Wednesday, 24 July 2013

How Long has the Gorbals Goebbels Got?

I sincerely hope Ian Taylor's company Vitol got good value for money for the $1M dollars he paid Serbian war criminal Arkan, because Taylor must be despairing for the £500,000 he donated to Better Together, the self-styled Project Fear.

It's now nearly 2 weeks since Alistair Darling, Better Together chairman, had yet another relaunch promising to enunciate the positive case for the Union. However, not only was his thunder stolen by the MoD revealing plans to annexe Faslane / Coulport, but the promised positive relaunch turned out to be the same old collection of scare stories gathered together in probably the most mind-numbingly boring document produced in the independence referendum campaign so far.

Probably hoping to draw attention away from the fact that his more usual fare is getting paid £10,000 to speak at dinners for healthcare privatisation companies, Darling was keen to promote his 'Patriotic Scot' image and be photographed with a packet of porage: 

It might have been rather more convincing had the packet actually been opened. In any event, I doubt he appreciated the hatchet job that accompanied the photo in The Observer's piece by Kevin McKenna: Scottish Nationalists can rest easy, given the opposition.

However, Alistair is singularly safe in his Chairmanship. He is, after all, the only Labour has-been (ever was?) keen to be seen sucking up to the Tories.  It is also handy that his successor as UK Chancellor, George Osborne, is the real head of Better Together.  The rest have hived off into United with Labour which, after its launch, seems to have disappeared. It's probably hiding under the same rock Johann Lamont has been hiding under since the Falkirk Labour Candidate selection crisis reared its head.

No, with Better Together / Project Fear now being wholeheartedly derided by Dependents as well as Independents, the jacket of the Chief Executive Blair McDougall, the Gorbals Goebbels, must be on an extremely shooglie peg.

For over a month now it has been more than apparent that the Project Fear strategy has been received by the Scottish public rather more like Carry on Screaming, and McDougall's passing resemblance to the comedy horror character Oddbod doesn't help.  Even as late as yesterday, his whole energy was spent making a mountain which only the terminally obtuse could possibly have made from Alex Salmond's analogous likening of £1.5Tn to £300,000 for every person in Scotland in an attempt to make such an infeasibly large number understandable.  To erect that analogy into a Straw Man 'pledge' to give every Scot £300,000 shows that there's not a positive bone in McDougall's body.

We also got an insight into the internal workings of Project Fear with their launch video for Blether [sic] Together.  Standing for the moment that their 'grassroots' campaign has a national regional organiser (sounds more astroturf than grassroots to me), we got to meet the man himself, only to find that Rob Murray has all the charisma of a second rate Betterware salesman. 

How long will the Better Together / Project Fear Tory donors put up with their money being squandered on second rate Labour hacks: One trick dead ponies like McDougall and Murray?  Not long, I think. Especially as their one trick is now not only not working, but has become comedy gold.  

Perhaps I was being unfair in calling McDougall the Gorbals Goebbels. Unfair to Dr Goebbels, that is. Goebbels could deploy subtlety in the propagandist's art. McDougall doesn't even know what the word means.

Addendum 18:30 24/07/13

It appears that I may have struck a nerve. Blair McDougall seems to be having a touch of the Calmans.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Carry on Screaming in Your Own Home.

Better Together, the gift that just keeps on giving, have launched Blether Together: A computer tool that gives their activists access to lists of telephone numbers to call from home.

After all, Scots just love nuisance phone calls, don't we? Just imagine the joy of coming home after a long day at work and getting a call full of scaremongering from some spotty Tory Boy teenager or better still, you might get one of the stars - imagine the opportunity of discussing wee dugs and sausage rolls with Wee Ryan himself, or how voting No will make life better for Donald's ancestors?

Just imagine the unbridled joy of some confused CyberBore like Duncan Hothersall, George Laird (a real humdinger!) or Mulder1981 giving you a call with some scare stories as you're trying to make the tea.

Not for the first time, in their patronising attempts to appear hamely and Scottish, they've screwed up yet again.  They think blether just means chat.  The dictionaries (and most Scots) would tend to differ.  At least we're now seeing some honesty from Better Together.

blether [ˈblɛðə]
vb & n
Scot a variant spelling of blather
[from Old Norse blathra, from blathr nonsense]

blath•er (ˈblæð ər) 
1. foolish, voluble talk.
2. to talk foolishly; blither; babble.

Friday, 19 July 2013

No, Mr Bond. I expect you to die.

The Mistress of the Singing Universe, SuBo has had her hand declared for Unionism. The unlikely Bond villain, who first came to world prominence in a gold dress given to her by her uncle Auric Goldfinger, gave an interview to The Sun while she stroked her white pussy.

Economists have been scratching their heads since her intervention, trying to work out what dastardly scheme her uncle has up his sleeve, since the economically challenged chanteuse said:

"Many people are struggling to make ends meet — how will they cope if prices escalate because of this change?”

