I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


As we draw inexorably closer to September 18th, it is becoming ever harder to see the wood for the trees. The Referendum is certainly beginning to get everyone’s attention. A month ago, the big vote got ten minutes worth of time on Peinaar’s Politics. Yesterday saw an hour and half’s worth of surprisingly even handed coverage. Give it another month and Indyref will be the biggest show in town and every man and his dog is going to want a piece of it.

Will it get any easier to get any kind of clear picture what is really happening? No chance.

At least people finally seem to be increasingly aware of the dubious antics of the Establishment. I have been encouraged by the way more and more folk are becoming hard wired to sniff out the low level dirty tricks which seem to be all Better Together has to offer.

So. With a couple of months to go, where do things actually stand? Well I for one continue to have a gut feeling that ‘Yes’ is on target to win the thing by a country mile. And yet every day just about all the mainstream media evidence that is thrown at me suggests more or less the exact opposite is the case. Am I just being as wildly optimistic as a drunken Irish punter at Cheltenham who throws £500 at 20 to 1 no hoper because the trainer used to drink with his cousin? Or are there some genuine clues to be found for my growing certainty that we’re on course to give Better Together the same kind of humiliation that Germany gave to Brazil?

I reckon there are.

Clue One – Polls.

I wasn’t sure about this, but it seemed to be confirmed the other night on ‘This Week’. My understanding is that opinion polls are invariably carried out over the phone. I have no idea how the polling companies come up with their lists, but they must have a pretty good idea that the people on other the end of the line have some kind of genuine interest in politics. Think about it. How many times every single day do you pick up the phone to discover it is yet another tele sales call? And how long do you give them? 5 seconds? If that? So if you were to hear some guy saying “Good morning, I’m Matt from YouGov….”, would you really give him more than 5 seconds? No chance.

Surely the fact that people don’t put the phone down shows that they are basically expecting the call and happy enough to take it. How did they get on the list? Well at some stage they must have shown some kind of interest in the electoral process. This probably means that they are on board with one or another of the mainstream parties. They probably come from the 30% who tend to vote in ALL elections. It seems unlikely that they will come from the other 70% who are sick to death with politics, politicans and the whole shoddy business and will only consider voting in a General Election.

So what? So this. It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a huge level of ‘Yes’ support among these very people who are sick to the back teeth of politics. This shouldn’t be remotely surprising to anyone. Ever since the banking crisis, people have been getting steadily more angry. People are sick of hearing about the top 1% getting super-richer every single day and how they avoid paying tax like vampires avoid cloves of garlic. Fair enough, outside of Greece it seems that most Europeans are not yet ready to do a 1968 and take to the streets to smash up everything in sight. But every election now shows that more and more disillusioned folk are keen to use the ballot box as a way to stick two fingers up to any Establishment they can find. Just look at the parties who hoovered up votes in the European Elections a few weeks ago. All over the world there is a growing mood for rebellion and Scotland is no exception.

But our vote is different. Big time different. The Euro elections gave people the chance to give the Establishment a gentle nudge in the ribs. Was the Establishment really all that bothered? Like hell they were. On September 18th we all get the chance to give them a kick in the teeth they will never recover from. More to the point, it is abundantly clear that people really GET this. And people can’t wait to do the kicking. We’ve all had enough of the smug corruption of the unholy alliance that is pulling our strings. They say we’re Better Together and they hope we’re dumb enough to buy it. More and more, we’re saying it’s you lot who are all in it together – politicians, bankers, media and big business. So long as they all continue to work in harmony, the top 1% will continue to sail away from the rest of us in their multi million pound yachts. They keep telling us that we don’t mind really. They keep boasting how we all just love to gape at their riches in OK magazine. Well, some do, but less and less every day. Most of us are sick to the stomach with the sight of them preening and showing off their treasure.

And who is most pissed off? The ones who are getting hit the hardest. In a word, we’re talking about the poor here. We’re talking the poor sods who have had their benefits slashed or trimmed or sanctioned. We’re talking the ones who can’t cover the electric bill any more. We’re talking the ones who can’t even run to their once a week Chinese takeaway any more. We’re talking the ones who still work all the hours God sends but can no longer make ends meet. We’re talking the ones who come into First Base for an emergency food parcel. We’re talking the ones who took time out all over Europe to register their rage by voting for the far right and the far left in massive numbers in the recent Euro elections.

