Thursday, 25 July 2013

Tribal Warfare - Better Together's new ruse ...

I wonder how many folk missed the recent leak from Better Together that their next big campaign will be to target 'tribes' within Scotland to create dissension and break up the growing support for a 'Yes' vote. This is a program the Tories have run very successfully in England using it to demonise the unemployed (workshy), the sick and disabled (scroungers), single mums (they are all teenagers) and at present the NHS in England (doctors are overpaid / patients are being 'murdered' in their NHS beds).

I am not about to expand on any of the fallacies surround the Tory campaigns on these matters but needless to say a lot of English folk seem to have had their extreme prejudice buttons well and truly punched which is allowing the Tories to get away with actual murder - it is now estimated that 73 deaths a week are directly related to ATOS ICB/DLA assessments, up from 43 a week three months ago while the first of the bailiffs' notices preceding eviction are just going out across England as part of the Tories 'bedroom tax' campaign.

This left me thinking, just what are the 'Tribes' in Scotland Better Together are going to stir up to break the momentum for 'Yes' ( I have noted the lunacy of a campaign called 'Better Together' seeking to win by causing splits in the population which is supposed to be 'Better Together'). So where do the fault lines lie between Scotland's tribes?

The most obvious tribal warfare they are seeking to run with is the good old boys in the Orange Order, the new chummy relationship with Glasgow Labour which must be causing the odd eyebrow to be raised amongst their 'red rosette on a donkey' council voting fodder around Parkhead and other similar environs. The real problem with this strategy is there is very unlikely to be an Old Firm tie prior to September 2014 on which to berate the SNP with 'crowd troubles'.

 In Aberdeen Donside 'Better Together' tried the 'Aberdeen does not get as good a deal as Glasgow or Edinburgh from the Scottish Government' line ignoring the recent announcement of £6.8 billion of inward investment into the Aberdeen area for, according to Mr Darling, the soon to run out oil and gas support, R&D and new field development over the next three years. There are the small issues of the Labour Council coalition turning aside an £80 million redevelopment in central Aberdeen and the Aberdeen bypass heading for completion. Clearly the Aberdonians are getting a bad deal, so bad a deal they returned the SNP candidate in spite of 'Sir Hairblowers' best efforts.

How about the Highlands and Islands versus the Central belt? 

The Scottish Government released £12 million today for the badly needed repair of the east runway at Sumburgh and is ploughing money into the Highlands and Islands in support of the growth of the reusable energy industry, Inverness is booming and Stornoway could soon be seeing growth in harbour traffic as development of the oil and gas fields to the west of the Hebrides starts to grow in pace and volume over the next five years. Meanwhile SME's in the central belt are seeing new build and other spin off work coming their way from the same industries bolstering the Highlands and Islands. Not too fertile ground there.

This only really leaves race.The race card has been played in England by the Tories and New Labour for an age now, working on the sense of grievance felt by each of the three main racial groupings British Asians, British Afro-Caribbeans and the English. A recently published study suggests these splits are as wide as they have ever been in England. Both the Asian and Afro-Caribbean groupings in England define the term 'English' to mean white, chauvinistic, misogynistic, ignorant and inflexible which is why they call themselves 'British'. The same survey in Scotland did not reveal the polarisation found in England with respondents calling themselves 'Scottish' in the first instance who happened to be of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent with few respondents feeling any sense of detachment from their 'Scottish' communities. There are many sociological reasons why this could well be the case in Scotland but in terms of Better Together's tribal split campaign just where is the leverage for them to use? UKIP has been a non-event in Scotland(reliant as it is on a sense of racial tension / outrage) and the Scottish version of the EDL has had a still birth (or was that strangled at birth?).

The biggest tribal tension which the Better Together campaign could lever is the very case they are trying to defend - the growing split between the cohesive social politics and direction of a profoundly social democratic, conservative, Scottish nation with the current and foreseeable neo-liberal, UK Governments. In this the Better Together campaign is increasingly battling against the considered will of the Scottish people who want a new arrangement. Denying the devo-max option in the referendum for short term political gain to point score against the SNP will, most likely, be seen as a major error when political historians review the end of the UK and the last pitiful roars of the moth eaten, Westminster lion of British Empire.

I guess the last words from the death bed of the British Imperial lion will be - "Its jist no fair, pal, efter aa we've done fir them Scots".

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