Old war horses dragooned into service for the Union

So the Tories go to Troon and launch Friends of the Union.  A little like the Village Green Preservation Society but without a decent choon or chorus.

And who should they haul out of retirement to lead the shebang but Auntie Bella?  She made the best joke of it herself so I won’t even bother trying.  And it’s a role she’ll be well suited to, given that she spent years trying to flog a hopeless cause to an indifferent and unresponsive electorate.  If anyone can save the Union, it won’t be Annabel Goldie.

The Liberal Democrats have also unveiled their secret weapon.  Charlie Kennedy, another former leader of these parts, will be leading their line just as soon as he can make it back to Scotland on a plane.  Something he’s had a little difficulty managing in recent weeks.

And apparently, in the red corner for Labour will be Alistair Darling.  Another of mature years with plenty of experience and time on his hands, now he’s not running the country’s finances into a black hole.  Oh and Gordon Brown has deigned to put in the odd appearance, which is more than he does at Westminster these days.

Of course, all the Scottish leaders are saying that actually they will be in charge.  That’s enough Chiefs for a war council;  in fact, they could end up with more chiefs than indians at this rate.

But isn’t it all so predictable?  Where are the fresh faces to lead the charge to defend the Union?  Or rather the anti-independence campaign, for while they might like to think they are pro-Union I’ve yet to hear a decent argument to be made for staying put.  Instead, what we’ve had is the sad, old usual scare stories and some soundbites amounting to stronger together.

And this lot come with baggage, tonnes of it.  Every utterance and appearance might remind people of their past successes but also of their failures and their parties’ failings too.

I want – and wonder if I’ll wait in vain – for a surprise.  Yes we have a long way to go and yes they are all only getting going.  But go on, just this once, spring one on us.  A name.  Someone new.  Someone with something positive to say about the cause of preserving the old ways. Please.

Already the SNP has its campaign in place and is starting to roll out the supporters.  For sure, it will be the same old at the forefront but the difference is that Alex Salmond is not yesterday’s man, he’s the current leader of his people (all of them, that’s in his party and in the country at large).  He and his team are weel kent faces because they have a role to play in running the country.

But there is a strategy in place to make their yes vote campaign look more like a movement, gathering momentum and people as it goes, rather than a raggle taggle bunch playing their old instruments largely out of tune.  There is no sense of coherence about the anti-istas’ message or theme or how they are going to go about it.  Instead, there appears to be a smug reliance on the current poll ratings, showing just how much work the SNP and others who are pro-independence have to do to get to the mountain top.  Not big, not clever.

So while they rest on the poll ratings, the SNP is getting on with it.  There are new folk pledging allegiance to the independence cause.  Shiny ones too.  Ones that make some of us ooh and ahh, or at least raise our eyebrows.  A steady trickle of folk crossing the rubicon and coming out in favour of going our own way.  Cameron MacNeish was first out of the blocks, joining a pretty starry cast already lined up.  There’s big Sean of course, Elaine C Smith, Alasdair Gray and David Hayman.  More recent converts (or at least, declarers) include James Cosmo, Martin Compston, David Greig, James Robertson, Liz Lochhead, Iain Banks and Lou Hickey.  Even Kyle Falconer – the lead singer of Dundee’s finest, the View – has come out in support.

The thing about all these celeb supporters is that they actually say why they support the cause.  In Falconer’s case, it’s because he thinks it will be good for Scotland’s music industry.  People and purpose:  it’s an intoxicating mix.

Unlike the old war horses who think because it’s aye been that this will be enough.  Of course, a group (groupie?) of celebs and artists does not a mass movement make.  But expect more new faces to pop up between now and 2014 to pledge allegiance to a yes vote.  Some of them might even be ordinary voters, and it will all contribute to the big mo’.

Meanwhile, those arguing for the status quo increasingly look like their namesake band – yesterday’s men, trudging out the tired old hits, trying not to look out of place in among the bright young things on stage, and stretching those waistcoats across their expanding waistlines in the hope that they can make it through one last gig without popping a button. Or worse.



10 thoughts on “Old war horses dragooned into service for the Union

  1. Pingback: Troon, Turing and Intolerance – Scottish Roundup

  2. If you believe in a national Health Service “free at the point of need” you cannot justify charging for the medicine.
    It is also as cheap to have all prescriptions free than start expensive means testing on the benefit.
    I also believe that all taxpayers have the same right as everybody else in getting free access to services that their taxes have already paid for. I can see no justification in making some people pay twice

  3. The issues are certainly there: I’ll start us off with three, four even, where Labour have shocked me.

    They are itching to get back and get Council Tax rising year on year regardless of the impact in an economical climate such as this. They have no new ideas on making Council Tax fair but insist on sticking to the absurd link between how much you pay and the value of your property rather than making a direct connection between the amount due and household income.

