2007 - 2021

Backing Bella for 2016/17

keyboardactivists.jpgWe’re launching our annual crowd fund appeal today – and asking for your support. We’ve tried to up our game in the last year and have ambitious plans for expanding our content in 2016/17 (see here for a sample of them).

Next month we’ll be producing our first book (in lovely old-fashioned print!), launching our regular club night and producing our first ever podcast. We have plans for a new writers apprenticeship scheme and a ‘blog school’ to help develop and support writers and content creators.


Elaine C Smith has said that:

“Bella Caledonia gives a voice to a huge number of people across Scotland. It provides gathering place for ideas, opinions, thoughts and observations about who we are and where we are going. It offers an alternative view of the way we should and could live as well as allowing a creativity and opinion stifled by the mainstream press and media”. 

Our main aim is to help democratise the media by creating a space for new writers and new voices.  Here’s just some of those we’ve published since 2007:

A. Balharry, A.R. Frith, Abdelaziz Almashi, Adam Ramsay, Adam Weymouth, Adrian Girling, Adrian Martinez, Adrian Searle, Agnieszka Karasiewicz, Aideen McLaughlin, Alan Bisset, Alan McCombes, Alan McIntosh, Alan Smart, Alasdair Mac Gill-eain, Alasdair Nicholson, Alastair Hulbert, Alastair McIntosh, Alda Sigmundsdóttir, Alec Finlay, Alex Bell, Alex Grant, Alex Mooney, Alex Renton, Alex Thomson, Alexandra MacRae, Alf Baird, Alistair Davidson, Alistair Grant, Alistair Heather, Alistair Livingston, Allan Armstrong, Allan Grogan, Allan Whyte, Alyn Smith, An t-Ollamh Ùisdean MacIllInnein, Andrew Anderson, Andrew Barr, Andrew Eaton-Lewis, Andrew Gardiner, Andrew Giles, Andrew Hardie, Andrew O’Hagan, Andrew Whitaker, Andy Muirhead, Andy Wightman, Angela Haggerty, Angharad Tomo, Angus MacLeod, Angus McFaddyen, Anna Arqué i Solsona, Anna McFarlane, AnneMarie Ward, Anni Donaldson, Annie Mackay, Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul, Archie McKay, Arthur Cormack, Ashley Thompson, Athanasios Georgilas, Bailey Hicks, Barrastinian, Basharat Khan, Ben Murray, Ben Wray, Benoit Renaud, Bernadette McAliskey, Bernard Thompson, Bill Boyd, Bill Kidd, Bill Ramsay, Bill Wilson, Billy Kay, Billy Noland, Blair Jenkins, Bob Hamilton, Bonnie Prince Bob, Bram E Gieben, Brian Beadie, Brian Davey, Brian Holton, Brian Quail, Bruno Diaz, Bryan Beattie, Bryce Milligan, Caitlin O’Hara, Callum Baird, Callum McCormick, Calum Cashley, Calum Miller, Calum Stuart, Carla Sassi, Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero, Carol Ann Duffy, Carole Ewart, Carolyn Leckie, Cat Boyd, Cath Ferguson, Catherine Happer, Catriona Maclean, Cecilia Ballesteros, Charlotte Du Cann, Chloe Burges, Chris Bamberry, Chris Cairns, Chris Erskine, Christian Wright, Christian Wulff, Christie Williamson, Christine Hamilton, Christopher Harvie, Christopher Silver, Christos Galanis, Ciaran Healy, Clancy McMahon,  Clare Ferguson, Clare Galloway, Clare MacGillivray, Coco, Colin Fox, Colin Kirkwood, Conor Cheyne, Craig Murray, Craig Paterson, D.J. MacLennan, Daibhidh Rothach, Daniel Mittler, David Eyre, David Graeber, David Greig, David Officer, Deirdre Forsyth, Deirdre Shaw, Derek Bateman, Derek Wall, Dervla Murphy, Des O’Sullivan, Dòmhnall Iain Dòmhnallach, Dominic Hinde, Dominyka Bačanskaitė, Donald Adamson, Donald Urquhart, Doug Daniel, Doug the Dug, Dougald Hine, Dougie Strang, Douglas Alexander (yes really), Douglas Robertson, Douglas Stuart Wilson, Iain MacKinnon, Dr Liza Morton, Dr Oonagh Williamson, Wilson McLeod, E.S. Sandberg, Elaine C Smith, Elaine Morrison, Elaine Mulcahy, Ellenor