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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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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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
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