Friday, June 13, 2014

Politics in the Nursery

Why are we playing Nursery politics all of a sudden.  How did the crocodile tears of brave Anas Sarwar become so newsworthy?

Only some of this, it occurs to me this morning, is mere politics  - as if, as my colleague Dan Rebatallo commented from London, someone in press strategy at Better Together was finally getting their act together - some of this infantile stuff is happening because we're obviously still infants.

We must be.  How else to explain the crass reverse psychology of the first BT leaflet I've had that dropped on my mat yesterday at the same time as they've had their best media week since Osborne delivered the Sermon of the Pound.

"We are stronger when we work together" is the not at all written in a PR company quote from "an ordinary person" on the cover.

"You are weak. You are children." is the message, reinforced by Facts bulletpointed alongside more Ordinary People Quotes.

(By God, the sickly success enjoyed by the Nay Sayers this week ensures that we're doomed to an endless sludgy flood of "ordinary people" from now on. The great thing about using PR companies using "ordinary people" is that any argument with the ill informed, queasily self doubting tosh they come out with - and that gets selected as a common-sense soundbyte by the focus groups from interviews -  is going to be instantly dismissed as abuse and bullying by mind control directed Cybernats from the Salmond Supercomputer Underneath Edinburgh Castle.)

To return to the "facts", these are a shameless litany of individually easily refuted distortions - all of which have already been refuted many times, some by NHS England and the UK Treasury - but which add up to a Yes vote in September instantly thrusting our economy, health, education, defence, energy policy, employment, happiness and entire existences, actually, into outer darkness and despair.

None of the "facts" have to be true, of course.  The fact that we will still be entitled to health care in England and Wales (as we are in Europe) or that our Universities get international funding cos they're, like really good, like...that we could still have an army if we want one - that no one is talking about trade barriers with England except the No campaign and that while some small countries have struggled in the financial crisis, most have always done better than the UK and they are all now recovering is of no consequence to the apparent "fact" of the Osborne economic miracle.

Oh - and the lead "fact" is the lie that they have known is a lie since they first uttered it - the old one about the UK bailing out Scottish banks - when the entire basis of the bail out designed by Alastair Darling (in case he's forgotten) was that the bailouts came from the places where the debts were incurred, not the places named on the bank's writing paper.  Barclays was bailed out in America and Quatar, not London.

So, aside from their being being crass and despicable -creating fear and then printing leaflets about how people are frightened - what can we learn from these nursery politics?

Well - that we are still in the nursery, I guess. Because they still seem to be working.

The underlying assumption of the nicely printed excrescence that came through my door yesterday is that Scottish people really believe that no one in this country has ever paid tax, that nothing in this country is here because we earned it. That everything - the pound, the armed forces, health, childcare everything - is a gift to us from the masters.  That it all belongs to someone else.  Nothing belongs to us.  That we are in a Union, a partnership in which we have no rights, no say, no share. We are in the nursery being allowed to play with master's toys, but only if we play nicely and keep our mouths shut. All of the privileges we would lose, apparently, derive from our being in a subservient position where we had better behave or else.  Everything belongs to someone else.  Any "powers" we may get gifted reinforce the model of gift giving and deepen the neurosis we obviously still exhibit in our focus groups. And leave "power" exactly where it was.

They wouldn't dare treat adults with this contempt.

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