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The shocking, secret truth about Scotland’s independence debate: it is civilised.

12 June 2014

3:42 PM

12 June 2014

3:42 PM

BREAKING: The night is dark and full of nutters. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been writing on the internet for nearly a decade now that this neither astonishes nor appals me. After enough time has passed you begin to appreciate that it doesn’t matter. Not really. You learn to ignore the howling.

Sure, it makes for good copy and there’s hardly a hack or a blogger who hasn’t peered beneath the line and despaired of humanity. It’s a swamp, right enough. Sometimes, too, you wonder where all these bampots and zoomers live. Nowhere near you, you hope. But the chances are that some of them do.

It sometimes takes an effort to remember that the fury chimps represent nothing more than their own tiny selves. You comfort yourself with the thought that though they may be like us they are not us. Since they seem to be everywhere it is easy to forget they are not so numerous as they seem. There really is a silent majority that plays by normal, sane, rules.

Which is one reason why I really can’t be bothered with all the nonsense about Cybernats. True, there are plenty of them and true, too, they are both vile and sometimes, albeit tacitly, encouraged by people (especially politicians) who should know better.

But, come on, people, let’s chill. It’s summer, the World Cup is upon us and there are better ways of using your time than being appalled-but-secretly-thrilled by the daftest things your political opponents say.

In any case, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are plenty of disagreeable crazies out there. There’s scarcely a proposition so ludicrous that it can’t be endorsed by 10 per cent of the population.


This has always been the case and always will be. We’re simply more aware of it these days what with the Facebook and the Twitter and everything else. We see our fellow citizens for the numpties they really are. Some of them anyway.

And it’s not a pretty sight. It is dispiriting. But, again, let’s not wallow in hand-wringing (to the extent such a thing might even be possible) or waste more time tut-tutting than is strictly necessary. Responding to OUTRAGE with your own OUTRAGE is, in the end, a pointlessly unproductive way of carrying on. There’s enough – by which I mean far too much – dreary, whining whataboutery without behaving like that yourself.

The best of us can actually muster all the conviction we need but we’ll likely never match the worst in all their passionate intensity. This need not trouble us for it has always been the case and likely will always remain so.

If Scotland’s independence campaign is notable for anything it is unusual for being remarkably civilised. Violence, generally speaking, has no more than 140 characters. No-one has died. No-one anticipates, I think, civil unrest regardless of the result in September. This may seem a small thing but it is not. Just peer across the North Channel if you doubt this.

As for dirty tricks or rhetorical excess? Well this has nothing on the campaigns of yesteryear. Politics is a tough business but for all that there’s been plenty of playing the man, not the ball in Scotland this year it’s not been an unusually hard or dirty campaign.

Both sides are guilty of scaremongering, both sides are happy to paint pictures of a pestilential, dystopian future should Scotland vote the wrong way. But that’s politics for you. People on all sides have said plenty of silly and stupid things but, hey, that’s people for you.

In general, however, we focus on the bampots and the bigots because a) everyone secretly loves a freak-show and b) precisely because they are not the majority. That’s one reason they’re considered news.

And in general, this has been a commendably restrained campaign. The country is not being torn apart any more than the United States is rent asunder every time a presidential election comes along. Passionate and intense and frequently ridiculous and heid-in-hands stupid? Sure. But not especially ugly or divisive. Not by any standards, whether they’re our own or history’s. Perhaps, of course, this is because while independence might be attractive (your mileage may vary) it offers no necessary relief from oppression

I don’t know. It may be that I’m mistaken. But when I go to public meetings up and down the country I’m struck by how good-natured the debate is. There really is an engagement with politics and with the essential ideas of what a state is actually for that in its own quiet way is quietly impressive. This is true on both sides of the divide.

So, sure, there’s ample reason to find fault with the promises made. Plenty of reason to think that the campaign is not what you might like it to be. But guess what? If you don’t like the way the game is being played right now you could get involved yourself and do your bit to change it.

In the meantimes, there’s something to be said for abiding by the zookeeper’s warning not to feed the fury chimps.

