Eat Your Cereal

"Look children here's a huge Humble Pie I've baked for Better Together for treating us all like a bunch of morons"

“Look children here’s a huge Humble Pie I’ve baked for Better Together for treating us all like a bunch of morons”

 

I’m actually starting to wonder who Better Together actually are.

If I close my eyes and let my brain go a little skewiff (the mental version of trying to see a Magic Eye picture) I can actually think of the team behind BT as a band of pro-independence superheroes spending days, weeks, months in gruelling undercover exercises. Every second of their time is devoted to creating the illusion that they believe there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what’s currently happening in the United Kingdom and that every single person currently residing in Scotland – regardless of their economic, social and physical wellbeing (or otherwise) – is better off just pretending that there’s no need for change and that the very idea of it is silly and fragile and therefore pointless. Rather like a strange dream that evaporates if you think about it too hard.

Whilst our crack team of pro-independence heroes strive to maintain the illusion of Better Together, they are secretly working behind the scenes to dismantle the whole thing. Devious, clever, cunning.

What else would explain the behaviour of Alastair Darling in the recent debate? Why else would he present himself as a wooden-armed, finger-pointing pantomime baddy when he could have been informing the supporters and undecideds alike about the many, many (eh, actually not that many) positives for staying in with the UK?

If there wasn’t a team of charlatans posing as his advisers; encouraging him to try on a little Scottish flair, or to actively squirm with discomfort whenever things got a little too close to the truth then what on earth is going on? Don’t tell me Alastair Darling thinks the best way to win over the people in Scotland is by rolling out previously un-used phrases such as ‘haud oan’ and then eyeballing the audience as if to say “look at me, I know what you want because I am one of you, see how Scottish I am? I just said ‘haud’. Oh what fun!’

Assuming that’s not the case, then the only other outcome is that Better Together are ever so slightly losing the plot. Darling had to remind us several times on Monday that he is a Labour MP. Perhaps he was reminding himself at the same time. And whilst leaning on his lecturn and raising those eyebrows in an attempt to win over the audience during one of his ‘funny’ moments, it might actually be a better point to ask – who do Better Together think WE are?

Better Together’s bumf promotes core values that can be attributed to every single demographic in Scotland – and the rest of the UK for that matter. With materials that have come through the door, been promoted on TV and shared on social media sites for the last few months we know that they promote a message of security (fear), financial progression (fear) and, eh, fear itself (big fear). They know us. They know what we want. They know what’s best for us. The families, the workers, the OAPs – they’ve all been pointed at by the gigantic Better Together finger in the sky and given a reason for staying within the UK.

There was, however, one demographic who’d slipped under the radar there, for a moment. The Greater-Spotted Undecided Female – it’s your turn to get the finger (sorry). Our team of undercover pro-indy superheroes, I mean the team behind Better Together got together to work out the best possible way to speak to that group of individuals who haven’t yet made up their mind which way to vote.

And here it is. With a mixture of relief and gladness, I present to you the latest in communication from Better Together. Created by a team of political and communication experts – the finest in the country I’d imagine – to encourage a varied and substantial group of individuals to vote No.

At once Better Together have decided that if you are an undecided female, then it must surely follow that you are:

  • a slightly knackered looking, busy working mother and wife who has spent the last year or so avoiding any form of political discussion with your husband / friend / relation / colleague / doctor / librarian / bus driver / neighbour / inner self (by living in a hole maybe?).
  • a woman so aware of the importance of voting the right way that it has rendered her incapable of looking for any information about it – on the internet, in newspapers, pamphlets and leaflets. Hell, she’s certainly not going to listen to her partner’s view – and definitely not first thing in the morning. That would just be disgusting behaviour.
  • a woman in her forties who has spent much (if not all) her adult life living in Scotland yet still unable to work out Alex Salmond’s name.
  • a woman who is so mired in confusion about ‘uncertainty’ and ‘unanswered questions’ that she will decide over a quick cup of coffee (I don’t even think there was coffee in that cup) 3 minutes before going to work that everything she has sort-of and sort-of not picked up must be too good to be true and therefore rendered irrelevant.
  • a woman who thinks that the idea of a country governing itself is such a bonkers idea it can’t possibly have been thought out properly (I mean, what other country governs itself? That’s just mad, that is)
  • a woman who loves her children – and her children’s children’s children’s next door neighbour’s children – so much that she is not about to risk anything at all to even think about a different and / or better future for them. And she certainly wouldn’t bother herself to look for any facts about it. No way. That’s a gamble in itself. Putting on the internet might make her head explode or something. What would I know? I’m just a woman, too you know!

