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South Kessock for Yes

Radical Independence Conference Gather In GlasgowJonathon Shafi responds to Better Together’s challenge to the idea that the most deprived area of Inverness is looking like one of the strongholds of the Yes campaign, according to Radical Inverness.

Responding to another RIC canvass showing a big lead for Yes, Better Together Spokesman Craig Wilson said: “Radical Independence spin doctors will be getting sacked after this as usually when they make up these stories the result is above 90%.”  (“South Kessock is one of our strongholds”, independence canvassers claim).

Spin: Westminster has become synonymous with it.

The contest between political parties so often revolves around which candidate looked better at an event or how one party or another bend this or that statistic. Commentators say this is a reality because of the nature of the modern media. There is a race for the sound bite, the knock out punch and the best photo opportunity. The consumer driven public are, so the story goes, just waiting to be spoon fed the latest narrative.

But there is another reason spin is such a permanent and permeating feature of modern politics. Spin is the replacement for ideological debate. When the parties have accepted consensus, and bowed down to the dominance of the corporations, privatisation and austerity, they have nothing left to differentiate themselves apart from spin. It is of little surprise that ‘spin’ became interchangeable with ‘politics’ during Labour’s Blairite, rightwards shift. We never really see a debate in the media establishment, or in Westminster where this process is accelerated and entrenched. In reality, we have a competition in media management.

This in combination is partly why so many are switching off from politics, and by extension, from the mainstream media. But switching off from these things only results in positive action if people are switching on to something else. At the same time as being repulsed by the cronyism, corruption and elitism of the Westminster establishment and the failure of the media to properly address the issues of concern, we as the people need to find our own voice, method and ideological discourse.

This is in essence what the independence movement, in general terms, has provided. It has been a conduit for the voiceless to speak up – and yes – to be heard. It has provided a platform for new ideas. It has been a gateway to the re-establishment of public meetings and energised our political culture. It has opened up the possibility of sidelined voices reaching into the mainstream, and inspired the development of serious alternative media projects.

This too is a movement which debates ideological questions. What do we mean by democracy? Is there an alternative to austerity? What about a new foreign policy? Throughout this process, the backdrop of failure and alienation stemming from the Westminster elite stands in contradiction to a new mood which advocates social progress in a period of massive regression and scapegoating. The crucial need for there to be a living, breathing alternative to decades of neoliberal orthodoxy, is to be found in this movement.

It has been said that the independence movement has inspired a generation. This is to be applauded and encouraged, but despite the scale of the movement, it is not completely accurate. It has inspired a section of a generation. The hard truth is that we can only fully reach the radical and empowering potential of this democratic uprising if there is a Yes vote. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why the rich and the establishment want to ensure we vote No. They are acting in their own interests.

Well, it’s about time we acted in ours. As we enter these final weeks, surely it is this lesson that must drive us forward. It is about saying: forget the spin of the politicians and look at the situation for yourself. It is about getting onto the front foot and harnessing everything we’ve learned and in doing so further expose the fear tactics the No camp are employing. We need to get the big vision, so well articulated at the public meetings and conferences to every person we can. It is that alternative Scotland which values public services, scraps Trident, invests in jobs and so on, that is so much more appealing than the ‘UKOK’ rubbish.

Unfortunately fear can work in the short-term, before people have a chance to rise above it. The establishment know this well. At a time when resources are scarce and the economic future uncertain, fear has a special kind of power, because it is already hardwired into the fabric of our society. As No try to make people feel less confident, and more scared, Yes are trying to raise sights, and encourage people to take responsibility for our own future.

It is therefore a strength of the movement that huge numbers also oppose central elements of the SNP plan, such as NATO and lowering corporation tax. It is invaluable that Lamont’s claim that this is ‘Salmond vs Scotland’ cannot in any sense be taken seriously. It the same old spin, and it doesn’t work because the ideas of the movement are diverse, and because many of the organisational forces involved are wholly separate from the SNP

So, the No camp – looking to narrow this debate – are going big on currency. But when the Labour party stand their with their oversized pound coins with Salmond’s face in the middle, it reminds people of the same old spin. The same old politicians fighting with each other to score a few points with an electorate tired of failure, and driven away because they know no matter how they cast their vote, their interests won’t be met. The difference this time is that we have a movement, to transform that cynicism into action. The test now is whether or not we can translate that movement in to enough votes at the ballot box.

Can the emergent forces of a new politics win out against the decades old, but tried and tested, tactics as deployed by No. We have it all in place now for the final sprint, let’s make sure the people know what’s at stake here. People need to know that staying put is going to energise their enemies in the Tory cabinet, and that saying Yes give us the chance to do more than oppose the toxic UK polity, but to start developing a people’s independence. Better Together claim the canvass results are being spun by the radicals. In reality, it is their own decaying discourse that is opening up a politics beyond Westminster. On September 18th we have a chance to make that clear.

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  1. Elaine Black says:

    Jonathon, I do not agree entirely with your politics. I entirely agree with what you are saying and the ideas that you are bringing to the table. The notion that valuable contributions should be harnessed by a country across political parties. The idea that this should be the norm. It exists in some form in countries that do not have first past the post voting systems. It is the future in the British Isles. We know it. Some people don’t. Failure is not going to happen. The change has already begun. More power to your elbow!

  2. Dan Huil says:

    Well, I hope RIC’s figures are correct, of course.
    But when it comes to spin and dubious claims Project Fear are hard to beat. Bitter Together announced today they are refusing donations because they can’t cope with the amount of money being offered to them since last week’s STV debate. Make of that what you will.

