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!

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“I see you’ve got a Yes sticker on your car”

car_2

by R Ritchie

“I see you’ve got a Yes sticker on your car” came the slightly accusatory comment from a casual acquaintance I bumped into on a recent trip to the supermarket. 

“Yes I have”, I replied.

“You know you’ll lose your free prescriptions if Scotland goes independent?” was the next comment. Oh here we go, I thought to myself, but I gently asked instead,

“And where did the free prescriptions come from in the first place?”

My acquaintance, a gentleman of very mature years, went slightly flushed, ignored my question and replied in a louder voice,

“Scotland’s fourteen billion pounds in debt!”

“I don’t think that’s entirely true; it depends on-” I started but was interrupted.

 “Dae you no watch the bloody news wummin?”, his voice now notably raised, as no doubt his blood pressure was too, “We cannae survive!” He seemed to suddenly check himself to the milder person I’m used to passing pleasantries with, continuing in a more conciliatory tone, “but you’re entitled to your own opinion.”

“Yes indeed”, I agreed, “and we’ll see what happens in the future”. Then with a farewell wave of mixed concern and disbelief, and some unintelligible muttering, he was off.

Why do I recount this brief and dull moment of ordinary life? Several reasons, all of which I believe independence supporters must understand and find ways to tackle.

Firstly, he was undoubtedly one of those who voted No, genuinely fearing loss of his pension. Knowing him during his former employment, I’d suggest he wasn’t a social band A or B, and I know I’m guilty of making sweeping generalisations, but he probably didn’t read as widely into the case for independence as others. He’s also showing the signs of being a devout and unquestioning follower of the Hallowed BBC and printed press. I’d be pretty sure that the internet and social media are something he considers unnecessary and dangerous. 

He’s a pleasant, kind man who has clearly worked hard all his life and just wants a secure and peaceful retirement, so of course he fears the horror of a future which the main stream media portray would exist in independent Scotland. 

This brief conversation in a supermarket car park, gave me a renewed glimpse through the eyes of people who haven’t had access to the extensive information we have online. I think we sometimes forget how scary the thought of independence can be, to those who know only what the MSM tells them. I hope that the fact he brought up the topic of my Yes sticker, and the realisation I still pursue independence, will maybe lay an ember of doubt within him.

Meanwhile, we can post pro independence material online and feel we’re doing something positive, but until we reach the people who aren’t accessing the alternative information, they will remain unionist by default. Brief conversations in the car parks of life, may be a place to start. Five million copies of an updated Wee Blue Book would be helpful too! 

More than anything, this conversation made me realise that it is up to us, every one of us, to make the case in real life, to real people, every chance we can. Of course some won’t listen, but there are plenty of people who still don’t know anything other than what they are fed by the mass media. They need us to talk to them, to open their horizons, to share other points of view and sources of information. 

Persuading the public to choose a better future for our country isn’t someone else’s job, it’s mine and yours, and it’s time we got started again.

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Bubbles And Echo Chambers

ECHO

by Wee Coonty Radical

As with most things it’s the getting started that is the hardest step and once taken the rest falls into place or so we tend to believe. There are always a few people who caution against over optimism, people who look at an issue such as independence and ask why those opposed to it do so and how do those that support independence convince our fellow Scots that independence is not only desirable but essential if as we like to think we live in a society that is progressive and democratic enough to allow for any political ideology wherever it is on the political spectrum to have its place within the wider Yes movement.

 
I believe during the independence referendum this was achieved but since there has been an entrenchment of opinions and if not a reluctance to listen to other viewpoints then to only listen to those that closely resemble our own, be that left, centre or right.  Personally I know I have been complicit in this as after the 2014 referendum result I was, shocked and angry at the result. Along with many others I had attended rallies, canvassed and travelled over the central belt of Scotland to get material for my local Yes hub.

The people I canvassed alongside did so because they believed we could have a real impact on how this nation would be run. We would have an input and a real say in a way that many of us felt we had never had. So we went to peoples doors, gave them leaflets and information from the many groups that participated in the referendum campaign and we talked to people who had different points of view and we learned to refine our arguments and tailor them to the areas we were in but wherever that was we ensured that we made sure it was an inclusive, socially just and positive message.  Given the negativity of the better together campaign, you’d think voters would opt for the more positive choice, but as we found out fear won out over hope.

