Over recent weeks I have had an uneasy feeling in my bones. It seems like elements of the YES side of the Indy argument are showing signs of loosing our bottle when it comes to IndyRef 2. There is a growing prevailing mood of maybe this isn't the right time after all. Maybe the best thing might be to wait a while....
Fair enough, I get it. The lesson of Quebec is that we are only likely to get two shots at the thing and if we blow the next one we will have to wait for ever and a day for another go.
There is a real problem with this kind of mindset once it starts to take root. It tends to make you put off the moment of truth. And we really, really don't want to do that. Right?
So I figure it might be time to take a quick jog around the basic maths of the thing in order to get a bit of our Mojo back.
September 18, 2014.
NO – 2,000,000
YES – 1,620,000
They beat us by 380,000 votes. As in 55 to 45 in terms of percentages.
The maths? Well, even for a lad who struggled like buggery to get my Maths O Level, this particular sum is easy enough to do. Assuming a similar turnout next time, those of us on the 'YES' side need to win an extra 200,000 votes or so and the day will be ours.
So how is such a prospect looking? Pretty damn good actually. The maths are well and truly on our side. Here's how.
Let's start with looking at old people and young people.
Let's assume the next referendum rolls around in 2019, OK. Between 2014 and 2019, about 250,000 old people in Scotland are going to shuffle off this mortal coil and die. Sure, it's sad but it is very much life. Death and taxes, right? Last time around the these golden oldies gave Better Together 200,000 votes whilst the YES side got a lousy 50,000. They won't be with us next time around which means the NO side will have to find an extra 200,000 votes to stand still. We on the Yes side on the other hand only need 50,000.
By 2019 the sadly departed oldies will have been replaced a quarter of a million youngies. Last time around the 16 to 20's voted Yes by the bus load. As in 200,000 YES to 50,000 NO.
So if things play out much the same in terms of how the the young and the old vote, things are going to change in a pretty big way. 150,000 more for us and 150,000 less for them.
NO – 1,850,000
YES – 1,770,000
Getting closer, right?
Then we come to all the EU people.
Last time around Better Together did one hell of a job when it came to lying to the EU nationals living in Scotland. All kinds of dodgy outfits were paid to call up people from Poland and Latvia to warn them they would be deported on 19 September if the YES side won the day. It was the very purest of bullshit of course, but there is nothing new in that. Black propaganda is almost always the very purest of bullshit but it doesn't mean it doesn't work.
How many EU nationals do we have in Scotland? Google doesn't come up with a definitive answer. 300,000 seems about right. Last time these guys fell about 70/30 for NO.
A big win for the bad guys, right? So what about next time around? Well it ain't too hard to guess. The UK isn't exactly about to be the most accommodating place for an EU national over the coming years. Can you imagine a single EU national voting for the NO side next time? Why on earth would they? It is basically inconceivable.
OK. I'm liking the look of this. An extra 210,000 votes for us. A 210,00 loss for them.
Check it out now
NO – 1,640,000
YES – 1,980,000
Everything is turned on its head. A bunch of NO voting oldies make their way into the next world whilst a bunch of YES voting young guys replace them on the electoral roll and at the same time 300,000 EU nationals do what smart turkeys should do and vote against Christmas..
Other things to think about? Yeah, well there are a couple actually.
Have you met anyone who voted YES last time who has gone on to change their mind. You know, like, I really fancied the idea of living in an independent Scotland back in 2014 but since them I have really come to love being ruled from London. Well maybe there are a few of these guys around but I haven't met any. On the flip side there seem to be more than a few who have taken the journey in the other direction from NO to YES in the wake of the broken 'Vow', all the exposed lies and Brexit.
Then there is the prospect of the campaign. Last time around the rolling carnival of the YES campaign took a start point of 28% and swung the dial all the way to 45%. Basically we won the campaign and we won it hands down. In the end we didn't quite win big enough, but we absolutely won. Will there be any less energy next time around? I can't see it. Every YES supporter I meet is fired up and raring to get it on. I find it absolutely inconceivable to imagine YES losing the next campaign. Of course we'll win it. Last time we needed to swing the dial by 21%. This time 3% will be plenty thank you very much.
And now we need to talk about the good old chaps who went by the name of Better Together. Or Project Fear. Or lying bastards. By the time we reached the beginning of September 2014, people who were arranging debates were finding it all but impossible to sign anyone up to speak up for the 'NO' side. They had all run for the hills with their tails between their legs. Who on earth is going to be willing to step up and fly the flag of NO next time? It kind of looks it will be down to Ruth Davidson doing her best to be some kind of Tory Joan of Arc. Things have changed and they have changed about as utterly as things could have changed.
There will be no embarrassing train load of Labour MPs exiting Glasgow Central next time. There will be no national newspaper willing to be duped into giving over a front page to a dodgy 'Vow'. There will be no supermarkets willing to sacrifice the affection of the their customers and their turnover in return for a few scraps from the Downing St table. Labour are a busted flush. The LibDems are a busted flush and the beloved Tories will have much bigger Brexit fish to fry. The good folk arranging the debates of IndyRef 2 will have a task on their hands when it comes to digging out anyone to argue for Westminster rule.
And they know this. Of course they do. It is why they are sabre rattling right now with everything they have. And when it comes down to it, they only have one thing. The media. The MSM. The propaganda machine. Those endless ridiculous Mail and Express front pages. They have no boots on the ground any more. Only bluster.
Do you remember the interview Saddam's PR guy gave in Baghdad as the 2003 war was all but done. He was giving a piece to the cameras and telling the world the Americans were about to be thrown back over the border when a Bradley fighting vehicle suddenly appeared over his shoulder about 400 yards behind him. His bullshit couldn't have been exposed more completely. Well, it will be the same for Better Together next time. They don't really have any biological weapons to stop us in their tracks. There is no Republican Guard. Their tanks are rusted up and lack parts. All they have is the same old propaganda and the same old lies and it won't be anything like enough.
The maths are on our side. So is history. The door is wide open and we should be gearing up to knock it off its hinges. So come on guys, let's stop buying into the tired old bullshit in the Westminster papers. We need to wake up and get our game face on.