The ultra-hardcore Unionist community – or the Yoons, as they’re better known – are in a pretty much permanent state of wild and terrified rage, but it’s been turned up to 11 for most of this year. Constantly proclaiming that the people of Scotland don’t want independence, for some reason they’re absolutely petrified of putting that to the test.
And it’s sending them to some dark places.
Now, obviously one can dismiss talk of hanging the SNP for treason as exaggerated polemic, although I’ve personally seen people in recent days talk apparently seriously of doing me severe physical harm, and attempt to find my address to that end.
But let’s leave all that to one side. The current hot topic in the Yoonitariat is that if the Scottish Government can’t be stopped from holding another indyref in the wake of Brexit, then it should at least be fixed in numerous ways to stop them from winning it.
One of the most popular is to impose a victory threshold of more than 50%.
Bids so far set the winning line as high as 67%.
Another top wheeze is to exclude EU nationals (who might reasonably be expected to heavily favour a Yes this time round) from the vote:
But the nuclear option, and the one that’s currently finding the most favour within the raging-Yoon community, is to simply abolish the Scottish Parliament altogether.
Now, it would be tempting and easy to dismiss these people as a random bunch of demented social-media loon-jobs, but while it’s certainly true that they’re demented loon-jobs, they’re demented loon-jobs with an alarmingly prominent voice.
Two of those we’ve listed above – Jill “Historywoman” Stephenson and Neil Lovatt – are heavily involved with the lavishly-funded nutter collective Scotland In Union, whose Chief Executive is the former Scottish Labour MSP Graeme Pearson and whose activities are regularly featured and quoted in the press, particularly the Times.
Stephenson – a deranged, abusive, perma-ranting maniac who called SNP MP Mhairi Black a “foul-mouthed little slut” and a “disgusting bitch” and has threatened a “civil war”, to name just a few of her more restrained outbursts – was described by the newspaper as “one of the most compelling voices in support of the Union”.
As recently as this month she became a columnist for The Scotsman as part of its “Scotsman 200” panel, ironically complaining about the tone of political debate.
(When we raised a quizzical eyebrow about the Scotsman column, the dying paper’s Westminster correspondent told us “it’s a forum open to readers of all backgrounds. We’re not treating her one way or the other.”)
In the absence of a formal campaign group, Scotland In Union is the de facto public voice of Unionism, and is treated as such by the Scottish media. That means that the likes of Stephenson, Lovatt and the totally-off-the-scale-bonkers Tom “SEEDS OF TYRANNY” Gallagher are, with the assistance of the press, shaping the debate.
There was a time when we’d have been at least a bit surprised at a former Scottish Labour MSP (and ex-policeman) being willing to front such a group, or for relatively respectable broadsheet newspapers – not just gutter trash like the Daily Express – to relentlessly promote it. But so crazed with fear have the forces of the Union become that all bets are off.
It should be noted that all of this has taken place against a backdrop of polls still showing a narrow majority of Scots in favour of staying in the UK. God knows where these people will stop if independence ever takes a sustained lead.
No lessons seem to have been learned – at least, no good ones.
We had a thankfully-small taste of Unionist violence in the indyref. Fortunately, Yes supporters didn’t rise to the provocation, and the reason for that may be the same one driving the constant ramping-up of No-campaign rhetoric that we’ve documented in this piece – the tide of history is on the side of independence.
When you’re confident you’re going to win democratically and peacefully, you have no need to try to rig the ballot with crooked rules, disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people or intimidate your opponents. It’s not the Yes side that demonstrably fears the voice of the people with a growing shrillness and panic.
We’re in no rush. But we see why some people feel it might be an idea to get indyref2 done and dusted before the sort of lunatics created, inflamed and then published by our irresponsible press get any angrier.