From the outside, and maybe even to some inside, it’s maybe what it looked like. If you weren’t here, living it, watching the mainstream media do what they did, reading and hearing the lies spewed out by newspapers and television stations, and then witnessing them being exposed on a hundred websites and social media feeds, contrasting the “good neighbour” policies championed by Yes, and the “we will threaten you with everything but actual invasion” promises of bitter revenge from Westminster, viewing the comedy gold of the Imperial Labour Party’s Death Star Shuffle along Buchanan Street and shaking your head in literal disbelief at celebrity millionaires defecating words of discouragement over all of Scotland….well, if you were outside of all that, or, of course, if you were a pensioner who gullibly relied on the BBC and the Daily Record to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then maybe a fear of flying is what it looked like.
There must be many people worldwide who misread Saor Alba as Soar Alba, and who subsequently watched as we attempted to take off, but never made it off the runway. Nobody was killed; it wasn’t a crash and burn, or an exploding fireball, as so many independence movements become. Almost everybody got up the next day and got on with their lives, whether they were heartbroken or satisfied. That’s how democracy is supposed to work, and it’s something everyone in Scotland, from the strongest Yes to the staunchest No, can be proud of. Unless you actually did inflict unprovoked violence on someone else because of the result, in which case, you’re an asshole, regardless of how you voted.
The issue we face is that fear of flying is a natural human trait, and has been since humans first flew. It’s not necessarily a fear of death, more a fear of endlessly falling into who-knows-what oblivion. Control is relinquished to someone who says they know what they’re doing, but do they? The head is in the clouds, the feet are no longer on the ground. Flying is much safer than it used to be, but it still has risks, and even if we’re prepared to take them, it’s useful to understand that there are people who aren’t.
The solution we need is to find enough of those people who simply thought our craft wasn’t ready yet, who preferred to continue to fly with an experienced-even-if-utterly-immoral pilot to a shiny bright first-timer, to find out from them what they’re wary of, and examine whether their worries have substance, or whether it’s enough just to show them that it’s safe to step in, as we all have. We know – and many of them know – that the experienced pilot wants our money, and won’t hesitate to shoot a rival right out the sky. They’re trying to tell us that they don’t think we have enough protection, enough experience, enough fuel. It’s up to us to make sure that we do, and to persuade them. Shouting at them for being cowards does no good.
The complication we’re making for ourselves is that some of us seem to be doing just that. It’s hard for me to believe that the vast majority of “the 55” love Scotland any less than those they voted against, rather than that they simply think the other way is better, yet they’re being pilloried on occasion as traitors. It is not treason for a little old lady, who has nothing but the BBC and her favourite newspaper to guide her into thinking that this flight will end in disaster, to refuse to board the plane. It isn’t cowardice as far as she’s concerned – it’s good sense. On the other hand, those people – and we know who they are as well as they do themselves – who decided that our planned flight from Westminster must be sabotaged at all costs….well, it’s much harder to find a kind word to say about them.
It’s curious how a fear of flying can be contagious, even more so how it can manifest itself in different ways. By alienating those who voted No, 45-ers who feel themselves to be holding first class tickets for the maiden voyage are effectively ensuring that the plane never will leave the ground. We must welcome as many of these No-voters as we can with the reassuring skill of a cabin steward, the learned expertise of an air traffic controller, and the solid talent of a pilot. Nothing else will make these people want to leave the ground.
All the while the vicious pilot is up there, keeping the sky for itself, intermittently dropping bombs on us from unreachable places.
Those of us who wanted to fly in September are a minority, even if we are right; we believe in democracy, and we must effect change by democracy, or else we are threatening our basic social decency. That means more persuasion, more understanding, more perspicacity, not coercion and condemnation. That’s No’s way.
To fly in the 21st century requires administrative organisation, technical ability, experience of theory and applied knowledge, skill and passion and confidence – only transforming our ’45 and proud’ campaign into a drive for 59 Yes MPs will manage this. 59 Yes MPs will have the clout to make the BBC behave like a responsible national broadcaster. 59 Yes MPs will be in a position to counter every idiot claim made by every idiot far-right-wing MP (for there will be several of them) in relation to the UK’s funding formula for Scotland. 59 Yes MPs will be better-placed to mitigate the worst of what Westminster is going to throw at us. 59 Yes MPs will be able to demand answers of the likes of the Governor of the Bank of England. Questions like: why aren’t you called the Bank of the UK, exactly? It’s what you are.
59 Yes MPs would put Yes in the same position the LibDems were in after the 2010 UK General Election, with only 57 MPs, when their support could be given to either the Tories or Labour to form a majority government. Labour-Yes coalition UK government, anyone? Sounds better then Tory-UKIP.
By reaching out to the 55, the 45 can make that magic 59, and we can all conquer that fear of flying together by actually flying; nothing can stop us if we are united. By endlessly condemning them, we’re only ceaselessly repeating that we are an exclusive minority, and we will always be an exclusive minority. If that’s the case, we might as well all head back to the airport lounge and await the next actual flight out.
– Loxia Scotica