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Independence

 

Introduction

The aim of this submission is to bring a different perspective to the Commission’s work. I hope to demonstrate how social constructionist perspectives may help to understand the myriad influences and narratives that underpin social inequality in Scotland at present and put forward my reasoning for the devolving of all powers that do not affect the rUK directly in order to address these issues.

I aim to introduce the primary concepts at the core of social constructionism and the rationale behind social constructionism’s emergence out of postmodernist ideology. These ideas will then be expanded upon to explore the particular challenges and opportunities this provides for the Commission and future policy makers within an episteme of fiscal consolidation and growing inequality.

I also hope that some observations from the emerging fields of behavioural economics and modern social psychology will lend itself to a greater understanding of how the Commissions recommendations can influence the emergence of a new social contract in Scotland that more accurately reflects the wishes of her people. Read More

The definition of an optimist is someone who believes that this is the best of all possible worlds. The definition of a pessimist is someone who fears the optimist is correct.

Perspective then is a powerful tool. It was sadly lacking last Friday morning as exhausted by weeping and trembling, I found myself wandering the streets of Edinburgh once again, without an ideological roof over my head.

Like many others, I wondered what next and it seemed the answer appeared no sooner than I had begged the question. 45 groups emerged almost simultaneously from the fog of hard fought defeat. Then the 45plus. The WeAreTheFortyFive…

I have to admit to being astonished by the seemingly boundless resolve of those who had already picked up the saltire from the fallen and with all the fire of youth, threw themselves on once more. But there is a danger in cobbling something together as a reaction to events as the Vow pledged days before polling illustrated. Read More

Fuck it. Panic.

Give them more powers. Okay. Done. What powers will we give them? I don’t know. Something that sounds like they’ll have more power. Oh, but give them a timetable. Everyone likes a timetable.

One might have thought that David Cameron’s late appearance into the fray might have been the ideal moment to spell out a viable alternative to the secessionist’s vision of the future. Not so.

For all we know, the new powers to be devolved following a ‘No’ vote is a promise that Alistair Darling will agree to wash oor windaes for a week and give us all his dinner money.

He did say that if we voted ‘Yes’ on Thursday, we would wake up the next day in a different country – he neglected to say if it would be warmer there – and inadvertently convinced a million or so Doctor Who fans to jump ship to Yes and experience what it must be like to be a Time Lord.

The Prime Minister of the ‘greatest country on earth’ (sorry, Barack) arrived empty handed, of course.

The would-be Liberators filling his own back benches cannot and will not countenance any further devolvement of power and are quite frankly already more than a little pissed that all this talk of new powers for the jocks has come about without so much as a nod in their direction or a thought to how they might sell the increased burden to their own constituents.

Here then was a man, backed into a corner by the inadequacies of his cohorts, fighting for his political life. And to be fair to him, he finally displayed the oratory skills that enabled a man of such limited political ability and imagination to gain his present post. Read More

 

Comment: The latest research in the field of big data and social physics reveals that the best way to secure ‘Yes’ might simply be to reveal a bit more of ourselves.

The idea of a ‘collective intelligence’ within societies and communities is not new. The origin of the word, ‘kith,in ‘kith and kin’ derives from the archaic English and Germanic words for knowledge. The same word that provides the root of ‘couth’ indicating a person of some sophistication and its more oft met antonym, ‘uncouth’.

Our ‘kith’ then is the circle of peers in our community from which we take much of our instruction when it comes to decision making and most of our learning. Taking advantage of this fact and some rather surprising research in the developing field of social physics may equip us with the gentle ‘nudge’ we need to bring the remaining undecideds on board the big blue bus. Read More

 

On average, an Asian elephant weighs anything from three to five tonnes. Their African brothers are larger and heavier still, weighing anything up to and in excess of seven tonnes (7000kg). And yet, these incredible beasts are often successfully controlled by nothing more than a short stake and a piece of rope.

Understanding this phenomenon is essential to securing a ‘Yes’ vote on September 18th. Read More

Ecclefechan’s finest son, the essayist and philosopher Thomas Carlyle implored man as his first duty to conquer fear, to get rid of it entirely; for he believed man was unable to act until he did so.

Concern is understandably behind much of the reticence displayed by those yet to commit themselves either way to the Independence debate. It is not however, the fear we imagine it is; dispensed so cheaply by the Bitter Together campaign. It is more insidious. A creeping unease in the pit of the gut. As we will discover, this trepidation is wholly justified but I hope that by naming this fear we might finally begin to dispel it.

And if by flashing a bit of leg in the direction of those undecideds, I can persuade a few to join me in a chorus of Meg Ryan ‘Yessing’, then all the better.

