2007 - 2021

On the Contrary (Part 1)

index#1 – 15 things about the left that may or may not undermine the left

1. How can people be so heartless, how can people be so cruel?
We assume that because our intentions are good that this automatically means people opposing us politically must harbour malign intentions. This creates a paranoid world view in our community mind in which the people we disagree with are also tricksters getting off on keeping us down. Not content with the burden of reality itself, we are quick to add new layers of fantasy on top of an already confused, cherry-picked picture; leaving us over-wrought and trapped in an exhaustive state of perpetual outrage.

2. Fixing the Ruth while the sun is shining
Our compassionate liberal lefty values stop at posh Tories. In this we find a central contradiction of the values we so espouse. The Tory, in our mind, wakes up with a hard on for doing evil things. It’s a simplistic way of looking at a large section of our society. We struggle to confront the irritating and thorny fact that many Tories also believe in social justice but feel strongly that it’s achieved without liberty-impeding state interference. By all means disagree but don’t dismiss out of hand; recent data shows there are Tories everywhere and they are, in fact, human beings too.

3. Yes, but obviously I’m right
We begin from a position of assuming we are right and listen with intent to reply and not with intent to understand. This makes us infuriatingly smug to debate. We see our mission as one of gradual persuasion but inadvertently create resentment; arousing prejudice in those we’d like to convert. When people aren’t interested we conclude it’s because they are morally deformed. There is no real recognition of the intellectual and moral validity of the opposing point of view. It just becomes another immoral interference in the white noise of our imminently imploding reality.

4. La, la, la…I can’t hear you!
We tend to block, report or publicly shame people we don’t agree with; further entrenching ourselves in the impenetrable echo chamber where rationality goes to die – loudly. It’s the intellectual equivalent of putting our fingers in our ears. People get fed up talking to us because we don’t take incoming calls. Opposing points of view are explained away in binary terms and we rarely afford others the same leaps of faith we routinely gift ourselves and our allies.

5. I am extremely offended by how touchy you are
We tend to minimise the things we say and do that offend or upset others while aggressively holding other people to account for behaviour of a similar nature – if they hail from ‘the other side’. We only seem to detect foul play when we are on the receiving end of it. We take a defensive, almost paranoid, position regarding the Michelle Thomson property fiasco and fail to realise that the SNP gained much of its early momentum in the Scottish parliament by forcing the resignations of high profile Labour politicians over what were, arguably, trivial matters. It’s the culmination of all of these instances in which we failed to smell our own bullshit that has led to a culture of mutual contempt masquerading as public discourse – where we are always justified in whatever we do because indy ref.

6. Sit down and shut up while I persuade you that you’re a fucking idiot
Our enlightenment values are enforced in a really unenlightened way. Who ever adopted a new opinion or belief system because they were shamed, embarrassed or humiliated into doing it? Whoever turned around and said: ”You know what you;re right I am a bit racist. Thank you for hounding me on Twitter and helping me see the error of my ways. What a swell person you are.” We completely fail to realise the outrage and hector culture we indirectly promote serves only to push people away from us – and our values. When we hector other people we might feel like we are making progress or raising awareness. We may get the sensation of being active and principled, but really it’s just an ego trip.

7. Stop the press
We give The National a free pass to ratchet up constitutional hysteria while demanding a new kind of journalism from every other media outlet we haven’t yet boycotted. We live in denial about our own audience bias and dismiss valid critique of our position as partisan hackery. A healthy press is one that both informs our point of view and challenges it. We also fail to confront the fact The National is owned by the same company that own The Herald – so, based on our own troubled logic where The Herald is our enemy, what is so moral about one of its sister papers cynically cornering another area of the print market?

8. You shared a platform with who?
‘We conflate attempts to try and understand certain perspectives as ‘apologising for them’ and launch online crusades against people we believe need reigned in for associating with the wrong type of person. Just because you were in a room with someone doesn’t mean you endorse their view. Some people need to remember that they spent 20 years hanging around with Tommy Sheridan before his personal shortcomings became public knowledge. While I have a lot of time for people who were burned by Sheridan, it’s only fair you allow others to turn the same blind eye you did and afford people the time to be as naive as you once were. After all, there was a time when Sheridan’s most vocal critics would have defended him against any accusation. (Also, please don’t lynch me for pointing this out)’.

9. Even my passing thoughts are virtuous
We are dishonest with ourselves about our own prejudices. Finger wagging doesn’t work because we are actually lying to ourselves. Sometimes we are motivated by our prejudices. We weren’t born with liberal values we adopted them over time. Finger wagging is to live in denial about how we, ourselves, used to think. (Or still do beneath the trend-ridden facade).

10. It’s the right thing to do
We fall into the trap of thinking our particular form of force is legitimate. We don’t even identify the often aggressive manner in which we promote our values, as a form of force. This despite constantly drawing from the nebulous well of cultural Marxism – where violence is symbolic and ubiquitous – to back up our many assertions regarding the unforeseen externalities of hierarchical social constructs. (Also, see the previous sentence for examples of wanky, exclusive language which is as much about being seen to be smart as it is about making a point.) It never crosses our mind that we may be the troll in someone else’s world. That we may be the bully, the aggressor or, God forbid, the idiot. We lack insight into our own behaviour while constantly policing the behaviour of others yet expect to be taken seriously at all times.

11. These days…
One day it will seem barbaric and quite stupid that surgeons used to cut open the human body with a knife to repair it. We look back at electric shock therapy as obvious cruelty. But that was a cutting edge treatment in its time. We see ourselves at the apex of ethical evolution when in reality we may have already committed an unspeakable crime in the eyes of someone from the future. In a morally neutral universe how can we really be so sure of ourselves?

12. There’s no easy way to say this but you’re poor and therefore stupid
We assume we know more about certain issues than the people who experience them. We pontificate from all Caucasian suburban communities about why people in disadvantaged areas need to accept immigration is good for the economy. That immigrants give back more than they take out. We dismiss all talk to the contrary of an open-door policy as xenophobia. Then we go home and close our doors and wonder why people give Farage the time of day. Our own economic privilege prevents us from seeing that the communities most adversely affected by immigration rarely – if ever – feel the economic benefits people cite when justifying it. For people living in densely populated, under-resourced, culturally confused, violent drug-addicted communities there are no palpable benefits – only negative effects. We can’t, on one hand, rubbish the notion of trickle down economics but then use the same argument to defend ceaseless immigration into chronically stressed communities. We need to listen more and stop imposing our values in a top down manner.

13. Why don’t you come and say that to my face
We use the internet to confront people in ways we would never dream of in real life. This is quite pretentious. Its much easier to call out a racist on twitter than it is in a cue at an airport. It’s the doing it in real life part that’s courageous – the online stuff is for passive aggressive posers.

14. Those hacks over there
We see ourselves as exceptions to an otherwise corrupt, easily-led and self serving political culture. Naive.

15. How We Won And How We Will Win – even though we lost
We rationalise democratic defeat as mass public hypnosis by monolithic political conspiracy. This is rooted in the core assumption that we, above all else, are right and just and that anything to the contrary of our position must be some kind of callously coordinated fix. This is a coping strategy that, unfortunately, has become second nature for some of us and is utterly child like in its naivety. It is possible to both hold strong beliefs and fight for them passionately whilst accepting, in those quiet moments, that you could be wrong about many things. It infuriates No voters to know you think their decisions are based solely on fear or self preservation or that only a willing fool could adopt such a view as theirs. They find it deluded and dismissive. Again, our tendency toward self exaltation and away from rationality only serves to undermine our objectives.

In summary, I feel we can only draw people to our cause by making our values visible, not simply by shouting about how much we believe in something I’m guilty of everything in this list and every day I remain as vigilant of my own bullshit as I do of others. It’s terribly easy to train your critical ear on everyone else’s words and fix your critical eye on everyone else’s actions. We run the risk of becoming another version of the same old rabble.

When was the last time you just accepted you were wrong and changed your mind?


Comments (118)

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  1. Dawud Islam says:

    An excellent post, possibly the best I’ve read on this site so far. Badly needed to be said, well done comrade.

  2. manandboy says:

    I wonder what brought that on.

  3. Scott young says:

    Thanks for that. A few home truths in my part were required

  4. Bob says:

    Oki Doki Loki.
    You are absolved from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
    Now, say three ‘Hail Marys’ drink a pint of Holy Water and impose a one week period of voluntary self-denial..

  5. Edwin Moore says:

    Am all in favour of fixing Ruth Wishart, but can yiu get the spare parts?

  6. Black Rab says:

    Yes, you have to analyse things from many angles and ourselves into the bargain. Good job.

  7. Alf Baird says:

    Very interesting. I expect I am not the only one to think of Burns advice: “O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us”

    1. TheBabelFish says:

      Ah, well, that’s the genius of Burns. He said all that and more, in fifteen words.