Hutson, Ellie Dooks, Em Strang, Emily Macintosh, Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi, Ewan Crawford, Ewan Morrison, Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh, Fiona Hyslop,  Fiona MacGregor,  Fiona MacInnes, Flora Napier, Fran Higson, Frances Lengel, Fraser MacDonald, Fraser Stewart, Fuad Alakbarov, Gar Alpervitz, Gary Dunion, George Gunn, George Rosie, Gerry Hassan, Gerry Loose, Gillian Cummings, Grace Murray, Graeme Purves, Grant Thoms, Greg Moodie, Gregor Gall, Gus Abrams, Haniya Khalid, Hannah McGill, Hannah Wallace, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Hazel Frew, Helen Wright, Henry Bell, Hsiao-Hung Pai Huas, Iain Heggie, Iain Macwhirter, Ian Bell, Ian Brotherhood, Idrees Ahmad, Irvine Welsh, Ishbel Flett, Isobel Lindsay, Ivan McKee, Jack Foster, Jackie Kay, James Kelman, James Maxwell, James McEnaney, James Meadway, Jamie Heckert, Jamie Szymkowiak, Janie Nicoll, Jannica Honey, Jay Griffiths, Jayne Calderwood, Jean Urquhart, Jean-Francois Joubert, Jen Stout, Jennifer Dempsie, Jenny Lindsay, Jenny McKiernan, Jessie McLaughlin, Jim and Margaret Cuthbert, Jim Monaghan, Jim Sillars, Jim Slaven, Jo Clifford, Joan McAlpine, John Aberdein, John McAllion, John S Warren, Johnny Gailey, Jonathan Mackie, Jonathan Rimmer, Jonathan Rowson, Jonathon Shafi, Jordan Daly, Joyce McMillan, Julia Macintosh, Juliet Swan, Justin Kenrick, Karen Campbell, Karen Emslie, Kate Gallogly-Swan, Kate Higgins, Kate Samuel, Katherine Trebeck, Kathleen Jamie, Katie Mackenzie, Kevin McKenna, Kevin Williamson, Kimberley Cadden, Kirsten Han, Kirsten Stirling, Kirsty McAlpine, Kirsty Strickland,  Lallands Peat Worrier,  Lang Banks, Laura Cameron Lewis, Leanne Wood, Leigh French, Lesley Docksey, Lesley Riddoch, Liam O’Hare, Liam Stevenson, Loki, London Clay, Lorraine Fannin, Louise Ramsay, Lucy Conway, Lynn Hancock, Maggie Chapman, Maggie Mellon, Magnus Jamieson, Mairi Campbell-Jack, Mairi McFadyen, Malachy Tallack, Mandy Meikle, Marc Savlov, Margaret Woods, Mark Buckland, Mark Cousins, Mary Ann Kennedy, Mary Church, Matthew Fitt, Maya Wind, Mayte Carrasco, Meaghan Delahunt, Mhairi McAlpine, Mhairi McGregor, Mhairi McLellan, Michael Gardiner, Michael Gray, Michael Greenwell, Michael Hance, Michel Bauwens, Mike Small, Moira Dalgetty, Moira Kinross, Murdo Macdonald, Nathan Sparling, Neal Ascherson, Neil Cooper, Neil Davidson, Neil Gray, Niki Seth-Smith, Nine, Pasta and Chips, Pat Kane, Patrick Scott Hogg, Paul Mason, Peter Arnott, Peter Burnett, Peter Geoghegan, Peter McColl, Peter Ramand, Petra Reid, Petrie Hosken, Phantom Power, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain, Poppy Kohner,  Prof Jim Gallagher,  R. Eric Swanepoel, Rachel McCormack, Rachel Ormston, Ray Bell, Ray Burnett, Rebecca Nada-Rajah, Robert J Somynne, Robin McAlpine, Rona Dhòmhnallach, Roseanne Watt, Rosie Kane, Ruairidh MacÌomhair, Ruairidh MacIver, Ruth Wishart, Saffron Dickson, Sara Sheridan, Scott Hames, Shaun Burnie, Sheena Blackhall, Sigrun Davidsdottir, Simon Barrow, Smári McCarthy, Sophie Cooke, Stan Blackley, Stephen Paton, Stewart Bremner, Stuart Christie, Stuart Cosgrove, Sue Wilson, Suki Sangha, Susan Pettie, Svenja Meyerricks,  Talat Yaqoob,  Tammas Clark, Vonny Moyes, William Mohieddeen, Zara Kitson.


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Comments (38)

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  1. Bibbit says:

    I supported you last time you asked but I can’t back you again. Your site has become too intolerant, holier than though and judgemental for me to endorse e.g. too anti SNP, too anti-Wings etc. It’s a shame. I’ll still read you from time to time but I don’t read you half as much as I used to.

