Unionists’ victory is a distortion
The problem with the postReferendum “just move on” line is that it demands a level of brain-wipe that is just not possible.
The Unionists won the vote, but the means by which they gained their “victory” will distort Scottish politics for years.
They lied. Repeatedly, from top to bottom of their campaign, and were never called out for it by a compliant and sympathetic mass media which almost universally supported the No campaign. They lied about the currency, yet when Alastair Darling was forced to admit it, continued lying anyway. They made every effort to portray Scotland as a basket case economy reliant on hand-outs from England even though they knew this to be false. They lied about pensions. They lied about likely arrangements for organ donation should Scotland become independent. They distorted the facts about research funding.
I could go on, but why bother? The point is made that the Unionist case was one of fear, lies and distortion to ensure a No vote. The main driving force behind this campaign was the Labour Party, an organisation for which lying has clearly become second nature. In 2010, the Labour campaign in Scotland pushed the line that only they could stop the Tories dismantling our NHS and attacking our education services. Of course, during the Referendum campaign, they said the opposite: that these are devolved and can’t be touched by Westminster. More lying!
Despite being nonsensical, the 2010 propaganda line worked: Labour defended the 39 seats it still held from the 2005 election and regained two lost in by-elections. It didn’t work in England though, and the Tories formed the government thanks to that other part of the Better Together axis, the Lib Dems. Of course, even if Labour had won every Westminster seat in Scotland, the Tories would still have formed the government. Scotland hasn’t made a difference to Westminster electoral arithmetic since 1974, when I was still at primary school.
The fact of Labour’s 2010 General Election line being false was belatedly recognised and they were hammered at the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, people recognising that the SNP were a better bet to defend their interests than Labour. Labour have made it clear that they will adopt Tory fiscal plans if successful in 2015 and both are now racing to the right in England, terrified of losing votes to UKIP. In Scotland, voters are looking in a distinctly different direction and having alienated a massive swathe of potential support by their disgraceful conduct during the referendum campaign and cosy relationship with the Tories, Labour may well hit a lower level of support in 2015 than 2011.
The best estimate is that 37 per cent of people who voted Labour in 2010 voted Yes. Members have been leaving the Party and trade union members are actively withdrawing payment of the political levy. Now even Johann Lamont has resigned, describing the Labour Party in Scotland as being treated like a branch office and stating “We must be allowed to make our own decisions and control our own resources.” Is she for real? That is precisely what the Yes campaign wanted for our country. Labour politicians have no sense of irony or shame. Hopefully many of them will be seeking new employment come next May. David Stevenson, 47 Cairns Road, Cambuslang.