  8. Bob says:

    What a refreshing article and SO ACCURATE. I moved away from the yes and the SNP because of many of the points made above. The Yes / Independence side has become so self righteous and deluded I couldn’t be around them anymore. The point made about immigration and deprived areas is so spot on. People in deprived areas are being made to take the brunt of the stress’s and ” protected” anti sociable behaviour that many immigrants bring. Political correctness has made many of them 4rth class citizens and labeled racist when they try to complain about some of the real injustices that are happening. When the words ” good for the economy” are used it really means good for people nearer the top. The yes side are living in a dream world.

  9. Lena says:

    Could be summed up by – get a grip – but when small voices are ranged against bigger voices who have the advantage of being amplified by mainstream media there’s a tendency to shout through sheer frustration. That said I have no respect, whatsoever, for anyone who takes a seat in the House of Lords and I will continue to shout and scream that with feeling.

    1. Leigh says:

      I don’t know you and so I don’t know your reasons for being against the HoL, but I found Molly Dineen’s doc, “The Lord’s Tale,” very interesting. It certainly changed my perspective. You can find it on YouTube, just search the title.

      She spends time with certain members and shows us that (some of them at least) are genuine, compassionate human beings, who take their responsibility very seriously and attempt to do their best, not for themselves, or their lot, but for the wider collective.

  10. Clive Scott says:

    Last time I changed my mind and accepted I was wrong was when I came to realise that the world view of right wing Tory leaning people is selfish, self serving and plain wrong.

  11. Broadbield says:

    Re point 2. I’m afraid I am one who think the Tories are an unpleasant shower without a social conscience and anyone who votes for them is likewise. They may say they believe in social justice but they do nothing about promoting it, in fact quite the opposite. “liberty-impeding state interference” sounds more like Stalinism, or something like what Mrs May has in mind for us.

    From Thatcher onwards the Tories, and their New Labour acolytes, have done plenty to destroy social justice, promoting policies which have created greater inequality, thrown millions onto the scrap heap by destroying industry, punished the poor, demonised groups they disapprove of such as the unemployed and immigrants, emasculated the unions, allowed (maybe even encouraged) the rich and wealthy to escape taxation, facilitated the financialization of the economy with the dire consequences which we are still enduring etc etc.

    Saying you believe in Social Justice while doing everything to induce the opposite is beneath contempt. Osborne’s purloining of the “Living Wage” exemplifies their attitude.

    1. vagabondo says:

      I think that you are correct only if you equate Toryism with the modern (post Thatcher) Conservative & Unionist Party. However there are many that describe themselves as Tories (and inexplicably vote Conservative) whose professed ideology is more akin to the old Progressives. I.e. pro individual freedom, business, public works and services, and against the Labour Party — I suppose supporting both the moral and economic stances of Adam Smith (so unfairly traduced by Thatcher, Joseph, Lawson’s and the Monetarists) whilst being in permanent fear of Trades Unions, and Marxist economics.

      1. Broadbield says:

        You’re right. “One nation conservatism” had a more human face. But where is it now?

      2. TheBabelFish says:

        I think you may be talking about small ‘c’ philosophical conservatives (with whom I personally have no problem, although we might well politely disagree on a range of issues), rather than members of the party and those who happily self-identify as ‘Tories,’ a name derived from ‘Toriah,’ an old Irish word for ‘bandit,’ and who therefore may be safely assumed to be sociopaths. 🙂

        1. vagabondo says:

          No I meant the Progressives. My local grocer, when I first moved to Glasgow in 1968, voted Progressive. There was also a Unionist Party that seemed to be of the Orange persuasion. The Progressives and the Unionists merged with the Conservatives to form the Conservative and Unionist Party.

          At one time I worked for a small manufacturing business. The owner was of definite Progressive/Tory ideology (fervently anti organised labour and a free-marketeer). He objected to the Unionists and supported the SNP. I have thought that it was people like him plus the remaining old guard from the Scottish Party that were the “Tartan Tories” as opposed to the socialist ideology from the Scottish Labour Party and National Party of Scotland, who all somehow melded into the SNP.

  12. Blair paterson says:

    Ot I see Boris is in Israel I wonder how many Palestinian children’s graves he visited ?

  13. Alasdair says:

    I have been guilty of all these things at different times in my life and probably will be in the future.

    I am sorry, Please forgive me.

    I hope you do not interpret this as irony. If you do, I am sorry, please forgive me.

  14. Ron Greer says:

    Well to be fair to the Tories, the Scottish National Party’s hierarchy can’t get their heads round the concept of a Scottish National Park being own by the Scottish nation. WTF is complicated about that? Furthermore after I asked a series of questions about the projected expansion of the ‘Concretegorms ‘ ski centre, Aileen McLeod’s response was ‘a reply will be sent to you as soon as possible’, but I just put this down as a piece of damned effin cheek, rather than idiocy.

  15. duncan says:

    i personally thank the left for the gradual watering down of school exams, making them all impossible to fail, though I did have a near miss with an adding and minus test once, but it was continual assessment, so i scraped through, I can also thank it for the healthy state of self loathing it has bequethed upon me, and a blissful general ignorance of everything that has ever happened in the last five thousand years, and lastly, for adopting ritilin instead of cartons of milk. Great work!

  16. Derek says:

    Fair comments about the natural biases within all of us. But why are you talking about ‘the Left’ when so many of your points so obviously impact on the SNP? And if you read the Hootsmon comments pages pretty much the same points apply, mutatis mutandis, to right-wingers, non-Scots etc etc.
    The real point is what can you do as an individual to get your point across fairly when others are screaming at you? Or are simply regurgitating messages along the ‘SNP bad’ axis?

  17. Anne Milligan says:

    Some good points made but you sound like you think only the “economically priviledged” have lefty opinions and values while the people who live in the densely populated, under resourced, culturally confused, violent, drug addicted communities are unable to think for themselves. Poverty is the harsh existence they endure every day,when facing continuous attacks from the privilleged and powerful British government, they don’t need convincing to support your cause they already know that, its purely a matter of survival and a hope that there can be a better life for their children. That is an impossible dream under the torys. Do you think for one minute that their hearts don’t break for the genuine refugees desperately fleeing their countries for a safer life? They do, but they also know that there are already 100,000 children classed as homeless in uk today who will slip down the list of priority in order to accommodate them. A fact the Benedict Cumberbatch’s of the world seem to not know or care about. Rant over, and having said that I’m genuinely glad that there are people from economically privilledge backgrounds who have a heart and care about their fellow humans, life would be so much worse if they didn’t.

  18. NotLeftWingNow says:

    Loki, thanks for explaining why I don’t vote SNP any more, and voted NO in the referendum.

    1. Wul says:

      Can you see that the SNP and Scottish independence are two different (albeit related) things?

      Are you saying you stopped wanting independence because you disliked the manner of others who shared your beliefs. So you changed them?

      I’m genuinely curious.

      1. NotLeftWingNow says:

        I’m afraid the independence movement is as the SNP and its supporters shape it. They are one and the same thing. I looked at George Square last September and it didn’t seem like Scandinavian social democracy – it was something far uglier. So my ideals haven’t changed. I was simply wrong in thinking they could be represented by the Scottish independence movement.

    2. James Coleman says:

      Ah now I see why the above was penned with a distinct anti-Indy bias.

  19. Kevin Williamson says:

    These are similar thoughts to the ones that Hume and Kant wrestled with in the 18th century. What is the truth? What can we know? What can we do? At the end of the day its not about political point scoring or being right or wrong, its about how you live your life, how you conduct yourself. Everyone has to work these things out for themselves. An ongoing critique of your self is as essential for keeping a mind healthy as a body needs regular physical check ups.

  20. Kenny says:

    How did I know this was Loki before I even saw his name on it? 😀

    I think pretty much everything you say is valid. However, I don’t think you should be too quick to challenge people on their coping mechanism. I agree to some extent that the “it was all a fix” attitude isn’t helpful, but it IS vital that we examine the way the media consciously undermined the Yes campaign, published blatant untruths, distorted and personalised the campaign messages, give undue attention to the No campaign (Vote No Borders still riles me) while ignoring huge chunks of the Yes campaign (virtually no coverage to, say, National Collective or Stanley Odd for their much bolder and more honest artistic contributions) and so much more. It’s a lot easier for you, who have watched the media distort the world you live in (and sometimes your own personal story) for a long time and understand the games that are played. For a lot of people (including me) the referendum was the first time in a long time, if ever, that people got seriously involved in a political campaign. The shock of then seeing just how hard it can be, to feel the sting of losing when to them their case seemed unanswerable was a huge blow to their psyche. I think the rush to join the SNP can be compared to throwing yourself into a rebound relationship. It might not be exactly what you really need at that time, but the pain of your loss needs to be comforted somehow. I think over time, people will take a slightly more rational view of things and start to come to terms with the weaknesses of the Yes campaign – I suspect most already have started to, privately – and their own failings in persuading people to their side, but there’s a long process of developing a more complete political understanding to come for most people. A post on Bella Caledonia telling people they’re wrong to be angry at the dirty tactics of the other side doesn’t help them develop that. The independence campaign needs to do as much reaching out to its own side as it does to the unionists. People need to feel that the struggle was worth it, that their pain and confusion and anger have some validity and that the energy can be put to better use.

