The Politics of Fear

Liars create fearEverybody has fears, some are irrational.  Some people get so consumed by their fears that they become seriously ill.  Some people enjoy fear, others use it.  Politicians master it.

Have you ever wondered what happened to all the good news stories?  Have you stopped to consider how we always seem to be fighting someone, somewhere?  How we are always under threat?  How the threat level never seems to drop back to Pink and Fluffy?

One of the easiest buttons to press is the big red one marked Fear.  Movies can do it, books can do it, roller coasters do it, even teeny tiny spiders can do it.  And politicians love to do it.

  • Scotland is too small
  • The NHS is doomed
  • Oil is running out
  • Yer pension’s knackered
  • It’s £7 a pint in Norway
  • Asda will put up its prices
  • Banks will leave
  • Pears Morgan wont leave.

Fear, time and time again.  It’s a buy one get one free deal, because it always brings its wee pal Doubt.  Could we?  Should we?  Better no, eh?  Just to be safe.

fear2Often we can see it coming a mile away, recognise it immediately for what it is.  Dismiss it, laugh it off, reassure ourselves with facts and figures.  But the 2 for 1 can get you.  When your not paying attention, when you think it’s all over, Doubt is still there, keeping a foot in the back door, ready to let Fear back in.

Whether you know it or not, whether you see it or not, that is how they control us.  They don’t have to get all of us, they don’t care about the single voices that cry out in the dark “I know it’s you, and I am not afraid!”, because if they get enough, if they get 51%, or whatever magic number they need, then they have won.

There is a solution.  Take the fear and the doubt, and turn it in to something else.  Get fuckin furious, because just under the surface, right beside Fear, is primal Rage.  Scream at the TV, the newspaper, the PC, vent the whole might of your furious anger at these bastards who want you to cower.  Stand up and shout FUCK THAT!  I’m no feart of the likes of you, ya slimy wee bastard, or anything you say.  Turn it around and fire it right back at them because they want you back off, they want you to stand down, they want you to surrender your power to them cos you’re too piss yer pants scared to stand up and do what needs to be done.

I’ve been scared, I’ve been scared when there was no food in the fridge and hungry weans looking at me for answers.  I’ve been feart when the wife was in the hospital and there was no doctor to look at her fer hours and hours.  I’ve been terrified when the baliffs were at the door, not of them, but of seeing my family out on the street.

Well Westminster, you’ve done it this time, I’m fuming, and you will never, ever be able to scare me again, cos I wont fucking let you!

A Scotsman.

Who are the 45?

Is it a badge of honour?  Is it a tribe?  Does it intimidate you, or evoke feelings of solidarity?

The 45 (or 45%) was a name chosen very quickly after the referendum result, I don’t think there was time to pass it through a marketing campaign, or to have YouGov run a poll.  It was one of a few flags that were shoved over the parapet after the smoke started clearing, and it is one that gelled with the most people.  It’s reminiscent of the 99% during the Occupy movement.  It represents the underdog, the down but not out, the pick yerself up, dust yerself off, and start all over again mentality of many Scots throughout the ages.  Remember a certain wee spider?  I’m sure we’d have had even less luck trying to use that as rallying call.  Anyone who voted Yes in the referendum can freely use the term 45 if they wish to.

What are we, though, and what does it mean?

It’s not a movement, it’s not a party, political or otherwise, it’s simply a banner.  A banner that anyone is free to rally round.  Is it exclusive?  Some would have you think so, from both sides of the debate (note it’s not a war, a chasm, a gulf, or any other sensationalist crap, just a debate), but the simple truth is it is whatever you want it to be.

Many badges spark many different reactions in people, whether it says Police, a football club, a biker club, an employer or a political party.  Every individual can react in different ways at different times to seeing the same badge.  It’s your reaction that changes based on your mindset, the badge is still the same.

