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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Jim Murphy: Cybernat Detector

Jim Murphy: Cybernat Detector | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Greg Moodie @gregmoodieNational Collective
Peter A Bell's insight:

Another brilliant piece of work from Greg Moodie. What fool said there was no hunour in the referendum campaign?

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Arrest the Dissidents

Arrest the Dissidents | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

I keep reading how the SNP wants Scotland to be like any other normal country. In that case should you not act accordingly and take in for immediate questioning the Rev. Stuart Campbell?

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Revealed: SNP crannog plan

Revealed: SNP crannog plan | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
It’s emerged that secret plans have been devised by the Scottish government for the population to live in Iron Age crannogs when society breaks down after independence. It is feared that extreme po...
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Whisky and Bitter...Together?

Whisky and Bitter...Together? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Scotch whisky is to be distilled in Kent following British Government declarations that Scottish regiments are exclusively British and Ed Ball’s claim that sterling is English.

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Bremner urges politicians to 'relax' over referendum

IMPRESSIONIST Rory Bremner has told both sides of the referendum debate to "relax" about comedians making fun of Scottish politicians.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Instead of lecturing others on how they should respond to comedians poking fun at politicians perhaps Rory Bremner would be better advised to turn his observational skills on himself. Observational skills which are put in some doubt by the fact that he appears to imagine "aggression in the referendum debate" to be particularly associated with the "nationalist side". Nobody who is genuinely familiar with that debate could possibly believe such a thing.

Bremner might also do well to reflect on the fact that comedy works at a "visceral" level  If the would-be comedian gets it wrong, as Susan Calman very evidently did, the audience is going to react accordingly. If Bremner goes into his latest venture with the fallacious perception of Scotland's civic nationalist movement suggested by his remarks then he has no right to expect that people will dutifully respond with laughter just because he insists he's only joking.

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When it comes to independence, Scotland should be able to take a joke | Clyn Gallagher

When it comes to independence, Scotland should be able to take a joke | Clyn Gallagher | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Clyn Gallagher: Satire is essential for democracy – so why aren't more comedians tackling the referendum debate?
Peter A Bell's insight:

Maybe it's just that nobody has come up with any good jokes on the topic of independence. There is too much bitterness in the anti-independence campaign for there to be any room for humour. Their idea of a joke is to paint a "Hitler" moustache on a picture of Alex Salmond and call him the "Fat Fuehrer". That's about as sophisticated as it gets.

Attempts by independence supporters to satirise the British nationalists tends to run into the problem of them being beyond parody. Stand-up comedian and columnist, Stewart Lee, famously tried it a while back but, horribly offensive and stunningly stupid as his comments were, they were still too similar to what one might read in The Telegraph any day under the by-line of Simon Johnson or Alan Cochrane to be effective as satire. In fact, a lot of people didn't even recognise it as a parody. Lee took a lot of undeserved flak as a result.

Humour must have a kernel of honesty if it is going to work. And this is particularly true of satire. Susan Calman didn't provoke the reaction that she did because she was perceived as a threat. A notion that is truly laughable. She provoked that reaction because she was talking ill-informed crap and was, therefore, profoundly unfunny. Her flailing attempts to shift the blame to "cybernats" was, perhaps, understandable given how embarrassingly, toe-curlingly awful her performance was.

Rory Bremner makes a better job of it. Although still hampered by a somewhat metropolitan perspective, his observational skills and the thoroughness of his research mean that his humour tends to meet the requirement for a core of truth.

Clyn Gallagher shows herself to be part of the problem. The fact that she seems totally unaware of the satirical website, BBC Scotlandshire, the work of Greg Moodie and much besides, suggests that she is hardly better informed than Susan Calman. That she is ignorant of the fact that the BBC has explicitly denied being constrained by any need for impartiality at this stage of the campaign suggests that her research is very far from being as thorough as Rory Bremner's.

As is so often the case, Frankie Boyle gets to the nub of it. Satire requires not only informed satirists but an informed audience. Satire challenges. Satire provokes. Satire incites people to question established perspectives. But it cannot work in a vacuum. The anti-independence campaign is all about disinformation. The strategy is to ensure that the public who might make up an audience for satire is not sufficiently informed to be able to appreciate the humour. The mainstream media, for by far the most part, follows this agenda. Provocative, searching satire would be counter-productive.

Clyn Gallagher lazily resorts to a facile stereotype of dour, humourless nationalists as the explanation for what she just as lazily supposes is a lack of laughs in the referendum campaign. She has decided what point she is going to make and the facts will just have to fit the conclusion. The reality is that people above the level of slope-browed, mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger just don't laugh at jokes which are founded on lies and tainted with bitter, bilious hatred. Which rules out the possibility of a stand-up routine from anyone involved in Project Fear.

And it is all but impossible to satirise an anti-independence campaign which has already become all but indistinguishable from any parody. Which makes the efforts of BBC Scotlandshire and others all the more laudable.

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Go Home, Scots...

Go Home, Scots... | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Vans with slogans telling foreigners to Go Home are to be deployed in London after Scottish independence. The Border Agency has recently agreed to remove the vans which have caused widespread offence to immigrant communities but it has now been revealed they will be stored and brought out in the event of a Yes vote next September.


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Salmond challenges Cameron to punch-up over independence

Salmond challenges Cameron to punch-up over independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The debate over Scottish independence looks set to reach boiling point, as the SNP issued a formal challenge to David Cameron to participate in a Queensbury rules fistfight on St Andrews Day, to determine whether Scotland will become an independent country.


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Salmond on the run

Salmond on the run | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

There were distressing scenes at Bute House last night when the First Minister bowed to the inevitable and conceded to SNP party workers and aides that he was running scared of Alistair Darling.

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Alan Bissett: Independent Scotland Will No Longer Be Able To Call Things “Things”

The Better Together campaign has launched its strongest defence of the Union yet, warning that an independent Scotland will no longer be allowed to call things ‘things’.

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