Yes media

 by C.C. Hamilton

 

When I got involved in the campaign of Independence in 1986, there was next to no one speaking for us. There were a few artists like Pat Kane who stuck their head above the parapet and a few noisy politicians, Sillars, Salmond Wilson etc and that was about it.Well, those were the ones I knew about. As the SNP grew and got a foothold in Holyrood after Devolution it didn’t change much to be honest. It was still difficult to find a Pro-Indy voice in the media.There was a grudging recognition that there WAS a movement for change out but nothing more than that.

The Referendum changed all that. It is still difficult to find Pro-Indy voices in the mainstream but in the alternative media we have terrific voices like Angela Haggerty, Cat Boyd, Common Space, Bella Caledonia Wee Ginger Dug and yes, even Wings Over Scotland if you disregard his twitter feed. And even in the mainstrean we have the likes of Kevin McKenna writing positively about independence. We have The National and the Sunday Herald. Both broadly positive about Independence. It’s been a struggle but things are a lot better.

The reason I mention this is that it’s been a bruisin few weeks for online Yessers. I chucked Twitter ages ago but I occasionally tip my toe back in and the same couple of dozen folk are still shouting at one another about something somebody said about somebody else.

This week Ross Greer of the Green Party waded in, and I have to say that although I was hugely disappointed in his criticism of The National and it’s readers, in the Sunday Herald I think he was broadly correct in what he said. There is no doubt the Yes Movement is damanged by the intemperate online language used by a couple of dozen broadly well meaning folk. But their language, I believe, is borne out of frustration at the lack of support or protection from those in power on our side of the constitutional debate regarding the incessant attacks by a largely hostile media and the fact that the very worst language used by those noisy dozen or so on the Unionist side of the debate from the likes of Spanner, Stephenson, Smart, Barbour, Deans are largely ignored. My only criticism would be that if you are going to call out this type of behaviour on one side of the dabate then do so for the other side. That would be balanced and fair. It is actually very healthy that we are able to look at our own movement and challenge from within but calling for people to be shut down is not healthy, particularly if you are not able to call for the same standards in your opponents. Isn’t it utterly bizarre that the Brian Spanner account is still largely anonymous when you see the disgusting bile that has come from it? Even more so when Ross gets a pat on the head from Ruth and Murdo (WATP) for his column, when Ross should have been screaming back at them to sort out their own party before they comment because the  bizarre thing is that the actual Conservative Party in Scotland has elected representatives in Scotland under investigation for alleged racist, homophobic and sectarian content and yet we have people on the Yes side calling for Nicola Sturgeon to deal with a man who doesn’t live in Scotland, is not a menber of the SNP, has never voted for the SNP and is actually a LIBDEM voter and not calling for the same standards of Ruth Davidson. Stuart Campbell is no more Nicola Sturgeons problem than he is mine. In fact he is more Willie Rennie and Vince Cables problem. I may not like his twitter feed but it is not for me to shut him down. Block, mute, ignore and move on. By all means challenge intemperate language on our own side but if you do at least have the balls to challenge those on the other side too. It is extraordinary the lack of scrutiny of Kezia and Ruth from alternativeYes media, the National does well and THAT is where frustration is borne. Attacks and challenges to our side would be much more accepted if the same standards were applied to, particularly, the leaders of the Opposition Parties.

 But, and here is the crucial point, I’ll let you into a secret, most of us outside the social media bubble don’t really care. Out on the streets we are getting on with our lives, enjoying the summer, chatting, networking, engaging. Maybe there a few out there who need to spend a wee bit of time away from the keyboards and politics or both. The feeling amongst former no voters that I speak to is one of a wish to be persuaded. Most people WANT an Independent Scotland but they want to be reassured. They want positive leadership. They want to hear people to talk up their country. THAT should be the job of Pro-Indy media. Point out the flaws in our own movement, of course, challenge Scottish Government policy, absolutely. But when Pro-Indy parties are getting things right-lets shout about it. When the Tory Government and Labour Opposition is failing us and they both are, spectacularly at present, get after them. But for God’s sake stop shouting at one another on Twitter, it’s a shit medium for debate. Don’t waste yer energy.