    1. Bob says:

      I feel the pain of the loss of Scotland per-referendum. Its true the referendum has split the country down the middle and you can’t get away from it. Arguments physical fights , broken friendships and a lot emotionally and mentally manipulated people living in a daze fighting for an imaginary Utopia. “Fairness” “Equality” “freedom” “independence”. All nothing but empty vague buzzwords that trigger trance like states and turn what used to be well rounded and good humored people into SNP drones regurgitating weasel phrases from Nicola Sturgeon. I was sucked in too for a while. The minute you bought into the independence cause you just lost your independence. Now like a junkie in withdrawals totally dependent on chasing the dream of the internal images and dream. If when we ever get “independence” there there going to be a lot of Scots disappointing with the reality. And if the SNP ever get their way with the open door policy it won’t be the Scots that will benefit.

      1. Bob says:

        The Tories may not be “nice people” but they are the best gift the SNP ever had. And they need to keep stoking the anger and the victim mentality of feeling oppressed and helpless. They need to maintain the herd mentality just as much as as the right do to keep them in power. Its all a game with hidden agendas. As I recently saw on a meme ” the left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird”. The far left are just as bad as the far right.

        1. Kenny says:

          Well at least we know there’s someone on the No side who’s open to honest debate and growing mutual understanding. There’s certainly nothing divisive about telling nearly 50% of the voting public that they’re idiots who were manipulated. Apparently that’s only wrong when it’s applied to slightly MORE than 50% of voters.

          Seriously, Bob? And you wonder why people can’t stop being angry at the unionist mentality?

          1. Bob says:

            Kenny Who is a Unionist? And Being angry and oppressed victim hood is exactly where they need you to be on the yes side. I’m no Unionist I couldn’t care less either way. Because either way I will survive on my own. And I don’t need a career politician to give me independence I have it already. In fact waving a few flags playing the bagpipes talking of oppression and going for freedom is blatant manipulation. Your being sold a dream while No’s are being sold a nightmare. Its all manipulation your being used on both sides.

            Independence is like internet dating. The reality will look nothing like the images they paint in your head. A lot of disappointed Scots will turn up for that date one day.

            A bit like Farmers who who are being kicked off their farms because of the lease running out while the promised land reform does zero for them and allows the wealthy foreigners to continue fleecing the ones they allow to work “their” land.

            Im not for independence or the Union either way its going to be run by Politicians who will tell you anything to get what they want.

        2. TheBabelFish says:

          Bob, you seem to be unaware, or have conveniently forgotten, that many of those arguing for a ‘Yes’ vote had nothing to do with the SNP whatsoever. You also seem to think such views are a recent phenomenon. I personally arrived at the conclusion that independence was the best way forward for Scotland independently (no pun intended) about 30 years ago. I have never been a member of the SNP (wasn’t even tempted after the referendum), and having spent the bulk of those 30 years away from Scotland, mostly in Australia, I developed my views in isolation. I was, until I returned last year for the campaign, largely unaware of the careers, positions and pronouncements of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. This will, I suppose, surprise you as your contribution presumes otherwise. Inevitably people like myself will find your presumptions ignorant, naive, patronising and annoying. Just as the article suggests (yes, it applies to you too).

          1. Bob says:


            Whether you like it or not the SNP are the driving force and the chosen vehicle behind independence at this time and will probably always be the major one in the future. SNP is just another symbol. But what the hell is independence anyway? A vague term used to fill our heads with personal fantasy of what a Utopia could look like? The time frame doesn’t really matter I was designing and selling printed t-shirts for independence 30 years ago so what? However most of my life I haven’t supported any political party. I have no opinion whatsoever about you personally. Or anyone on here. my opinion was formed off line from personal experiences. From people I actually know including friends. I voted yes I was sucked in like everyone else. I am now back to where I was before. I see see Scotland split right down the middle. Even now I see arguments everywhere ill feeling towards each other even fist fights between friends who have took the opposite stance. And I’m talking very recently in fact I can’t get away from it. Scotland is a long long way away from Utopia. And if the SNP get their open door policy in place very few Scots will be the beneficiaries.

          2. Jeff says:

            What is independence anyway? Erm…..if nothing else we can dump Trident and the nukes from our doorstep. That’s enough for me…..

  21. Chic McGregor says:

    We tend to think our own beliefs are right – Well why wouldn’t we? It would be very strange to believe in something you do not think is right.

    Therefore we tend to think those with different beliefs are wrong – Well, night does tend to follow day.

    Any other substantive message in the above article?

    1. leavergirl says:

      Oh c’mon, Chic, give the man a break. There is a difference between holding what we believe with conviction, knowing full well we could be wrong, and holding it with puffed up sense of “I am right, and y’all are wrong, pitiful basterts.”

      1. James Coleman says:

        There aren’t as many of them around as you and Loki seem to think.

    2. Kevin Williamson says:

      Beliefs and believers. Where would we be without them.

      1. TheBabelFish says:

        I can answer that one. You’d be like me. You see, I don’t have any beliefs, don’t ‘believe’ in them. 🙂 I may be convinced of things, an entirely different position which always allows the possibility of changing my mind when faced with new evidence or a superior argument. Beliefs are a safety blanket, like water wings at the pool. Try doing without them, it can be a little scary at first, but you’ll find the freedom exhilarating once you try it.

  22. Steve says:

    #2 I don’t think Tory voters are particularly keen on liberty or even the small state. Many of them think you get what you deserve in life, and are offended by the notion that scroungers are getting more than they deserve. That is a much bigger focus.

  23. ross f says:

    Reminds me of the Hitchens line, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

    1. Kenny says:

      Both Hitchens boys are/were very clever, but I think even they would demur at being credited with a quote from Socrates.

      1. Ross f says:

        I’ll get my coat then.

  24. Winnie Verloc says:

    Very interesting that Loki employs the term “Cultural Marxism”. The new Right’s way of alluding to the sociological ideas of the Frankfurt School, I believe it became more prominence after being widely cited by Anders Behring Breivik.

    Is the Left unable any longer to recognize in itself this collection of beliefs as a coherent category I wonder?

    1. Winnie Verloc says:

      *prominent 😉

      1. Wul says:

        What about we crowd fund Bella to pay a web-master to add an edit function?

        I’d chip in a tenner.

    2. Lorna says:

      i enjoyed the article and agreed with many points but “cultural marxism”? man, it’s the first time i’ve heard that term used outside of right-wing, MRA trolling. picking up the buzzwords of abusers doesn’t further your argument much.

      1. Loki says:

        Hi Lorna,

        I made the assumption most people would know what I was driving at if I used that term. So far only two people have mentioned it out of over 10,000 readers (at last count) I am claiming the term for my own use and do not, personally, see it as derogatory in this context. I think it works as a shorthand reference to illustrate the point I was making. I was alluding to a contradiction: we cite symbolic violence/privilege as a form/s of oppression whilst failing to identify our own activism as a form of force in someone else’s eyes. We assume our force is just and legitemate and not subject to the same scrutiny or criticism as other forms of force. This in turn arouses prejudice in others and undermines our cause. Just thinking out loud. Perhaps it is clumsily phrased but I’m certainly not in agreement with the Stefan Molynuex’s of the world on this issue. Thank you for drawing my attention to this however. I should have been more aware of the origins of the term before using it frivolously.

  25. Wul says:

    I remember my Tory voting neighbour once saying to me “…aren’t you annoyed that disabled scroungers get a nice new motability car whilst you can only afford a 10 yr old VW Jetta?”

    I would never have thought of looking at the world that way. I’d just be glad that I wasn’t disabled.

    It was interesting on several levels. This guy lived in a house worth £450k, his wife worked on the appeals board for disability benefit tribunals.

    They did seem nice people and did a lot to help their community, but I couldn’t help seeing him as mis-guided and living in a smaller world than me.

  26. Duncan says:

    I agree with a lot of Lord’s sentiments on self righteous indignation and blinkered logic of my way or the highway. But if cornered into in or out perfidious albion, one is forced to argue your case. One is not seeking nirvana, just control of energy policy would be nice.
    Agree a one party state is not healthy, thus hope there is a healthy mix of all parties and independents in 2016 to provide a real check on SNP.

    1. James Coleman says:

      But there is a big mix of all parties. Go and look at the Holyrood seating plans existing and forecast on the internet and stop being brainwashed by what is laughingly called MSM ‘journalists’.

