Alex Salmond debates Alistair Darling for Scotland’s future

Battle for democracy

Battle for democracy

How will I be watching the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling?
I will be watching glued to my television set, naturally. But I refuse to be a mere passive sponge.

In common with tens if not hundreds of thousands of political anoraks/self-appointed citizen journalists, I will be interacting – in real time – making my thoughts available to others via twitter, so they can retweet them, if they like.

I will be checking out the thoughts of others, retweeting those I like. I may take issue with others on twitter, but I am far more likely not to waste time doing that until the dust has settled, not wanting to miss what either of these politicians are saying.

Democracy is not about a choice of leaders, certainly not the miserable choice offered by James Harding’s BBC, by Rupert Murdoch’s SKY News and by the anonymous Thatcherite suits who control Channel4 News. When it comes to next year’s United Kingdom election – David Cameron or Ed Miliband – I think I’ll pass, if it’s all the same to you.

Democracy is about the participation of every last one of us in how society is run: the word, after all, literally means ‘people rule’. The referendum on the 18th of September is not, despite all the lies of Johann Lamont, about whether we like Alex Salmond, and definitely not about if we want him to be some kind of dictator. It is not even about the SNP’s official position on NATO, on the continued rule of the British Monarchy, corporation tax, a shared currency nor anything else. Scotland’s referendum is about self determination. It is about the right of all Scots to set our own priorities over illegal wars in, say, Iraq, choosing sides between the genocidal regime of Apartheid Israel in Gaza, and about whether our taxes should be invested in weapons of mass destruction or – alternatively – in social care, on pensions, on schools, public health, housing, and redistributing from the rich to the poor.

Scotland’s referendum is about choices. And Alistair Darling cannot promise anything because the fragments of his campaign have united merely in seeing to it that none of the NO campaign’s promises will appear on ballot paper. Every leader of the NO Campaign is lying through their teeth about what a NO vote means, about the oil reserves that could compensate the Scottish people for almost half a century of the UK governments plundering our natural assets.

I will be watching Alex Salmond in the expectation he will expose the lies of Alistair Darling, and his chums at the CBI’s BBC Scotland. Tomorrow’s debate will let voters hear both sides, something that is quite rare in the Britain’s so-called mass media.

I will be watching in the expectation that Alex Salmond will reinvigorate the YES Campaign, giving our activists the rhetorical tools we need, and the facts too, joined-up arguments every last one of us can unite around, helping us carry the undecideds into the our lobby.

I will be watching Scotland’s historic debate full of hope, fully expecting Better Together to immediately descend into self-destructive faction fighting, desperately seeking scapegoats, viciously blaming each other for promoting such a tedious and badly informed, out-of-his-depth representative to take on the world-class orator and debater that we all know Alex Salmond to be.

No pressure, comrade Salmond. Just be careful not to let us down.

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