Time for some tough talking

It’s been a bruising and bloody week in the world of Scottish independence. Not because of anything that the Unionists have done, they’ve been sitting back with the popcorn while they watch the independence movement tear itself apart with mutual recriminations, insults, abuse, and aspersions being cast like stones. I’ve been attacked. The National has been attacked. It seems that everyone is attacking everyone else. Yet all of this was sparked off, not because of any matter of great import to the future of Scotland, not because of an existential threat to the cause of independence, not because of anything that the vast majority of Scots who don’t use social media either know or care about. It happened because someone said something on Twitter that some people took exception to.

It’s time for some tough talking here. A movement which descends into such paroxysms of anger and spite over something so trivial is not a movement which is capable of winning a raffle, never mind winning an independence campaign. This is a movement which has lost all sense of proportion, all sense of what really matters. I’m not criticising grassroots activists here. I’m not criticising ordinary people who are passionate about the cause of Scottish self-determination. When I say the movement I mean those of us who lead it. I am criticising those of us, myself included, who have public platforms and public voices and who aspire to speak for this movement.

It’s those of us who pretend to lead, we’re the ones who are letting those activists down. We’re letting down those people who staff stalls in the rain and work their socks off, those people who organise public meetings and fundraise to print leaflets, who traipse round doorways to canvass and campaign. They’re not the ones letting the movement down. It’s the fault of those of us who tweet, who write, who blog, who run national groups, who manage the “new media”. We’re the ones who’re letting Scotland down. We’re letting ourselves down. We’ve turned into passengers on a sinking ship who’re arguing about the music the band is playing instead of organising the life-boats. We’re all going to drown, but hey, at least we can be self-righteously right-on when the cold and icy water fills our lungs.  We can lose The National.  We can lose iScot magazine, but we’ll still have some painfully right-on blogs that no one outside a Byres Road coffee shop ever bothers to read.

It’s time to put the egos to one side. It’s time to stop being so precious about the purity of our politics. It’s time to stop competing to be more right on than the next person. It’s time to stop pretending that it’s our way or it’s no way. If those of us who have public platforms and public voices are at all serious about making this country a better place, it’s time for maturity and realism. We will not win the independence of Scotland with student politics. We’re not going to win by turning into Wolfie Smith and calling out Rick from the Young Ones for a square go. This is a game for adults. It’s time to grow up. Squabbling over trivialities is for infants.

If you’re an independence supporter who spends most of their time and energy criticising other independence supporters for having views you dislike, tactics you disapprove of, or opinions you find distasteful, you’re not helping the cause of independence. You’re only helping to perpetuate Unionism. If you want to help the cause of independence, you can put forward your own ideas and your own vision without turning that into an attack on someone else in the independence movement with a different point of view. And if your ideas resonate, if they are seen to have value, if they gain traction with the wider public, then your ideas will win through.

We will not win independence for Scotland by turning the independence movement into an exercise in being holier-than-thou. We certainly won’t win it by condemning and attacking those whom for whatever reason we deem not to be sufficiently ideologically pure. That is precisely how not to win over people who previously voted no or were undecided. This may come as a surprise to some, but not everyone in Scotland is attracted to far left politics, and we need the support of those people too if we are to achieve our goal. And I say that as someone who is himself on the left.

Right now Scotland is in a position of unprecedented danger. We are on the verge of being taken out of the EU and into an economic and political wasteland by a bunch of malign incompetents in a Tory government that Scotland didn’t vote for. They have no plan, they have no route map. The only thing for which they display any kind of aptitude is their ruthless efficiency in enriching themselves and their friends and in order to do so they will demonise migrants, the poor and the vulnerable. They don’t care if we all suffer. Our public services are facing the greatest threat they have ever faced. The devolution settlement is cracking under the strain. Meanwhile the Labour party has managed to pull off the hitherto impossible task of being even more confused and clueless than the Tories. And throughout all of this Scotland has been told in no uncertain terms that it has no right to an input or to influence the course of events.

It is the immense threat from the Westminster government and parties that the independence movement needs to be challenging. That is what we need to be speaking about – not tying ourselves in knots because a controversial blogger was controversial again. There are far more important fish to fry than what some person said on Twitter. I love this movement and this country too much to see it fail because of the egos and immaturity of a handful of loud and angry people with no sense of proportion.

For my own part I’m going to take my own advice. Twitter is for snark, cat gifs, and jokes. The most pressing task facing the independence movement right now is to articulate the case for independence, to join up the dots and to demonstrate to the people of this country that talking about independence is not a distraction from talking about health, or education, or transport. Independence is the only way to guarantee the security of our public services. It’s the only way to ensure that Scotland’s choices are respected and implemented. That’s what I’m going to spend the coming months talking about and arguing for. It’s time to be a grown up. It’s time to organise the life boats.

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0 thoughts on “Time for some tough talking

  1. Well said!

    Those who play games have to remember that our country comes before self. The prize is independence, any petty victory for the individual means that the many lose the prizen

  2. I graduated with honours in 1983. My dissertation was about careerists in CND. While participating in the YES campaign in 2014 it was obvious careerists were aboard. I believe that since the rise of Corbyn these people are now trying to destroy the independence campaign.

  3. So much sense and wisdom in what you say here. “Divide and conquer” is how the Empire and now the Union have won for 200 years or more. WE must not fall for this old trap again.Stick together now and we can debate how Scotland will look once we are Independent.Lets keep our eye on the prize Guys!!

  4. I suspect that part of the problem is that some of these bloggers, tweeters and “activists” aren’t really interested in Scottish independence: they’re narcissistic individuals who think that their particular “take” on politics/society/culture/you name it, is the only enlightened or valid one. They’ll be the ones touting a People’s Socialist Vegan Transgender Born-again Republic of AlbaScotia while the real Scotland hurtles over the Brexit cliff to join our English neighbours in economic and societal oblivion. I know that when I comment (occasionally) here and elsewhere I seem like a pessimistic doomsayer – that’s because, to use a hackneyed old line, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” Apart from anything else, FFS who ever said anything truly meaningful or important on Twitter? Answers please on the back of a stamp.

    • Used Twitter for a week 5 years ago. That’s how long it took me to realise it was useless. Facebook has its faults but is useful and useable.

    • Since when was an elected politician defaming someone whose politics she disagrees with a frivolous action? Our representatives do NOT have the right to defame anyone and be above the law.

      What this stooshie is about, is certain people, for reasons of their own, taking a simple issue which has nothing to do with them and conflating it into a massive thing for their own self-interests. I am tempted to call them “Useful Unionist idiots”.

      A lot of people I follow and read have lost a great deal of credibility, respect, and trust. THAT is only good for those in the UK that want to hold their grip on Scotland and deny us our Independence. Many people have lost all proportion on this issue.

      Westminster, UK Tories, Labour, and LibDems are laughing at us. And their Scottish branch offices most of all.

    • What a pathetic comment. You mean an elected leader of one of our major parties can get up and demean and abuse our Parliament with personal insult and defamation. Bit it’s OK is it? It was only the Scottish parliament -not the real one down south (in which she would have been asked to apologise and leave the chamber). A typical cringe comment.

  5. Its good to know some people understand the Meaning, Healer heal thyself,, Because as you said, none of us are perfect, we have opinions,, and instead of Demeaning them, sift through them and chose the ones that look as though they can be used to further the Movement,, Lets get on with the job at hand, Imdependence above all else

  6. Well said, Sir. Breath of fresh air in the fetid sewer some seem to want to lead us into.

    So far the fight for Scottish independence has been entirely without bloodshed or weapons. If we can win it with no more than bruised egos and the odd Twitter spat, we should be proud. If we never become independent because of Twitter spats and some precious eejits who don’t like bad language, shame on all of us.

  7. Well said WGD. This week has been less than edifying, for all sorts of reasons, but mainly for the public damage it has done. I decided this morning that I wasn’t going to waste any more time on the subject as the views are entrenched. Anyone who has tried reason has been lambasted, anyone who has pointed out the politics of it pilloried. It’s ridiculous. I just hope the court case is heard soon!

  8. Twitter is not a suitable medium for reasoned debate, or for making foreign policy, or publishing instructions by the Executive. Look no further than the orange maniac in the White House. I note that Colonel Harrison too is fond of expressing herself that way. Empty vessels make most noise…

    I hope to see this country’s independence before I die, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time, statistically speaking. The parliamentary Tory and Labour parties are notorious for fighting amongst themselves like so many weasels in so many sacks. They have lost the plot with their back-biting and infighting, backstabbing and character assassination, revolt and rebellion, disloyalty and disunity.

