Leading article

Alex Salmond's success is just a symptom of our age of rage

Across Europe, populist anti-politics has gone from being a novelty to knocking on the doors of power

20 September 2014

9:00 AM

20 September 2014

9:00 AM

In his short and infrequent visits to Scotland this year, the Prime Minister should have found time to speak to those supporting the ‘yes’ campaign. He would have seen and heard precisely the same complaints and exasperation that are driving his other great foe, Ukip.

For years, politicians have laughed about voters who are ‘mad as hell, and not going to take it any more’. That joke is no longer funny. People have derided, lamented or lampooned the death of the Tory party’s grass roots. But the independence debate revealed that in Scotland the Labour party has suffered the same fate. The Better Together campaign against Scottish independence was meant to be largely powered by Labour party operatives. But the closer it came to the vote, the clearer it became that the Labour party did not have any troops to call out.

The ‘yes’ activists in Scotland and Ukip supporters in England both have a point. The Westminster system is broken, because it has been taken over by professional politicians who focus on their opposite numbers rather than on the people they’re supposed to represent. That this led to mass apathy and resentment did not trouble them at first: to a professional politician, those who don’t vote might as well not exist. But now the abstainers have found new champions in the insurgent parties. People are turning up to vote for the first time in years. A grumble has grown into a war cry, as we saw in Scotland.

It’s happening abroad, too. As Johan Norberg says on page 16, the populist Sweden Democrats were the real winners of that country’s general election last weekend. They have emerged as the third force in Swedish politics. Similar stories can be seen across the continent. Polls in France show that the Front National’s Marine Le Pen would be president if an election was held there tomorrow. In Italy, the anarchist comedian Beppe Grillo gained 25 per cent of the vote last year. Everywhere in Europe the political class is working to a late-1990s playbook: the leading parties copy each other, avoid difficult issues and end up losing the distinctive features that made them popular in the first place.

Voters want parties to be different, and principled. The PR men think otherwise. If the teaching unions don’t like Michael Gove, then the Conservative party gets rid of him and ‘neutralises’ the issue. Voters are worried about the NHS, so the government pledges not to seek any savings in the health budget and ‘neutralises’ that too. Such tactics worked for Tony Blair and other social democratic leaders in the 1990s. But the public has changed. They no longer believe that the system is working for them. There may be a recovery but wages remain stagnant. Real issues remain unaddressed.

Scotland’s ‘yes’ campaign was in part driven by angry people who felt that they had nothing to lose — and it’s the same elsewhere. In the unlikely event that he gets up the courage to campaign in Clacton, in the by-election against his former colleague Douglas Carswell who has defected to Ukip, David Cameron would see how prevalent that rage is. These voters are the ‘scorned and the scunnered’, as James Forsyth put it last week: the dispossessed and those who never had anything to begin with.

Cameron has spent his time playing political chess with Labour, and accommodating the sensitivities of Liberal Democrats, when he should have been worried about bigger shifts within the British electorate. Only recently, insurgent politicians such as Salmond, Le Pen and Grillo were seen as novelties — the type who do well in Euro elections and can then be forgotten about for four years. Now these anti-establishment politicians (however risible the entitlement of some of them to that claim actually is) are knocking on the door of power and sometimes breaking through it.

It is crucial to recognise that the current ‘anti-politics’ mood is not an anomaly or a cry of pain. It is the start of a new political order, one in which people want bold ideas to get out of what they see as a political and societal morass. The ‘yes’ phenomenon should be seen as part of this wider movement. In Scotland, Cameron noticed the speed of the shift far too late and was left unable to preserve the status quo. He ended up having almost to offer home rule in desperation and, worse, his old enemy Gordon Brown had to offer it for him.

There are seven more months until the UK general election. In that time Cameron needs to stand for something different. It is funny how a man so obsessed with modernity cannot bring himself to recognise the latest trends in politics, even when they slap him in the face. The voters want bold, not emasculated, politics. And that is one of the many lessons that Cameron should bring back from Scotland.

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  • Blindsideflanker

    “In that time Cameron needs to stand for something different.”

    Having analysed the problem as one of shallow professional politicians who play the Westminster game, you undo your argument by suggesting the solution is a Cameron make over, when what people want is political integrity, not a position back engineered from some polling numbers.

    In addition you miss the most important problem our political class have the cause and effect of the cancerous EU .

    Our Shallow political class didn’t come about in isolation. The effects of disenfranchising the electorate has seen a rising disinterest in politics, the sovereignty Parliament has lost means it can no longer respond to people’s concerns , which makes people more angry at Parliament’s importance. The narrow political confines that Governments work under EU treaties makes people correctly believe that they ( the political class) are all the same. And finally with policy action removed from Parliament, we have attracted into politics the people who are keen to Govern under those restrictions, for they are more interested in playing the Westminster political game, which is all that is left for Parliament.

    • rtj1211

      One of the difficulties is being Prime Ministerial (i.e. representing the whole country’s interests) when you have to get elected representing a small group’s interests.

