Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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More ordinary voters

More ordinary voters | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
From a leaflet sent out this week by Scotland's only Tory MP, David Mundell: "Do Keith and Michelle have a surname?", nosy readers might be wondering. It turns out that they do: You'd think that mi...


Peter A Bell's insight:

More bungling ineptitude from the anti-independence mob as they continue to treat the people of Scotland like fools.


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Sometimes you wonder

Sometimes you wonder | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
To be fair, the article in today's Sunday Mirror isn't shy about setting out its position. "In the end it will all come down to two little words. One of which will save our 300-year union with Scot...

Peter A Bell's insight:

add your insight...

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100,000 green bottles

100,000 green bottles | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
There's a remarkable piece in today's Scotsman that we had to share with you: And if you think that astonishing headline's good, wait until you hear the rest. "A Tory MP is planning to recruit 100,...
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Why I’m voting No to Scottish independence | Scots Politics

Why I’m voting No to Scottish independence | Scots Politics | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

When I look at other countries in the world seeking independence or revolution, I compare them to Scotland, writes KAYLEIGH MARIE QUINN, and I feel that our lack of rebellion suggests we’re not really fussed.

Peter A Bell's insight:

There are many reasons to resent Tony Blair and regret the whole New labour project. Not the least of these is the fact that it seems to have changed the idea of what constitutes left wing politics. Here we have someone who labels herself a "left-wing feminist", but whose language is that of the most unthinking, close-minded reactionary.

For those of us whose political attitudes developed in the decades prior to British Labour abandoning its fundamental principles to embrace neo-liberal orthodoxy, the politics of the left is nothing if not the politics of hope. In Kayleigh Marie Quinn we find only the politics of a deathly despair which is all the more depressing for the fact that it is evinced by one who is of that generation which, in a healthy society, would proudly, defiantly and angrily bear aloft the bright torch of hope.

Almost as depressing as Kayleigh's dire, dreich hopelessness is the sneering contempt for Scotland that pervades her every utterance. It is not evident where she came by her low opinion of Scotland's people, but it is offensively clear that she considers them innately incapable of any of the things which the people of other nations undertake as a matter of course. Hers is the "Too wee! Too poor! Too stupid!" propaganda of British nationalism at its most starkly insulting.

And there is bad news for those of us who trust in education as a path to enlightenment. Here we have a "third year Politics and Social Policy student" who has not yet learned the most basic skill of asking penetrating questions. She offers no analysis of the issues surrounding the debate over Scotland's constitutional future. She merely parrots the threadbare propaganda of the anti-independence campaign without the slightest indication that she even understands those issues. Her obsession with Alex Salmond and the SNP reflects the very worst of the puerile tribalism that infects British Labour in Scotland. Everything else could have been lifted straight from a piece in the Telegraph by arch-Tory and increasingly shrill voice of rabid British nationalism, Alan Cochrane.

What Kayleigh presents here is not so much her reasons for voting No as a feeble rationalisation of her unwillingness - or inability - to actually address the constitutional question. As is indicated by her prior dismissal of all alternative views without even hearing what her critics have to say, Kayleigh is not prepared to engage in debate. And one can sympathise with her reluctance to face such a challenge. Anyone who would deny the sovereignty of the people of Scotland for no better reason than their mindless hatred of Alex Salmond isn't exactly coming to the debate armed with the sharpest of arguments.


PS - What kind of moron thinks an independence movement is invalid because it is conducted by democratic means rather than with violence?

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Scottish independence: the Union is endangered by premature and misguided complacency - Spectator Blogs

Scottish independence: the Union is endangered by premature and misguided complacency - Spectator Blogs | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Some Unionists seem to believe Alex Salmond is sunk already. That's premature. Scottish independence remains a real possibility.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Alex Massie identifies two "particular" enemies faced by the campaign to deny Scotland's rightful constitutional status: complacency and the nationalists. By the latter he, of course, means the No campaign's opponents. So, a bit of a tautology there. But the qualifying "particular" is interesting. It suggests that Mr Massie recognises other forces or factors working against Project Fear - or, as I'm sure he would prefer we called it, "Better Together". And he'd be right.

We can very easily point to two further problems besetting the anti-independence campaign: ineptitude and the total lack of any meaningful message. Examples of incompetence abound. There is hardly an initiative spawned by the less than fearsome intellect of Blair McDougall and his doom-mongering minions that hasn't almost instantly become an object of derision and the subject of much mockery among those who are sincere when they acknowledge the sovereignty of Scotland's people.

If proof were needed that the No campaign has absolutely nothing meaningful to say to the people of Scotland then we need look no further than the blubbering bruiser himself, Alistair Carmichael. The British state's new man in Scotland. The political gun-slinger who was supposed to be coming to town looking for a showdown with Sheriff Salmond and his deputies. The one who only a couple of weeks ago was being touted as the Yes campaign's nemesis.

