2007 - 2021

Post Election Doublethink

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.”

The response to the SNP’s victory on Thursday has been swift.

None of this happened.

Victory is failure.

Failure is victory.

No-one is interested.

You didn’t vote.

You didn’t see any of this.

You don’t exist.

A vote for the SNP or the Greens is a vote for independence.

A vote for the SNP of Greens is not a vote for independence.

Having ran an entire campaign based on a single hysterical note that a vote for the SNP would be a trigger for a referendum, the Unionist press and politicians now have to do an abrupt u-turn. The message is now “No-one is really interested in independence” and “your vote meant something completely different”, or rather, nothing at all.

Gordon Brown is conjured and does the rounds of the tv studios and litters the pages of the Guardian evoking the mysterious concept of ‘Middle Scotland’. Brown, a man with no power, from a party more distant from power than for decades writes (“Many Scots don’t want independence”): “Civil society movements will now spring up championing cooperation across the UK, and from today Our Scottish Future will turn itself into a campaigning organisation committed to making the UK more acceptable …”

In desperation Andrew Neil takes to the Daily Mail to write of Nicola Sturgeon’s “failure”. Neil fulminates wildly then speculates:

“What if a private citizen took the Scottish Government to Scotland’s Court of Session, the highest court north of border, on the grounds that its referendum bill was illegal? Canny Unionists are thinking of a Scottish Gina Miller, the wealthy woman who used the English courts to cause the Brexiteers such pain. I am advised that such a challenge would be likely to succeed” [he’s just making this up – Ed].

After much bluster he ends rather more meekly: “By no stretch of the imagination can the Scottish election results be described as a boost for the Union. But it is far from the car crash some have reported.”

It’s sometimes hard to fight-off this surround-sound of lies and nonsense.

The idea that “no-one is really interested” is a bold one given the election saw the highest turnout ever.

As Adam Ramsay has put it: “Not only was this the Holyrood election with the highest ever turnout, it was the UK election with the widest ever franchise: 16 & 17 year olds, foreign nationals living in Scotland including refugees, and many (but not yet all) prisoners could all vote – and did.

A simple fact over-rides everything else: a pro-independence majority is a mandate for a second referendum.


Comments (22)

Leave a Reply to Am Braghadanach Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Donald McGregor says:

    It does often feel as though we ‘have to’ continue and repeat our lives within this double think framing as the messages are so loud.
    I have my fingers and toes crossed that the snp mean what they say when they declare that we will proceed no matter what. We really need to just be responsible for and active in our own actions.

  2. Am Braghadanach says:

    The main albatross Douglas Ross is hanging round Nicola Sturgeon’s neck is that in answer to a question from Glenn Campbell in one of the debates she said a vote for the SNP was not a vote for a referendum
    If she did say that it would be presenting an open goal to Ross and his attempts to deny the mandate
    I didn’t watch the debate so am unclear what was actually stated
    I hope it was not another ‘ once in a generation’ type statement

  3. Ian Miles says:

    Just as ‘Nobody has any intention of putting up a wall’? (Walter Ulbricht, Berlin Mayor, 1961)

  4. Sandy Watson says:

    Surely a pro-independence majority is a mandate for independence.

    1. Wullie says:

      Ruth Davidson rightly gets pelters for her enoblement entitling her to dip the British purse, while at Holyrood unelectable repeat offenders like old lags Murdo Fraser and Annie Wells shamelessly pick the pockets of the Scottish people with no apparent end to this, “In on the List,” largesse.
      This outrageous brass-neckery needs to be stopped, if the electorate repeatedly reject people they should be out on their ear. Mebbes two shots Max.

  5. Coinneach says:

    Andrew Neil conjures up the prospect of “…a Scottish Gina Miller, the wealthy woman who used the English courts to cause the Brexiteers such pain”, but how effective was Gina Miller’s endeavour? Brexit, as we have all noticed, happened anyway, so his bluster and scaremongering are just that: baseless bluster and scaremongering.

  6. Chas Gallagher says:

    What truly worries me is that a small faction of militants unaligned to any Independence Party will get impatient and start ‘physical’ trouble. The old empire is strewn with examples and one close to home is still smouldering.

    1. James Mills says:

      You mean with the connivance of the clandestine security services , who have a history of so doing in other ”trouble spots” ?
      Not something that the UK would try is it ?

  7. MBC says:

    Gove is already spouting that he was flagged down in Glasgow and thanked for saving the union. Apparently he’s here for a few days, sniffing about. Expect more of this. ‘Nobody wants a referendum’ and more seeking and wooing of any soft middle ground. I have noticed that unionists have changed their tune though, indicating a change of tactic. After unsuccessfully attacking the constitutionality of leaving the union they have been forced to admit that the union can only be maintained by Scotland’s willing co-operation and will be on the hunt now for willing collaborators.

    1. Tom Ultuous says:

      If he’s pulling over for everyone who’s flagging him down it’s only a matter of time before he meets one of the militants Chas mentions. I can see the headline “He saved the union but could not save himself” although I’m at a total loss as to what he did to save the union.

      1. MBC says:

        Doubt it. And doubt he actually met this chap. In every colonial situation there are always a class of willing collaborators who keep the colony under control and benefit personally from their association with their patrons. He’s a spy looking for a new class of client collaborators they can patronise.

        Beware of yoons bearing gifts.

        1. Tom Ultuous says:

          Totally agree. He’s probably never left the “massage” parlour since he arrived. I’m just surprised he hasn’t claimed to have discussed the new “British Super League” with “interested parties” while he’s up here.

