Scotland’s Cause

I had another very enjoyable day yesterday in the company of 2,000 other independence supporters as we marched through Stirling. The weather was almost ideal for such a strenuous activity. Not too hot – except for the periods when the clouds parted sufficiently to let the sun beat down on us with its full intensity. The gentle breeze that cooled the marchers became a blustery blast as we reached the rallying point at Bannockburn. The wind was sufficiently strong to present some difficulties in the handling of larger flags and banners, but the people doing the handling have had a deal of experience in this so deal with it they did and we were soon treated to the magnificent sight of giant Saltires spread out below Bruce’s monument in the brilliant sunshine.

It is easy at such moments to be filled with hope for Scotland’s cause. Indeed, were one to simply stop thinking about the matter at this point one would be absolutely convinced that the well-worn line about independence being inevitable was totally credible. Enjoy that moment, because if you’re disinclined to switch off your critical faculties the realisation will soon dawn that this grand scene isn’t entirely representative of reality.

Coming back down to earth means recognising that while the host gathered on this historic field is impressive, it is not nearly as impressive as it needs to be. Inspiring as the sight may be, it is but a fleeting distraction from a considerably more prosaic actuality. Aye! You’re right! This is me banging the old ‘unity’ drum yet again. Just don’t expect me to apologise. Don’t hurl the word ‘negative’ at me as if merely being realistic were some horrendous offense. If you find realism offensive than you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog.

I am firmly persuaded that the restoration of Scotland’s independence has to be driven by the people. In order to ensure that we get the kind of referendum that is required, the Yes movement first has to regain its past strength and more, then find a way of converting that strength into power. Power sufficient to influence the politicians to whom we have entrusted the task of initiating and pursuing the process by which the accursed Union will be ended and constitutional normality restored. We cannot simply trust those politicians. Nor can we expect them to take on the British establishment and prevail without the manifest support of the people of Scotland.

Politicians tend to let us down. Either they don’t do what we elect them to do or they do what we want but make a complete arse of it. This is too important to gamble with. This is our nation and the legacy we leave to future generations of Scotland’s people. We must be part of the process by which independence is restored. An involved and active part. Not a supporting role as extras in the crowd scenes kept in the background while the politicians claim our presence as visible support for whatever they find expedient. We must take from those politicians the ability to use our demonstrations as they will by proclaiming our own purpose loudly enough to drown out their media-amplified voices.

The harsh reality is that if the Yes movement was on course to be the force it needs to be in time to take back at least some of the power we have handed to the politicians, then the numbers marching through Stirling needed to be ten times greater. Compared to what we’ve had of late, yesterday’s gathering was impressive. Compared to what we need, it was inadequate – almost paltry.

It’s easy to cite the pandemic as an explanation. As Nicola Sturgeon has taught us, Covid-19 has been a heaven-sent excuse for just about anything. I don’t doubt that the pandemic and its impact on our lives has had some effect on turnout for events such as the #AUOBStirling march and rally. It would be foolish to deny that Covid-19 has left many people justifiably reluctant to join large crowds. Not to mention those who cannot attend because they tragically succumbed to the disease. But it would be just as foolish to discount other factors. In particular, the ghastly factionalism which has infected the Yes movement. The bare-fanged, claws-out tribalism that has spread like a malignancy through the Yes movement leaving precious few untouched. The ‘other disease’ which has afflicted the Yes movement – and is crippling it!

When, the day before the Stirling march I Tweeted that I had booked my bus and was looking forward to the event – more to promote that event than because I thought people might be interested – most of the responses were positive and supportive. One response, however, nicely illustrates the problem I’m referring to. In their Tweet this individual said they wouldn’t be attending the march because it was organised by AUOB and they were not prepared to have anything to do with anything involving that organisation. Apparently, they dislike the people who run AUOB. I should point out – because it must by this juncture be necessary to do so – that this person purported to be an active supporter of Scotland’s cause. You would not guess this from their attitude.

In the last few weeks I have attended events organised by Scottish Independence Movement (SIM), Now Scotland/White Rose Rising and All Under One Banner (AUOB). And I don’t like anybody! SIM is headed by Manny Singh, FFS! I’m pretty sure even he himself would acknowledge that he’s not a likely candidate for any personality contests! I mean no offense to any of the organisers (although they’re unlikely to give a shit), but if their likeability were a factor I probably wouldn’t attend any of these events! The fact is that I don’t care about who is organising the event. I care only about its purpose. I care deeply about the cause it is supporting. I care far too deeply to go off in an infantile huff because somebody has offended me or hurt my feelings.

