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Facing Forwards


Continuity Yes is a powerful movement but we need to move into new spaces with new ideas and a new focus.

We said Yes. They said No. They won.

No amount of rigged votes, dodgy ballots, lies, deceptions, proof of media bias, breaking of purdah, makes any difference. We lost the democratic vote.

In many ways their victory was an empty desolate one. But that is the reality.

This is not to say that there weren’t huge victories achieved throughout the campaign. Five stand out:

1. Political education of hundreds of thousands of people by an amazing vibrant radical campaign based on live public events, but charged and co-ordinated by social media.

2. The re-establishment of some base principles about gender equality and putting a feminist analysis and women’s voice at the heart of the new politics.

3. Smashing the myths about apathy and young people and, practically, gaining the vote for 16 and 17 year olds. None of this would have happened without the independence movement. This is a significant gain for democracy.

4. Re-engaging with the disaffected disillusioned and disenfranchised non-voter and whole communities of people turned-off politics of any kind. None of this would have happened without the independence movement.

5. We created new alternative media and communication spaces and institutions to give voice to this movement. Much of this will endure and thrive in the coming years.

We need to move into new territory not fight yesterday’s battles over and over. We need to move beyond ‘Yes’.

We have a problem of obsessing with ‘the enemy’ and not developing our own arguments and strategies. I’ve heard Rev Stu talk of ‘hounding No activists’, I’ve heard pleas to ‘take over the old Yes Facebook group’ and I’ve heard people talk of demanding a new referendum next year.

This is all delusional and unhelpful.

Just creating mass membership of the SNP or the welcome surge for the SGP isn’t, in itself, a strategy for anything. One could easily find itself at Westminster with a huge new lineup of MPs but little power, the other could find very little traction to gain new MSPs.

As the dust settles and everyone picks themselves up, new ideas and organisations are forming. Between now and the RIC conference in Glasgow a lot more will become into share focus.

On Saturday 25th I’ll focus on just one of the achievements of the referendum campaign – No. 5 – how we collectively created a whole platform of media voices to challenge the one dimensionality of the mainstream:

‘New Media in the Independence Referendum’ is a multimedia talk at the 18th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair.

Saturday 25 October 2014 at 8.00 – 9.00pm
Out of the Blue Drill Hall
30-38 Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh EH6 8RG Scotland
Admission Free! Donations Welcome! All Welcome!

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  1. oldbattle says:

    Positive political lessons are important but there are questions.

    The British state (BS) and its agents of all descriptions (public and covert) were deployed to ensure a BS victory.
    What has not yet been revealed is the extent to which the BS deployed its black-arts covert agencies in its hostile campaign in Scotland against the people of Scotland.

    What could not be denied the people of Scotland however was the incredible social, political strength and popular resilience created by the multiple groups engaged in highly creative political action.
    Gramsci in particular would have been proud of the “multiple elements of conscious leadership at the popular level.” (Notes on Italian History.) The great 16thC Scottish poet, philosopher and political activist George Buchanan urged Scots to live (engage in) the active life in the face of tyranny and to oppose those who denied the popular will of the people.

    What was highly significant in the Referendum was the sharply drawn relationship between the YES victory regions and patterns of severe social deprivation, early deaths, exclusion, domination and indeed oppression.
    The political energy and indeed the autonomous audacity of many of the groups from the YES victory regions demonstrated remarkable resistance to the shrill lies and blandishments of Tory-London and its Scottish agents in Labour.

    The refusal of these ‘subordinate’ communities to be intimidated by the Westminster elites of any or all parties proved significant and is a political gain that will not dissipate.

    The YES campaign produced communities of self reliant, self organized groups of active participants many of whom emerged new into the light of political struggle.

    These movements in so many guises across the YES social landscape of Scotland have been empowered and engaged in a spirit of defiance that will jolt some of the established parties.

    How will the SNP cope with these new social forces within the party ?

    How will the SNP engage with the autonomous YES forces outside of the party? Especially in this election period the SNP’s willingness to reach out to non-party YES voices will again demonstrate to many the new social and indeed class awareness within the party.

    How far is the SNP prepared to use the new powers that MUST come to Edinburgh in order to accumulate incremental forms of sovereignty that could realize a de facto Independence?

    The coming period will require astute tactical political activity to ensure the strengthening and mobilization of the YES alliance support. There is a wind of change blowing: “But thair’s mair nor a roch win blawin
 thro the Great Glen o Scotland the day

  2. elainemcleodbryan says:

    Not twice will I pin my hopes or let my fate rest on the Scottish population not willfully digging its own grave, while indignantly alienating anyone who advises in its best interests. Even so many of those who fled to Yes only did so after they had not enough to eat.