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Show comments
  • Ann

    do wish the ‘medja’ would stop making out that this is somehow a story. Because if there is any social media related story about the referendum.Cheap Snapback Hats

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  • flippit

    I don’t know about twitter but some of the blogs can be pretty bad. But they can also be fun, reading a couple of bloggers winding each other up and getting it out of their system, both wrong and a bit right, or vice versa. Then there’s the data, the figures, the disputed stats and ‘facts’, cutting and pasting from Wings over Scotland, who MUST be right, stands to reason, or Business for Scotland, or of course, Derek Bateman, well that makes it gospel doesn’t it? Yeah? Prove it, where’s the evidence for that? And the language, favourite words are ‘scourge, dire, quisling (quisling? who knew?), treacherous, traitorous and many, many more. Some bloggers have their own style, condescending, mischievous or just plain abusive.
    Anyway, it’s good stuff for a while, then gets boring, but I’ll miss it after September 18th.

  • FrankieThompson

    This “Cybernat” confection really is a sign of grave trouble in the No camp. The public polls are moving and presumably the No private polling is not looking good.

    Hence, all this flim-flam about “Cybernats”. Beats having to make a case.

  • scotchthistle

    It’s OK – there will be plenty of time for violence if Alex Salmond gets his ‘Yes’ vote, when the bills come in, and capital flees south. Falling wages, rising unemployment, Scottish groat devaluations, strikes, demonstrations, a General Strike – and no one to bail us out. Ten years from now a cast-adrift lonely Scotland doesn’t look a very attractive place to be

  • anncalba

    I am still waiting for the “debate” to begin; All we have had so far is pie in the sky, uncosted, bribe the punters, promises from Salmond, backed up with bullying and vitriol from the Cybergnats, and woolly negativity from the No camp. Of good quality debate of the real issues – nothing. It has been a total embarassment. Some of the behaviour of the more committed supporters of both camps a
    has made me ashamed of the country, and horrified to think that any of them could be running the country at any time in the future, wether the vote is Yes or No. A bunch of no-hope, second rate, spiteful, self-serving clowns, the lot of them.

  • Carlos Anderson

    Yes what a shock! The Scots are civilized!

    • flippit

      Wouldn’t go that far.

  • Iain Hill

    Thank you for a sensible, moderate response to this fuss. I sit here in Glasgow wondering where all these hysterical people (both sides) are. They must write on websites I do not come across. I intend to keep it that way.

    Let us all remember the sun will rise (or more likely, the rain pour down) on 19 Sept, just as before.

  • Richard Martin

    As an American who loves Scotland and wishes he could retire there, I love the fact that this issue has not turned ugly with violence. LEt the venom spewing online be the lowest points of the campaign. Congrats and good luck to both sides.

  • The_greyhound

    I can’t help wondering if Massie lives in Cheam or somewhere – his article bears no relation to the situation here.

    The SNP’s tactics consist entirely of telling lies and running (waddling in one particular case) away, while their idiot sectaries rant and scream at anyone who dare disagree; the Naws don’t seem to have any clear idea of what they’re doing. Civilized? Pathetic more like.

    Happily the Euro elections let one interesting fact out of the bag – SNP support has collapsed again (the small but perfectly ill-informed leader could scarce muster 10% of the electorate). All the Naws have to do is get their voters out, and the dispirited nationalists have got another 307 year wait to look forward to.

    • Jambo25

      That’s why the SNP got the largest vote in the Euro elections then,, because their vote collapsed.

      • P_S_W

        It also explains the election of a Scottish UKIP MEP.

        • Jambo25

          Strangely enough, UKIP possibly benefited from a collapse in the Lib Dem vote.

          • P_S_W

            That may well be true, but UKIP are no longer an English only issue.

            • Jambo25

              Yes. They get a whole 10% of the vote in Scotland: considerably less than they got in London where their performance was described as “failure”.

  • Sean Lamb

    “Sure, it makes for good copy and there’s hardly a hack or a blogger who
    hasn’t peered beneath the line and despaired of humanity. It’s a swamp,
    right enough.”

    Mmmm, yes, one feels for Mr Massie. The thought that his pearls of wisdom being defiled by the furred chimps who have the temerity to comment below the line. Actually – and it paints the Spectator in a rather bad light – this is about the one place on the Internet I have not been banned from. So the tolerance of The Spectator for furry chimps must be high indeed.

    Anyway, it seems to be the year of the disintegration of the nation state. Syria has solidified into a collapsed morass, Ukraine won’t ever be pieced back together now – a development driven it seems by nothing more than pique at Vladimir Putin’s refusal to give the American and British cowards the protection of a Security Council resolution, without which they are too gutless to act. Now Iraq looks on course for irreversible disintegration and eventually Turkey will have to follow.