    If we can’t do better than that, we will be no better off from having our own government, our own politics, our own country. And staying off Twitter would help too. Doesn’t everyone sane on this whole planet wish someone, anyone, would take the Mango Mussolini’s phone away?

  9. I personally am going to try my best to filter out most of the noise and rubbish generated by these Coffee Shop Hipster Maoists; at least they have exposed themselves and it will make streamlining and thinning out the dead wood from the Yes movement somewhat simpler. To be honest, you Paul, the Rev, the National and iScot (along with some input from Craig Murray and Mark Frankland) give me pretty much all the information about developments that I need. I’ve scrapped my subscription to Common Weal and will re-direct that to more deserving sources.

  10. I think there is actually a very important issue here. I see shades of The Wilmslow Boy – albeit the falsely accused kid in the spotlight has done some other genuinely naughty stuff to test the audience: will we still stand up for justice for a protagonist who does not have our sympathies?

    Some people have such an intense dislike for Stuart Campbell they have allowed it to cloud their judgement on something which ought to be quite clear. Unreasoned bias in any form is deeply disturbing. It leads to miscarriages of justice, to bad government, and – ironically – to the kind of victimisation which Wings’ attackers are up in arms about.

    Whatever else you might think about the guy, the specific allegation of homophobia in the Mundell tweet is not justified and we must be clear about that.

    • You are absolutely right, Noel Darlow. “Unreasoned bias” must be called whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. But we must be sure that we do not allow this kind of issue to divide – and therefore to conquer – us as a movement.

  11. Amen to the Paul!! Sick of the whole business – the sooner this court case is over the better!

  12. Taking Wings side means you deserve a monstering too. You and Wings can be dispensed with and replaced with somebody more suitable for our version of independence.

  13. Well said Paul. Trouble is, you are dealing with Scots, who, traditionally, when they don’t have the English to fight, fight amongst themselves. I am told, British Army standing orders used to insist that no two Scottish regiments were ever stationed near each other in Scotland – in case they started World War III.

    We just love a fecht, it is in our blood and, until Indyref2 kicks off properly, there will be these little local difficulties. Hopefully, once we really get going, we will all be singing from the same hymn sheet.

    But, that said, there are elements on the left of the Independence movement who, no matter what we do, will be tartan-bedecked versions of the Judean Liberation Front and the Front for the Liberation of Judea.

  14. Pingback: Time for some tough talking | speymouth

  15. I hope your not in any way including yourself in the ” we are at fault ” Paul i doubt if any honest person could point a finger in your direction , we who follow your posts can guarantee that .

    The point was made on a previous thread ” me me me ” look at me , listen to me , all by the looks of it seeking attention , maybe these folk are bored ,nothing happening that involves them , so a bit of mischief to liven things up ,

    The left wing always attach themselves to anything that gives them a platform , it is the only way they ever hope to survive , because lets face it they will never convince any more than a few people to follow them , they will never be in a position to actually follow through with their ideas , so they fight , they always fight , they always fallout , it happens every time , you would think these intelligent people would learn from their mistakes , nope not them, not ever ,

    Lets hope they damage they cause will be minimal , and the ones who are obviously pulling their strings are found out and the left recognise they are being used .

    Until then i wish they would do the rest of the “YES” movement the Curtsy of shutting the f/k up .

    • I think all of us with some sort of public profile in the movement bear responsibility. Including myself. The recent episode has caused me to reflect on my own actions and in retrospect I think I could have taken some steps to defuse the situation, steps which I didn’t take.

      • I don’t think anything you personally could have done would have defused the situation Paul.

        I’m probably not alone in feeling this one has been brewing a fair old time in some people’s minds & they’re conflating Corbyn with SLAB, thinking they need to defend “something” & now is the time with Dugdale.

        They’ll fail – again – and do more damage to indy but no publicity is bad publicity for some. Others may have been carried along/are confused but there’s nothing you could do.

      • there are many out there Paul who despise all bloggers for Indy , as far i can see you spoke your mind and gave us a incite of your relationship with a fellow blogger , Stuart has annoyed most people in the past , but there is no other site who really annoys the unionists like he can , if we allow unionists to sow seeds of doubt and dissent then they win not us ,they WIN end of ..

      • Isn’t hindsight wonderful … but no need to beat yourself up, no one is perfect least of all when reacting to an on-the-spot situation. Put it behind you, put it down to experience and move on.

  16. I see folk getting pretty riled over SFA, probably because we have no obvious campaign to coalesce round ATM. Glad you’re letting us still keep the cat/kitten gifs though. 😀

    I love twitter but I’m sure not going to persuade anyone on there that Indy is best. That’ll be face to face. What’s the worst that can happen…!

  17. After all the calls of the SNP are not the voice of Independence, let all Yes speak, it turns out the SNP are the ones with all the gravitas, the leaders who actually lead, and the rational centre where independence supporters can rally.
    I said way back a whole bunch of panels won’t do it. Voting for bizarre reasons for other parties won’t do it.

  18. A timely article, Paul, considering some of the stuff being put about just now. As a newy to the indy movement, have been quite ‘pit oot’ by the vitriol and bile. Thanks for the pointer to iScot, have signed up for a year

  19. For those who disagree with Wings think about this.
    Kezia Dugdale used her parliamentary time to attack a new media presence, someone who gets almost no time on established media. If this attempt at a wedge manoeuvre worked, the independence/SNP overall media presence would be significantly damaged and this story WOULD make it into the newspapers and onto radio and TV. Wings is very popular and SC goes out of his way to teach people how to read the old media properly. This is absolutely step one in changing the atmosphere around the independence/union debate in the media and on the ground.
    If SC was to allow the homophobe tag to stick, it would never, ever end. Then what would it be next…well they’re trying transphobe for size…even the way he looks is being fitted up for a nice little meme amuse-bouche. Slowly or not so slowly he would begin to seem the media leper and it is obvious to me that no-one else is willing to put the time in to do what he does and risk the danger of being targeted.
    As for his style, his humour, his brashness (his obsessions perhaps), think about some of the significant journalist gadflies who are now a historical part of our global culture…I would name some of them but you would get the usual voices…but this guy wrote offensive stuff in his private letters etc. etc…but to be provocative you need to provoke. If everyone agreed to be nice to unionists, you would not get niceness in return. Just think of those rotten to the core public school types who see this cause as a threat to their entitlement. You are not going to get Marquess of Queensbury rules from them. They have everything to lose. This is a struggle for political autonomy and hopefully a dash of economic freedom (I suppose I need to add NOT libertarianism). All the unionist leaders are constantly overstepping the mark because they think there are no consequences because the whole media is with them. Ruth Davidson has had maybe one challenging interview and she fell apart.
    It looks like this is a time of sorting out who is actually serious about this cause and the career-seekers. Independence could be much closer than we think. Every successful movement has personalities who piss off those who want a cushier life. You would definitely miss him if he was gone but then it’s always too late.

    • Aye, quite right.
      We need a few fire-starters….
      Once we get a date for the next independence referendum, expect a few sparks to fly.
      It’s now or bloody never.
      Be an independent country with some pride, dignity and self worth, or forever be a pathetic wee northern offshoot begging for crumbs.

    • well said , and the stirrers of S,,,te might just have picked the wrong moment to stir up what ever it is they are up to , after years of one sided manure being tossed our way , now is not a good time to try and cause divisions , most folk are ready to pounce and are ready to come out fighting .
      The Straw and the Camel’s back comes to mind , a step to far for most people , touchy you bet they are bloody touchy , and sick fed up seeing little or no retaliation . now is not the time .

    • Quite agree. For too long we have allowed the Unionists to set the agenda continually putting us on the defensive. Now is maybe the time to throw of the cringe and go on the attack. Kezia has been playing the bully, trying to use her sexual orientation to make an SNP Bad story while having a go at WoS and SC. However, in one way she has already achieved a victory by causing such a stushie and division in the Yes camp as all the recent comments in SM prove. She has set the scene and left us to fight each other.
      This story has already taken up to much of our valuable time. Let them fight it out in court and we will move forward, strengthening the case for independence as we go on the offensive, asking Ruth, Willie and Kezia searching questions about there policies for Scotland, what will they do about the NHS, education, the police and funding these organisations. Would Ruth use the powers of the Scottish government to mitigate the effects of the Bedroom Tax or the rape clause, it’s her party that introduced them so what is her position.

