Divide and Rule


Our 18th century European ancestors were talented at remorselessly colonising the globe. Among many successful methods, one tactic prevailed in the destruction they waged: that old chestnut, Divide and Rule.

The vestiges of Divide and Rule, where the masses are pitted against one another through divisions either created or encouraged by the ruling class in order to maintain power, proliferate still today; look at India, or the whole continent of Africa for example. This is not a tactic that belongs exclusively to Europe, or to discrete nations, and its basic mechanism can extend to the most minute of social scenarios. Fundamentally, it is a question of power, and if the little people are busy fighting one another, they will have neither the organisation or energy to tackle the centralised power of the ruling elite.

Now, I don’t want to shit where I eat, but let’s be honest, this 45% thing needs to stop. Call a spade a spade, this is textbook Divide and Rule in action. When we concede that we are a discrete group, that no one can join our ranks, they have won. Do not let yourself believe otherwise.

I get it, I really do. I spent Friday wrapped in a duvet soaked in my own tears, oscillating between silent anger and hopeless weeping. Folks, we came within a baw hair of a Yes vote (and in the process, some of the most progressive policies, for which we will now have to work so much harder to achieve) and the man one. The establishment, capitalising on everything they had in their arsenal in those final weeks, got what they wanted. We should be proud of how much we achieved. We should be honored to have taken part in this movement, and to have thrown everything we had into the ring. But we should not use our number as a badge of honour, which can only symbolise division for those now questioning their No vote.

The Yes campaign were accused of an arrogant, holier-than-thou attitude. We were charged with occupying a moral high-ground, and being unforgiving of dissident voices. Let us not succumb to these stereotypes and define our movement on our difference. We are 45% right now, but we must grow. Our language must be inclusive and our arms open to the rest of the nation if we are to move forward and get shit done. Be proud, be sore, but get over it, and get back in the game.

Take this opportunity to reflect on our unbelievable achievements, but also accept that we had shortcomings, and we need to develop new, and more powerful methods that engage that silent majority. If we are to have the monumental change our movement called for, we must move beyond the 45%, and become the 100%. We are all citizens of Scotland, and it is through the continuing communication of our message, questioning of mainstream media, and bringing working people together that we become powerful. When we do this, we will win.

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  1. Over 80 years ago there were several small parties,groups,all wanting home rule,some had left the Labour party as the Labour party had been for home rule up until it got enough members into parliament ,they then joined in and became the Westminster party so many folk even then were sickened by the lies of Labour.I digress,so back to my point,so small parties and groups will form another alliance,and it to will splinter when egos get too big,or its not moving fast enough,various reasons/excuses will be used.Already many folk have asked the same questions about joining forces well why? the SNP with the party machinery is there and still some who want independence wont join or vote SNP for a variety of reasons or excuses.Some still believe the lies told about the SNP some still look from the outside and make judgements instead of getting in and putting their weight behind gaining independence then deciding what type of government they want,this is splintering before even becoming an alliance.

  2. Illy says:

    Personally, I don’t think only 45% voted Yes on Thursday. I am pretty much convinced that something dirty happened to some of the votes.

    If for no other reason than that it was set up so that we couldn’t check if something happened to the votes. But there’s not much point in making a big deal about it now.

    Don’t read it as “We are *the* 45%”, read it as “We are *at least* 45% (and probably more)” It’s a simple label, and already has massive branding as a truly cross-party, cross-politics label. It avoids all the negatives that the SNP has gotten over the last 10 years.

    We need *some* label for all the pro-independence movements to gather under (and contrary to what a lot of people think, the SNP *CANNOT BE IT*), a simple “45” could work nicely.

    I’m not going to drop it until a better cross-party, cross-politics label comes along and gets some traction.

    1. Neil Gr says:

      I agree. I also like the romantic little echo of the Jacobite Rebellion, but I’m sure a lot of people don’t even think of that (whether good or bad). The problem with this article is that it doesn’t suggest an alternative. Any label we come up with will have something that makes it seem exclusive to those that aren’t in it. Why can’t people join the 45? Why can’t our tagline be: join the 45 and lets be a united nation again.

      1. kerdasi amaq says:

        You’re the 45%; they’re the 35%!