  27. GPK says:

    I’m no fan of the so-called ‘ice-bucket challenge’, but I do welcome this piece as a sobering dose of cold objectivity (or at least a substantial attempt towards it). After that salutary shock, let’s hope we can also now have a brisk rub-down and a comforting warm-up again, refreshed and readied anew for social/political conversation. (Mind and dress for likely cold and stormy weather, so’s not to catch a chill, but don’t take the dreich personally.)

  28. Ken Waldron says:

    “We rationalise democratic defeat as mass public hypnosis by monolithic political conspiracy.”

    On the other hand many of us never expected to come anywhere near as close as we did. Sure I’m not saying that we didn’t get a shiver of excitement at the late polls and the slight hope of a victory, but this was fought and lost in a media atmosphere near completely controlled by the establishment as outlined by Herman and Chomsky in the propaganda model:

    The Propaganda Model: An Overview

    In their book ‘Manufacturing Consent – The Political Economy of the Mass Media’ (Pantheon, 1988), Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky set out their “propaganda model of media control”. In a subsequent article written in 1996, Edward Herman explains the genesis of the model:

    “We had long been impressed with the regularity with which the media operate within restricted assumptions, depend heavily and uncritically on elite information sources, and participate in propaganda campaigns helpful to elite interests. In trying to explain why they do this we looked for structural factors as the only possible root of systematic behaviour and performance patterns.” (Edward Herman, ‘The propaganda model revisited,’ Monthly Review, July 1996)

    In identifying these “structural factors”, Herman and Chomsky list five news “filters” through which “money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public”. (Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent – The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Pantheon, 1988, p.2):

    1: the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms

    2: advertising as the primary income source of the mass media

    3: the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and “experts” funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power

    4: “flak” as a means of disciplining the media

    5: “anticommunism” (more recently, “anti-terrorism”) as a national religion and control mechanism.

    Herman adds some flesh to the bones:

    “The crucial structural factors derive from the fact that the dominant media are firmly imbedded in the market system. They are profit-seeking businesses, owned by very wealthy people (or other companies); they are funded largely by advertisers who are also profit-seeking entities, and who want their ads to appear in a supportive selling environment. The media are also dependent on government and major business firms as information sources, and both efficiency and political considerations, and frequently overlapping interests, cause a certain degree of solidarity to prevail among the government, major media, and other corporate businesses.


    The same techniques are now being used to discredit and destroy Jeremy Corbyn. Navel gazing about our “mistakes” won’t do much harm but look at Corbyn at the Remembrance ceremony: if no mistakes are forthcoming (did they really expect a duffle coat?) then who cares? just invent them.

    The Referendum was was tanks against toothpicks from the beginning: the miracle is that we came so far.

  29. James Coleman says:

    I was with you until # 8. You shared a platform with who?” A blatant attack on Tommy Sheridan concealed within your other platitudes. As someone has said and paraphrasing…you “should see yourself as others see you”.

    1. Loki says:

      Thank you for your comment James. If you are in any way familiar with my work you will already know I have never made any attempt whatsoever to conceal my feelings with regards to Mr Sheridan. However, I will say that of the great swathe of anti-Sheridan sentiment I regard myself as moderate. As a fellow human being I could never pass judgement on how another person conducts themselves in their personal life. My issue with Tommy was his actions in his role as an elected politician and community leader. In this regard his shortcomings are a matter of public record. I spent much of my childhood following Tommy around with my Granny. He was a big figure in all of our lives. I am perfectly within my rights to pass comment on the issue as I was always in close proximity – as were many in my family and community. As I say, this was my way of urging the matter to some kind of resolution. Though I doubt anything I could ever say would heal those wounds. Thank you for your comment and I understand and respect your desire to rectify what you see as an underhand slight. All the best, L

  30. Big Jock says:

    But let’s be honest. There are a myriad of ill informed people who want to argue with yes voters. It’s what they do.

    We can try and accommodate reasoned argument, but listening to the ill informed is a waste of good ear drums. It works both ways. The person who challenges has to listen. Interestingly I never challenge the many people I know at work who are no voters. They become very defensive and its off limits. On the other hand I get challenged just for existing as a yes voter. I always explain when challenged without being aggressive and often with humour.

    I would apply 75% of the statement to the no voters and 25% to yes voters. We don’t have to put up with a hell of a lot of crap.

  31. David says:

    Too much of the hair shirt and self-flagellation in this article.
    We do not need to abuse ourselves like that, when we have the BBC and 95% of the corporate media beating us up on a daily basis.

  32. Kathleen says:

    “15. How We Won And How We Will Win – even though we lost
    We rationalise democratic defeat as mass public hypnosis by monolithic political conspiracy. This is rooted in the core assumption that we, above all else, are right and just and that anything to the contrary of our position must be some kind of callously coordinated fix. This is a coping strategy that, unfortunately, has become second nature for some of us and is utterly child like in its naivety.”

    Some of what you’re saying makes me think of a book I like “Being Wrong, adventures in the margin of error” by K. Schulz

    When I was writing this, someone who reads lots more than me has commented above about the propaganda model too.

    I don’t believe that either there has to be a conspiracy in place to effect control over other’s “decisions”, or that it’s a childish, victim mentality, conspiraloon fantasy to think our decisions are changed by the conditions we live in, because we’re 100% in charge of and responsible for our own thoughts and feelings.

    It could sound like I’m getting round to saying here that No voters had no concerns that were worth really listening to and discussing. I’m not. I’m saying the conditions we were living in, are still living in, made less room for listening and discussion than is needed. So there was no democratic defeat, nor any need to hide from that defeat with a conspiracy theory, because this was not democracy. This is their rigged game that we’re having to play, really well, so we can escape the game. Independence doesn’t mean we’ll escape it, but it’s our chance.

    John Robertson’s work on media bias got me to read a bit about the propaganda model. I’m not so well read on this, but it makes sense to me that individuals working at all levels of MSM, politics and big business act in their own personal best interest, and no conspiracy is needed to manufacture consent. The game is rigged without conspiracy.

    We’re social animals, we make decisions with the information we get from others. (If we didn’t affect each other why would we bother interacting) We can all get fooled and pressured. I don’t think this is a childish or naïve understanding of what happened. It’s only part of the story of what happened, what’s still happening, but it is a big part. I think to win, we need to stay aware of this.

    Lots of people have a sense they are being lied to and manipulated about a lot of things, but when they try to discuss it, the silencing conspiraloon put down comes out. It’d be good to find clearer ways to talk about it all that don’t polarise it this way and shame people into silence.

    The labour voting No voters in my life understand they get lied to by the TV and the newspapers every day, but on independence, they believe what they were told – that the Yes movement was motivated largely by anti english racism, and that scottish people are inherently incapable of running the country. those beliefs can change. And yes, I do look at them and think if they got fooled on this, what all is there that I’m not seeing. scares me shitless.

    I think having those kind of conversations with No voters about how and why we all get lied to, and get fooled some of the time by ourselves and others, and all what we can do about it, has been constructive

    1. Ken Waldron says:

      On the notion of the propaganda model as “conspiracy” :

      “In a paper defending Manufacturing Consent: Political Economy of the Mass Media, Noam Chomsky’s collaborator Edward Herman says “the propaganda model describes a decentralized and non-conspiratorial market system of control and processing, although at times the government or one or more private actors may take initiatives and mobilize co-ordinated elite handling of an issue.”

      Intention remains an unmeasurable red herring and Herman says: “The model is best described as a guided market system explicitly rejecting conspiracy.” And yet, “All we know is that the media and journalists mislead in tandem–some no doubt internalize a propaganda line as true, some may know it is false, but the point is unknowable and irrelevant.”

  33. 45storm says:

    Intellectual clap trap

  34. DB1 says:

    This is a kind of confusing piece.
    Is it about the left or the SNP or the YES campaign because they aren’t always interchangeable.

    To be honest, I can’t ever see myself as changing my mind about Scotland governing itself.
    It just seems like the natural and dignified thing for a country to do.

    To give that up would be to admit defeat.

  35. Stevie Anderson says:

    Love this Loki. Really mean it.

    I am attracted to the really personal way you have of sharing things. There’s a beautiful honesty about it. I find myself kinda stepping back a bit from it though, not just this article but the honest commentary, and I don’t know why.

    By stepping back I think I mean that while I am attracted to what you have to say, but I am also kinda repelled by it. It’s weird but your written and performance pieces usually take me to an enjoyably uncomfortable place. There are probably some truths I don’t want to hear, mibbe some things I don’t agree with, and definitely a sense sometimes that you’re a self righteous prick. I think all of us on the left can be self righteous pricks though and I dunno if maybe I am hearing a bit of my own stuff in the way you communicate these things and finding myself repellant as much as anything you as Loki have to say. Jesus that’s wonderfully fucking self indulgent. And that’s another thing, I find your criticism of self righteous, self entitled, usually middle class, kind of navel gazing refreshing, but at the same time hypocritical because it’s framed in a wonderfully self indulgent voice, one that I need to get to therapy for because I hear it as middle class just because it is educated and making sense – so I rebel.