  20. As a rainy day Yes stall helper, I am in the happy position that I have not the faintest idea what this is all about…

  21. I see Common Space has published another dirty, filthy attempt at further discrediting this most excellent and vital pro Scottish Indy blogger and his supporters. Yawning at the pathetic “I’m gay and I’m offended” rubbish. What’s wrong with offending people? It’s your right and mine. What bugs me is what some might term as offensive is being manipulated to become something much more serious as homphobia. Oliver Mundell is an idiot list TORY MSP in Scotland’s parliament. To wish he had never been born is perhaps a wee bit unkind. But that’s all this is about. A storm in a teacup, a smokescreen to divert attention from the real news in Scotland like Brexit and it’s implications for our health and economic well-being is just one example of something worth shouting about. Columnists like Haggerty and Daly etal are entitled to question and challenge, but I believe something bigger and more sinister is at hand here and it is dividing us at a time when we need to unite. First the air brushed angelic picture of Dugdale herself and the headline, “Why we should back Kezia and send Wings Over Scotland packing” is not just an opinion article it’s a call to shut down Stuart Campbell who is NOT our enemy. He’s a genius loud moth pro indy blogger who won’t lie down to those who really are our enemies. The real enemies are Tories, the bankers the corporate media and corporate businesses and the filthy rich landowners in Scotland. They are all owned, funded, and controlled by an interconnected network of large corporate conglomerates and international bankers who manipulate and filter out everything and anything that does not fit their corporate and pro unionist agenda. Wings Over Scotland is one guy who draws our attention to what they are up to. A spoke in their wheel. Wings and those like hime are vital to the Independence movement. Anybody and everybody in the YES camp calling for him to be shut down have in my books highly suspect credentials. My suggestion to CS and their seemingly know nothing “journos” is this – please, know your true enemy and pick your battles.

  22. I hated Punk (sorry, punks) but it flushed-out the becoming stale music scene and led to a great era of music in the 80s. Perhaps the Scottish independence movement (social media branch) will benefit from a similar flushing-out and herald an even stronger Indy movement? One thing’s for certain; we’ve never been more passionate about our country and we yearn for a conclusion to the wrong that is Westminster rule, the current events bear that out.

    Meanwhile, I’d like to say that a beloved member of my family passed in her east-end of Glasgow Local Authority house that had been no more than a building site for the previous 8 months. A staunch Labour voter all her days, they did absolutely nothing for her in her lifetime whilst Scottish ermined Lords rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty in London. She was a good woman, respected, loved, sadly missed – she deserved better from those she put into power. The British Labour crew would seek to continue this disgrace in Scotland, whereas the Scottish National Party would never had held her in such contempt.

    That’s what we’re trying to change, and that’s why passions run so deeply. I’ll finish by saying that I’ll have no truck with those who would support any form of unionism. I’ll shut up now.

  23. … and if anyone needs to cool down, please join our Yes stall in Edinburgh on any Saturday in August, 11 to 2, Middle Meadow Walk. The forecast says there might even be rain this Saturday, so you’re in luck.

  24. We won,t win because of others who have their own agendas,we won,t win because the tories red/blue are complete idiots,we might just win if we come out with radical policies that can/will fire up the doubters forget the 30/35% of unionists as they will never ever cross over,put up policies that will reduce the burden on most people and put more money in their pocket,get transport/energy/banking for starters into the public domain,we are so rich in green energy we should be involving our skilled workers in the construction/maintenance of the necessary equipment instead of looking abroad,our present government have to get off their collective a–es and stop giving ground to the 2 eejits from the opposition,start showing that you can govern will govern and take no prisoners.

    • While I sympathise with many of the ‘policies’ you want, this is NOT about anybodies policies. This is about Independence!

      The SNP would also probably want to put forward many of your policies but they cannot because Westminster has not granted them the powers or the finances. Westminster takes all of our taxes of whatever kind and gives us back pocket money which is continually being reduced. They do not even let us have the correct figures for the money that they are taking from Scotland. But we are now becoming very aware that we are not the scroungers, Westminster are ripping us off big style. The ‘powers’ they gave us to increase income tax is a trap. What money Scotland would gain from the extra taxes Westminster would take away from us by reducing the Barnet formula. So we would not have any more money but we would be left paying higher taxes – that is taxes that they allow to go up but not to go down!

      Westminster will not even let us have the powers to grow our own economy, to create work with decent jobs and get people a decent wage and way of life.

      For ANY Scottish government to change these things we need to get away from Westminster and run our own country. We need INDEPENDENCE!

      Once we have Independence we can vote for a party who stand for the policies we want and aim for the country we want. But first we must get Independence!

  25. Twitter is only the superficial reason for this stooshie. Post general election knocks, those who see the SNP as the main vehicle for getting us over the line, are sensing future betrayals from those on the left, who have enjoyed Corbyn’s galvanising effect.

    And rightfully so…..for those who argue for giving Corbyn a look in future elections or tell the SNP to hang-left/green on a utopian mission for Scotland2050, will when it comes to the crunch, be unreliable allies in a future indyref campaign.

    In those people’s minds, Independence is now conditional on two things 1) Does Corbyn have a chance of winning and implementing a UK wide programme at a future GE? If they think he has a chance, then they will ditch the SNP and hence the Indyref project, for that prize. Articles in the Herald and Record pleading for “progressive” people in Scotland to jump on the Corbyn bus will become weekly occurences. 2) Is the SNP offering an independence left-wing enough to satisfy their principles? If deemed not to be then Independence will be talked-down as a reactionary and old-fashioned political project and not worth the candle.

    I am on the left myself so take no pleasure in writing this, but I sense that a lot of us know that future betrayals are heading our way from those who may have been considered comrades in the past. Ultimately sovereignty will not trump left-wing piety for those people and unionist forces will give them all the ammunition and column-space needed to split our forces.

    It might be a blessing in disguise that some of these dynamics are thrashing themselves out on social media before the next phase of the struggle begins.

    • hasn’t the penny dropped with these people yet Corbyn wont ever be the route to independence ,he like Tony Benn , nice as he was had no time for independence , its a con as usual .

  26. I have to say that I am more optimistic about the stooshie that is underway. The ideological left doesn’t, never has and never will genuinely support Indy. They are cynical in the truest sense of the word and will sacrifice everything and everyone to their ideology – just like the ideological right – as world history shows. If this disagreement flushes them out then that will be good. They have all the sincerity of Ian Duncan Smith and nice Jeremy Corbyn.

    If I or any other Independent Scot needs guidance on the issue of what is homophobic then we know where to turn – and it won’t be to the red guard.

  27. The thing to remember is that NO Westminster party will support Scotland. None. No matter what they say for votes. Think back to September 2014. Politicians vote for the party and power. That is it. They have a short time span of interest. Only the SNP as a party and the indy movement can resolve this. So ignore the WM parties. Believe nothing they say.

    As for these aggressive so called ‘indy’ people they should shut up. Perhaps this is an orchestrated campaign by the WM and some of these aggressive indy people are not whom they seem to be, who knows. I am not one for this belief profile normally but why has this suddenly got worse now? What is going on?

    As always the best action is to ignore all attacks no matter how much you are angry. Just think tosser and move on. Block their address from your media if possible.

  28. How I wish this was simply about a twitter spat. Or even about the desperately underachiving Dugdale. But it isn’t really about either, and it isn’t really even about Wings. It is about what sort of movement the indy movement wants to be.

    And the one thing which is abundantly clear so far is that large chunks of the indy movement are at best equivocal about the simple proposition that people’s sexuality & gender identity are never fair game in a political fight.

    It’s pretty clear too that there are large chunks of the indy movement who regard it as thoroughly justified that someone who has been insulting and abusive should seek a cash payout when one of the words used to denounce their misconduct is arguably a little too strong.

    Forget about the unionists. They will decide who they are going to be, and it’s pretty clear that they have decided to be the people who astroturf, the people who made false accusations of violence against Yessers but remained silent when unionist thugs rampaged in George Square. God help us all if the indy movement ever chose to measure itself against their standards.

    This is is not about them. It is about us. It is about the movement to build a better polity than the tawdry rump-empire which Paul beautifully summed up as “foodbanks defended by nuclear missiles”.

    Remember how Salmond spoke of “the early days of a better nation”? That’s the indy movement I have been a tiny part of.

    Now we have a repeatedly abusive man with a big platform trying to make people pay him compensation arising out of an abusive comment which he made. That’s the conduct of a bully. Does that really look like any part at all of a better nation?

    Nicola Sturgeon got this instinctively. She rapidly denounced this sort of conduct.

    No, of course it’s nowhere near the same league as the physical attacks too many of us have endured, and from which people like Paul found no protection in the 70s and 80s. But it’s also not the sort of public discourse in which LGBT people feel safe.

