An easy way to bury good news

So, the Sabbatical has begun and officially entered day two.  Time to get down to some serious blogging then.

I had intended to add my tuppence worth of perspective to the Gunn show or Lallygate – why has no one named it yet?  But frankly it’s all been said.  I’m on the Sillars’ side of things here, right down to believing in the conspiracy theories of infiltration: I am nothing if not my mother’s daughter.  We oldies in this campaign might induce eye-rolling from younger activists as a result but to dismiss the role that we can and do play is pushing it a little. But then that was always the arrogance of youth and long may it continue.

Hugh Wallace makes some fair points in his riposte but he is wrong on the idea that the “leadership” should be urging us over the barricades on the flotsam and jetsam of this campaign.  The media was always going to be biased against independence: it is an entirely conservative institution which is part of the problem not the solution to Scotland’s democratic deficit.  To pour resources into fighting it would be futile and counter-intuitive. As the last week has shown, everyone trying to do this on the Yes campaign’s behalf sucks up energy, people and time – crucially, time when the clock is ticking down to 18 September – of those left to clear up the mess.

And as to others’ involvement in it all, well Edinburgh Eye does a majestic take down which is both comprehensive and brave.  Because of anyone has been guilty of creating a climate in which critics are to be silenced (after being abused and insulted of course) it is that blog.  Those wordles are mighty interesting and worth a look, if only to determine which blogsites are spending more of their time talking about the cause, the campaign and reasons to vote yes and which are not.

There are three things to add to it all.  First, an oldie but a goodie: when the storymaker becomes the story or the messenger becomes the message, it is time for those individuals to go and find something more interesting and useful to do instead. The First Minister’s loyalty was admirable but misplaced. He should have allowed Campbell Gunn to resign and accepted it with the usual equanimity which accompanies such setpieces.  Now, the thing plays on.  How can a media advisor advise if he can no longer engage with everyone he is expected to advise without having the credibility of his advice questioned?  The same rule of thumb applies for Wings over Scotland.

Secondly, a much wiser burd than me suggested a litmus test for any engagement on any issue in the run up to September. Does what you are about to say, write, tweet, post, share, ask, posit or pronounce help deliver a Yes vote in September?  Will it help those who are currently undecided but interested edge towards voting yes?  Go on, try it yourself.  Look at anything written about Clare Lally or J K Rowling by some supporters on the Yes side in the last week and then ask yourself how those utterings might convince someone to vote Yes.  And then go and read Andrew Wilson’s brilliant piece on J K Rowling and contrast and compare.

Thirdly, morale counts in this campaign more than any other, just as impressions do in all campaigns.  Thankfully, few beyond the anoraks tune in every week to First Minister’s Questions but it is a key arena in the battle for morale. The First Minister last Thursday was in the trenches, on the backfoot, being made to defend a situation not of his own making nor choosing, having to answer issues that weren’t in the script for the week.  And every week, he is seen to be rocking and reeling not only drains his energy and saps life from the narrative arc around him and his leadership role, but it puts a spring in the step of the No camp.  He is pivotal to this campaign and it is one reason why the other side is so keen, week in week out, to make the campaign about him and not about the issue. We really shouldn’t be helping them do so.

Finally, every time the Scottish Government and the Yes campaign are having to rebut, the good news, the news we want people in Scotland and especially, the undecideds, to hear and take on board, is buried. Yes, the media would try to do it anyway but why would we want to make that job an easier one to achieve?  If we are all talking about stushies – and we are – then no one is talking about the positives.

Which allows us at last to arrive at the point of this blogpost.  To shine a light on good news stories wiped off the headlines and the schedules last week, which No and the media are happy to bury but which we should all be shouting from the rooftops.

Drilling is about to begin in a new North Sea oil field with potential to produce 96 million barrels of oil.  And no, the story isn’t that the UK Energy Minister misappropriates the term country but that here is evidence that there is plenty more oil in the sea yet and that is good news for the future economic prosperity of an independent Scotland.

Statistics show that there are now more women than ever in Scotland in employment. There are 1.2 million now employed, the highest since records began in 1992 and an increase of 35,000 since last year.  Now there might well be issues with pay, with job security and even the nature of these jobs if we scratch below the headline figures. Yet, some of the levers we need to address these things currently sit with Westminster.  Look at what we have achieved – are achieving – for the women of Scotland with the powers we currently have and think about what more we could do with independence.

