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A Loaded Gun

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick CleggYou might never have heard of a guy called Charles Vacca, but to me he has become a symbol of the Better Together campaign.

He’s not a Scot. He isn’t a politician. He’s not a businessman.

He’s not a citizen here. He’s not eligible to vote in this referendum.

In fact, Vacca will never vote again.

He’s dead, you see.

Charles Vacca was a firearms instructor from Arizona, who was killed in an accident last month, when he handed an automatic weapon – an Uzi no less – to a nine year old girl.

The lesson I draw from this, and one the constituent parts of Better Together will learn way too late in the day, as Vacca did, is simple enough, I suppose.

A lot of people should never be trusted with a fully loaded gun.

If you want a glimpse into Scotland’s future after a No vote, and if you want an indication of how seriously our leaders take politics and consider the consequences of what they do, you don’t need to look any further than the last few days.

Today’s Daily Record carries a front page story which made me wonder if Trinity Mirror had gone into business making decorative bog roll. This so-called “leaders pledge” is a desperate fraud, designed to hoodwink people into thinking the London parties are offering us something real.

I won’t labour the point about Nick Clegg putting his name to anything, or the icky feeling it gives me seeing Ed Miliband and David Cameron lined up on the same side except to say that it’s like the bit at the end of Animal Farm where we see, through the window, a dinner table where pigs and men all eat and drink together and there’s no longer any way to tell the difference between them.

These people have been pissing all over Scotland so long we can barely remember anything else, and as Sigourney Weaver says in Avatar, they no longer even bother to call it rain. The Tories have ignored us when they haven’t been conducting social experiments on us, and Labour so took the Scottish vote for granted that they created a Parliament where they could be the overlords of this little corner of the universe in perpetuity and filled it to the rafters with nodding donkeys and dreck.

When I saw “Bow Down To Your Imperial Masters” the other day I almost bust a gut laughing, but the sickening truth of it cannot be denied.

These arrogant sods still think this campaign is “borrowing their votes.” In spite of defeat and disgrace, and the opinion polls in this campaign being more narrow than the mind of a UKIP councillor, Labour still hasn’t grasped that those votes belong to us.

These people insult us more with every utterance out of their lying mouths. I can live with that. On Thursday they are going to get the shock of a lifetime.

But I’m sorely concerned about what the next two years will bring, whether Scotland has voted for independence or not. The reckless disregard these people have for their constituents, for the social order, for the fabric of the country, is appalling.

In their desperation to hold together a Union that long since fell apart, they’ve left a .44 magnum on the living room table, whilst the children play on the floor in front of the TV.

In years to come, nothing will speak more clearly about our desire to leave the union than the manner in which it comes to an end.

Labour, Tories and Lib Dems alike are scrambling over one another to offer Scotland everything they think will buy it off and make us vote No. We know those offers are nothing short of ridiculous. The so-called “powers” we’re being offered are like a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down. They won’t tell us that the medicine is cyanide, and most people won’t realise that until it’s too late, but to make it credible they’ve had to make a hard core sales pitch.

To the disengaged, or to the outsider, these plans might actually look substantial, but in this lies the dreadful, dreadful danger, the reckless potential consequences, unintended or not, of what these people are doing in an effort to make fools of us.

These “proposals” are a gift from the Gods to people like Nigel Farage. They are red meat and drink for organisations like the EDL. They resonate with the lunatic fringe in English politics who believes they have somehow been sold out.

And you know what? Those proposals, even as empty as they are, represent a truly monumental slap in the face to abandoned regions and cities and people in every part of these islands. I completely understand, and sympathise with, the anger that must be being felt all across England, Wales and the North of Ireland today as they watch the main parties scrambling to appease “the Jocks.”

Whatever way this spins out, the days of wine and roses are over for Scotland’s MP’s for a start. If Scotland votes Yes, they’re done and they’re gone. If the country votes No they will be marginalised in the House, stopped from voting on major issues and unable to hold key briefs in future governments.

The number of them is going to be cut too, making the rump who are left largely an irrelevance in political terms. It will also spark a full-on squabble over who gets the remaining seats, and nothing would please me more at the moment than seeing some of them claw each other’s eyeballs out for the remaining places on the lifeboat.

Each of those changes will weaken the Union further. The seeds of the end are sown here, no matter which way the country votes on Thursday. We’re watching the current system spit out its last breath.

That might not be good news for us. Even in a Yes vote, we’re going to spend two more years shackled to that system, and that troubles me.

For Labour, the picture looks about as grim as it’s possible to be, but actually I suspect that a little politics is being played with Scotland’s affections here. In a previous article, Hearts & Flowers, I wrote about how the sweet talking from Labour is akin to that of a guy who’s trying to get into a woman’s knickers, and will tell her anything he thinks will help.

But what happens on the following day?

On the following day, when their promises of greater devolution are not realised they will blame the current government, accuse them of dumping the issue in the face of a coming election and our future will be pushed further down the road.

They’re already planning for it, you can tell. They know Parliament will never ratify this stuff on the present side of an election.