    Mercifully, the world has moved on from the bare survival which LGBT people counted as a success in those dark days. We now demand a world in which we aren’t second-class citizens, and where we don’t have to put up with abuse just for being LGBT.

    There’s a very simple calculus here for LGBT people. Once the name calling starts, far too many of us have painful experience of it being followed by sticks and stones and fires.

    So if significant chunks of the broader indy movement continue to take the view that someone who use sexuality as a weapon of political attack is somehow the victim when they are called out on it … then that’s a movement LGBT people have every reason to distrust, and even to fear.

    I have supported Scottish independence for over three decades. No amount of misconduct by its advocates can ever change my conviction that Scotland should govern itself, just like any other nation.

    But what it has already started to do is to make me question whether the current campaign for that goal is one I can defend, let alone be part of.

    • Claire, are you really saying that after 3 decades you are abandoning independence because Stu Campbell is aggrieved enough to sue Kez Dugdale for branding him a homophobe?
      Something doesn’t add up here.

      • No, Jack, I’m not. As I wrote, I am unequivocally hold to the core principle that Scotland should govern itself. That’s unconditional. If an indy Scotland elected a Tory govt, even a BNP-style govt, I’d hate it, but I’d still say that the Scottish people had a right do that.

        But what I do wonder is whether I want to be part of a movement which defends an abusive bully, and which argues the toss over whether the bully was merely rude or actively homophobic.

        I have spent a lot of my life fighting for the right of LGBT people to live lives free of discrimination, harassment, and abuse. Using someone’s sexuality as a weapon of political insult or abuse is disgusting. Leave it out.

        There’s a really simple principle for public debate: criticise your political opponents for their political values and their political conduct, not for their sexuality or gender or their race or their ethnicity or their disability or their looks. As the footballers say, play the ball not the man.

        Some people don’t hold to that sort of standard. I get that. These days, most political parties discipline people who break that principle, but not all do. Hey-ho; that’s sad, but life always has some people of low standards.

        But what we have here is something I have never seen before: bullying taken to a whole new level.

        We have significant chunks of the indy movement cheering a repeatedly rude and confrontational man who is demanding cash from someone who criticises his conduct.

        That’s extraordinary. It’s one thing defend the rude bully. But defending the rude bully who demands cash from people who denounce him? Yikes. What a very ugly sight.

        It remains to be seen how this plays out. I’m pleased to see that Paul has pulled back a little from his over-hasty comments last week. I hope that others will reconsider too

        • What Paul said was we should stop fighting amongst ourselves. Your point appears to be that, despite being a part of the indy movement, you have a very low opinion of someone else in the movement who has done an immense amount of work for the cause of independence (“an abusive bully”), and you are insisting in telling us all what that is. Doesn’t that make you guilty of exactly what Paul said we shouldn’t do?

          • Yes, that someone else has done an immense amount of work for the cause of independence, and he is also an abusive bully.

            Sorry, but I won’t stop calling out abusive conduct, no matter which side it comes from. As Nicola Sturgeon said “I condemn anybody who hurls abuse on social media or anywhere else”, and “I unequivocally condemn abuse of any kind”.

            So I condemn people make posts like those in these search results. They should clean up their act, no matter what side they are on: https://twitter.com/search?l=&q=cretin%20OR%20imbecile%20from%3AWingsScotland&src=typd

            As Nicola Sturgeon said, “We should all join together and say that that kind of abuse is unacceptable”.

            Will you also join with Nicola?

        • Claire, it would be tempting to indulge in a bout of ‘whitabootery’, but I’ll desist.
          I agree to disagree that Stu Campbell’s remarks were homophobic.
          Indeed it may be argued that Dugdale has been ‘heterophobic’ in using this incident to blacken Campbell, WoS, and the SNP all in one cynical swipe.
          He’s straight so it’s an attack on the LBGT community.
          Are you really saying that heteros cannot joke, no matter how crass, or tasteless, or hurtful that you as an individual may find it offensive because of a gay twist in the message?
          Only gay people can crack gay jokes; only heteros can crack hetero jokes?
          Do you really want to separate the LGBT community out of mainstream society like that?
          There is a view that when badinage is ‘normalised’ and crosses boundaries then society will at last have matured.
          I understand why you protest.
          There are some vicious evil people out there, and they must be challenged.
          Jokes about minorities, be it ethnicity, religious persuasion, or sexuality, which are designed to ridicule and demean a particular group in society are wrong, and should be tackled head on.
          I just don’t buy the accusation that this albeit tasteless remark was an attack on homosexuality. I just don’t.
          The Unionists will do anything, say anything, to bring down the Yes Movement.
          I think Dugdale a hypocrite and a fraud. I can back that up with ‘for instances’.
          Stu Campbell is no Mr Nice Guy. He goes for the Unionist jugular on a daily basis.
          There is a view that Dugdale’s protests are designed to shut down opposition to the Unionists, and homophobia has nothing to do with it.

          BTW Mundell has a Communications wing with a budget of £639,000. Not a Dickie Bird from Magnus and co on this.
          I wonder why?.

          • Sure, Jack, there’s a lot of the shut-down in Kezia’s stance. She and other unionists have a long and sickening track record of making false allegations against indy campaigners, while ignoring the very real rack record of abuse and actual violence by unionists. I’m sure you know the list as well as I do: Ian Smart’s bile, the man who tried to run Salmond’s car off the road, the English Labour activist and soon-to-be MP who assaulted an indy campaigner, the torrents of bile directed a Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black, the steady flow of “Nationalist= Nazi” slurs directed at all of us by unionists. And that’s only a fragment of the tip of a huge iceberg.

            We can’t control what the unionists do. But we are about making a better country than the United Kingdom of Foodbanks and Benefit Sanctions and WMDs and Wars against Non-White People, and we owe it to our cause to hold our own side to a higher standard than the gutter of hypocritical blood which our imperialist opponents live in.

            You’re right: “Unionists will do anything, say anything, to bring down the Yes Movement.” Absolutely true. You say they are hypocrites, which is also true in spades. And that is why we cannot afford to hand them a gift by endorsing conduct like this, and tieing the wider movement to the bile of one man.

            Leaving aside all morality, there is the simple fact the unionists have all the massive media resources to use this misconduct to devastating effect. Giving them such an easy target is a hue act of self-harm by the indy side.

            When faced with criticism for a comment like that, a reasonable person says something along the lines of “Sorry for the jibe I made. I can’t stand the Mundells’ politics, but should have left their sexuality out of it. I don’t think it’s reasonable to call my failed joke homophobic, but I agree it was unnecessarily mean”. A less reasonable person says “sod you, I’ll tell what jokes I like”. However, only a bully responds by demanding a new car-sized wodge of cash because they feel that a reproach to their nastiness overstated the case.

            Your wider point about jokes about LGBT people is a good one. Yes, in a world of equality, we could all joke equally about each other. But while we have come a long way, there is still a long way to go before we reach that world of equality. We still have lots of violent LGBT hate crime, endemic discrimination, and far too many situations where LGBT people self-censor their lives to avoid abuse or worse.

            Lesbian and gay people know that displaying affection in public can be dangerous. They know that knowledge of their sexuality will be used against them by some people. So they self-censor.

            Similarly, trans people self-censor. They keep their gender history confidential, to avoid trouble. They take care to avoid dressing in ways which might reveal their past. They are cautious about appearing in public with other trans people, on the double-trouble rule.

            When people have to censor their lives in order to avoid discrimination and hate-crime, it’s not much to ask others simply of find other ways of making wisecracks.

            You may be right that this wasn’t “an attack on homosexuality”. I disagree, but it’s an arguable point. But it undoubtedly *was* an use of homosexuality as a means to attack someone. That wouldn’t be tolerated if the attribute being used was race or disability or Jewishness — so why should LGBT people be asked to put up with it being part of public discourse about them?

            And why should LGBT people be asked to remain silent when someone who mocks a politician for having a gay father tries to cast themselves as the victim, and gets cheered for it by the movement they thought they were part of? Why should they accept the notion that being out makes your LGBT status a legitimate target for mockery?

            The abuse heaped on Jordan Daly and Angela Haggerty for dissenting from the back-Wings-at-any-price-cos-he-does-other-good-stuff brigade has a chilling effect on LGBT participation in the indy movement. I notice this particularly amongst younger LGBT people, who mercifully have not had to live through the unrestrained, state-sanctioned homophobia and transphobia of the 70s and 80s. For them, a politics which asks them to retreat into the shadows is the dinosaur politics of a dark age before they were born.