    Scots in general don’t get it the entirely simple and self evidence concept that is independence. And you cannot make someone think who habitually does not want to. They must do it for themselves. Like an addict, the responsibility is theirs.

    Already there are dangerous noises from those who would be ‘politically aware’ for taxing ‘the rich’. It’s a mistake. Because the rich elite are Westminster, everyone who has more than someone else is now the enemy in Scotland and deserving of tax as punishment. It’s conflating two separate groups through pure chip on the shoulder. Petty, bitter and jouvenile jealousy as a type of justuce might make some feel better, they think, but it is a decisive legacy that will tear Scotland apart. All Jock Tamson’s bearns my arse.

    1. yerkitbreeks says:

      That’s why I was rather concerned when Bella said on the 9th Oct ” The referendum was about class and power “.

      My impression from tramping the Border streets ( with everyone from unemployed 19 year olds to high powered lawyers ) was that it was much bigger than that.

  3. elainemcleodbryan says:

    Not twice will I pin my hopes or let my fate rest on the Scottish population not willfully digging its own grave, while indignantly alienating anyone who advises in its best interests. Even so many of those who fled to Yes only did so after they had not enough to eat.

    Scots in general don’t get it the entirely simple and self evidence concept that is independence. And you cannot make someone think who habitually does not want to. They must do it for themselves. Like an addict, the responsibility is theirs.

    Already there are dangerous noises from those who would be ‘politically aware’ for taxing ‘the rich’. It’s a mistake. Because the rich elite are Westminster, everyone who has more than someone else is now the enemy in Scotland and deserving of tax as punishment. It’s conflating two separate groups through pure chip on the shoulder. Petty, bitter and jouvenile jealousy as a type of justuce might make some feel better, they think, but it is a devisive legacy that will tear Scotland apart. All Jock Tamson’s bearns my arse.

  4. Ok Mike joining most of the newly formed groups won’t engender much change in the upcoming election next year. It does give, however, a huge sense of purpose and reassures that the new wave is growing and not dissipating in any way.
    I suppose I should have endorsed the Scottish Greens more as they are a political party which is established, doing great work and believe in everything we all do. Also established throughout the world as The Green Party. Fill Westminster with Green MP’s that is surely the way forward!

  5. BOB MCCRACKEN says:

    Why follow their rules.we can push independence however we can including udi i will man the barricades.we were too nice we dont need their approval

  6. RevStu says:

    “I’ve heard Rev Stu talk of ‘hounding No voters’ in public”

    No you haven’t. Please don’t lie about me.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      You said something of that kind in conversation the other day on Twitter. I’m not in the business of making up lies about anybody.

      1. Barbara McKenzie says:

        My money is on RevStu, as I have never picked up any such policy in his writing. But in any case it is very disappointing to read Bella Caledonia taking a swipe at Wings Over Scotland.

      2. George Elliott says:

        ‘Something of the kind’ and a statement used as fact are two different things. I would have thought Bella that you of all sites would not be taking a potshot at wings, as in my eyes and many more Rev Stu and wings put in a more than fair shift in converting many ‘NO’s’ to the cause.

      3. RevStu says:

        Well, as long as you had the diligence and journalistic integrity to establish that it might have been something vaguely sort of a bit LIKE that, eh?

        I said No ACTIVISTS should be hounded, not voters, and in the very specific context of the “Just Scotland” march, where they had absolutely no damn business anyway but especially not so soon after the referendum where they could only cause resentment and division.

        But fuck it, that’s basically the same as saying we should persecute all No voters, right?

      4. MacBee says:

        Barbara, I share your disappointment at Bella taking a specific swipe at RevStu. Yes was a broad movement with a multitude of opinions and styles of debate. In handling the fall out from the ‘No’ vote I would have expected nothing less than a multitude of opinions on how to deal with the result and what to do moving on from that.

        RevStu and the many people that read, value and agree with the opinions of his blog do have differing opinions in regards to No voters than in the piece above but I would disagree that he has ever advocated ‘hounding’ them. The Rev is a practical guy and is aware that it would be a hard task to do accurately in public. As far as I am aware the science on detecting a ‘no’ voter similar to a dodgy fiver is still in the early stages and a prototype is a long way off (that was a joke, please don’t ask me to link to the science paper)

        From what I can deduce so far Bella, you are in the business of providing and facilitating factual, thought provoking articles soon to branch out into other forms of media on a wide variety of topics to a generally appreciative audience. I was unaware that you were also in the business of what appears to be personal attacks in a public space. In your piece commenting on opinions you find to be ‘This is all delusional and unhelpful’, the Rev was the only one you named.

        I know that we are looking to set up a diverse media, but I was hoping that the ‘Daily Mail’ style would be one we could do without.


