Coffee House

Enough complacency. Enough bitching. The No camp needs to fight to save the Union

1 April 2014

10:14 AM

1 April 2014

10:14 AM

Look up complacency in the dictionary and the chances are you will find a picture of a Scottish unionist next to it. For months – no, make that years – politicians at the sharp end of the fight against Scottish Nationalism have been warning about the dangers of complacency. But they might as well have been mumbling platitudes about the weather for all the effect it has had.

The unionist side has been complacent, there is no doubt about that. Many in the anti-independence camp seem to have forgotten what this cause means to Alex Salmond and the SNP. They seem to have forgotten that this is all the Nats care about. It is what they have working for all their lives. They are believers, more than that they are evangelists.

Now, boosted by a deep campaign war chest and motivated by a referendum in just six months’ time, they are throwing everything at this campaign.

[Alt-Text]


I have mentioned before how effective the Nationalists have become at the ground campaign. ‘Something is happening in the grassroots,’ was how one senior Nationalist put it to me earlier this year and he was right and that is translating its way, slowly and surely, towards an increase in the Yes vote.

The unionist complacency was understandable for the first few months of the campaign when the No camp’s lead appeared virtually impregnable. But now, when the Yes camp has clearly closed the gap and is continuing to do so, such complacency is ridiculously out of place.

Oddly enough, this momentum shift towards the Yes camp could be exactly the wake-up call the unionists need. They need something shocking and worrying to get those idle unionist supporters and to sit up and realise how close the cliff edge actually is. And, with six months to go, the timing is spot on. There is enough time to go for all those sedentary unionists to get off their backsides and start matching the effort of their Nationalist counterparts. This could be the moment the cloak of complacency drops off and all those activists get up and start fighting.

But that is only going to happen if the politicians at the top get their act together and stop blaming each other for the state of their campaign. And, unfortunately for the No camp, the initial complacency is in danger of morphing – not into action, but into panic and division.

UK Government ministers have gone at each other over The Guardian’s unnamed source and ‘we will share the pound’ story from last weekend.

The Lib Dems have started bitching about Alistair Darling and now, according to reports this morning, some senior figures close to Downing Street have started having a go at the former Chancellor too. This is no time for a blame game. There will be plenty of time for that, believe me, after September 18 if the No camp falls apart now.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • http://batman-news.com The Commentator

    The union is finished. If the NO camp win by a slim margin it is only prolonging the agony. Look to the future: a resurgent Kingdom of England! Lets not bother with any more nonsense about rGB just to please the Welsh and Ulster Unionists. Kingdom of England, wealthy, peaceful and not funnily enough, a member of the EU. Solves the referendum headache; don’t need one.

  • Tony_E

    The Unionists would be better to close down their campaign. If the Scots want to listen to Salmond, then it’s up to them. The English should have no part of it, and the Westminster village should now shut up shop altogether on the issue.

  • komment

    Yes, the well has been poisoned, but who posoned it and how long has it been poisoned.
    Examing the events the led us to this historical moment we should reflect that, despite all the jiggery pokery of Scottish Labour’s dodgy voting voting system the SNP gained an overall majority in Holyrood.
    What seems to be ignored by those in e NO campaign is this was a resounding rejection of th evstatus quo. Devo-Max was the option of choice by the majority of voters, BUT THIS IS NOT ON OFFER.
    Having already rejected the status quo one should not be surprised if /when the Scots vote for Independence, no other choice really.

  • CharlietheChump

    Poor Hamish, you just don’t get it do you?

  • Graeme S

    The No camp had better start fighting real hard real soon or it will be too late. The fleet street hacks need to dig some nasty dirt out from salmonds past, riven alcoholic or kiddie fiddling etc.

    • allymax bruce

      Not going to happen; her Majesty, our Queen, has given Westminster the power to close down any Press company that elicits against her Democratic procedure; no ‘mysterious inventing’ or ‘dirt-digging’, of any type by the Press; especially Privy Counsellors like Alex’ Salmond.

  • abystander

    How about this nightmare.

    A NO vote but narrowly; a Tory win ( with zilch seats in Scotland) in 2015; and OUT vote in the EU referendum (with Scotland voting IN).

    What follows that?

    An SNP landslide and a rerun of the independence referendum.

    • allymax bruce

      That doesn’t make sense; Scotland can only vote on EU inclusion (IN), if we’re, (Scotland), is Independent by the time the EU in/out referendum comes along in 2017/18. Have you got your thinking right?
      Besides, Scotland is voting Yes in September 2014, so your hypothesis is double-indemnity wrong.