So what’s my point here? Well I have two points actually. First up, I have yet to meet anyone from this ‘kicked in the teeth' bunch of people who isn’t planning on voting ‘Yes’. Second up, and this the big one, none of these guys have landlines. They aren’t even close to having landlines. They run their lives on 'Pay as You Go'. And that means that there is more chance of Fred being voted Brazilian man of the year than any of these people being called up by the likes of YouGov.

Are we talking a lot of people here? You bet your bottom dollar we are. If we have 250,000 kids living in poverty in Scotland, there have to be at least 500,000 parents and grandparents. That’s a massive, largely ‘Yes’ inclined chunk of the electorate who are playing no part whatsoever in any of the polls we are seeing. Add them into the mix and a very different picture starts to emerge. But will they vote? You know what, I reckon they will. They would never vote for any of the political parties but they will vote for independence. Why? Because it is something completely new and more than anything else it offers a once in the lifetime chance to get some revenge eaten cold on the public schoolboys in Westminster who take such delight in hating the poor and forcing them into foodbanks.

Those public schoolboys in Westminster have managed to take away just about everything from the poor – the chance to live with dignity, the chance of a job that actually pays a few bills, job security, decent housing, hell, it’s a long list. But, as of now, they haven’t managed to find a reason to take away their votes. Maybe be one day, but not yet. And every bone in my body can sense that hundreds of thousands of people who have been kicked and kicked again are about to kick back in September.


Clue number two.


If you want to see the wood from the trees, then why not check out the badges. Think about it. As you go about your day to day business in supermarkets and high streets and pubs and service stations, you see more and more people wearing ‘Yes’ badges. Or wrist bands. Or stickers in the car. Or posters in the window. Or T shirts. Or caps.

Think about this. How many people do you see wearing ‘No’ badges? In fact, have you seen ANYONE wearing a ‘No’ badge?

Even the most fanatical member of the Yes campaign will concede that at least 40% of the electorate will vote ‘No’ in September. So why do we not see 4 ‘No’ badges for every 6 ‘Yes’ badges? Maybe it’s an age thing? Maybe the ‘No’ side have reached an age where they are not badge kind of people? I don’t think so for the simple reason that I see lots of members of the silver haired generation proudly displaying their ‘Yes’ insignia.

I think the real reason is seriously catastrophic for the Better Together side. ‘Yes’ supporters have been sufficiently enthused to display their decision for the world to see. They are proud of what they are about to do. They feel good about it. More to the point, they feel they are on the side of the angels. In some ways, a ‘Yes’ badge has become similar to many of the T shirts of the 1980’s. - ‘Free Mandela’ or ‘CND’. I get the feeling that a wearing a ‘Yes’ is a statement the wearer is keen to make about themselves. It says I’m optimistic. I’m not scared. I’m not ready to get pushed about. I reckon freedom beats cash every time. I’m sick of hating the poor. I actually quite like the immigrants I have met. I’m not into the big dream of a nuclear winter.

Wearing a ‘No’ badge says absolutely none of the above. At least people obviously don’t feel it does. Wearing a ‘No’ badge has become a bit like owning up to a dirty secret. I’m falling into line with all those posh boys from London. I don’t care what happens to poor people so long as I have few extra quid in the bank. I think we should close the borders. I want to threaten people with nuclear annihilation. I feel genetically incapable of making any decisions for myself. I want to carry on saying ‘Yes Bass’ and doffing my cap.

A few years ago, a sickening number of people in my home county of Lancashire voted for the fascist lure of the BNP. They won a bunch of councillors all across the blighted old mill towns of East Lancashire. But nobody went about with a BNP badge on their lapel. They didn’t put stickers on their car bumpers or posters in their upstairs windows. They voted for hate in the privacy of the ballot box and they kept it to themselves.

When any cause becomes so toxic that people are too ashamed to wear a badge, then that cause is almost always doomed. This is why badges are so hugely important. The Establishment can and will pull the strings of a fully compliant media to paint pictures of something that isn’t actually there. They will continue to pretend that the ‘Yes’ side is still far too far behind to stand a chance. They will still make up fairytales about CyberNats and the various catastrophes which will come in the wake of Independence. What they absolutely CANNOT do is to persuade thousands of people to go public with their decision to vote ‘No’. Their relentless nastiness has made their cause toxic.

And when any cause becomes so toxic that nobody is willing to wear a badge or a T shirt, then that cause is invariably doomed.

That’s why we’re going to win this thing by a country mile.