      5. Stuart Vallis says:

        Activists on both sides must not be hounded in any context, Ive met NO activists who are intelligent, care for their causes and many will be an asset to the YES side if we can persuade them to change. I think NO activists genuinely believe that the road to a better society is via Westminister, they will be disappointed but I respect their opinion and the fact they won the referendum. I think they will slowly themselves realize that NO is wrong as Westminister do not deliver, Will “hounding” them at a public demo make them change their position? I think that would absolutely entrench them in their NO plus anyone who witnessed it. Put it the other way round and ask yourself how would you feel if well known NO people were saying that YES activists should be hounded? What right does anyone have to try to influence who should and should not be on a demo?

      6. bellacaledonia says:

        Hi Reverend, my apologies, I got this wrong. I will amend the article just now.

        It doesn’t substantially alter any of my argument though, which is that being mired in recriminations and blame of the other side isn’t helpful in us moving forward and reflecting on our own campaign, projects, ways of working and so on.

        We need a new political strategy for a new political reality.

        Do you disagree?

    2. Hi Mike,

      I think your excellent point that “recriminations and blame of the other side isn’t helpful in us moving forward and reflecting on our own campaign”,

      should be expanded to say “recriminations and blame of the other side [and of others on our own side] isn’t helpful in us moving forward and reflecting on our own campaign”.

      If we all set our sights on the likelihood of a second referendum in 2017-18, then that will focus us on what needs doing (whether or not an Indy referendum happens exactly then post an In/Out EU referendum, or whether we pursue a different route).

      This can enable us to recover an unerring positive inclusiveness (having recovered from an inevitable experience of being punched in the guts by to ‘No’ vote), but developing and popularising a much sharper critique of the powers we are up against than the official Yes campaign dared pursue.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Fair comment. I’d only add that creating a self-critical environment is healthy and productive. Space for reflection (action – learning) is paramount.

      2. If there was a ‘Like’ button, I’d press it (re Bella’s ‘Fair comment + create a healthy self-critical environment point)

  7. Dan Huil says:

    It looks like the May election could very well end with no one party having an absolute majority. It is essential that the SNP campaigns hard for every extra seat. It’s possible an enlarged presence of SNP MPs at Westminster could hold considerable potential in wielding influence over the balance of power. If that is the case I hope the SNP will cause as much vexation as possible for unionist politics and politicians – always with both eyes on what is best for all the people of Scotland.
    I will be voting for Stewart Hosie to become the new deputy leader of the SNP. His piece in today’s Sunday Herald – in contrast with the short articles of the other two candidates – strongly hinted at the possibility of working together with other pro-indy parties to allow candidates from the Scottish Greens and the SSP to stand and hopefully win an appropriate seat or two next May. I agree with Hosie. We must keep the Yes family together.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I’m not arguing that there is no case for joining SNP or SGP, there clearly is. I’m just saying that on its own that doesn’t make a political strategy and that too many people are stuck in the last campaign. We are in a new phase of politics.

      1. Dan Huil says:

        I hear what you’re saying. Surely the new members of SNP, SGP & SSP will bring new ideas with them when they attend meetings. Hopefully any new ideas, if sensible, will be “sent upstairs” for the high heid yins to consider.
        As I said before, Stewart Hosie, at least, seems to recognize this “new phase of politics” when he hints at allowing SGP or SSP candidates to go for certain seats with full SNP backing. I think this is the right way to go. It is even conceivable to put forward an independent candidate from a pro-indy organization such as “Women for Independence” who would have full backing from SNP, SGP and SSP parties. I think the public would welcome such fresh initiatives.

      2. McDuff says:

        Its not a new political strategy that is required its a way of dealing with the bias MSM, big business threats, and a Unionist state that will lie and distort the truth for its own ends.
        We need to seriously deal with these immoral institutions first and the rest is the easy part.

  8. McDuff says:

    The reality is the referendum was not democratic when you had all sectors of the media pumping out lies and distortions 24/7 which given its consistency was eventually digested by a great segment of the population.
    It was a dirty referendum.
    The YES side has established an amazing grass roots movement with bags of enthusiasm and passion, and yes lessons have been learned. But be in no doubt Better Together and the Westminster parties have also learned lessons, they have learned the power of a bias MSM and that it pays to lie and scare an electorate into submission.
    Next time they will do the same only more so , we must therefor find a way to counter this and be at least more assertive in our approach.

    1. oldbattle says:

      True McDuff!

      The sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine their form of government was denied the people of Scotland in the Referendum.
      Scotland is a subaltern nation within the UK.
      The process of the campaign permitted the dominant British state to exercise the full force of shock and awe media bombardment of the people of Scotland.
      With the incredible power of the accumulated levers of Westminster/ Whitehall deployed within the NO campaign, the financial strength of the entire British state and their bag-men in the banks, the democratic will was denied the Scottish people by wholesale British state interference.