For me, the 45 badge (although I do not wear one at the time of writing) is a cross between a recruitment centre and an information desk.  It says we are the 45 now (or then, if you are reading this in the future), but we are growing.  It says soon we will be 46, and then 47 and more.  It says we believe in a brighter future for Scotland.  It shouts I do not blindly follow the establishment, for I no longer believe they represent me, or treat us fairly!

But that is not all.  It also says come to me with your questions, let me share my sources with you.  Let’s discuss the pros and cons, I can be convinced be reasoned argument, I have an open mind.  It says let there not be a wall between us, for we are friends, family and neighbours.  It says talk to me.

So before you make an assumption, before you make up your mind about who and what we are, have a wee chat with us, we don’t bite.

A Scotsman.

TV or not TV

Strange and wonderful things are happening.

The 45 have been getting a lot of bad press recently (funny that, considering one of their gripes is a biased mainstream media, but I digress), so it’s nice to be able to post the other side of the coin.

At the moment they are fractured, split up, 1.6 million single voices raised in anger, pain, outrage, despair, betrayal, hope and a myriad other emotions.  That, however is going to change, as the recent upsurge in party registrations has shown.  The SNP are now the third largest party in the UK, outnumbering UKIP, the Greens, and even the Lib Dems.  Not only that, but when the number of new members passes the number of existing members, it puts the population, the 45, in the driving seat of the party.  It allows them to dictate policy.  It’s as if they went into Govs’R’US and bought a ready made political machine off the shelf, and can now compete with the two ravenous, slavering beasts, not only in Scotland, but across the UK.

And we haven’t even got organised yet!  But I digress, again.  Doh!

Many people, after the paedophile scandal, the expenses scandal, and now the referendum scandal (and a few more along the way) are turning their disgust into action, and are cancelling their TV licences, a mass protest and withdrawal of support.  “We no longer will sit idly by while you abuse your position!” we say.

However, it doesn’t end there.  One bright spark amongst the 45 suggested the blindingly simple, yet amazingly brilliant idea of taking the cash we would have donated to the BBC canteen fund, and instead donating it directly to the food banks for the people in Scotland.

Double whammy!

Mr TV Licence man, if you want your money,They're coming to take you away! please go and rip it from the mouth of that starving wean.  Our children are more important than our entertainment.  If we have to watch Eastenders an hour late on catch-up rather than live, then so be it.  It’s not like we’re going to be watching the news, is it?  You made damn sure of that.

I’m not interested in the proms, I don’t like cricket (I don’t love it either) or wimbledon, and I always watch Dr Who later after the wee man is in bed.

So, this is the 45 slowly starting to get organised.  This is the first of many things that will happen, as the population of Scotland take the power back, and start to reaffirm our priorities.

So long, and thanks for all the pish.

A Scotsman

Frack Off!

I’m a bit behind with this one, apparently we’re all going to be fracked to death.  Westminster Plc is selling off licences for companies to poison us, shake us about, and devalue our properties.  That’s right, they are already in the middle of buggering us royally, another reason why they had to win the indyref it appears.

Look out below!

Look out below!

I don’t know if they have some perverse Antlantean dream, maybe they will watch from Ipswich as the country slides under the waves, or whether they are simply going to poison all us poor folk who wont be in the wealth controlled safe zones.  I’m not privvy to their plans behind the plans.

It’s disgusting, sickening, amoral and a whole bunch of other things.  Get active, get in touch with MPs, MSPs, MEPs, yer granny, the papers, the bloke in the post office, and that man with a dug that always says good morning.

This has to be stopped!

A Scotsman

An Open Letter to the Labour Party

Dear New Labour,

Who are you?  What has happened to you?  The party you have become bears no relation to the party you are supposed to be.  The opposition is supposed to offer an alternative to government, to be balance, to prevent too much harm to the people you claim to represent.  Where have your ideals gone?  Where has your passion gone?  How do you differ drastically from the Tories?

We looked to you to shine a light on the truth, picking a way through the deceptions of the government when you are in opposition.  We looked to you to redress the balance and help bring back a fairer deal for the working man, after the excess of a Tory government when you were in power.  We looked to you, and you turned away from us.  We supported you, and you changed, before our very eyes, into this bastard half-breed offspring of Labour and Tory parents.