    Anyway lets hope the Scots belatedly wake up and decided they want to have nothing more to do with the moral leprosy pulsating on the Thames and take the opportunity to cut and run.

    • Richard T

      Yes, instead we can look forward to a bright, clean new Scotland where el Presidente defends blatantly sackable offences by his hacks-turned-spinners, while his creatures subvert the committee system by shouting down and attempting to silence inconvenient witnesses.

      • Paul Bethune

        What wild fantasies you Brit nats have. A great offering of distortion and manipiulation of the truth.

  • Denis_Cooper

    There have been several overlapping debates running for years now. One has been between some of the Scots about whether they wished to remain united in the same country with the English. Another has been between some of the English and some of the Scots about whether they should remain united in the same country.

    Just on the basis of numbers the Welsh and the Northern Irish do not figure in that second debate to anything like the same extent as the English, and debate among the English also figures much less than debate between the English and the Scots.

    Whatever may have been the case with the first debate among the Scots themselves, the second debate between some of the English and some of the Scots has been far from civilised, and the main reason for that has been some leading lights in the Tory party trying to stir up the English against the Scots just to make political capital in England, where the Tories have some hope of getting their parliamentary candidates elected and will do whatever they can to enhance their chances.

    As far as English audiences are concerned, it has been the Tory supporting media in England which have done the most damage to Anglo-Scottish relations, and not on the basis or any real concern for the English but simply to try to persuade the English that the Tory party is their champion and so worthy of their support, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    • allymax bruce

      Too late, Denis, the No Campaign has ‘gone toxic’ !
      No way back after this; better if we all vote YES for Scottish indpendence; we would all get on better, together, then !

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  • Aileen McGibbon

    Angry cybernat here (I’m joking, I’m lovely).

    Yep, that’s my experience of the debate too. I can’t afford to be horrible about those voting NO because they’re my friends…My horribly misguided friends (JOKING AGAIN).

    And I do wish the ‘medja’ would stop making out that this is somehow a story. Because if there is any social media related story about the referendum, it’s a positive story about how social media has become a platform for debate.

    • Richard T

      Of course it’s a story: hack turned spad reads Stu and attempts clumsy smear.

      • Jambo25

        Except, the only mistake was in thinking that Ms Lally was Pat Lally’s daughter in law: hardly the worst smear ever. The leader of ‘Better Together’ labelling ‘Yes’ supporters as ‘Blood and Soul’ nationalists ie Nazis was much worse.
        The reality is that Ms Lally was introduced by Darling and chums at a BT rally as just an ordinary mother. Ms Lally is a Labour Party member and activist. Secretary of a Labour constituency association and a SLAB policy advisor who sits in on SLAB shadow cabinet meetings. I don’t know many “ordinary mothers” with that profile.

        • Richard T

          “hardly the worst smear ever.”

          A powerful defence indeed.

          Unfortunately, the relevant code doesn’t concern itself with a hierarchy of smears.

          Nobody expects the mad monk of Bath to adhere to any standards but his own pitifully debased ones, but a salaried public servant is another thing entirely.

          All good from my No perspective though: the longer Eck vainly defends the indefensible, the deeper into the mire he sinks, in the eyes of all but the True Believers. And there just aren’t enough of those.

          • Jambo25

            Why is it a smear?

            • Richard T

              You’re going with Mad Stu’s “minor briefing error” line then?

              Oh dear.

              One day, like a recovering alcoholic or cult rescuee you’ll look back on all this and wonder in disbelief at the squalid state you got yourself into.

              • Jambo25

                What is the smear?

                • Richard T

                  Sorry, not interested in playing games with someone who’s drunk fully of the Kool Aid.

                  We both know full well what Stu did, and what Gunn attempted to do.

        • HJ777

          From where did he get that idea? I’ll tell you – from a separatist web site and he didn’t check it out for himself.

          The man is a taxpayer-funded civil servant promoting false separatist propaganda as if it were truth..

          • Jambo25

            Whereas you get your ideas, such as they are, from ‘Unionist’ MSM sites. What’s the difference?

            • HJ777

              Says the man who has a real problem even acknowledging established facts like the fact that Swinney estimated the costs of a Scottish tax agency at £575m-£625m.

              Unlike Campbell Gunn, I am not being paid by the taxpayer.