Since the referendum some of us have rather impressive built bubbles and echo chambers. We decided that those who did not share our vision, our way whatever that may be to achieve independence were somehow holding the independence movement back. Any questioning of the timing of another indy ref was considered to be tantamount to being against it, this seems to have intensified since the 2016 Brexit vote and the General Election of 2017.   

From a personal point of view memes with Eat, Sleep, SNP , Repeat began bothering me. The meme seemed to imply carry out these actions but don’t critically assess why you would do it.  Mentioning this on Facebook was interesting. I was informed only the SNP would bring about independence (as the largest party committed to it and being in government so I was told on a few occasions, ONLY they could deliver it) I argued that we get independence only through engagement with the wider grassroots movement as only by recapturing the diversity that existed then could we hope to win any future referendum.  Nonsense I was told, what other party will bring it about? Will a bunch of lefty columnists achieve it? A few days later Nichola Sturgeon announced that the SNP need to engage with the wider YES movement.  I would have claimed bragging rights but here’s the thing, it doesn’t really matter as I agree the SNP is the most effective vehicle at present but to succeed listening to other points of view , more so the opposite and debating points, yes even those of people who voted Labour in the last GE, is the only way we are going to win.

 Recently I have heard that the success of Jeremy Corbyn in England is due to his adoption of SNP polices. I can’t agree with this reasoning. The policies Corbyn has promoted are social democratic\ socialist. They are not Corbyn’s Labour or the SNPs solely , they are an attempt at social inclusion and the fairer society we aimed for in 2014.  When will we get the opportunity to advocate those values, a part from in our everyday lives and the interactions we have with our friends ,family , colleagues , though going on about politics all the time does tend to become wearing to those who are not motivated by it, 2019 seems likely.

I hope I have learned to become more tolerant of opposing views and know for certain that to win another independence vote deflating the bubbles and deconstructing those impressive echo chambers is vital.

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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.

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The news where you are

by C.C.Hamilton

 

I think the last couple of days have seen most of the Scottish media losing whatever credibility it had left. This, is of course, a good thing and is to be welcomed. The whole of Scotland now sees that much of our “mainstream” media is just shit.

 

Yesterday we were subjected to wild howling headlines about the state of the NHS in Scotland.  The headlines and stories came from a report by Nuffield Trust, which was actually really POSITIVE about our NHS.  In it they spoke in glowing terms about the apporoach to care and even suggested that other health bodies in the UK should look to the Scottish model for guidence. Now, of course, the report said there are many challenges to be faced in Scotland. Like the rest of the UK, there will always be challenges in health, but here was a positive report commending the work being done in our health servicew and out written press chose to trash it. Shame.

 

The last couple of days has seen us being warned by politicians, media outlets and experts that we are all doomed, we are heading for a recession and it was ALL the SNP’s fault.  Turns out they were all WRONG.  Our economy recovered a bit in the first quarter of this year, the picture looks a bit heathier and actually we performed better than the rest of the UK in this quarter. Now, again, the country faces challenges, not least as the full impact of BREXIT is yet to be felt,but I think, the numbers yesterday confirmed what most of us “real” people think, that actually, our wee country is in reasonable trim.  Do I think we could do better?  Of course, would I like to see more bold policies from the Scottish Government? Yes. But, out in the real world I feel a sense of confidence returning, a wee bit of swagger and gallusness coming back.

What the press has done over the last couple of days has shown them to be sneering one trick ponies,who are only interested in talking the country down as it suits the Unionist agenda of the owners of those papers.  The last couple of days confirmed it.  Hell mend them.  Only the I paper (and the National) were grown up enough to put a good news story about Scotland on their front page.

 

As for the Scottish Tories sadly packing away their recession celebration decorations? What.A.Joke of a political party. An embarrassment to Scotland.

 

I am heading off for a break for a couple of weeks. But I have one simple message this Summer, get out and enjoy Scotland.  We live in an incredible country.  Visit a castle, walk some hills, Pop in to one of our brilliant museums, visit our outstanding cities, hunt for Nessie, jump on a ferry and visit an island, have a dram or a craft beer or a Scottish gin, eat fish n chips n ice cream n Irn Bru.Turn off your phone, jump in the car, bus or train and lose yourself in this place we call home.

 

 

So I have gathered unto myself

All the loose ends of Scotland,

And by naming them and accepting them,

Loving them and identifying myself with them,

Attempt to express the whole. (McDiarmid)

 

 

 

 

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Your Political Silence Is Consent

by Howling Mad Maverick

Before you start reading I’ll let you know now that I am not a ‘name brand’ academic or anything like that. I’m just a person who lives here and who is sick to the point of insanity at how things are.