It’s not every day the Daily Record would describe a poll as a bombshell but that is indeed what happened this week. Its latest Survation poll found that the gap between Yes and No continues to narrow, with Yes up to 39% (up 2 points on the previous month) and No down to 44% (down 3 points). Better still, the survey findings suggest the gender gap is also narrowing and also that young people are now more likely to vote yes than no.  That in itself is a major turnaround. The poll also shows that the SNP and Yes’s instincts right at the start of this long campaign were right – the risk of more Tory governments Scotland did not vote for in the current constitutional set-up is a key consideration for many.  A majority would vote yes (44 to 38%) if they thought the Conservatives would win the 2015 General Election and form the next UK Government.

So, if you want to be saying anything negative at all or having swipe at anyone anytime soon, feel free to unleash your worst on the Tories and the fact that the Union gives us governments we neither vote for nor want.  I find highlighting the devastating impact of austerity on the incomes and quality of life of women and children goes down well.


14 thoughts on “An easy way to bury good news

  1. I just want to clarify that I did not say I thought that the ‘leadership’ should be urging the ‘youngsters’ over the barricades but that the ‘leadership’ should be offering a bit more in the way of counter-attack to specific stories and issues then they currently appear to be doing. By failing to display such leadership qualities they are in danger of leaving the youngsters to jump the barricades themselves in ill coordinated attacks, perhaps as we have just seen on social media.

    Nor did I ever imply that the ‘oldies’ should step aside and let the youngsters get on with it. I expressly said I respected and admired Mr Sillars’ contributions and wanted him to continue long into the future. And seeing as you have felt the need to include yourself in the ‘oldies’ category I must add that while I have no idea what your personal contributions are (beyond this blog), I do welcome and appreciate everything you are doing and will do. I might disagree with some things you do or say, but I still welcome your efforts as I hope you welcome mine (not that I feel much like a youngster).

    Your last point, “So, if you want to be saying anything negative at all or having swipe at anyone anytime soon, feel free to unleash your worst on the Tories and the fact that the Union gives us governments we neither vote for nor want.” is precisely my point when I asked Mr Sillars (and others) to stop their overly-critical comments towards a few fringe members of the Yes movement and get on with focussing ALL their attentions on winning independence for Scotland. I would add that your criticism of another blogger, Wings Over Scotland, also falls into the category of being an unnecessary ‘swipe’. By all means make specific criticism of any article that appears on that site (or others) but to make generalised comments about it is not helpful.

  2. It’s really good to read a woman’s point of view, so refreshing and there’s just not enough women’s voices being heard in this debate. Considering it’s the women’s votes we need to win the referendum, I agree with you that we need to focus on the positive. Smear campaigns against cybernats are a ‘no thanks’ invention and the best way to counteract that is not to waste our energy rebutting it but to keep the good news flowing. I do have a lot of respect for Wings in exposing media bias but I’m not sure women care too much about who said what and who didn’t. What they do care about is child poverty and nuclear weapons, affordable childcare, better employment opportunities and a fairer society. It’s such an easy sell for the yes campaign. Keep yerselves nice and stay on message! Apologies to any women who feel I’ve generalised, it’s a perspective from speaking to other women but certainly not a presumption that I speak for all.
    Ps, Please don’t give up Burdzeye, we need you like never before x