So, who IS this woman? I have never met this woman before in my life and it bothers me that the people who claim to have our best interests at heart could think this way about my undecided friends and relatives. It bothers me that they think these women – who undoubtedly have a lot to think about at this point – are going to be swayed by watching this uninformative, judgemental, sexist, claptrap.

Undecided females of the country – unite! If this is how they see you now, if this is how they hope to win you over, then imagine what delights are waiting for you in the future. They assume you don’t know how you’re voting because you don’t have the capacity to work out what’s important to you. You can’t see beyond the people in your home.

Your role is so unimportant to them that they haven’t even bothered to find one intelligent comment to make about why you’re undecided. They don’t even give enough of a toot to try to give you some facts – you don’t want those things do you? Yuck. Too messy. Always getting in the way of random generalisations.

If you are an undecided then you already know what’s important to you. There’s going to be a fair few things that seem attractive to you on both sides of this debate. You are probably sick to the back teeth of having opinions rammed at you. If it’s not your thing, then this is tedious beyond belief, but still, a decision has to be made. You know that and it’s doing your head in. Every time you think of a reason to vote yes you can think of a reason to vote no. It is a big deal. You’ll get there, though – the mark will be made against one of those boxes on the 18th and I am pretty sure you will have made that decision all by yourself, regardless of whether Better Together think that.

Answers aren’t easy to come by, but they are there. You’ve already got the answers to the Better Together argument. It’s going to be, pretty much, exactly as it is now (with a few other bits added in that they’ve not thought of yet, but they’re definitely coming. I think. Well, that man off the telly said so, or no he didn’t did he? He couldn’t actually name one extra devolved power that Scotland would get in the event of a No, so forget about that one for now).

They don’t want you to think there’s anything to back up the claims of the independence movement, why even bother looking eh? As the ‘you’ they present on their advert says ‘it’s all just a wee bit too good to be true’. Is it? Or is the case that an independent Scotland looks pretty good and if you were to find additional evidence to back that up, you probably would vote Yes?

You’ve got a lot of work to do in the next three weeks, but promise me one thing will you? Promise me you won’t fall into Better Together’s stereotype and just vote no because you haven’t got the imagination to look for information? Promise me that the thousands of women who take serious offence to this advert haven’t spent hours defending the honour of our undecided sisters by just voting no for no real reason? That would be great, thanks.

Anyway, what am I doing still sitting here, getting my knickers in a twist? Ma Paul’s going to be home from work soon and this dinner isn’t going to cook itself, is it?

Comments (41)

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  1. Mike Robertson says:

    Better Together should re-re name their campaign group “Eat Your Cereal”.

    To go from a horrid showing at the BBC debate, to this (among their other usual, Labour-led, blunders) it’s been a political train wreck. Blair McDougall would’ve be fired instantly were it not for the licence-to-talk-garbage-and-get-away-with-it that gets handed out to every BT member.

    1. Mark Mair says:

      I think Better Together should rename the campaign ( for the fourth and final time) Put The Kettle on Luv to accurately reflect the sexist and patronising ideals they clearly have.

  2. Excellent rejoinder to #PatronisingBTLady Abi! Deserves to be widely circulated and re-tweeted!

    1. Abi Cornwall says:

      Thank you, Andy – have been boiling all day! As you can probably tell!