 

Bad Taste Jokes

 

A few years ago I worked for a gay man. We went on to become very good friends. His favourite put down when you did something he didn’t like was “Fuck, I wish your dad was a poof!” Oh how we laughed. Well, we didn’t really, it was a stressful job for him and it was an attempt at a humerous Scottish put down. The inference being, of course,that if my dad had been gay, I’d never have been born and therefore never fucked up whatever he’d asked me to do.  I spent a lot of my teenage years in football dressing rooms and the put downs were brutal. “The best bit o’ you dribbled doon yer maws leg!” “If only yer maw had swallowed” You know them all, I am sure and plenty more “Yer Maw!” jokes besides, well you will if you are male and working class for sure.

 I hated all those jokes at the time and still do. But Working Class Scottish “humour” and put downs are brutal. Think of Billy Connolly down the years, Frankie Boyle, Still Game. Go into any place of work dominated by Scottish males and you will hear these and much worse. Should it be called out? Probably. It would be great if we were all just a bit nicer to one another. Should the FM have to answer for everyone who uses intemperate language if they are Pro-Yes? Absolutely Not. Just thought it was worth a mention.

 

Michelle Thomson

 

So as suspected, there was no case to answer. Never arrested, never questioned about herself,only about a former collegue. Treated poorly by the Media and the SNP. Ms Thompson deserves a sit down with the FM and the chance to rebuild her career. She was a huge asset to the Yes campaign and will be again. The vast majority of yessers I am sure wish her well and look forward to her continued involvement in the Yes Movement now she can  really let fly!

Continue Reading

New Thoughts

by C.C.Hamilton

A country divided

 

The really good thing about travelling around the Shires of England is getting a feel for the people and leaving the “Scotland is shit” media behind. I love England, it’s people, it’s scenery and it’s rich history. I love how, for the most part,they have this great belief in the country’s ability to overcome any odds. There is no way, for example, if England had entered a Union with France 300 years and had the parliament moved to Paris, they would, 300 years later be still agonising over whether they were good enough to be independent. Long before now the English people would have TAKEN their country back. I like that. This last wee while is different though.I sensed division this time, division I had never really sensed before. And 3 way  too. There are those who want a really hard BREXIT,who seem to dispise the EU, those desperate to stay in the EU and those, like most Scots, I suppose, just shrugging their shoulders and burying their heads, dismayed by politics in general. We all hear about Scotland being divided, my goodness, Kezia is never done goingon about it. But lets be clear, there are divisions in all countries between left and right, religion, yes and no….. But we manage these divisions and particularly in Scotland we are managing these divisions better than ever I think. We mustn’t take our eye off the ball of course.

Speaking to people down South I’ve never heard such polar views. Some had a real deep distaste for the EU, usually around the issue of Immigration and others just felt helpless. Some of those I spoke to, voted for Jeremy Corbyn on the basis that he “was different” but already had become dismayed by the fact that 1. he lost and they got a Tory Government anyway (we know the feeling!) and 2. were now of the opinion that Corbyn’s Labour party are after much the same “hard” Brexit that the Tories are.  What was also startling was the positive attitude to some of our Politicians, Nicola Sturgeon, Mhairi Black and Angus Robertson being particularly highly regarded. Funnily enough, friends in England seem to have seen through Ruth Davidson much quicker than us Scots, one guy referred to her as a “Posh Ned!” which I thought was funny. Too much Still Game for him I think! What I think has become clear is that people in England are much more aware of the other countries in the UK (possibly brought in to focus by the Tory-DUP deal) and are paying more attention to our politics.  Becoming frustrated by the performance of their NHS for example compared to Scotland.  Anyway that’s just a snapshot of recent travels in England.  I don’t know where Brexit will take the UK, it’s a mess and I think we all know it. Can we make the best of it? I am not sure but many people around these islands feel exactly the same.

 

The problem with Labour

 

It’s been interesting over the last few weeks to read two of my favourite Pro-Indy writers Cat Boyd and Alan Bissitt wrestle with voting Labour in the recent General Election. As I have said here before, I don’t really care how anyone else votes, indeed it’s none of my business but you have to own that vote. Be aware of what you are voting for, who you are voting for and if elected what you will get from your candidate and if the party forms the Government what you will get from them. For me in the General Election the choice was easy. My SNP MP has been superb for our area. Worked harder than his predessor and deserved, in my view, to remain in place and he did albeit with a reduced majority.  Our Labour candidate was a mess and despite my being encouraged by the prospect of Jeremy as PM, it was just as important to me that the person representing us at Westminster was competent.  The Labour candidate certainly was not that. The Lib Dem was the previous MP and was largely anonymous and the Tory was, well a Tory!