        • P_S_W

          “The leader of ‘Better Together’ labelling ‘Yes’ supporters as ‘Blood and Soul’ nationalists ie Nazis was much worse. ”

          If that was actually true I may agree with you, but as the publication in question issued a correction to that interview and published what was actually said, that I can’t.

          Still, as I’m someone who actually wants you and all Scots to vote Yes, I’m sure you’ll listen to me and investigate this yourself.

          • Jambo25

            Unfortunately the release of the New Statesman transcript did not prove that at all (“inaudible mumble”).

            • allymax bruce

              This may help. Use headphones that have independent left & right earphone audible controls. By zoning-out one, the other disavows the ‘disturbance’.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Whereas if the boot were on the other foot you would of course still be encouraging the media to calm down. Support the ‘yes’ cause by all means but spare us your hypocrisy.

  • CraigStrachan

    I dunno. Accusing someone of being related to Pat Lally is just vicious.

    • Sam Mitchell

      well have a look at the New Statesman article on darlings smear of A.S. or on calling us NAZIS….. then jump all over that in the same way bitter tigither set up the lally exercise… if that wasn’t a black op then Im a candle…

      • The_greyhound

        Does that mean you regard association with fascism as discreditable? The SNP never used to be so squeamish.

        • Jambo25

          Prove it.

          • Richard T
            • Jambo25

              Be careful of calling Ian Smart as witness to anything. This is a man who is such a bitter Labour tribalist that his own brother has called him “worse than a racist”. Dewar Gibb was, indeed, a nasty piece of work. However, be careful on taking Smart’s word on Donaldson. Donaldson was, indeed, picked up under 18b. He was held for only 6 weeks and was then released. No charge was ever made against him. No real reason for his arrest was ever given and no evidence of any wrong doing was ever produced. It appears he was lifted for objecting to Scottish women being conscripted and moved to England for war work.

              • Richard T

                Feel free to factually challenge Ian Smart’s piece.

                • HJ777

                  Jambo doesn’t engage with facts.

      • P_S_W

        You realise the Darling smear was not a smear as he never ACTUALLY said anything of the sort?

    • Kennybhoy

      Genuinely rotflol!

  • classieview

    Could it really be that our enterprising Alex Massie has heard that Campbell Gunn, the taxpayer funded political adviser who had disabled mother Clare Lally in his sights on Tuesday, is after all going for a long walk.

    This article, suspiciously like a job application to be a gopher in First Minister Alex’s inner sanctum, should do your cause no harm whatsoever.
    Good luck Massie, your talents are wasted here at the Spectator.

    • Jambo25

      Ms Lally is not disabled. She has a disabled child. If you wish to comment; know what you are commenting on.

      • classieview

        I actually realised my mistake before retiring to bed but the impish streak in me made me decide to leave it unaltered – just to see which bien pensant Nat would ignore the elephant in the room and pounce on this error (one which hardly undermines the gravity of what’s occurred this week).

        Jambo25 you style yourself here, and no doubt at Yes events in the city we both inhabit, as a moderate retired teacher of conventional views who has seen a bit of the world and concluded that the SNP project is ultimately very good for Scotland.

        You are unwavering in this view despite an attempt from a key official in Salmond’s inner sanctum to besmirch a woman with a disabled child (mistake corrected) who dared to be an active citizen rather than a passive subject in the Kingdom of Alex.

        You don’t hear the clock striking 13 despite it being obvious to all but the most hardened members of the cult that a coach and horses has been driven through the civil service rules of impartiality.

        Luckily, anecdotal evidence, which hopefully will be confirmed in polls, suggest that plenty of mainstream folk with no axe to grind on the 18 september vote are quietly appalled by Mr Salmond giving an open pass to a civil servant to engage in online vilification of a citizen who thankfully in this case has the pluck to fight back.

        No doubt as cosmopolitan Scot you have been to one or two banana republics in your time. Well now you won’t need to travel very far to see one in action. And (along with Mr Massie) you are doing your own little bit to ensure that we have Borat (remember the film?) right here in Scotland not remote Central Asia.