  3. muttley79 says:

    I see no point in blaming No voters. We lost the vote, we did not get over 50 per cent. We have to analyse why this was the case. We have to try and understand why people voted No and not condemn them. We also need to learn lessons on what we could have done better in the campaign.

    1. Quite correct, Muttley. However, I suspect the future path of the independence movement lies outside our ability to influence it. Two factors I believe work in our favour – one is nature taking its course. 75% of those 65 and over voted no. That cohort is of course going to shrink considerably over the next few years. Their replacements are far more YES friendly.

      What percentage of the population is 65 and over, and what is 83% of that number? That product is considerably greater than the 200,000 + votes that would change NO to YES. In fact, according to the Scottish government the cohort of those 65 and over comprises 17% of the entire population.

      So simply waiting awhile we become the majority (I know that is a simplistic outlook but bear with me).

      The second external process that will determine whether YES rises again is the machinations of Westminster. If WM delivers anything approaching devo max, YES is going nowhere anytime soon. However, Westminster being what it is, it’s highly unlikely they will. They got form here – centuries of it.

      Indeed from the gritted teeth pronouncements of a large swathe of Tory MPs AND many labour MPs, it seems our insolence demands payback. It is certain that in their vengeful way, the establishment are resolved that having enticed the Scottish hound back into its kennel, they are going to beat it.

      Reneging on the “vows” will only serve to further alienate Scots. This, coupled to the other factors discussed above, could increase pressure for a second referendum to an irresistible level in surprisingly short order.

      We could easily see pro-indy opinion poll numbers in excess of those in Catalonia. It all depends on just how cosmically dumb Westminster is prepared to be. I have enormous confidence in their infinite capacity for stupidity.

      The reality is that on Sept 18 just under half the electorate voted for independence, and just over half voted against it. It will take a swing of just over five points vote to change last Thursday’s majority NO to YES.

      Remember, if at first you don’t secede, try, try, try again.

      1. Oh, and how quickly COULD we see this momentum reach critical mass – well, I’d like to see #the45 replaced with #indyref2020

      2. Andrea says:

        I like Alba Independence Movement (AIM)- easy to see what it is: a movement of people/groups/organisations encompassing a raft of aims and objectives towards Independence.

        Folk who voted no could join if the have changed their mind – but the name is not a watered down intent. it affirms the desired result – and not a wet ‘we all want the same thing.’ No we didn’t – and anyone who believes that is delusional. Yes voters have no desire to work with westminster. To have what that lot down south want to devolve. they have no intention of letting their fear,vested interest or nitpicking details prevent them from self determination.

      3. Andrea says:

        Christian, as a 60 year old I find your dismissive comments re the over 65’s ageist and more than a little divisive.

        I’ve seen it a lot with yes voters. ‘The older generation let us down’ No they didn’t. The yes movement failed to engage them. To do that you might need to suspend your intolerance – and understand the ageing process and how engagement might actually be achieved.

        Older generations have waited a lot longer than most for independence. They have coped with the Westminster crumbs a lot longer as well.

        It it is ironic to me that those shouting loudly for Independence fail to understand that older people of independent mind struggle to focus on that when the whole framework of their life becomes dependent. On the state, on the family and on social support.

        What you don’t understand is there will be a new batch 10 years down the track who will have had their own decade of austerity – that shrinks people’s aspirations – big time.

    1. Illy says:

      That’s it precisely.

  4. John mccabe says:

    Over 60% of no voters had made their mind well over a year ago and a percentage of them will always be no, no matter what.
    Whats needed now is to let them know we understand why they voted no and show sympathy and get the message across that they have been conned and lied to by Westminster.

  5. wwilmawatts says:

    45% is a great place to start from when you think what percentage there was for Independence even 3years ago. So please, don’t think that using it as a slogan is negative it isn’t, just think of it as shorthand. It is a way of recognizing like minded people, then move on to include more of the 55% that voted out of fear or ignorance. What we need to do is activate and educate, especially young people. I know we are told that it was the OAP s who lost this but apparently that very impressive bar chart was the result of ONE POLL. If you do Twitter then find Hugo Rifkind, he says” result from Ashcroft,even if only ONE exit poll, ” God I am so angry that, again, a division is being created.
    In conclusion, I agree that we need unity and inclusiveness so please don’t assume the 45 is meant to be another divisive tactic, it doesn’t have to be., I certainty don’t think it is.