Douglas Alexander can stand there on TV tonight, telling lies about “faster, safer, stronger” devolution, only because he knows that no-one on the other side of Better Together can call him a liar without torpedoing everything.

So for the next two days, they’ll try to hold this thing together, and then when it’s over they will turn on each other like wolves, and there’ll be no prospect of a constitutional settlement for 12 months at best.

Scotland’s people will, again, be spectators and nothing more, as they seek to blame one another for why we didn’t get what we voted for.

But Scottish voters will see through that.

I expect that in a No Scotland Labour is going to find it’s the most hated party of the three. The Tories are too irrelevant to hate and the Lib Dems aren’t worth the effort. It is Labour who will be seen as the quislings and the sell-outs, which is fitting as their conduct during this campaign has been truly loathsome to behold.

How many Scottish seats will they win in the next General Election? My guess would be a lot less. This current generation of voters will never forgive the party for what it’s done here. They will never forget the people who stood on street corners and terrified their friends and their families with lies.

Talking about a “day of reckoning” appears to have got itself some negative press, but when Labour fails to deliver on the shabby fag-packet arrangements it’s tried to pass off as something real, or when the reality of what those “new powers” means sinks in … that day of reckoning will fall hardest on them, and the electoral devastation will render them virtually extinct.

Their only alternative to destruction here is to offer Scotland a real devolution settlement, one that repairs some of the damage they’ve done to themselves.

But that, too, is fraught with danger and difficulty and I am amazed that the people in charge of the party have screwed up in not looking into the future and seeing their enemies loading up the ammo they’ve left lying around.

Whatever they do, the SNP will thrash them mercilessly from the left. The Tories and UKIP will pound on them brutally from the right. If they screw Scotland they are finished up here. If they give us what we want, UKIP will eat them alive in their heartlands south of the border, as the party that sold out the English working class to buy Scottish votes.

They are ripping themselves to bits as it is, telling two competing stories on either side of the border over the NHS.

The Tories, of course, are playing their own wee game with Scotland. They knew Labour had to offer the most, and they’ve left them to it because they know it can’t, and won’t, come to pass. They’ve taken a back seat as Labour has resurrected the ghost of Gordon Brown as a major figure on the political stage, and they’ve tied him to Ed Miliband as part of the constitutional settlement, as “the man who saved Scotland”.

If Yes wins, Labour will be blamed for holding the reigns, and Miliband is toast. The loss of 40 MP’s will damage him in itself, but as Labour were leading the fight to save Britain it’s his head that’ll wind up in the noose.

If No wins then it’s Brown, not Miliband, who gets the credit, and boy oh boy, will Cameron make him eat that a year from now.

With their “pledge” last night, Labour has lost the next general election whether Scotland votes for independence or not. Only a mug does not see this. A Tory government is on its way. Cameron, and Salmond too, to an extent, have played this thing beautifully. For Labour, this entire referendum has been an almost unfathomable exercise in self-harm.

This is what comes from leaving a loaded gun where a fool like Lamont, or a shameless self promoter like Murphy, or a guy who realises he has another shot at a legacy, like Brown, can get their slippery mitts on it. Stupidity is dangerous. Bullets spray everywhere.

The same applies on the Tory side. Cameron’s signing the pledge has re-awakened the sleeping beast on his own back benches. A rabid anti-Scottish sentiment burns in the Tory Party, who sees our nation as a country of malcontents and scroungers who can always be relied upon to vote Labour and send forty MP’s south to cause trouble. Many of them would rather we voted Yes and got the Hell out of the way.

They’ve never liked Cameron either, and if he wins in 2015 and even looks as if he’s giving Scotland a good deal they will rip him limb from limb, in the knowledge their boy Boris is waiting in the wings and ready to take over.

Cameron can’t give us what we want, even if it he had a mind to – which only a fool could believe – because it would unleash war in his own ranks, and he’s already facing that war on the outside for even making the promise.

Because UKIP is watching all of this with relish, knowing they can tap into the wellspring of anger all this is causing in English constituencies where they are already strong. Only on the Labour benches does something that strengthens this band of misfits look even vaguely promising. To the Scottish people it should be the last reason we need to leave this lot to their own devices.

Many MP’s down there are staring into their own open graves. The only way they avoid them is to swing wildly to the right. Anti-Scottish sentiment will become the default position of many otherwise moderate members of the House.

This conduct of the three Westminster parties in the last week of this campaign has massively strengthened reactionary forces south of the border, and it has destabilised the Westminster system to an extent that few can see it ever being the same again.

None of this is good news for a Scotland that votes No.

We would be as well to hand these people a loaded gun.

There is one more campaigning day to go.

Scotland needs us to win.

(The author is a full-time writer from Glasgow. You can support his work, if you like what he does, by sharing this article on social media. Additionally, if you really like it, you can help by making a donation to the upkeep of the site, either at the top or bottom of the screen depending on your device. Thanks in advance for your support.)

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One comment to “A Loaded Gun”
  1. as an old saying goes ” Unable to empty water out of a boot with the instructions on the heel!” it’s headless chicken time, best put them out of their misery and vote Yes.

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