 

A lot of people out there now know the facts, I’d even dare say that most people out there know the essentials.

 

Workers are being broken, disabled people are being culled, and the Etonions are swilling even more luxuries from their troughs, while the best people out there starve away to nothing.

 

But complaining changes nothing.

“Boo Tories! Boo DUP! Boo RFC!” shows your opinion in the same way that livestock crying “Baa! Moo! Cluck!” before going on the chopping board shows their opinion.

 

What we, the people, need is a movement again.

The Yes campaign was a monumental revival of humanity in our home, people came together peacefully, sharing their hopes and dreams for the benefit for all, and for the first time in my life I was able to smile at a stranger.

Now many Yes organisations have become the political groups from the film Life of Brian “Let’s have a meeting! (and talk to no one outside our group)”, which leaves us with only the SNP and Scottish Green Party in the ‘limelight’.

We can’t expect any political party at Westminster to continue the fight for our dreams on our behalf (just look at the party Keir Hardie founded).

We need to take to the streets again (and let me be crystal-sparkling clear, I am not inciting riots. What makes our movement so special is that we are so peaceful, no Brit can ever say the same).

We need to be seen, not just at one of demonstration that has been planned and paid for months in advanced (and boycotted or distorted by the British media). We need to show the British that we have a presence that reaches further and stronger than their propaganda. We have the advantage because we actually live here.

Be like the Icelandic women on October 24th 1975. They went on strike for a day, JUST ONE DAY!, to demand equality, and they got it.

Workers unite! And remember “if you tolerate this then your children will be next”.

That’s enough of my rant. I have been writing a wee story that will most likely never be finished, but with the revival of drugs in the community (especially amongst young people), and with the POVERTY-SUPER-MAX that we ARE in for thanks to the political climate, I figured I might as well share a wee bit of it here:

 

What’s The Point?

(A snippet of what life was like in 2004 for me)

 

“Wee-man!”

 

Everything was grey, the pavement, the buildings, the sky.

It was raining.

Dave was rushing down the street, he didn’t run, but he did move as fast as he could while maintaining his calmest facade. The streets were not safe, at least not to Dave.

The fact that Dave had lived here his entire life meant nothing, you’re either one of them or you’re not, and without knowing it, Dave had chosen a different path to the rest of them a long time ago.

Dave believed this was due to his way of thinking, ‘was it a magic gift?’, he could never understand why people were addicted to tv and alcohol when so much more is possible in this life.

They would rant and rave about how bad corruption had gotten, how dangerous times had become, but they stood ready to attack the person who stood up for them, against the things they lived to complain about.

Dave never understood double-speak, why would anyone focus on what they hated, then defend what they hated the minute someone came along to make things better?

 

“Here wee-man! Mate!!!” a junky called over to Dave from across the street.

Dave never gave anything away, he never showed any emotion, especially when he was outside.

Dave kept on walking, not looking at the junky, but not looking away either, like a government agent avoiding questions from reporters, in a Hollywood film.

All the same Dave kept his head down. He always kept his head down. Dave felt claustrophobic from the CCTV that spread through his home town like a virus, and looking down from the cameras made him feel a bit safer. Keeping his head down also limited the chance of a probable “Whit you looking at!” from a passer-by, and it came in handy to avoid stepping on whatever lay on the ground.

“MATE! ! !” the junky shrieked at the top of his voice, making Dave look over.

Once he had Dave’s attention, the junky shouted “Tell yer maw she was good stuff last night!” making an offensive gesture toward Dave.

The junky proceeded to puff out his chest and spread his arms, inviting Dave to a fight.

A full grown adult on drugs, in a place where people know him, against a school aged boy out on his own…As if’

Dave walked on, still showing no emotion. To show emotion, any emotion, was a sign of weakness in these streets.

Dave hated the world he lived in, everyone was addicted to needless drama. They would even purposely create problems if there was no drama to keep them amused.

And ‘God forbid’ you showed any kindness. If you showed any sign of compassion, you had truly declared ‘open season’ on yourself to all of them.

Things were bad for Dave because he didn’t fight these pointless fights that the drug addicts often challenged him to, but at least they had one slight hint of fear of him, which was not being able to tell what Dave was thinking, courtesy of the “mask” that he wore.

 

Dave could see the newly built flats as he reached a further part of the street.

A forest used to be where the flats where situated. It was the last forest Dave had ever seen.