It got you where you wanted, but at what cost?  Your recent behaviour means you’re all but finished in Scotland, where you took your support for granted.  You used it, abused it, and ignored it.  “Here’s 2 million voters that we don’t need to worry about, they’ll never vote Tory, and that’s a win for us”.

We don’t want Tory Lite, we want an alternative.  You have failed to give us one.  I’m not going to bang on about the past, about who was right and wrong over your recent activities, that is best left to better voices than mine.  I will talk about your future though, and that is going to be a stark thing indeed, especially in Scotland.

What are you going to do, who are you going to be?  In an independent Scotland, how is a Labour presence going to work, not only in the short term, but in the long term as the countries start to diverge.  In a country crying out for social justice, desperate to redress rebalance and regenerate and recover from the last few decades.  A country, that historically has cried out for who we felt the Labour Party was.

You aren’t giving us enough information.  Where is your White Paper for an independent Scotland?  If it’s the will of the people, where are your preparations?  It was, and some would say is supposed to be on your manifesto.  Home Rule for Scotland was one of the founding principles of the Labour Party.  Where is it now?

If you hope to recover any support in Scotland you need to start thinking beyond following the Tory line, and start thinking for yourself, and listening to your (potential) voters.

I suggest that ASAP you work on your vision for an independent Scotland, and if it contains the words “crawl back to the Union” then you can just fuck right off.

A Scotsman.

An Open Letter to David Cameron

Mr Cameron

On Thursday the 18th of September, I will be voting Yes to Scottish Independence.  Nothing you, your party, your coalition, or your cronies have said has been able to discourage me.

I am an ordinary man, who loves his family, none of whom would be here if it were not for a free NHS.  I will not allow you to destroy it if this is the one small thing I can do to save it, at least in Scotland.  I have a modicum of intelligence, and I can see through your lies, and your misdirections.  Times have changed, the internet and social media have given us the opportunity to ignore the biased mainstream media, and seek out better versions of the truth.  We can now hear the voices that are usually silenced, we can read the documents that are usually hidden, and we can see and hear your words and conduct, over and over again, and share them with the world.

I don’t know if you have an inkling what it is like to grow up in a poor Scottish household.  To be treated as scum by the system that is supposed to be there to protect us, to be treated with casual contempt by our neighbours, mostly based on propaganda fed ignorance.  To be taken for granted and scorned by the very people we elect to represent us, if we bother to vote at all.  Lets face it, we never vote Tory, and here you are, barging into the high seat like you won it, when you couldn’t even secure a majority in the House.

We are worlds apart, you and I, and therefore it is impossible for us ever to be able to represent each other.  I’m content not to speak for you, whereas you have the audacity to speak for me on a global stage.

I have a severely disabled wife Mr Cameron, we had to close down our fledgling company when she got too ill to work, I have to remain at home now to care for her, to take her to the local hospital when we finally get to the end of the very long waiting lists.  I had to go to the dreaded food bank to ensure that my family could have food on the table, while I waited and waited for ATOS to look at her paperwork.  Tell your friend Mr Duncan-Smith that a safety net is supposed to catch you as you fall, not scoop up the bits that are left when you hit the bottom.  Do you know that your government machine grabs pennies from the poor while giving pounds to the rich?  Do you know what that feels like?  Do you know that your departments default stance is “when in doubt, don’t pay them”.  Another default stance is to use the courts as their credit control department, handing out CCJs like sweeties for debts that are still current.

Do you have any idea how expensive it is to be poor Mr Cameron?  All the perks and bonuses that aren’t available because we cannot afford them.  Paying more road tax because we can’t afford a full year, missing out on the best deals because we daren’t sign up for a direct debit, because we’re still trying to pay back the charges and accrued unauthorised overdraft interest from the last time we bounced something at the bank.  (Is £35+ a reasonable fee for a computer program to make a yes/no decision and automatically send out a letter?).  Do you know what it is like to see the bank manipulate your transactions to make sure it charges you the maximum it can, and be powerless to prevent it.  To watch it fail to make the days deductions, before it then adds the receipts.  To have them reject a £12 TV licence direct debit, and then put you in unauthorised overdraft with a £35 charge and start billing you by the day for the pleasure of doing so.  Do you know how impotent that can make a man feel?

