Differences between Yes and Brexit campaigns are not as great as some believe
I note that Darren Mcgarvey is having some problems with his fellow Yes activists (“Make a point a bouts almond and the SNP at your peril”, 14 November) and is unsure of the reasons why. Darren has made a point of trying to understand unionists in the last year or so, so here are three points for his consideration.
Firstly, social media has worldwide reach, and therefore you cannot escape the worst of nationalist trolls by going to London. With this technology, they can follow you anywhere you go.
Secondly, the differences between the Yes movement and the Brexit campaign are not as great as those in the Yes movement would like to imagine. Both rely on people’s discontent with a larger political structure in which they feel powerless, both depend on an “us and them” narrative, both rely on trying to engage people who feel marginalised and let down by the system, whatever they imagine that to be. The Yes movement focused on trying to reawaken Scottish nationalism. The Brexit campaign focused on reawakening English nationalism. Ukip complained about immigration, but many SNP activists complain about immigration as well. It is just that that part is swept under the carpet here, because we supposedly have a nicer sort of nationalism. Ukip’s main target was the EU, not immigrants per se, and it is notable that with their objective achieved, or apparently so, their support has disappeared to any significant extent. The Yes movement, Brexiteers and indeed Trump supporters, are not so very different. There are unsavoury elements but also fundamentally wellintentioned people in all these movements. The dynamics associated with each are very similar. The Yes campaign cannot admit this because they have spent so much time smearing the others.
Finally, as someone who campaigned for Better Together, I believe there were two main reasons people voted No. One was a whole spectrum of issues associated with the economy. The second was that a large number of people simply did not like or trust Alex Salmond. The Yes movement will continue to struggle with their economic arguments and the currency like they did in 2014, but could gain more support relatively easily if the men in grey kilts would only find a way of making Salmond disappear. From a Unionist perspective, the more he talks the better, but we could all have a better debate if he stopped hogging the limelight and we had an honest discussion about the issues involved. Politicians have never lifted people out of poverty by waving flags. We need to end this fascination with Salmond and look to the real issues which affect people. He does not have any of the answers. VICTOR CLEMENTS
Taybridge Terrace Aberfeldy, Perthshire