Power to the people
One of facets of the Scottish referendum campaign which has surprised many is that despite a huge imbalance in media support for a ‘No’ vote there has been an undoubted surge towards ‘Yes.’ With over 90 newspapers printed in Scotland each week only one, the Sunday Herald, has come out in favour of independence. How then is one to explain the surge in support for self-determination among huge swathes of the Scottish people? The answer of course lies in that old Greek word, Democracy, which literally translates as ‘People-power.’ From meetings in school halls and churches to chatter in pubs and at football matches, the issues have been debated at length. The voiceless have found their voices; those turned off by bland party politics because they know it won’t change a thing in their often difficult lives have awoken to the fact that real change is indeed possible. The internet has allowed millions to see, discuss and judge the blatant establishment bias which has sought to frighten and coerce the population into returning to their master’s heel like an obedient dog.
Few journalists have had the courage to speak out against the huge bias in reporting of the referendum debate, rather most go with editorial guidance handed down by media moguls who support the Westminster elite and its self-serving club. This referendum has been portrayed as a choice between Alex Salmond and Scotland when it is clearly about self-determination for the Scottish people. Salmond has been compared to Robert Mugabe the dictator of Zimbabwe. Independence, usually slurred as ‘separatism’ we are told will lead to economic collapse in the world and create the sort of ‘Great Depression’ which saw the rise of the Nazis. This campaign of smear and fear could be expected from the right wing press which has, in the words of Quentin Letts, grown tired of…’Ungrateful Scots gorging on our money.’ While labelling Salmond as a ‘Sausage fingered radical’ he fails to mention the salient fact that Scotland has contributed more to the UK treasury than it has had in return for the past 33 year in succession. However, for little Englanders like Letts Scottish independence raises the prospect that an increasingly right wing England, devoid of Scottish MPs, will finally allow Westminster to roll back the welfare state created by what he calls ‘Celtic socialism.’
Such neo-con nonsense is to be expected from those who have gained most from our current social structures. What is more concerning is to see institutions such as the BBC allowing standards of fairness and balance to drop. On BBC Radio Scotland this week I heard Alastair Darling call Alex Salmond; ‘A liar out to deceive the Scots.’ This went unchallenged by the BBC Presenter as did the ridiculous smear from another Better Together Politico who suggested that what he called ‘Bully boy tactics,’ are orchestrated by Salmond personally. ‘This goes right to the top’ we were told, ‘Salmond needs to call off the dogs.’ We are wise now to such smear tactics and it actually harms the ‘No’ campaign to continue with this nonsense. Despite their best efforts to personify the ‘Yes’ campaign as being about Mr Salmond, most of us know it is about the people of Scotland taking back control of our own country from the so called ‘elite’ who have failed so many. It’s about a cause not a person. This is real grass roots democracy in action and they didn’t bank on this when in their arrogance they refused to even countenance ‘Devo Max’ on the ballot paper. The possibility of Scotland voting ‘Yes’ was considered remote six months ago and now that it seems a real possibility, the leaders of the over centralised UK are in panic mode making vague promises of change if we just give them another chance. Their friends in the media have thrown all their weight behind the ‘No’ campaign but still the people refuse to be bullied, belittled or blinkered. One laudable article by George Monbiot summed it up the media’s poor performance by saying..
‘’Here is the condescension with which the dominant classes have always treated those they regard as inferior: their serfs, the poor, the Irish, Africans, anyone with whom they disagree. “What spoilt, selfish, childlike fools those Scots are ... They simply don’t have a clue how lucky they are,” sneered Melanie Reid in the Times…
That so many Scots, lambasted from all quarters as fools, frauds and ingrates, have refused to be bullied is itself a political triumph. If they vote for independence, they will do so in defiance not only of the Westminster consensus but also of its enforcers: the detached, complacent people who claim to speak on their behalf.’’
Whatever the result of the referendum, a significant number of Scots have been politicized and are much more aware of how our political masters operate. The cynical and calculated use of the media to form opinion and to try to manipulate us has partially failed in this campaign because it ran into a determined and well educated people who saw through the tactics they used. This has been the campaign of the ordinary citizen, the common man and woman asking themselves what sort of country they want to bequeath their children and grandchildren. The power of the media remains strong but it is at last being challenged by ordinary people who are starting to think for themselves. The media have shafted Scotland during this campaign and it remains to be seen if the bulk of the Scottish people have fallen for it. We need a balanced media which lays the facts before the people, not corporate driven agendas designed to preserve the prestige and privilege of the few.
The people of Scotland have at least done the entire UK a great service by reminding them that ordinary people have the power to bring about real change if they are motivated and discerning enough to see through the media spin. The leaders of the main parties are in utter panic that they misjudged the ‘plebs’ so badly. Power should lie in the hands of the people not the Ox-Bridge elite or any other vested interest group. Whatever you vote tomorrow, make your choice based on facts and not spin. That is the essence of democracy.
Power to the people!