I have no hesitation in pronouncing the person who posted that Tweet a pitiful idiot. Doubly so because they chose to flaunt their pitiful idiocy in public.

I feel precisely the same way about all the pea-brained piddle-wits who put their partisan prejudices before Scotland’s cause. The people who put party loyalty before national interest. People I regard with a mixture distaste and despair. Distaste for their inane knee-jerk sniping. Despair of there being any possibility of putting a stop to it.

Alex Salmond seems to take a more optimistic view,

We’ve had, I think, a total of 40 National front pages announcing the referendum was starting – but it’s never started. So the day it genuinely starts then of course all supporters of independence will come together.

Alex Salmond: All indy parties will work together when indyref2 campaign starts

I suspect the remark about how “supporters of independence will come together” when a genuine campaign starts was made more in hope than expectation. And I note with more than a tinge of regret the fact that the first part of the above quote seems designed to fuel the inter-party conflict rather than quell it. I am painfully aware of how difficult it is to avoid referring to the failures and failings of Nicola Sturgeon. One can hardly discuss our present predicament without mentioning the woeful dereliction of her role as leader of the independence movement or the regrettable aspects of her leadership of the SNP. But it’s one thing for some obscure blogger to note these things in the context of a reasoned analysis of the state of Scotland’s cause and quite another for a prominent figure such as Alex Salmond to remark upon them in any context other than private discussion. If the intention was to pour oil on troubled waters then it probably wasn’t helpful to put a match to that oil while pouring it.

The only ones who can put a stop to the tribalistic conflict are those who are engaged in it. And they won’t They won’t because they are incapable of doing so. Neither can stop unless and until the other does. And probably not even then. The leaders of the parties whose supporters are engaged in this utterly pointless tit-for-tat might be able to call a cease-fire. But neither (none?) of them seem to have any interest in doing so. Alex Salmond’s quoted remarks are a pish-poor effort at calming the situation supposing that was even the intention. Nicola Sturgeon has been just as pish-poor in the role of peace-maker as in the role of de facto head of Scotland’s cause. Neither is serving Scotland’s cause as we would wish.

At which point I put forward a proposal. I do so with no expectation whatever that it will be taken up by any never mind all of those engaged in the mutual slanging-match which does so much to perpetuate and aggravate the catastrophic divisions within the Yes movement. And it has to be all. Every single one of them must desist simultaneously and permanently if there is to be any chance of the Yes movement healing in time to be the effective political force that it must be if we are to have any hope of getting and keeping our political leaders on track for independence.

To this end, I propose that we choose a date for the cessation of all hostilities within the Yes movement and particularly the gruesome quarrelling of Alba and SNP supporters. I repeat, ALL hostilities by ALL participants! This is not one of those tiresome #WheeshtForIndy pleas. Rather, it is a plea to get back to making a noise for independence. A noise which will be music to the ears of all participants in the only fight that really matters – the fight against the Union. The fight to restore Scotland’s independence.

White Rose Rising is urging the launch of the Saltire Strikes Back campaign on Sunday 31 October, to coincide with the start of COP26 when the eyes of the world will be on Scotland. And on Scotland’s wee corner of social media! This is a response to Boris Johnson’s threat to stamp a Union flag – the emblem of British Nationalism – on Scotland for the duration of the climate crisis conference as well as to the plague of Union-jackery being inflicted on Scotland by the supermarket chains and various manufacturers at the behest of the British political elite. Importantly, the intention is to do this in a way that neither distracts nor detracts from COP26. I suggest we make that same date an ‘armistice day’ – an abrupt and total cessation of all internal hostilities within the Yes movement.

Administrators and moderators could help by openly and unapologetically censoring comments which breach this armistice – with unquestionable justification. Everybody can support the idea simply by using the hashtag #ScotlandsCause to indicate that they are putting the fight to dissolve the Union ahead of all other considerations. (We’ll take our chances with The Apostrophe Protection Society.)

