Monday, 16 March 2015

Another Brick in the Wall

Two days before the Referendum I was campaigning on Crew Road North in Pilton, Edinburgh. There was a bunch of us around a wee folding table packed with leaflets, stickers and posters. My job was to catch people walking by. 

A man - auburn hair, mid-40s, upright, wiry build - stepped off a bus and came by. He looked anxious, knew that I would step into his path to ask him a referendum question. Saw the blue sweat top with "YES" emblazoned across it. Knew what I was going to ask him:

"Which way are you going to vote in the Referendum, sir?"

"Oh God. Don't ask me that."

"Why, sir? Are you finding it difficult to make up your mind?"

"It's just's just that I work in the finance sector. I would like to vote Yes, but I cannot bear to have all those lost jobs on my conscious. I've got friends at work who are single parents, people who just get by on the wage they earn. I can't be responsible for throwing them out of a job."

I tried to persuade him that it was propaganda, that Project Fear was running a concerted campaign using the banks and finance sector as allies to frighten us into voting No by threatening our jobs. To no avail. He would not take the risk.

And now we learn, thanks to Sunday's Herald, that a press release announcing that the Royal Bank of Scotland would move to London came direct from the Treasury written by "...Robert Mackie, the son of Catherine MacLeod, who was a special adviser to Better Together leader Alistair Darling."

Robert Mackie's boss is Sir Nicholas Macpherson, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. Sir Nicholas - there is a certain inevitability about this - was educated at Eton, and Balliol College, Oxford.

This was just one wee email. Another brick in the wall.  The wall that keeps things in Britain as they are - comfortable, safe, normal, calm. You don't want to live in a place where the system changes all the time - it is very disconcerting to wake up in the morning to martial music on the radio and another new General in charge. But do you want to live in a place that is the opposite, where the system is unmovable? Where a tiny elite trained in the walls of Eton, Windsor, Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, keep Britain on the straight road despite the whims of the electorate?

That elite was part of a system that ensured that my auburn-haired financial sector worker voted No. Voted No so that Scotland remained in stasis, locked into a system that keeps society stable. Which would be fine if society was functioning for all of its members. But it is not. The system keeps the poor, poor (and the rich, rich). It fails to look after the society it governs.

This single email did not change the voting minds of 55% of Scots. But the story illustrates how and why the UK has to change. Scotland must take back the power held by the hypnotists from Eton and Oxbridge. Scotland must make itself independent of that rotting system.

Memo to Robert Mackie and Sir Nicholas Macpherson: 

We don't need no thought control.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

No comments:

Post a Comment