      Boris is going to have that issue standing in Uxbridge. His opinions about Boris Airport will go down like an absolute lead balloon in a constituency where plenty work at Heathrow. Now maybe all he was doing was media guff and Lord Foster’s architects were patsies in a typical bullshit sting opereation. But more likely, his integrity is going to disappear to get elected in a new constituency.

      I have a personal opinion that there may need to be a different election system for a Prime Minister, since their role is in conflict with being a constituency MP. Right now, you couldn’t be Prime Minister in a marginal London seat due to the transport issues conflicting between London and the rest of the country. Well you could, but you’d sell the country down the river for the narrow benefit of 60,000 in London. Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t get elected in the first place.

      Coherent national policy is bound to tread on some local toes. Always does. Can’t not.

      How can you be a coherent PM if you can’t tread on your own constituents’ toes if necessary, eh?

      • nogginthenog

        Boris’s ‘integrity’, eh? I rather admire Boris but integrity is not one of his more notable qualities if you look at his record.

        • Casper10666

          He is like an accident, you just cant help looking

    • M P Jones

      “Parliament’s importance”

      Assuming you meant to write “Parliament’s impotence” I agree this is a significant factor. It is all part of a greater plan of globalisation and making bonfires out of cultural differences – as is the deliberate Muslim demographic warfare against Europe. Look at hardly visible anti-democratic organisations practising psychopolitics, e.g. the infamous Common Purpose, DEMOS, etc., to understand what is going on.

      The fragmentation of the UK, with or without Scotland, is part of the plan.

      At the personal level, above all: avoid being ‘politically correct’ – think for yourself!

      • Blindsideflanker

        Indeed I did, thank you.

  • anyfool

    The Westminster system is broken, because it has been taken over by professional politicians who focus on their opposite numbers rather than on the people they’re supposed to represent
    Yes, and who was goose stepping down the road with arms interlocked with them, almost all TV and newspaper opinion writers.
    Nowhere in the West have they been more zealous than here in the UK.

  • alabenn

    There may be a recovery but wages remain stagnant.
    All the while politicians are importing more third world peasants to keep wages low, when anyone objects, the media shouts racist at them, covering politicians backs.

    • EricHobsbawmtwit

      Oh God. You’re going to get angry letters from Matthew Parris and David Aaronovitch now.

      • alabenn

        Two men with a death wish, one a Jew, the other a Gay, both virulent supporters of Immigration of Muslims, both of whom would not survive the first year of an Islamic State in England.

        • John Dalton

          The perfect retort.

          I’m sorry to say it, but I am now at the point where I hope Scotland goes.

          Our smug, contemptuous, snouts-in-the-trough and look-the-other-way politicos and their media lackeys need a series of seismic wake up calls that they can not possibly ignore. The people must wake up and show them that they will no longer be ignored, patronised, berated and sold down the river while the country is ruined.

          We cannot let them go on with business as usual. The cross-party left wing consensus that his its boot on the nation’s throat must be broken before our country becomes an irreparably broken, I*lamised, third world, crime-ridden, EU-dominated hell-hole consisting of “zones of ethnic sensitivity”.

          We need Scotland to go. We need UKIP to surge across England, storm local government and parliament and start fighting for the indigenous people. We need to wake up, stand up and fight before everything that was England is gone forever and our children’s legacy is utterly swept away.

          Excuse my passion – but I really believe that we don’t have much time left.

          • Tauntoncider

            I can excuse passion, but not racism. You sir, are racist.

          • Paul Hughes

            Then you ought to be concerned, because more and more people feel the same. it’s not an insignificant minority view any more. I’d quibble at the use of “indigenous” because that does have ethnic overtones and yet I agree with every other sentiment.

          • alabenn

            You can call it what you like, but please explain for the benefit of others, what bit was racist.
            I personally do not give a fig if anyone thinks I am racist, I probably am, but your attempt to denigrate the poster is the sort of odious claptrap that the politicians and the media have used to smother dissent.

          • EricHobsbawmtwit

            I don’t think the fact Aaronovitch is Jewish has anything to do with it and neither does Parris being gay. You have a point about Islam however, but you can say the same about every religion. They have to be beaten back with an enlightenment broomstick.

            Religious zealots are very happy with their beliefs, but they won’t be truly happy until they’ve made you believe it too.

          • Incoming

            and you sir are a plonker

          • James Jones

            “You sir, are racist.”


            Ms. Abbott on the other hand…

          • David Glen

            Though I disagree with it I’m surprised not to have heard this more often north of the comment below line, i.e from any of the media right. I guess it’s another of those odd kinks when left and right meet on a moebius strip.
            Extreme no doubt but following a certain logic.

          • Andrew Forrest

            “Left-wing consensus”, “indigenous people”?

            The consensus in politics has been squeezing the left-wing (reducing the Welfare state), while pursuing the libertarian ideals of privatising public services. It’s also been increasingly demonising immigrants and (worse) people seeking asylum in our country.

            ‘Your’ side is winning, and it’s devastating the country.

      • anyfool

        Have had their petulant replies at the Times, they have a peculiar type of self regard that is quite oily.