The undecided will ultimately determine the fate of our nation. If the reactionary polemic and increase in hysteria witnessed recently are any indication of unionist jitters, it is almost certainly because Darling et al have realised that they are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of those undecided they had hoped could be bludgeoned into submission with casual threats and intimidation. Read More

The Bitter Together campaign have today called upon the Scottish Executive to ensure that the forthcoming publication of it’s white paper on Independence is ‘entirely honest and upfront’ about the implications of a ‘Yes’ vote on next year’s Christmas celebrations.

The delivery of a ‘Yes’ vote in next year’s September 18th plebiscite it warns, could have grave consequences for Scotland’s ‘scabby, snot-faced weans’ and could jeopordise entirely the continued enjoyment of the festive season in an newly independent Scotland.

Recent observations published by the London based Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) raise a number of concerns regarding the fiscal sustainability of a free Scotland but it is the apparent lack of interest shown by Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon in explaining what an independent Scotland intends to do about Santa’s carbon footprint that is now irking the rank and filth of Bitter Together.

Recent figures estimate that the nation’s favourite obese drunk will be responsible for releasing 69.7 million metric tonnes of  carbon emissions over the night of the 24th as he sloshes through the snow. This astounding figure includes 53,667 metric tonnes of methane from the arseholes of his reindeer alone. A figure only eclipsed by oor Johann after a ‘think tank’ in Mother India’s.

Alisdair ‘Silver Balls’ Darling, former chancellor and now the brains and brawn behind Bitter Together was proper bealin’ when approached for a comment this afternoon, ‘Listen ya wee radge, I couldnae gie twa monkey fucks aboot a new Constitution for Scotland or transferring Tunnock’s Tea Cakes into public ownership’, he raged, ‘Ah’m mair worried aboot this carbon footprint… ah’ve only jist got ma new carpet fitted in the living room so that bastard better min’ and tak’ his boots aff in the fireplace.’ Read More

In a previous post, we observed the peculiar phenomenon of loss aversion, and the surprising ways in which it can affect our ability to reason, overcome and succeed. It might be beneficial now for those of us in the ‘Yes’ camp, to understand precisely how loss aversion comes about in order to better equip ourselves to counteract it.

Paul Rozin, one of the world’s most highly respected psychologists, noted in ‘Negativity Bias, Negativity Dominance and Contagion’, the ability of a single cockroach to completely ruin a bowl of cherries, while simultaneously pointing out that a single cherry placed upon a bowl of cockroaches does nothing to make the bowl appear more appealing. Read More

The Philosophy of Beards, published in 1880, wisely concluded that ‘the absence of a beard is usually a sign of physical and moral weakness’. No knowledge acquired by mankind in the time that has elapsed since would seem to disprove the theory.

God has a fine beard… if you are so inclined to believe. And we are made in his image no less. Jesus too, had his beard unceremoniously tugged and pulled at shortly before those beastly Roman’s pinned him to the cross for sedition. Salvador Dali had a particularly splendid one. Confucius. Aristotle. Galileo. Karl Marx. Che. Socrates. Charlemagne. Dionysus. Zeus. Mohammed (Orthodox Muslims swear by the beard of the prophet). Darwin. Abe Lincoln. Einstein. Lao Tsu. Sean Connery. John Devoy. Chuck Norris. George Clooney. Yosemite Sam. Jack Sparrow. The Dude Lebowski. Gandalf. Papa Smurf. Brian Blessed. Uncle Jessie. Aragorn and Ben Affleck, the Academy Award winner.

The contribution to the history of mankind from the boyish, soft skinned saps seated across the hairy divide is negligible. Hardly surprising when viewed together as a group. Charles Edward Stewart. Lepidus. Richard Cromwell. Edward II. Warren G. Harding. Kim Jong-un. Margaret Thatcher. John Boehner. Justin Bieber. Ashton Kutcher. Christiano Ronaldo. Zac Efron. One Direction. Frodo Baggins and Ben Affleck, the guy in Gigli. Read More

The Swilcan Bridge spanning the burn of the same name between the first and eighteenth fairways of the Old Course at St. Andrews

Comment: Scotland’s past and the history of golf are inextricably linked but it is what we can learn of Scotland’s future from our beloved game that we must now heed. 

The game of gouff has not always enjoyed a cosy relationship with our nation’s guardians. In 1457, during the reign of James I, it was written into statute that the playing of ‘the golf be vtterly criyt done and nocht vsyt’. James II then explicitly prohibited the playing of golf once more in 1470 in order to encourage archery practice, and James III subsequently reiterated his opposition to the game in 1491.

The game survived such decrees however and the Old Course at St. Andrews, with it’s fairways shaped by grazing sheep and bunkers formed by sheltering livestock, remains the oldest continuing golf field in existence.

So what can our ancient game tell us about Scotland’s chances of securing a resounding ‘Aye’ on September 18th?

Surprisingly much as it turns out, and the news is not good. Read More

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