  • abystander

    You see, the Unionists have already deployed their heavy artillery. Osborne on the pound, Barosso on the EU, sundry bigwig money men and so on, fired off their salvos a couple of months back. All Scotland was supposed to run up a white flag.

    They have to fight this way, top down, big names, tough statements, because they have no bloody infantry. They have no one to go to the burgh hall meeting, to knock on the doors. Its spin doctor politics via the mass media versus local politics and social media. Ok, I exaggerate , but its along those lines.

    Now they have problems. They cannot build a genuine grass roots campaign in six months.It takes years to do that. Their scare stories have less and less traction because every day they call wolf. And some Tory minister has helpfully blown their credibility out of the water by admitting a currency union will happen.

    They also show a marked, indeed increasing tendency to panic and in-fight. Wee Eck will exploit that ruthlessly of course.

    They cannot afford too many more mistakes, in my view.

    • allymax bruce

      Yes; I’m just waiting for Iain Gray to suddenly make a scaredie-dash for the Hoyrood sandwich-shop back rooms!

  • asalord

    In the picture Darling is looking ahead to the moment he is rewarded by his unionist masters with a phony title and a seat in the house of lords.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    It is plain from the comments here and what one hears around that the English do not much care, and don’t want to keep anyone who doesn’t want to remain in the union. So long as they can find a new home for all that resentment.

    The only people who do seem to care are expat Scots who want the place they left to stay in the union. Well, rightly they don’t get a vote.

    • asalord

      Bitter together,better apart.

      • Kitty MLB

        Someones rattled your cage I see, and you are spouting
        old slippery Salmond’s favourite embittered words.
        You ought to tell him to watch out for Nicola Sturgeon, waiting
        to get her teeth into him
        like a fragrant grizzly bear waiting for her moment to pounce.

  • Frank

    The problem for the “stay in the Union group” is that they rightly suspect that, if England were ever given a vote on whether Scotland should be allowed to stay in the Union, the vote would be massively in favour of separation. Ditto for Wales and Northern Ireland. I don’t dislike any of these places, or their populations, I just think that, if they want independence, they should have it. If it all goes horribly wrong, then after a decent period, say 20 years, they could apply to be re-admitted to the Union.

    • Wessex Man

      no once they’re gone they’re gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jambo25

      Give the English that vote then. Let’s see if you are correct.

  • anyfool

    Darling was given the job as Chancellor because he was dull and pliable, Brown wanted someone who was not tainted like Balls, but he needed a cypher who would do as he was told.
    The Better Together were blinded by the fawning press cover of this man as dummy Chancellor, he had done nothing before they gave him the leadership, he has been a disaster for them, they are a flock of sheep without a shepherd.
    The wolves are circling and one can only hope they tear the flock to pieces.

    • HookesLaw

      Which Scotsman would you have?

      • anyfool

        Sean Connery, put a poster of him lying on his Tax haven beach with a speech bubble saying
        ——————I support an independent Scotland————–

        Will not work, but a least it would be more original than all the spouting you and your crew have done.

      • Wessex Man

        Lets’ send the bloke who boasted that he was proud of the Scottish blood pounding through his veins, oh sorry, he’s pretending to run the Country!

  • asalord

    The No camp is like the “united” kingdom itself: unbalanced, riven with internal disputes and nothing to offer except more austerity and more negativity.
    Great to see.
    This debilitating union continues to implode.

  • Kitty MLB

    I wonder why they never ask the English voter if we even want Scotland to stay.
    Also is it right that a Scottish person living here cannot get a vote, yet someone
    who has just moved to Scotland, that may not even be Scottish gets to vote.
    Also most Scottish seem to hate the English ( apart from a minority
    and a couple of nice. polite and humorous Scottish people here- quite unique)
    What about our opinion.. in the words of someone I have forgotten;
    ‘ We are English and have not spoken yet’.
    Scotland have a right to a voice and so do we.

    • HookesLaw

      Most Scottish do not hate the English, any more than most English hate the Scots. Repeating this is merely doing Salmond’s work and in the context of this story is quite silly.

      And the three parties have said they would not have a currency union and so that is pretty plain. its never been offered and only salmond is suggesting, demanding, it in desperation. It would need and rUK referendum anyway.

      • anyfool

        It would need and rUK referendum anyway
        You really are morphing into Telemachus of the Tories.
        Please explain this new position.