    • davidofkent

      I think it’s much more likely to be the ready and willing army of Eastern European immigrants who are keeping wages down, whilst doing their jobs extremely well. There’s the problem.

  • “Alex Salmond’s success is just a symptom of our age of rage”

    That should read: “Alex Salmond’s success is just a symptom of our age of Marxist infiltration after the failed 1848 revolutions that swept Europe, teaching Marxists a powerful lesion, that force of arms wouldn’t work”

    As I’ve been telling readers for several months now, the political parties of the West were long ago co-opted by Marxists, which is why the ‘No’ campaign is doing all it can to sabotage the Union.

    The concept of Union has always meant security from outside invasion, the original threat to Presbyterian Scotland and Anglican England being an invasion from either Catholic France or Catholic Spain. What else would bring two such diverse cultures together, the Celts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxon Normans of England? And the threat of foreign invasion is more subtle today, even unseen, because the enemy is weak in numbers, hence the enemy’s need to conceal its identity. Who is this enemy that threatens Britain?

    The enemy is within and without, and are Marxists who’ve co-opted the political parties of the West, including the West’s leading institutions, from the media to religion. We know this to be true not only because we were warned of the enemy within by KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1962, but because the West’s institutions failed to warn its populations that the collapse of the USSR (and East Bloc nations) was a strategic disinformation operation, as proved by the West’s failure to not only verify the collapse, but de-Communize the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps (which was 90% Communist Party officered in late 1991), and failure to de-mobilize the six-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Ministry of Interior and militia to control the populations in the larger Soviet cities.

    The West’s fate depended on verification of the collapse of the USSR, verification’s absence proving co-option of the West’s institutions. On the Soviet side, there could be no collapse when (1) the Soviet Armed Forces officer corps remained Communist Party dominated; and (2) six-million vigilantes continued to control the population. There can be no collapse of the USSR without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-Mobilization.

    A United Britain is a threat to the USSR and her ally China, and a hindrance to their global strategy to “liberate” the world by means of infiltration of the West’s institutions.

    In order for Scotland to decide on Union or independence, Scots must be armed with all the information that’s necessary to make the correct decision. The co-opted media will not present the facts as laid out above.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Seeing Dave, Miliplonk & Cleggers making their separate ways up to Scotland to plead for the Union one wondered why they didn’t travel together; they have far more in common with each other than they do with the electorate.

    • ronald

      I wonder if they claimed travelling expenses like Mr Speaker??

  • EricHobsbawmtwit

    Quite amazing that the UK Prime Minister cannot go and campaign in a region of his own country.

    The SNP has been allowed to get away with blatant lies during the campaign and beforehand. It has a set of policies to get through a referendum that sum up to simple assertions that are almost certainly false, alongside outright fibs such as Salmond having already entered into negotiations with other European leaders (what a liar!). Scotland will find it very hard if it makes contact with reality after a Yes vote today.

    I’m honestly dumbfounded by the credulity of Scots on this. I really am. The idea that you should vote for independence to protect welfare, pensions and the NHS is really quite gobsmacking given the economic problems a newly independent Scotland would be born with. It must imply massive cuts to public spending. There’s no way around them.

    So if you’re going to vote Yes you can only do so because you have some romantic view of independence that’s grounded on the lies of the SNP. You really can’t do it for economic reasons. And what a despicable campaign the SNP has run. How can you lie to the people like that just to get through a vote that might end up bankrupting your country?

    • Peter

      Absolutely spot on. And part of that lie is that all the YES campaigners bang on about 100 years plus of oil. But they then seem to not want to educate people with simple maths. It doesn’t matter if they have 1000 years of oil. Cost of oil $80 a barrel, cost of extraction $85 a barrel means 1000 years of pain but AS is going to try and negotiate a back stop from the UK Govt to give him enough cashish to survive oil price drops, EU membership rejection and the cost of borrowing money from the markets as though those issues are somehow to be paid for by the UK as a result of their vote.

      • davidofkent

        And don’t forget, governments get the tax on the profits, not the profits.

      • anyfool

        Has it slipped your mind that the UK is borrowing billions a month.
        Has it slipped your mind that when oil was ten dollars a barrel the government still received money.
        The oil is collateral as is just about everything in the UK, the only difference between Scotland now and tomorrow, if they vote to leave is, they wont be able to print money and delay the collapse of the country, it might make them a bit more circumspect, but given that Salmond is a socialist I doubt it.

      • Casper10666

        Read the McCrone Report 1975 Scotland has enough natural resouces to support its self.

    • Casper10666

      Your talking nonsense. Talk about lies how about Westminster The McCrone Report 1975 and that every other expert which does not agree with MSM is lying and only their expert is correct.

  • Ally Gory

    “the Prime Minister should have found time to speak to those supporting the ‘yes’ campaign.”

    You do not talk to these people, they talk at and over you.

    • Casper10666


      • Ally Gory

        Personal experience.

        • Jackie Dawson

          Maybe its how you address them, I have found both yes and no camps charming people.