            Polling data is very clear that overwhelming support for independence from the youth makes independence more likely as the years go by. Defending conduct which contravenes the ethical norms of that generation is not clever politics

          • Claire, I understand completely, well as far as a straight man can, what your saying.
            However as I read your excellent response, I was waiting for the ‘but’ .

            I comment in later post on here about Dugdale’s lies and hypocrisy in her ‘Record’ piece today.

            She declares that she cares and anguishes over the 2/3 single parents who are mostly women suffering under the UCS cuts, and blames Sturgeon and May in equal measures for
            the WM politically engineered impoverishment of the Hoi Polloi to reward the rich, fund bombing innocent villagers in Syria, and bunging the US Military and Industrial Complex 10’s of billions to produce the next generation of WMD, while 260,000 of our children live in poverty, 500,000 (10%) of our citizens survive below the poverty line, and food banks are burgeoning, and charity shops will provide second hand winter coats for many of us.

            The so called 6th richest country in the world.

            She omits Brexit, and promises Corbynista jam in 2020 when he will be 73, and the railways will be nationalised, and Brexit will have been merely a distraction on the way to her New Labour New Conservative Tony Blair with a Marxist twist Nirvana.

            The woman is a fraud.

            She accused Campbell of homophobia because she is a vile manipulative little woman, who has contributed nothing to the well being or governance of the Scottish people ever, not ever, in her chequered and dismally ineffectual political ‘career’.

            You refer to Panti and his impassioned talk to a Dublin audience. I get it, and your observations in this piece. I really do.

            Campbell may be many things, but he can hardly be compared to two Dublin endomorphs shrieking insults from a car in O’Connell Street, and equally, Tommy Sheridan and his spat with Murdoch.

            We are never going to agree on this unfortunately, well, not until the dust has settled and we are a Self Determining nation once again.

            Panti made the point that everybody in the audience was homophobic, including himself for trying to hide his gayness in public, to avoid causing an ‘incident’.
            I always find that if I give in to something with which I don’t agree and find myself sighing ‘anything for a quiet life’, then the last thing I get is ‘a quiet life’.

            It has been a long hard struggle dragging Scotland out of the Dark Ages, and we are not there yet.
            This from the same torrid little Rag:-

            Rangers supporters robbed an elderly man collecting for charity in Sheffield, and Celtic supporters filmed themselves rejoicing in the death of Lee Rigby in Sunderland.
            What great ambassadors this lot are.

            We confront evil where we see it, but sadly we will never completely eradicate it.

            Campbell was stupid and tasteless.

            Dugdale latched on to it, because that’s what she does.

            She would have us bomb Syria and berth WMD on the Clyde, and use them.

            I give not a monkey’s snot about her bruised ego, or the perceived attack on her or m
            Mundell’s sexuality.
            When compared to the obscenities that she and her Unionist colleagues are visiting upon Scotland and the Scottish People, I have no sympathy for her or Mundell..

            My dander’s getting up as I type.
            Genuinely I must stop now.
            Dugdale and the manipulators on the far left are at it.

          • Well said – as ever – Jack. To Hades with the “feelings”, hurt or otherwise, of Dugdale & Mundell. Stu Campbell’s remark was not in “the best possible taste” (with apologies to the late Kenny Everett) but the response from Dugdale was intended to do exactly what it seems to have achieved, i.e. making us all argue with one another over trivia while the REAL issues get away! “Divide and conquer”! When are people going to realise it, drop this by now luke-warm potato and get back to what matters!

          • Thanks for another thoughtful response, Jack.

            Look, I agree with everything you say about Dugdale, and more.

            But where we differ is that I don’t think this is about Dugdale or tankwoman or fluffy or fluffyson, and it’s not about left or right. I reckon this is about **us**. Ethically, it’s about what sort of movement we want to be. Pragmatically, it’s about reining in someone on our side who makes us all easy targets for unscruplulous opponents.

            We can’t inject scruples into unionists, but we can avoid giving them a free casus belli. And it’s not Dugdale who is seeking to collect cash out of this.

            As to Panti Bliss, the relevance is that Panti had herself faced a libel action over terminology, where the broadcaster promptly caved and showered cash over the anti-gay-rights complainants.

            Here’s the bit of that speech which seemed relevant:

            “a jumped-up little queer like me should know the word homophobia is no longer available to gay people, which is a spectacular and neat Orwellian trick, because now it turns out gay people are not the victims of homophobia, homophobes are the victims of homophobia”.

            The Irish anti-gay-rights campaigners collected their cheques, but as Panti’s video went globally viral, their victory was pyrhric.

          • Claire, in all honesty, I don’t think that you and I are that far apart on this.
            As I observe, there a great part of me that is cautioning me to shut the feck up, since I have no idea what it is like to suffer persistent harassment and physical abuse because of my sexuality.
            On the other hand, it was no fun being a hetero teenager, hormones bustin’ in 1962, pre pill, where ‘nice’ girls waited ’til they got married.
            The guilt trips and utter condemnation church and the community visited upon us lusty perverted young males was embedded in our society.
            No sex before marriage; no ;mixed marriages’.
            No children born out of wedlock.
            But that is as nothing to the reported Homophobia accounts which I have read recently.
            Can we kiss and make up, and for now turn our lexicon on the enemy at the door?
            Just for now, please?
            The Campbell/Dugdale thing won’t go to court I believe.
            A bientot.

          • Jack, of course we can kiss and make up. Thanks for being one of the nice ppl who has tried to understand why some LGBT people find this so problematic, and for engaging in a very friendly discussion.

            And I deeply hope you are that this won’t get as far as a court. There would be no possible good outcome for the litigant, or for the rest of the indy movement

          • Agree with that, Claire.
            We all have an extremely testing time ahead for all of us, that’s for sure.
            No matter the outcome of Brexit, and the inevitable Indyref 2 that follows (unless of course WM dissolves in October, a UK GE is held, and the Remain ticket reverses the Leave decision: I can but hope, even as one who ultimately wants Self Determination.) there will be a considerable minority of Scots who will feel disenfranchised, let down, facing a future not of their making.
            IMHO the Union as it stands is no longer tenable, and overtures for more devolution, FFA, Federalism, Devo Maximus, have fell on deaf Union or Nothing ears.
            It is an age of uncertainty and civil, political, and financial unrest, that’s for sure.
            The voices of reason and calm must prevail.
            I for one will not tolerate intolerance of any kind.
            I’ve lived this long and will not end my days surrounded by hatred and elitism.

          • “… mocks a politician for having a gay father ” No, he didn’t and no amount of twisting will make it so. As a linguist and semantic nit-picker of half a century’s standing I find nothing ‘homophobic’ (dreadful and inaccurate term) in what Campbell wrote. Simplified, it comes to, “It would be better if this fool (Mundell jnr.) had never been born.” Nasty? Yes – but not hate-speech. Dugdale has, in her usual sleekit, sneering way, tried to divert attention from her own and her party’s glaring inadequacy and, in doing so, has abused her position in the Scottish Parliament; to which, let us remember, she was NOT elected – having, rather, been shoehorned in under the ludicrous ‘List’ system. This is just another of her ‘SNP bad’ stunts. My greatest regret is that Sturgeon did not, at the time, dismiss Dugdale’s rant as irrelevant and point out in no uncertain terms that Wings has nothing to do with the SNP or the SG and, therefore, would not be discussed. However, that would probably not have stopped Dugdale trying to make cheap political capital of what should have been treated as a throwaway insult. Campbell is not suing her because he is “…a bully”. He is suing her because she chose to use not only the public press but the privilege of her parliamentary standing to accuse him of something which, though not against statute, is nonetheless regarded as being ‘criminal’ in the current world of political correctness and very public virtue-signalling. And, I suspect, because it’s deeply insulting and just not true.
            Campbell is a target for the unionist parties because he calls out their lies and obfuscations with a ruthless accuracy that is a joy to behold. He particularly delights in catching out Dugdale (though, to be fair, she makes it easy) and she, talentless, vainglorious and vapid careerist that she is, thought she could get away with what she clearly thought was a cunning stunt at his and the SG’s expense. She has succeeded in one thing – stirring up the right-on and angst-ridden in the independence movement, who are falling over themselves in their attempts to show how virtuous they are to the point where some real damage may be done. That Common Space and others cannot see how they have been manipulated is tragic and probably a success beyond Dugdale’s wildest hopes. Did no-one, absolutely no-one, look at their headline about “…backing Kezia” and think that maybe there was something sorely amiss there? I am completely with Paul on this one. Twitter is for twattery; time to be a grown-up.

          • Alex, if Campbell had merely said “It would be better if this fool (Mundell jnr.) had never been born”, then we would all be having a very different discussion.