What an anti-climax that was! Other than some petulant whining about supposedly having been called some names on Twitter - which itself is hardly original - what we've had from Carmichael looks less like a fresh onslaught in the battle to preserve the British state and more like a pathetically lackadaisical reprise of what has gone before. Like one of those compilation "clip shows" that TV sitcoms sometimes do, but with all the boring bits instead of all the best bits.

We now hear that he's telling his cabinet colleagues that the way to beat the positive message of the Yes campaign is to drown it out with yet more of the kind of banal, jingoistic, tacky Britfest claptrap that has been assaulting our senses and offending our aesthetic sensibilities for what seems like an age already. Oh! and if they could just re-run the London Olympics that would be good too!

Carmichael's contribution comes across more like an admission of defeat than a rallying cry. And articles such as this one from Alex Massie start to look like an attempt to prepare excuses for that defeat.

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Scorched Ayrth

Scorched Ayrth | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

We're really, really sorry about that headline, on several levels. But wait until you see what this one's about.

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Jim Arnott's curator insight, November 1, 2013 11:42 AM

Confirmation that Better Together is a busted flush. They don't have sufficient dedicated activists to match the activists of the Yes Campaign.

 

Vote Yes in the 2014 Referendum on independence for Scotland. 

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Salmond told to withdraw PM remarks

ALEX Salmond has been called on to withdraw remarks in which he allegedly branded David Cameron
Peter A Bell's insight:

Alex Salmond's remark has, predictably, produced precisely the flurry of mindless knee-jerking that we might have anticipated. After all, he only has to say, "Good morning!", and it's enough to send some people into paroxysms of outrage. If ever a way is found of harnessing the energy in the venting of unionists' righteous indignation - genuine or feigned - then we will have a source of power to rival all of Scotland's hydrocarbon reserves and renewables potential combined.

I'm going to suggest something pretty radical here. Let's think about it! Let's actually reflect on what was said, what it means, and whether it can be justified. For many, this will be a novel exercise.

Alex Salmond challenged David Cameron to "articulate a case against Scotland". What has reduced a fair few to unthinking apoplexy is the suggestion that to be opposed to independence is to be "anti-Scottish". Deftly avoiding the intellectual paralysis that has afflicted others, let us begin by defining terms. What might be meant by "against Scotland"? I would suggest that this would include any deed or action that was contrary to the interests of Scotland and its people. It might also be said to embrace advocating or defending any policy that might reasonably be considered to serve Scotland ill, or be held by a significant proportion of the population so to do.

Can we identify some examples?

Given that independence is the default status of nations, a determination to deny this status to Scotland might, itself, be regarded as "against Scotland" in that it rejects both Scotland's nationhood and its right to be identified as such. In a sense, the entire anti-independence campaign is anti-Scottish in that it seeks to make Scotland an inferior exception to the norm among the nations of the world.

Those who are determined to preserve the union at any cost tend, by definition, to put the interests of the British state, its elites and its structures of power and privilege before the welfare of Scotland's people. It is not at all difficult to conceive of this as being "against Scotland".

Then there are more specific points. How can it be seen as anything other than "against Scotland" to denigrate our Parliament saying that it is not a democratic place, and to decry our democratically elected government, calling it a "dictatorship"?

How can it be regarded as other than "against Scotland" to threaten economic sanctions if Scotland asserts its right to be a nation like any other?


How might it be possible to pretend that it is not against Scotland's interests to implement, advocate or defend policies which adversely affect the most vulnerable people in our society?


In what way can it be other than against Scotland's interests to seek the continuation of a system which means Scotland tends to get government which it has decisively rejected at the polls?


As the people of Scotland face a truly momentous decision concerning the future of their country, the anti-independence campaign resorts to a campaign of lies, deceit, distortion, disinformation, smears and scaremongering. Is it not perfectly valid to regard such contemptuous disrespect as being "against Scotland"?


It has not proved at all difficult to come up with points which illustrate ways in which the anti-independence campaign may justifiably be said to be "against Scotland". I'm sure others will be able to provide their own examples.


I can't help feeling that the reason Alex Salmond's words have upset so many people is that he was bold enough to give voice to a hitherto unspoken truth. Unspoken either because it is a truth about themselves that many find disturbing. Or because it is a truth so obvious as to have been taken for granted until it was said out loud.

It may be that it is possible to articulate a positive case for the union. But, so far, the anti-independence campaign has signally failed to essay such a task. It may even be possible to articulate a negative case against independence which is not also "against Scotland". But this is not what is happening.


On sober reflection, the inescapable fact is that much, perhaps most, of the argument advanced by those opposed to the restoration of Scotland's rightful constitutional status is all too easily, and quite appropriately, characterised as being "against Scotland". If those involved in the aptly named "Project Fear" are uncomfortable with this, then perhaps they should consider a change of tactics.

