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45 MIN READ TIME

We Tried to be Nice

WE TRIED to be nice. We really did. Back then, in what now seem like the very distant and different days of the first referendum campaign, we really tried to be nice. By “we” I, of course, mean Scotland. That is to say, the Scottish Government. The government elected by the people of Scotland. Our government tried to be nice. That was the basis of its approach to the 2014 constitutional referendum.

The Yes campaign tried, if anything, to be even nicer than the Scottish Government. We were all trying to be nice. We genuinely thought that the whole process could be dealt with in a mature, reasonable manner. We were constantly, relentlessly, obsessively urged to ‘make the positive case for independence’. Be positive! Be nice! This fixation on being nice reached the stage where an unkind word directed at or referring to an opponent in some obscure corner of social media would instantly call down the wrath of a posse of selfappointed sheriffs. Those who strayed but an inch from the one true path of positiveness were immediately set upon by the waggy-fingered attitude police to be berated and scolded and harangued into submission and an appropriate act of post-deleting penitence.

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