Scares and scaremongering

The Mad Brexiteers shall, of course, dismiss this report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as ‘scaremongering’. And, with its talk of soaring food prices, it certainly sounds scary. But is that enough to warrant regarding the analysis as unduly alarmist?

If anybody should know about malicious scaremongering, it’s the people of Scotland. The Better Together/Project Fear campaign amounted to little more than an incessant stream of often ludicrously woeful prognostications spiced with viciously unprincipled smears and transparently empty promises. In Scotland, we know a scare story when we hear one. And this IFS analysis doesn’t have the ring of a politically motivated effort to induce panic.

For a start, it’s too cautious. What distinguished the real scaremongering of the British state’s anti-independence propaganda was the absolute certainty with which we were assured of the dire consequences of voting Yes. There was never any room left for doubt that, on becoming independent, Scotland would be reduced to an impoverished hell-hole of a pariah state. No public services! No pensions! No trade! Nothing! Not even a functioning currency! A Yes vote inevitably meant collapse and catastrophe and calamity. Fact!

The IFS analysis has none of this sense of incontestability. It is hedged around with caveats and provisos. It just doesn’t sound like what we’ve come to know as scaremongering.

The other thing that distinguishes the IFS report from the product of Project Fear relates to the credibility of what is being assumed. Basically, the British state’s anti-independence propaganda asked us to suppose that all of Scotland’s wealth and resources would simply vanish overnight. A small army of economic soothsayers was mobilised to provide a barrage of figures and tables and graphs which scientifically proved that Scotland would be affected by independence in a way that no nation ever had been in all of recorded history.

This data overkill was necessary because the premise itself was so inherently unbelievable. People couldn’t be allowed the opportunity to stop and think rationally about what was being claimed. They had to be diverted using all the sensationalising powers of the mainstream media. If sensible, probing questions were being asked about the assertion that Scotland would be ejected and excluded from the EU, some ‘expert’ would appear with a report describing in lurid terms how Scotland’s deficit would instantly soar to the level the US defence budget.

While there is doubtless an element of exaggeration in many of the accounts of how we will be affected by Brexit, there is little sign of the fevered shock and awe and desperate dishonesty that characterised the anti-independence campaign. A degree of scepticism is always advisable. But if this warning from the IFS is meant to be scaremongering, then it has to be said that they’re pish-poor at it.

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5 thoughts on “Scares and scaremongering

  1. bringiton

    They successfully managed to amplify the fear of change that many held,and still do.
    The strange thing is,for some,if it is the British state proposing the change then that is alright then.
    Of course,the nature and consequences of Brexit will be buried by HM government and press so that they can stealthily implement them,or at least try to.
    I wonder how the Nae sayers would have reacted if Westminster had proposed an independent Scotland?
    Never going to happen,of course,given that all the London based parties in Scotland have proclaimed their intention to block Scots from having a say in anything of significance.
    Orders from HQ.

    1. Donald McGregor

      “The strange thing is,for some,if it is the British state proposing the change then that is alright then.”

      I think this sort of understanding is the key to independence. We are stuck at the minute between being the ‘rebels’, supported by no other significant UK political entity and at the same time being the ‘establishment’, and burdened by the responsibility of government within the framework of existing rules and conventions.
      I am starting to believe my own thoughts that independence for many will be ‘OK’, or even welcomed, if the ‘establishment’ arranges it.
      The trick is to get that situation in place- and somewhere, somehow, that arrangement will fall into place through an election rather than a referendum. Or, at the very least, a confirmatory referendum rather than a rebellious referendum.
      I can clearly see all the dots – I’ve no idea how we join them all together though, or how we persuade people that the right establishment is doing the doing.

  2. Robert Graham

    As has been pointed out ,been there seen it , tee shirt etc , I have given up taking these centre for this, think tank for that, institute for guesses Seriously, it is a political message these organisations are pushing,
    Their facts as they call them are at best a guess , that’s not the point it’s the promotion of these soothsayers by the likes of the BBC to give the message and the messenger a certain gravitas ,
    A guarantee of trust and truthfulness, it’s only after we find out who is promoting this message, the BBC do this constantly, a story appears with the usual public concern tag attached, it’s only further on do we find the source, usually Tory or Labour moaning , no evidence of some failure , just the BBC being a very willing bag carrier for anyone who can score a hit on the SNP .

  3. m biyd

    According to Radio Scotland this evening exports of Harris Tweed to Japan is about to take off exponentially post Brexit- so maybe that’ll save the country. Only problem is a cursory check indicates that pre Brexit Harris Tweed’s biggest overseas market is Japan, the volume of sales is marginal in any event and the sales are now on the slide.

  4. Dan Huil

    One rule for britnats; a different rule for us. When the book is written about Scotland regaining its independence the true reprobates will be seen to have been the britnat media, especially the bbc.

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