    2. Totally agree, finding a way to battle the Power of the TV and headline Union Press bias will not be an easy task. I feel it will need to be far more tactical and leveraged through (them) making a catastrophic error. So I can only see Strategic Thinking and lots of it to spring the trap. Hopefully within the new found voices, a thought or two, invokes some fox-like warrior !

  9. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    The first thing to do is not to assume anything. The SNP have got quite a few bob via their new members. They should spend some time and money finding out why people voted no and ask them what it would take to vote yes.

    1. Annette says:

      Good point. In my opinion, what it would take for many would be very little apart from accurate, unbiased information.

  10. Alex Wright says:

    I’m a bit disappointed in the Stuart Campbell comment Mike. I think Hounding Yes voters in public , especially someone, who had to take the full weight of the traditional media’s manipulated ire full on, deserves a bit more respect rather than obsessive criticism.

    1. Thirded. Poor effort, Mike.

      It is perfectly correct for Stuart to have pointed out the gross hypocrisy of representatives of the Red Tories marching ‘against’ austerity. Hounded is mild for what these duplictous tossers deserve. Should have thier luggis nailit to the merket cross every time they show their faces.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Yes, agreed, you are missing the wider point of the article though?

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      I don’t think I’m ‘hounding’ anyone.

      1. The article is fine. More articles would be welcome. New media in the referendum campaign is of some historical interested. New media strategy in the current context is of interest.

        Of more interest is what we can do about the stranglehold that Old Media have on the non-internet savvy population. And the postal vote shambles. All ideas welcome!

  11. scotsgeoff says:

    I fail to see what is ‘democratic’ about scaring pensioners into voting ‘No’ by lying to them.

    If I were to con a pensioner out of money or possessions on the doorstep I would be classed
    as a criminal and would rightly end up in jail (if caught). Similarly if I were to con a pensioner
    into making a decision on the doorstep that they otherwise wouldn’t by lying and frightening
    them I would be in jail.

    I believe that the right to vote which many have fought and died for is one of THE most precious
    benefits of a ‘free’ society. Therefore, to be conned into using that vote in a particular way is absolutely
    disgusting! And, to just say ‘well we lost, that’s the way of the world’ is to ignore this abhorrant
    injustice. Pensioners are protected by laws and groups which hope to stop them being preyed
    on by crooks. Just because an MP, the BBC or the Government does it shouldn’t make it acceptable.

  12. How do revolutions begin? We know the answer to that question but this is the 21st century, we have the necessary technology and ‘Big Brother’ is practically transparent. So I don’t see what the problem is. This doesn’t have to get nasty, if Westminster wants to keep control then it has to merely change its policies and I mean overnight. People not power.
    The Independent Referendum was set up to inform Westminster that the Scots are sick to death of being ripped off. The SNP fought for that voice and Alex Salmond should be made a saint in my opinion. The most important thing that came out of the referendum result was that a minority of people were given a chance, and used it, to ‘say’ what they feel. I was impressed by the size of that minority as was every one in the UK.
    On the back of the referendum has come a movement so strong it will take more than threats, scaremongering or force to dispel it. It grows stronger by the day and May 2015 will be the time of reckoning. So get to work, choose your candidates, get them prepared for the Westminster stick, get out your canvassing boots and go forth to change history.

  13. John says:

    Just saying… I think you should resubmit this without the Stuart Campbell comment.

  14. Bibbit says:

    What on earth is the misogynistic illustration placed with this article all about? Ridiculously pendulous boobs drooping, head-masked object with open mouthed receptivity and, to cap it off, a sexual double entendre ‘facing forward’ in the title! Just what am I, a female reader with an LLb and an MA (Hons), to take from such moronic symbolism? MSM abounds with such covert anti-woman taliban leitmotifs. I don’t expect to find it on Bella Calla.Just what is your very male, intellectual point, Mr Small?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hi Bibbit, I’m sorry I didn’t intend it that way at all. Thanks for bringing this up though. I simply saw it as a kitsch image which represented the argument I am putting forward about projecting out against an external ‘enemy’ whilst not being at all reflective about our own actions. Ironic! I’ll try and think about the images we use in light of your comment. I’m sorry you were offended.

      1. Bibbit says:

        Thank you for explaining. Your further comments are much appreciated also. Best wishes.

  15. Flower of Scotland says:

    Really disappointed with your negative comments about Rev Stu. The article was trying to get YES to pull together. Was it not?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Nobody is immune to criticism. Creating a self-reflective self-critical movement is essential. This is not a bad thing. It is an essential thing. Disagreeing is okay.