    The things you’re saying about the left, meh they’re all true. I think maybe we need to find a better way of being on a personal level, because the one we tend to bring is all a bit 19th century, which is great if it’s the ideas of Karl Marx, but not if it’s his grumpy arsed personality, mild racism, misogyny, elitist and the rest of it. We can be decent compassionate empathetic people AND socialists, in fact it might be good to be the decent person as a basis for being a socialist. That’s what I really value in your contributions Loki, you seem like a man working on himself to be a better man. My super hero philos guy is Marcus Aurelius, a stoic, an emperor, but more than any of it, a man working on himself to be a better man.

    Thanks for making me uncomfy, and leftists too. It’s a brilliant quality so don’t get shushed by the folk who are comfy in their certainties. We need to get better personally and politically.

    Thank you Loki

    1. TheBabelFish says:

      “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” – Charles Bukowski

      1. David Sangster says:

        “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.” – W.B. Yeats

    2. Loki says:

      Thanks for your feedback. I try to temper any self righteous tendencies but also publishing articles which are extremely self critical. In this regard I think I go further than many to always make sure turn the fire back onto myself; casting a critical eye on my own shortcomings as well as contradictions I see in the external.

      It’s actually quite a nerve jangling thing to take a position contrary to popular opinion or to try and open up a new chamber of discussion within long-established parameters. Grateful for your honest criticism and much needed encouragement.


  36. Coul Porter says:

    Do other people in other countries experience such introspective angst? I suspect not, for the simple reason that they have independence, and are unhindered by post-imperial sentimentalism.

  37. ED says:

    Hot air all of it ! get a grip, politics is just a game, nothing changes in the grand scheme of things.

    1. James Coleman says:

      Very true. A number of highly praised analyses have shown that it mattered/ would not matter, one whit which party is in power at Westminster so far as the economy is concerned. All they do is titivate the beaches, while the great Amazon flows on in its mighty course.

  38. Tony Rozga says:

    A lot of good points made above, I find them more relevant to human nature in general, rather than being associated with Scotland’s culture. In fact it is possibly of greater irrelevance in Scotland, because we have for so long been culturally and politically neutered. I don’t understand why someone can read this, then say it is precisely the reason they left the SNP?
    P.S. #13 something else going on there, not passive aggressive.

    1. Loki says:

      I agree with your assessment. I’m trying to cut a little deeper than the usual analysis but obviously its important to find a way in. The Yes/No divide is the perfect wound to explore. I am fascinated by how we interpret reality as individuals and as part of groups. How selective we are in what we chose to believe and why we present certain aspects of ourselves publicly whilst remaining guarded about other things. In a way the whole thing is quite pretentious and false, all the while we demand authenticity from political people. I like exploring those difficult areas that we tend to minimize through fear of confronting our own absurdity. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


  39. duncan says:

    excellent satirical piece, I miss the post absurd tradition. The happy willing liberal having a problem with their own authority. Arcane, but lovely.

    1. Loki says:

      Grateful to you for reading it.

  40. Broadbield says:

    Well, if we think that Cameron, Osborne & IDS are just doing “social justice” from a slightly different perspective we might as well give up. This is the trap that led to New Labour and Blair/Brown, the pink Tories and the No vote. Real people are dying, going hungry, in deep depression, having their liberties destroyed thanks to Cameron & co’s “belief in social justice”. Their’s is a social justice for the rich and powerful. If we deny that then there really is no point in going on.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “Real people are dying, going hungry, in deep depression, having their liberties destroyed ”

      Despite the social and economic cost of the union, it should come as a surprise to Westminster and its elite acolytes that the Scots are so slow to anger; or perhaps not, for we have invariably done what we were told. We know Westminster pretty much despises Scotland, as reflected in Smith, EVEL etc. and they know we know this, from parliamentary jousts between SNP MP’s and the Tories on both sides of the chamber. Yet debate among the ever expanding Yes side remains articulate, dignified and positive, whilst all that remains on the No side, paradoxically, seems to be fear; for they know we know their game is finally up.

  41. James Sneddon says:

    Another bunch of self loathing, over thought rubbish. The National couldn’t whip up a latte let alone a constitutional sramash. It’s a newspaper ffs. People are always going to have opinions many of which are illogical, but you canny change human nature. None of us are saints. Unless you have a Ghandi like nature folks which I presume Loki thinks the left should have the above is a load of navel gazing, self indulgent rubbish. Tories have a strange sense of social justice if that is what they’re voting for. Y’lnow the austerity, welfre cuts, wars. I like your stuff Loki but yer wrong on this one. This is the type of cringy, self loathing and whiny lefty crap that’s got the left precisly nowhere.

    1. Loki says:

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. The piece is very deliberately contrarian and designed to provoke strong responses. I wanted to write something that encouraged personal self criticism and that took a fresh approach the thinking about the current climate. It is also my desire engage with people who voted No who feel excluded and dismissed at times. The piece was also meant to function as a catharsis for them. Its not an easy job trying to build bridges of understanding between warring tribes but some of us have to try. I seem to be making some in-roads in this regard. The Yes movement will go nowhere unless it makes a genuine attempt to reach out beyond its own self aggrandizing ranks and try to understand the pathos of the average fair-minded No voter. Unfortunately, too many on Yes side still think voting No and being fair-minded are mutually exclusive. It is that stubborn delusion that the article attempts to draw out. Again, thanks for your comment. I respect your point of view and am grateful to you for taking the time to read the piece. L

    2. James Coleman says:

      Hear, hear!

  42. Big Jock says:

    Sneddon I was giving the writer the benefit of the doubt and being kind. I think the arguments could easily be transferred to most aspects of life, not just politics.

    But unfortunately there are a lot of stupid opinionated people on the no side. I mean a hell of a lot! Frustratingly stupid sometimes. Brainwashed by the BBC and MSM.

    Do you know how long it takes to get through to someone who has been brainwashed all their life. Too much time for an individual to waste oxygen trying to de-programme the 40 years of GIGO (Garbage in garbage out). Yes we get angry, yes we get impatient , yes we are condescending, yes we give up and yes we often think our truth is the way.

    However we have just cause, when dealing with a country and people that allow others to continually cause harm to it.

  43. Jake Gittes says:

    Echo chambers are unhealthy. Uncritical acceptance of arguments is unhealthy. Intolerance of alternative views are unhealthy.

    Maybe the YES side is guilty of some or all of the above. Maybe the partisanship of “our” side is more vociferous. Maybe Unionist Scotland contains more gentler more philosophical, more rational, more tolerant beings……….surely no one believes that.

    If YES is more visceral, more passionate, perhaps that is a result of two things.

    1 The phalanx of institutional opposition it faces and one which dominates the MSM which shamelessly pumps It’s message on a daily basis. Frustration builds, tempers get short and bunker mentalities can set in.

    2. The utter conviction that the Union State is harmful to Scotland and that Independence offers us a chance of something better – only a chance. Few can really believe that Westminster offers Scotland a model of good governance – this week showed that. Mesh that with the paucity of the Unionist safety first case and again frustration builds.

    How to understand or even interpret the social bases of Unionism? Some believe the British Road to Socialism exists but have had 60 years to see it’s a dead end. Orangism and sectarianism underpin the mentality of others. However I believe most are from an elderly, suburban population who are doing well from the status quo.

    I agree with the need for civility and that antagonism is not the way forward. The key is to peel off fragments of this Unionist bloc willing to listen through persuasion and example both in the conduct of the YES side and from the daily reality of Breadline Bankrupt Britain

    1. David says:

      Very good, Jake. You hit the nail firmly on the head.
      A clear and reasoned rebuttal of Loki’s original article.

  44. A different Steve says:

    I think this is a really good piece. It’s important for everybody to remain self-critical and not to make too many assumptions about political opponents/sympathisers. A point well made in no. 15. Don’t assume that every vote cast is a ringing endorsement of a party or position – it might just be seen as the least worst option.
    It’s a fair point about Tories too. I sometimes feel that debate gets shut down whenever the word Tory is mentioned. It becomes a competition about who can be most outraged at the government or who can distance themselves furthest from the Tories. People either stop listening or start to bristle indignantly if they even sense you’re going to stray from the Tories are evil line. But if we want a free exchange of ideas then surely they need to be included. I’m not endorsing them but equally I don’t think it’s fair to assume that anyone that might vote Tory is morally bankrupt.

