Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Who Are The Antis?

In the battle for Scotland to revert to its normal state, and join the nations of the world, it appears to be generally accepted that the electorate is split reasonably evenly in three:

1. those who are pro-independence
2. those who are anti-independence
3. those who are undecided

By all accounts, these three segments of the electorate are reasonably evenly split. Sure, there are fluctuations: when the Tory government puts on a show of flags and guns, the Antis gain ground (but only from the undecideds). When one of our sports teams win a match (and I'm almost into the realms of fantasy here, given the soccer and rugby teams' showing this year), the pro-democracy side shows an advance (again, against the undecideds).

The pro-independence side is fine. These are people - of an overwhelmingly progressive bent, as shown by the weekend's Radical Independence Conference, the support of the Green Party, the Socialist Party, SCND, and - perhaps more tellingly of all, the refusal of STUC to affiliate to the anti-Scotland campaign.

STUC - part and parcel of the Labour Party - refusing to affiliate to the NO side? The reason one knows it's telling is the refusal of the Scottish media to report on it. 

But make no mistake: this is a disaster for the anti-Scotland campaign. The STUC refusing to affiliate to a Labour campaign is roughly equivalent to Jackie Baillie refusing to affiliate to a large doner. It's equivalent to the Petrograd Soviet refusing to affiliate to the Supreme Soviet. It's equivalent to Walmart running a campaign and Asda saying "naw". In short, it's big, big news.

It is, for the first, time, a major part of the Labour Party looking at the facts, and saying "hold on, we're allying with the BNP and Tories for this?". 

Like many decent Labour people - former MPs John McAllion and Dennis Canavan included -  like Labour For Independence, people have looked at Labour and said "hold on, we'd rather support Labour values than loyalist values. We'd rather stand with Keir Hardie than Nick Griffin".

We know that the Unionist campaign is falling apart. We know that the money is coming from London's Tories (the Tory pro-Union fundraiser this year is being held in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, home of Malcolm Rifkind, so vehemently defenestated by his Scots electorate), we know that the only thing Labour provides is the jackboots on the ground. 

And looking at the Tory/BNP/Labour campaign photos, all I see is young guys, caught up in the excitement of hatred, and never stopping to think. 

But we've examined the types of voter.

A YES voter is someone who has examined the issues, and believes Scotland is better off being run by people who have Scotland at heart.

An undecided is just that. Perhaps they'll be swayed by Nick Griffin, Johann Lamont and Norman Tebbit. Or perhaps, they'll realise that Colin Fox, Pat Harvie and Margo MacDonald speak for Scotland more than a gaggle of hate-filled loyalist extremists.

I want to talk about those in the NO camp, though.

For too long, we've spoken about pro-Scotland, undecideds, and Antis.

I want to break the Antis down, as George Best once said.

My reading of the situation is that, much like Agatha Christie, we have three Antis:

1. The ignorant. Watches Reporting Scotland and reads the Daily Record. Believes that Scotland is subsidised by our southern neighbour, and that we're too wee, too poor, and too stupid to survive alone. Couldn't tell you the southernmost city of Norway (it's Bergen, Euan, if you're looking in), and believes our competitor is England (which capital city has twice the size of the population of Scotland) and not Sweden. They've been told by the Daily Record that they dislike England (hi, Shuggie! Hi, Duggie!), but that's because they're better than us. 

About half of those people can be turned around, by the simple use of facts. Show them dispassionate, neutral facts, and they'll go either YES or undecided. 

2. The Welsh (may God bless their rugby team and their magnificent national anthem) do this one better than us. They call them Dic Sion Dafydd. People who were born and bred in Wales, but affect to have forgotten how to sing, forgotten how to speak Welsh, and who pretend to be from a different culture entirely. 

In Scotland, we all know one of them. An "aw, an independent Scotland would be like Oor Wullie, and the Broons. The SNP? Kilts and shortbread tins. Teuchters. Pathetic. Brigadoon, and Braveheart and a' that? Rabbie Burns? Naw, I'm a 21st Century person". Or the type that give it "It's an absolute disgrace that Scottish Railways are putting Gaelic signs up. Do I look like I shag sheep here in Castlemilk?".

We all know the type.

A Dic Sion Dafydd will never change.

They realised, early on, that affecting to despise Scotland would get them advancement in life. 

Hi Johann! Hi Maggie!

3. The apparatchik.

There are some people who have grown up, being part of a particular political party. That party is tribal. 

Like supporting Barcelona, Liverpool or Celtic, they've supported their party. 

They support it because it's progressive and left-wing. 

As it set about destroying the working-class by abolishing the £0,10 tax rate, they shrugged and said "the rest of our policy is left-wing".

As it slaughtered quarter of a million Muslim children because its leader wanted to impress George Bush, they said "ah well, it happens. Our domestic policy is left-wing".

As Britain became the fourth most unequal society on the face of the earth, they said "we're still left-wing".

And now, as Scotland seeks to break from a fanatically right-wing Tory government, they have gathered, with Tories, with the BNP, with the Orange Order and National Front, and they look around them and say "Labour say VOTE NO, so I say VOTE NO".

But they don't really believe it.

They know that only with independence can progressive politics come. They know only with independence can socialism win in Scotland.

And that's why a lot of them - loyal to the Labour Party - will be vociferous in joining Labour and the BNP to campaign for a NO vote.

But when it comes to it, there's many of them who'll surprise themselves by voting YES.

Some of them will put Scotland ahead of the Labour Party.

I know one Labour MSP who is campaigning for a NO vote because the harder they campaign for a Tory government, the more chance there is of advancement in the Labour Party. But they'll be voting YES.

The most extreme of the NO campaigners will be those who win for Scotland a progressive socialist republic in the end.

Because they know in their hearts that they have to put Scotland ahead of the Labour Party for Labour values to win.

Scotland will win in 2014. We will be a socialist republic. And we will be so because of the "secret" YES voters.

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