    On prescription charges (notably Maggie Curran) Labour is committed to reintroducing this obscene tax on the sick in Scotland as soon as. Personally I was not in favour of free prescriptions for all and would willingly pay however Labour were as guilty as the Tories of using prescription charges as a disgusting way to raise revenue and we had reached a point in Scotland (and this is happening in England still) where people who were prescribed two drugs were actually having to decide which one they would purchase. With charges heading for £8 per item here I think the SNP decision to start bringing the price down was absolutely right. Labour need to re-think the general worrying nonsense being spouted by the likes of Curran that bringing back charges is a good thing and start stating exactly how much they are going to charge. The original policy, to hurt the sick in order to raise revenue, was plain wrong and to want to go back to that is political suicide.

    ON Tuition Fees they also need to clarify a great deal. If they thought it out properly there is, I think anyway, justification in considering fees but I would go even further. There are now so many Micky Mouse degrees it is embarrassing and I resent funding those degrees. We have lost the plot when it comes to University these days. I’m in my early fifties. In my day everyone didn’t go to Uni! Why have we made it the norm?

    I have another major concern about Labour. On Scotland’s water it is for the first time right in there with the Tories and the Lib-Dems in wanting to privatise Scottish Water completely and sell it off. The SNP is the only Party which is committed to keeping Scottish Water in public ownership. Who among us would ever have thought Labour would have done this? The same Labour Party who led the Strathclyde-wide referendum where 97% of those who took part told Thatcher, when she was heading to privatise English Water, to get her beady eyes off ours. I hear many prominent Labour people speaking about what “the people of Scotland” want. When it comes to water our feelings are quite clear and they had better listen closely and abandon all policies remotely involving privatising and selling Scottish Water off!

    It is all very well for those who support the Union to be out there looking to convince us to vote no to independence. That doesn’t mean, however, that their policies on everything else are to be overlooked. We should not allow them to skim over policies.

  4. Perhaps the idea is that if they have an infinite number of pro-union groups they may actually be able to cobble together a positive vision of the Union? ;o)
    But seriously, it is pretty lame that their best effort is to form a committee on how best to present their tatty relics from the past.

  5. Mmm, I would be careful about writing off Goldie and Kennedy, both are more popular that you may think, politics aside. Darling is a strange one to be honest, and I think he comes across more genuine.

    But, cynic that I am, I don’t think personalities are going to make any real impact on voting intentions for the Referendum. As we get nearer the day, people will be focusing on the real issues.

    (And please do not compare half-baked politicians with the might Status Quo! Even Scooter has teamed up with them! Experienced, original unlike Westlife, the masters of commercial karaoke…….and I’ve seen Quo in concert. Not a bulging belly in sight….)

    • I wouldn’t seriously worry about Goldie or Kennedy. They may have polled positively in the public eye but would have been in comparison to others in their respective parties. In the end one failed to de-tox the image of her party, the other was forced out.
      They’re yesterdays politicians with yesterdays arguments, that didn’t work for them then, I can’t see it working for them now.

      I do agree with you on how this will play out. It will come down real issues. Real bread and butter issues. And the more damage this coalition does, the more it becomes likely that if we stay, our reward will be to see less of a block grant that binds us to this wretched union, will force whoever runs the show in the SG will be forced to implement some of the coalitions policies and reforms. When that happens I think people will vote for indy, simply to protect what they have. Something that our esteemed host has written about.

  6. I’m afraid I can’t stand for The Kinks being associated with party politics and the balance not being addressed:

    How about a prize for the best Kinks song for each political party?

  7. I have a grudging respect for Annabelle the Heidy. She spoke up for Johnny Walker workers at the rally almost three years ago.

  8. Hey Kate Another excellent read from the woman who inspired me to take up. blogging.

    Love&Best Wishes
    Gayle X

  9. While driving to Lochgilphead and on to Kilmartin Glen (one of the world’s truly beautiful places and the site of the fort of Dunadd, the first Scottish kingdom) I listened to Brian Taylor’s thingummy from Ayr.
    First thought was Annabelle is a class act. She is one of the ones I would like to be on our side. If she couldn’t save the Tories in Scotland wee Ruth has nae chance.
    LibDem Jim Hume kept declaring his proud Scottishness but had little of any note to say. Brian Donohoe came over as a mean,small minded populist and trotted out the usual distortions – the too wee,too poor, too stupid line the other two avoided,.
    Chic Brodie did really well for the SNP but he couldn’t win. He can’t win three against one.
    But I wonder what Annabelle must think of David Cameron’s insulting and patronising pitch today. He just doesn’t get it and it looks like the London Tories have no idea about how Scots think. The “chicken run” analogy was desperate – and offensive. Happily somebody very quickly texted into the BBC that “Chicken Run” was a film about a previously downtrodden group breaking free and taking control of their own affairs

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