      1. Steve Bowers 74% win says:

        Have him make his own toast and keep writing more blogs.
        I must say that when we watched it ( yes, I very kindly unchained my woman from the running line between sink and bed so she could be educated ) my very posh , boarding school educated, English wife let rip with a good line in expletives the like of which I didn’t even know she knew ( mind you, it’s a second marriage for us both so perhaps she learned them in the distant past ) I was favourably impressed !

  3. rosestrang says:

    wtf. I can’t quite believe I just saw this video. ‘that man off the telly’ ?? Well, bt must know their demographic, i.e. the most uninformed and mindless women in Scotland. It’ll probably insult any undecideds into voting yes. Result. Oh, I see comments are disabled under the You Tube vid. Pity, I can only imagine the ensuing robust remarks!

  4. You think there’s a script to this garbage??? Think again!

    I thought Betray Us Together made it up as they went along … rather proved by the point at the end that this woman is ad-libbing – as she comes to a decision after allegedly weighing up the options (i.e. NOT ONCE questioning BT’s proposals, but always finding negatives in the YES campaign and yes, that hoary chestnut of attcking the First Minister; not that she actually knows who he is … God in Heaven!) – a couple of minutes into talking to herself.

    Aye, right. I bet this convinced a lot of Scottish lassies that they should vote (wassat?) NO, now.

  5. tartanfever says:

    nailed it Abi, great response.

    1. abilutely says:

      Thanks so much! Really appreciated x

  6. Optimistic Till I Die says:

    Patronising Lady gave me some food for thought and had me wondering about which marketing and PR company was behind the Better Together campaign. I then started browsing through their web site (on the basis that it is just as well to know your enemy). It has been tough going.

    Among their list of expert speakers was a seventeen year old shipbuildinlg apprentice. I guess she is being presented as an expert on unemployed shipbuilding apprentices if the Royal Navy stops building the likes of aircraft carriers without aircraft. I was tempted to suggest she swaps sides and becomes an activist with the goal of rebuilding the Scottish ship-building industry. I presume her inclusion was a slip-up as they cannot really be that short experts. I noticed also pro union Labour speaker the other day continually referring to ‘The experts’ but never mentioned any by name. This lack of subtance was compensated for by a lengthy piece by Alistair Darling – you know, the guy who always hits the nail on the head with his pointy finger. He knew what he was talking about all right but had no vision of the future, other than more of the same (though he did miss out on the improved austerity programme likely to be coming our way).

    I arrived at the Better Together site largely by accident when I was looking for some indy pro union sites. But they seem few and far between and, of the few, I found none really impressed. So, when I get bored running through the links on Better Together (that shouldn’t take long as they are basically variations on the standard message with potentially fearful predicted if we buck the status quo.

    I’ll then get back to Wings over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, Newsnet Scotlan, and all the really interesting sites if I don’t come across any more patronising women.

    It’s kind of a shame all these sites are pro Independence. It would be nice to see a more balanced social media debate. However, when one side is basically unable to put together a decent grass roots campaign, relies on subtly biased mainstream media to influence the public, and presents all its information material in Marketing speak, then I guess one cannot expect them to raise the tone of the Indy debate.

    [Seriously, if anyone can give me a pointer to interesting Indy Pro Union sites (skip the outright politics) I would be interested. I still don’t really know my enemy.]

    1. mhairi says:

      Notes from North Britain?

      Interesting, if wrong.

    2. Craig P says:

      About the only place I have seen quality pro-union writing is Scottish Review (though they have also featured George Robertson). It is not specifically pro-union, as they also have pro-indy voices, but it does have a robustly cynical view of the world and most commentators give food for thought, whatever their position.