          • Ally Gory

            One waits to be addressed, one confronts. I’m sure you can guess which is which.

  • beenzrgud

    The problem is that whoever get we vote for we end up with the same
    bland nonentities who have zero imagination and no apparent links to
    the real world. The appeal of people like Farage and Salmond is that
    they have something about them, they appear real and not cardboard
    cutouts. They connect with the electorate, although whether they
    really have a valid plan of action is debatable. Salmond especially
    appears to be living in his own little dreamworld, and will I
    suspect rapidly come unstuck should Scotland vote for independence.

    We want people in power who actually have realistic ideas to make our
    country better, and the will to follow them through. We live on a
    relatively small island, so surely it can’t be too much to ask that
    those in charge can come up with a coherent plan to make the country
    function better as a whole and for the benefit of the vast majority.
    What we get instead is firefighting and sticking plasters. The only
    thing our leaders seem to do well is waste staggeringly vast amounts
    of money and give in to every Tom, Dick, or Harry who wants to help
    himself to a chunk of our pie. It’s amateurish nonsense, and people
    are starting to see it for what it is.

    • rtj1211

      My personal opinion is that we need to stop trying to be the World’s second policeman for a start. We should supply troops to NATO but that should be that.

      It would do the nation good to have the Security Council of the UN radically reformed, so we lost our pompous sense of superiority by being a permanent member of it. Globalisation is spreading wealth, so security should be the responsibility of more and more nations.

      Unfortunately, the other problem we have is our addiction to tax revenues from the City of London. We can’t diversify until our investment strategies are different, but the City keeps the poliiticians fed so nothing will change there.

      If I were Scotland, I’d try raising a £50bn investment pot, solely for investment in Scotland and task professionals to manage it. It wouldn’t all be 10 year funding, some would be short-term WC-style funds, some would be short-to-medium-term bonds, some would be VC-style funding and some would be major capex in strategic infrastructure. The country would need to be absolutely clear as to what it wanted to do, why and tailor what it proposed to investors around the globe.

      The best pitch for it is ‘building stable, healthy, sustainable communities’: you’d be hard pressed to find an investor who’d refuse to invest in that, now.

      ‘Sorry mate, I only invest in cocaine cartels!’ Yeah right, the FSA will really endorse that won’t it?
      ‘Sorry mate, if you won’t let me pollute the world’s oceans with alacrity, I’m not investing!’ Maybe ask Trafigura if their metaphorical prison sentence is over before asking them to invest, eh??

      ‘Sorry mate, investing in failing states is the only way I can get 40% per annum’. Lovely, eh? Invest in human misery and get rich doing so. Just the sort of partners you want, isn’t it?
      ‘I need 15% guaranteed and I won’t lift a finger to get it!’ Err, walk on, remove them from your maling list, especially if you have any lucrative proposals.

      ‘If you won’t put the pension obligations onto State Debt, I’m off’. Off you go then……
      ‘Any workers who expect a foreign holiday are getting paid too much’. And you’re not sir??
      ‘My consultancy company in Bermuda is looking for consultancy deals right now’. Well, then, get a plane back there pronto to meet potential clients…….
      ‘Pregnant women affect profits…’ And are the result of your sexual fulfilment at any time, kind sir??
      ‘We expect to buy in cheap immigrant labour who were trained somewhere else’…and we expect to attract investors who understand that Scottish youngsters are just as human, just as deserving of training and just as hard working. You go invest in MacDonalds and we’ll invest in off-shore oil.
      ‘I have some friends who are good at manipulating stock market prices’. Do you? Didn’t we tell you that all our investments will not be floated, they will remain privately owned, with the first option to buy shares from investors going to the current employees?? We’re not looking for IPO cowboys, we want win-win investors.

      Etc etc.

      Most important thing any politicians can do is to define clearly the criteria for acceptable investors, the criteria for investments and the criteria for investment managers. Then they step back.

      Amoral money is one way.

      But most people prefer ethical money. Especially governments who can bring down social security costs through building a more fully employed, solvent but not abusive private sector.

      • beenzrgud

        The financial services industry is a global industry and so without global consensus will undergo no significant change. I agree that any public investment should be on a very firm footing, but I still think we can use our financial sector to help us achieve our aims. I also agree that a clear strategy is needed. One that is long term and designed to address the obvious problems that our country is currently suffering from. For example our system of education and training is clearly lacking, It is also the source of many of our problems. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where it could be improved and yet I guarantee the only response you will see from the current Westminster bubble is that of a rabbit in the headlights. Whole communities have been thrown on the scrapheap for want of a little imagination in Westminster. What we are witnessing now is the backlash.

  • zanzamander

    We in the West still enjoy some of the highest standards of living, unmatched health and social safety net, liberty, freedom and choice that is denied to most of the people of this planet. I don’t understand the dissatisfaction.

    • alabenn

      Despite most of the poor in this country having all the trappings of fabulous wealth, compared to real poor in other parts of the world, politicians in the Labour Party need to feed their sense of grievance to retain power.
      Gutless people in the media and other parties dare not speak the truth unto this.

