We heard it again last week, it’s been voiced before by MPs, top civil servants and several Lords a Leaping. Interestingly it would seem that only those with a vested interest in the British State appear to care about this. Joe and Jemima public haven’t really had it at the forefront of their concerns, at least in so far as media reports have indicated.
Well, we’re coming down to the wire, only eighteen days to go until the vote, soon it’ll be less than ten, and I’m betting we won’t hear more, much more anyway, about the lack of contingency in case of a yes vote.
You see, it’s a fairly safe bet that Westminster does have a contingency plan; only, they can’t afford for anyone to know about it. The reason that they do not have a contingency plan for such a momentous event, as they’ve acknowledged this referendum as being, can only fall into one of three categories.
Firstly, everyone in London Town is an ostrich, every last one who counts as a professed ‘leader of the British Isles’ is a certifiable idiot with their head stuck firmly in the few remaining sandy bits of the Thames embankments. While it would be comforting in a way to go with this scenario, which gets its credence due to the distinct ignorance and highly dubious decision making that’s come from that region in times past, it’s not really the most probable of options, now is it?
Secondly, it could simply be that we’ve been getting lied to. That the ‘difficulty’ experienced by both sides in disentangling the Union will actually cause minimal upheaval in everyone’s lives, with the possible exclusion of perhaps a few civil servants. Based upon the garbage and lies fed to all and sundry during this debate, by the representatives of the ‘mother of parliaments’, this scenario seems much more likely. It’s sad, but should be considered to be streets ahead of option 1 in the probability stakes. It’s sad because it says we elected a bunch of liars, but they were the best of the group offered to us. Now we’re being asked to perpetuate their employment.
The third option is perhaps the most troublesome. You see, option three means never needing a contingency plan, simply because you know it’ll be pointless, simply wasted energy to divert resources to something which you’re certain you can prevent from happening. I’d give it a weight approaching that of, or perhaps even surpassing, option two.
Option three involves many things. However, many things are what Westminster has shown itself capable of. It used the security branches in 1979 to work against Scotland’s interests, as well as that belated 40% rule and counting the dead. There’ve been other incidents too, like the lawyer Willie McRae, who allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head (twice) then throwing the gun away, this after allegedly uncovering something akin to the McCrone report. There’s the last referendum where we voted for a parliament with tax raising powers only to have those powers so diluted by Westminster as to be effectively useless. Even the latest tranche, scheduled for next year can’t be used without hurting ourselves.
Another aspect that just doesn’t ‘ring’ is the disparity in polling data. That alone should have London in a lather, yet while the ‘unofficial polls’ with often massive sample sizes are consistently showing a landslide for ‘Yes’, the ‘official’ polls continue with ‘No’ by a nose.
Ultimately, if we treat option one with the derision deserved, it is certain that there actually is at least one contingency plan out there; one which will allow for London’s elite to remain in control of Scotland or to cut us loose with absolutely minimal impact. It’s an ‘either/or’, I personally can’t see the possibility for any middle ground here.
Up until recently I’d simply thought that with our separate NHS, legal system, educational system etc that we were just being lied to - again. Perhaps an uncomplicated "Velvet Divorce" is to much to hope for.
Now however I have a very real concern. One that has been generated by recent media releases and events, from Jim Murphy’s ‘egging’ (and let’s face it, the only difference this time is that it wasn’t self applied, although we’ve still to uncover just who directed the egg in his direction. What we do know however is it seems to be primarily the nationalist community with an interest in uncovering the perpetrator). Now, add that to recent inflammatory articles appearing in the media indicating "polling carnage" on the 18th, articles which even went so far as to prompt a response from the Police Scotland on September 1st, and we've got a quickly building scenario.
In its best case, a few ‘nutters’ heckling at a handful of polling stations would be unfortunate but ultimately laughable. On the other hand, in a systemic worst-case scenario anything is possible - from missing ballot boxes to calling the fairness of the vote itself into question. Yes, it’d need to be coordinated on a relatively massive scale, but when you largely ‘own’ the output of the media in such circumstances, can anything really be discounted?
Personally, I hope a lot of things can and will be discounted, although I suspect we’ll be approaching October before they can safely be binned.
There’s only one thing that’s certain, London has used every resource and contingency we know of to ensure a ‘No’. On the other hand, if it’s a ‘Yes’ as those on the ground have solid reason to believe, one can only ask what the contingencies are – and why don’t we know about them?
When there is a ‘Yes’ we can be certain those plans will be dusted off; when there is a ‘Yes’ we can only hope that good sense and democracy prevail.