  16. Andy Anderson says:

    I disagree profoundly with your opening statement Mike, which concludes by claiming that the referendum process was ‘democratic’ it was nothing of the sort. Democracy is not about collecting votes by fair means or foul, and claiming the majority. It is much more important than that. If we are ever going to build a better Scotland we need to understand and develop democracy and the democratic principle. The UK Government treated the Edinburgh Agreement, which it had signed, and Scotland’s democratic rights with contempt by first of all deliberately distorting and misrepresenting the information which was available to the electorate. It then went further and massively rigged the postal ballot system, which completely rendered the referendum result invalid.

    You are right to say that a re-run of the referendum in these circumstances is not a sensible strategy; but we can’t just tolerate what we have just seen happen. We must demand a full investigation of the postal ballot system which is widely open to abuse and was abused by MI5 and we need to put that right so it can’t happen again. We also must do something effective about the information available to all the electorate and not leave tham in the hands of the UK establishment. Then we need to run a proper referendum..

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I’m not advocating we tolerate anything and I’m perfectly aware of the democratic deficiencies. But unless you have a water-tight case about genuine fraud (which nobody has) then I’m not sure what you are proposing?

      Is your argument that it’s all Mi5’s fault?

      1. oldbattle says:

        It was not fraud that was the critical democratic deficiency but rather the forces of the British state in all its many guises dominating public discourse in what was I thought, a national referendum to gauge the sovereign will of the people in Scotland.

        The overwhelming British (not Scottish) psych-ops campaign aimed particularly at the elderly was the kind of gross imperialist styled interference one sees when Washington wishes to prevent a

        The tactics were similar and what is termed the MSM share of voice was so shock and awe dominant on behalf of NO from sources external to Scotland that a wall of fear prevented rational discussion especially within the MSM reading elderly (reluctant users of social media).
        The political will of the people of Scotland was distorted, deceived and denied by what can only be termed the combined hegemony of the British state and its servants in the SLAB.

  17. James Morton says:

    The odds were stacked against us from the start. They threw everything at us and yet the best they could manage was slightly more than half. We got 45%. When we start this again, and we will. It will be from a higher baseline than before. The panic you are witnessing as the vow and the iron timetable prove to be the projections of a tired old man, shows that they know that all they did by getting a marginal no vote, was to kick the ball no further than the next election. They didn’t get the settled will of the people of Scotland. All they did was grab a tiger by the tail. That 55% they are so proud of, is split three ways with the prospect of UKIP stealing some of it as well. They know they are in for hammering in 2015. There will be no comfort for them in 2016 either. They did such a hatchet job on Scotland’s reputation within the union, they left themselves with very little room for maneuver when Cameron pounced with his English Votes for English Laws. As lallands peat worrier has written about recently, Labour are in bear pit of their own making, but ironically, the scottish tories and the scottish lib dems climbed in as well.

  18. al kerr says:

    Really annoying since ‪#‎indyref‬ its back to UK stuff BBC Daily politics. I Want an equivalent program to hear a Scottish perspective on Scottish and World issues with Scottish presenters and Scottish Politicians .Especially we are only months away from GE.Its an absolute disgrace we have one standalone politics program a week and another wedged into a mainly English Sunday poiltics show …NOT GOOD ENOUGH .WE MUST DEMAND BETTER >>> we need to start a petition on this NOW.

    1. Totally with you on that one. I’ll DEFO sign a petition for more Scottish Media coverage, our people need to know what is going on. Bella and it’s ilk are doing a damn fine job but not everyone has access to the net. For old people the tv is their only company – how else do we reach them?

  19. James Coleman says:

    “Just creating mass membership of the SNP or the welcome surge for the SGP isn’t, in itself, a strategy for anything. One could easily find itself at Westminster with a huge new lineup of MPs but little power, the other could find very little traction to gain new MSPs”

    Well that is a really defeatist statement which shows a lack of lateral thinking. Goes well with your criticism of others, but no constructive proposals from you. At least those criticised ARE doing something whether you agree or not.

    “No. 5 – how we collectively created a whole platform of media voices to challenge the one dimensionality of the mainstream.”

    We did and it probably swayed the internet savvy YESSERS. But to engage the masses, combat MSM and help stop Scotland’s culture being swamped daily by English culture and news we need GOOD & POPULAR free to air (or at least a subscription) Scottish TV and Radio mediums, plus a Red Top type newspaper. There is plenty of money and talent available in Scotland for those things but a distinct lack of driving force and co-ordination among bloggers.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hi James, in my opinion this is realist rather than defeatist.

      I’m interested in what you know about lack of driving force and co-ordination amongst bloggers?

    2. JGedd says:

      At last a comment with which I can totally agree. It’s all very well boasting about a motivated grassroots organization having grown up because of the referendum, but what is going to happen then and how is that enthusiasm to continue? People had a definite goal to aim for with the referendum which kept everyone energized and focused. The difficulty is to maintain that momentum when there is no clear way forward.