And that’s the crux of the matter Mr Cameron.  For too long the people of Scotland have felt impotent, so now, when we are given this one small chance, while you give us this tiny bit of power, we are going to rip your bloody arm off and take the lot.  You’ve had our country, our pride, our blood, sweat and tears and you pissed it away, and shat on the remains, laughing as you did so.  No more Mr Cameron.

A Scotsman and his family.

An Open Letter to Alex Salmond

Firstly, thank you.  Thank you for getting us this far, for kicking the hornet’s nest and waking up a nation.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t liked you, I haven’t agreed with some of the choices you have made, some of the things you have said, and some of the people you have associated with.  I haven’t liked you, but I cannot help but admire and respect you.  I have no illusions that you are a one man band, that you have done this all on your own, but you have chosen to paint a target on yourself, to take one for the team, and for that I applaud you.

Whatever the result on Thursday, I think you deserve a holiday.  I cannot imagine the pressure you must be under.  I have witnessed some of the weight that has been arrayed against you, the full might of Westminster, the mainstream media, business leaders, economists, celebrities, world leaders and men and women on the street.  I have heard some of the lies, the threats, seen some of the dirty tricks, the misdirections, and yet the independence momentum keeps building.

In particular, I was amused by the voices from America, urging us to reject this chance, emerging fresh from celebrating their own independence from the greedy hands of London.  They would portray us as Oliver Twist, having the bare faced cheek to ask for more, when the reality puts us David against a particularly brutal Goliath.

I chuckle when they ask you for specifics, Alistair Darling repeatedly asking for your plan B, when they know full well that nothing can be promised, nothing guaranteed, until after the vote and all the arguing has been done.  Likewise I grin when they are questioned about these so called new powers, and how they won’t be tied down to exact numbers, because they can’t guarantee anything either.  We don’t know who will be in power in the UK, we don’t know who will win the first election in Scotland.  Nothing can be known at this point, apart from the determination and resolve of some key players, and the idea, the dream, that burns in the hearts of so many Scots now, shining brighter than it has for a long time.  A fire that we thought extinguished, a light all but snuffed that you have helped fuel back to strength.

There are so many ways that this could possibly spin out, it’s like climbing into a roller coaster seat for the first time. I am excited and scared, hopeful, proud and terrified. As the day grows closer my resolve replaces certainty when it succumbs to the worms of doubt. I’m putting myself, my family, and possibly my nation, and those next door in a new direction if things go as I hope they do. This is massive, this is a chance to make a real change in so many things, a chance that me and my fellow Scots have not felt we have had before. A feeling, regardless of which way we vote, that our vote matters, so much more than it ever has in a general election. The politics in this UK is broken in so many ways, on so many levels, that I and thousands of others are grabbing at a sliver of hope that at the very least, for ourselves and our descendants, we can try and change the course of this mighty river, even just a little, to give everyone a more equal slice of the pie.

 

For too long we have forgotten how good we are as individuals and as a nation, listened and believed the lie that we are not good enough, not clever enough. If we can change the way our young are encouraged, take those born in the gutter and give them a chance to aspire to something better. If we can begin to tackle some of the many social problems in this country, then I for one will grab that chance with both hands.

We may be too small to go it alone, but we are also too small to be fairly treated by Westminster. History has proven that true, time and time again. I have no illusions that a Yes vote is a magic wand, but I know what a No vote means, and that scares me more than any leap into the unknown ever could.

So thank you Mr Salmond.  Thank you for not giving up, for not letting us forget who we could be, who we should be, and who we can be again.

I for one, do not wish to squander this opportunity.

A Scotsman and his family.