        2. Stephen Sheach says:

          Probably the same person that told Lord Mandelson that Labour’s collapse is due to having picked the wrong Milliband

  8. SleepingDog says:

    It would, of course, be more rational for someone espousing democratic beliefs to reserve their outrage for an incoming Scottish government, elected on an independence referendum mandate, that failed do deliver on its promise to the electorate. So Unionism becomes ever more associated with Irrationality and Humbug, and corrodes any case for the UK, world leader in hypocrisy and cant for hundreds of years. Now I am wondering what a Pixar Inside Out sequel featuring the mind of a Unionist would look like (well, I don’t have to wonder very far).

  9. Gavin says:

    Keep the Heid, and keep the faith.
    Positivity, not anger, will win the day.
    When the BBC exhibit their bias, put in a complaint–don’t let them away with it.
    Don’t buy Yoon papers.
    Be polite, but firm with nay-sayers. They only repeat the lies they have been told.
    Complain to the BEEB–we pay for factual information, not lies, omission or commission.
    Complain about the BBC. You cannot complain enough, it’s free and it’s easy.
    Take 5minutes daily to put in a BEEB complaint–do it now and do it often.

    1. Joe Smith says:

      Gavin, I very much admire your optimism and positive approach… but I know for a fact (someone on the inside told me) that the BBC could not give a monkey’s about complaints. The BBC have constructed a (powerful internal) narrative that if people complain, it’s a sign that the BBC are doing their job right. This was created in the run up to 2014. Did you know that the NO campaign strategy was to make complaints of ‘bias’ (many and often) when the bias was clearly in their favour. This had two effects – one, it pushed the BBC harder towards their unionist leanings and two, it allowed them to convince themselves they were more balanced than they were. “We must have been doing something right” – a senior BBC chap told me, “because both sides hate us”.

      They have also constructed a strong internal narrative in which complainers are dismissed as ‘barking mad’, ‘fruit-cakes’, ‘the loony left’, ‘cyber nats’, etc…

      Seriously, our only defence is for everyone to stop watching their news and current affairs output. Their audience is already quite low. Rangers fans stopped watching years ago… many indy supporters stopped paying their licence years ago… They are struggling to justify their pathetic audience figures (using the same narratives mentioned above). Better to kill them off than to expect them to change.

  10. Wul says:

    Is “Nobody wants a referendum” another way of saying that “only nobodies want a referendum” ?

    That’s what Gove’s spiel feels like to me; “You don’t matter”.

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @Wul, the equivalent of historian Mark Curtis’ Unpeople, perhaps?

      1. Wul says:

        Good link. I think Curtis nails it.

  11. john burrows says:

    The reason all of this is happening is simply because 60 percent of the electorate in England have given up on democracy. When elections south of the border barely scrape up 30 odd percent of the vote, there is no hope for any kind of reform in the UK.

    Reactionary home owning pensioners are now the only substantial voting demographic in England available around which any Westminster government can shape UK policy. The reason we are were we are is simply because Johnson’s rule is the only one the Wetherspoons electorate will countenance.

    This electorate are functionaly incabable of taking a long view of society, as they fill their days with nostalgia for a mythical past, or seek out ‘enemies of the people’ who they can blame for their own self inflicted wounds. They fill their days with self delusion and irrational anger. Such is the nature of all reactionaries.

    Johnson is both the leader of this rabble but also its slave. He is riding a doddering old cantankerous lion. Nothing he does will matter. He will give them what they want. But only after the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Times, Express, Talk Radio, GB News, Spectator and Tufton Street tell them what to think first.

    Faithfully echoed without comment by the State Broadcaster.

    Johnson and his mates only require a hefty commission for their services. In advance. Not to mention an ermine robe and a permanent place in the most expensive paliative care facility on the planet.

    Democracy is dead in a society that willingly takes pride in a government that has disowned honesty.

  12. Wul says:

    “No one wants an immediate referendum” it is “a slightly skewed set of priorities to imagine that that is the most important issue”.

    Scotland is a nation under the spell of an aberrant, dictator leader who is imposing issues that no one cares about. If only she would do something to provide a pretext for direct rule.

    I wonder if this is one reason that the SNP soft pedals so much on land reform? Any attempt to interfere with the toffs’ God-given right to own vast tracts of dirt-cheap, subsidy and tax-relief attracting land in the northern colonies would be dealt with very harshly indeed. ( insert “Robert Mugabe” meme here)

  13. James Morton says:

    They are torturing logic here to such a degree that even “double think” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. They know they lost this argument. They know that this time, they have no case to make for union. All that is left is belligerent imbecility. But through it all, there are two insurmountable obstacles in their path. Two things that took a wrecking ball to their notions of “Scotland’s future in the UK”. These are the cartoonishly inept and corrupt leadership of Boris Johnson and the tories and Brexit.
    They are hostages to fortune of the whims of a pathological liar and a party of spivs. They can sit and watch Eng…sorry, “Britain” fail and diminish because of the stupidity of Brexit.

    They wouldn’t be doing this if they felt confidant. They would be threatening a new act of union, with the removal of consent of the Scottish electorate, if they felt secure in their “British” identities. They’re doing it because they are scared shitless. They are scared shitless because they know that they can’t win this time round.
    We have them on the run. Even if they keep saying no, they are still running scared. We have to keep at them and keep pushing them. We can’t let up. We can’t let them ever enjoy being British in Scotland ever again.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.