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  4. Another tweet that gives the background on some of the signees of a letter to the Times…. it can be seen that it is alright for some people to name & shame labour party apparatchik without being named as a cybernat… or suffering pangs of remorse…
    JUNE 15TH, 2014
    Third Sector Mafia Tantrum
    The usual suspects from the taxpayer-subsidised charity mafia will tomorrow try to pull off one of their coordinated outrage stunts. They will have a pop at Tory MP Conor Burns for having the cheek to suggest that charities like Oxfam, who take a significant chunk of public money for their international efforts, should butt out of domestic politics. The well-heeled public affairs team at Friends of the Earth have got a collection of Labour sleepers to sign a letter to the Times which will be published on Monday morning. They will claim that they are all very ‘concerned’ that attempts are being made to ‘stifle charities’. They deliberately miss the point that this is ‘concern’ about the government awarding money to organisations that then use that cash to lobby the very same government.
    Guido was particularly amused when he had a little look at the signatories to Monday’s letter. Just how independent is Joe Irvin from the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action? Well he used to be a Special Adviser to John Prescott and a member of the Number 10 policy unit under Labour…
    Kate Allen of Amnesty International? Well she was sleeping with Ken Livingstone for long enough…
    How about Alexandra Runswick from Unlock Democracy? Proud Labour member.
    Surely Tony Dykes, from those UK-based experts Action for Southern Africa, is alright? Nope, the former Leader of Camden Council. (Labour).
    Guido feels he is being a bit unfair labelling all these concerned do-gooders as Labour supporters. At least Jon Nott, the General Secretary of the Woodcraft Folk, is a Green. The same cannot be said of Martin Drewry from Health Poverty Action who is another proud Labour supporter.
    Leaked emails reveal that the now much maligned Oxfam have had a hand in making this letter happen. Their Policy and Communications Manager, Richard Pyle, has been encouraging old friends, colleagues and fellow travellers to sign up. Let’s have a peek at some of his ‘likes’ and interests on Facebook, shall we?
    – Wes Streeting for Ilford North (Labour PPC)
    – Derek4Europe (Derek Munn a Labour MEP candidate for Scotland)
    – Pam Duncan (who ran for Labour selection in wait for it…Falkirk)
    – Kirsty4Europe (Kirsty O’Brien, a Labour MEP candidate for Scotland)
    – LGBT Labour
    – Luke Pollard (Labour PPC in South West Devon in 2010)
    – David Miliband
    – Peter Mandelson
    – Tony Blair
    And, lest there be any doubt:
    – I’m supporting Labour at the General Election
    You have to wonder how switched on Oxfam’s Policy Manager really is when he ‘declares war on unemployment’ in the same week that employment reaches a record high. It’s worth noting who is really driving this hysterical outrage bus. Hint: it’s party political.

  5. You are saying you shoild give up. For once I agree with you.

  6. And a very good thought it is Robert. Lots of blame being thrown around but not a scintilla of evidence shown.

  7. Kate, I think Salmond was quite right not to sack Gunn. He made a mistake over part of Claire Lally’s identity. However, the fact is BT were trying to portray Claire Lally as an ordinary member of the public, when she is clearly a well known SLAB activist. Of course the alleged abuse she received was wrong, as was the alleged abuse of Rowling. However, lets not pretend that there is no abuse from the No campaign either. This is a passionate political campaign over the future of Scotland. I think you do yourself a disservice by attacking Wings when the truth is much more complex.

  8. Re: ” I give up…”

    Given the continued evidence free diatribes against those you regard as beyond the pale like Wings Over Scotland and anyone with the temerity to think he’s actually doing a hell of a lot more to bring about a Yes vote than people who think as you do Kate… we can but hope we can take your comment literally?


  9. Can you do me a favour? Blair McDougal advertised your site with a list of vile email attacks on JKR. Can you email me with a link to that page please?

  10. Crap analysis…..we are having our head; like it or not. Wings should not be besmirched by passing on that envy blog (Edinburgh Eye).

    Start your infight after the vote.

  11. I give up….

    • What an absolute load of rubbish. If anyone is playing into the NO camp’s hand it is you…and constantly, with your chipping away at YES blogs which are far superior to your sad offerings. Get over Wings. Your envy is showing all too clearly.

      Yes, Campbell Gunn made a mistake by not checking Lally’s bio but since when is it ‘vile abuse’ to say someone is related to a revered Labour Party grandee, particularly if you are an activist like Clare Lally is. But he was very much on the ball pointing out the misrepresentation of Lally by SLAB and herself. Christ, some ‘ordinary housewife’…a member of Slab’s Shadow Cabinet and a vigorous Slab activist.

      And your cheap shot at Stu Campbell is uncalled for. I doubt if the YES campaign would be where it is today without his very welcome articles and the accompaning comments. These show up the incessant lies and misinformation by the Media and give the YES canvassers powerful ammunition to help make the case for Independence. If we had had to rely on Blogs like yours and other Wets we would be in a very poor place.

      So let us see less negativity from you and more honest support. You give me the impression that Independence is secondary in your mind to the re-establishing of a ‘proper’ Labour Party in Scotland just like your friend Jim Sillars.

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  13. an interesting piece however you’re making two assumptions (a) the people you mention did in fact receive abuse on an industrial scale & (b) this vile abuse came from supporters of a free scotland in both cases Evidence is not and will not be forthcoming the people behind this set up have completed their mission and by going after the so called cybernats ( someone with a computer that supports independence ) you are assisting them in pointing the finger at what could turn out to be innocent people perhaps the better route would be “Show Us The Proof” just a thought

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