People had overpaid stupid amounts of money, to some ‘fat-cat’, so that they could live in a house that was essentially made out of papier-mâché, in a horrible area. Was it worth the loss of the last green area that Dave had ever known?

What’s the point?’ Dave lamented.               

Dave’s world was covered in cement, to him the Earth was a large sphere of concrete. It was full of rules that only applied when preventing good people from making a stand.

Snitches get stitches!” the so called “hard men” would chant, but they were always the first ones to run and “snitch” whenever things didn’t go their way.

Dave considered how he would not be living in terror, if the worst people were not encouraged and protected by the establishment.

Head’s they win, tail’s you lose… there’s no survival of the fittest anymore’ Dave thought to himself.

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Stuff to be getting on with.

lighthouse in red

by C.C.Hamilton

 

It has been hilarious the last 24 hours watching opposition politicians and media types tie themselves in knots after the First Ministers announcement yesterday. It was, essentially, a non-story but they got they ended up frothing wildly again anyway. Brillaint entertainment for those of us quite relaxed about the Country’s ability to govern itself and indeed it’s ability to go and put a cross in a box sometime in the future without the country descending into anarchy because of it. Indeed, you only have to look at themother of all parliaments in Westminster to see what political chaos looks like.

 

So for those of us who are quietly going about our daily business there are a few easy things we can do in the YES movement to keep the momentum going through the summer.

 

  • Buy The National and the Sunday Herald. I know people have issues with the content, but they are all we have and both are a decent read. If you can afford them, please buy them. When you are finished why not pass it on to a neighbour, friend or leave in a cafe/waiting room/train. Might help to drive sales.
  • Subscribe to iScot magazine if you can, it’s a terrific read and valuable to our movement.

 

  • Try to stop arguing with people on social media who clearly cannot be convinced. Block or mute, we don’t have time to waste for that, life is too short. I know some people are by nature arguementative and that is healthy but let’s pick our battles better. About 30% of Scotland will never be convinced so leave them to it. Their position is no less valid than ours.

 

  • Block or mute the worst of the right wing media on social media. Ignore peole like Daisley, Torrance etc. Let them talk and bitch amongst themselves. Retweeting and arguing with them gives them oxygen fuels headlines, becuase inevitably someone will say something stupid in anger.

 

  • Try to stop arguing with ourselves on social media. Try to be nicer. We are going to disagree on loads of things,but sometimes we are going round and round in circles for days and getting nowhere. There is a real danger we are just talking to one another in a wee 140. character bubble.

 

  • Take a break from politics on social media altogether if you can. The weather is nice. Scotland is in fine trim. Enjoy it. Take a breather. Recharge.

 

  • Engage with the mobilise.scot site. Spew out your ideas to them. Let’s see what they come up with.

 

  • Get active locally with Yes Groups, face to face is much better than behind a keyboard especially when the weather is nice. If you dont have one, start one. Put up a poster, have people over for coffee. Keep it light, fun. This doesn’t need to be hard. It’s actually an easy sell.We are saying to people “Yes You Can.” We are reinforcing their own beliefs that the people of Scotland are energetic, fun, vibrant and capable. Try to get out of halls and meeting rooms though and into public spaces. Especially in the Summer. We need to open this thing out.

 

  • Let Westminster eat itself. Dont browbeat people, stop shouting, stop being angry (at least in public.) Let the Unionist press and commentators be angry and shouty and crazy. Patiently point out the many flaws as they come through and listen to people then move on. Most of Scotland knows Westminster is fucked but they are scared that our system is no better. It is. We know that and after independence we will own that. Have a laugh with people, lighten the mood. Grab the moral high ground if we can.

 

  • If you can contribute financially to projects then do so, but our best resource is our people. Only by engaging people will we win. Online is important but face to face and through creating something interesting for people to come and see is vital too. People are, by nature, curious, if we are different and welcoming then people will have a look. Scotland wants to be inspired, our people want to see light. The UK is a dark place for a lot of people just now. Our wee movement can be a beacon of light. Let’s try to be that light.

 

  • If you are good with words write a wee letter to a newspaper, inviting people to have a fresh look at independence. Be concilliatory, no finger pointing, just generally talk things up.

 

You guys will have better ideas than me that suit your livestyle, work committments and local area. What I think we all agree is that Independence is about more than BREXIT, it’s about more than Political Parties and we either pick up the ball in run wih it or we wait for someone else to do it,but when we are this close, and we are closer than we have ever been. It would be daft to back away now.