      • rtj1211

        You’re one of those poor, are you??

        Never presume to judge their station until you have lived five years with them……

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Winners and Losers;

    Winner: The Scottish people. This referendum has brought out the best in Scotland. Foreign journalists have been hugely impressed.

    Loser: The British state. Its days are numbered.

    Winner: Alex Salmond. Vilified by the sneering London media, adored by the Scottish public, ran circles around the opposition and delivered a Win-Win situation.

    Losers: The three Westminster stooges, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. They panicked. Miliband in particular froze and then fled when confronted.

    Winners: Social media. WoS, NewsnetScotland, Derek Bateman, Wee Ginger Dug, Scot Goes Pop, Bella Caledonia.

    Losers: Main Stream Media. The BBC will never ever be trusted by Scots again. Newspapers will see a massive downturn in circulation.

    Winner: SNP they are the party of power in Scotland.

    Loser: Labour. Scots will never forget or forgive Labour jumping into bed with the Tories

    • alabenn

      Agree with all except the last line, it is not jumping into bed with the Tories, it is the line that, Scotland could not run itself without direction from Westminster and the action in jumping into bed with the bankers and big business who financed the Better Together campaign to prove it.

    • rtj1211

      I think you’ll find that the trust in the BBC has been going down for a decade across Britain, some to do with its ‘climate change’ nonsense, some due to its misplaced messianic belief that it is MI6 in disguise (it’s reporting on Ukraine has been disgraceful, utterly breaching its impartiality charter and quite the Empire propaganda that most of us want consigned to the dustbin) and a lot due to its manipulative nonsense concerning the EU.

      I think you’ll find that the MSM has been going downhill rapidly due to it being a global centre of excellence in lying. Everybody is realising that when they know something about something they think what the MSM says is crap. And from that, they assume that it’s probably true in all the areas they don’t know so much about either.

      However, it’s not a uniquely Tory position to be in the NO camp. And, more importantly, the Labour Party is not a Scottish Party, it is a British one. It has Scottish representative, but you can’t expect a British Party to support the Nationalist cause per se, since by doing so they are betraying England, Wales and maybe Northern Ireland by doing so. I don’t think you’ll find the SNP supporting secession by Shetland and Orkney, now, will you??

      • Jambo25

        According to the BBC Trust’s own research, even before the main referendum campaign started Scotland displayed an even lower level of trust and satisfaction with the BBC than Northern Ireland. It was the lowest in the UK with over half the Scottish population having negative feelings towards the BBC.

      • Casper10666

        Correction Labour had Scottish representives, watch what happens at the next election, Remember the Tory’s in Scotland….

    • Mick Norris

      hehe logic is certainly not your strong point.

      • Jambo25

        I think Mr. McCandless is very largely right. I’m a Yes voter who has always expected a No win. However, there will be an aftermath and what Mr McCandless suggests in his views on the political parties and the MSM/social media is correct.
        I suspect that this is a major turning point for Labour and that it could well be on the same kind of downward slide as that which hit the Tories in the 80s and 90s. With Labour declining, the Tories unable to push back from their 80s/90s decline and the Lib Dems pretty irrelevant we could well be seeing the SNP taking the position of political hegemony in Scotland previously held by Labour. Despite voting SNP that is not something which fills me with joy as it presupposes a very lop sided political system. I think, to answer, rtj1211’s point that the problem facing Labour and the others is that there is now a gap appearing between what their English electorate and their Scottish electorate want. I think there are similar splits between electorates in the North and South of England but unlike the Northern English Scots have a ready made political vehicle to flit to. Just as it took a decade or so for the dislike of Thatcherism to workit’s waty through to the collapse of the Tory Party in Scotland so its probably taken the same time for the full effects of New Labourism to be felt, electorally, as well.
        The effects on the media are going to be far reaching as well. Much of the traditional MSM is already in steep decline and the fall out from the referendum campaign is going to speed that up. Print media is going to contract or vanish. ‘The Scotsman’ and ‘The Herald’ are pretty much moribund, though ‘The Sunday Herald’ may survive. The Aberdeen P&J looks like it might survive just. Most of these titles will have to exist solely on the web where they will have to compete with the smaller niche websites and blogs Mr. McCandless mentions.

        • Kaine

          I think you may well be saved from the hegemony of the SNP. When the YES camp ends the troops won’t go home, and there is every possibility the likes of RIC will take the view that they need to be in charge next time round. Wouldn’t be surprised if they put together a platform and a party, at least for the 2016 elections.

          • Jambo25

            In a partial PR system a far left grouping of that kind could pick up a few MSPs but it would be in single figures. Scotland really isn’t that left wing.

          • Kaine

            No, but it creates an interesting dynamic. Up to now the SNP positioned themselves as the voice of the nation against Westminster and the ‘London Parties’. If someone else challenges that narrative from a more extreme end, well, look what happened to the SDLP and Ulster Unionists.

            Now I’m not saying anything so intense will happen, but it will be interesting nonetheless.