    1. Millionaires_Shortbread says:

      “Your site has become too intolerant”

      “too anti-SNP”

      “too anti-Wings etc.”

      The site has become “too intolerant” – of what?

      It sounds like you’re the one struggling to tolerate anyone / thing that conflicts with, or has the temerity to challenge your own myopic, sealed echo-chamber worldview.

      Or is this the ‘letting the cause down’ thing?

      “The Cause cannot Fail. The Cause can only BE FAILED.” Tomorrow Belongs to Me etc. etc.

      1. Bibbit says:

        This is exactly the kind of ‘holier than thou’ intolerance I am referring to. Thank you.

        1. John says:

          Like you Bibbit I also contributed the last time and I must say this time I am in two minds . For me it was the division Bella caused during the election , putting across different ideas of how to vote . It deprived us of a majority government because it confused people . I always thought Bella was there to help us on our way to independence , to encourage debate , to guide us so we could get there as soon as possible , now I am not totally convinced .You are trying too hard to be left wing intellectuals Bella , get back to your roots .

          1. Hi John – thanks very much for backing us before. Your description: “Bella was there to help us on our way to independence, to encourage debate, to guide us so we could get there as soon as possible” is pretty much spot-on.

            I suppose where we differ is that some other sites focus exclusively on one party as the road map to independence and we think the issues are more complex than that.

            I’d ask you to read the list of writers in the blog above and ask yourself where else has such diversity?

            From our very beginnings a decade ago till the end we have independence at our very core. We think its fair enough to hold a forum for this debate. Ultimately if people just want to support the blogs and writers who support the SNP exclusively then I guess we will close down. We should know within a few weeks.

        2. John Page says:

          I wonder if millionaires is a troll? Trying to stir……

          Everyone is entitled to their view but I think Bella provides a wealth of cultural, environmental and political stimulation that I enjoy immensely. Definitely worth supporting out of the money I have saved by cancelling the TV licence after IndyRefNo.1


          John Page

    2. Shen says:

      I AGREE .. But we the people pay for this, so we need to make this a point on the front page, what does Bella stand for ? And why are people pissed off with Bella like myself included ? Where do we go from here before we starve what can be a great platform for Scotland ? My twenty quid is on hold right now .. Bella’s choice to think why they may have to re-think .. maybe ?

      1. Hi Shen
        thanks for supporting us in the past.

        Here’s a brief statement on what we stand for:

        Following the idea ‘don’t hate the media become the media’ – you can write for us – share us – support us. We have had over 3 million readers, 45 thousand followers on Twitter and a Facebook Group with over 12,500 members. We have a Vimeo channel with short films and interviews and an Instagram account with photography by Jannica Honey. We are just launching a new series of ebooks, this first ‘War is Coming’ by Gordon Guthrie.

        We have published hundreds of writers over the last decade: Irvine Welsh, Vonny Moyes, Christopher Silver, Alan Bissett, Jay Griffiths, Jen Stout, Kathleen Jamie, Stuart Cosgrove, Katie Gallogly-Swan, George Gunn, Saffron Dickson, Kirsty Strickland, Robin McAlpine, Alda Sigmundsdóttir, John Warren, Alec Finlay, Andy Wightman, Caitlin O’Hara, Shaun Burnie, Smári McCarthy, Wilson McLeod, Hannah McGill, Svenja Meyerricks, Cat Boyd, Darren McGarvey (aka Loki), Douglas Robertson, Haniya Khalid, Justin Kenrick, Karen Emslie, Yiannis Baboulias, Kirsten Han, Jack Ferguson, Alastair McIntosh, Alistair Davidson, Lesley Riddoch, Dougie Strang, Laura Cameron Lewis, Kevin Williamson, Meaghan Delahunt, Jenny Lindsay, Peter Arnott, Fiona Ferguson, Lauren Currie, DJ MacLennan, Pat Kane, Ruairidh Maciver, Daibhidh Rothach, Rona Dhòmhnallach, Billy Kay, Matthew Fitt and many others.

        We publish in three languages, having started our Gaelic and Scots language columns in 2014. We believe that you can’t really separate culture and politics – that’s why we’ve produced an album ‘Songs for Scotland’ (you can buy it here http://www.allcelticmusic.com/music/a922bede-2716-11e4-b5de22000b2f8c8d/Bella_Caledonia%3A_Songs_for_Scotland_the_Album.html) and a concert. You can watch it here:


        We produced four issues of a print magazine called Closer, you can download a copy here: https://dev.bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/09/15/closer-and-closer/ – or we can send you a printed copy. We hold regular live gigs and events for members and supporters, including this one (https://dev.bellacaledonia.org.uk/2015/09/18/bella-glasgow-fundraiser/) with Ricky Ross, Karine Polwart, Loki and Becki Wallace.