  6. I understand the point re exclusivity but I dont agree.IMO the “45” stance is not surprising in light of the ref result.I dont consider it necessarily exclusive and I would argue it is not a discrete group.many across social media have adopted this as a sign of protest and a determination to continue in support of Indy rather than the badge of any group.I do agree with the need to widen our base of support but I believe this is already the case.Much of the NO support is soft IMO and after the WM machinations will soften even more.Fine article though and,in this post ref society ;-),very welcome.The more the merrier.

  7. Sooz says:

    I’ve thought about this myself, as I’ve adopted the 45 and the 45plus hashtags, but I think the division would be there if we used a Yes badge, too, and mine are still stuck in me windows. 🙂 I see the 45 as a kind of flag so people know where to find you. If and when No voters come looking for support and inclusion, they’ll get no judgement from me if they choose to tell me how they voted. Whatever signal we use, it could still be “perceived” as a dividing line – those in favour of Indy and those not, whether we use something like Indy Alliance, 45 or Yes or whatever else. Even just Indy separates No from Yes if it’s perceived that way.

    The main thing I think is that we include anyone who comes along and wants to be included, without judgement or anger. We want a society built on fairness, inclusion and justice, so let’s reflect that.

    It’s also very difficult to herd the Yes movement. We’re like cats. Independent minded, shooting off with this idea or that, with or without others, and then streaming back together again when there’s a message that flashes round social media. Like huge shoals of fish being attacked by a predator. 🙂 We swim apart,eddy, come together then swim off into huge loops and curves, but with one purpose – independence.

    That’s enough from me!! I’m in rabbit mode.

    1. Illy says:

      I’d say that being unherdable is both a strength and a weakness.

      But I think we come together enough to mitigate the weakness.

      I’m from a Linux background, so I know that diversity is a strength.

    2. Hugh Wallace says:

      My thoughts exactly. #the45 😉

  8. Sooz says:

    Cats, fish and flags? I think I’ve used up my month’s allowance of metaphors. lol

  9. Robert Graham says:

    well sorry i can’t agree the “45” will be useless this referendum was corrupted and stolen by the british establishment a media onslaught on an industrial scale this was the power of the state led media on a full war footing lies day after day never criticized never corrected a whole section of old people so scared of their pensions they had to vote no if this had been even a balanced or fair contest then we hold our hands ok we get it we lost we failed to convince enough people to vote for hope and not fear this isn’t ended a festering wrong won’t go away we might have to change direction a few times on the way but in the end “45” will win

  10. Jim White says:

    I like the 45 but see its drawbacks, how about a spider climbing up a single spiderweb, Bruce’s spider, thats the story we were told to teach us never to give in.

  11. Abulhaq says:

    Abandoning the yes voters to their fate in order to be inclusive and nice to the noes is weird. We have a solid foundation to build on. That must not be squandered. The noes will learn, are learning their vote has clarified nothing. The politics have not changed. Our country is back in the hands of the manipulators. Objectively, we have but one course, to fight back and that may well involve not being very nice and being “divided”. We just need to make sure that our side of the divide is considerably more popular. And for goodness sake no more tears. This is not Titanic!

  12. It is I only says:

    ‘Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.’
    Joseph Stalin —

  13. Michael Annis says:

    Excellent article. If we don’t aim to be more than the 45 then our aims and dreams will never be achieved. I understand the despair, the ends of hope but it is not the end. That was round 1 or 2 or whatever but the wonderful journey we have all been on won’t be wasted if we gird up whatever needs girding and aim for the skies. But we can’t do it as the 45, we need to be more than that and it does include welcoming everyone into our new campaign. This divisiveness over a name is self inflicted but thankfully short lived. So now, together, continuing the wonderful and respectful nature of the YES campaign, we leave behind a failed Scottish Spring but approach Autumn for the UK but we can only do it together, leaving behind those with vested interests immune to care or change.

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