  45. Michael Reilly says:

    I was forced to leave Scotland back in the days when the Proclaimers were first singing Bathgate no more, Linwood no more, Lochaber no more etc etc. In fact I went to school in Bathgate and a good freind of mine as a leaving gift gave me the album Sunshine on Leith, oh the lonely nights I spent down south in England listening to these songs and in particular Cap in Hand, that one really got me, I literally really just couldn’t understand it.
    When I left we didn’t have a devolved Scottish Parliament none of my family and friends ever voted SNP we were all dyed in the wool Red Labour and yet there I was leaving the country of my birth, like so many before me and as far as I was concerned the blame for this lay in one place and one place only, the Tories and Thatcher. To me back then, Loki’s point #1 How could they bastards be so cruel, that was it, they were, plain and simple.
    I couldn’t blame my fellow Scots we never voted for the Toffs, I couldn’t blame Labour for 17yrs and all of my working life they’d opposed Thatchers tyranny, no there was one small group of elitists who had it in for all working class men (I had an affinity with my working class English cousins socialists together) and that was the Tories, evil bastards.
    In 1997 Labour and Tony Blair sweep to power in a landslide, a Westminster majority not seen since the end of the War. The working class man of this Country is caught up in a wave of euphoria finally we are back, finally our party is in power and we can begin to undo the harm done by Thatcher and her acolytes.
    It’s at this point I start to wake up politically, I began to notice that down here in the south east of England politics is different.
    Voters down here are not dyed in the wool voters down here read the Sun and the Standard and the Daily Mail and they really believe it. I had continued to read the Record, laughed at those guys that I thought bought the currant bun just for the tits and here they were telling me it was the Sun Wot Won it!
    Never attribute to Malice that which can adequately can be explained by stupidity!
    It was all going wrong, the Labour Party failed to repeal the anti Union Laws, they embarked on PFI’s and further privatisation, WTF!
    I didn’t see them as malicious only they Tories could be that, they had to be stupid, it was the only explanation. Except it wasn’t they all went to the same schools, same colleges, same universities, how could one set be malicious and the others stupid, they weren’t, they were careerists, it wasn’t about ideals or morals just power.
    Labour fucked things up in spectacular style, to blame the banks the insurance companies, the City is just bollocks, what happened was predictable, worse than that it was inevitable, even worse than that it happened on their watch. Had they though out the anti union laws, had they regulated the banks, had they done any of the things a socialist labour party with that majority and mandate should have done then we would not be in the mess that we are in today. Had Scottish Labour remained true to its roots, had it held out and acted as a balance to the WM, PLP but no it sold out too. A Scottish Parliament with all the powers promised in the Vow was a possibility under Blair in 99, the Tories could have done nothing about it, the SNP would have vanished but it’s not about the people, it’s all about the Power and that my friends is not in the hands of any politicians, it is in the hands of the people they just don’t realise it.

    I believe that the smaller the democratic constituency the nearer to the levers of power the people are and the more representative that constituency / country is or becomes, on that basis alone Independence will work, and that remains something I believe worth continuing to fight for.

    Sorry for not being quite as eloquent as some!

    1. Jake Gittes says:

      You did pretty well buddy.

  46. Big Jock says:

    Jake – Sadly most of the hardline unionists. Will not see the correct path until 5 years after independence. They will look back and think, doh Westminster lied to us all along.

    These people will continue to believe the propaganda until the bitter end. Someone said before. Yes voters should not waste their time on the intransigent. We should concentrate on the 10% willing to change and willing to listen. That’s all we need to get us on our path to independence.

    30% of the country will not believe in independence until thay start living in it.

  47. Jake Gittes says:

    Jock I agree – ignore the BritNat hold outs, the Orange Order, the ex military types and the very many suburban elderly on dual pensions ( private and OAP ) who are often politically immature but fixate on their bulging bank balances ( I know a few personally )

    Instead focus on the kids, the young and young workers who voted NO. They are the people who have most to lose from the Union State. Student debt, skyrocketing rents, zero hours contracts, home ownership an impossible dream and chance of an OAP when old?……… zero.

    Independence is not a panacea and the YES side need to work hard to develop and improve the economic message. Robin McAlpine has some good ideas on this. But one thing needs to be got over and is this….. the Union State has failed politically in terms of governance but IS failing economically. It is in decline and kept functioning only by debt.

    Something the Daily Mail reading, wealthy, emotionally disconnected, suburban pensioners are blissfully unaware of.

    1. duncan says:

      Jake, the baby boomers are the richest generation ever to exist, and it’s not out of political immaturity but making the best decision they were given at the time. I know it’s hard to swallow so much polenta and sundried tomatoe at once,but they were jut doing what was in their own interest, that is called politics.

      1. Anton says:

        Duncan: It seems obvious to me that someone who’s spent a lifetime earning money is likely to be wealthier than someone who’s just started work. Of course there plenty of rich youngsters and poor pensioners, but as rule of thumb the old tend to be wealthier than the young. They would be, wouldn’t they?

        So I’m not sure I understand your point.

        1. duncan says:

          Anthon, your circular reasoning answers your own question. My point is it seems Jake has written off the suburban pensioners because he thinks they are fixated on their bank accounts and perhaps they don’t have independence flags in their windows or are not so passionate in expressing their politics as he is. Call it old fashioned reserve, a thing not as appreciated as it once was. But they are a huge part of the independence question. I also know many who went down to the polling stations and put a mark against YES and they would quite happily put their pension on the line. Ignore them he said. While I’m at it, the other point about student debt:how do students have them, isn’t education free in Scotland? And the idea that everyone should go to university is just tosh!

          1. Jake Gittes says:

            Duncan – Not writing off all baby boomers mate. Many did indeed vote YES. But very many more voted NO. Why they did so is interesting. You suggest rational self interest and you are probably correct. However I would feel deeply uneasy at collecting £2,000 a month as a pensioner couple with private pensions and then trousering £800 on top from the OAP.

            Some, many even, would say yippee, getting back the NI paid in over decades, it’s “my” money after all. Many- not all – choose to look away from the gross inequality around them and vote NO salving their conscience with Daily Mail stereotypes. This group, I believe little can be done with.

            In terms of student debt fees are paid by the Scottish Government, but not living expenses.

      2. James Coleman says:

        C’mon! The Baby boomers, and I am one, just happened to live at a peculiarly advantageous time in recent history. Buying cheap houses and watching them rocket in value without doing a stroke of work. Pension funds invested in the cheap shares available through Thatcher’s privatisations, plus the de-regulation of the City and the consequent Stock market booms, the Internet booms. The final salary pensions which were the norm in the Public Sector and MOST of the Private Sector, and etc, etc. It won’t happen again.

        1. duncan says:

          Jake, you cant pick out any group in society for special treatment. There’s plenty people, plenty, who look for scams, loopholes, and dodging the heavy grafting, and tax and legal mortgage dodging schemes. In fact I’ve never heard of someone complaining of getting too much. But lets focus on pensioners. I don’t think any of them should be written off, after all, they have children,grandchildren etc and, I suppose, they care a great deal in how they grow up. Perhaps they feel the best way to do this is to bank on their future personally. But, I would hope that if you had faith in Independence you would be offering strong arguments to build confidence in a fairer system- a hard sell,but one you should be putting forward. There’s just something a bit kristalnachcty about picking out a wealthy part of the community.

          As for student living expenses,do you mean like the ministers get? Cant they work a bit? Stay at home? work for a year before? Other students in the world have to pay for their university fees and don’t expect to leave home or have a social life like here. It’s the concept, mate,that needs to change. Also, university is a dawdle these days, surveys to check student happiness have replaced academic rigour, they’ve lowered entry rates and pretty much abolished exams.

          And, What about the working class kids and families, who just work, and subsidize the university fees that provide students with their education. Should they feel enmity towards them in the same way the pensioners have been picked out?

          James, perhaps it might never happen again but what are you going to do about it? Do you have a role in the future or are you just starting to think about another all inclusive holiday? The choice is yours.

  48. Big Jock says:

    Yes Jake agree. A lot of no voters exist in a bubble. The JK Rowling types, and the suburban middle classes. They believe they are Labour supporters. Unfortunately they are actualy Tories in disguise.

    JK is a Tory that thinks she cares, but acts like a passive agressive when challenged. Her route to socialism begins and ends with getting a Labour government. Meanwhile she counts her millions in her castle in Perthshire. But can’t see the failure of the UK state and the effect on normal Scots.

    If you live in a bubble the world outside seems fine. As long as all your posh friends are back slapping you from within the bubble.

    The chattering classes love to chat while the masses suffer the failure and coruption of the empire.

    Last September 2014, Scotland didn’t decide it’s future. These people stopped it’s future.

  49. Kimberley Cadden says:

    As long as you are of the view that harm is something real and not imagined, then you are going have views regarding that harm which mean that as long as we ourselves try to eradicate forms of harm as much as possible, we will view those who deliberately cause it/are indifferent to it, as utterly different to ourselves.

    Of course people can have different ideas of what is and isn’t harmful, and this is where analysis comes into it.

    Not all views have the same merits; so as long as we accept this, we can accept that we are able to assess the views and indeed the consequences of those views. Furthermore we can assess the extent to which outcomes are ignored and the meaning of this. For example it’s been proven over and over again the ways in which Tory policies are damaging society – just because someone says they are pro-social justice doesn’t mean they are – and it is possible most of the time to know whether or not they really are through simple means; like when someone says a rise in foodbanks are nothing to with rises in food poverty, for example.

