Yet more evidence of the cyber and media war being waged against the Yes movement.
A few months ago, a contact in alternative health warned me that posting about alternative health was likely to attract trolls. Paid trolls, who in the case of alternative health are paid per tweet to dispute anything you say.
I doubted this very much. Pharmaceutical companies make an awful lot more money than alternative health practitioners, I reasoned, and there is little reason for them to be spending money on banks of people to dispute you if you happen to enjoy a bit of acupuncture or whatever. I was wrong.
One afternoon, in particular, I spent several hours chatting (not even about health) with a person with such a superficial knowledge of health that I could not understand why he was continuing to even talk about it. Fortunately, my American friend messaged me to say that he was a known paid troll, being paid by the tweet. I just changed the subject and earned him a few dollars, since apart from his insistence on commercial medicine, he seemed reasonably pleasant.
Since we have an open admission of this practice being employed by rUK, I would caution my enthusiastic friends in the SNP and Yes movement to avoid lengthy conversations with planted individuals, obvious trolls. I got one at the referendum with no content whatsoever, who bored on about nothing for an entire day, and one more recently who wanted to exploit my apparent ‘confusion’ with the announcement of the ‘Boris Experience’ project.
To digress slightly from today’s topic – the ‘Boris Experience’ project is nothing to do with my views on Scottish independence. I saw an unhappy person being exploited, and I didn’t like it, any more than I like seeing Scotland being exploited. Boris may, in may respects, be a natural enemy, but it does not mean I cannot show a bit of kindness when someone has taken advantage of him.
I am sure many in the Yes movement will recognise this. We do not hate the English, we do not necessarily hate the UK establishment, we hate the exploitation and misinformation. Crushing it out of us just won’t work. We are well aware that Scotland would clearly benefit from removal from the UK. What concerns me at this point, having had a brief flush of sympathy for a kindred observant spirit, is that the UK cannot afford to lose Scotland, and they will continue with paranoid and frankly ridiculous attacks, designed to appeal to people’s feelings of anxiety, complacency, or more general lack of confidence.
If you happen to be English and reading this. Scottish people are not stupid. We have had a steep learning curve, and we are not likely to respond well to yet more misinformation and poor treatment.
If Westminster is desperate to keep us, they really need to come up with a better strategy. Even the English are starting to complain about the quality of BBC reporting, for example. Personally, if I was the SNP, I would be seriously considering putting MPs forward in England, but then, like Boris, I have big visions.
I am preparing a piece of work designed to present a potential solution, in the form of the usual cute series of riddles concealed within a deceptively simple story. It will take a little while.
In the meantime, try not to engage with trolls, and think about ways of reaching the No voters that do not involve argument. We got this.