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.
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!