Runaway inflation is a new independence threat, not even uttered by the evil Project Fear up to now. Her uncle famously once before tried but failed to cause runaway inflation in the price of gold with the aid of a stolen nuclear weapon. Why he should pick on Scotland this time is as yet unknown.

Economists and linguists worldwide are still trying to work out what this threat even means:
“Economically, the costs of change will be vast and money that should be directed into important areas like hospitals, schools and the vulnerable in society will be swallowed by bureaucracy." 
"M" has placed the British Army on the highest alert state after she threatened:
“Then there’s the question of the military — what will become of the regiments?"

Geologists initially dismissed her backhanded threat: "I strongly believe Scotland should remain part of Britain." The best scientific minds were all certain that Mainland Scotland would remain the Northern third of the Island of Britain for at least 300 million years. However she soon wiped the smile off their faces. On hearing that the First Minister's favourite malt was the Isle of Jura, she decided to demonstrate her power by wiping it from the face of the earth.

First Minister Alec Salmond is considering resigning after this terrifying intervention and it is understood that Sir Sean Connery has gone into hiding. Reluctant Cybernats all over the internet are calling for the independence referendum to be cancelled after the intervention of the powerful intellectual giant.  Reverend Stuart Campbell of Wings over Scotland called for calm, fearing some abusive Cybernat may rile her into destroying Skye. Duggy Dug has been silenced as he fears for Islay.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Project Fear Giving Itself the Jitters?

It seems Oddbod Blair McDougall's Carry on Screaming strategy may be backfiring on his own support: "Better Together chief warns only a resounding win will be good enough." 

"In an interview with The Scottish Mail on Sunday, Mr McDougall said: "We've got to focus on winning first of all. My slight concern is that we don’t lose sight of the fact that this is not won yet; if the majority don’t turn up the minority will win." 

The campaign director harbours only a "slight concern" that his strategy of turning folk off from the debate by bombarding us with a relentless barrage of ludicrous scare stories has succeeded in turning off many potential No voters.

In the best Carry on Screaming tradition, he couldn't help "Lying Tonight". Once again, he tries to credit the Yes Camp with the Project Fear monicker:
"Mr McDougall also hit back at SNP opponents who brand his campaign ‘project fear’, saying the phrase shows ‘they are worried about us asking questions’."
However, as we all know Project Fear hit the streets as his own staff's nickname for Better Together.

"One of the charges against Better Together is that it is unremittingly negative, preferring to pose endless questions of the Yes side, rather than sell the benefits of the UK. Privately, some inside Better Together even refer to the organisation as Project Fear. McDougall is unrepentant about the tactics."
There does seem to be one strategy shift in the article though. Gone are the unremitting protestations of Scottish patriotism, replaced by a likening of Scotland to a used car:
‘All they need to do is get us to drive the used car off the car lot; if it breaks down after that then so be it.’
Is Mr McDougall having some kind of a breakdown? With positive images of Unionism like this filling the screens, it's perhaps understandable.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Captain Darling Tries to Polish the Turd

Don't get too excited, he fails miserably as all turd-polishers do. Following on from Yesterday's pre-release of key points of his "Lecture" today at Glasgow University at which he was allegedly to throw off his staff's own "Project Fear" monicker, Alistair Darling's full document has been released by Better Together.

He kicks off with some fantastical historical revisionism of 300 years of the Union before descending into a not even thinly-disguised trotting out of all the old familiar Project Fear scare stories.

"It was replaced first by different forms of public administration – Scottish boards, commissions, government departments and the like. But prior to 1999 they were responsible only to the UK Parliament. The case for better scrutiny of these distinctive institutions was a key plank of the argument for devolution. So it would be a profound mistake to think that it is only since devolution that the union has had a distinctive Scottish side. In our modern, democratic age that means a powerful Scottish Parliament and a devolved government that deals with most of Scotland’s domestic affairs. 

"Of course there is an alternative nationalist narrative to this – a romantic fable of how a small nation was first absorbed by its larger neighbour, and struggled to regain its identity. But just as nationalist sentiment ignores the reality of how we as Scots belong to the UK, so this childish tale ignores the reality that, for Scotland, union has always meant the preservation of a distinct Scottish identity. Historical scholars have long understood that the union of 1707 was not to be contrasted with independence. Rather there were two extremes: independence, which was no longer sustainable in Scotland’s interest, and assimilation, which would have destroyed Scotland’s identity. This is as true today as it was then - union, and devolution within it, safeguard Scotland’s interests and preserve our identity."
Forget that Scotland was sold into the Union against the wishes of her people by exactly the same kind of self-interested political cabal as now wishes to keep her in the trough Union. Forget the Disarming Acts of 1715 and 1725. Forget the  Act of Proscription and the Murder, Burnings and Ethnic Cleansing of the Highlands and Islands in the aftermath of 1746. Forget the subsequent Highland Clearances and the equally devastating Border Clearances. Forget Wolfe's "No Great Mischief if they fall", that Scotland's casualties in WW1 were more than double the rest of the British Army and that the same attitude persists to this day in that it's considered OK for the UK's nuclear arsenal to be parked 25 miles from Scotland's largest conurbation. Forget the Education Acts of 1872 and 1918 and their devastation of Gaelic language and culture. Forget the nigh-on 300 years of Scotland governed as an unrepresentative Quangocracy. All of those were "romantic" and "childish" according to Darling's Newspeak. He only thinks he can get away with it because until the C21st, next to no Scottish history was taught in Scottish Schools at all in his glorious Union.