      People saying sternly that we were beaten and just have to accept that and point to a nebulous destination on a distant horizon receding ever more into the distance are just not going to keep the movement from fragmenting. ( They are making my heart sink. God knows how that self-denying purism is going to work with young people.) The approaching GE in 2015 is at least an interim goal to aim for but all of this is against the hostile noise of the recalcitrant MSM which understands our aims and wishes, as always, to thwart them. More fragmenting and infighting is what they hope to foment. They, too, have been down this way before. This was how the Labour party was eventually subverted partly due to the frustrations of the ambitious who weren’t going to put up with years in the wilderness and gave up their ideals for the sake of power. The independence movement has to have successes and not pretend that losing the referendum was actually some kind of success. A noble failure is still failure in the eyes of the voting public. I have already been on the receiving end of Unionist voters gloating. Try telling them we nearly won. It sounds lame and they laugh.

      James is right about a media which will have to reach those who weren’t engaged politically before, but the usual internet blogs, as constituted, are not going to do it on their own. Out there is a proportion of the electorate which not only was not engaged at that level, but actually resisted being engaged. I lost count of the number of times while out canvassing that I would try to direct people to various useful and informative sites like this one and to look in their eyes and know that they weren’t going to do that.

      Many people like the stories that they are being told by the MSM which bolsters their prejudices and encourages shallow thinking. We have to counter this by having an independent media that not only looks deeper and wakes people up to the truth but is authoritative and engaging. In doing so, we have to revitalize interest in our culture and win it the respect and dignity it deserves. The Scottish cringe is still out there and in very rude health. We have to raise the profile. We have the talent and surely can raise the finance.

  20. georgeglen says:

    I read your comments so recognise the misunderstanding … so please remove ‘I’ve heard Rev Stu talk of ‘hounding No Activists.’ From the article ASAP. Ta.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      No, because this is a direct quote from, er, Rev Stu …

  21. Barbara McKenzie says:

    Let’s face it, this article was wrong-headed, negative and patronizing.

    1) The Yes movement, including the SNP, is already focused on the devolution promises and the election of 2015.

    2) Yes, most people agree with Limmy: We lost the vote fair and square due to lies and false claims. However, it is important that any voting irregularities be exposed, as firstly they might make a difference another time, and secondly those guilty might otherwise be encouraged.

    3) A lot of work has been done on why people voted as they did.

    3) It’s important for people to know how much they were hoodwinked by the mainstream media. That knowledge in itself will change people’s voting patterns.

    4) One of the SNP devolution demands is to create an independent Scottish Broadcasting Service. This is clearly crucial, as the BBC is the only form of media that goes into everyone’s homes, without any competition. New media clearly paid a part in the referendum (e.g. about 1.7 people follow Frankie Boyle on twitter), but giving a donation to Bella Caledonia is not going to solve the serious problem of BBC bias.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Hi Barbara, no-one ever claimed that Bella could replace the BBC.

      You say: “One of the SNP devolution demands is to create an independent Scottish Broadcasting Service. This is clearly crucial.” Well it clearly is crucial but it equally clearly isn’t going to happen.

      Bella received over 1 million views in September. We only ever claim to be part of a changing media landscape. If you don’t want to support us that’s fine. But shouting at the telly or marching in front of Pacific Quay isn’t going to work.

      If the indy movement won’t support an indy media then no one will.

  22. John says:


    All you had to do, post 08:59, was say “I was a bit harsh and possibly misinformed. I am sorry. Stu and I are cool”.

    >>> Creating a self-reflective self-critical movement is essential.

    Yes, if you are Spock. We need to be Kirk. Stu is a friend.


    October 20, 2014 • 08:59
    Hi Reverend, my apologies, I got this wrong. I will amend the article just now.

    October 20, 2014 • 09:02
    I don’t think I’m ‘hounding’ anyone.

    October 20, 2014 • 11:18
    Nobody is immune to criticism. Creating a self-reflective self-critical movement is essential. This is not a bad thing. It is an essential thing. Disagreeing is okay.

    October 20, 2014 • 16:00
    No, because this is a direct quote from, er, Rev Stu …

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Thanks John. I await further instructions.

      1. John says:

        Good for you Mike, and thank you very much for replying. There is hope for us, after all. There might be some bumps but we will get there.

  23. Andy Anderson says:

    You say “unless you have a water-tight case” Well I believe I have. I am happy to put that case in detail to Bella Cal if you want to listen, but you have already pronounced that “no-one has such a case” that does not seem very objective to me. I do not blame MI5 for ‘everything’ as you suggest, but I do believe that they rigged the postal ballot in the referendum. Now I can’t prove that MI5 did that, but I believe I can prove that the postal ballot was rigged by people who had access to local Government confidential computer files and I think MI5 is the most obvious suspect. If you want full details of my views on that I will send them to you.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Feel free to submit your evidence / article to us by email. If you have evidence that MI5 rigged the ballot I have the scoop of the century!

