The Yes camp have managed to make it seem like criticism of their politics is an attack on the individual’s right to imagine a better self. To do this, the Yes campaign has had to be emptied of almost all actual political content. It has had to become a form of faith.
And it’s not surprising – there is no way that the groups under the banner of Yes could actually work together; they’re all fighting for fundamentally different things. How can the Greens reconcile themselves with the ‘let’s make Scotland a new Saudi Arabia’ oil barons? How can the radical left reconcile themselves with the pro-capitalist Business for Scotland group? Or the L.G.B.T Yes Youth community find common cause with elderly Calvinist nationalists or with the millionaire SNP donor who backed Clause 28. Instead converts chant the same mantra – YES – to cover all the cracks between their mutual hatred. Debate becomes reduced down to one word and the positivity of that one word erases all conflicts and questions beneath a fantasized unity. YES. Yes also erases history, politics and reality. Yes means too many things and ends up meaning nothing. It’s silenced the conflicting politics within it to the point that it means little more than the euphoric American self-help phrase “be all you can be.”