Something different for the site today, no, not some pithy comment on Bitter Together’s informal moniker from last year but actually a review of a book titled “Project Fear : How an Unlikely Alliance Left a Kingdom United but a Country Divided” written by Joe Pike. Joe seems to have been fairly close to the Better Together campaign, being the partner of Gordon Aikman who worked for BT until being diagnosed with MND in 2014.
The book reads with the pace of an action packed fictional novel, but nothing could be further from , well, erm the truth. This book is a factual account of the behind the scenes activity initially in Project Fear but then leads on and covers the implosion of the Labour Party at the hands of the SNP in the 2015 General Election. In reading this you realise just how close we come to a total “full house”, absolute wipeout of all the parties north of the border.
It’s well paced and in makes plentiful use of the C word, yes that’s right, Conservative, Cameron, Clegg and Carmichael, not to mention the other one you thought I meant at the start of this sentence! In many ways it’s the script for Malcolm Tucker and The Thick of It that Armando Ianucci didn’t write. He didn’t need to as truth is sometimes more bizarre than fiction. From Gordon’s Brown’s intrusion on the BT campaign pulling the rug out on a launch event being held by Alastair Darling, to Jim (Martyr) Murphy’s 100 towns on an Irn Bru Crate, the TV debates and the Currency Argument, it’s all in here. The manipulation of the Monarchy ( though it doesn’t sound like it needed much encouragement, ) through to September the 19th and the English Votes for English Laws bombshell dropped by David Cameron that had many in the No camp squirming.
Then onwards as Labour imploded, Murphy fundilymundily ( funnily enough the most memorable Murphyism for me, wasn’t mentioned) came and went, and the reality dawned on Labour that the 45% were only a minority when the three UK parties stand together and they didn’t last 30 seconds after the referendum result, and the 45 aren’t going away!
It’s a great read and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in the last referendum. To quote from Sun Tzu and the Art of War “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” Next time the result WILL be different.
I leave you with a quotation from Project Fear, Epilogue:
“…I was surprised by the number of pro UK politicians and advisers I spoke to who said something along the lines of: ‘There’s going to be a second referendum, and we’ll lose it.’ This sense of defeatism and of the inevitability of independence is perhaps surprising so soon after the decisive referendum victory”
Project Fear is available in book or ebook form at all the usual locations! For around £10 or much less.