        We’re not aligned to any one political party but believe in self-determination for Scotland. Only then will a country disfigured by poverty and inequality be re-born. Only independence can bring democracy. The British State is irredeemable.

        We are – as we seem to have been constantly in recent years – at a historic and epic political moment. We believe that renewing, reclaiming and re-imagining the media is a key part of the democratic revolution that’s taking hold in Scotland and beyond

  2. Hi Bibbit, this is from Joan MCAlpine, MSP (SNP):

    “Bella Caledonia was a trailblazer for independent online media in Scotland. Now we have a plurality of sparky blogs and netzines focussed on Scotland and its future. It has not always been so. Bella was one of the first and, for a while, one of the few to offer a cultured, left of centre, pro-indie space to dream, protest….and plan. While I don’t agree with everything it publishes, I am forever glad it was there at the beginning, opening a door which many others rushed through. Now it has competitors, which reflects the health of the democratic debate. But we cannot take such intellectual diversity for granted. Editing a magazine whether online or in print requires stamina and imagination to ensure some kind of consistent quality – and keep up those page views. It also requires money…so I warmly endorse the latest fundraiser. “

    Joan McAlpine MSP

    1. Bibbit says:

      Fine, Joan, on your MSP salary of £60,685 (plus all your expenses taken care of also), you can afford to bung charities quite a lot. So why don’t you and all your 68 other SNP MSP cohorts donate £724 each to Bella, instead of preaching from the Mount? Then the rest of us who are not on such elevated wages can save our money to buy food, pay our bills, in a way you don’t have to worry about anymore?

  3. AJM says:

    I don’t agree with some of the decisions Bella Caledonia makes but it’s been an essential part of our new media since 2007 and many minds have been turned on to the need for Scottish independence because of it. We need Bella to continue for a diverse and healthy debate.

  4. John says:

    Hi Bella
    Thank you for your reply .Don’t misunderstand me , I think Bella does some fine work and I would not like to see you go under . You are correct in what you say about your diversity , and no, there is no other sites that provide such a mix .My sole gripe was the election . I do wish you well for the future and I am very sure you will have a bright one .

  5. Flower of Scotland says:

    I won’t be contributing this time either. I was blocked from your Facebook page for debating (with useful information) about the Named Person. It was all very offensive!

    I think some of your articles in the run up to the election were very divisive.

    I don’t read your blog anymore, but saw this crowdfunder on Facebook and thought you might like to know my reasons for you losing me.

    1. Thanks that’s very helpful. We have set up a Facebook group of over 12,500 members thats run by dedicated volunteers. I think we’ve blocked about 150 people over many years. No-one is blocked without good reason.

      1. Flower of Scotland says:

        I’ve never been blocked from anything else. I was blocked for putting up some web pages with information about the Named Person. I have never been offensive on any site.
        This is the attitude that stops me from contributing anymore.

        However I wish you luck with your crowdfunder.

  6. Kenny Smith says:

    I will contribute when and how much I can. I can totally understand where people are coming from when they say they were turned off during the election and the spats inside the movement in my opinion only, really did get over blown here. There was times I went on Bella and just couldn’t bring myself to read some of the articles on it. If I’m honest it has slipped down the pecking order. I understand you can’t please everyone but there did seem to be a “we know better attitude” at times. That being said it still remains a great platform for debate with some really important Scottish issues and international views that I would never come across in the MSM. Also the quality of the comments posted are sometimes the best bits, even when the trolls try to upset things the retorts are usually bang on. There’s nothing wrong with diversity but rubbing people up the wrong way will drive people away. I know you will say you won’t abandon your principles and I respect that but there is times I read articles and wonder if independence is really some of the authors main goal, some come across as agent provocateurs. That being said I still think Bella folding could be a start of the momentum of the yes movement fizzling out and that would dissapoint me more than reading a Loki article

    1. Thanks Kenny, we’ll take all feedback on board. The reality is that we a platform for ideas, all sorts of ideas often beyond the constitution and about how we transform Scotland. We have always believed that the single central issue is about power and sovereignty: independence, ruling our own country. But we believe that this is a rich and multi-layered debate. We will close if we dont get support. If you want a rich and diverse set of ideas and provocative thinking then we’ll need more than a series of blogs who just say one thing. I hope you will support us to continue. Thanks again for commenting.