            But as you know, that’s not what Campbell said.

            He added Mundell senior’s homosexuality into the pot of the nastiness, and that’s what makes it so extra repugnant. Campbell chose to use David Mundell’s gayness as a weapon in his bilious political commentary.

            If Campbell had used race as a device to gratuitously spice up his insult, I doubt he would have many defenders outside the BNP. LGBT people are just as entitled to be spared such abuse.

            I have no time for Dugdale. But Campbell is suing her for calling him out on his nastiness, and for using a politician’s sexuality as a stick to bet him with.

            Campbell is a serial bully, who is repeatedly insults the people he disagrees with, calling them “cretin” or “imbecile” https://twitter.com/search?l=&q=cretin%20OR%20imbecile%20from%3AWingsScotland&src=typd

            Now he is demanding a big pile of cash for being called out on it. That’s bullying.

          • Can we not all just agree to disagree here please. This has gone on quite long enough. The Yes movement is divided on this issue, and so is the LGBT community. Continuing to pick the scabs doesn’t help.

          • Agreed. My tuppenceworth having been added, no more on this from me. Let’s move on to more important things.

        • I think Wings does a great job for our cause but have crinched a few times at some of Stu’s tweets. I can see he can have a harsh sense of humour. On two occasions I have written to him regarding a personal annoyance at comments I consider extreme. I have considered not financially supporting Wings during the annual event but that would be counter productive to our cause.

          Regarding Wings court case cash appeal I cannot contribute as I see this as a personal thing caused by Stu himself. It is between him and Kezia. It is self inflicted. I do agree he was not homophobic in his Mundell comments just crass. I also agree Kezia abused her position for political reasons. Not my fight I am afraid.

          Please stay with us Claire. We need each other. Freedom can be a rocky road.

    • You do know of course that Paul if part of the society that identify as LGBT as are many others who support Wings. Why do you appear to be on the side that support Kezia Dugdale on this issue? There shouldn’t be any “sides” and is between Wings and Kezia Dugdale.

      His tweet versus her accusations, he has a right to defend those accusations and has choosen to do so. Why should anyone have a beef with that?

      Maybe it’s better that the court decides and that is the whole point.

      • No, I don’t “support Dugdale”. I support decency in political debate, and I support people who chose to abusive getting called out on their misconduct.

        For me, this isn’t about Dugdale — it’s about what sort of conduct by our own side we will tolerate or back. My view would be the same regardless of who was in her shoes.

        Anyone has a legal right to sue anyone else, and let the courts decide the merits. But exercising that right can also be a form of bullying.

        This whole thing increasingly reminds me of the background to Panti’s Noble Call: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXayhUzWnl0

  29. Well said. We all need to be pushing in the same direction. If you can’t or won’t, step aside and let someone else who can.

  30. Very well said Paul, doffs bunnet. That needed saying.

    I’ve never been on twitter or facebook, and watching what’s going on, I think I made the right decision to keep away.

    Whit’s it got tae dae wi these nosy parkers sticking their neb’s in. The barney is between dippity dug, and the Rev. Naebody else. By the by, dippity could have stopped this a while ago, noo they’re clamouring tae gie her hauners.

    I wish that they would go away and flaming well grow up, and gie the rest o’ us peace.

  31. Well, you’ll be attacked for this as you’ve said the unsayable. Fact is though people are putting personal politics/career/gain ahead of the independence movement so we now have this insane vying for ideological purity and one-upmanship.

    Do I think Wings comment to be homophobic? No. Is it offensive? Yes. I think we’re seeing a lack of distinction here so people are offended due to their personal ideology/politics while seeing a chance to lay a few lumps on Wings in order to boost their own profile, and as infuriating (and this is a polite way of putting it) Wings can be on social media, he’s enormously effective with his site. That I think is what rankles with some, and with some folk recently boasting of how their clicks have skyrocketed, it does tend to give the game away.

    Yet we’re supposed to be after the same goal. We don’t all have to like or tolerate each other. We just have to fight together til we get over the line and leave the idea of an ideologically pure indy behind us because that ain’t ever going to happen. We’re also entering a scrap and I don’t think some people are prepared for it on the basis of the last week or so. I’m also not sure if some folk give a single fuck for the most vulnerable as all I see is the same student politics I tried to avoid decades ago because it was arseholes using the poor/working class as a way from them to buy a level of ideological purity/street cred.

    But we are going into a scrap where if lost, means the most vulnerable, the weakest, the immigrants, the disabled, all stand to lose and lose massively.so by all means criticise people. I’ve no issue with that as the indy movement does need that, but this civil war is bollocks and if a vote were held right now, we’d lose and lose badly.

    So people have to look at what is a priority. Indy or ideological purity?

  32. @ PhilM – a slight correction to your excellent view on this matter – Kezia Dugdale ABused her parliamentary time – and the presiding Officer, Ken MacIntosh, Labour, ex-BBC did not intervene.

    Kezia Dugdale, apprenticed to George Foulkes, may be more dangerous than some folks believe.
    I note she has formed a relationship with an SNP MSP All are all entitled to seek their personal happiness, but that’s one SNP MSP outside the SNP policy tent now I expect.

    I agree with Paul’s article here that we must stay focussed on our objective, and be vigilant over who are, and who aren’t, quite what they seem.

  33. Personally, I blame the Scottish Socialist Party, or the Socialist Party for Scotland, or the Party for a Socialist Scotland. Either way, whatever, one of them, some of them, all of them or none of them are just trying to get a rise out of us because we are not showing enough respect for their version of independence, socialism and environmentalism (the emphasis possibly being on ‘mental’).

    What started out as a dead cat bounce – when did you stop beating your (previous?) partner – has really go a bit out of hand. So, just to perpetuate the out-of-handiness of the situation while waiting for the silly season to finish (please, soon), I see elsewhere on the Internet someone I have never heard of has decided to take a fence which is fine, feel free, a fence is just the thing for sitting on, apart from the piles, but don’t tell us all about it because it is boring; it was boring when the not dead Cat did it, it was boring when someone dancing on the head of a pin did it and it is still boring.

    But, hey, there are people out there thinking about the future and have decided that we can have two conversations; one about how Scotland becomes an independent country and another about what Scotland will be like as an independent country (buries head in hands). Ok, so there will need to be discussions about how many tax bands there are, whether a deep fried mars bar is food with zero percent VAT or a danger to society, whether grouse shooting should be permitted if you are in a bad mood – the list has the potential for being endless but, for now, that is just noise which drowns out the signal and obscures the message that independence is the only way…

    • Yeah, you’re probably right. The cat did it, but before anyone sensible noticed and quietly cleaned it up, someone trod in it. Now it’s all over the place and starting to stink …

  34. Prescient words Paul. The national movement at the moment feels a bit like the Scottish army about to self implode before Cromwell at Dunbar. Anyway, the only saving grace is that the perfidious Tories won’t allow a second indy ref anyway… so we have nothing to lose through self immolation. The only game in town is UDI and the SNP won’t stand for that.

  35. Its a funny world we live in as the Unionists will come out of this smelling of roses without any need to respond or lift a finger. If it goes to court the media will have a field day. If the crowd funding pulls in a load of cash then the conclusions by the media will not be very pleasant.

    • I am afraid that I don’t understand the logic of the comment about the conclusions by the media. Could you elaborate why the media would react to a large degree of support? They didn’t when the crowdfunding for the Orkney Four was high.

      • If crowdfunding pulls in lots of cash, the unionist media will report it as “cybernats shower cash on alleged homophobe”, and worse.
        It will be cast as a whole movement rallying behind nastiness.

  36. The games a bogey so who cares, the odds are stacked against Wings because of the ingrained establishment bias BUT with enough public interest and pressure the underdog might win.

    Doesn’t matter, the point will have been made, many of the public in Scotland are prepared to put their hand in their pocket and fight against statements that do not wash with the reality of the situation.

    A small price to pay for keeping both politicians and the MSM on their toes and to mind their Ps and Qs before making such utterances. Independence supporters are watching and they know it.

  37. The only thing that matters is Independence. When we are independent then we can split into factions if we feel we have to. Until then, we stick together.
    And whether you agree with Stuart Campbell or not, he is seen by the unionists as their biggest threat other than the SNP. If he wrote a Byres Road coffee shop blog, do you think Kezia would have attacked him so publicly?
    We need Wings, WGD, Derek Bateman, iScot, Craig Murray and the National. The unionists have everything else.

  38. An excellent piece, Paul, and it needed to be said. I think perhaps you were a little hard on yourself though. However, we really do all need to be constantly aware that to allow ourselves to be divided is to set ourselves up to be conquered.