        • Wessex Man

          didn’t you know they are both him, sometimes he loves arguing with himself, ah well, mustn’t grumble!

      • allymax bruce

        ‘The Lib Dems have started bitching’ !

      • Jambo25

        Actually, if you took the respondents on sites like this one and the Telegraph, Mail etc, as being representative, it would rather appear that many, if not most English do hate the Scots.

    • Jambo25

      Same question as to Lady Ding Dong. Proof that most Scots hate the English.

      • Kitty MLB

        I have always found the Scottish people I have met very friendly,
        maybe a little grumpy at times. Its since speaking to Scottish people
        on this site and Con Home, who have said the Scots hate the English. Although my pal Salty from Con Home informs be that the Scots hate Conservatives slightly more then the English.
        And yet he and I get on exceptionally well

  • allymax bruce

    The Vicar’s not going to like this … We’re all doomed! … Mum won’t like it … Put that light out! … You silly old fool … Do you think that’s wise, sir? … Ruddy Hooligans! … You stupid boy,Pike … I’ll tell my Mum … Permission to speak,Sir … Now look ‘ere, Napoleon … How absolutely lovely! … I wondered how long it would take you to work that one out … I never doubted you for a minute … Don’t tell him (your name) Pike … It was a wild and lonely place … Please may I be excused … That’s enough of that … Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic! … Would you mind awfully just falling in.

    This is the No campaign; it resembles Dad’s Army japes; the jocose is on them!

    They don’t like it up ’em !

  • Holly

    Why do WE have to try and ‘save the union’?
    You talk as if it is all down to Westminster, and the south, when it isn’t.
    The Scottish people have their vote and it is up to THEM if THEY want to ‘save it’ or not.
    Apart from the absolute joy of ridding ourselves of the useless Scottish MP’s, who have done the real damage to England, many of us south of the border are not bothered either way.

    • Hello

      I know. It’s all wrong. By rights, we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you that meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.

      • Holly

        Yeah right.
        My cat is called Fredo if that helps?

        • Hello

          I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!

          • Rhoda Klapp8

            Ours was called Felix, based on the the statement ‘Felix that he’s not licking me!’

            • Kitty MLB

              Love all cats ( we once even had a dog that thought it was a cat ) apart from black cats who I
              find quite sinister.. there is one that watches me through
              the kitchen door every morning with its yellow eyes,
              only appears around 6am and just stares. Quite spooky.

        • allymax bruce

          Why did you call your cat, Fredo?
          You do realise he’s going around catville, telling all his mates; ‘ hey think yourself lucky you’re called Sue; mine called me FREDO ! ‘

          • Kitty MLB

            When I were small we had a kitten called Phoenix,
            a name in honour of its mother who sat too close to
            a fire trying to protect a baby it though was too close,
            and who got a little scorched.
            Phoenix was a bit of a handful and run away when
            she grew up, for a whole year and one day just turned
            up with a lofty expression on her face and wanting to be fed.

            • allymax bruce

              That’s a lovely wee story, Kitty.
              I like cats; they seem to just know what’s good, and what’s not.

              • Wessex Man

                When I was a kid we had cats as well, the were called Tabby, Blackie and Spots and they were the best ratters around, do grow up!

                • Kitty MLB

                  Oi You, Mr cheerful. Stop trying to wreck the mysticism of Cats. Original names you had for yours, lucky you never
                  had a tortoishell cat, like we did ( called Sandy ) you
                  would never have known what to call it.

                • dmitri the impostor

                  Some louse of a chippy once annoyed Jimmy Spinks not arf so Jimmy ‘e walked into the chippy and this mangy cat were asleep on the counter I know not very ‘ygienic so what does Jimmy do ‘e picks up that mangy cat an’ ‘e chucks it in the chip fryer not arf that cat didn’t last long cos that’s wot you gets when you messes wiv Jimmy Spinks not arf.

                • Wessex Man

                  We did, we just called her cat.

                • Kitty MLB

                  The cat didn’t even have a name- poor thing! Maybe you just
                  saw it as ‘ ratter’ and she maybe was a country cat- but she
                  should have had a name. How would you have liked to have been called just boy !!!

          • Holly

            He is called Fred, but I call him Fredo.
            He comes whatever I call him, ‘cos I am nice to him.
            I think it has something to do with speaking back slang in the early eighties.

