Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fuck It

Okay, fuck it - I'll go for No, although I'm expecting a Yes victory, and by a larger margin than many people are expecting.

I'm man enough to admit that I have no idea which choice presents the nation with the brighter future.  Neither does anyone else of course, despite what they might say to the contrary - not Alistair Darling or the First Minister, nor any member of either campaign.  Hell, Krugman has been full of warnings but even he doesn't really have a clue, and they gave that guy the Nobel Baubel for Economicry.

Being the type of person that I am, the patriotic emotional appeals of both sides leave me cold.  This week's anguished laments for the possible passing of Great Britain and the Union Flag rank below the death of my hamster in 2005, in terms of pure personal trauma.

Meanwhile, even the grandest soliloquies of our gaudy Saltire-waving Yessers pack all the visceral punch of a Pepsi commercial because, you know, they are the same thing.

Yes Scotland - The choice of a new generation.  Enjoy Better Together with friends.

As best I can tell, these competing nationalisms don't describe actually existing or even possible countries.  They're advertising slogans, focus-grouped to fuckery to appeal to the voters on a base, instinctive level because nationalisms, both British and Scottish, are mainly appealing to people who can rank "Having been born in a particular country" among their greatest personal achievements.

So whether dependent or not, I imagine that Scotland will probably get along just fine.  A little richer or poorer for either option perhaps, maybe even dramatically so, and that'll be a bummer for everyone on the receiving end*, but somehow I suspect we'll avoid mass starvation.

Reject the grand national visions as basically bogus then, and you're left with the campaigns themselves...  And let me tell you, neither is a pretty sight. 

The No campaign's message has been pretty simple: Good old Britain, eh?  It's not that bad and we're a big bunch of mates in the end.  Shame if something happened to an independent Scotland though, you know, one carelessly-dropped match, and whoomf!  It's been a tawdry and demeaning campaign for the Union, by turns patronising and histrionic.

For all that Better Together have catastrophically fucked up this simple yet dull message though, it's still a pretty reasonable and straightforward point that they're making.  God knows I love to kick off about the shallow cruelty of the status quo but by and large, you can leave money in the bank and be reasonably sure that the Generalissimo won't have spent it on cocaine and hookers by lunchtime.

The bins mostly get emptied; the hospitals are open and admitting patients; the roads aren't deathtraps and your kids can generally walk to and from school without fear that they'll be cut in half by a hail of machine-gun fire.

All of which inspires me not, and others even less, but I can live with it.  Since I recognise that it's basically a bit shit though, I'm still wide open to bright ideas and will be overjoyed to poke through the blueprints of any radical overhauls proposed.

Up against the solid example of an actually-operating system, Yes Scotland have deployed a wondrous vision of an optimistic, creative, self-confident nation that can do whatever the fuck it likes without having to face any serious consequences at all.

If you've paid attention, you'll notice that we're being offered a caringly socialist business-friendly independent country of huge financial innovation that exploits its petro-chemical wealth to the full to create an environmentally-responsible future, while retaining all that's best about Britain.

Or, more succinctly, the product we're being offered is a pack of sky-fairy fluff, containing as few actual promises as possible, in order to to guarantee its appeal to the broadest section of the populace. This impressive act of imagineering has gone down so well with half the electorate that the First Minister felt he could drop insane shit on the populace such as, oh, threatening to default on the national debt.

Trying to get an answer on how any of this will work in reality is like donning boxing gloves and trying to pin a question mark on a hot-buttered balloon full of birdshit - slippery work, not really worth the hassle and even success can only mean that you wind up needing a change of clothes.

And this is just the headlines - there are countless other major problems with the Yes campaign, not least:

- The endless goddamn flag-waving.  There are occasions when a horde of my flag-flapping countrymen are a welcome sight, and these occasions are called football games.  

On other occasions, they're less desirable.  Occasions such as, say, large crowds of self-proclaimed patriots repeatedly gathering outside news organisations to angrily demand that journalists alter their output to something more congenial. 