  39. You just have to look at what’s happening in places like Venezuela to see what the establishment, and security services from their neighbour ate capabke of to get what they want. It is sinister, they ate dab hands at it. They know rxactly how to stoke up trouble between people, fabricating all kinds of events, so called news etc, and making out that the peaceful, democratically elected government are the problem.

    Scotland will be destroyed within the UK and brexit, quite simple.

    One thing, I really do not see many people being to the far left, the people that I and know, and hear, who want independence for Scotland, are centre left. The ones who want to keep Scotland shackled, tend to be right, or even far right wing.

    I just hope that we escape on time, for all our sakes.

  40. Words can often be twisted to mean what we want them to mean

    I think we need to take Stu’s comment in the context it was meant, it’s perfectly obvious to anyone with any more than 2 brain cells what he meant, and although it wasn’t particularly complimentary of Olivers public speaking abilities it certainly wasn’t homophobic,

    Kezia has attempted to twist his words into something we all know they were never intended to be either because she is really stupid or so consumed with hatred for Stu and the SNP/Nicola she just can’t help herself or most likely both.

    Kezia Dugdale is the Scottish branch manager of the UK Labour Party which is the 3rd most popular party in Holyrood and thus of little consequence in the whole scheme of things but nonetheless it carries responsibilities, one of which is to hold our government to account and that’s what we pay her for,we do not pay her to waste parliamentary time trying to further her sorry political career by attempting to smear our First Minister no matter how covetous of her she may be.

    Kezia Dugdale deserves everything that’s coming to her and anyone who supports her is in my opinion no better than she is


  41. Sites like Common Space, Common Weal, etc. are fringe elements to the independence movement. The majority of Scots are oblivious of their footprint. To raise their profile, to capture more of the market, they must do something provocative. By openly supporting the leader of the Scottish Labor Party, they have become a fringe element of the Union movement as well. This will increase their market share. It is cynical manipulation designed to play both ends against the middle. It is clear that they are nothing more than ideological purists whose support for independence is conditional.

    The deliberate attack by the leader of the Scottish Labor Party on a voice of the independence movement is designed to discredit independence. It is a device, pure and simple. If you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger. A voice of independence is a homophobe therefore all independence supporters are homophobes. This will be a simple minded message the MSM will deliver on a continuous basis.

    Mr.Campbell had no choice but to contest this libel. Even if he is successful in his suit, the MSM and Unionist trolls will raise it endlessly to discredit everything he says. He is a single individual facing all of the powers of the establishment, defending his right not to be slandered by public officials. Good luck to him. Not that long ago, they would have already transported him half way around the world, to some god forsaken wasteland, to serve out his sentence for challenging authority.

    It is such a childish fantasy that only those of us who are pure of heart should occupy the political arena. No such person exists. I had such thoughts as a child. When I became a man though, I put such innocent nonsense behind me. I do not fight for Utopia. I am fighting for Scotland. When people are standing by you in the trenches, it is counterproductive to stab them in the back.

    • Dugdale’s featured in the Record today, talking lies.
      The Vow was delivered in full, according to her.
      The SNP and the Tories are slashing funding to public services.
      Sturgeon is as bad as May.
      Back Jeremy Corbyn because in 2022 he will deliver social justice for single parents in Scotland who make up 2/3 of the UCS claimants caught in the benefits cap.
      Sturgeon could mitigate Tory (and incidentally Corbyn’s if he had been elected) cuts hidden in the UCS scam.
      Brexit is not mentioned.
      Nothing to do with Kezia.

      In April 2019 Scotland is forecast to lose 82,000 jobs, see its GDP fall by £9 billion, and our essential services collapse because we will no longer be able to recruit nurses, doctors, or even fruit pickers from the EU.
      Surely that must be the Bad SNP’s fault too.

      This woman lives in a fantasy world. Yet Clegg prints this guff as gospel.

      She who is a neo conservative Blairite who backed Smith in the Leadership Election, and who very publicly stated that Labour would be unelectable with Corbyn at the helm..

      She who voted Remain and now is in bed with Ruth Davidson in urging us all to forget that we voted 62% Remain and let England drag us kicking and screaming out of the EU.

      She who urges NS to paper over the WM and Holyrood cracks by taxing Scots workers more than the rest of her Better Together UK, yet when the Council Tax freeze was lifted sees her Labour Councils continue with the freeze, and slash teaching posts in an alliance with the Tories.

      She whose Party (the Blairite version) voted through £32 billion in austerity cuts which has created poverty on a famine scale Up Here.

      She who forgets that her party joined with the Blue Tories, and Jaundiced Tories in filibustering, and voting down over a hundred SNP amendments to the Scotland Act 2016, then has the nerve to declare that the Vow was delivered in full.

      Stu Campbell does exposing Dugdale’s lies and smears much better than I.

      I hope he analyses today’s Daily Record nonsense, and shows it up for the pusillanimous sophistry from the pen of a political illiterate that it is.

      In the same ‘paper, it is reported that Rangers supporters stole from an elderly man collecting for the MacMillan Cancer Charity on their expedition to Sheffield for a ‘friendly’.
      Just up the A1 Celtic supporters are filmed insulting the memory of Lee Rigby.

      Well, James OBFA Kelly, Professor WATP Two Jobs Adam Tomkins, and Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser, political failures all, do you still want to be champions of the knuckle draggers, the bigots, the violent thugs?
      Scottish Unionist, whit ur they like?

      • I think STU should have widened his case to include ” bare faced lying to the Scottish people ” then it would have been an open and shut case , i have yet to witness a more straight faced liar than dugdale , her ” i have listened to – studded etc very carefully statements ” are legend i dont think she can differentiate lies from the truth , and she keeps getting away with it ,truly baffling .

  42. Very well put and how I suspect the majority of us feel. It’s a painful wee episode on the long road to independence but in the long run it’s maybe no bad thing that the 2017 “Daniel Defoes” have been flushed out. The irony is they’ve flushed themselves out. They maybe thought this was their “main chance” to bring down the most popular, most informative blogger in the movement. Their envy made them reckless. Bringing down Wings would be a huge prize for the Union. The yes movement, not the self appointed leftist elites, the actual on the ground activists that Paul mentions, are made of stronger stuff. We know a rat when we smell it,

  43. Sorry, but you’re wrong. The Indy movement was supposed to be different, better than this. If all we’re doing is drawing an extra line on the map and letting the same bigotry and small mindedness in, then you have to ask what the hell is the point of Indy?

    Perhaps it’s time to focus our energies elsewhere, because I don’t think your compromised society is one I want to invest my hopes and energy creating.

    • In an effort to engineer a workers paradise, Mao spent the lives of over fifty millions of his fellow citizens forcing collectivisation on them in the fifties, and tens of millions more in the cultural revolution ten years later. Mao finally concluded it would take another 10,000 years for human beings to evolve beyond the frail and flawed creatures that we are today before his envisioned paradise could be realized. In the land of the three rivers, numerous experiments in achieving a perfectly harmonious society have been tried for more than 4000 years. None have succeeded.

      The Scots are a much younger people reaching back to 1400 years. An irreverent, cantankerous and motely crew who, nonetheless, became a center of western civilization early in our youth. We continue to make important contributions to global society today, despite our obvious flaws and idiosyncrasies. We are not, and never have been angels. If this is a pre-requisite for independence I foresee difficulties.

      The Bruce didn’t seem to think so when he brought about the restoration of the Kingdom in 1314. Judging from your argument, I wonder why he bothered. There may have been more persuasive arguments that swayed him I guess. Imperial English oppression springs to mind.

      Evolving the society you aspire to is much easier to accomplish within a smaller homogenous subset than a larger more disparate group. For one thing, your own voice would have a proportionally greater impact on deliberations. Don’t give up the fight for an enlightened Scotland because we suffer from the same frailties that afflict all human kind. You have a far better chance of realizing your dream in a nation of dreamers. The alternative is to remain a fore head tugging serf of the current ruling class in what is euphemistically known as “the United Kingdom.”

  44. ‘Course humour, crude or otherwise, isn’t the only thing that can cause offense. Personally I get offended at the term ‘food bank’. Mibbie just me, but seeing people go without in a 21st century Western democracy? Well, I find that offensive when we pay our stewards a pretty decent wage to ensure that we all have bread on our tables. The public holding them to account seemingly only occurs at a ballot, no matter how offensive, deeply harmful or catastrophic the cost to the public in the meantime.

