Everything in Moderation

Glenn Campbell, What will Prime Minister Truss mean for Scotland?

The operation of the human subconscious is often more visible to observers than the human subject. 

So when BBC Scotland’s political editor notes that “There are certainly dangers for unionists in adopting a more “muscular” approach – it could alienate moderate opinion in Scotland and boost support for independence”, observers will be naturally curious about Glenn’s view of independence supporters in relation to the concept of moderation.

Some that I know personally are really quite responsible people. They are, for example, invariably law-abiding. They’re good parents, and caring in behaviour with elderly relatives and siblings. They treat neighbours as equals. They don’t litter; or mistreat their cats. They debate thoughtfully and respectfully. 

They hold balanced views about the nature of the universe, or the relative merits of meat-based and vegan diets. They do not insist that bands are defined as boy bands or girl bands, being entirely happy with gender neutral bands, and are equally open to the promise of opera, no matter what the language of the libretto. When driving they avoid alcohol, and have read all the new advice in the current version of the Highway Code. 

Moderation in a whole range of views and behaviours is one of their chief defining characteristics. They are generous in their support of charities. They are members of the National Trust for Scotland. When hill-walking they keep to the paths. In other ways too, they are model members of civil and civic society.

They will be dismayed to know that their support for independence, a concept which through human history has actually had quite a positive rating outside Scotland, distinguishes them from ‘moderate opinion’ in their homeland.

These independence supporters, in Glenn’s view, share another odd characteristic. They regard the UK government’s ‘tough talk’ on a future referendum as ‘anti-democratic and disrespectful’.

Now, we might wonder what else we could call speculation about setting the threshold for a Scottish independence vote at a quantum step higher than that for every other UK election, not least on EU membership, which some of the more sentimental among us recall every council area in Scotland having voted to continue. 

Put this another way: talk of polling at 60% support as a precondition for ‘granting’ another referendum, or yet other egregious threshold levels for measuring the validity of a future vote, is by previous standards of what is considered acceptable in UK elections, ‘anti-democratic’ irrespective of whether the view is held by independence supporters or others. 

We note likewise from Glenn’s piece that Ms Truss may be wary of giving ‘a high-profile photo call to the First Minister’ by visiting Bute House. He probably has in mind Ms Truss’s view of the FM as ‘attention-seeking’, as distinct from the new inhabitant of number 10’s habitual cloak of invisibility. Whether or not they meet, discussion of Ms Truss’s triumph with a proportion of the electorate best measured with an electron microscope is likely to be off the table. Everything in moderation.

Comments (5)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I think the best thing to do is “wait and see”. Ms Truss “might” be an improvement on the previous inhabitant of No 10. I do believe, however, that if she carries out some of the actions ascribed to her she will not last very long; there are already stories that the next one for the hot seat is already being murmered about in the upper echelons of that “Nasty” party.

    In England the red Tories are already ahead in the polls and another step down the road to fascism might be too much for even these brainwashed electors, both Red and Blue. She scraped home with a very poor mandate from those that had the vote, both in Westminster and the meeting rooms of the party in the country. There are a few sensible senior Tories and, as the polls get worse, they will let their views be known.

  2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    I think a Freudian analysis of Mr Campbell’s piece would not be too difficult: “Jist stick it tae thae Nats, Liz, hen, an ye kin count o oan the support o Scottish Labour.”

  3. BSA says:

    Enjoyed that.

  4. Derek says:

    “There are certainly dangers for unionists in adopting a more “muscular” approach – it could alienate moderate opinion in Scotland and boost support for independence”

    I take a bit of issue with that, in that it’s all to do with unionists’ viewpoint and how they perceive things going forwards (apologies); the moderate opinion of which it speaks is amongst unionists rather than those already convinced. If there are those that are convinced to jump ship because of “muscular unionism” to a more Scottish view of things, that’d be generally good from an indepence viewpoint, wouldn’t it? I think that Campbell has observed and reported upon, rather than dictated.

  5. Iain Lennox says:

    That’ll be Glenn Campbell, the fair-minded, unbiased political TV journalist who tore up a copy of the newly-published SNP Manifesto live on Reporting Scotland….. Is that the Glenn Campbell to which you refer ?

    Who subsequently was promoted to be Political Editor” on BBC Scotland – you know the unbiased estate broadcaster ?

    Well he’s on my list for sure.. and I’m a moderate !

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