        • Jambo25

          Apart from the mistake that she was Pat Lally’s daughter in law, what was the smear? Why was mistaking her for a relative of an ex Lord Provost of Glasgow a smear/

          • classieview

            Claire Lally is a public spirited mother and carer of a disabled child who has invited Alex Salmond into to her home and also been willing to work with Labour to promote awareness about the disabled.
            I am sure that there are other excellent parents facing a challenging home environment who are closer to the SNP than to any of the other parties.
            But these parties would be unlikely to personally attack her in the way that a salmond-appointed civil-servant like Mr Gunn did. He took his cue from .Wings Over scotland, a blog out there on its own in its polarising nature, 50 minutes after it had denigrated Ms Lally.
            In the media world where campbell Gunn dwells, Pat Lally is the epitome of a Tammany hall politician; it’s clear to me that Salmond’s media handler was trying to depict Clare Lally as a trougher whose public views on Scotland’s future are worthy of no consideration.

            As an urbane former Edinburgh dominie you are defending the indispensable and perhaps good sense will prevail before you plunger even deeper into the swamp.

            • Jambo25

              Ms Lally is a Labour Party member and activist. A constituency party secretary and an advisor to the Labour shadow cabinet. She was introduced to a BT rally as an “ordinary mother”. She clearly isn’t so where is the smear? The relationship to Pat Lally was wrong but I find the reaction to the claim that Ms Lally was related to him amusing, particularly from Labour. Is being related to a Labour pol a cause for shame?

        • Alex Creel

          Interesting that you view this lady’s disabled child as a burden on her. I take it that’s why you felt the need to mention her child? The abilities of her offspring are surely superfluous to this discussion?

  • Youbian

    True Alex but the twitter abuse yesterday was vile. Calling JK. Rowling the C word repeatedly.

    • allymax bruce

      JK Rowling published an article on why she donated money to a Political Campaign, but she never allowed comments on her article. Why?

      • HJ777

        That’s her business but I imagine it is because of all the abuse coming her way.

        Her article, whether you agree of not, was reasonable and well-argued, in contrast to most of what you write.

        • allymax bruce

          Well, actually, it’s not ‘her business’; if she’s going to ‘go Public’; with all the exposure and Capitalistic trappings of ‘going Public’, it is reasonable for the Public to make comment on her Publicly announced Publicity !
          So, you expect multi-millionaires, to Publish their work, but not get scrutinised for it? You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          My writing is brilliant; you don’t know what you’re talking about. As usual.

          • HJ777

            She is quite at liberty not to provide a forum for your comments. She’s not stopping you commenting, just not providing a forum for you to do so.

            The fact that you think your writing is “brilliant” explains a lot.

            • allymax bruce

              Typical Labour Party (No campaign) Unionist ‘deflect, deceive, and deny’; you’re an insult to this forum.
              JK Rowling has unfortunately ‘attached herself’ to The Nasty Union Party’s; just look at all the evil msm propaganda, and malicious (but groundless) accusations being pumped into our livingrooms every day; now, JK Rowling is part of that nasty No Campaign herself for going ‘Public’, and allowing herself to be ‘used’ as No campaign Public abuse of the Nation’s psyche.

              The No Campaign is only about pumping malicious evil hysterical smear fear & sneer accusations into Scottish Society; that’s what the Nazi’s did, and the ‘German Public’ went along with it, but now they hate the Nazi’s.

              “explains a lot.”
              Yes, that I think my writing is brilliant. I don’t care what ignoramus like you think; I’ve already told you that having ‘no credibility’ from scumbags like you, is a compliment!
              Now, go away, cretin.

              • HJ777

                More word soup mixed with an infusion of Godwin’s Law.

                Anyone who thinks that Cybernats don’t hurl abuse at anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them only needs look at your post.

          • P_S_W

            I think she is more than aware of how people like you think.

      • P_S_W

        Why do you think?

    • Maidmarrion

      What ” c” word ?
      As far as real evidence is concerned someone called her a” B” word – Bitch.

  • Richard T

    You’re right in general terms, but it’s pretty clearly the case that some people are being deterred from entering this civilised public debate because they don’t want to deal with the muck* flung at them by those fury chimps.

    Not everyone has the intestinal fortitude of Rowling.

    *Happy, mods?

    • anncalba

      It’s not just in cyberspace, is it. It happens in everyday life too, but of course that is under the media’s radar. Just spent a few days in hospital. One woman had 4 visitors round her bed, one of whom, having failed to persuade any one to talk about football, then launched into a tirade about the English and urged every one in the wrd to vote “Yes” in somewhat colourful terms, He was met with stoney silence apart from one brave woman who told him she intended to vote No, which produced another rant. The “No” supporters have learnt to be very circumspect, and keep their opinions to themselves, in order to avoid a torrent of abuse from the more loud mouthed and ignorant of the Yes supporters.