    I think Loki gets things the wrong way around – the idea we are angry with people just because they don’t share our views is absurd to me; the anger is about the damage people are doing and it’s quite right that dishonesty is treated with incredulity, and selfishness with disdain.

    I agree with parts of this article but also find it a bit condescending and quite exaggerated in terms of the way most people operate; it supposes a one-dimensionality on the part of people generally that I rarely find in anyone. Twitter of course can make it appear thus – however hopefully we are all aware that Twitter isn’t the real world.
    With that said I agree it’s good to remember there are very human reasons for having certain views; greed, for example, can be a major human driver and runs deep – the effects of which people are suffering the world over…..

    I would take this moment to remind Loki that when I gently suggested he might be wrong recently when he said the SNP had set back critical thinking by 300 years, he dismissed me outright because I support the SNP, insinuated that I am ignorant for the mere suggestion, then retweeted me to his followers….hmm…

    I think that much of this article is written as a reaction to the tribalism of party/constitutional politics. I appreciate how Loki tries to ask us to drop our prejudices and preconceptions and engage with a much more open mind, this is a good thing; so long as reasoned views and indeed the understanding that not all views are equal is there too, otherwise cause doesn’t meet effect.

    But I wouldn’t really get my hopes up of that much changing; the nature of political discourse is usually determined by the lowest operators; we have seen this even with Corbyn and his new politics; apparent good intentions very quickly melted away into the usual Labour bile regarding the SNP. And here again all things aren’t equal; Labour’s actions recently are a great example of how they are happy to shaft the Scottish people in order to try to point-score – this is not the case with the SNP.

    So I think this article is useful when it comes to encouraging humility, but not really when it comes to understanding; I most of it is irrelevant to most people in the sense that I think many of the behaviours Loki highlights aren’t actually down to the causes he identifies. At least that is my view and experience.

    1. Kenny says:

      Righteous anger is a perfectly valid response to certain policies. Assuming that those policies are carried out for malicious reasons is a different matter. The fact is, for example, that tax credits are a massive subsidy to bad employers and the bill HAS grown unreasonably since they were first introduced. Even then, they were an administratively clumsy instrument. Some sort of reform was and is necessary. I don’t think we can reasonably argue with George Osborne on any of those counts, and indeed I know plenty of anti-poverty campaigners who argued for years that tax credits were damaging wage inflation at the lowest levels.

      Having said that, it’s perfectly legitimate to be angry at the way Osborne has co-opted the concept of a living wage and at how callously he’s implementing his tax credit changes before the increase in the NMW (for those lucky enough to be over 25) has happened. Even that, though, is probably more about a lack of empathy and understanding of life on low wages rather than outright malice.

      If we assume our opponents are evil, it’s very hard to accommodate or comprehend them. If we assume that the onus is on us to change their minds, we become much more focussed on the real issues: what’s wrong with the opposing policy? Why does it not meet the stated goals, or why are my alternative goals more important? How can I persuade the person making the decisions? How can I appeal to his worldview, his understanding of the problem to see why my solution might be better? The assumption of malice makes us imagine that really, there’s no changing them and we can only fight and resist. Realising that, for the most part, it’s all about a difference of knowledge-sets can be quite liberating and enable us to talk much more freely about better ways to move forward.

  50. 45storm says:

    Literary genius

    1. 45storm says:

      Just kidding about the literary genius lol

  51. Kimberley Cadden says:

    I think that very few people think in terms of good and evil. I am probably one of the few but I don’t think of evil in a Christian sense. I am a zen practitioner and evil is a way of speaking both of delusion and the harm it creates, in our tradition. Inherent in the diagnosis is the wish and commitment to work with these conditions in a way which transforms them, or at least goes in that direction.

    I mention this because I understand what you are saying, it is important to work with what we find in a constructive way; but also I think most people do try to change other people’s minds whilst also respecting genuine differences in opinion, and only rail against those who show no integrity in debate, or indeed those who in one way or another create/ further entrench ignorance and harm – especially when they do so knowingly.

    For me, in addition to making our arguments we need to deal with the consequences of the actions of those who cultivate suffering and indeed highlight these for what they are. People are always cultivating something, just because the nature of this *can* change if views/values change, this doesn’t actually alter the reality of what is happening right now. And if we don’t address that in it’s entirety, rooted in our morality, cause doesn’t meet affect. It’s like the situation with an abusive boyfriend – he might be abusive because he has been abused, which is a very understandable set of conditions, and one which can elicit empathy; that doesn’t mean the situation should continue – he needs to meet the consequences of his actions otherwise he won’t get the opportunity to change. Whether he does change or not is a separate question altogether. So for me highlighting the damage actions do and responding to this is often much more potent than trying to change someone ourselves. Where it goes after that isn’t in our hands.

    As for tax credits – all that needed to happen was that the real living wage was implemented – that is how less people would be on them – that and of course people being in jobs with regular contracted hours they need. All the cuts do is remove funds from people who are low earners. And everyone seems to forget that 80% of self employed people are in poverty, and for many of these people tax credits are all they have. That the policy has been independently assessed as one which will leave the poorest worse off, means it’s an example of where I would not accept someone who promotes the policy as someone who cares all that much about the poorest in society, not least considering it doesn’t need to happen and that it’s clear the hardship created will be quite devastating.

    1. Wul says:


      There was a piece today, by George Monbiot, which perhaps gives some insight into how Cameron et al can perform evil, without being evil.


      1. Kimberley Cadden says:

        yes I had that in mind when I was writing – as I said zen has a very specific definition of evil and I was clear it’s only in that sense I use the word. No-one is evil. Evil is rather all kinds of real harm, and all real harm is caused by delusion – so the highest cause for a zen buddhist is to eradicate delusion. My point above though was that ignorance does not excuse evil acts – the actors of evil acts must meet the consequences of them in order to have a chance to change. David Cameron met them when he saw that his local council has been utterly diminished by the cuts he made. He had a choice then to actually see that or ignore it; looks like it was the latter but still it’s important he was given the chance, and it is important that we continue to tell the truth of what this is. It’s thus important to highlight where we find a lack of humanity, heartlessness, selfishness etc in word and deed, otherwise life doesn’t meet itself.

    2. tartanfever says:

      ‘I think that very few people think in terms of good and evil’

      I wonder if that possibly depends upon the situation ? For instance, during the build up to the Iraq invasion ‘good and evil’ was the catchphrase of the day. Speech after speech defined opposing sides as black and white. That was how the governments of the UK and USA wanted to sell the invasion proposals not only to us but to the UN. It worked.

      I personally have friends that I would regard as educated and rational that became caught up in the furore demanding all kinds of ill on Iraq. Of course, the neo-con groups have been selling their propaganda in such fashion for decades, except that during the 60’s and 70’s it was against the liberal movements. The ‘good vs evil’ sideshow certainly convinced many in the UK that invasion was necessary.

      Media definitions of black and white or good vs evil are handy tools to make complex issues simple for soundbite TV. I believe that has a knock on effect on passive viewers.

      In general Loki’s article has aspects to take on board, however, much seems to describe general political discussion and I recognise behaviour that has been displayed from all quarters.

      I’ve spent my life being influenced by the way the media delivers me news – it’s tone, the language used, the style, the soundbite. It’s part of our ingrained language and one that’s difficult not to mimic. So when we started commenting and writing as a grass roots movement a few years ago we used many of the same tactics. Thats not something to be ashamed of, but it’s something to be aware of and hopefully improve.

      So yeah, take a step back, take a breath and maybe realise that our young movement of public participation is just going through some growing pains – which is entirely inevitable. Let’s not become the mainstream media, as Mike Small would say, lets create our own – and our own language and way of discussing.

      As Kev Williamson says above,

      ‘its about how you live your life, how you conduct yourself. Everyone has to work these things out for themselves. An ongoing critique of your self is as essential for keeping a mind healthy as a body needs regular physical check ups.’

  52. Wul says:

    O.K. Loki. Guilty as charged.

    Now point me to a web site, similar to Bella, on the “No” side.

    I’m looking forward to reading well-reasoned and referenced pieces about how Scotland is better off under London rule. I’m looking forward to dropping in on the mature thoughts and concerns of those who care deeply about our union and how it nurtures my country and my children.

    Chip in any one else; I’d like to find that site.

    1. Kenny says:

      I suppose there’s Labour Hame. If you can get past the horrible, horrible name then there are occasionally some decent unionists pieces. I think Lib Dem Voice has a few too. Then again, it’s not like there’s much in the way of a right wing/libertarian side to the Yes movement either. If you look at the major pro-Yes media, you’ve got Newsnet and Wings which are about consciously countering the failures of the MSM, and there’s Bella. Sure, there are other blogs out there but blogs are only attractive to a. people are not getting the information they want from the mainstream and b. people who use the internet a lot. Those two conditions don’t really apply to most unionists. Unionism is the default. Why would you need to run a blog explaining why normality is important? Let the mad Nats have their online rants about a better country. They’ve got reality.

