Lord George Robertson will kill Unionism stone-dead

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  By Alex Mooney
 
There is something deep in the human psyche that takes joy from mocking the little things in life.  City folk do it to town folk who do it to village folk.  Big football clubs’ fans do it to smaller clubs’ fans. 
 
The tall do it to the small.  Even big countries do it to tiny countries.  At its worst, it’s cruel.  At its best, it’s patronising.  But this superiority complex is always wrong.

  By Alex Mooney
 
There is something deep in the human psyche that takes joy from mocking the little things in life.  City folk do it to town folk who do it to village folk.  Big football clubs’ fans do it to smaller clubs’ fans. 
 
The tall do it to the small.  Even big countries do it to tiny countries.  At its worst, it’s cruel.  At its best, it’s patronising.  But this superiority complex is always wrong.

Now, you would expect eminent Scot Lord George Robertson – a former general secretary of Nato – to know this.  Not so, it appears.  On Thursday, as the independence debate reached fever point, he called Scotland “a minor entity in North Britain”.

In April, he also made a speech in America and insisted that his country becoming independent would be “cataclysmic” for world peace.

Well, the socialist life peer (something not right about that, is there?) can’t have it both ways.  Perhaps the Baron of Port Ellen will explain the contradiction of why a minor entity can have such a massive impact on the world stage?

Maybe not.  I suspect the No campaign will be closing the man down and we have heard his last utterance on the issue.  He really is a gift to the Yes camp, of course, and they will be hoping all good things come in threes.

However, the bewigged Robertson’s outburst shows the Union’s big-hitters are rattled and on the run.  And you wonder how many undecideds he influenced with that fit of pique.  If anything is guaranteed to anger Scots, it’s calling their country a minor entity.

Which makes you wonder why – like George Galloway – he is so out of touch with what’s happening on the ground here.  Both are from the same political generation and background but appear to be mired in the past.  Scotland, and the world, has changed dramatically since they entered the political scene – but not in their eyes.

Both are woefully ill-informed.  If they bothered to look, they would see a country looking to the future.  A people energised by the prospect of a fresh start from the Westminster scene that has produced unprecedented levels of political apathy across Britain – but especially in Scotland.

Quite simply, we are seeing the impact a proper grassroots campaign can have. A fire has been lit across Scotland thanks to good, old-fashioned debate in the town and village halls, and on doorsteps, workplaces and pubs. People have become passionate again and realised they can control what happens to their lives by making the right decision when they vote. That democracy is in their hands. That the billionaire has one vote only, the same as the pauper.

The Yes faction has moved from no-hopers just a couple of months ago to serious contenders in all the polls. This is extraordinary given the vast resources the No camp has on its side – the state, mainstream media, big business to name but a few.

Look at the scandalous situation of the newspapers in Scotland. All the national titles bar one – the low circulation Sunday Herald – have campaigned against independence. That is incredible – and hardly democratic – but, despite their collective might, many people have ignored the words journalists are forced to write for their London paymasters.

Voters are more aware now of how powerful interests combine and conspire to work against them. There is a healthy cynicism of corporate culture fuelled by self-interest and greed only – and a media in cahoots with them.

A retired teacher friend, of no particular political persuasion, is now enthused by the whole argument. He told me: “I’ve thought about this long and hard and I genuinely cannot understand why anyone in Scotland would vote against independence.

“It is an incredible chance to run our own country and try to make the kind of decent society we have always wanted – and voted for. We can leave an amazing legacy for our families – who wouldn’t want to do that? I can’t for the life of me see what there is to fear.

“For decades we’ve been told by Westminster that Scotland is a drain on the UK’s finances, that we’re subsidy junkies, always needing propped-up. Yet now, when they have a chance to get rid of us, they insist we must stay. Isn’t that strange?”

In the interests of balance, I countered that the No camp argue we’re being swept along on a tide of optimism and they are trying to make us see sense – in essence, to save us from ourselves.

This conversation, of course, took us to the heart of the debate – to the single big issue that divides both camps. Does Scotland have enough good people and resources to thrive? Or not?

My friend said: “So what they are saying is we don’t have the savvy to run our own country. Well, that’s a nonsense. Implying we are some sort of banana republic basket-case is ludicrous. There can be few countries in the world that have given so much in every field imaginable. Our history is littered with brilliant minds who made huge contributions to the civilised world.

“If that’s their argument, then it’s insulting and patronising beyond belief. In fact, Scotland, would probably be at the top of any table of countries that measured, per capita, talent and invention.”

Powerful points. And clearly my friend is not the only one of a similar view. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the flames of true democracy are burning brightly and the only minor entity now is Robertson and his out of touch ilk. The winds of change are blowing them away – and they can’t even see it.