The following was originally written as a comment on an article at Wings Over Scotland (The distant choir) in which this site was mistakenly identified as one of the sadly many which have perished during what may come to be regarded as the ‘desert years’ of Scotland’s cause. It has been lightly edited for the purpose of clarity.
While obviously not enjoying anything like the traffic for Wings Over Scotland I’d like Stu Campbell and his readers at Wings Over Scotland to know that my blog at http://www.peterabell.scot is still going. Apart from a break of a few weeks at the beginning of last year it has been going pretty much constantly since 2011 with at least three new articles every week – which I consider the minimum requirement for an active site.
Other than the premature obituary I found Stu’s article both fascinating and cause for even more disappointment. As if we haven’t had enough of that lately from our friends in a certain political party. My only criticism – and I offer it in a spirit of comradeship – would the air of competitiveness that surfaces on occasion. I know it’s difficult to deal with such comparisons without it coming across as a contest. I know too that some people have a competitive spirit that is too strong to be totally suppressed or concealed. I sense Stu may be one such person. Although I must add that I may be particularly inclined to notice that competitive spirit in others as I myself have as close to none as makes no effective difference. That’s why I’ve never been good at, or very interested in, team sports.
Having offered this small criticism it would be unfair not to acknowledge that, as he demonstrates in his rather poignant description of the way it used to be with the Yes movement, Stu is perfectly well aware that it is not a competition. Or it shouldn’t be. To whatever extent it has become one this is to be deplored and regretted. We really ought to be making more effort to recapture some of the spirit which infused the Yes movement in those early days. Obviously, we can’t turn back the tide of time. Things are different now. (Which may win the prize for understatement of the year but, of course, I don’t care because I have no competitive spirit.)
The expression “we live in a different world” has rarely been so absolutely apt. It may be stating the obvious to say that the Yes movement has not adapted well to this new environment. The decline of our online presence is but one aspect of this failure. Stu has dealt with some of the explanations in his article. But I would add that perhaps we haven’t been supportive enough. The spirit of mutuality has been, if not entirely lost, then diminished severely.
The Yes movement needs to be more supportive of its online journalists. Self-evidently, I have to declare an interest here. And I don’t mean to be ungracious towards the people who have given me support and encouragement (and money) over what must be nearly a decade. But the Yes movement as a whole could probably show more appreciation to those of us who strive to contribute to Scotland’s cause with our words.
Speaking for myself, I do not aspire to the success of Wings Over Scotland. Such success, as I’m sure Stu will agree, comes at a cost. As well as the rewards there is the responsibility. The kudos has to be earned. It is earned by maintaining high standards in all areas – but particularly in the content. That is the key to the success of Wings Over Scotland. With a modesty that I’m pretty certain must be feigned, Stu fails to recognise that the success of Wings Over Scotland is mainly down to the fact that he is doing excellent work. It is not idle flattery to say that vanishingly few people are doing the kind of forensic journalism that is Stu’s forte. And, I venture, none are doing it so consistently well.
It is (was?) a long-standing ‘tradition’ within my circle of friends that anybody afflicted with a terminal illness be awarded the very special identifier – appended to their given name or nickname – ‘No Deid Yet’. As in No Deid Yet Sandy, who sadly succumbed to cancer some years ago. Most of you reading this will recognise the black humour and tender harshness that are essential components of Scottish banter. Well! Ah’m No Deid Yet, Stu. Neither is my wee blog. I hasten to add that this does not imply that I’m suffering from any terminal condition. Only that I’m still an active campaigner for the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Still proud to be part of the Yes movement. Still offering my commentary and reflections online. And intending to do so for as long as it takes.
If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.