Wednesday 14 October 2015

A question of trust

One of the most despicable aspects of the anti-independence campaign was the targeting of older people in Scotland with scare stories about pensions and benefits. Gordon Brown was particularly guilty of this, as he plumbed new depths of lying depravity in his determination to defend the ruling elites of the British state against the threat of democratic dissent.

And they're still at it!

By the simple expedient of pretending that Alex Neil said something that he did not, the British parties at Holyrood seek to cause fear and alarm among what they regard as a vulnerable section of Scotland's population. There never was any suggestion of means-testing of Winter Fuel Payments in the consultation document on Social Security. And none of the ideas set out in the paper has been adopted as policy, so the notion of a "U-turn" is nonsensical.

Most of us would see in this consultation document a perfectly reasonable, perhaps even laudable, effort to explore ways of ensuring that Winter Fuel Payments work effectively as part of a wider strategy to tackle the scourge fuel poverty. Contemptible mischief-makers like Alex Johnstone and Willie Rennie see only an opportunity to frighten the elderly in the hope of scoring some points against their hated political rivals. For these bold defenders of the British state, wantonly scaring older people is regarded as a legitimate tactic. Gordon Brown would doubtless approve. Decent people might see it differently.

I wonder, too, if the people Rennie and his Tory chums are trying to alarm are quite as vulnerable as they suppose. They may not be the easy target they suppose them to be. Analysis of the referendum has revealed that older people overwhelmingly voted No. It is reasonable to suppose that this is because they were considered fair game by Project Fear and subject to some of the most intense propaganda.

Pensioners were the target of some of the most appalling scare-mongering during the referendum campaign, with British nationalist activists - often bussed in from England - going to their homes to threaten that payments would stop should they dare to vote Yes. But the deluge of propaganda to which older people were subjected by the totally unprincipled alliance of British parties included some of the most brazen lies and baseless scares of the entire anti-independence effort. And it is these lies and scares which have unravelled most spectacularly in the months following the vote.

These people are not stupid, whatever Willie Rennie may imagine. They know they were lied to. They know who lied to them. They know very well that it is Rennie and his odious ilk who callously abused their trust during the referendum campaign. They won't get fooled again.


  1. As long as London controls the media,it can control the message.
    Most of the No voters I knew,never engaged with the debate and were happy for the media to give them"rational" reasons to justify their position.
    Pensions were too easy a target,we should have said that London would have been responsible for continuing to pay existing pensions which they would anyway,unless they were proposing to change the law such that you could only claim the state pension if you were resident in England.
    The currency issue,the "reason" many middle class voters used to support their position,is another matter and will have to be addressed if we are to have another go at independence.
    Let's hope that democracy takes root in the minds of our middle classes rather than money in my pocket does in future.

  2. People WERE told the truth about pensions. The currency issue WAS comprehensively addressed. It's not that these things weren't done. It's just that there was a major problem with getting the information to people.

    You identify the reason - or a large part of it - in your opening remarks. All to many people are passive consumers of media messages. They are content to take whatever is fed to them in the most superficially attractive and easily digestible way.

    We need people to be active consumers of media product. We need them to be prepared to seek information rather than accept what is laid in front of them. And we need them to ask the awkward questions about what is presented to them by the mainstream print and broadcast media.

    The best way to encourage this is to provide alternative media that is just as accessible and just as authoritative. People will then be able to compare the different messages and make a rational assessment as to which is more persuasive.

    We can't expect alternative media to be effective if people don't even know it's there. Or if they are not given good reason to trust it.