the 2104 indyref Brit Nat ‘s continually tried to paint a picture of a Scottish currency imploding as a result of a Yes vote for independence. With all their flag waving, jingoism and preening – they have failed to recognise that what they have created are the very circumstances that a No vote was supposed to avoid.
The ‘nightmare’ economic story peddled by Better Together was never based on reality. As if it was us Yessers that squandered the billions of oil revenues that thatcher spent on unemployment! As if it is us Yessers who have failed to find an economic model that was not based on a culture of ripping off your fellow human being! As if it is Yessers us who ensured our fulltime working citizens are now so poorly paid that they need to also receive state benefits and as if it is us Yessers who sought to cut off the financial system that gave birth to the renewables industry in Scotland.
Yes young people, it was your Grandparents generation that allowed Thatcher to take all of Scotland’s precious resources with out creating the safety net of a sovereign wealth fund. And they have the audacity to call us too wee, too poor and too stupid – those who sold the jerseys, those who ensured we now struggle to feed our children and those who doffed their cap and shuffled guiltily through the polling booths to place a cold hand on your aspirations.
The protestations of the British Nationalists, their jeering at the GERS figures and their gleeful grins concerning the state of the Scottish budget – tell you one thing. British Nationalists don’t care about people who have recently lost their jobs in the oil industry, just as they didn’t care, during Thatcherism, for those who lost their jobs in the coal, steel and shipbuilding industry.
British Nationalist such as Ruth Davidson (and her Conservative lickspittle pals) don’t have a plan for how to build an equitable Scottish economy, they want the Scottish economy to fail so that they can gloat about it, they want the Scottish economy to fail so that they have one last hope to cling onto that their nasty racist British Nationalist superiority complex can be maintained. Even as little England floats off into the Brexit distance, British Nationalist want the Scottish economy to fail so that they can use it as a bullying tool against the Scottish people – they want to be able to incite fear so that people don’t vote for their own freedom in indyref2.
And this, again, shows the depth of their Narcissism – as long as the UK can wave a flag and think of empire, Brit Nats don’t care what happens to the pound, what happens to the poor, what happens to my colleagues from the EU who now live here or what happens to young people’ s aspiration. As long as the can wear their union jack shorts, t-shirts and jackets – they don’t care what harm they do.
When Elvis Costello sings the song Shipbuilding (click here for a you tube video of the song), we get an echo of the British Nationalist world of inequality.
Inequality specifically echoes in the line:
‘With all the will in the world, diving for dear life, when we could be diving for pearls’.
British Nationalists don’t care if children and families living in Scotland are ‘diving for dear life’. British Nationalists don’t care about how their inequitable economic model leads to illnesses of despair. They do not care how much their economic model deprives our communities of loved ones, splits up our families and breaks young people’s confidence. They only care that their privileged, patronising and elitist snouts are kept in the trough.
British Nationalists didn’t care when in the 1980s Thatcher moved my father’s job to Leeds and many similar fathers in our street in Edinburgh had to also leave Scotland to find work. British Nationalists didn’t care when the police fitted up miners and criminalised everyday working men during the miner’s strike and they didn’t care when Nigel Lawson gave tax relief to rich London based TV stars to monopolise the land in the north of Scotland rather than use it to ensure equitable access to and ownership of land for local young people (see Andy Whiteman on this here).
The impatience of my youthful 48 years means that on a daily basis I feel the need to cry out to this nation, ‘can wi know get oan wi it – can yi auld gagies know just wake up ti whats gaein’ oan’. I’m pretty fed up with the British nationalist newspaper polls, the lack of critique of the British nationalist economic model on Scottish political television shows and the constant cheerleading for a Conservative party that stripped this country of its greatest asset (oil) and now blames us for not having an immediate alternative for one or two years poor oil tax returns.
Its like shooting someone and then blaming their death on the fact they can’t afford private health care. The smoking gun is still in the hands of Westminster politicians but the Scottish television media just can’t see who committed the murder, even when us Yessers shout, ‘he’s behind you’. British Nationalist political economics, ‘Too poor, too wee, too stupid -the pantomime’.
When are the over 65s going to take their head out of the sand and back the younger generations ability to create a new vibrant Scotland, a new economic model and a more equitable society. If the Grandparent generation are waiting on the Conservative party in Westminster to deliver a solution to low oil receipts and the changing nature of the Scottish economy, they have simply ignored the drab, dispossessed and exploited history that they and their fellow Scots were forced, by Westminster politics, to live for so many decades.
So when the press attempted to sell us the most ridiculous of stories the other week that Ruth Davidson is currently the most popular leader of any political party in Scotland – it is time to tell them to stop believing their own propaganda. The end of the British state may not happen tomorrow. Indeed, in the words of the song mentioned at the beginning of this blog:
‘tomorrow was made for some, tomorrow may never come, for all we know’.
The tomorrow of independence may never come – for sure it wont come unless the Grandparent generation wake up to the realities of their grandchildren’s lives.
Tom Devine argues that the uncoupling of the UK has started. You can also tell this from the sneering look in the British Nationalist eyes. The narcissist gets even more arrogant when you try to speak to them about their faults, failures and flaws that. Brit Nat jibes about the Scottish economy are the last vestiges of a desperate set of people who should know that their time is fading, Ironically Brit Nat jibes about the Scottish economy, the Scottish people and migration to Scotland come at a time when Brit Nats are about to trash their own economy. Their narcissism knows no bounds.
Even those of the Grandparent generation who were too selfish last time to vote with their Grandchildren are starting to contemplate independence – having spent the last 8 weeks on a Saturday stall on the meadows – our local group has noticed that some of the over 65s have changed their views out of self interest and they are now thinking about the problems of passport control when they go on their European holidays or to their cottage in the south of France. Others, have just felt the impact of a lower pound on their recent trip abroad, or, are fearful they will be hit with punitive taxes for their properties abroad.
Not all people will change their minds due to self-interest, a growing numbers of over 65s are now looking more carefully at independence because they realise they were conned during the indyref. The difference for indyref2 is that it will only take a small swing of 5 or 6 people in every hundred to bring about independence. And, looking at recent polls which seem oddly skewed to previous no voters, it should be possible to gain a result much better than a close win.
Our experience on the Meadows suggests that former No voters are now much more open to discussions about independence – don’t believe the main stream media’s attempts to dampen down our spirits – they MSM haven’t spent the last 8 weeks speaking to everyday people in Edinburgh.
We, Yessers, can and shall continue to dream of a different world. The young people of Scotland can rest assured that their dream is still alive, they can take solace from the fact that the older generation will seek to share their dream when the nightmare of Brexit becomes more apparent and, they can take confidence from the fact that independence has never been so close in our life times.