My problems with Labour as a leftie remain.  It is the insulting way they dismissed the YES campaign and continue to dismiss and denigrate those who favour self determintion.  I like Jeremy Corbyn and think he is a decent man, but the party he leads would still keep nuclear weapons on the Clyde.  The Labour mayor of London made bizarre claims about theYES movement being racist. They seem to favour a hard brexit, albeit committed to more concilliatory talks with the EU, and interestingly several of their pledges made during the campaign seem to melt away the closer they get to Government.  Indeed we hear senior members of the Party suggesting that the “radical” manifesto they proposed was based on the fact that they didn’t think they would be elected and admitting that it couldn’t have been implemented.  We also have Jeremy sacking ministers for rebelling, when he himself has been a serial rebel in the party for years. Very much do as I say not as I do.  It’s all so disappointing.  My issue, with the party, here in Scotland is also that the level of candidate just isn’t very good and when I listen to people like Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar and James Kelly I don’t hear people who represent what the Labour Party was to me in my younger years or my parents generation or indeed the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn. For me Alan Bisset hit the nail on the head, recently, when he said he thought about it, voting for a Labour party with a socialist agenda again, but just couldn’t.  Too much damage has been done. I can’t vote for a party that includes those who openly dispise and denigrate the peaceful democratic YES movement it is such a joy to be a part of. I hope to be able to vote Labour in an Independent Scotland until then it’s SNP/Green/SSP for me.  I want a radical,socialist Scotland. And while we are in the UK I want a radical, socialist UK. Sorry Cat, but even under Jeremy Corbyn Labour is not even close to that.  I am not saying the SNP are radical either by the way, but in the UK we need MP’s whose first and only concern is Scotland and are not lobby fodder for Labour or the Tories.  I can’t forget my own family’s  80’s experience of  local industry being wrecked by the Tories while the Labour MP’s and Labour councils stood idly by and did nothing for the people they represented.

 

Calling Agent  Gilruth

 

I never think the personal lives of Politicians is anyones business and I certainly don’t think it constitutes news but I had a giggle this week when I read about the relationship between SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Both are very capable Politicians and strong characters so I can imagine the discussions over dinner some nights!  Of course, we all know Kezia would love to come over from the “dark side” and back independence for her country and I am sure through time Jenny will be able to persuade her of the merits of that. Kezia Dugdale as the Labour FM in a Independent Scotland? I would take that. On a more serious note, good luck to them both.

 

Space Cringe

 

Not content with saying the Scotland is currently shit, I see our pals in the Unionist media and Tory Party were back to telling us what we couldn’t do as a future Independent country at the weekend.  The National ran a front page at the weekend on the ambitious idea floated by Common Weal that an Independent Scotland could have a thriving space programme.  Despite the fact it was another of those cartoony front pages from the National that I hate.  It was an enjoyable piece, ideal for lighter weekend reading and was indicitive of what the Pro-Indy movement is all about: dreaming big, thinking out of the box, being creative, doing thing differently and trusting ourselves to make those aspirations a reality.  Of course all the big guns piled on, Deerin, Tomkins (yes he of the WATP, Queens 11 tweets), Murial Gray. Most of the Cringers in one place.  How dare Scotland think big?  How dare Scotland think forward?  Quite mad for Scotland to even contemplate such an idea. Of course, many thousands in Scotland are already employed in the space industry and efforts are afoot to bring the UK spaceport to either Prestwick or Campbeltown. We build more satellites in Glasgow than any other European City.  None of that suits the “Scotland is Shit” brigade who currently populate our media and political spaces. It’s a shame really because wee countries with big ideas and big dreams seem to do OK. Never mind.  While they moan from the sidelines we will continue to dream big, reach out and drive forward because that’s what proper country’s do.

Continue Reading

Abuse

Last week I was curious about the abuse that yes campaigner / pro-indy people received in our free and democratic country.  So I asked the Twitterworld to DM me or @ me their stories so that we could openly look at it head on.

Nothing could prepare me for the volume (50+ stories within a few hours) or the nature of some of the stories ranging from vehicle damage to physical assaults.

