Like many supporters of Scottish independence I have, for many years, found it perplexing as why so many of my fellow countrymen vote against independence. It just doesn’t make sense. Studies have been done and some suggestion that people voted no in 2014 because they felt that yes supporters were not listening to what the no voters were saying. On the contrary, I personally found it the exact opposite.
When I raised the subject of independence some no voters would profess to being open to persuasion but as soon as I began to put forward my argument they would immediately begin to reel off all the ‘Better Together’ sound-bites/cliché’s as though it was gospel. Some just simply did not want to hear (like the unruly kid putting their hands over their ears when being told off by an adult) anything said against the UK, but were not prepared to give a reason. Some would say they would think about it and it would be clear that this was an easy cop out because they really did not want to listen. Now this may say something about my own communication skills and not everyone I spoke to fell into these categories. As we know there is a bigger picture which includes for example Brit nats, Tory voters and so on and there are questions as to whether there was any skulduggery involved but the core of Scots you would expect to be open to the idea of independence were not. Why?
Well, when you consider the UK set-up, the way it is portrayed and perceived as the London parliament being the all important go to guru dispensing unquestionable justice and wisdom to a grateful kingdom you can begin to see some striking similarities to that of the cult leader and his/her followers. I should say here that I am not given to conspiracy theories and this is not meant as one.
The cult usually involves a central figure head leader with a few hand picked minions who do the dirty work and heavy lifting. Cult leaders use psychological manipulation to sell a message or belief to recruit members into the cult and keep existing members. ‘Our precious union’ or ‘we are stronger together’ or ‘we are a union of equal partners’ or ‘building a nation that works for everyone’ are some examples (none of which actually mean anything) in a UK context. The leader will strictly decree how the members are to behave (political correctness, work until you are extremely old or drop dead, give up your privacy and freedoms so that you are protected from bad people, all spring to mind) Any deviation from the leader’s instructions are punished.
Becoming a member of the cult usually means divesting yourself of all your wealth and donating it to the leader. Think of North Sea oil, Scottish fishing rights bargained away to benefit London, EU Scottish farm subsidies going straight into the UK Treasury purse, Scotch whisky revenue controlled by London and so on. Of course the cult members are given just enough to keep them productive i.e. the Barnet formula pocket money in Scotland’s case.
In order for the cult to work, members have to be isolated from outside influence which might bring them to their senses and make them want to leave the cult. The UK does this with the BBC which relentlessly feeds viewers with a diet of Queen, country and establishment narrative and avoids any serious news reporting which might contradict it’s narrow view. The main stream news paper outlets do the same only more blatantly.
Cult leaders tend to become a bit paranoid and afraid that members might be conspiring against them or thinking of leaving. So the main task of the trusted minions is to keep an eye on members and punish anyone who steps out of line. They do this by constantly hovering over members and listening to their conversations etc. and instilling fear or a lot worse. Think of the all encompassing surveillance state we now live in, and it’s a lot more sophisticated and personally intrusive than people think. The UK’s weapon of choice during the 2014 campaign was ‘project fear’ where pensioners were told they would lose their pensions if they voted yes, Scotland could not be in the EU with a yes vote, say by by to the pound and so on and on and on ad nausea. Brainwashing is a serious business.
My Oxford paperback Dictionary defines the word cult as meaning 1 a system of religious worship 2 devotion to or admiration of a person or thing 3 fashionable. All three seem to be at play in the UK. So the feeling I have when I encounter those who display such blind faith in the union must be similar to that of someone who’s friend or relative has gone off and joined a cult.
All those of us who have our eyes open (and there are more and more) must continue to provide the counter narrative and break the spell holding this nation prisoner in the UK.
Coincidently, the motives and tactics used by cult masters are the same as used by empire builders. That’s another story.