    3. Gordon says:

      #Optimistic till I Die. I’m sorry that you accidentally arrived on a BT website – it must have been a shattering experience. It’s not surprising that you couldn’t find anything inspiring or new on it. They have very little to go on, since most of us have experienced Together in the raw – myself for 60 years of my working life. After 3 redundancies, having to move to England to get a job that would pay the mortgage, a business failure in Glasgow caused by an increase in interest rates due of an overheating London and elderly parents left by my brother and I to die in our unintended absence. Then there was the trashing of Scottish heavy industries (they were getting old, anyway), the mass unemployment, the emigration of the talented and the immigration of the aged (2.6% net immigration 1960-2012), and finally zero hours working, workfare, poverty, food banks, and rich, rich bankers. All in all, it’s been pretty good Together. It could be a lot worse with independence, couldn’t it?
      After all, without the broad shoulders of the UK…..?

  7. Ken Clark says:

    It’s no wonder she’s knackered, it’s only ten to seven going by her watch. Perhaps it just needs wound up and reset to, say, 21st century Scotland, where women in Scotland don’t act like a 1970s cliche’. Love the Australian boomerang fridge magnet though. How are our Australian cousins and their children getting on with independence dear?

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      Does membership of the Commonwealth count as independence or semi-independence? Whatever it is, it’s a better place than any of the Divided Kingdom ‘s nations can claim to be in.

      1. Ken Clark says:

        Compared to what we have now Dean, absolutely.

      2. Illy says:

        The Commonwealth is the “look, we got rid of Westminster on vaguely good terms, and kept the queen, cos she doens’t really matter” nations club. Plus Westminster.

        That’s why the USA isn’t in it.

  8. durkit says:

    Operation Deep Quote ahead of schedule.

    More fuel for the independence hash-tags than the north sea. I think they are doing a brilliant job.

  9. Robert Graham says:

    just reported the clip as being fraude and a scam lets see what you/tube has to say they will probable block me now ha ha

  10. Robert Graham says:

    oops fraud

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      If you’re celebrating on September 19th, try not to overdo the schadenfraude.

  11. Douglas says:

    Terrific post, Abi Cornwall, and surely a real game-changing moment for the female vote!

  12. Emily Reid says:

    Very well written Abi, I agree with your thoughts entirely. I was boiling after watching that today – luckily my mood was lightened by the ‘memes’, and now this article. Thank you.

  13. Andy Nimmo says:

    Brilliant post.

    It really is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between official Better Together literature and BBC Scotlandshire spoofs. Same with Patronising Lady and Dateline Scotland.

  14. Ken Clark says:

    Hugely entertaining post Abi. The YES camp definitely has the best commentators.

    As for Darling’s “Haud on” moment, I’m not entirely certain he was in control at that moment (or others to be frank). I watched the debate with my partner and we are both convinced Darling was going for “Haud yir wheesht”! We’re not sure which alarm bells were ringing loudest in his head, but they obviously gave him pause for thought. As someone who has pretensions of being a polished Westminster heavyweight with international renown, telling your opponent to shut up would be bad enough, but to say it in colloquial Scots would be unforgivable and leave him open to ridicule by his Westminster better togethers. For a moment we thought he was going to modify it to “hold”, but since he had already said “haud”, he changed it to the expression used. Not that it helped him one jot.

    So there we have it. Our interpretation only, I admit, but a moment made up of brain seizing contempt for Scotland’s First Minister and a jaw locking example of the Scottish cringe, as usually displayed by Johann Lamont.

  15. Clootie says:

    Oh for the days when only land owning men had the vote!

  16. Pearlfisherone says:

    Even the “Stepford Wives” would be turning in their graves !

  17. BT obviously think women are stupid. If that’s the way they regard over 50% of the population now, I wonder how much worse it will be in the event of a No vote. Sisters, if you want equality, vote Yes.

  18. PeterK says:

    The lack of respect shown on this site by all to people who hold differing views is profoundly disappointing. Making fun of a poor performance, or a completely awful advert, by all means if it makes you feel good, but it does little to persuade folk that want to vote for a genuinely brighter and better future (and I do)to do so. It makes me think we’ll just have so much more of the same old. We can be so much more.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      It wasn’t a poor performance it was the deeply insulting underlying message that is getting the response it deserves. Why should this be ‘shown respect’?