MSM media never covers these stories because they disrupt the narrative of evil cybernats. But these stories are not from the internet – they are from the real world.

Whilst attending a Gaelic band gig in the Highlands, a gentleman suffering from spondylitis was wearing a Yes T-shirt. He was lured into a situation by younger men claiming to all be Yes supporters. Once they had him they assaulted him by punching him from behind.

 “I wore my Yes t-shirt and was enjoying myself in the crowd when two lads tapped on my shoulder. They said “hey are you yes?” to which I replied that I was. They replied “Good, we are too”.  I shook their hands and we had a smile between us all. They had had a few drinks and were much younger than me so I was chuffed they reached out. I turned around and less than 30 seconds later I felt a punch in the middle of my back. A third guy was standing there with his girlfriend and he shouted at me aggressively “I’m voting NO”. I just replied “Good for you in a dismissive tone but waited the rest of the evening for the rest of the attack. It never materialised but my wife was very upset as I have ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis in my spine)”

This was not the only physical assault merely an example of ten I received within hours of making the request.

“I took a punch from 2 unionist thugs” – became common in my DM box. Independence Supporter being physically assaulted outside and, in one case, at someone’s own house.

In another story “A son & a friend were told to leave Edinburgh Castle esplanade for having a Yes Saltire as it was “political”

Even in public locations a Saltire was viewed as being inappropriate…in Scotland, it’s point of origin.

A lot of the stories involved serious damage to vehicles from slashed tyres to really grim (downright disgusting)-

“My car was smeared with dog s**te”

However some car incidents were far more sinister and potentially dangerous to life.

“I had a couple of yobs draw up beside my car at lights and slam their driver’s side door into my passenger door a couple of times shouting ‘Nazi’s’ before they drove off. Quite scary at the time”

And what’s worse most of the stories were not from the past. Most were from more recent events for people supporting independence parties;

“wife’s motor was scratched outside the SNP hub in Bathgate”

“wiper and wing mirror smashed and sides and bonnet keyed”

People’s houses also had bricks and rocks thrown at their homes.

“Was in the sitting room and the next thing a big thud. A stone cracked the window”

Although cars were the heaviest causalities – slashed tyres, dented bonnets, ripped off number plates, smashed windows, broken window screen wipers and key slashes – they are swiftly followed by physical assaults and vandalism to properties.

The victims of these crimes responded to different degrees. Some responded by removing their pro-indy materials or party stickers to save themselves from future abuse . Other people decided to put even more stickers or posters up and became even more resolute in their opinions.

I was the former.  In my street my bin was set on fire and pushed over my front door so I took everything down to avoid more abuse however it did solidify my vote which would be forever pro-indy.

People have seen their banners and placards go missing and some people have suffered abuse and damage to properties over long periods of times (particular with vehicle sabotage) running into months.

I asked a few people; If you had known what would happen – would you do it again? And most of them said something akin to “Hell Yeah!” which was good to hear but it should not be like this – people having to risk their wellbeing.

Another consistency was that the Police did not seem to do much about it (I asked people who had been the victims of the most serious crimes). Few people reported the abuse as crimes, but the ones that did felt that nothing was really done.

People should be able to express their views in a democratic country without fear from or actual physical assault and damage to properties. It is one thing to have abuse over Twitter, a completely different story to have it at your front door.

Continue Reading

Artworks 2016

Couple for Independence (cartoon version) drawing on Corel Draw
Couple for Independence (cartoon version) drawing on Corel Draw
Young Woman for Independence (cartoon version) drawing on Corel Draw
Young Woman for Independence (cartoon version) drawing on Corel Draw

forindy_glasgow

forindy_ver2

Cartoon Girl (chibi) for  Independence drawing created on Corel Draw
Cartoon Girl (chibi) for Independence drawing created on Corel Draw
Cartoon Pink Girl with Cats (chibi) for  Independence drawing created on Corel Draw
Cartoon Pink Girl with Cats (chibi) for Independence drawing created on Corel Draw
Red Girl with tartan and Nessie (chibi) for  Independence drawing created on Corel Draw
Red Girl with tartan and Nessie (chibi) for Independence drawing created on Corel Draw
StillYes Robot. Drawn by @ARTofPatt and coloured by @defiaye
StillYes Robot. Drawn by @ARTofPatt and coloured by @defiaye
Continue Reading