    Some may be offended that people who enjoy public office and unfettered access to the media use those advantages to slander, smear, alienate and demonise major demographics of the population or political opponents without fear of redress or repercussion. Pretty much at will too.

    Yet others become mortally offended when politicians and the media use those same advantages to further their agenda du jour by undermining trust in our institutions and services for political gain. That their actions literally have the potential to put people in harms way? Collateral damage, eggs and omellettes etc. Causing offense to people, members of the same population? Not really sure it crosses their horizon.

    Pretty certain that during 2014’s indyref Mr Darling, Mr Cameron and ALL those who worked on the Better Together campaign lost precisely ZERO hours of sleep over their portrayal of Scotland as an independent state and almost half of the electorate. I was certainly offended. Y’know, once horrified, appalled, enraged, saddened and depressed were out of the way.

    Some people get offended when appalling legislation, which puts people under the most awful enforced personal life changing stress or public hardship gets enacted. ATOS, PFI, Austerity cuts, Bedroom Tax, Rape clause, Fracking licensing, Brexit, that kinda thing.

    There is a real enemy of progress and social justice out there. There are plenty of things each part of the YES movement can get offended about, whatever your level of tolerance.

    There is every possibility of a very, very, rare second chance to ensure that the peoples of Scotland get to determine what kind of country they want to live in coming along shortly. Given the few examples above, what would we rather focus on at this period in time?

    Personally, I don’t believe that ‘all of us together’ is a serving suggestion. It’s going to be what is required to change all of the above, put right what we can and limit the damage over what we cannot avert.

    If we lose focus on that. If we break now after all that people have gone through?

    Who are we letting down most?

    • We are letting down ourselves, Sam.
      I’m done with this Campbell/Mundell/ Dugdale red herring.

      Herald Britland is touting the ‘charity’ Teach First’ as the solution to teacher shortages mainly in rural Scotland.

      You may remember Davidson gave Teach First two plugs from the Despatch Box during the last parliamentary term, citing its raging success in England in filling vacancies and improving learning in ‘less well off’ areas, particularly in , well almost exclusively in Inner London.
      Privatisation of Education by the back door.
      Graduates are hired , do two years in a class, being mentored, coached, workshopped, and can tick a box in their CV, before moving on to a career in their chosen degree discipline.
      Teaching on the cheap, which destabilises and undermines the national teacher training programme. It also has a pretty dramatic failure and retention rate.

      It’s as though Brexit is not happening.
      Well it’s the summer (in England that is.)

      Darling, Cameron, Farare, Miliband, Balls, Osborne, Clegg, Alexander, Brown, and the whole grubby band of Better Together Snake Oil Salesmen, The Vow Makers and Breakers, have fecked off, and doing very nicely thank you very much.

      No more naval gazing.

  45. My own reading of recent twitter and numerous media opinion pieces on the spat engineered by a certain Herald employee and contributor, is that various soapbox shit-stirrers, who are in reality Labour party supporting / sympathising soft-yessers (or plants), are doing what they are expected to do by their establishment betters. This is summed up by putting Party solidarity first, career second, self-promotion third and the independence cause very much further down the priority list.

    I read some lengthy articles on-line a couple of years ago about how voting RISE would hold the SNP to account. In reality RISE was there solely to take votes away from the SNP (remember – “don’t give your 2nd pref vote to the SNP, vote RISE”), especially in certain target constituencies which would have allowed Unionist parties to exploit a marginal decline in the SNP vote.

    Having failed with that ruse, they are back to voting Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and attacking the wider Yes movement. Rather than attacking the Unionists from their soapboxes, they attack the SNP and sideline the Greens. Was Yes a mere vehicle for them to achieve their Party and establishment inspired aims and provide the necessary soapboxes? I think we should be told!

    In any case, I am sure that some nice jobs will be had in the GBBC and the Scottish Daily Mail in time when they have destroyed a few platforms that previously used to GAF about promoting independence first.

    I hadn’t read Common Space or Common Weal before this, but did visit once recently to read the original Labour party propaganda piece attacking Stuart Campbell. This has recently been followed up by attacking, of all people, Mhairi Black MP. Never again. Lesson learned. Stuart Campbell may not be the messiah, he may at times be a very naughty boy, but he is for sure a far better researcher, analyst, journalist and political commentator than his detractors.

  46. I’ve just looked at the comments rate on the previous 10 posts on WGD. To bore you, they are 55, 53,68,8,33,49,93,47,37 & 53. Currently comments on this post are 105 (plus this and, no doubt, more to come). Perhaps a bit of reflection on the title of the previous post is called for – “A sense of perspective”. This is all becoming a bit too much like mediaeval divines debating how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. What are we really interested in – Independence or taking offence? Perhaps, just to be offensive, folks – Get a life! Or, better still, maybe get offline and read Richard King’s “On Offence:The Politics of Indignation” (Scribe Publications, 2013).

  47. Normally it is Westminster who dig out The Divide and Rule Tactic and use it against their enemies.

    Oh how they must be laughing that our own Independence movement is inflicting it on itself and filling the ammunition lockers of their fan clubs in the colonialist media.

  48. Agree! Some are playing straight into the Tories hands – their biggest tactic is ‘DIVIDE AND RULE! (re Ireland, Scotland, India etc. etc.) We must all put our ” independence” first, last and centre – because without independence nothing can or will ever change in an entrenched Westminster! After independence, that is the time for any big decisions!! After all without it we won’t have ANY choices at all!!

  49. @macart 8.49am such wise words Sam I agree with every sentiment as I do Paul’s , this distraction and these detractors are doing Scotland and the Scots such a disservice there is no doubt in my tin foil hat that this stushie has been engineered and managed . I am not on twatter or faceplant but if I recd even a small part of the abuse that SC gets day and daily I would be even more abusive .

    Remember there are Scottish citizens out there who are suffering real financial and physical abuse from policies the muddle his party and the lying corrupt red tory liebour party have inflicted on Scotland and the Scots yet commonspace and their ahem scribes want to talk about possible slurs rather than highlight the destruction these bastards are inflicting on everyone

    Sticks and stones etc get on with important independence issues

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  51. As usual Ginger is spot on the money. This is is not a time for squabbling over trivial matters – that can all come later if it must. For now we must all come together and remember that what this movement is about today is freedom for our nation. What we all need to focus on, if we really want to gain Scotland’s freedom, is why there is is still a sizeable proportion of our population who still believe that the so called “Union” with England is worth keeping. It was a sell-out in 1707 and the Scots have been exploited ever since and it seems appropriate to me to in this week’s commemorations of Passchedaele that England’s main use for the Scots has been as cannon fodder. However, there is no point in squabbling amongst ourselves, or preaching to the converted. What we have to do is work hard to convince the doubters that this so-called union with with England is a luxury that we can no longer afford.

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  53. The Action in the Court Case is irrelevant.

    Dugdale will lose because Campbell will prove conclusively that he is not homophobic. Campbell will lose because he cannot show that he has suffered loss.

    It will, however, afford us the wonderful spectacle of Dugdale being interrogated by a professional who will without doubt go sideways from the basic point in question. It sounds like fun.

    As soon as we know which Court will be the stage, I will be beating a path to the public benches.

    • All she actually needs to do is prove that she believed, in good faith, that it was. She doesn’t need to prove it was. Equality Act – perception of recipient allied to ‘any reasonable person would ..’

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  55. Just when you thought it was starting to cool down , Our very own propaganda Machine sticks the boot in once more ,its carefully contrived editing of the ex SNP Mps exoneration of any criminal charges , manipulated in such a way as to give exactly the opposite impression Aye the BBC in Scotland experts at the presentation of the union view .

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  57. Most of this is excellent but it has to be a telling off for everybody or it doesn’t work. So, most of the comments here are from folk who think it’s about Haggerty. I read it about Bell, Ponsonby, Jeggit, Wings himself too.

    It would honestly have been more honest and quicker if most bloggers / tweeters had just said “we need Wings, Dugdale is the enemy, ergo .. I support Wings by which I mean there’s no homophobia (and even if there is, I’m ignoring it) and Women for Indy? LGBT+ folk? Shush with yer ‘identity politics’ nonsense and get behind our vision of Independence First”.

    Sorry no. That’s not for me. I wish the Yes Movement all the very best and I’ll likely vote Yes again but it’s not really something I feel I want to be part of now. I’ve been forced to chose and my LGBT+ status and gender are more important than being pro-Indy.

    However, strategically, I can see that tilting right, abandoning diversity and social justice will appeal to nationalists put off by 2014s more civic nationalist / left wing pitch. That might get Indy over 50%. I think it’s unlikely but good luck, genuinely.

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