Over the last week I, like many, have had a serious dose of dejavu, a re-run of September 2014:What do you find if you watch or listen to any political program this weekend or sight the headlines of the London based papers - any analysis of the precarious position the UK now finds itself in after Mark Carney of the Bank of England saved the UK economy from imploding (just) by pumping another £250 billion, via QE, into the UK's already stressed banking system? In effect devaluing the pound further and were Unionist politicians being held to account for their folly?
- Shock: that so many people across the UK seem to be saying, "All nig-nogs, wogs and Arabs go home" no matter if you are UK born and bred
- Disbelief: that so many leave voters had not the slightest clue with regards the impact of the vote on their own jobs, security, savings and pensions
- Hurt: with the outpouring of ignorance and lack of foresight or future planning among the very politicians who created this situation in the first place
- Anger: that the Unionist politicians response has been to implode into internal party squabbles and back stabbing for their own selfish benefit with no thought to what the UK needs
- Depression: as I have nowhere to express any of these feelings so end up internalising them.
What has actually been going on today has been a Unionist party politics version of 'Big Brother' where contestants have spent their time and effort seeking to get anyone but them ejected from the 'House of Fools at Westminster' . In Scotland, the BBC and the rest of the Unionist media have spent the day telling Scotland we are still too wee, too poor and too stupid to join the EU on our own. Trying to claim black is once more the new white and the EU want nothing to do with Scotland, even though they mistranslated all the statements to back up their false claims when the message from the EU to Scotland is actually:
- "Ditch EU-phobic England and Wales and we will welcome you with open arms, no problems at all."
On Friday playing golf I was in the company of at least two friends who voted 'No' in 2014 and 'Leave' in 2016. I asked the simple question, how did they feel seeing their pension funds and savings collapse as a result of the Brexit result and their votes? Unsurprisingly I was faced with a high degree of denial that what happened was just a blip and the pound and markets would recover as the Brexit plan came into place. These are not stupid men both had successful businesses and yet the anger in their responses was palpable. It seemed to me they knew it had been a 'balls up' but could not admit to themselves they were responsible for it. Their response turned to the stock 'SNP baad!' style claims, straight from the front page of the Mail or Express, Scotland was just part of the UK and would just do what it was told to by Westminster.
Over the week I have read many comments on blogs and across Facebook expressing a similar sense of bewilderment that intelligent people who vote 'No' in 2014 and 'Leave' in 2016, especially in the over 60 age groups, still think by continuing to vote in the same manner, the result will be different next time. Younger people struggle to comprehend why their Grand Parents have screwed them over in such a selfish and inward looking manner. So as part of my own attempts to have some sort of catharsis to deal with my own depression over the issue here is a brief explanation of the psychological process that causes this hidebound thinking - and not just when it comes to exercising the vote.
Hard wired into the primate brain is an aversion to risk. In some respects it has been a very good evolutionary bit of hard wiring given our current position on the evolutionary chain. The longer you have exercised this aversion to risk, the harder it is to ignore it even when the evidence indicates doing what you are doing is in fact more risky than changing your behaviour. This is manifest as a pattern of behaviour in heavy smokers, over eaters and the likes where the response is routinely to blame some other cause for the behaviour, "Its my glands" or by claiming the risk is overstated. This is known as cognitive dissonance fitting the facts to fit your behaviour. This process explains why many of the over 60's will not agree that their 'No' vote or 'Leave' vote was maybe not as smart a decision or in anyway as logical as they think.
The other psychological issue that effects us all, Yes or No; Stay or Leave is called cognitive bias. In terms of day to day life it presents as what we think of as our intuitive answer or response to any question or event. Any answer, response or action we take using this quick decision making system, is not based in logic, just learned behavior. It is how people can catch or kick balls with out having to think about it, so is a very useful thought process for day to day survival. So if you have 'learned' to be a 'Yes' supporter, your cognitive bias system programs you to automatically respond in a 'Yes' way in your answers and actions, simply because it is easier and you do not have to actually think logically. In the same way as many over 60's have 'learned' through out their lives the UK is so 'great' it should not be broken up. It only comes unstuck when someone asks you 'why?' and engages your logic circuit and you are left to either stop and consider (logic) or simply respond using cognitive bias, 'Because I say so!'
Writing this article I am using my logic circuit, it takes time to do this, as I constantly seek balance my knowledge base (logic) against my own cognitive bias. In effect I seek to self edit myself at every turn because my cognitive bias tells me to write an article panning over 60's as ignorant morons for voting 'No' and 'Leave' in such numbers and not trying to understand at a very core level, why they have voted in this way. On the other hand when you read articles by the likes of Brian Taylor at the BBC or Crichton, late of the Herald, you see their cognitive bias at work; masquerading as an informed opinion.
The reason I think people trust Ms Sturgeon. in a way they did not do with Alex Salmond, is her actions and responses engage most people's logical thinking circuit and not our cognitive bias circuit. This may explain why people who previously would not have touched the SNP with a barge pole, now put their trust in her leadership of the SNP when compared to the UK public's almost universal contempt for politicians in the 'House of Fools' at Westminster; then again it might just be my cognitive bias at work.