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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Referendum Dictionary


The Scottish independence debate is getting a bit heated and I have little doubt that the temperature will rise even further between now and September 18th. It’s only natural that folk get worked up about such a big subject, but as both sides continue to make claims and counter-claims, promises and counter-promises, it can be difficult to drown out the background noise and focus on exactly what is being said. Sometimes people say one thing when they mean another. And sometimes people say one thing without realising that they are actually saying something else. 
With this in mind, I thought it might be useful to provide a brief ‘strip-away-the-bullshit’ guide to some of the assertions that are made regularly during discussions and debates, both in the digital domain and in that much more civilised neighbouring state, the real world.
Debates are more interesting when the participants speak with clarity and passion, maintaining a respect for (and understanding of) the arguments of their opponents. There will be plenty of passion, but I’m not confident that ‘respect’ is going to thrive over the next couple of weeks. As for clarity, I hope that this modest attempt to decode some of the referendum bunkum, baloney and balderdash makes a small contribution to the debate. I should point out here that the views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of the author, unless they are. 

What they say
What it means
‘It’s a no-brainer’       

I am not prepared to give this subject much thought.
‘We need to address the democratic deficit’   

I want the party I support to win every election.
‘After a no vote, there will be more powers for the Scottish Parliament’ 
You can have just as many Gaelic signs as you like.
‘Here’s a link to an interesting article’ 

Here’s a link to an article that supports my opinion, because I only read stuff that backs up what I’m thinking anyway.
‘After independence, we’ll be able to vote for whichever government we want’ 

After independence, we’ll be able to pick from two slightly different brands of ‘tax and spend’ socialism.
‘A report by a leading think-tank says that the oil might run out by 2018’
I really don’t have a clue about any of this.

‘An independent Scotland will have better public services, free prescriptions, no tuition fees and better retirement conditions for everyone’
I’m not very good at sums. 

‘Such-and-such an actor from such-and-such a TV show has come out in favour of Yes /No’

I think that people who dress up for a living and then say stuff that is written for them by other folk are best placed to advise us on how to vote.
‘There was no clear winner in the first televised debate’
I’m voting Yes, no matter what. 

‘The second televised debate was a bit of a shambles’
I’m voting No, no matter what.

‘I’m voting for the future of our children’ 

Anyone who doesn’t agree with me is a selfish unthinking bastard and probably not much better than a child abuser.
‘Anyone who votes Yes/No is selfish, unthinking or stupid’

Trapped within the dreary architecture of a limited imagination, I am unable to grasp the simple concept that other people might hold legitimate opinions which don’t coincide with my own, so I just settle for calling them names.
‘I don’t know’
No.
‘After independence, we’ll be able to make our own decisions’
I want the party I support to win every election.
‘There are some interesting arguments on both sides’
One side is as bad as the other.

‘It’s our pound, so we can use it if we want’   

What does ‘lender of last resort’ even mean?

‘I don’t think an independent Scotland could pay its way’
I hate Alex Salmond.

‘This is not about Alex Salmond’ 

This is about Alex Salmond.

‘The likes of David Bowie and Eddie Izzard have no understanding of what the Yes campaign means in Scotland and about how  it represents progressive values.  If they lived here, I’m sure they would be Yes voters’
Fuck off back to Englandshire and mind your own business.

‘The media bias in this campaign has been astonishing’
I don’t like it when folk present views that don’t entirely accord with mine.
‘What do a bunch of public school toffs know about the real world?’ 
I hate Boris Johnson.

‘I hate Boris Johnson’ 

I have a sneaking suspicion that this man somehow possesses a broad popular appeal and that he might actually end up as British prime-minister.
‘Neither side has made it clear exactly what a Yes or No vote actually means’
I’m still not sure which side is offering the electorate the biggest bag of sweeties. 
‘The artistic community in Scotland is right behind the Yes campaign’ 

The artistic community in Scotland is right behind the Yes campaign, except for the ones who are afraid to speak up in case they get crucified on the various social networks.
‘After independence, we’ll be one of the most progressive, forward-thinking, greenest nations on the planet with a commitment to social justice and international peace’ 
Pass the bong … this is some really good shit.

‘This article, by Professor Whoever from the University of Hot Air, demonstrates that Scotland will be mega-rich /flat broke after independence’

40% of statistics are based on firm evidence, 25% are based on subjective interpretations of selected data, 25% are based on subjective readings of anecdotal evidence and the other 17% are just made up on the spot.
‘Scotland has been betrayed by the quislings in the Labour party’

Lacking any sense of perspective, I have no appreciation that a casual use of the word ‘quisling’ might just be insulting to the memory of the Norwegian Jews who were sent to concentration camps in 1942 by Vidkun Quisling, the puppet dictator supported by the invading National Socialists.
’We’ve got an ageing population and being part of the UK means that we’ll be able to share the pensions burden across a much bigger demographic’
Vote independence and, by the time you’re old, you’ll be burning your own furniture and hunting scabby pigeons for your dinner.  

‘This isn’t about being anti-English, it’s about being anti-Westminster’  

Such is my hatred for the Tories, I’m happy -for the moment, at least- to go along with the SNP’s subtle re-branding of its chip-on-the-shoulder petty nationalism as a ‘principled stand against Westminster politics’.
‘I just hope we can all get on after September 18th'
If my side loses by a narrow margin, the campaign for a re-run will start immediately.

 

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