I don’t know if this will work. In fact, I very much doubt that it will. Sniping is easy and satisfying. Less intellectually diligent people will be extremely reluctant to give up such cheap and instant gratification. But I honestly don’t know what else to try. I understand all too well the perilousness of Scotland’s predicament and that we must try everything we can to make the Yes movement fit for the battles ahead. First, the battle to ensure the politicians get on with the job we gave them and to ensure that they do it properly. Second, the battle to support the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament as they take on the not inconsiderable might of the British state.



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23 thoughts on “Scotland’s Cause

  1. As an attendee of yesterdays March I agree.
    We also need to find a better chant than “Tory, tory tory, Out out out” As you reflect is just not the point.
    “What do we want… INDEPENDENCE, When do we want it… NOW!” is always more than welcome.
    We need to find more unifying songs/chants and find/raise our collective voice.
    Silence during Marches just makes it feel like a funeral procession.
    Part of the reason why invested in a 100watt portable speaker to belt out some uplifting relevant tunes.
    Song suggestions always welcome.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well said Peter! Time to end the infantile jabs at people with the same aim – the restoration of our country’s independence.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. 100% agree.The vicious in-fighting has to stop for us to focus on escape from the colonial yoke. The British State has ( by accident rather than design ? ) stumbled on a hugely divisive issue – beyond the bounds of debate according to our FM- which has become a fault line not confined to the social media bubble. For many who put independence front and centre this is a disaster.As things stand Scotland is on course yet again to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Peter,

    Believe in Scotland has been one of the few pro-independence groups not attacking any others within the Independence Movement. We have been working to support Yes Groups throughout Scotland. I hope you will therefore support our Day of Action on the 18th September when over 100 Yes Groups will be restarting the Indyref2 Campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did I not make it clear that I would support any event or activity or project or initiative which has its purpose the restoration of Scotland’s independence and at most only incidentally the reelection of SNP MSPs and MPs? I do so while reserving the right to criticise those advocating a method of doing this which I know to be misguided. The road to hell being famously paved with good intentions. #NoSection30

      EDIT – I should have acknowledged that Business for/Believe in Scotland has remained aloof from the squabbling. It’s nothing to feel superior about. Which is the way it comes across at times. (Actually, all the time.) Some of us manage to stay out of the mud whilst remaining as common as muck.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female and commented:
    So much this!
    “To this end, I propose that we choose a date for the cessation of all hostilities within the Yes movement and particularly the gruesome quarrelling of Alba and SNP supporters. I repeat, ALL hostilities by ALL participants! This is not one of those tiresome #WheeshtForIndy pleas. Rather, it is a plea to get back to making a noise for independence. A noise which will be music to the ears of all participants in the only fight that really matters – the fight against the Union. The fight to restore Scotland’s independence.”

    Like

      1. My husband is part of National Yes Network and is organising a convoy around Angus on Saturday. We are both founder members of Blether-In Forfar.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great to hear that you and your husband are organising an event as part of the National Believe in Scotland Day of Action on the 18th September. Over 700,000 leaflets and other support materials are on their way to Yes Groups all over Scotland. I hope it is a great success in Angus.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for giving us a mention for doing what you are now proposing, Peter. We started working with Yes Groups all over Scotland last autumn. I am surprised you put a barb into your mention of Believe in Scotland. As you acknowledge, we do not attack other pro-independence groups and individuals, including you.
    We do not feel superior, we are just continuing to concentrate on the most important task of all, converting soft No voters. After all, there is no point in winning the right to hold IndyRef2 if we cannot win that referendum.

    I support a lot of what you say in your interesting and thought-provoking blogs. When I do not I do not attack you or call you names. We should all be able to have civilised debates whilst all pushing in the same direction.

    During Indyref1 I was very happy to work with a whole spectrum of characters and organisations, from Tommy Sheridan on the left to Michael Fry on the right, although I did not support their policies. As you say, such divisions must be put aside. Let’s win our independence and argue about detailed policies once we get there.
    Kind regards.
    Donald Maclean

    Like

    1. You want an explanation for the “barb”? Here it is –

      “there is no point in winning the right to hold IndyRef2”

      We don’t have to “win” any such right. That right is already indisputably ours. Even the British state has acknowledged Scotland’s right of self-determination. Quite why any self-proclaimed independence campaigner would seek to stick a big question mark on that now is for you to explain.

