Eat Your Cereal
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?