The greatest achievement of the Yes campaign has been the creation of a Scotland-wide, cross party/no party mass movement which has energised and engaged tens of thousands of people not just around independence but shaping a vision of a different kind of Scotland. It is this mass movement knocking on doors, organising packed public meetings and delivering leaflets across Scotland which is either simply ignored by the small band of commentators and journalists in the ever-shrinking mainstream media, or simply beyond their understanding.
For them, the world is bounded by the walls of Holyrood and Westminster, the spoon feeding of party spin doctors and equally spoon-fed “leaks” leading to the “Daily Blah Blah can reveal” type tales pretending to be real news. Increasingly, this is leading to two parallel worlds – one of “official” politics served up in preordained unionist dishes, and that of the army activists interacting day after day with their fellow citizens who find growing support for the Yes message.
Important and also largely ignored by mainstream journalists has been the alternative of highly successful websites and blogs which simply cut out the pro-unionist press barons and report the reality, in unfiltered fashion, of the Yes campaign. The importance of this development is underscored in a report that the Newsnet Scotland site has just reached a new peak of 300,000 unique visitors in the past month.
But perhaps the most significant aspect of the campaign has been the contrasting approach of the Yes and No sides of the debate. Essentially, Yes has portrayed a vision of a dramatically changed Scotland which puts the needs of its people at the heart of government, guarantees rights in a range of issues from healthcare to a nuclear-free Scotland, including basic human rights. This vision has both bolstered the case for independence and taken it into new areas of discussion in a bid to ensure a society shaped by the needs and demands of a multi cultural 21st century Scotland.
Ranged against this, the three party, pro-British alliance grouped round Better Together which has waged a relentlessly negative campaign of fear and smear and offered no alternative to the current austerity dominated war-obsessed UK. This lack of an alternative vision is no accident but rather serves to highlight the fact the Westminster trio are all entirely content that the current UK is, to adapt their own slogan, “the best of all worlds”.
So its ok to drive people to despair with the hated Bedroom Tax so long as you keep nuclear weapons and build aircraft carriers which have no planes. Indeed, amidst the union jack waving at the launch of the first of these white elephants, the quaintly titled First Sea Lord told us that they would project British power in the world. He appeared blissfully unaware of the disastrous consequences of such examples of this doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is perhaps then no great surprise then that such a world “vision” – firmly rooted in the imperial past – should attract backing from such soul mates as Barack Obama and the Chinese Communist Party. But the gold medal for the most reptilian contribution backing the No camp to date must go to repulsive right wing Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbot’s painting of Yes campaigners as “enemies of freedom”. This from a man who runs one of the most right wing governments in the self-described democratic world, with a record of climate change denial and brutal repression against refugees fleeing tyranny.
Notably, not a cheep of reproach was levelled at this reactionary tirade from Westminster MPs who regularly lambast the EU for “sticking its nose” in UK affairs. It is this pro-big business, planet-trashing, war-backing vision which has now been challenged by the progressive vision of the mass citizens’ movement backing Yes.
As flash of lightning illuminates a stormy night, the pro-fat cat vision of No was revealed, as a hectoring Alistair Darling pressed his “Plan B” fakery on Salmond in the TV debate with the warning that “the financial markets” were waiting on his reply. So a former revolutionary Marxist, now a fully paid-up backer of banker bonuses, war and greed sums up the No case. Only a Yes vote can open a different path which breaks with this outdated vision and puts people before profit.