      That and the stock Sturgeon doctrine pish about “converting soft No voters” speaks of a woefully misguided mindset. Thinking – if that is even the correct term – which hasn’t developed at all since 2014. A mindset stuck in decade-old ideas. Thinking that takes absolutely no account of the massive changes that have occurred in the last ten years.

      I have said that in the first referendum campaign the Yes side took a pillow to a sword fight and unsurprisingly lot. Continuing that analogy, this time it will be a gunfight. And some would have us march into battle armed only with the tattered remnants of the pillows that we deployed against the swords of the British propaganda cavalry ten years ago.

      Don’t come the innocent, either. Business for/Believe in Scotland may not attack other Yes activists in the same vacuously rabid manner as say Pete Wishart attacks ‘THE YES BLOGGERS’ who dare to question the Sturgeon doctrine or the petulant children of Alba and SNP who spend their days throwing the same inane jibes at one another, but you are guilty of lashing out in your own way. For example, the terms used to refer to those who actually do recognise that it’s not 2011 any more and that the changed situation calls for a different approach.

      Believe for/Business in Scotland may bark more softly than some at those who stress the urgency of Scotland’s predicament and the need to reframe the whole constitutional issue, but bark they do. They are part of the apparatus which has sought to suppress all debate about an alternative to the approach approved by Nicola Sturgeon and the wee clique with which she has surrounded herself. And has almost entirely succeeded.

      Before you start accusing me of hypocrisy in that I am also guilty of attacking other Yes activists, take a moment to reread the above comments. If you do so honestly and with an open mind you will note that while I may make my point in a manner that is too robust for the more delicate blooms in the Yes hothouse, I do make a point. I don’t attack. I analyse and then I criticise. I don’t seek to limit or control debate about how we approach the task of restoring Scotland’s independence (NOT ‘winning’ it!!!). On the contrary, over the last seven years I have spent most of my time a lot of my energy and a not inconsiderable part of my meagre pension on trying to expand that debate so as to include ideas that lie well outside the stifling box of the Sturgeon doctrine.

      I too will work with anybody who is intent on the same objective. But I follow noone unquestioningly. The Alba/SNP sack-rats have no objective other than to out-snarl one another. I don’t even consider tham part of the independence campaign. They’ve stepped outside that campaign to do their own petty, puerile thing. And it is only with the greatest of difficulty that I might work with people who think we must “win” our right of self-determination and/or the right to exercise that right.

      Nor is it easy to work with those who imagine there to be a route to the restoration of Scotland’s independence which doesn’t involve confrontation with the British state. But I make the effort.

      It is not possible to work with those who insist on a strategy which cannot succeed. Those who are wedded to the obviously naive notion that the British political elite might cooperate willingly and honestly with a process intended to end the Union. Such foolishness is one of the greatest threats facing Scotland’s cause. To work with such people would be to work against Scotland’s cause. I will never do that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Peter,

        As I have said before in these columns, you are in danger of becoming a grumpy old man, unable to simply compliment, wish us well, or mention the Believe in Scotland Day of Action on the 18th September when over 100 Yes Groups will be restarting the independence campaign in many different ways.
        You announce that you want to see an end to pro-independence individuals and organisations attacking each other. Despite the fact that you accept that Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland have risen above the fray and avoided making such attacks you add snide remarks. Come on Peter, you can do better than that.
        You present absolutely no evidence when you allege “but you are guilty of lashing out in your own way. For example, the terms used to refer to those who actually do recognise that it’s not 2011 any more and that the changed situation calls for a different approach.”
        Of course I accept Scotland’s Claim of Rights. I also accept that a Section 30 Order is not the only route to independence. The point I was making is that there will be difficulties in getting to Indyref2. We need to win our way to it. It will not be handed to us, as you correctly say.
        I still say that winning over soft No voters is of crucial importance. Without that we cannot win the vote. You can write as many blogs as you want. However, if they do not help us win more Yes votes we shall fail in our main objective – gaining independence for Scotland.
        After Indyref1 Alex Salmond said that he estimated that the campaigning done by Business for Scotland had contributed at least 10% of the votes we received on referendum day. No matter what you think of Alex Salmond now, at the time of the referendum he was recognised at one of the best political strategists in the country. I respected his opinion at the time.
        Business for Scotland is totally independent of the SNP and we disagree with some of their tactics and policies. However, we have disagreed mostly in private and have been able to maintain open channels to The Scottish Government. That allows us to have positive influences on Scottish Government policy. We have seen some of our ideas appear in Government policy documents, but never attributed to us. That is more than can be said for most bloggers and organisations shouting and screaming at the Scottish Government. I do not include you amongst them.
        We are continuing to do what you are now advocating, leading and supporting the active Yes Groups and those organisations which want to put differences aside and work together to win independence for Scotland.
        I hope you can do the same and work with us, Peter. We would welcome that, even if you do not agree with all our actions. Attacking each other only benefits the British Nationalists. Lets work together, Peter.