 

 

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Reset

FLAG_LITTLE

by C.C Hamilton

I liked the tone of the speech from the First Minister today. I agreed with much of what she said. Indeed, as someone committed to the idea of Independence even I am exhausted, not so much by the campaigning but more by the grinding down of the movement by the media. I also can’t really afford it the now. It feels like everwhere I turn another pro indy blogger/project is looking for money. All great projects by the way but exhausting all the same. I have long since felt that it is time for the SNP to step back and let the movement grow organically, in much the same way it did in 2014. I would like to see a figurehead emerge for the movement and some resources from the party to pay a couple of media savvy salaries and a premises for a couple of years but only to sit on top of it and to help it NOT own it. The Independence movement has to belong to the people. These guys and girls though, should be energetic, patient and committed. This should be a Labour of Love, there should be no huge expense accounts or anything like that and it should all be totally transparent. It will be attacked. It needs to be squeaky clean and value for money. And it needs to work with the existing registry’s/groups already out there. Bringing everything together but not taking over. If anything today the FM gave us the chance to draw breath and reset the Yes Movement.

I am delighted to read that the Scottish Government will outline a bold, radical agenda in the new Parliamentary term. Sure battle on with Brexit thing but try to do things differently in Scotland. Leave Westminster to its backward looking, insular approach. Lets see the SNP and the Greens work together to really make Holyrood bold, outward looking and a Parliament fit for purpose.

In the meantime there are a few things we could do to reset the movement…

Big voices

I would like to see someone brave enough to bring together our prominent pro indy voices to discuss a joined up media approach. Leave the ego’s at the door and get the likes of Paul Kavanagh, James Kelly, Stuart Campbell, Mike Small together with the likes of Derek Bateman, Neil MacKay, Tom Morton and throw ideas around. We have to form a concilliatory, grown up plan going forward. Throwing shit around on Social media just isn’t going to cut it. We are not going to agree on everything but we can surely agree to disagree in an adult manner and be less grumpy! We are trying to engage people but there is a huge danger we are just arguing amongst ourselves. I include myself in that. I write this wee blog and in the grand scheme of things it matters not a lot but I could do better to understand other points of view in the movement and outside of it.

Get creative

Is there theopportunity to bring our creatives together? There is such a huge range of artists receptive to the idea of independence. Can we look again at the National Collective idea? Such potential in an ideas based environment for what we want an Independent Scotland should look like. I remember away back we had a group called Artists for an Independent Scotland but it didnt really go anywhere. While we are resetting the movement let’s look at that. Can we put together gigs, shows, artwork to encourage poeple to have a fresh look at independence but in a less strained, more comfortable environment. Not forced on from above but affordable or free events where all of Scotland is encouraged to come along and see where we want to go.

Sort out the dull stuff

I am really looking forward to reading further work from Common Weal and the Independence Convention which I think is due later in the year. We should all get behind that if we can. These think tanks should produce the economic arguements for an Independent Scotland (the boring stuff!) but we should get involved and have our say on currency, taxation etc. We know next time around where the attacks will be focused. These guys can give our movement the tools to answer clearly and with confidence. We know we have the people and the resources to be a successful independent nation. But the attacks will be relentless. We need to be ready and these guys are vital.

Fresh faces

We need a few fresh faces at the front of the movement. Could that be Mhairi Black along with someone like Angela Haggerty? Or some of the Journey to Yes folks that PhantomPower has uncovered in the last few months. I’m just throwing names about but we need a freshness.

Smile

And we need to lighten up. The last year has felt like a war of attritian and it has had to be but people also want to have fun and enjoy themselves. Let them. My God,  Life can be shit sometimes but our movement is such a positive thing. Celebrate it. Have fun. Leave Westminster to their shambles. Let’s party…albeit on the edge of a fucking volcano but if we are going to hit the reset button lets go the whole hog. Lets laugh at ourselves and be different. Westminster is boring, Tories are boring. Let’s at least be interesting. Make people want to come over and see what all the fuss is about.

Fly yer flag if you want

And do you know what, lets get the fucking Saltires out if we want. Lets be proud of our achievements as a country in the past, be proud on the inclusiveness of our movement and come together whenever we can to have fun, trade ideas and work towards a brighter future for everyone. To borrow from Hawaiian culture “Ohana” the Yes movement is a family. Let’s reach out to everyone. Lets build a Scotland where no one gets left behind or forgotten. If we do this now and build belief in the country we will win the Referendum whenever it is.

 

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