            • allymax bruce

              Yeh, I was just having a bit of fun.
              I like cats; they have that sixth-sense, where they have one consciousness in this, and another in the ne’er, world. Amazing little creatures. BTW, a while ago, I looked after my landlord’s cats while he worked away; I learned lots about them. Very individual in their nature; like little versions of their bigger cousins.

        • kyalami

          A few weeks ago we saw a poster on a tree for a lost cat called Horace. No wonder he ran away.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Was all that really worth the effort?

        • Hello

          Yes.

      • HookesLaw

        Holly has a point. Scotland came to us wanting a Union. Its worked well. For some strange reason they, well some of them, now want to leave on the basis of some warped view of independence.
        It is not our (ie England’s) business to stop them. We would all be better together and I hope it stays that way. I like Scotland and the Scots.

        But its up to Scotland. Labour’s foolish devolution has made this vote inevitable.

        The Scots have to decide and if they want to leave then we the rst of us will just get on with it and good luck to them they will need it.

        • Hello

          By all means, if England thinks it would be better to be free of Scotland then it should extricate itself, but I don’t like the idea of letting Scotland go merely because we were tired of trying to stop it. That suggests defeatism, where anything inconvenient is shed by apathy. I don’t think it’s a good national precedent.

          • Wessex Man

            I’m not tired I try to support my Scots Nationalist friends at every turn.

        • Alexsandr

          but the ROK should have a referendum on a currency union – its not in the ROK’s interest to have such a union. And we need to ensure the costs of separation are bourne by the Scots, not by the RUK
          Separating DVLA, Network Rail, creating their own air and rail accident investigation people, creating a Scottish HMRC, Scottish embassies and ambassadors, Scottish BBC, A Scottish army, navy and air force, Scottish coastguard etc etc. Has anyone really thought this through?

          • Wessex Man

            Theres already one on the Downing Street e-petition site but it’s nearly run out of time and whoever put it up didn’t advertise it very well, be assured there will be another when this runs out of time!

          • Jambo25

            Actually, in large part, yes.

        • Jambo25

          I think your understanding of history isn’t entirely correct.

          • Wessex Man

            Please explain to Hooky and myself where his understanding of history isn’t entirely correct.

            • Jambo25

              Because the main push for Union appeared to come from London. It was the London government, after all, which sent troops up to the border. It was the London government which passed the Aliens act. It was the London government which threayene3d trade boycotts amounting to naval blockade of Scotland. It was Daniel Defoe, the London government’s chief spy in Scotland who reckoned there was a 90% plus opposition to the Union.

              • Wessex Man

                I’m so sorry Jambo, I only thought to come back here to check your comment, it wasn’t really worth coming back for though because it’s pure fantasy as usual.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    And yet the article does not raise the question of why. What for? What benefit does it provide us in this day and age? As an unconsulted English person I can see a case for wishing the Scots good luck and somehow managing without them. ‘Specially if we can send them back 😉 I can’t see a great loss in that, Scotland will still be there. It is for the Unionists to make the case for union in some other terms than holding onto nurse. That would be ‘Look at this great future we can see for the Union’ but there is no great future to be seen, just more slog and institutional mediocrity.

    Make the case, if you can.

    • anyfool

      They cannot make a different case, the only case they can make is, we the dull uninspiring lot who have brought this situation upon you, promise not to rock this boat.

  • LadyDingDong

    The well has been poisoned and we can no longer co-exist with a member of the UK where almost half the population hates our guts. Even if Scotland votes no (God forbid) we will just be treated to a continuance of political warfare from the north until the next independence referendum. Like all marriage breakdowns, we need to think of the poor children (the English taxpayer), and end this as soon as possible.

    • telemachus

      Think on this
      They will vote no
      Salmond and his SNP misfits will go into decline
      May 2015 will deliver Westminster to Labour
      May 2016 will deliver Hollyrood to Labour
      We already have the Welsh Assembly in permanence
      *
      A true Union of Socialist vision

      • allymax bruce

        I luv the complacency of the Labour Party; soon, you will be wiped-out.

        • telemachus

          Current SNP 68

          Current Labour 38

          Current Tory 15

          Current LibDems 5

          *

          Post election and lost referendum:

          *

          Labour 68

          SNP 48

          Tory 5

          LibDems 0

          • Colonel Mustard

            Hubris from a half wit. You are the best advert for everything that is wrong with the Labour party. A legend in your own mind.

            I hope Scotland vote ‘No’ but if they should vote ‘Yes’ the cloud’s silver lining will be waving goodbye to 41 MPs from your lousy party.