        Like

      2. There’s the defensive tribalism. And the dishonest straw man arguments. I’m already a grumpy old man. But my intellectual faculties are undiminished. In large part I’m grumpy BECAUSE I understand what is going on. I understand the dynamics of power relationships. I know a fair bit about communication. I know how to analyse a situation dispassionately and express my conclusions.

        At no point did I claim that the Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp show hadn’t been an effective part of the 2014 referendum campaign. Nor did I deny that it has done some good work since. I merely point that it has been among those who considered it appropriate to devote some part of its resources to attacking those whose thinking isn’t confined to a box bounded by the Sturgeon doctrine and various economic orthodoxies and pandering to the media and, of course, egos and agendas. That Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp has been a bit less vitriolic than, say, Pete Wishart, in attacking those who question the Sturgeon doctrine doesn’t make him innocent of it.

        The practice – which you continue to follow – is to sneeringly dismiss dissenting voices with lines like your “shouting and screaming at the Scottish Government”. What has never happened to date is for anyone in Scotland’s own smug wee political establishment and its hangers-on to show any sign of actually having listened to WHAT is being shouted. At no point has there been any attempt to consider the reasons why perfectly reasonable moderately intelligent people are screaming. So certain of their rightness is this tight little coterie that it has precisely zero curiosity about the thinking of ‘outsiders’. No attempt has ever been made to address the questions posed or the concerns expressed. I’ll wager the likes of Paul “Wheeshtmaster General” Kavanagh doesn’t even know what is being said by those he’s commanding to be silent – albeit totally ineffectually. Pete Wishart takes pride in blocking anyone who doesn’t conform to his Westminster-centric worldview.

        This is unhealthy. The independence movement has come to be dominated by a relatively tiny clique with a strong sense of entitlement and a powerful aversion to scrutiny, critical thinking and novel ideas. That clique has allowed Scotland’s cause to stagnate for seven years and attempted to other and shout down anyone who presumed to point out this evident fact. If you’re not cheering non-existent success, you’re betraying the cause. If you’re not celebrating wholly imagined progress you’re damaging the campaign. If you’re not hailing Nicola Sturgeon as the greatest political strategist in all of history, your a hateful troll who should be shunned.

        Any political cause which is incapable of adapting to changing circumstances is doomed. The Sturgeon doctrine is characterised by total denial that anything has changed. Certainly nothing that might make it advisable to have a wee think about strategy and process. There’s a passage in Sturgeon’s box-ticking address to the non-conference where she berates the British parties for their failure to realise that “honest reflection is important for any party” in the wake of both election success and the other thing. I suffered a severe episode of vertigo peering into the void where here self-awareness should be.

        The dissenting voices are not going away. In fact, while the sudden burst of enthusiasm for a new referendum among party bigwigs was prompted mainly by the looming pretendy wee conference I have a sneaking suspicion that the recent increase in volume from these voices was a niggling consideration. A suspicion further fuelled by some of the language Sturgeon used in her speech. I’d go find the stuff I’m referring to but it’s late and my pre-bedtime reading beckons.

        I leave you with this thought confident that it won’t disturb your sleep. Sturgeon could be getting it all wrong. If she is, Scotland’s fucked. A sensible if not wise person genuinely committed to Scotland’s cause would surely keep a wee bit of their mind a wee bit open to the possibility and lend at least some fraction of an ear to what those dissenting voices are saying.

        I have no illusions about this happening any time soon.

