Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Guest Post: Dissent Silenced, How one man decided to sign up to be a Better Together volunteer because of his belief that freedom of speech would be under threat in an independent Scotland

An overused cliché these days is I’ve been on a journey. Well not being one to put my head above the parapet until now, I’ll use it, even if it is a bit cheesy. What turns a moderate into an activist? My referendum journey started with being annoyed with newsnet for publishing the story on £4 trillion oil revenue or the $300,000 for every Scot story . I thought initially people would see through the misinformation and it would go away and that’s what got me started on facebook. I started posting factual information to show the figures were not possible from the BP statistical review the EIA etc. but this was ignored and even ridiculed.  Maybe the maths was hard? Even now it is easy to prove these figures are deeply misleading. For example, tax revenue from oil was £4.4 billion last year  down by ~40%.  This means that if we want to hit the £4 trillion or even £1.5 trillion Salmond target we’re talking about 500 to 1000 years of production assuming no more decline, in short totally ludicrous! There has been a change though, you mention this now and it’s not that you are wrong; it is you are putting Scotland down. I call it realism. However, the facts about energy are not the reason I’m writing to a human rights blog, it is the shift from not accepting facts to allegations of thinking Scotland is too wee, too small, which we all know is not true, we would likely be similar to Ireland or any other small nation. Because as soon as you start throwing around serious allegations you open the door, it’s not much of a stretch to start thinking of someone with a different opinion as a traitor or quisling .

So, I’m annoyed, I keep posting on BT etc. but something fortuitous happens, I’m blocked for no apparent reason, cant post anymore; I’m not abusive, forthright maybe, I have a public profile to maintain. I can’t say whether I was reported for being abusive by someone disgruntled with facts about oil, but I’m no longer on there. Consequently, I went on the labour for Indy sites and was instantly blocked from them for raising an innocuous question about stop and search rates in Scotland.  This was like the proverbial red rag. I went on a moderated debating site and it appears I have been blocked from that too for raising one too many questions about the dehumanising of the No voter, comparing them to hostages suffering Stockholm Syndrome  and much, much worse. This has made me quite simply incandescent, there is so much wrong with the stifling of differing opinion in a democracy and using trivialising and dehumanising comparisons about people who at the end of the day only want to remain part of the UK.

So, what have I done about it, signed up to be a BT volunteer, been to some meetings and I would advise all of you to do the same. The separatist (BTW they find that insulting, independence means exactly that though, the irony) have done a great job on me, they’ve taken a moderate person and turned me into someone who now believes that freedom of speech and the opportunity to give a different opinion are all under threat in the New Scotland and that is why I am writing to a human rights blog. You may think I’m over reacting, but the signs are there. The trivialisation of independence, trying to sleep walk us into it, by keeping the pound and queen etc. all short term measures, the misinformation and downright lies, and most concerning the silencing of differing opinion and demeaning comparisons of no voters that are all unacceptable. It has to stop, when someone tells you something is too good to be true, it is and voters get the democracy they deserve. Be angry and worried in equal measure.


G Laird said...

Dear "Fiona"

"Kim Kardashian is furious with Kanye West. That's more importent than this crap. Get out and milk it mister. Make my day buster. Wake up and smell the coffee. Get a life button boy".


Really like your website, do you sell chips and burgers?

Best regards

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Anonymous said...

Aye Fiona, that's the problem, people do think celeb trivia is more important than free speech!

XIDED said...

Concerning the £4Trillion (~$6.7Trillion) oil revenue, simply point out that figure is larger than the ENTIRE annual global petroleum market, crude oil and natural gas combined.

That's a slightly dated article, but it gets the point across.

Is Scotland really pulling in more oil revenue than the rest of the entire world combined, including Russia and Saudi Arabia?