  24. M says:

    Disappointed in elements of this post and the responses from Bella. (I see the sarcasm reply has been removed which seems wise). I gave money to Bella and expected more. The Rev Stu has a different modus operandi from Bella and that is obvious. If the argument in the post is about not making enemies of people with differing view points then the lesson clearly needs to start at home.

  25. Big Pete Crenshaw says:

    Refreshingly and surprisingly accurate Mike.

    Massive kudos.

    1. bellacaledonia says:


      1. Big Pete Crenshaw says:

        Yes. Really.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          A rare morsel of goodwill from Pete

      2. Big Pete Crenshaw says:

        No reply option to your last comment so I’ll reply here.

        Goodwill is not in short supply.

        It’s just that I rarely see common sense being used, let alone advocated or promoted anymore on this subject.

        I found your piece to be a rare, but very welcome, honest approach to what has gone before. I thought it deserved a positive comment.

        Many disagree though, so maybe I’m havering.

        Time to go for glory.

  26. Andy Anderson says:

    There you go again Mike treating my comments flippantly but not accurately, I specifically said that I could not prove that MI5 rigged the postal ballot, but I said that the ballot was rigged by people who had access to Local Government computers. I am still in correspondence with the Electoral Management Board on this subject on behalf of the Democratic Socialist Federation and I have copied a complaint submitted by the DSF onto their web-pages on Facebook.
    You are welcome to examine the complaint we have made, and if you have answers to the many question we have about this ballot please let us hear them because the EBM and the Deputy Counting Officer have not been able to adequately answer us yet.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I will await the Democratic Socialist Federation’s deliberations

    2. Barbara McKenzie says:

      As I have already said, it is important that any electoral discrepancies be sorted out now. That should include all aspects, including looking at MI5 if there is the slightest suspicion of their involvement in the electoral process.

      Anyone who dismisses out of hand the possibility of MI5 involvement in a matter of ‘national interest’ is clearly profoundly ignorant of the role paid by the British secret services in a raft of events ranging from the Iran coup of 1953 to the Arthur Scargill debacle.

      All the best, Andy!

  27. Brian says:

    “Much of this will endure and thrive in the coming years”.
    I’d love to think that will be true. But without a solid framework, clear objectives and funding, it might just melt away.
    A “Multimedia Talk” doesn’t sound like the answer…won’t that just be looking back too?
    Or will it be presenting clear, practical ideas on positive development and results?

  28. This is all about education – as JGedd says the willful disengagement of so many nos was the most depressing thing. Made me feel like a political nutter. Education takes place in lots of different ways and forums – some folk do have light bulb moments, Damascus conversions, others you just have to keep doing what you do and saying what you say and they come to you. The deficit in political education although it has been made up enormously by the yes campaign is still massive. The general election is a new educational and awareness raising focus -an opportunity to exemplify the specific failings about first past the post, the chess game of hung parliaments – the brutal winner takes all Westminster system, and the ant-democratic ancient vestiges of ‘tradtition’,feudalism, the lords and the monarchy { and another royal sprog too} MAy 2015 is most definitely the focus that needs to get the yes movement through to the next pit stop, all the time educating, agitating and organising. Steady the ship and keep the tiller on course me hearties. And is everybody pals again? Please….

  29. arthur thomson says:

    I am beginning to detect some PASSION in the Yes movement. In my opinion we need to develop new attitudes for this next phase of our development along with changes to our vocabulary. The SNP had a strategy based on maintaining a positive attitude for the referendum that was good in itself but not sufficiently varied. We need to add a cutting edge, an attitude which reflects back the attitude of those who have opposed us. We need to verbalise that so far as we are concerned the Referendum is over but that, of course, it was a undemocratic and we are still investigating any possible criminal activities that may have affected it. We need to say that it is time to move on, to deal with the issues of nuclear weapons, foreign wars, poverty, lack of gender equality, the House of Lords, fracking etc. We need to specifically state that we are opposed to such things whereas red, yellow and blue tories are not. When these tories use euphemisms like ‘austerity’ we need to correct them and tell them that the word is ‘poverty’; when they talk about British Values we need to tell them that what they really mean is Victorian values. When they talk about Labour we need to tell them that Labour are ‘has beens’ whose best days were near on a hundred years ago. We need to hammer home that they stand for almost everything we disagree with. We need to stop being coy and be secure in the knowledge that we are no longer a ‘fringe’ outfit – that we are the mainstream and that we are going to use every tactic that their forefathers used to rid Scotland of tory control. We need to feel the yoke lifted off us and live like independent people. When they laugh we need to laugh back and say ‘ah yes, the next few years are going to be very interesting’. These are just little examples, we need to be looking for all the angles to challenge our opponents – because that is what they are. Define or be defined and it is high time we did the defining.