      1. rosestrang says:

        I asked an undecided voter recently if she’d seen the ad, she hadn’t, so I suggested she have a look at how women are perceived by the bt campaign. It’s useful in that respect if you’re a yes voter. When I first saw it I was gobsmacked, and my reaction, similar to most women and men, was disbelief they could get it so wrong. (I was told it was by Saatchi and Saatchi – standing up for the rights of women since..hmm..)

        Then, following the vast tide of tweets and jokes, funny as they were, I did start to really feel worried for that actress. I hope she’s ok with all this, really, I don’t mean that in any facetious or patronising sense.

        But I honestly think most people were giving their instant reaction quite separate from the ‘trending’ etc, which amounted to what appears as a tide of scathing guffaws. But the response was genuine – causing me and many others to wonder if bt actually have any concrete opinions, as Abi pointed out ‘who actually are they?’. Seems they’re ok with the once in a lifetime decision, which affects your kids future, being made in two minutes. I’m still astonished actually!

    2. Illy says:

      This is one of the things that happens after you get fed up: You stop mincing words, and just call an arsehole an arsehole. Who gives a toss if they’re offended, they’ve been being offensive for years.

      1. PeterK says:

        I think you make my point all too well – calling an arsehole an arsehole persuades and informs no one. It says all too much about the people mouthing off and using offensive language. It adds nothing to a serious and important debate.
        I want something better for an independent Scotland. Respect is due to all – however much you might disagree with what they say or how badly their case is put.

    3. abi cornwall says:

      Hi Peter. I don’t subscribe to your viewpoint I’m afraid. I wrote the article because as a woman, this advert offended me. It offends me that a political movement who claims to have our best interests at heart has this kind of vision of women in the country. Every single woman I know (who has seen this advert) – both online and in the real world – was offended by this piece of claptrap (yes, I said it again).

      From a personal perspective I know at least three different women who are now yes voters after seeing this advert (not my article I would add), so I think this entire PR disaster has done a great job of persuading folk to make a decision. Additionally, I have heard from a few No voting friends how diabolical and insulting this advert is so this isn’t just resting on the shoulders of the Yes voters.

      If rampant sexism & inequality in our society isn’t addressed now, before independence happens then you are right – it could well be that we are in for so much more of the same old. The only way we can change the way women are viewed is to stamp out the hideous and loathsome stereotypes while they’re still warm.

      I am not about to swap that notion to dish out any form of respect to a group of people who cobble together a half-arsed advert that actually gives zero answers or information. What did YOU learn from that advert? Surely the point of something of this nature is to arm the viewer with information to further their knowledge and gain confidence in choosing one way or the other. It is not really up for you or anybody else to decide how offended I (and the rest of the female population of women) am at this advert, nor how we choose to express that.

      Across the country women are celebrating that we are NOT like BT’s stereotype. We are doing so with humour, by getting together online and having a laugh about it. We are diluting the message it projects and turning it into something that belongs to us. I think that’s up to us and I have to say we’re all having a bloody good time with it.

      I sincerely hope that a loss of sense of humour isn’t a by-product of an independent Scotland.

      1. GobbieRow says:

        Well returned Abi

      2. PeterK says:

        Where did that name come from GobbieRow, should I read something into it??

        I’m curious that anyone thinks or expects that an advert “gives answers or information, or should “arm the viewer with information to further their knowledge etc.”

        I celebrate your right to be offended by the advert. I feel disappointed in myself that I failed to find humour in this article. For me after reading it I felt offended and distressed because of what it said to me about the authors attitudes to people with differing views, and the quality of debate that it implies. I want something better for an independent Scotland.

  19. Brian Fleming says:

    PeterK

    You are aware the woman in the video was acting a role, aren’t you? I don’t see anything in Abi’s piece that would inform me on her attitude to people with differing views. And the video didn’t express any views anyway, just an idiotic script with references to what’s his name on the telly, etc. Absolute inanity.

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