Monday, July 11, 2016

If we truly learn the lessons of 2014, we won't retreat to a left-wing comfort zone

I have to admit that I've been reading Bella Caledonia much less frequently since I found myself on the wrong end of the editor's antics in January, but my eye was caught today by an article from Harry Giles entitled 'Seven Ways to Win a Second Indy Referendum'.  It's a slightly odd piece, because it starts by reminding us that we lost the 2014 referendum by a 10% margin and that we need to learn the lessons, but then advances a strikingly familiar prospectus - we must increase voter participation, we must "stop diving to the right" (yeah, stop being so bloody right-wing, Nicola Thatcher!), we must build a multi-party coalition, we must offer people more than just independence, etc, etc.  Which of those things did we not do in 2014?  I know some Greens say they weren't sufficiently involved, but there are plenty of people who remember to their own personal cost that a belligerent 20-year-old Green activist called Ross Greer (now a 22-year-old Green MSP) was to a large extent calling the shots in the Yes campaign.

On participation, Harry reminds us that turnout has never topped 70% in any general election since 1997.  I'm almost inclined to say "so what?", because turnout in the independence referendum was much, much higher than that - it was in the mid-80s (an all-time record), and it's unlikely to get any higher on the second bite of the cherry.  The depressing reality is that we're going to have to repeat the Herculean get-out-the-vote feats of 2014, but even then Yes are going to be at a disadvantage as far as differential turnout is concerned, because younger and less affluent people (who are more likely to support independence) are always going to be proportionately less likely to vote.  Of course it's important to decrease the differential as much as humanly possible, but it's a pipe dream to imagine that, for example, turnout in working-class parts of Glasgow is going to be brought up fully to the national average.  There's no 'failing' from 2014 to be reversed there - simply an in-built disadvantage that will have to be offset by a sufficiently large pro-Yes swing.

Harry points out that women were less likely to vote Yes, and then rather dubiously blames that on 'zoomery' (including in the comments threads of the "angrier pro-indy blogs" - I do hope that includes this one!).  Wouldn't it be rather more plausible to say that there are much more fundamental reasons why women have a greater inclination than men to favour the status quo in a major constitutional referendum?  There's a tendency to present the gender gap as a problem that we'll know has been solved when the level of Yes support among men and women is identical, but the reality is that could just as easily mean that support for independence has fallen or flatlined among men, which self-evidently is not something we want to happen.  We need an increased Yes vote from both genders, and that may very well mean that the overall gender gap remains in place.  If we win the referendum on that basis, what's the issue?  Every vote is equal.

As far as the 'zoomery' thing is concerned, though, it would help enormously if on this occasion we don't have a few people on the pro-Yes side happily feeding the convenient media myth that the abuse comes disproportionately from independence supporters.  

Harry's call for us to "stop diving right" (which is of course code for "make a sharp left turn") is peculiarly juxtaposed with his demand for us to be more multi-party.  The simple fact is that much of the scope for building a broader Yes coalition is to be found on the centre-right, and in the centre.  Anecdotally, we all know that there are Lib Dems and small 'c' conservative Labour voters who are suddenly open to the idea of independence as a result of the EU referendum, so shouldn't we at least be exploring ways of bringing those people into the tent, rather than retreating to our 2014 comfort zone?

To quote our old friend Kevin Baker, it seems to me that Harry's idea of learning the lessons of 2014 essentially amounts to : "Do it again, only harder."


  1. In indyref no was seen by many as the safe option where we would be in eu and things would stay the same.

    Indyref2 will see yes as the safe option for stability and remaining in the EU.

    We need to hammer home what's at issue this time.

    Remaining in UK, how safe are..

    Pensions, disability rights, workers rights, maternity rights, a stable economy.

    Highlight indy Scotland will be in eu, we can have our own currency, which will become stronger than pound.

    1. The No side will try to make a virtue of the Brexit chaos, saying that indy would cause further instability. That and the currency are the main things that need to be addressed.

    2. "The No side will try to make a virtue of the Brexit chaos, saying that indy would cause further instability."

      Which perhaps presumes that Hideaway May and the Cameroons have suddenly discovered the ability to display a modicum of competence. A touch optimistic on their part, to say the least.

      If not it simply becomes a bunch of out of touch twits shrieking about stability as they stumble about the three ring circus of clusterfuck westminster. Like they have since they totally fucked up the EU ref.

      It's a question of trust in the end.

      The westminster establishment and their bubble of fools in the media have swiftly moved on from their EU ref incompetence to display an equally stunning lack of self-awareness as to how their actions are now viewed by most people, and it ain't fucking good, to say the least.

