Why is the No Campaign – or ‘Bitter Together’ as they prefer to be called – in such trouble? On Radio Scotland’s wonderful review of the papers between 9:00am and 10:00am last Sunday, we were offered many thoughtful insights by Tory journalist Katie Grant. I have dealt with these here: https://derekthomas2010.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/katie-grant-on-kenneth-macdonalds-headlines/.
However, Katie didn’t get everything right. Somewhat disingenuously, she attacked Alex Salmond’s conference speech the previous day because he made such an impassioned appeal for the core vote of the Labour Party in Scotland.
Can she really be so out of touch with the Scottish people? Is she genuinely oblivious to what is in fact the trump card of the Yes Campaign: the deep well of hatred amongst the overwhelming majority of Scots for David Cameron’s Conservative Party and for Nick Clegg’s poodles who posed to the left of Labour at the last election to get elected, then betrayed their mandate within hours to prop up this Tory government of millionaire, by millionaires, for millionaires?
The Scottish people do not believe we are better together with those who impose Tory policies on us. Katie Grant cannot possibly think otherwise. She knows that the only hope Better Together have of securing a victory is by hiding David Cameron, George Osborne, Phil Hammond, Liam Fox and the rest of these Tories.
Alas, the more Tories hide behind the sofa so as not to scare the voters, the more other Tories forget why they’re doing this, then start complaining about the idiocy of the campaign that is being run by Alistair Darling, Johann Lamont etc. Everything these people do is wrong. It is wrong because there are no good options for them. Project Fear is all they’ve got left. And that isn’t working either.
Better Together’s hope they can give Ed Miliband the kind of makeover that will make him acceptable to all shades of Toryism in England? That is why Douglas Alexander nudged him along this latest odyssey down the Tory road to nowhere. This is an electoral strategy that cannot possibly work north or south of the border.
Labour’s voters are being presented with the rather unfortunate fact that Ed Miliband couldn’t find a single member of his own party to sell him as a credible Prime Minister. Indeed, he couldn’t even find a single British citizen with the talents for that job. He had to scour the planet, paying a six figure salary to someone without a socialist bone in his body to try to rebrand Ed Miliband. Is this what is needed to make Labour popular in England, nevermind Scotland? Are these people utterly deluded?
The high profile appointment of David Axelrod will only remind English voters about just how desperate Ed Miliband is. That in turn can only increase the numbers of voters all across the United Kingdom who will turn away from the Labour Party in disgust. They won’t necessarily vote for the Tories. Of course not. But those who don’t simply abstain, or vote for one of the parties to Labour’s left (Greens or TUSC) may provide a shot in the arm for Nigel Farage’s allegedly anti-establishment receptacle of the protest vote. Labour’s behavior is simply undermining the alternative to Scottish independence.
The Scottish people can take great pride in the key part we played in bringing the hated government of Margaret Thatcher to its knees. We did this by the methods of mass non-payment campaign. The Poll Tax Riots may have sparked a revolt against her leadership by Tory MPs. However, as Michael Hesseltine was forced to concede in parliament, that tax had to go because the Scottish people had been made it ‘uncollectable’. Mass non-payment, in the right circumstance, can work. It did work. And that brings me to the CBI’s role in the Scottish referendum.
Apparently it never occurred to the Confederation of British Industry’s executives that registering itself as partisan in Scotland’s referendum – with a mere four percent now separating the two sides – would cause a problem to several of their most high-profile members.
What did Iain McMillan expect Scottish Television to do with their membership of the CBI, other than to resign from it with immediate effect? How can any broadcaster hope to cover Scotland’s independence referendum if it is subsidizing, at least indirectly, the No Campaign? Did Iain McMillan and co not even notice this dilemma? If not, why not? And if they did, why did they express such contempt for their own members? If this is how the CBI treats their members, why should they be allowed to use money to distort the Scottish referendum? The CBI is a club for the wealthy, with very few members, and getting fewer by the day.
What about Visit Scotland? How could they be expected to entice tourists if the first thing they noticed on arrival is that fifty percent of Scots are utterly livid that, via the CBI, Visit Scotland was mangling our democratic process? This problem was never addressed by the idiots in charge of the CBI? Heads should roll. Right?
In the meantime, what can the people of Scotland do to pile the pressure on those running the CBI in Scotland? Here is an idea.
What about reminding these so-called champions of free enterprise that their members lack monopoly power? To the extent that Scots have alternatives to the CBI’s member, why not take our business elsewhere? In other words, if CBI members expect to get away with insulting our democratic rights, then let’s remind them that they’re wrong. Let’s take our custom elsewhere. Okay?