By Mark McNaught
Former Labour Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish should have the courage of his convictions and declare his full support for independence. While still insisting that he will vote 'No' in 2014, in a Scotsman editorial he makes one of the most compelling cases for independence I have read.
Ostensibly, his words serve not only as a warning to 'Better Together' that they need to ditch the pathetic scare stories and make a positive case for the Union, but also to all Westminster parties that their Dickensian welfare policies are driving Scotland out of the Union.
While the interests of Unionist Labour dictate that he must continue to profess fealty to a 'no' vote, Mr McLeish knows full well that his bright vision of Scotland's future can only be realised if Scots vote for independence.
Mr McCleish's words are the proverbial canary in the coal mine for what we will witness over the coming months: the crumbling of any pretence that Scots should vote 'no' and remain mired in the Westminster system.
Support for the Union will erode further when Scots realise they are being lied to about their own people.
The Scotsman once again uncritically published the result of yet another poll suggesting that support for independence remains stuck at 25%, so Alex Salmond got pummelled with yet another 'blow', the 'yes' campaign is floundering, and Scots should just vote 'no' because everyone else is, yadda yadda, we got it.
This particular poll was carried out by TMS BMRB, which is a subsidiary of WPP, the largest marketing and lobbying firm in the world. Among other holdings, WPP owns US public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller, famous for lobbying for Tobacco companies, and has consolidated its control over much of the Washington DC PR/lobbying firms.
Needless to say, this massive conglomerate has broad experience brainwashing the masses to sell toothpaste, market cigarettes to children, and elect corrupt politicians, with everything in between. One finds their mission statement in their recent poll:
"TNS BMRB is a leading provider of specialist social research, offering insight into public policy to government and not-for-profit clients. Delivering a range of approaches including bespoke proprietary research and consultancy, random probability survey capabilities, as well as social marketing and polling, our work informs policy makers across national and local Government at the highest level."
I had to look up 'bespoke': it means 'made to order', or 'custom tailored'. In other words, TNS BMRB are willing to conduct 'random probability' surveys tailored to the client's needs, which in some cases could mean delivering a pre-determined result - in this case convincing Scots that they better remain subservient to Westminster.
According to the actual 'survey', the 'fieldwork dates' were conducted between the 21-27 of August 2013, and published the 4th of September, showing only 25% of Scots favour independence.
According to the 'methodology', the pollsters used CAPI, or 'computer assisted personal interviewing' (had to look that one up too) to conduct 'in home' interviews with 1017 Scots across 71 Scottish Parliamentary constituencies. They have purportedly conducted the research in this manner many times since 2008. Go to the website yourself and type in 'Scottish Independence'.
Let me get this straight. The small TMS Edinburgh office commissioned its pollsters to drive all over Scotland, interviewing 145 Scots a day in their living room with the aid of a computer. How much did they spend on petrol and parking? Were the employees on zero-hour contracts and have to drive their own cars? Can we see the expense account receipts? Did the UK government commission this 'bespoke proprietary research', as they did for this scintillating customer survey on HM Revenue and Customs?
If Westminster did commission this anti-independence poll, are they getting good value for taxpayer money? Maybe there is a less expensive method which would actually reflects popular opinion, rather than seeking to manipulate it. Can they identify any Scot who they actually interviewed in this manner who would be willing to affirm their participation?
Or, is their 'research' simply government-funded propaganda?
Unionists are in the middle of their Wizard of Oz moment. The fire and brimstone they have been spewing for decades is being shown for what it is: a pack of lies.
As Scots begin to fathom the magnitude of the mendacity - the BBC, the Scotsman, the Herald, the Guardian, the Telegraph and all the other media who uncritically report this rubbish and belittle Scots' intelligence should salvage their remaining credibility by questioning the methodology of all their polling sources. They should provide links to the actual surveys so readers can determine their integrity for themselves, and publish corrections to the equestrian faeces that was fed them. Their credibility is at stake too.
While we wait with bated breath for that to happen, and observe the smouldering ruins of the Unionist case, more respected statesmen like Mr McLeish should step forward and endorse independence, and help build a prosperous and egalitarian Scotland worthy of his vision.