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A Return to the Fray

So, I'm back.

But while you you're away you get the chance to view things from a distance.

And from a distance it is clear the Scottish Constitutional debate is already moving on beyond 18th September 2014.

Peter A Bell's insight:

One might be forgiven for thinking that Ian Smart was being paid by the word for this stuff. He uses an awful lot of them to say nothing very significant and little that is new.

We have the usual ludicrous caricature of Scotland's civic nationalist movement which, having been birthed by his febrile imagination, is Mr Smart's favoured child - reality being relegated to the status of unwanted brat.

There is the customary contempt for Scotland and its people evident in Mr Smart's dystopian vision of the nation deprived of the benficent paternalism of the British state.


And there is a restating of his personal preference for a Tory government over a Scottish government.


The rest is little more than a reluctant acknowledgement that there will be no more devolution in the event of a No vote, and a long-winded attempt to rationalise the dishonesty of the British parties in even talking about "more powers" and the anticipated failure to deliver on whatever jam tomorrow promises might accidentally ooze out of all this empty rhetoric.


The only thing that stands out is the belated recognition that the anti-independence campaign screwed up badly by being "lured" into rejecting a so-called "second question" on the referendum ballot relating to devo-whatever.


What little significance this admission has lies in the fact that the position of the Tory/labour alliance in the aftermath of the signing of the Edinburgh Agreement was that their figurehead, David Cameron, had won a great triumph in forcing Alex Salmond to accept a single question. The less delusional among us were, of course, aware that this is what Salmond actually had wanted all along.


It's just another example of the dishonesty, dupilicty and hypocrisy of British Labour and their Tory allies. So nothing new there either.

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Scottish Nationalists can rest easy, given the opposition

Scottish Nationalists can rest easy, given the opposition | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Kevin McKenna: The Better Together campaign uses the sort of propaganda you normally only see when a country is gearing up to invade
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James McLaren's comment, July 21, 2013 7:27 AM
I thought Porridge was spelled porridge not Porage. So even the feckin photo is faked.
James McLaren's comment, July 21, 2013 7:29 AM
Haud me doon, it is spelled Porage on their web site; must be some old spelling or part of their trade mark
James McLaren's comment, July 21, 2013 7:32 AM
Mt Granny used to call it Parritch
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Perspectives: ‘The unbelievable scares of the No camp’

Perspectives: ‘The unbelievable scares of the No camp’ | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

As the public scrutiny of the No campaign’s “Project Fear” tactics continues, here is a list of just some of the most high profile examples of scaremongering they have used to try to frighten Scots into voting No.

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Comment: ‘No’ campaign losing sense of togetherness

Comment: ‘No’ campaign losing sense of togetherness | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The emergence of a new campaign group against independence exposes faultlines in Better Together, writes Natalie McGarry
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The same old song

We're indebted to the alert reader who sent us a link to this last night...

Peter A Bell's insight:

It is interesting and informative to compare the scaremongering rhetoric of the anti-independence campaign today with that of the anti-devolution campaign in 1997. Not much has changed.

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Bad karma chameleon

Bad karma chameleon | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The Scottish media is full today of Gordon Brown's latest intervention in the independence debate. Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Herald both report that the former Prime Minister will urge Scots to "ditch the Tories, not the Union" – as the original SoS headline put it before being changed online to the rather more sober "Brown urges Scots not to give up on UK", presumably out of respect for the sensibilities of the paper's Conservative-leaning readership.

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The secret Society

The secret Society | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
We encourage readers to keep an eye out for the soon-to-be-released work of the Scottish Research Society. You won’t have heard of them before - they're only three months old, with just 48 "likes" ...

Peter A Bell's insight:

Another highly dubious addition to the anti-independence mob.


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The Anti Democracy Parties

The Anti Democracy Parties | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
It strikes me that there is more at stake for the anti independence parties of Labour,Conservative and Liberal Democrats than the matter of Independence itself. Not only are they against the intrin...
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The Anti-Secession Axis Threatens Scotland and other Aspirant Nations

The Anti-Secession Axis Threatens Scotland and other Aspirant Nations | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

British Prime Minister David Cameron has enlisted the support of a Scottish former NATO Secretary General and an English transvestite actor-comedian in the «Better Together» campaign to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom. English politicians and their Scottish «quislings» are growing concerned about the lackluster performance of the «No» campaign in the lead up to the September 18, 2014 referendum in Scotland that will simply pose the question to voters: «Should Scotland be an independent country?»…

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Brian Wilson: Scots tradition of dissent in peril

Brian Wilson: Scots tradition of dissent in peril | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
People in Scotland must be able to speak freely in the coming months without fear of retribution, writes Brian Wilson
Peter A Bell's insight:

Credit where it's due. At least compared to the foot-shooting ineptitude of Blair McDougall, this latest offering on behalf of Project Fear from Brian Wilson might almost be described as artful - if that is not too grand a term for what is still no more than puerile scaremongering.

