Since the referendum on Sept 18th, I have had numerous conversations on social media where people I talk to or their friends have told me they are hurt by the racial slurs and the attacks that the Yes campaign said about them, particularly by people who live in England.
This article is designed to help set the record straight.
There may have been a small fringe (a very small fringe) of normal people on both sides of the debate that were in it for the wrong reason (every cause will attract them), but can I assure you that the official Yes campaign was extremely respectful and it was not anti-English, anti-Welsh or anti-Northern Irish, no matter what the right-wing press told you.
However what the same press doesn’t tell you is the leaders and officials in the No campaign and the press itself used terms such as “Bayonet the wounded – Labour MP Ian Davidson“, “Blood and Soil Nationalism – Leader of the No campaign Alistair Darling, which is Nazi reference“, “Likening Alex Salmond to Robert Mugabe – The Spectator“, “Johann Lamont – Yes supporters are a disease” and on and on and on. All this directed at anybody who dared to vote Yes.
Find me similar remarks from the leaders of Yes, they don’t exist. The press painted a picture in England of English hating sweaty jocks. Couldn’t be further from the truth. One of the stronger voices we had at grassroots level was English Scots For Yes, we also had Scots Asians for Yes, Africans for an Independent Scotland, LGBT for Yes. Ask yourself this, if the Yes campaign were the vile anti-English racists thugs that Project Fear painted them as, would all these groups and others be campaigning at grassroots for a Yes vote?
The official Better Together campaign (Self Titled: Project Fear) tried their best to whip up a hysteria over the infamous “Cybernats” when it was they themselves that were some of the nastiest perpetrators of foul and abusive language.
There is very clever political tactic of blaming the opposition of exactly what you are doing yourself. Shout it from the rooftops and watch your compliant media carry the message, “that it is really them the Cybernats that are guilty of it, we are innocent”. Project Fear played this card mercilessly. In short they ran a smear campaign.
The No campaign had control of the media, The BBC showed itself as a State Broadcaster and not the impartial Public Broadcaster it is mandated by law to be. It and the press (apart from a few journalists) spoon fed manufactured outrage to the people’s of WENI (Wales, England & Northern Ireland).
Project Fear made a big noise and their friends in the media duly obliged by running numerous column widths on it, about how Alex Salmond must squash the vile comments being made by the nasty Cybernats, they asked an impossible task. A few ordinary people make offensive remarks on Facebook or Twitter and Project Fears leaders fake injured feelings and have stories running for over a week at a time, because of one or two mildly offensive comments were slung at them.
Now most people know how to do a screenshot, but it seems not the vaunted whiter than white Better Together campaign, because when challenged, when asked what was said they had already deleted their (Facebook/Twitter) accounts in disgust, without taking or keeping the evidence of what was said. But they assured us, they vile Cybernats did say that nasty thing to me and the press ran with it like compliant little poodles.
So in large we had plenty of cases reported of the above with the faked outrage of those in the Project Fear camp, but little to no evidence to show for it and some other cases where mildly offensive comments were posted by members of the public, certainly no worse than you hear at the pub at closing time. Those sort of comments are not something the official Yes campaign could stop, no more than they could stop me writing this article or you the reader taking your time to consider it.
However the group that could have stopped a feck load of the nasty in fact downright vile comments were the Better Together Leadership and their associated MP’s and friendly journalists who continually used the sort of comments I mentioned at the start.
Let’s not forget the activists, the party officials that Project Fear tried to pass of as just members of the public with no political connections to them or the councillors on Project Fear leaflets trying to pass themselves off as members of the public or the funniest one of all the actress on one of the main Better Together leaflets who was pictured as an ordinary mum but who was voting actually Yes. However when this pointed out by an army of Yes supporters online, bring on the faux outrage!
Then of course there was the list of which I am on and proudly wear my “I’m on the list badge” still. Then we have the racist attacks attributed to the vilest of the Cybernats only when you do just a cursory investigation you find them to mindless Unionist thugs.
The last area I want to tackle is actual violence. Now we had a massive couple of weeks worth of constant news reporting about Jim Murphy of the No campaign being egged. Did you hear about what was thought to be the first actual recorded violence against an individual during the campaign when an SNP councillor was attacked in a pub, Did you hear about the attempt to run Alex Salmond leader of the SNP off the road in the same week, did you hear about the death threats to Alex Salmond, did you hear about the disabled women whose tyres were slashed for having Yes stickers on her car, did you hear about the chair being thrown from a block of flats at people canvassing for Yes, did you hear about the burnt out yes shop. What about the thuggery in George Square, where Unionists linked to Rangers, The Orange Order and Northern Irish loyalist group turned a peaceful commiseration gathering for losing the referendum into an act of carnage, Nazi salutes and all, luckily RT broadcast all of it live as did people in Freedom Square. I watched in horror captivated and unable to do anything as two young sisters had their saltire ripped from their hands, knocked to ground and were spat on. You did hear about eggs though, didn’t you.
So long and short of the situation readers. There really is nothing for the people’s of WENI (Wales, England & Northern Ireland) to be bitter about, unless you wish to swallow the lies that were fed you by a press determined to stoke up animosity that was not there in the first place and still is not there.
However every Yes supporter has a very strong case for being bitter, after being referred to by OFFICIAL’s in the No campaign and the No supporting press as a virus, as disease, as a fascist, as a Nazi etc. The majority of us are not bitter though. We know the truth of what we were called and the actions taken against us. Any chance of ever supporting the continuation of the Union was killed in most of us, by the VERY SAME PEOPLE CHARGED WITH SAVING IT, but we ain’t bitter. Angry Yes at the press and selected politicians, but not at the English people, not at the Welsh people and not at the Northern Irish people.