      • fordwych

        Just post a NO supportive piece on Facebook,then watch the onslaught begin.

  • dado_trunking

    Let’s be civilised once more and engage in a little round of quiz:

    1- What is a WaWe9, otherwise known as Wasserwerfer 9000 or Goliath?
    2- What is the exact no. of (1) that Boris has just taken delivery of?
    3- Have the chaps running Glasgow East thought about placing and order, too?

    Winner takes the top prize, a Jedi uptick from dado_trunking

    • Swiss Bob

      Please enlighten us with your suggestions as to what you would use in terms of non lethal riot control.

      • Wessex Man

        well, I thought it was funny.

        • scotcanadien

          You would!

      • Inverted Meniscus

        He has no interest in doing that he just wants to demonstrate his erudition and wit. And failing.

        • scotcanadien

          Boris…eru..dit..ion…does..n’t…cop.y…try…ag.ain…use diff…er.ent…words

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Your village is clearly missing its idiot.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            I was talking about dado trunking you idiot.

      • dado_trunking

        I would opt to go for clubbing but please stay out of trouble with Ri-co-la, no ease!

      • Jambo25

        We’ve got by without them up until now. Why does London suddenly need them? What does Boris and chums know that the rest of us don’t?

        • Swiss Bob

          You do remember the widespread disorder not so long ago?

          The ‘security forces’ have a number of options in dealing with rioters:

          Riot guns using ‘rubber’ bullets
          ‘Tear’ gas
          Water cannon
          Police officers

          No one likes tear gas in a city for obvious reasons.
          ‘Rubber’ bullets can be effective but are frequently lethal.
          If you don’t have enough police officers with riot shields etc and there’s a large riot very soon the only alternative they have left is to reach for their guns or die.

          Water cannon have advantages in that the operators are safe, they can disperse large numbers of people and while they can be occasionally be lethal it is relative to the alternatives.

          If you’re rioting, tough luck.

          • Jambo25

            The question is, why now/ We never needed them in the past.

            • P_S_W

              I’d suggest we probably did, we just never had the option.

              • Jambo25

                And I would suggest we didn’t so we must agree to differ. Given the pattern of the last London riots water cannon would have been useless.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      What about the rest of your gibberish spouting sock puppets lad? Will they be voting?

      • Sam Mitchell

        Jeez… your still alive… how happy I am … where else would we have a Brit Nat using “gibberish” in almost every post… ??… you have no idea how Iv’e missed your diatribes… your passionate defence of…… sorry… I forgot… you rely on insult rather than answer questions …. especially questions on what make the union so good that we would want to retain it???… obviously insults are easier for you to handle… hows Ukip doing?… were you up in Newark helping out???…

        • Inverted Meniscus

          And your still an ignorant, inarticulate, rambling, gibberish spouting cybernat nutter incapable of constructing a coherent sentence. I am not a UKIP supporter and thus am slightly bemused by that element of your uneducated ramble. Now try and calm down or drink less coffee.

          • Jambo25

            He’s got you taped though.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              And still no answer to my question: why is a currency union good for the UK taxpayer and why is it to his/her advantage to guarantee without limitation the debt issued by a foreign country? I know you are busy being thoroughly dishonest and lying to all and sundry but a answer would be useful.

              • HJ777

                Jambo never answers difficult questions.

                He just pretends that they were never asked.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  None of those cybernats answer that question because they dare not. They know that to be honest would be to acknowledge that Scottish debt costs would increase without a currency union and that exposes their entire campaign as a lie.

                • P_S_W

                  What is more amusing is that they are adamant that no one is going to stop them using the pound, even though absolutely no one in Government has said this.

                  There is, however, a common consensus that a currency union will not happen.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Thank goodness for that. Happy for them to keep the pound but we will not be guaranteeing any newly issued public debt without limitation or acting as lender of last resort to their banks via a currency union.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Sorry that should have read campaign.

  • scotcanadien

    “Which is one reason why I really can’t be bothered with the Cybernat nonsense.” Would have been good if you had included the BritNatz nonsense too. Like this or this,

    It is well proven that YES people receive far more abuse from BritNatz than vice versa. And you know that. So why try to hide it?

    • Wessex Man

      What with you around?