        Like

      3. Hi Peter,

        We have come dangerously close to agreement in what you have said. You almost complimented Business for / Believe in Scotland. 🙂
        As I stated, we do disagree with the Scottish Government on occasions and argue our corner, mostly in private but sometimes in public.
        Most SNP members follow the party line. Since we are apolitical we have the freedom to disagree with all politicalparties.
        Attempts were made by some within the SNP to control BfS during Indyref1. We firmly resisted that. I personally believe, as you do, that a Section 30 Order should not be the only route to independence pursued by the Scottish Government and the wider Yes Movement.

        We are a unifying force for good on the road to independence. I have seen other organisations such as The Common Weal fall by the wayside by making brutal attacks on The SNP in general and Nicola Sturgeon. There are more effective ways to influence the Scottish Government.

        We retain our independence within the Movement, whilst still having some influence on the policymakers within the Scottish Government. That is why I ask you again to openly support the Believe in Scotland National Day of Action on the 18th September.
        Surely you welcome the support, leadership, co-ordination and over 700,000 leaflets and articles we are providing for over 100 Yes Groups to give out to voters all over Scotland?

        Like

      4. How often do I have to say that I support all efforts with the aim of restoring Scotland’s independence? That doesn’t mean I necessarily endorse the individuals, groups, organisations or parties involved. Not that they need or customarily seek my personal endorsement.

        There are different ways of demonstrating support. I don’t have money to donate and my time is pretty much all spoken for. I do what I can in the way I think appropriate. Sometimes that will be writing an article or speaking at an event. Sometimes it will be doing some work such as designing posters or leaflets. Sometimes it’ll be no more than sharing Facebook event pages or otherwise helping to promote an event. On occasion it may be that my support for an action is limited to not criticising it as I might.

        I’m not sure what it is you want from me in terms of supporting your Day of Action. To be honest, I’ve been too busy with my blog and with White Rose Rising to think about what I’ll do to mark the anniversary of the first referendum. Other than write an article. I’m pretty sure you won’t like that article. I don’t expect you to. That’s not the reason for writing it. I don’t write to please anyone. Neither do I expect you to ‘support’ the Saltire Strikes Back action from 31 October (https://whiteroserising.scot/2021/09/06/the-saltire-strikes-back/). It’s probably not your kind of thing. So I don’t even ask.

        Like

  7. Oh great, this’ll do it:

    “Administrators and moderators could help by openly and unapologetically censoring comments .. ”

    The thought police invited to fix this for us.

    Sinister, or what .. ?

    Like

    1. Try thinking rather than knee-jerking. There is nothing sinister about it at all. There is always censorship. Media messages are mediated. (Duh!) Which means they pass through an intermediary – or a number of intermediaries – before reaching the recipient. All mediation is a form of or involves censorship.

      Opposing censorship does not imply that one seeks to eradicate it altogether. To do that would require that one somehow do away with ‘the media’. All that is implied by opposition to censorship is that one seeks to ensure that the censorship is fully justified. It is when censorship is not well justified that it becomes sinister. It is sinister if, for example, it seeks to conceal some truth or perpetuate some untruth. Or when its purpose is to limit or disrupt or distort honest, rational debate.

      Nobody can sensibly pretend that the kind of inter-factional sniping under discussion conveys some essential truth or contributes to honest, rational debate. On the contrary, it has no information content whatever and tends to suck the life out of any debate while salting the ground to prevent the germination of any new debate.

      Censoring such ‘comments’ may well be considered no more than effective moderation. But let’s be honest enough to call it what it is. It is censorship. But justified. Not sinister.

      If, however, instead of seizing on the first or most emotive notion to pop into your head, you had stopped to think then you might have realised that there is a perfectly reasonable argument against this censorship. Not because it’s sinister, but because it may not be entirely sensible. If the idea is to change behaviour then it may be to some extent counter-productive to block those whose behaviour one is trying to change. It is unlikely they’ll realise for themselves why they are being blocked. Being self-evidently shallow-minded, they will probably leap straight to the assumption that there is something sinister about it. If they are blocked by all the people trying to put an end to the pointless, purposeless, corrosive quarrelling then how are they going to learn the real reason they’re being blocked.

      Admins and moderators must use their judgement. After all, isn’t that what they’re for?