    2. Louise says:

      Well said

  53. Stevie Anderson says:

    You’re all cunts except me and people who agree with me.

    Sorry about the cunts bit.


    1. Kenny says:

      But that was the only bit I agreed with! 🙁

  54. Michael Reilly says:

    Loki, would rather you remain a part of this? Unchanged for hundreds of years and unlikely to change any time soon!

    In brief, the oligarchy lies like an incubus upon the empire, and the people cannot call themselves either free or happy until the aristocrats be driven from their high places. …Obtain your freedom – peaceably, if you can – but obtain it, for it expands and ennobles the life of a nation! … What have you to dread?… Do you fear that much blood would flow in the struggle? Consider the hundreds of thousands who are crushed out of existence every years by this aristocracy, and ask yourselves if it is not better that the system should be overthrown, even at the expense of blood, that that it should continue in its destructive career? Had not men better make an effort to secure freedom and plenty for their posterity, than starve quietly by the wayside?”


  55. herm says:

    I don’t know, seems to be all too much navel gazing to me.

    “We begin from a position of assuming we are right and listen with intent to reply and not with intent to understand.”

    Really? And this is a problem exclusively to the left exactly why? That’s the thing, it isn’t. It’s not even more prevalent of the left. And if you think it actually is, then perhaps that’s the case you should be making instead.

    Or wait, are you coming “from a position of assuming [you] are right and listen with intent to reply and not with intent to understand”? Somehow I think that’s the case, and that’s why whenever I see this topic all I can’t help but see it as all too easy to dismiss.

  56. Laura Dunbar says:

    Hang head in shame ….see myself in this…..but hey! I can change,
    when error of my ways pointed out so clearly.

  57. James Coleman says:

    Everyone can see themselves somewhere in the list above. But it is not original thinking. The piece has been put together by culling many different ideas from many different authors and thinkers over the ages. And much of it is just trite repetition.

  58. Louise says:

    This article is disgusting . It is clever enough to cause reaction deliberately .

    1. Most people are angry at the “behaviour ” of the Tory , not the “person” themselves

    2. Classing people as the same is very wrong.

    3. The nats or lefts are trying to stop abuse and are not paranoid

    4. ( when u state that Tories are human too ) Tory policies DO NOT SHOW HUMANITY in any way shape or form

    5. The government are abusing people, they are paid to represent us and don’t.
    It’s is not a matter of just a two sides just in disagreement ” it is stopping evil behaviour that is killing people ( that’s a fact not a fantasy )

    6. There is an extreme lack of emotion with a lot of Tories , lack of conscience or guilt.

    7. It is just not simply parties disagreeing . It is horrific abuse of power .

    8. The Tories you talk about do not care about people , they care about power so let’s not pretend they care………. Please!

    9. It’s certainly a fight between good and evil , that’s not exaggeration. As I said it’s the behaviour that good or evil not the person.

    5 This is not your original work , it’s been complied from bits and pieces.

    Question ” When was the last time you accepted you were wrong and changed your mind?
    Answer; When I was wrong…………. and I’m pleased to say I’m not wrong to want to stop abuse. Why ? …. Because I’m human .

    In a nutshell. I find this article disgusting because people are trying desperately to stand up to political abusers and fight for their rights, stop this evil abusive behaviour and the damaged caused by it and……… Get asked to critisice themselves instead! I THINK NOT !

  59. Louise says:



    I think perhaps you are trying to aim for something here like understanding no voters, etc . It’s quite simple . MOST OF THEM WERE CONNED as project fear defended upon us. They were frightened into voting no .
    I have interviewed many many no voters who feel conned and very much regret their vote . Many of the rest feared change and others were bias orange order members .

    That may save you wondering .

    LOKIE it’s Awful to tell people who are doing good to criticise themselves in this way . People are angry for a reason .

    If you had a child that was being abused , you would not expect criticisism of your way of defending them I’m sure . You’d expect support !!!

  60. Douglas says:

    The State exerts untold amounts of violence on citizens every single day.

    Its function has always been to preserve the benefits of the few over the many. It is a system of organized control, violence and oppression which has, at various times in history, been used explicitly – using its own existence as a justification for almost anything, its discourse is always tautological – to oppress and exploit and subjugate vulnerable groups such as women, non whites but especially Africans (slavery and institutional racism, colonialism and Empire), and LGBT´s and of course, the working class and the underclass, not to mention anybody who opposes the State politically. The State is an illegitimate organization and it should be disbanded, its hands are dripping in blood.

    One of its key strategies in oppressing people is dialectical warfare. It controls the language through the media, often state run media, not by direct dictate mainly but by a self-generating ruling class ideology leading to a hegemonic view of human existence which discounts any alternative way of doing things as eccentric, dangerous or downright insane….

    Terms are mysteriously coined as if by magic to occlude the reality hidden behind the words: austerity is the word for the dismantling of the Welfare State and the plunging of millions into extreme poverty. Globalization is the word for the cultural colonization of the world under the Anglo-American flag which includes the imposition of free markets no matter the circumstances. Bank loans are not in fact loans. Bank loans are the creation of new money which did not exist. The “free market” is not a free market, but a narrow oligarchy which runs the world economy for itself. These cut-throats need characters like Bill Gates to show a human face now and again, but they have no interest in solving the real problems of most human beings.

    The Left needs to come up with a new language. Loki is right on the personal level about listening and being self-critical – that is always an intelligent thing to do in most contexts – but to believe that it amounts to the real problem is naive to say the least.

    The real problem is that the Left has lost its discourse, so many of its terms are obsolete now. there is no vision. The 60´s gave rise to Marcuse, Foucault, Chomsky and Bob Dylan…we get Zizek and Justin Bieber….

    Nothing will be won without a new language. In Alejo Carpentier´s “Explosion in the Cathedral” the revolutionary Victor Hughes, on his way to the French colonies in America just after 1789 to export the revolution, carries on board the print press and the guillotine…”the two most important instruments of the revolution…”…

    …but the French Revolution would never have triumphed without the cry of “liberty, fraternity, equality”…just as the Russian revolution would never have triumphed without the language of Marx…until the Left can formulate a new language to counter the language of Capital and its bedfellow, the State, things can only get worse…

  61. Frank says:

    I agree with Loki’s points; he outlines many of the reasons why I personally left the left many years ago. But his points raise an interesting personal question for Loki? If he feels this way, why associate with the left?

    My suspicion, is he might be motivated by a desire for fame, even if it’s just at the level of being a social media celebrity. This article reads like a marketing strategy (the product on sale is the self), based on constructing oneself as an insider/outsider?

  62. Jim alexander says:

    As a No Voter this is the first sensible attempt at a rational discussion Ive ever seen from the Yes side – until those on the Yes side stop acting as though Independence and only Independence can solve our problems and the SNP leadership stop trying to impose White Middle Class University Educated Values on what is Historically a conservative Scottish Society then we will not move forward

    The recent report on the Shambles that is Scottish Policing a case in point – if this was a Tory Policy every SNP Politician and Blogger would be screaming for someones head – instead incompetence on an Industrial Scale is blamed on the Tories – “it wisnae me – a big bad Tory did it and ran away” is the reason a Young Woman lay dying for three days with her Dead Partner beside her – this is the stuff of Third World Countries

    As for Michelle Thomson this was the SNP Business Spokeperson – based on what exactly? – Years of experience in Industry – or a lazy variation on afternoon TV viewing based buying and selling of Property – this is the Person that the SNP put up as there person who will argue the case for Scottish Industry

    If you are a No Voter every single point raised rings true – so this debate is a start – we all want a better Scotland – there are differing views in how to achieve it – reasoned debate is key

    Scottish Unemployment increased by 11000 whilst Englands continued to fall – that’s a problem for all of us – that’s not the fault of the Tories – that’s a Scottish problem – not an SNP or Scottish Labour Scottish Libe Dems or Scottish Tories – a SCOTTISH problem that we need to address

    One last point – there are far too many Bloggers – Journos Commentators making a New Income stream peddling the Politics of division and blame – its unhealthy and drill past the rhetoric and see exactly how much they are earning from it – we are a Nation that prides itself it standing up for ourselves and dealing with things – stop whinging and man up

    Until the Yes side start dealing with those who disagree on a rational basis as opposed to assuming we are Stupid and Selfish and just need to see the error of our ways then have as many referendums as you wish – £7.6BN in lost Oil revenues is a big obstacle to overcome and that will be at the crux of any future debate.

  63. Brian says:

    This article is offensively patronising. It might go down well in Primary Schools but not with grown ups. What gets me is being told of all the things I shouldn’t be doing to further the argument, but not of all things I should be. When’s that article coming?

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