      • scotcanadien

        Here we are folks Wessex Man the worst racist to disgrace England since James la Roche the black slave trader of Bristol, the slave trading capital of England. Any wonder Wessex Man is a UKIP supporting racist.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          “The worst racist to disgrace England etc etc ” and your point was that all the abuse comes from the ‘No’ camp. Breathtakingly deluded and hypocritical.

          • HJ777

            Here is one of scotcanadien’s previous comments:

            “Well the English are the most parasitical shower on earth. Preening, precious, pretentious, puffed up little blowhards, with an overblown
            idea of their self importance. Been living off Scotland for the last 40
            years and have neither the grace nor wit to be thankful. And a very apt
            phrase to describe them is … “if you meet an arsehole in the morning
            you met an arsehole, if you meet arseholes all day you’re in England.”

            And he’s calling others racist and saying that it’s ‘well proven’ that most of the abuse comes from the unionist side.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Little chance of an honest reply to that question.

              • HJ777

                Scotcanadien doesn’t do honestly. He only does abuse.

    • monty61

      Proven? Hilarious.

      • Gavin Greig

        21% of YES supporters have been on the receiving end of abuse, compared to only 8% of NO supporters, according to a Survation survey reported by the Express in March( in an article that still manages to interview only NO victims and includes a quote from a Better Together saying “The Nationalists are not taking this seriously enough”!

        • HJ777


          21% of YES supporters CLAIM to have been on the receiving end of abuse. Many are dishing it out yet claiming that they are the victims.

          • Gavin Greig

            That’s your belief, which you are of course free to hold. Without some sort of proof the rest of us are equally free to think you’re making it up because the evidence doesn’t match your theory.

            • HJ777

              Interesting that you consider that my opinion is only mine but that you are entitled to speak on behalf of “the rest of us”.

              You only have to look at the comments of ‘scotcanadien’ above and then read his previous abusive postings to see that there are plenty of one-eyed – if not downright hypocritical – Nats on this issue.

              • Gavin Greig

                That’s not what I said – I said we’re free to think it. Some will, some won’t. You can draw your own conclusions about the proportions, but again they’re yours.
                Are you willing to accept there might be faults on both sides, or are you only interested in condeming YES supporters?

                • HJ777

                  Where you write “we” you mean “I”.

                  Of course there are faults on both sides but I know where most of the abuse is coming from. Why? The “Yes” supporters need to generate division and resentment if they are to have any chance of winning the vote. That’s why they do it. If everyone gets on fine, then they lose.

                  It comes from the top. Just listen to Salmond abusing the Westminster government as “Incompetent Lord Snootys” and roundly accusing anyone who asks awkward questions he can’t answer of “bullying” and “scaremongering”. Contrast his behaviour with the rather more dignified approach of David Cameron and Alistair Darling, both of whom have been unfailingly polite and who instead stick to discussing the issues.

                • Gavin Greig

                  No, I meant “we”, and left it open to the others included in that “we” to make up their own minds.

                  How can you claim to know where “most” of the abuse is coming from when you ignore such numerical evidence as there is? If we’re going on personal experience only, as you seem to be, then I would have to say that mine is the opposite of yours.

                  And would that be the Alastair Darling who replied “at heart” when compared Alex Salmond to Kim Jong-Il and replied “at heart” when asked if he thought the SNP’s nationalism was of the “blood and soil” variety? Or the David Cameron who said “I’d go for a drink with Nick Clegg, we have a decent working relationship. Alex Salmond: I’d have to check my wallet afterwards!”
                  Yeah, unfailingly polite. Perhaps they don’t understand that they’re generating division and resentment by insulting the significant proportion of the population who think the democratically elected Salmond is doing a reasonable job in the face of, well, bullying and scaremongering.
                  I’m ducking out of this conversation here. I appreciate your acknowledgment that there are actually faults on both sides, but beyond that it’s clear neither of us is going to convince the other.
                  I’ll let others judge the two of us, and which of us may be more in the right, on the basis of the conversation thus far.

                • HJ777

                  What numerical evidence?

                  What “bullying and scaremongering”? Unwillingness to address reasonable questions, you mean, as JK Rowling pointed out (and who receive a lot of abuse for it).

                  Nats have to create division where none exists because otherwise they know they will lose.

                • Paul Wilson

                  You are writing mince, Look at the Unionists bed fellows the Orange order, The BNP, UKIP and the Better together sites then you will see where the main amount of abuse is coming from.

                • HJ777

                  You only have to read the comments on this thread to see where the abuse is coming from.