      Sure, there are issues to be tackled on Indy2 but it's also ludicrous to think the same conditions apply any more or that the past few weeks have not fundamentally damaged the 'better together' case.

      The SNP however, remains the same as it was when Nicola became leader and won so convincingly at Westminster and Holyrood. That despite the 24/7 attack by the Yoon media.

      There will be no lurching to the left or the right because there is, after all, no need to.

      As we shall see come the local elections soon enough.

    3. Blairites of Mass DestructionJuly 11, 2016 at 7:37 PM

      Éoin ‏@LabourEoin · 36m

      Not only can Labour MPs not unite around Corbyn or Grassroots, they cannot even unite around themselves. Still fighting over 2nd Candidate

    4. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 7:40 PM

      I would have thought carrying out and on with old Thatcher policies could be deemed to be to the right. Eg: all the Thatcherite privatisations. Unless of course Thatcher was not right wing. But you Nat sis can spin anything to your devotees.

    5. The poster above is a far-right racist troll from EnglandJuly 11, 2016 at 7:47 PM


    6. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 8:05 PM

      The above is a supporter of Scottish Nat si knickerless Thatcherite policies and clearly anti working class.

    7. Christina's Facebook PageJuly 11, 2016 at 8:08 PM

      they just love Nazi slurs and racism on Facebook for all to see

    8. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 9:36 PM

      Good they should look in the mirrors and at Nat si Tory continuety they have embarked on. Alles klarr. Socialism was embalmed in Scotland by the Nat sis.

    9. The poster above is a far-right racist troll from EnglandJuly 11, 2016 at 10:07 PM


  2. I wouldn't vote for any party, including the SNP, that had that devious little shit Ross Greer on its books

    1. He's a Green. So feel elated, Vote SNP!

  3. There is a shallowness when you speak to most no voters. It's about money,bank accounts,pensions. They never mention the democratic deficit in Scotland. The fact we vote entirely differently on everything that England does. The fact that we are a nation but feel like a region.

    There is too much emphasis on money in this country. Voting Yes or no was about economics for too many people. No nation ever declared independence to increase their bank accounts. If that was the case Aberdeen would have declared independence during the oil boom.

    Being a nation is about culture,identity, political expression and social agreement. Money comes secondary to everything above. I spoke to No voters who voted remain in the Eu. That think if the economy improves under Brexit then Scotland doesn't need independence.

    You see how fickle and shallow that is! I replied advising it is about getting what we voted for not about money in our accounts. I voted remain to protect my EU identity,passport cultural ties and goodwill.

    If we win next time it will be because we didn't rely on shallow fickle materialistic people. Instead we must get people to understand the democratic catastrophe that the UK is for Scotland.

    1. Britnats and the britnat media relied/relies on the intellectual laziness of No voters. "Whit aboot ma penshun?" "We cannae afford it" "Dinnae ask me why no, we just cannae"

    2. If we are to believe the narrative from London that we are too small to survive on our own,then the question must be asked.
      Who is best placed to support us going forward?
      The 27 nations of the EU or England?
      If they have the time,London will do all it can to prevent/discredit the EU as a viable future alternative for Scotland because.......

    3. I am afraid to say that the only way we win next time is by a centre right party lr group being prominent. 2014 was made out to be a left wing paradise, no more tories etc, when there is tories who would vote yes but do not want a socialist scotland.

      To shut them out of the debate pushes them to no. Its daft. The fact is, we need a balanced campaign, left, centee, right. If want to win. An indy scotland can sort out the make up after.

    4. How can it be a balanced campaign when 100% of the media were 100% anti indy, anti SNP, and demonised Alex Salmond in particular. The branches of liebour, tory and libdems were all about SNP bad, too poor, too stupid and top wee. They were not at all interested in any kind of rational debate on an equal basis between partties and yes and no sides. The pro indy parties, SNP and Scottish Greens, have a huge job ahead to counter the lies by the media and unionists. If you think about it, the result was quite spectatcular given the utterly biased onslaught from the bbc, stv, and all of the daily rags.

      I really do not think that the radical indy group helped etc. People do not like the word radical. The yes side, and the SNP, were crying out for decent, fair and balanced debate and coverage. Most people knew nothing of the actual facts, at least, those available, given that the McCrone report had been hidden by WM, for so long etc.
      I had discussions on the bus with young girls, who saw my yes badge. They so wanted to believe that Scotland would be better off with indy, but they were up against the media. The oil, they said 'but it's not ours anyway'. They would not have known that Scotland receives very little of the oil revenues and has been screwed for a long time. They would not have known about the McCrone report. This time, they hopefully will be a bit more informed, on many subjects, I hope. No one shut the unionists out if any debate, they put their fingers in their ears and shouted lalilala crap. Scotland craves democracy, with a varied, decent array of politicians from all parties. The SNP have certainly proved their worth, but we and they are still up against the right wing establishment who will do anything to keep Scotland shackled and their gravy train running smoothly. The EU may be, I hope, looking at things with a bit more scrutiny and some amount of understanding about where Scotland is coming from, in wanting, and needing independence from UKok.