    1. Sheltie says:

      Not needing the donations- well they have had donations from a few dubious characters. I think this is political spin and will put some folk off.

    2. MBC says:

      Walking around the streets here (Edinburgh) I see lots of Yes posters and stickers, notices of Yes meetings, and not one of No, so I’m wondering where the No money is going.

      1. Ian Kirkwood says:

        A certain A. Darling has a fairly hefty hourly rate……plus expenses.

  3. albatross traveller says:

    Best argument I’ve heard yet Jonathan, and more lies from the ‘bitter together’ knobheads. Sept 18th can’t come soon enough.

  4. Big Jock says:

    Just watched the BBC2 debate.I got a feeling that the audience did not trust the UK government anymore and the currency issue was of no relevance to the undecideds. I think no are putting a brave face on but they are bricking themselves.

  5. mary vasey says:

    Well said Jonathan. For once our vote does count and no amount of spin or lies will change us yessirs. Thank you for an inspiring post.

  6. Auld Rock says:

    Aye they’ll need all that cash to pay £25 per day plus £8 meal allowance and travelling expenses to transport unemployed workers from Liverpool etc.

    Auld Rock

  7. wanvote says:

    The vote of a lifetime – let no one waste it. Great post Jonathon and your hard work will surely bring up the yes votes.

  8. oldbattle says:

    chappin doors

    this is made from stories found from folk chappin doors in Lanarkshire

    Chappin doors

    A: Hiya! Good evening I’m a volunteer with the Better Together campaign in xxxxxxx for a No vote in the Referendum. Can I ask you two questions?

    B: Are you a dancer?

    A: No. Why you ask?

    B: You’re a chancer then?

    A: No Im a …

    B: …Volunteer I heard yu! Yeh… Now I know you… you was on the telly

    A: I have been…

    B: Now I clock yu…Youz a big shot Hem P yeh. I seen yu on wi yon Kitsy Fark

    A: Wark… and Yes I am an MP

    B: You gone done for expenses right…You never did time … Yes I know you….£27 grand you spent and no receipts… And not a day yu got

    A: I paid it all back and now I’m…

    B: … a volunteer … Yu telt me… But what about the £27 grand … you took £48 grand awe the gither but they let yu aff we 27… right? No even a court appearance… just a wee bit in the media an tha… You still an MP then?

    A: Well yes… That was all a misunderstanding…. We didn’t know the rules…

    B: Right…misunderstanding Like this bedroom tax a cannie paye yer honour is just a misunderstanding yer honour!

    C (His partner comes to the door) Yew! I ken yu… yu went oot wi ma pal Vickie is no true?

    A: Vickie… I don’t remember but what am here for is to…

    C: But you cannie ask me nuttin until yu tell me that you used to sleep wi Vickie and then left her expecin … pregnant! It was you! I see yu blushin yi bampot!

    A: Look a have ti go… I doan talk ma personal business on the doorstep

    B: But yu want to dictate and shape oor personal business?
    C: For the personal is political… You ‘re a dirty cheating bastard and you want us to be better the gither?

    A: Look!

    B: We are lookin! And what dae we see? You are gonna cheat and lie! Spend £100 BILLION …a 100 million million on bits a metal you will never ever use and caw it Trident! Weapons o mass destruction. Is that personal or political?

    C: You’re gonnie privitise the NHS …turn it intie American style medicine …money first…oor personal health second!

    B: Don’t leave yet! We’re no finished!

    A: (Leaving) Well you can keep your bloody Alex Salmond!

    B: We’re no here fighting for ALEX Salmond but for a new an better Scotland!

    C: A better Scotland for folk like me so that we don’t need to go and beg at food banks… so we can hae dignity, self respect…and a livin wage for workin people.

    B: So that oor granweans will be proud o wi; that we stood up against the likes o you!

    A: (Mumbles as he leaves) F aff idiots!

    B: Yu leaving! Well we idiots are comin wi yu, roond this scheme!

    C: Aye me tae! Every door yu chap in this scheme I will tell them what yu done and what you want tae dae tae us!

    B: I… WE will tell oor neighbours the truth! The truth will set us free!

    C: A new Scotland free fae the likes a yu fae Westminster!

    (Shouting up the street)

    B&C: Here comes the Nae-nae man. Nae honesty, nae self respect, nae policies and NAE fkn chance!

    C: Aye run! Look yer big car! WE’RE VOTING YES! FOR A BETTER LIFE!

    B: Heh we done good there! I think we can go chappin doors!

    1. albatross traveller says:

      Absolutely brilliant

  9. Crubag says:

    “The hard truth is that we can only fully reach the radical and empowering potential of this democratic uprising if there is a Yes vote.”

    It would only be a first step (though neccesary). What would be needed is for RIC, or its adherents, to engage in parliamentary politics and start their own party (or just conceiveably reverse into the headless Labour Party in Scotland).

    Otherwise existing parties, which are centre or centre right, combined with the permanent government of the civil service, will continue much as before.

    It would be a diversion of energy at the moment, but post-poll (whatever the result) it would be interesting to see if Scotland can create and sustain a socialist party.

  10. Republicofscotland says:

    Talking about Westminster spin, Mark Carney Governor of the bank of England, has contradicted the Westminster Government this very day,by implementing contingency plans, when a YES vote is returned, note I’ve said when and not if, as I believe yes is in the lead with regards to the polls.

    In my humble opinion, this action by Mr Carney shows that a currency union will be on the cards after independence is obtained.

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