#OneNorthernUKAdministrativeRegion

I start writ­ing this one week out from Scotland’s inde­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, where as you may have heard Scot­land nar­rowly decided to remain in its dys­func­tional co-dependant rela­tion­ship with the rest of the only-accurate-by-five-percent “United King­dom”. As you can prob­a­bly gather from the out­pour­ing of bit­ter­ness, I was on the 45% side of that deci­sion, and the scant con­so­la­tion of the next few years of “telt ye so” helps very lit­tle with the inescapable feel­ing that we’ve voted to go down with the ship.

No mat­ter what poll you look at, the take­away was that the fears of the old out­weighed the hopes of the young, as the cyn­i­cal jug­ger­naut of Project Fear and its wildly inac­cu­rate claims were allowed to go unchal­lenged by a lop-sided, “No” dom­i­nated media. It’s dif­fi­cult to see the repeated refrain of “don’t risk your pen­sions” as any­thing other than an attempt to intim­i­date the elderly, and it’s espe­cially dis­ap­point­ing that no out­let chal­lenged the basis for this — given that by the Depart­ment for Work and Pen­sions’ own admis­sion, they’d be oblig­ated to pay out pen­sions exactly as they would have done. It has, after all, already been paid for by a life­time of work. I’m sure there’s an artic­u­late case for remain­ing teth­ered to Westminster’s sys­tem, but the most repeated ones were all nonsense.

Any­way, if the “Yes” camp’s reac­tion has been a sense of sad­ness and dis­ap­point­ment, you’d expect the “No” sup­port­ers to be jubi­lant. I sup­pose they were, in their way, as the scum of the earth descended on George Square, start­ing run­ning bat­tles around Glas­gow and, with a keen sense of sit­u­a­tional irony, giv­ing Nazi salutes from in front of a war memo­r­ial. Classy stuff, and all from behind a “No Thanks” banner.

We shouldn’t tar every­one with the same shitty brush, of course. There are some “No” sup­port­ers that aren’t the biggest fuck-knuckles to walk this Earth’s face, but you can’t dodge the fact that they’re on your team. UKIP are on your team. The BNP are on your team. The National Front are on your team. The Orange Order are on your team. Very mar­gin­ally less dis­gust­ingly, the Tories and the Lib Dems are on your team. All of the daily mass media are on your team. The bankers are on your team. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment are on your team. Does that sound like a team you want to be part of? Does that sound like a team that’s got the same inter­ests and aspi­ra­tions as you do? Does that sound like a group of peo­ple, to use the term loosely, that has your best inter­ests at heart? Hey, I’m as lib­er­tar­ian as the next guy. You can hop into bed with whomever you feel like, but you’re the per­son that has to look at them­selves in the mir­ror the morn­ing after.

An alto­gether more bor­ing but no less dis­turb­ing reac­tion occurred in the poli­ti­sphere, as the much lauded “vow” to deliver more pow­ers to Scot­land imme­di­ately started to fly apart, with the var­i­ous par­ties frac­tur­ing off over the scope of what’s to be done. It’s almost as if, rather than being a com­pre­hen­sive, detailed plan of action, this was merely a last ditch attempt at pla­ca­tion from an oppo­si­tion back­bench MP who’s so dis­in­ter­ested in gov­ern­ment that he’s appeared at a mere 13% of House votes. It’s per­haps too early to say that the vow that, we have to assume, stead­ied some waver­ing vot­ers is going to tear itself apart in sub­com­mit­tees and then get voted down by angry Tory back­benchers, but I’m not going to be in the least bit sur­prised at drop­ping another “telt ye” bomb.

Mean­while, it looks very much like we’re about to start drop­ping actual bombs as we start Yet Another Iraq War, but this time also with bits of Syria, which means we can soon add Bashar al-Assad to the list of peo­ple on our team. Yay, us. So glad we’re still punch­ing above our weight on the inter­na­tional stage, killing off more peo­ple with arma­ments that cost enough to keep one of our bur­geon­ing num­ber of food banks run­ning for a year. This is the direc­tion that 55% of Scot­land voted for. It’s a minor tragedy for us, and a soon to be pretty major one for those soon to be declared “militants”.

