"While the term propaganda has acquired a strongly negative connotation by association with its most manipulative and jingoistic examples, propaganda in its original sense was neutral, and could refer to uses that were generally benign or innocuous, such as public health recommendations, signs encouraging citizens to participate in a census or election, or messages encouraging persons to report crimes to the police, among others." (source)
It is a time when there is a very recognizable positivity and excitement in much of the people in Scotland that I interact with on a daily basis, a time of hope and ambition, of new expectations, despite the economic gloom and despair, a time leading up to a fundamental change in the way an individual in Scotland, can literally effect change for the better in their own life, and the lives of their families, and neighbours, and friends. A time when their say and opinion matters, even in a woeful climate of austerity and cutbacks, job insecurity, and a world of seemingly one civil war after another. It is surprising, yet not wholeheartedly unexpected to me, that the people of Scotland can look around, and look to the future, and put a wholly positive spin on their social environment and what path that environment should take. Some may call it rose tinted spectacles, I call it aspiration. I am talking of course of the lead up to the most important answer to the question that will be put to the people of Scotland in 2014, for it is not the question that matters so much, as the answer. I suspect that the answer will be a resounding YES to the proposed question of 'Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?'
Most Scots are not economists, or lawyers, or in charge of huge finances, that have to be moved about to the convenience of some corporation or other, so the correct coloured bars in a chart portray the right message to whatever shareholders need proper returns. Most Scots are normal everyday individuals who see inequality and unfairness around them, and have until recently seemingly accepted this as the lot of the Scottish people. Most Scots are not defence strategists, up-to-the-minute in the foreign affairs of some far off country going through a crisis that may in some way surreptitiously affect the security of Scotland, or understand the dire need to be armed to the teeth, just in case. Most Scots are not historians or verbosely astute in the way of the political intricacies and machinations of new world economics, they just see and recognise injustice and discrimination when it happens around them. Most Scots are not intellectuals, but they are intellectually aware, most Scots are sensible, most Scots have commonsense in abundance, a strong moral code that can sniff a whiff of corruption and wilful manipulation for disagreeable ends a long distance away. Most Scots know one of the places in the UK where commonsense has seldom prevailed is in Westminster, London.
It is dismaying sometimes, reading some of the negative, insulting, and derogatory propaganda that is injected into Scottish society, on a regular basis, from the bowels of the Westminster-United political machine, and the mainstream of the UK mass-media. Much of it is such barefaced fiction, that even the most easily swayed individuals can see it for the untruths it is. Type in google, 'Scotland third world country' and you'll find a raft of entries. Delve deeper and you'll find a range of examples comparable to how in Scotland we'll all be living in caves without the price of a candle to light the dark nights, should we take the plunge and vote for independence.
Under the weight of this constant onslaught of negativity and discouraging prophecy, it is amazing how good and hopeful I feel about the future. I am also, glad to say, not deluded or unique, I am not the only one. Is this barrage of dire propaganda in reality an indirect panacea, irreverently having the opposite to the desired result? In this climate of present day economic tsunami after tsunami, why do I have such a feel-good factor about the future? The force fed diet of hysterical untruths and put downs is turning out to be little more than a placebo having no effect, never mind a desired effect, and in general, when I talk and interact with the people I meet in a daily basis, has in fact, the reverse effect. There is, in reality, instead of doom and gloom, misery and hopelessness, despair and despondency, an expectant air of positivity and excitement around me. It flows from most of the people I meet, and communicate with, it comes with the commonsense approach they have in the way their opinions are formed and their decisions are made, about society and the country and the world around them, about their personal hopes and ambitions, it comes from the fact that we have been bombarded here with so much negativity and put downs, that they no longer have any effect on our psyche, they are meaningless and ineffective, they are unfunny in any respect, but laughable all the same.
Of course, a feel-good factor is one thing, but getting across the message and the answers to a multitude of valid and wide ranging questions regarding the referendum vote and the methods of putting into action the whole process of setting up a newly independent country is another thing entirely. There will be a veritable full flowing stream of wide ranging issues and problems to work out and solve, but this also, is a reason for good positive forward thinking, for commonsense to prevail, and for a new society and a newly found voice to be heard in a wider world.
I am looking forward to the pro-independence parties in Scotland getting together and putting the 'pro' back into propaganda, meaning using the word before the modern day negative connotations became prevalent. Let it no longer be used for an extreme and obscene form of attacking and undermining a whole country of people by a minority group in another, so scared now of losing their precious, they'll practically sink to any depths of despicability to keep it.
The truth is out there, and we don't need Mulder and Scully to investigate for us. The X-files are fiction, just as most of the negative and discouraging propaganda we've been subjected to in Scotland is. As the time for the independence referendum approaches ever closer, I expect the pro-independence parties to not only uncover the truth and belay the lies, but to optimistically portray the way forward for Scotland in the world to come. For every negative viewpoint put forward, I want and expect to hear a veritable raft of new and positive, and viable alternative ideas that will work for the people of Scotland in a fair and equitable way. The whole of Scottish society, young, old, working, unemployed, student, small business, big business, the trade unions, the education and health services, religious organisations, the free and independent media, and the local community clubs and guilds, should all have their say. It is not so much to expect, the Scots have always been an intelligent and innovative people, ready to speak their mind. I have in reality, no choice but to feel optimistic. In the past we have as a nation been responsible for some of the best and most creative innovations and inventions of the world. There is no reason at all why the future will be any different for a Scotland unshackled and free from restraint. The future is out there, and the world is waiting, and it is only a YES vote away.
If you live in Scotland, have your say (consultation is open till the 11th May 2012) Your Scotland, Your Referendum