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Thursday, August 07, 2014 

If Simon Cowell wants us to stay together, then who are Scots to argue?

One of the absolute finest qualities we as humans possess is our ability to admit when we're wrong, or when we don't know something.  By contrast, never back down, never apologise is the mantra of such towering figures as Kelvin MacKenzie, and even if not immediately, such principles tend to eventually catch up with you.

I will then freely set out how at times this politics thing completely and utterly bewilders me.  Do politicians seriously commission focus groups, which are often nothing of the sort, and use them as their ultimate guide for which policies are most likely to reach the nation's collective erogenous zones?  Did they really imagine that an obviously catastrophic in retrospect ploy would work, when anyone with half a brain could of told them it was beyond idiotic?  Is Grant Shapps a real person and not a fictional creation designed to destroy the Tories from within, ever ready with a charmless, redundant anti-Labour soundbite?

The ultimate example of this has to be, at least in my eyes, the celebrity endorsement.  Absolutely no good can come of it, either to the famous person or the cause they take up/are persuaded to support.  It doesn't matter how noble it is, whether it be trying to stop Sexual Violence in Conflict, a notion that seems to ignore that they the two have always and will always go together and the best way to end the former is to stop the latter, or as we're getting on to, urging the United Kingdom to stay united, someone out there will take against you for it.  Just tweeting #FreePalestine is enough to make an image consultant have kittens, while Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are naturally, according to the Times of Israel and other celebs, antisemites for their comments.  Bono was always a twat, but he didn't really become such a stupendous bell end (yes, equal opportunities sexual organ based insults are here again) until he started his philanthropic work.  At the same time as being a tax exile, natch.

So it is with the 200 or so celebs and semi-celebs who've signed the Let's Stay Together letter.  The sentiment expressed is mild, and done in such a way as to make it unlikely anyone could be genuinely offended by the simple plea for voters to consider all that we've shared over the past 300 years of union.  At the same time, those behind the campaign have what could be described as a murky past, and the message is one anyone contemplating voting yes will have already thought over themselves.  They really don't need people without a vote, famous ones at that, to tell them something they already know.  Some might also recall the Guardian's Clark Country fiasco back in 2004, when the paper urged readers to write to voters in America as to why they shouldn't re-elect George Bush.  It didn't go well.

Nor does it help when the vast majority of those who've added their signature are exactly the kind of celebs you'd be tempted to move to an independent Scotland to avoid.  The very first name is David Aaronovitch, for crying out loud.  Kirstie Allsopp swiftly follows, and once you realise both Trinny and Susannah have signed, along with Neil "paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me" Fox, it's easier to note those on the list who aren't complete tools.  Like Olivia Colman, David Mitchell and Tamsin Greig.  Or Stephen Hawking and Doreen Lawrence.  Then you realise Simon Cowell, Tracey Emin and Andrew Lloyd-Webber have also etched their initials, and heading north of Gretna after a Yes vote once again looks incredibly attractive.

It wouldn't be so bad if the lead No has in the opinion polls didn't look all but impregnable, or had Alex Salmond trounced Alistair Darling in the debate as so many expected he would.  As it happened, Salmond fell shortest on the currency question, the exact quandary Yes campaigners have repeatedly and with some justification said is a non-issue.  The problem is voters don't believe the rUK will roll over after a Yes vote and say OK, let's discuss this in a civilised fashion now it's happened, even if that's most likely what would happen.  Nor did Salmond help himself by bringing up the scare stories over a Yes vote, as it's one thing for a blog like Wings to do it, and quite another for the prospective first prime minister of an independent Scotland to.

Much as you don't want it to be the case, Project Fear looks as though it's done its job.  The Yes campaign's insistence everything will be absolutely fine post-independence just hasn't worked when set against the apocalyptic visions painted by Better Together.  A better society as Salmond promises is a fine sentiment, it just doesn't seem able to win out against those worried about what might happen if things don't go according to the SNP's plan.  Add in what you can only describe as the naivety of the Radical Independence campaigners, convinced supporting the SNP now will mean jam tomorrow, and it will take something miraculous for the gap to be made up.  A bunch of well-meaning if jumped up celebrities aren't going to piss off that many wavering voters, sadly.

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