Friday, September 18, 2015

One Long, Boring Year On

Christ, are we all doing The Referendum - One Year On pieces, are we?

Well, let me pitch in with this: I really can't be doing with flags or anthems at the best of times, or in fact ostentatious patriotism of any stripe - Scottish, British, Russian, Burkina Fasan.  In my experience, the only people in any given nation who ever make a great song and dance over patriotic colours and the nation's wondrous character are sport fans, boring idiots and outright frauds.

So as you can imagine, the IndyRef was a horrible experience - a great, roaring tidal wave of ludicrous horseshit of every conceivable flavour.  Whether you preferred your lachrymose hymns to national unity sung with a blue and white background, or with a dash of red chucked in, you couldn't so much as turn on a radio without hearing some pious twerp arsing on and on about the wonderful spirit of amity and cameraderie that you encounter on the streets of... wherever.

The great question of the day was, would Scotland be better or worse off as an independent nation?  Nobody had a clue what the answer was, but that didn't stop anyone pulling grand pronouncements about our impending profits or losses out of their arses and waving them for all to see.

Loads of people are still at it, chuntering on and on and on, just today.  All in all, it makes me want to push a pen into my ear, just to see how far it'll go.

So, what was the legacy of the IndyRef?  I'll tell you right now.  Its sole contribution to Scottish life is that it's made it even less sufferable.  It's poured yet another thick layer of lunacy on top of our already deranged political culture, meaning that any particular political question now has to be fought through still another round of bickering before anything can get done.

If it's enlivened debate, it's done so in the manner that a crate of whisky and kilo of cocaine perks up a house party - you'll have a more interesting night alright, but will awaken to discover you did nothing but talk embarrassing bollocks until the fight broke out and everybody got arrested.

The IndyRef was an enormous waste of time, money and political energy.  Don't let anybody tell you different.  It encouraged everyone to run their mouths at incredible length without communicating so much as a second's worth of valuable information.  Political campaigns are infamous for their deceitful nature but this was the first one I've encountered in which I could say honestly, hand on heart, that absolutely everyone involved was lying like a rug.

The IndyRef is now mercifully in the past, but the inevitable re-run awaits.  I can't tell you what the outcome will be but I can tell you this, not as a prediction but as a cast-iron fact - it will be punishingly long, painfully stupid and poisonously horrific throughout.

My only hope now is that they'll save it for around the year 2060 or so, when I will almost certainly be mercifully dead.

4 comments:

Magistra said...

What was the legacy of the IndyRef? The General Election in 2010 had a turnout of 63.8% in Scotland; in 2015 there was a turnout of 71.1%. So the IndyRef meant that 8% or so of people who didn’t vote before decided it was worth doing, because they’d decided that politics mattered to them after all. (The English turnout was only up by 0.3%, in contrast).

Jeremy Corbyn’s just been elected on a left-wing strategy that relies very heavily on convincing non-voters that they need to vote. Previous non-voters who have now been inspired to vote are mostly going to be ignorant enthusiasts, because if they were well-informed they’d have voted before (or at least spoiled their ballot-papers) and if they were still cynical they wouldn’t bother voting. If you’re going to have popular politics and people enthused by a party, its supporters are probably not going to behave in ways appealing to their staunch opponents.

sloppy said...

By its mature a national(ist) referendum is going to have a large turnout. It isn't necessarily a good thing.

Also to (seemingly) suggest that Indy ref was good for Labour/ the Left in general is kind of disingenuous. I think actually the whole point of Indy ref / nationalism in general is actually to eradicate the Left and maintain a bourgeois controlled society.

Even to suggest it was the sort of 'kick up the arse' labour needed or something is also disingenuous. Labour's drift to the Right since the 80s/90s was only tolerable for its mass support if it kept winning elections. Take a Blairite Labour party + election defeats (in this case 2 but you can take holyrood defeats also) and you have a recipe for groundswell of support for a leftist labor party. With or without Indy ref

flyingrodent said...

Yes, I'm not really receptive to arguments along the lines of "(x) is good because it increased democratic engagement".

A referendum on whether Scotland should be renamed Bawbagistan would also greatly increase engagement, but it probably wouldn't be tremendously helpful to the nation.

KBPlayer said...

Gotta say I agree with your totally even-handed view of the indyref, which was the only time in my life when political events affected me as much as personal ones have (like redundancy, threats of redundancy and break ups with friends and boyfriends).

One good thing - it did show me my gross ignorance about basic stuff like how the constitution works, how the economy works, how currencies work. But everyone I spoke to was equally ignorant, so that didn't matter. Why know this stuff when you can post links to Paul Krugman or trust Alex Salmond because he worked for a bank once?

About the SNP's alleged leftism - here in the Scotsman:-

As for the leftness of the SNP:-

“There isn’t a majority out there for paying more tax and hiking up benefits. If there was, then the SNP would be doing those things.

“There’s a majority out there that wants to feel good about themselves and to get on in life and the SNP absolutely talks to them.

“The rhetoric is left wing but the politics are centre ground. The SNP is New Labour with nationalism added and there’s no way an Old Labour offer is going to counter it. I despair at anyone who thinks that’s going to happen.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/crunch-time-for-scots-labour-as-corbyn-heads-north-1-3892508