            • CharlietheChump

              Happy days!

          • Jambo25

            Unfortunately for you, sweetie pie, no polling shows that. My bet, FWIW, is there will be a ‘No’ vote in September but that the SNP will, once again, be the SG at the next Holyrood elections. I really have no idea what will happen in 2015. Labour should win but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

      • kyalami

        change/Union/Nightmare/

      • Kitty MLB

        Telemachus has risen again.. A sandwich short of a picnic.
        One almost wished for Slippery Salmond to win so that we
        can see the back of your treasonous MP’s
        Socialism is a danger to democracy and Conservatives have a duty
        to protect the electorate from their malignant presence.

        • telemachus

          I saw the danger to democracy on Channel 4 last night
          Truly frightening

          • Frank

            I take it you are referring to the lovely mayor of Tower Hamlets! That was on BBC1.

            • telemachus

              No
              I think it was a cooking programme
              At least it featured a fruitcake

              • Kitty MLB

                Love fruitcakes, next year we will have a glut of them.
                No more dry stale old leftie sponges, which will be fed to
                the ravens next May. I wonder if Scotland also will
                have a Dundee cake.. They are taking over Telemachus..
                you are doomed.

            • Colonel Mustard

              The nasty little spud is referring to Farage. He is in denial about Tower Hamlets.

              • telemachus

                Who we threw out you will have noticed

              • Frank

                I loved Farage’s speeches to the EU Parliament, Rumpy’s face was a wonder.

          • Kitty MLB

            Are you sure you were watching television and not looking
            in a mirror or at a picture of Miliband.

            • Wessex Man

              He sure as can not have been (I nearly said another word here that would have resulted in my comment being taken down) watching Nigel Farage, Who are you, at the C4 team all loved him by the end of the programme and the only sour note was a socialist talking head, whose name I can’t remember wanted the media not to show him or UKip.

              Some democrats these Socialists!

              • Kitty MLB

                I was speaking with lovely UKIP pal Raddy ( he posts here now) He said UKIP are doing really well up North- the new
                party for old- Labour and they are petrified and so is
                dear Telemachus.

                • telemachus

                  Life is simple Kitty
                  The SNP vote will collapse when Salmond loses the referendum delivering Hollyrood onto us
                  The Ukip vote will peak in May. Then real politics will set in. There will however be vote enough left to split the 42 Tory marginals and deliver Westminster onto us
                  *
                  Be on the winning side come join us

      • dado_trunking

        Think of this
        They vote yes
        Salmond will join the Euro
        May 2015 will deliver Westminster to Labour
        May 2016 will deliver Holyrood to Brussels
        The Welsh Assembly will soon follow.
        A joint defence force, secured by secure funding.
        One Catholic and Apostolic Church which you already declare your allegiance to.
        *
        A true Union of Europeans.

        • Wessex Man

          We can only dream a pleasant dream anf hope for the best.

    • Wessex Man

      Totally agree with you my Lady, Yesterday I visited the 10 Downing Street e-petition site to set up a petition that in the event of Scotland voting yes there would have to be a referendum of the populations of England, Wales and northern Ireland about sharing the currency or not with an independent Scotland.

      There was already a petition but it runs out in April, however I signed it and will set up a new one when this one expires!

    • Jambo25

      You, of course, have proof of half the Scottish population hating English guts as it has passed my English born wife and friends completely by over the 40 years they have lived up here. It also appears to have passed by the 25% or so of the population who live round about us, down at our place in Dumfriesshire, who happen to be English.

      • Wessex Man

        “I believe in Angels
        in everything they say.”

        • Jambo25

          Still thinking that dross pop lyrics represents discussion I see.

          • Wessex Man

            no, I was just hoping to drag you out of your black place.

  • kyalami

    If they want to go, let them go. If they want to stay, that’s good too. Let’s just get it over with.

  • Kitty MLB

    To be quite honest showing photos of atrocious Scottish Labour MP’s
    such as Mr Darling here and that maniac Brown and Douglas Alexander the other week it doesn’t inspire one to want Scotland to actually stay.
    You almost want to send them to that Ballooned Ego’s brave new world under
    his dictatorship and let them rot … and without our pound.. Mr Darling you are
    as treacherous and wrong as ever..
    Maybe all politicians should just stop the caterwauling, bleeding heart speeches ,
    blackmail etc.. and just stick to facts.. otherwise shut up.. and that includes
    Le presidente and all that hot air of his self -esteem.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here