    5. I think the ft article by the treasuries ex top man is very telling.

      I am talking about next time around, I think there will be more media that come out for indy, which will naturally help. If Labour has a free vote on it and as I say a centre right group forms and begins to outline the reasons why well off people should vote for it, then we could be onto something. But if its touted as a left wing socialist paradise then inevitably the question will come down to oil and that is not a good thing as it makes out we are a 1 trick pony.

      Have a budget with no oil and I think it would be an eye opener for many. I would publish one without oil just to get folk talking....whikst of course publishing our budget in the union.

      We have to make an economic case if we want to win.

  4. Bumblefuck tories for unityJuly 11, 2016 at 7:35 PM

    David Schneider ‏@davidschneider
    Want to congratulate Theresa May? Simply send an email to, well, anyone really. She’ll see it. #SnoopersCharter

  5. Bumblefuck tories for unityJuly 11, 2016 at 7:51 PM

    Kieran Hurley ‏@kieran_hurley 7h

    Theresa May genuinely just won a leadership election by standing still and letting everyone else fall on the sword of their own ineptitude.

    She just got to be PM by doing actually nothing and just letting the rest of the party of government demonstrate how absurdly awful they are

    It's kind of grotesquely awe-inspiring, this dizzyingly advanced level of awful we seem to be at

  6. Blairites of Mass DestructionJuly 11, 2016 at 8:03 PM

    Whatsisname is considering entering the Labour leader 'race'/ChickenCoup tomorrow.

    Which would be yet more guaranteed comedy had not the Eagle promised the same thing day after day after day for two weeks.

    If it actually happens then we'll have to prepare ourselves for the awesome might of whatsisnames political hurricane of ideas.

    Or not. ;)

  7. Yes, the indy movement probably needs to tack right. Into the world of the comfort zone, the I'm-all-right-Jackers, the whats in it for me? brigade. After all, this is the constituency that wins elections.

    1. More Pandas than tory MPsJuly 11, 2016 at 8:17 PM

      Not for the tories in scotland they don't.

  8. The difference this time (if there is a this time) is that middle Scotland has seen UK democracy in action and ain't too impressed.
    Should Westminster be able however to retain free access to the single European market and not too many companies defect,they may be appeased.
    The EU is adamant that free movement of labour is fundamental to their market and will reject any attempts by Westminster to undermine that principle as it would open the doors for others to do the same.
    I cannot see the Brexiteers being satisfied with Cameron's opt out on immigration (even if it is still on offer) so the UK will leave the EU
    on pretty minimal trading terms.
    The immigration issue was just a smoke screen anyway to allow the Tories to repeal a raft of EU legislation in many other areas (red tape) which will only become clear after the UK exits the EU.
    This may be the time when conservative Scots have to bite the bullet and decide that radical action is required.

  9. I think the main problem will be that the press will use the excuse/ example of the questions surrounding brexit not having been answered before the voted to force the SNP/ Yes side to answer every little issue and added up people will be afraid . you must be ready to both ridicule the press for their unfairness in asking Scots for answers they didn't have the guts to ask mayors and prime ministers, AND have well prepared responses.

  10. I think the main problem will be that the press will use the excuse/ example of the questions surrounding brexit not having been answered before the voted to force the SNP/ Yes side to answer every little issue and added up people will be afraid . you must be ready to both ridicule the press for their unfairness in asking Scots for answers they didn't have the guts to ask mayors and prime ministers, AND have well prepared responses.

  11. We will not win indi ref 2 if we treat the referendum like a business decision. The I'm all right jacks would sell their independence for an annual pension. We win it by showing how undemocratic the UK is. The outrage after the Brexit vote in Scotland. Was not about money. People were generally shocked because they felt something had been stolen from them. It was their Eu citizenship.

    If we continue down the economic path we will not win Scotland.

  12. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    Mein Gott. Ich ist in tatters after spending the day in my wank throne, fantacising about your FM with no knickers on.

    I now need a squad of your Nat si Jockanese to gather up my discarded Kleenex.

    Raus, Raus. Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Vanker!

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 11:21 PM

      Impersonator you can be my fag.

    2. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 11:27 PM

      Impersonator, Herman says Wanker, the W is a V you knobend. Get a vrip ov yer villie.

