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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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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