          • Jambo25

            It ain’t gonna happen. The reality is that the SNP is on its way to becoming the ‘natural party of government in Scotland’.

          • Casper10666


    • Casper10666

      Thank you , someone speaking sense. I take my hat off to the voice of reason

  • zanzamander

    What societal morass? Please explain.

  • rtj1211

    Politicians who display schadenfreude about their voters’ misfortunes should be named, shamed and thrown out.

    The Spectator needs to name those politicians who displayed such disgusting characteristics if it is to retain one single shred of credibility as anything other than a publication run by a British Josef Goebbels……..

  • Mick Norris

    The SNP have been complete fascist hooligans and Westminster quite disgusting in their concessions.

    Nihilism is clearly in the air.

    • Jambo25

      Give me some kind: any kind of proof of that. You may not be aware of this but the kind of claims of intimidation and bad behaviour being spread by the BT No campaign have now been attacked by the Scottish Police Federation in official press releases on 2 separate occasions.

      • Mick Norris

        Yes campaigners punching a pensioner yesterday, Jim Sillars saying revenge is on the cards for UK businesses contemplating moving South (more or less saying Independent Scotland will repress those with different opinions), shouting down NO campaigners with obscenities etc….you need more proof?

        And I´m in no way supporting either of the campaigns, just point out the disgusting level of campaigning on both sides, and breaches of the ideal of liberal democracy, live and let live etc..

        But my view is now I want Scotland to leave the union, which unfortunately i don´t think will happen.

        • Jambo25

          Reference for the attack on the OAP please. You object to politicians opposing private businesses using their unaccountable and unelected positions to threaten voters. Is that your definition of Fascism?

        • Casper10666

          The the companies who threatened Scotland do reap the rewards or not. As customers are now voting with their feet, they wont be threatened.

    • Casper10666


  • misomiso

    Its about he grass roots. All the main parties are elitist.

    What we need is an independent Unioinst Party to fight Salmond on his own ground. They need to be able grab some of the patriotic Scotish vote in favour of the Union, and be IN THE CONVERSATION.
    The public need to be led so that Unionists do not feel embarrassed about articulating their love of Britishness.

    And finally, in grindy political terms, in whatever political settlement we have after a ‘No’ vote, Scotland need to get a lot of oil revenue. Maybe half, and half going to Westminster for Defence and Foreign policy. The SNP stood on oil way back in the 50s, and its the big bugbear in feelings of injustice.

    • Kaine

      Except on balance Scotland gets more or less what they put in. Oil is cancelled out by higher public spending.

  • cambridgeelephant

    Cameron has spent 9 years hollowing out the Conservative party and in that sense – if in no other – he has almost entirely succeeded. 250,000 in 2005 is now less than 100,000. Where is he going to get the troops he needs for canvassing and mounting an effective campaign next year ?

    If there is ‘rage’ out there, it is entirely justified.

    “The voters want bold, not emasculated, politics. And that is one of the many lessons that Cameron should bring back from Scotland.”

    But one of the few ‘bold’ policies Cameron had he ditched when he buckled to the Education establishment and sacked Gove.

    Another ‘bold’ policy a growing number of people want is the feeling that they – and they alone – elect the politicians who govern them. So that means a whole lot less – not a whole lot more – of the EU. Nigel Farage understands that and his party will reap the dividend next year.

  • Peter Stroud

    Cameron has shown poor judgement since he became PM in 2010. He pandered too much to the LibDems, failing to stop the anti Conservative briefings by his, so called, allies. This failure to stand up to Clegg led to the sacking of Michael Gove, and probably to the removal of Owen Paterson. Both men were excellent cabinet members, but the lilly livered LibDems were offended by Gove’s brave and necessary education reforms, and Paterson’s declared scepticism to the official, unproven greenie line on climate change. And now Cameron has allowed his discredited and defeated foe, Gordon Brown, to take the lead in promising more powers to the SNP, if the No vote wins. Furthermore he has collaborated with Miliband and Clegg to more formally endorse these gifts. All without consulting his MPs, let alone Parliament. He is a weak public relations man, and should stand down as party leader, no matter how the vote goes in Scotland.

  • Andrew Constantine

    A fine article, thank you.

    I have taken the view in recent years that the Westminster elites were on the cusp of losing ‘England’. There are just now a few Tory MPs who are now seeking to defend English interests, but at present their efforts and numbers still do not amount to very much.

    If the English do not feel properly represented, the Union is over however Scotland votes today.

  • George

    We will always suck your blood . You will never be independent !

  • Atanas Krussteff

    What if the YESers win with 1 or 2%? Does it settle the problem or worsens it? And what if NOers – half of Scotland refuse to take Scotch citizenship and remain Brits? The remainder have to name their new country Shootland.

  • ohforheavensake

    Erm… you do know that Alex Salmond is First Minister in Holyrood? You do know he’s been First Minister since 2007- so longer than David Cameron’s been Prime Minister?

    So- and here’s the question: if this is a sign of anti-political rage, how can it be a vote for the guy who’s been in power for seven years?