    3. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 3:15 AM

      Angela Eagle for PM! She's good at crying and voting for other people to go and die in war. Corbyn lacks the balls to do these brave things.

    4. The troll knows all this because Tyler knows this. There's no other feasible explanation.

  13. Bumblefuck tories for unityJuly 11, 2016 at 10:10 PM

    tom jamieson ‏@jamiesont 10h

    Great that being Prime Minister of Britain is now a job that falls to you if no-one else can be bothered doing it, like taking out the bins.

  14. Glasgow Working Class 2July 11, 2016 at 11:32 PM

    mummy made me do it. Help me

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 12:21 AM

      No, you made me do it.

  15. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 12:29 AM

    Which of my multiple personalities am I now?

  16. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 4:22 AM

    Help, I'm disappearing up my own arsehole.

  17. Please don't be nasty to the Glasgow Wanking Class. His long quest to find out which of his mother's customers fathered him has unhinged his brain.

  18. We are leaving the EU and clearly Scotland doesn't want to, that's a new factor.
    We have clearer positive messages from the EU than happened in 2013-14.
    We are going to have Tories in power for a very long time, and the lessons have become much starker. Hoping for a change of Westminster Gov doesn't offer the same 'comfort' to Labour voters as it seemed to before.
    Who would lead an new version of BT?
    We have the Wee Black Book now.
    The SNP is 5Xs as big as it was and people are more aware within the SNP.
    Nicola Sturgeon is well know and popular in a way that Alex wasn't.

    1. I think it's clear there wouldn't necessarily be a 'Better Together' group.

      I think they learned the same lessons as we did, from that I mean that Labour would not be part of campaigning with the Tories. And the SNP will have hopefully have learned that it can't ALL be about them this time around.

      Ruth Davidson would obviously be front and centre but I struggle to see how KEZ and Child Playpark could align with the tories in the same way again, give the different backdrop to this one, i.e. The Tories have gained from being front and centre defenders of the union, joining with them dilutes any post referendum bounce that Kez would hope to get from backing the Union and there being a no vote.

      Throw in that they want to try and win back their lost voters and suddenly you are looking at Labour having a 'free' vote, albeit one that is heavily leaning toward No.

      I think the 2nd time around will be a lot more interesting though.

      I also think given Jim Sillars profile from the EU Ref he could hopefully be critical in winning back some of the now No voters back to Yes given the EU vote. I.e. he still believes in independence and being out of Europe and would vote yes.

      You would hope they would come back anyway and we could in theory push for 60% Yes, but I guess some foolishly based their vote on the oil price and not on other things.

    2. It would be more than interesting to hear what Labour would campaign on in a 2nd Ref.
      Would all the old lags, Brown, Darling etc, come out and say vote No because we will have Jeremy Corbyn as leader of part of the UK Labour Party, or somebody else as part of the other part of the 'Labour' Party.
      Of course we now have 56MPs in Westminster and on most of the Westminster Committees, so they should keep us better informed of the real info coming out of there.
      There is this going on for England and Wales, which will affect us in Scotland. (Would SLabour go on pretending this won't affect us, or go on saying we must stick with England in the pretence that they can save it.)

    3. BRIAN

      You're partly correct correct when you state that Nicola is well known and popular in a way that Alec was not.
      At the time of the referendum Salmond was a lot better known than Nicola but while campaigning I came up against a lot of people who disliked him for various reasons.
      When I mentioned this to SNP campaigners they mostly dismissed it as BT propaganda.

    4. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 9:24 PM

      Knickerless is not popular with all Scots and she will be exposed for following Tory policies.

    5. By whom? You? You can't even pull a coherent sentence together.

  19. i find most of this type of rhetoric strange and disconnected. there was a group of people in my area who fought the indyref campaign. i didnt see any writers from yes scotland, or bella, or wings who actually did anything here. commentators yes, but none of the yes "talking heads". we canvased, leafleted, did street stalls, posted posters and flags... what else is there? this is the reality of all campaigns on the ground, it is the pr consultants, publicity managers, internet commentators, politicians etc who live in a bubble. not us. you could argue that the success of indyref2 is dependent on the events and actions of the pr consultants, publicity managers, internet commentators, politicians of the unionists, not us.

  20. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 8:44 PM

    Have not heard knickerless whinging with hard done tae stories for the last week. Are the Nat si whinging committee in recess! And Jim Yung Eck is going on with the Blair Witch Hunt. The Nat sis have nothing progressive to suggest except follow Tory Thatcherite policies.

  21. Glasgow Working Class 2July 12, 2016 at 10:58 PM

    I wonder if Nat Si Sturgeon wears gussetless knickers? Must get some more Kleenex.