                  We constantly hear about ‘bullying’ and ‘scaremongering’ from the Nats – as if they were somehow victims. In fact, it is simply cover for the fact that are unable or unwilling to provide answers to perfectly reasonable questions – as JK Rowling has pointed out.

        • Fergus Pickering

          It’s because YES supporters are so annoying.

    • HJ777

      Did you not write this:

      “Well the English are the most parasitical shower on earth. Preening, precious, pretentious, puffed up little blowhards, with an overblown
      idea of their self importance. Been living off Scotland for the last 40
      years and have neither the grace nor wit to be thankful. And a very apt
      phrase to describe them is … “if you meet an arsehole in the morning
      you met an arsehole, if you meet arseholes all day you’re in England.”

      You are an abusive CyberNat racist. And a Hypocrite.

    • The_greyhound

      We would be interested (though not very) to know which planet you are broadcasting from.

    • allymax bruce

      The No Campaign has ‘gone toxic’ !
      No way back after this; better if we all vote YES for Scottish independence; we would all get on better, together, then !

    • elainesk

      We on the Yes side have always acknowledged theres a few low characters on Yes side tht spoil it for maj but the vile abuse on @Britnatabusebot is nothing short of disgraceful,its an attack from north and south of border at all Scots,Scots culture…its relentless. We get called Nazis and that really upsets me because A.We all know wht real “nazis” were like and that really is scraping barrel about more or less a mature peaceful campaign and someone would have to be really stupid to actually think Alex Salmond who is actually wanting to get kids out of poverty,not kill them like “nazis”. I happen to be half German,my father fought on Hitler’s side…many Germans didn’t want to go to war, those that didn’t got shot.My dad like majority of Germans live with the shame of what happened by their people. Scots Jews who are voting Yes must feel heartsick.Good article Alex but you quietly downplay the real vile abuse and its not coming so much from Yes side.

  • Peter Arnott

    Alex! They may drum you out of the Brownies for this!

    • Salmondnet

      They would never have allowed Alex into the brownies. Not nearly butch enough.

  • Chris Jack

    Great article, many thanks.

  • Ringan

    Spot on, Alex!

  • ChuckieStane

    Great article Alex. The Indy Debate is an example to the rest of the world in terms of the lack of violence and threat. If anything it is a bit dull and lacking in inspiration.

    Meetings in public halls don’t exactly set the heather on fire hence the exaggeration of the social media trolling.

    • allymax bruce

      You’re easily pleased; Alex Massie spammed 1450 words on his last article to say the the Union divide on the Scottish Independence debate is ‘pathetic’. I could have told him that in less than 7 words!
      Inadvertantly, I quite agree with Massie on one thing though; all the ‘scottish
      writers’ for The Spectator have been ‘pathetic’; not one of them
      introduce any good material to the debate/issue. It’s all rehashing BBC
      Bitter-Together Unionist smear, fear, and scaremongering propaganda! Not one piece of ‘original thought’ from Massie.

      Conning the Public with a Deficiency of Decency to readers. They must think we’re all ‘too wee too poor too stupid! Machismos like Massie, Rifkind,
      Forsyth, & McDonnell with their paranoid-schizoid cringe projections
      of ‘bampots & zoomers’, tells everyone that they can’t write;
      ‘putting others down’ in a vane attempt to raise a journos own
      credibility as a writer; doesn’t work! These journos are not writers, they are nepotistic placement gifts from the Establishment; for ‘favours earned!

      • Richard T

        Word soup.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Scottish journalists turn on one of their own. It shows how the media have lost their way in this debate.

  • James Morrison

    I do like the reference to “the facebook” and “the twitter”.
    The only thing I would add is that some of the (synthetic) fury about this supposedly outrageous abuse is that it is publicised by a mainstream media that would quite like people to use them rather these new-fangled things.

    • HookesLaw


      • Calzo

        Quite – Very few examples of genuine abuse. Mainly idiots disagreeing with swear words.

    • scotcanadien

      Not only publicised but actively encouraged by newspapers and mags in BTL comments. And frankly some of the above the line comments are just as bad. Look around you here for example.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        For example: ” well the English are the most parasitical shower on Earth” or ” if you meet arseholes all day you are in England”. These are quotes from yourself or do you not have the honesty or decency to admit your own disgusting, hypocritical rubbish.

      • P_S_W

        Aye, because you are a paragon of virtue as demonstrated so clearly on this very page.