    • Livia

      For the Spectator, if it isn’t true blue Tory it’s not politics

  • English Majority


    The visceral, mass rage is towards the ENTIRE rancid, viciously undemocratic political system and Establishment.

    It incudes all political parties. And all of Westminster.

    The native people want this putrid mess of multiculturalism, immigration and chaos to be destroyed. The people DEMAND to be heard.

    People are suffering in poverty, powerlessness, filth and misery as they watch the government constantly give more and more resources and attention to the Muslim, black populations.

    We watch, in DISGUST, as Muslims in suits enter the highest political positions and dictate to us.

    And we watch, in blinding, life-destroying anger as an ultra-Liberal, increasingly foreign, London government unilaterally, aggressively, undemocratically enforces its sinister ideology upon the rest of the nation.

    This is a mass demand for RADICAL change.

    Democracy no longer exists. The people are not only ignored, but openly despised by those in power. This is a dangerous situation.

    What’s sinister is that politicians, including Carmeron and the highest echelons, take the sickening advice of the countless far-Left/immigrant-led Think Tanks that parasitically operate daily. Think Tanks such as the sinister ‘British Future’, led and directed by a pro-mass immigration, pro-Islam, pro-multiculturalism immigrant called Sunder Katwala, and funded by non-White benefactors. This org presents itself as ‘neutral’, and it has the ear of policy makers. It hijacks, co-opts and insidiously misrepresents the people’s views.

    • Liz

      I think that might just be you.

      • English Majority


    • Andrew Forrest

      You’re racist. That’s a bad thing.

      Most of the brown people want the same things you do: a job, security, health, respect.

      You probably have reasons to be angry, but you’re directing your anger at people who are as disenfranchised and poor, and vulnerable as you are.

      Muslim people should be allowed to wear suits. And go into politics. As are Christians.

      • English Majority


  • Liberty

    The problem is that what is popular is often peurile. The top three issues are immigration, economy and public services. Most people have a visceral faith in charismatic leaders like Farage, Le Pen or Grillo. So, whilst Farage is on the money with immigration and the EU he is cagey about economics and flakey on public services. This is because few understand economics – that it requires competitive markets which leads to domination by big corporations and extreme wealth for some. People do not realise that this applies to public services like education, health and welfare too and have a touching but false belief that public services must be run by governments and not subject to market forces, but this makes them inefficient and ineffective. So Farage is quiet on public services and the economy.

    Le Pen is sound on the EU but peurile on the economy and public services, wanting government expanded. As we know, that is incompatible with sound finances. The Scandinavian model depends on far more devolution of power than either Le Pen or the Labour party would consider. Beppo Grillo and Salmond have nothing sensible to say on any topic; both peddle a simplified version of socialism but because they are charismatic, articulate and outside the mainstream they get support.

    For this, Salmond and Grillo are ridiculed but Salmond and Le Pen are intelligent so are doing whatever it takes for power and once they have it would do whatever it takes to keep it. Grillo isn’t in their league, he believes his nonsense. Farage is quite unlike them, a principled and moral man. But for Salmond and Le Pen, the combination of socialism, ruthlessness and readiness to lie for power is very dangerous. I remember a certain corporal in the German army who was socialist, ruthless and a liar; he was ridiculed too. But I reckon Salmond will be out of it by tomorrow.

  • tres66

    Alienation? First the Tories lost America then they lost Ireland. Later they lost the British Empire and now they are losing Scotland. And the English are losing patience.

    • Liz

      Maybe they should take the hint.

  • Terence Wilkinson

    Very confused by this leading article. Is The Spectator now against Welfare Reform? Is it angered by the Spare Bedroom Subsidy reform introduced by our current government or the Incapacity Benefit Reassessment introduced by the previous Labour government? Or is The Spectator as confused on these issues as the gentleman protestor in the photograph? Perhaps we can overlook The Spectator missing the fact that Mr Salmond has been in office since 2007 and, if reports in the media are to be believed, pursuing similar health policies to those wicked, evil Toffs in London but only with health spending cuts added to the mix. Perhaps The Spectator is angry by 6.2% unemployment and record employment – yes that is Tory toffs for you, making people work. For shame! Perhaps the deficit reduction plan angers The Spectator? Perhaps our increasing longevity angers The Spectator? What about the technological marvels of our age that are transforming lives? Or the fact that working class people like myself can now go to university, buy houses and go on foreign holidays? It is self-evident to me that Britain is simply awful: perhaps we should spread this message abroad because so many immigrants just are not getting the message. Well I think it is time that the media stopped banging on about how awful things are and start to talk up this wonderful country of ours.

    • Jenny_Tells

      Good news never sells, only anger, strife and disaster.

  • Carter Lee

    As an ignorant American I ask what happens if ‘YES” wins but in the negotiations that follow the SNP and No. 10 cannot reach agreement? In fact, what leverage or power do the Scot’s have at the table? It seems to me they have none whatsoever?

    • cambridgeelephant

      Very little – is the true answer.

      But they will be negotiating with Cameron and possibly Milliband.

      This will be like trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to Laurel and Hardy.

      i.e. Successful !