      Like

      1. No, Peter. Censorship, moderation, whatever you like to call it, has no place on the internet, unless for legal reasons, or because of downright bad behaviour. But not because some folk have controversial views, or even just views that you or other ‘moderators’ disagree with.

        The fact that censorship in the public sphere, newspapers, TV etc, is rife, doesn’t mean it’s right. Is our society better for the fact that our media has such a narrow range of voices? I think we could probably agree on the answer to that.

        But now, at least it seems so to me, you advocate moderating (restricting) the range of opinion on the internet, because of your frustration with the range of voices, and all those unhelpful folk disagreeing with one-another on either side of the indy/political debate.

        Which means, again it seems to me, you advocate constructing a false public narrative around those big issues, because you believe the indy cause will be better served if ‘ordinary folk’ aren’t given their own voices, except as moderated/censored by people who know better like yourself.

        You say that “it is when censorship is not well justified that it becomes sinister”. But who is to say when it is well justified? Obviously, you feel it would be safe in your hands. But, presumably, there are other people you wouldn’t like to see with the power of censorship. And who is it who gets to moderate the moderators, each certain in their own infallibility?

        And how would those censored know what the scale of the censoring is, and how much of a big-brother lie they are being fed?

        The internet remains the ultimate ‘free-space’ for people to say what they think, but only so long as (I accept, well-meaning) people like yourself leave it well alone.

        And lastly, and really just as a footnote, your response to my comment included a number of sneers, starting with your very first words: “try thinking, rather than knee-jerking”. That’s a cheap-shot, as are several others elsewhere in your article, and demeaning too (to both of us), and should have no place in a discussion like this.

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  8. The picture you paint does not fill me with hope. Trouble is that criticism of ideas and strategies is confused with attacks on people. i do not know how to clear up this mess either.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Maybe more advance publicity for these Independence demos, might help attract bigger crowds.
    The last two, I didn’t know about.
    A lot of folks don’t use Facebook,or twittter, and alas, we only learn of events after they have happened. But it tends to be, the smaller the city, the smaller the crowds.
    The bigger places like Glasgow and Edinburgh tend to get the very largest crowds.
    But as I say, the recent Glasgow march went by without too many of us knowing it was on.
    Tho Covid has beeen a big factor in the smaller crowds just now.

    Regards other points made, I’m not sure it is the wider YES movement that is the main problem, but more the leading politicians who have created it, (the sense of division), and still seem to want to maintain it.

    The First Minister has today, yet again said there will be no Referendum until all Covid restrictions are lifted.
    As you have already asked, how comes it we have tens of thousands stuffed into a soccer stadium, or can go to a pop festival,and we manage a Parliamentary election, but somehow, we can’t hold a Vote for Independence?
    It just seems to be delay for the sake of it, and we don’t have the time for delay any more.
    That sense of division we talk of, is kept going by the First Minister’s approach to things, as there are those who insist it is the right way, we have to beat Covid, etc, and then complain against those who say we have to go forward now.
    That same policy was what lead to the divide that created ALBA, and you can’t blame some who were loyal for long enough in SNP, who got so exasperated being snubbed at every turn by SNP leadership, they went over to ALBA in the end. The Salmond Trial, was without doubt, another major factor there. We cannot deny the damage that affair has done, and continues to do.
    Talking of which, I am no great fan of Kenneth MacAskill, but I do agree with him on his views of the need to go forward now.
    I’m not going to stomp off in a big huff because of some policy decision he made while in Government, even tho I want one of those policies he made, changed.
    The Police and Fire mergers, being that one I hate, and I am convinced helped alienate voters in some areas during 2014.
    But again, as you say, Peter, there is still those who hold to such disputes, and that means more to them than Independence. Reading some of the comments on The (Glasgow) Herald forums shows that up too well.
    They fail to, or just don’t want to see that all of those things we disagree on, can be sorted out after Independence.
    It is Independence that matters, and will change everything.
    But we kinda get the impression, there are more than a few out there who are happy with things as they are.
    Their little agendas will always come first, and Scotland’ cause means a lot less to them, than they say it does. And it appears to include some in senior positions in SNP these days.
    It must also be said, that Jim Sillars isn’t being too helpful either, in my view!

