Better Together’s Project Fear failed to have the desired effect on Scotland’s youth, and the credit for this has to go to the online Yes campaigners who truly turned the tables on the forces of darkness. They have equipped us for our next referendum.
By early September 2014 “Project Fear,” much as it is now over Brexit, had reached fever pitch. Banks, businesses, oil conglomerates, and a number of celebrities had declared they would be upping sticks and leaving Scotland in the event of a Yes vote. In London the UK Treasury was telling us that we would more than likely slump into a national permafrost recession and end up a basket case economy like Ireland (the same Ireland that is now Europe’s fastest growing economy), and government experts were churning out sexed up dossiers telling us that the oil and gas in the North Sea was running out. With no televised, radio, or newspaper media taking sides with the independence movement we were almost completely reliant on independent media.
Regardless of the more recent Humanitarians of Tinder development of his Twitter profile, the entire Yes community owes an immeasurable debt to the work of Stephan Paton and others like Miriam Brett and Indy Poster Boy. These were the young sharp edge of a country wakening up to itself, and looking back over his weekly updates on YouTube we are impressed with the depth and the calm collectedness of what he was doing. In the heat of the campaign it wasn’t always easy to see that. We were all, it is fair to say, caught up in the tension and the drama, and the weaponised ideas with which he was providing us weren’t always being absorbed. Everything was coming at us so fast. The great genius of this sort of work, however, now that’s we’ve seen through Project Fear, is that it can be used again.
Companies that said they’d be leaving us, including banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland, have either streamlined their staffing numbers or gone anyway. The truth is that they were always going to do what they did. Albeit through the agency of China international corporations still do business with North Korea. Big business doesn’t actually care who it plays with, be that the United Kingdom or an independent Scotland. Companies let staff go, offshore, or relocate altogether for all kinds of reasons, and those reasons were already apparent to those that bullied us. Westminster merely used this reality as an opportunity to add more weight to the pressure that was already on us.
Pro-independence independent media provided an antidote to the toxic fear campaign that Better Together and the Westminster establishment were waging in Scotland, and that became apparent when we saw the post-referendum statistics. In excess of 70 percent of 16 to 18 year olds voted Yes, and across the other age cohorts the balance was on the side of Yes. That is all except for one; the over 65s – the largest voting bloc in the country. This was, of course, the great limitation of Yes Scotland’s social media campaign. Great as it was, it didn’t (and couldn’t) reach older Scots. Next time around we know where we have to go, and we ought to be thinking about how a younger Scotland can reach the Scotland of our parents and grandparents.
THE BIGGER THE LIE – Media Bias in the Scottish Independence Referendum