- The non-stop arsing on about the wonders of democracy.  I'm not keen on taking lessons on the joys of civic responsibility from people who are so committed to the ideal of democracy that they feel they need to carve a wholly new polity out of the rump of an old one, in the hope that this will help their particular viewpoint to win the day, and I say that even though I'm in tune with much of what the Yes camp has to say. 

- The trolling about the Tories.  The Yessers' constant resort to David Cameron et al as a weapon against doubters every time they're on the back foot doesn't encourage much confidence in this supposedly new politics, in my view. 

The Labour Party have spent years demanding my vote on the grounds that otherwise, the Tories will vandalise the place.  This is called Blackmail and I was never much receptive to it from men and women in red rosettes.

In fact, I really didn't like this game when it was called Support our cause or you are helping Saddam Hussein to victory and I like it even less when it's my own arse on the line.
I may be repeating a lot of the same stuff that I've said in the past here, but I've learned the odd lesson or two over the years, and they're helpful now.

I'm going to vote no for the same reasons why I don't take e.g. the libertarians seriously - because I don't trust people who publicly proclaim that one thing and one thing only is the magical cure for almost everything that ails the nation.  There's something a little creepy about movements that can be succinctly summarised with only one word and one flag.

I'm voting no because repeated experience has taught me that people who propose theoretically simple schemes for the enrichment of the people, but then get ridiculously aggressive when you ask straightforward questions, are probably attempting to pull the wool over our eyes about something or other.

I'm voting No for the same reason I was against bombing the shit out of Iraq and Libya - because people who urge us to support massive moral masterworks but categorically refuse to clue anyone in on the detail, on the assumption that everything will work out wonderfully in the end because God is on their side, shouldn't be trusted to fundamentally re-order a supermarket, let alone a nation.

And that's why mostly, I'm voting no because I believe that the major players in the Yes campaign couldn't give a damn whether independence will take the nation to the mountaintop or drag it through the valleys.  

I think the Yessers believe that we'll be a better nation independent, but them merely believing it doesn't make it so, and I think that if it all ends in tears, few if any of these people are going to point the finger at themselves. 

*Very few of the high-profile campaigners will be on the receiving end.


Anonymous said...

Agree completely. Except for this:

"The Labour Party have spent years demanding my vote on the grounds that otherwise, the Tories will vandalise the place. This is called Blackmail and I was never much receptive to it from men and women in red rosettes."

Isn't it only blackmail if the one demanding payment is also the one who'd be doing the vandalising? Dunno if you can blame Labour for pointing out what the Tories always do in power.

Anonymous said...

More like paying your local hard man protection money to save you from the mad bastard down the road.


organic cheeseboard said...

Agreed, not that I have a vote or owt (though I am 1/4 Scottish so could play for the football team if I was any good). Though not agreed on the likely outcome - it'll be tight but it'll be no.

From talking to my Scotland-dwelling family (half of them English), it seems that yes being so firmly tethered to Salmond might well have been a bad idea in the end.

Anonymous said...

I am predicting a knifedge No. This is the what I would have wanted a year ago but now I am in favour of a Yes; for purely selfish reasons. I am intrigued by the sudden "things will never be the same again" claims from London and I think this country will only move forward if its forced to and I can't see that happening with a NO vote. Plus, I want to see the English establishment shaken to the core by defeat. That said, its not for me, a non Scot, to tell them what to do with their future and I wish them all the best if they decide on independence.

Shuggy said...

I'm predicting a draw and we'll all have to this all over again. Wish I'd said what you said. Kept meaning to include that point, but forgot: never trust anyone who has one answer to everything.

gregorach said...

I am 1/4 Scottish so could play for the football team if I was any good

I'm not sure that's a requirement...

KBPlayer said...

Very entertaining, and sums up my feelings except I've got a bit of teary eyed patriotism in me - enough to feel totally pissed off that a bunch of saltire wavers were trying to nick my British citizenship off me. I should say as a naturalised citizen it cost me £170 a few years back, and I doubt I'd get a partial refund - not with the finances being as they would have been in iScotland. (Perfect future subjunctive - now that's a tense I'm happy to write in now the Neverendum has ended.