Wilson would have us believe that there are dark forces at work in Scottish society. An evil conspiracy being orchestrated by arch-villain, Alex Salmond, from his lair in Bute House with the aim of suppressing the views of those opposed to the restoration of Scotland's rightful constitutional status.

What melodramatic pish!

All Shona Robison did was ask the question that must have been in everyone's mind. Does Professor Whatley's role in Better Together represent a conflict with his role leading Dundee University's supposedly impartial 5 Million Questions project? It is a question so obvious that it had to be asked. Certainly university principal Professor Pete Downes had no problem with it being asked. And it is doubtful whether Professor Whately had any serious issue with Ms Robison's intervention. He must have anticipated such questions when he made the decision to become directly and personally involved with the anti-independence campaign. He could not have been so unaware as to suppose that this would not raise questions about his role with 5 Million Questions.

There is no pernicious plot here. The exchange between Shona Robison and Professor Downes is no more than the perfectly normal process of scrutiny that is quite properly applied to every aspect of the referendum debate.

If we are to be concerned at all it might be because there are people like Brian Wilson trying to manipulate and distort this process of scrutiny. What we see in Wilson's latest rancid rant is evidence of that British exceptionalism which holds that any conduct, however reprehensible in another context, may be justified if it is done in the name of preserving the British state. Defenders of the British state are, according to the tenets of the British nationalist creed, endowed with a righteousness that puts them beyond challenge.

I don't doubt that Brian Wilson's indignation is genuine. He has an infinite capacity for being offended by anything in Scottish politics not totally controlled by British Labour. But the contrived attempt to scare us with stories of some dastardly plot to silence unionist sympathisers looks patently ridiculous - not to mention sickeningly hypocritical - against the backdrop of a mainstream media which openly favours the anti-independence cause and the recent Better Together tactics aimed at preventing the Yes campaign's message reaching the people.

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Yes Yes Yes...I think

 Ever wonder if it’s worth it? Ever think to yourself that while you’re sure about independence personally, you have real doubts about your fellow Scots making it work?I have to admit I do.
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On the other side of fear

On the other side of fear | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

It’s been a remarkable week in opinion polling, with YouGov calling the independence referendum for No on Sunday, Panelbase calling it for Yes on Monday, and TNS-BMRB, according to Prof John Curtice, calling it for Don’t Know by Wednesday.


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We cannae dae it, Captain Darling

We cannae dae it, Captain Darling | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Forgive the mangled Star Trek/Blackadder reference, there.


We’ve been having a dig around in the just-released full data tables from today’s Panelbase poll, and found something we thought was particularly interesting, and which we don’t think anyone’s picked up on, because it’s a bit tricky to get your head round. Walk with us while we simplify it.

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Jim Arnott's curator insight, September 2, 2013 9:56 AM

For many people, an important question will be: "Can Scotland afford Independence?" This should apply to myself just as much as to anyone else. With this in mind, I set about establishing the facts as best I could.

 

You can see my analysis here: www.SayYes2Scotland.com 

 

I used a combination of World Bank and Scottish Government data to reach my conclusion that an independent Scotland would be wealthier than a Scotland remaining in the Union.

 

Vote Yes in the 2014 Referendum on independence for Scotland

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Campbell Martin: Unionist lies, scaremongering, distortion and misrepresentation

Campbell Martin: Unionist lies, scaremongering, distortion and misrepresentation | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Nine-years ago, in a pamphlet on Scotland’s constitutional future, I wrote that as we neared a referendum on independence, the full resources of British political parties, the British media and the British establishment would be used to ‘persuade’ us in Scotland that, actually, we really are ‘too wee, too poor and too stupid’ to govern our own country.
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Trade unionism is not about creating even more divisions based on nationality

Trade unionism is not about creating even more divisions based on nationality | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Trade unions are about solidarity. The very name of our movement is symbolic of the fact that we are bound together by ties that go beyond nationality or location.
Peter A Bell's insight:

A truly dreadful article riddled with lies and distortions. But worth a look for the comments.

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It’s Scare Trek as Vince Cable says opposing indy split is a matter of logic

It’s Scare Trek as Vince Cable says opposing indy split is a matter of logic | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
BUSINESS Sec echoes Spock from Star Trek as he denies ‘scaremongering’
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Escher Politics

Escher Politics | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Under pressure from those who feel soiled by sharing a platform with the Tories (though oddly feel no problem in them running our country with no mandate) Labour today launch their very own No campaign: ‘Better Together (Apart) United’. This will take some herculean spin by Labour, the Conservatives and the Better Together campaign to present a united front amidst the tangled and bizarre set of contradictions it represents.

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