The final bat­tle­front is, of course, by far the least impor­tant, as the caul­dron of Twit­ter stirs up the usual amount of shite. Twit­ter has long been the sin­gle best place for the poorly informed to sling reckon-bytes at each other in 140 char­ac­ters, guar­an­tee­ing the max­i­mal amount of mis­un­der­stand­ing and upset on all sides of the argu­ment. This is why every topic on Twit­ter, regard­less of impor­tance, devolves into Youtube comments.

The lat­est attempt at hash­tag click­tivism, or what­ever buzz-worthy slo­gan is being used today to describe dig­i­tal time-wasting, is a One Scot­land cam­paign, where a gen­er­ous inter­pre­ta­tion would be an attempt to move for­ward with the issues fac­ing Scot­land. A rather more grounded inter­pre­ta­tion would be that they’d rather we weren’t talk­ing about ref­er­en­dums at all.

This will, of course, fail mis­er­ably. Inde­pen­dence has been on the Scot­tish polit­i­cal agenda since 1707, and it’s not likely to be removed soon. This is many people’s life­time polit­i­cal goal. Not the same per­son since 1707, of course, but sug­gest­ing that we ignore what’s just hap­pened is madness.

It’s also a highly unde­mo­c­ra­tic way to attempt to sti­fle polit­i­cal opin­ions, and the ratio­nale for it is trans­par­ently false. Peo­ple can work together with­out hav­ing to homogenise opin­ion, and there’s sim­ply no need to do so. After all, despite the polit­i­cal land­scape being dom­i­nated by the ref­er­en­dum for the past few years, Scot­land appears to have avoided burn­ing down, almost as if Holy­rood can chew on more than one pol­icy at a time. Who’d have thunk it, etc.

We need to talk about this result, prob­a­bly for years. It’s huge. And hugely divi­sive, by it’s very nature. The fourth biggest city in the U.K. doesn’t want to be in U.K. That’s a thing we’ve found out. We have to think about what that means for every­one, and it’s much too com­plex a topic to move on from, or indeed cap­ture your thoughts on in a snarky tweet.

Frankly, I’m not even going to touch on the other side of the this pulling together busi­ness, which would mean work­ing with peo­ple who’ve been demon­is­ing us for past two years, with such con­struc­tive argu­ments as you’re liars, you’re cyber­nats, you’re bul­lies, you smell of wee, and such like. To an extent that’s just the inter­net talk­ing, drag­ging every­one down into the filth, but it’s not the sort of behav­iour that makes rec­on­cil­i­a­tion a par­tic­u­larly attrac­tive option.

The biggest loser in all of this is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict — there’s a great many peo­ple who will be los­ing. There’s a solid argu­ment that it’s Scot­tish Labour, though. It’s widely acknowl­edged that they’ve led a hope­less cam­paign, con­tin­u­ing under the hope­less lead­er­ship of Johann Lam­ont. Clearly, they’re now refus­ing to learn from their supposed-to-be-unachievable crush­ing at the last Holy­rood elec­tion and are locked into their blink­ered path of focus­ing squarely on bash­ing the SNP. They have been rewarded for this laser-like focus by los­ing tra­di­tional sup­port base in areas such as Glas­gow, and by vastly increas­ing the SNP’s membership.

This is just another step in the con­tin­ual lurch to the right that’s removed the Labour party from any­thing that would be remotely famil­iar to its founders, a party of aus­ter­ity and cut­ting child ben­e­fit. Their con­tin­ued tone deaf approach to their sup­port will, I pre­dict, leave them fac­ing real prob­lems at next year’s elec­tion. They have already alien­ated enough of their sup­port that the phrase “any­one but Labour” is start­ing to be heard. That’s the real rea­son for the One Scot­land cam­paign, to attempt to ame­lio­rate the com­ing mael­strom. There’s quite a lot of peo­ple who aren’t likely to allow that to happen.

It’s crazy what you could’ve had.