    1. Barbara McKenzie says:

      Lots of good ideas here, Arthur. And protecting the Establishment is still seen as a good in some quarters, so what do we call that? The ruling classes?

    2. Indeed we do! The ruling classes only exist in their own imaginations.
      Yes oh yes I have been waiting for this new way of thinking all my life. I can’t believe it is happening but it really is at last and it is happening so quickly and growing to possibility daily.

  30. arthur thomson says:

    Maybe ‘those who have been the ruling classes’ Barbara. I’m up for exploring all suggestions and ideas that we can fight our corner with. Words and arguments are our weapons in our non-violent struggle for self-government (notice I didn’t say independence though that is what I meant!). We need to hone them and learn how to use them so that they don’t miss the mark. Our opponents have the BBC and other media doing this work for them. I am absolutely confident we can do so much better than they can. Perhaps the major advantage we have is that we can actually be honest – and we must be honest; they are hog tied by their dishonesty and only have dogma, which can be turned against them.

  31. Iain Hill says:

    Community Networks

    Is there now a danger that too many disparate groups, all fizzling with energy, are pushing ahead with their own ideas to ensure that this energy does not dissipate?

    What we should all accept is that independence may be some time off, and a twofold strategy may be needed. First, and obviously, to keep pushing the UK government for progressive devolution of powers, until its resistance crumbles, but secondly, to create a mechanism, perhaps a Community Network (a more resonant name, structures and organisation at national and community level to be decided by those involved), which will aim to coordinate responses and promote action to bring about as many as it can of the initiatives we would have liked an independent government to introduce. This may seem like pie in the sky, but in the 1980s and early 90s I worked for Strathclyde Regional Council, and in some ways the situation was not dissimilar, with an unfriendly UK government restricting us both legally and financially, while we strove to circumvent these restrictions, particularly in areas of deprivation..

    First, we researched painstakingly all the financial alternatives to diminishing central government mainline funding, principally at that time the EU and the Urban Programme. This needs doing again today in respect of the successors to those programmes. The secret was perhaps to find out, through sustained contact, what potential funders really wanted (sometimes they did not know), and design projects which matched their objectives (while sometimes discreetly subverting them). We were astonished just how productive this exercise was, using a combination of cooperative relationships (even flattery) and overt public pressure to gain support for our programmes.

    In a similar way, resting on their already demonstrated claim to understand and represent the needs and the voice of the poorer people in society (eg RICs local groups), this network could engage strongly with local authorities, eg through participative budgeting, through bringing pressure for redirection of council spending on existing programmes within current restrictions, or by mounting joint projects with existing council staff within their current resources. It could champion local needs and give voice where often none exists.

    Coordination of effort is a marvellous thing, but the arrival of a new body with pretensions to get involved, and perhaps even lead, can appear very threatening to people already on the ground, who have done their best, perhaps for years (including sometimes local councillors!). These situations need to be carefully negotiated, so that the newcomers are seen to support, reinforce, resource and collaborate with existing actors, and not to trample all over them.

    These are just preliminary thoughts, and would need sustained effort before they will produce any real benefits, but this kind of initiative can raise morale in areas where it is currently low, and avoid feelings of descent into helplessness. There can also be personal satisfaction for some in (discreetly) resisting government action against working class people.

    Our early council leader, when discussing similar problems, memorably said “There’s more than one way of skinning a cat”. He interpolated additional adjectives, but these are not perhaps relevant to our serious discussion.

    22 October 2014

  32. Andy Anderson says:

    Thanks Barbara, we are pursuing this issue of the postal ballot first of all with the Electoral Management Board who have supplied us with figures we could not find in publication, with the Deputy Count Officer and informing the Scottish Government. We are quite sure that there are ‘problems’ with the reported figures for the postal ballot returns which we believed can be demonstrated to be inaccurate or to confirm that many fake ballot papers went through the security system. The postal ballot system used is wide open to abuse by any organisation which has access to secret Local Government computers, which of course MI5 has. We have no intention of not pursuing this. You can follow our progress on our facebook pages for the Democratic Socialist Federation.

    1. Barbara McKenzie says:

      I have just looked at the DSF page. Did I really think that the purpose of the Yes campaign scrutinising the electoral process was simply to protect itself against fraud next time? i.e. any discrepancies would not have made any difference in September? In my defense, I had not seen the postal voting figures, which are gobsmacking.

      Clearly we should be wary of making the same mistake that the Greek progressive movement made in the ’40s: underestimating the capacity of the British Establishment to pervert the cause of justice in order to further British interests.

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