  • John Carins

    The damage that the EU does to British unity is all too clear. The current set of politicians bar a few are pro EU. The only way to get British values back and real Britons running the show is to dump these minority pandering EU loving idiots. Our ancestors would be horrified. They fought and died to preserve the Union and Britain. We are shamefully giving it away.

  • global city

    The political schism that went underground with the fall of the Berlin Wall has re-emerged. people are now cottoning on to the fact that the Left wing bastards kept up their long march to undermine our societies. The European elite betrayed ‘their people’. This is excruciatingly manifest in the EU and it’s ideological directives.

    The Left wish to now drive this home (Scotland) whilst most of Europe is stirring in the opposite direction. The Trotskyists and Cultural Marxists feel that they are almost within reach of Utopia, so some of these battles may involve bloodshed.

    Spineless ‘centre-right’ parties across Europe have tried to accommodate these people in the hope that enough change will satisfy them, but it never was going to.

    Hopefully in the UK, all we have to do is clean out our current establishment who have encouraged this mish mash of psuedo-cultural Marxism to infest the whole country and work out some new constitutional, federal and institutional arrangements….but’

    We now have to ask ourselves, do we want to build a new set of soviets (or allow this to still be done by stealth) or do we want to clean the buggers out and build something nicer for our children?

  • John Smith

    The Scotland thing reminds us that when socialists offer a lot of free things many believe them & hope someone else will pay
    & the push was English hating

  • Terence Hale

    The exact timing of Mr. Salmond’s resignation will be interesting. In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one’s sovereign or nation.

  • Monro

    Alex Salmond’s ‘success’ was a protest vote against labour in a Scottish national election.

    His independence campaign has been an abject failure.

    Only about 30% of the Scottish population have voted for independence, many of them 19th century immigrant communities as happy waving the Irish republican flag as the saltire. That proportion has been static for over 100 years.

    Given the devolution already granted to Scotland and Wales, with more on offer, time, now, for a genuinely federal arrangement of the UK constitution, as outlined by Mr Allister Heath, earlier this year:


  • logdon

    They don’t want the gadfly of ‘bold ideas’, that smacks of the phonyness exemplified by Blair’s plea for suggestions from the party he could be associated with and as such, part of the problem.

    Reality is what we want and it doesn’t take a genius to spot the trait of authenticity inherent within Le Pen and Farages’s messages.

    I was recently talking to a man who voted Welsh Nationalist which as a supporter of our Union should have horrified me but his explanation was quite convincing.

    He basically was fed up with English politics and the sort of shennnanigans raised to an art by Blair and described quite adequately by Peter Oborne in his books, Rise of the Political Class and The Rise of Political Lying.

    Rotherham is almost a metaphor for the way it goes and the shameful absence of any morality within that witches coven of duplicity is the norm these days and for ten horrific years of almost Kafkaesque evasion they got away with it.

    We are a nation. We have a viable and enviable culture,.yet listening to the political classes it all counts for naught when compared with the so called ‘vibrancy’ of immigrants and their lefty cohorts.

    It’s that very ‘vibrancy’ which lead to the rape of 1600 girls, sacrificed for a plaster of multicultural sheen and a me, me look how un-racist we are.

    In other words the indiginous British were not offered one ounce of toleration in what is meant to be an uber tolerant society.

    In fact it proved to be the opposite and girls, when complaining of horrific abuse by predatory Pakistani Muslims were threatened with arrest unless they shut up.

    That is modern Britain.

    When politics gives up on its core support it’s core support gives up on the career politician for whom votes rather than care is the prime motivator.

    That’s what’s going on here and it doesn’t takea genius to spot it.

  • Liz

    People think they’re angry or bored by politicians, but they’re really angry and bored with themselves. I blame the media.

  • Ken

    Salmond should take pride in his achievement – getting nearly half of Scotland to reject the washed out deadbeats of Westminster (including the Tory party so beloved of the Spectator) in favour of an independent future. How those on the right can be contemptuous of those with priide in their nation and faith in it I know not. Alas, the cowards were bribed by the pathetic Brown, etc. The UK is basically a nation in steady decline – it started in 1914 and nothing can stop it. Least of all can it be saved by the ridiculous Miliband.

  • tjamesjones

    this is bllks. it’s so easy to say the public wants “principled” politicians, but do you know what? different members of the public want different principles. If you like that sort of thing, you can stand and yell at your opponent indyref style.
    “Real issues remain unaddressed”, no kidding!? Real issues will always remain unaddressed, what are we, 10 year olds?

    Just because 10 people say that they don’t agree with what DC has done, doesn’t mean that those 10 people can agree on what he should do. There will always be 10% up to 15% of the electorate who will buy the story that there is some solution there being missed by the ‘political class’. The technical term for those people, in this country, is kippers.

  • Fred

    It’s the age of rage alright. Fragmentation everywhere. It’s all a part of a greater malaise. I only wished I knew what it was. Perhaps what we need is another common enemy like dear old Adolf to unite us.

  • Dagenhamboy

    Good article.