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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The quickening

So that was it. Our great day for democracy finally came and duly went and we are exactly where we were. Which is where? Exactly where we were on 17th September, drifting aimlessly and rudderless, sextant and compass stolen by pirates, aboard the good ship Union with impending mutiny on the bridge and decks, under satellite navigation by the same gated elite who have fleeced us for so long we now consider organised kleptomania and government under instruction from financiers, arms dealers and other Nosferatu types as the natural order of things. There is no other way, apparently. Dismal defeatism has colonised a space once reserved for political will.

Rather than let them draw breath, perhaps it's time to buttonhole some of those who ran the campaign to save the uk - which along with britain, westminster and downing street, I now decline to capitalise - and ask them to justify and argue for the future they have settled upon. Many feel very uncertain about it.

After all, theirs was a positive campaign, we were told, despite the fairly obvious conflict between this claim and observable reality. Positive about what? When was this? It would be comforting to know what plans they have and the signs so far are not encouraging. Cameron, Miliband and the rest are risking their upper cases, too.

Scrutinising their every word and deed seems entirely reasonable. The more they vacillate and dissemble on their last minute vows – not actually promises, because none was in a position to promise anything - the more they should be pressed. As victors they should surely have an idea about what happens next?

Since the off, the Yes campaign was subjected to intense and often vitriolic scrutiny, the bulk of this based on doom-laden conjecture, conflation of separate issues, lazy assumption and when this approach didn't work, outright threats, as if their own promised obstructionism somehow constituted an argument. We were told quite clearly that currency, banking and pensions would be issues because they would see to it. Their corporate handlers and hired thugs make it their business to know where we live.

Now that the union has been granted a stay of execution, it is surely permissible to explore the post-referendum landscape with the same vigour. We have no need to resort to name-calling, warnings and spiteful invective. We have, or have at least been sort of but not quite promised something, which could mean anything, so we should have evidence in front of our eyes with no need to jump up and down and shout as wildly as the No campaign. They certainly claimed to know what would happen next right up to the day before the vote.

It's not as if 45% of the electorate is an insignificant number of potential subversives to have lurking in a british colony and as it sounds as if they have more than a few in England – where they have as much right as anyone to a capitalised noun - I expect they realise this. It'll be interesting watching them navigate with an election next year. They won't get away with all that cross-party co-operation nonsense when the big prize is at stake. There are too many mutually incompatible groupings in England for them to indulge in any lovey-dovey stuff. There will be collateral damage and casualties aplenty. Somebody will have to lose out. Pacifying 53 million in England might involve, heaven forfend, 5 million Scots taking the hit. The London press can easily tickle the erogenous zones of millions in England who quite clearly want to punish what they see and we have now democratically conceded is a dependent vassal state.

Those who opposed independence were possessed by uncertainty and existential panic, i.e., precisely what Westminster wanted, so that's very patriotic of them, but we now have the choice of Ed Miliband, David Cameron, Boris Johnson or God forbid - though He's been very tolerant of late – Nigel Farage at the levers of power. The other fellow, clegg, lost all capital long ago. He barely deserves a name. The future after independence was too uncertain, they say. The same “they” don't know what's happening next week and don't even appear to have a plan other to ensure that property prices stay “buoyant” - i.e. unaffordable to most.

Any of these men – always men – could be running the country, possibly with aid of political ballast in the form of their flexible friends – for instance our very own Westminster representative, John, the 3rd Viscount Thurso. I know he doesn't currently use his title, but it's only in cold storage, not actually relinquished and it's always good to remind people of their social rank. The sum of his initial commitment was publicly setting aside an inherited ego-trip while keeping the rest of the considerable trimmings. However, shortening a silly and pretentious name hardly constitutes heartfelt political sacrifice.

In a modern democracy, this is an abomination. The british, however, if nobody else, always seem relaxed with this kind of thing, even if they can't explain why. Rule by a wealth and a connected elite is the only certainty in the uk today.

With the union now affirmed like never before – so it is presently believed by some – there can surely be no reason not to dwell on the fact that our sitting representative in westminster was born custom-made for the job; title, money, Eton and a castle for goodness sake. The parliamentary seat came almost by default in counties with folk memories of a (brief but well publicised) bygone age of true liberal representation in the North and West. Those who voted for this can't plausibly complain about very much now. No matter. The 40% of the Highland vote who voted Yes are still united and come May will be quite sufficient for him to be allowed redeploy his title, which I'm sure he will as “John Who?
On the 18th September, we were given the choice between something different and more of the same. Most plumped for the latter and so are presumably happy with the shape of things today. The chances are they are over 60 – those under this age voted Yes, the youth – the future - by 3:1. Those for whom the future amounts to a few decades at most had no need to think too far ahead and hysterical threats concerning their pensions – little more, I believe, despite many poor disguises pontificating about fairness, justice and opportunity for all – persuaded them to stick with what they know. Fair enough, but their decision was more risk-prone than any Yes vote. It will seem petty and selfish to their children and grandchildren. Oh well, at least they got shot of that ghastly Salmond cove – or did they?

The oil of which they speak, which seems to be important and unimportant in the same breath in London – which is still a capital city so can keep the dignity of a capital initial - will run out a lot more quickly in a country 12 times the size of Scotland, particularly if the income is spent in advance. What are they going to do then? Presumably they have a Plan B as rigorous as the one they demanded of Yes Scotland.

Austerity mania and the social detritus it leaves in its wake, increasing inequality, gross over-rewarding in boardrooms, the very withdrawal from Europe we were threatened with, simplistic market economic brutalism and nasty, ugly, illegal wars inhabit the comfort zone sought by the socialist leaning people of Scotland. We meekly acquiesced to all this with the world watching. Disappointing doesn't begin to describe it; it's embarrassing. 

Scotland will, ironically given the noise made, get the government it voted for regardless of the result in May 2015. Welcome to the best of both worlds and the alternatives to the uncertainties of independence.