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    1. Communication can always be better. Event organisers do tend to rely overmuch on Facebook, I think. generally speaking the more channels of communication one has the better the chances of reaching all parts of the potential audience. It is important, however, not merely to have those channels but to use them. Most(?) of the organisations putting on these events have websites that should be accessible to anyone. Not all of them use those websites as well as they might..

      But let’s cut them some slack here. Not much! Bjut a little. Maintaining multiple channels of communication is a lot of work. Maintaining a website is a lot of work just on its own. As I have lately been reminded have created a website for White Rose Rising for just the communication purposes referred to. With social media on to of that it gets to be pretty demanding. How I ever did this with numerous websites and fuck knows how many social media accounts I cannot now recall.

      It’s not all up to them. Those thinking to attend marches and rallies have to do their bit. Those promoting the event should be making the task of finding information as easy as possible, obviously. But finding information is still a task. Responsibility for the success of a communication episode falls on both/all parties to that episode. Not equally, to be sure. But each.all must play their part.

      It is not so much that the wider Yes movement is that problem as that it has been handed a problem by the politicians. The politicians are largely responsible for the division – or for aggravating divisions that already existed – but it is only the Yes movement itself which can fix the problem. Politicians won’t take chances and try not to take sides unless they have to. They’ll condemn the infighting. But they won’t try to understand it in order to put a stop to it. They are usually content just to be on the record as having condemned it.

      We can’t rely on the politicians. The Yes movement has to become self-actuating. But that requires organisation which requires hierarchies which brings a whole new set of problems. Because being an organisation is antithetical to being a movement. An organisation and a movement can coexist. But neither can be the other. They are different beasts even if they herd together. A movement has strength. An organisation manages and channels that strength to drive a campaign – which is a different beast again. If the campaign is successful then the strength of the movement then gets turned into effective political power through a party.

      I used to say the Yes movement has matured. That is not entirely correct. The Yes movement has grown older. But it has not fully or properly matured. It has not evolved sufficiently to develop an associated organisation – almost like growing a new limb – and so has been almost totally incapable of influencing the politicians in any meaningful way. To function, the ‘system’ needs a connection or series of connections running from the cause through the movement then the organisation then the campaign and finally the party then back to the cause in terms of it being realised. None of those connections have formed. masses of disconnections have formed instead.

      This is all down to leadership – or lack thereof. The role of a leader is to represent the common thread that runs through the whole structure. At one end the chain is anchored by the grassroots. There needs to be something to anchor the other end otherwise the when chain flails around ineffectually. Because there’s no leadership to direct things, the party political link or tier isn’t connecting with the movement. Because there’s no leadership directing things, the movement hasn’t grown the organisational arm which can reach out and grab the party political element.

      One could easily get too tangled in analogies here. But I think you’ll understand what I’m getting at. If there is no impetus supplied by a leader then the rest of the structure won’t develop properly or fully. Unless the impetus can come from within. The Yes movement must supply its own leadership in order to develop an organisation which can engage with the party political component to have a campaign for the cause.

      We’ve left it very, very late. The politicians have in fact been actively seeking to prevent the Yes movement maturing lest it become something they can’t control. We have to overcome that obstacle. Late as it may be, we can’t stop trying. The stakes are too high to give up.

      The rest of your comment merely describes the problem. It does so quite well. But it tells us nothing new and offers no fresh insights. The Alba/SNP sniping is almost entirely an endless recycling of parts of the explanation you provide. Each reiterating over and over something -real or imagined or real but exaggerated – that the other did wrong and eliciting a response in identical kind. And repeat. Were it a machine then perpetual motion would have been achieved. Then we’d only have to master the process of transmuting lead to gold and we’d have realised humankind’s purpose. [To be read in a sarcastic voice.]

      We need a way to break that cycle. It’s something a good leader would do. A great leader wouldn’t have allowed the situation to develop in the first place. We (the Yes movement) don’t have that leadership. So we must find our own way to break the cycle.I am suggesting one

      I’ll just add that it is important to be aware of the failures and failings of the SNP and the problematic issues with Alba. But we have to move past these. Not forget them. But also not obsess about then to the extent that you can do nothing else. That’s where the Alba/SNP squabblers are now. Which is why I say they’re not really part of the Yes movement right now. They have stepped outside it to do their own thing. It’s not about excluding them. It’s about trying to get them back inside.

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