I'll spare you most of the rest which rehashes the old scare stories. As trailed, he makes much of the wider opportunities available to Scots throughout the UK. Whoop de doo dah! Those opportunities have been available to Irish citizens since 1922 and will still be available to Scots as long as rUK is a member of the EU due to the single labour market. Bizarrely he states as a bald fact that a currency union requires fiscal union. I don't recall the UK Chancellor setting tax rates in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa when they shared Sterling and he doesn't set tax rates in Gibraltar, Man or the Channel Islands which currently share Sterling. He also trails the "No longer British' tripe as if he has the tectonic power to break up the island of Britain.

Suffice it to say that the Project Fear negative word-count is still high:

Risk appears 34 times
Secure/insecure/ity 29
Border 14
Small 14
Separate/ing 7
Uncertainty/ies 6 
Crisis/es 5
Barrier 4
Strength 4
Reduce 3
Break/ing 3
Hindrance  2
Weak/en 2

Captain Darling is still in command of the Project Fear Brigade.

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Project Fear Scares Darling into Saying Nothing About Indyref

On 6th July Alistair Darling told Scotland on Sunday that "No needs positive case".

"CAMPAIGNERS against Scottish independence must give people a “positive” reason for staying within the UK, Alistair Darling has said, ahead of a major speech this week on the case for Scotland’s place within the Union.
"In an interview with Scotland on Sunday, the leader of the Better Together campaign says he aims to make the “head and heart” case on the continuation of the 30-year-old Union, pointing to the economic and social benefits of the single UK state.
"It comes after a week in which the pro-UK campaign has been accused by opponents of “scaremongering” its way to winning next year’s referendum, by exaggerating the downsides of independence and failing to offer a convincing case for the UK.
"Darling says today that as well as raising questions about independence, the No campaign must give people a “good reason to come out and vote” in favour of the UK over the next year if it is to win convincingly."
Leaving aside the Chairman of a campaign apparently calling for a strategy U-Turn in his own campaign as if he was some outside observer, are we about to find out what the fabled "Positive Case for the Union" is? Unfortunately not. 

From the rushes of tomorrow's Glasgow University lecture published by STV News as Alistair Darling to Make Case for the Union, half of the lecture highlights employment opportunities for Scots in the rest of the UK. However, those employment opportunities would still be available to Scots after independence as will employment opportunities all over the EU. So the Chairman of Better Together is making no argument about the independence referendumn here, unless:
  1. He thinks Scots are too stupid to know about the EU's single market in employment.
  2. He thinks rUK will leave the EU.
If it's the latter, Scots will be happy to trade employment opportunities in rUK for opportunities throughout the EU.

The second half of his lecture centres on Britishness.  Unless Mr Darling is privy to some tectonic secret unknown to geologists, mainland Scotland will remain the northern third of the Island of Britain whether or not we are governed from Westminster.  Our Britishness will be unchanged by the referendum, just as Danes are both Danish and Scandinavian, we will be both Scottish and British.

It seems Mr Darling has been so spooked by the revelation that Better Together call themselves Project Fear, that his own Project Fear has scared him into saying nothing about the independence referendum in his much-heralded landmark lecture at Glasgow University tomorrow.

Quite apart from scaring its own chairman into silence, Project Fear appears to have succeeded in scaring MODUK all the way to the lunatic asylum with threats to declare Faslane Sovereign UK Territory if we vote Yes. Rosneath would certainly benefit economically with a relatively inexpensive 300 metre causeway from Rhu, now there's a shovel-ready project!

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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Happy Separation Day, America - Plus ca Change

As we recover from the shock of the threat of massive increases in mobile phone charges, road taxes and VAT on children's clothes and we ponder the legions of baffled Americans Mr Hague would have us believe are begging for readmission to the British Empire, I wish our American cousins a happy Separation day.   

I am reliably informed by a Donnish friend from the dreaming spires of Oxford that In the Battlegreen Museum, Lexington, there is a letter from King George III to Thomas Jefferson, pointing out that “after independence, you will no longer be able to drink tea…” Plus ca change ... #Projectfear

King George III was mad, what's the current unionists' excuse?

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