  7. John Page says:

    Hi Bella
    Can you please check if the facility to pay via Indiegogo by credit card is working?
    John Page

  8. Rentaghost says:

    I think this site is invaluable. Wings, what ever you think of Campbell, is a good site but narrowly defined: a watchdog against unthinking media bias written in a fantastically entertaining and vitriolic tone. Hugely important but WoS and Bella have little overlap, likewise Bella and Scot Goes Pop who’s remit is opinion polling mostly. Wee Ginger Dug and Lalland’s Peat Worrier are maybe closer in terms of writing, but represent the personal views of one person by and large.

    Bella is an umbrella for opinion. It explores the space where we want society to go. It offers a range of opinion,. some of it infuriating (Loki and his ‘your only working class if your like me’ Schtick) but that’s great, you’ve also got great contributors like Peter Arnott who I always look for. This site get’s me thinking about aspects of our future and our present in ways I probably wouldn’t ordinarily. I didn’t like the seeming RISE bias as much as anyone, but blaming Bella for splitting the vote is absurd. Everyone’s vote was there own and everyone did it for different reasons.

    It’d be a damn shame if this site closed. It’s the best aggregator of left of centre, progressive opinion in Scotland. It makes you think and question, even when you disagree – and that’s never been a bad thing.

    1. Toz says:

      Rentaghost, this is similar to the post I intended to write, though I couldn’t have worded it so succinctly! The day I only want to read about my own prejudices and cannot be open to others thinking I will join the Tory Party and start reading the Daily Mail. I want an Independant Scotland that is open to debate and free thinking even If I ultimately disagree with those thoughts

    2. Anton says:

      Rentaghost – Well said.

      Bella infuriates me from time to time. But, as you say, it makes me think and question, even when I disagree. It’s a valuable resource which I wouldn’t want to disappear for lack of funds.

  9. Dave Leslie says:

    what a great list of writers! who knew it was so many? I like the diverse opinions and ideas, and I’ll be continuing to contribute, but not via Indiegogo, they’re on my black list for some pretty bad behaviour.

    1. It’s actually only about half of the actual writers. Thanks very much for your support, much appreciated however you do it!

  10. Onwards says:

    I contributed last time, but now in 2 minds.
    I don’t want to see this site fold, but as an SNP member I think Bella contributed to taking the shine off the party over the last year, and helped with spreading complacency regarding an SNP majority on constituency seats alone – despite clear warnings of the risks involved.

    Promoting the minority RISE party was a total disaster, and by the end of the election campaign we saw some of their supporters actively campaigning against the SNP rather than unionist parties. And damaging articles appearing here that could have been held back until after the election.. I just fail to see how attacking the SNP from the far left and spreading disillusionment with their moderate social democratic approach makes independence more likely.

    Now we have the Greens holding the balance of power and as we can see from Tory gloating, it seems like a lot of momentum has gone. They certainly don’t regard the Greens as serious about indy, or as any sort of credible mandate for a future second referendum should the opportunity arise. Perhaps the Greens will prove everyone wrong and promote independence a bit more enthusiastically. We will see.

    But we are now likely to have the Greens vote against the APD proposal to boost tourism in Scotland – one of the few useful new powers that could grow our economy. To make independence more feasible and to replace falling North sea income, we have to actively try to grow the economy here – not just raise income taxes and halt road building.

    I suppose I would like to see Bella take a more moderate and pragmatic approach to independence, not just appear to be a platform for the ‘radical’ left.

    1. RISE were statistically and electorally completely unimportant.

      We promote ideas from a range of pro-indy parties, movements, projects and platforms.

      It’s what we have always done and what we will always do.

      If you supported us before we were doing that then.

      Nothing has changed.

    2. Redgauntlet says:

      It was the SNP who took the shine off the SNP, Onwards, by not implementing their manifesto commitment to replace Thatcher’s council tax…

      …you come on here a lot for somebody who doesnay want to chip in…like a gatecrasher at a party who doensay even bring any bevy….huh?

      1. Onwards says:

        They reformed it instead of replacing it. Big deal.
        Independence is far more important to me than council tax funding or any other single issue.

        Have you chipped in Redgauntlet ?
        Like I say, I contributed last year, but it feels a bit like punching myself in the face now.
        I take it you are happy the SNP lost their majority.

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Onwards, the only tax which is ethical is a tax on income, so, sorry, the SNP reform of the Council Tax fell far short of what was required; the SNP themselves had described the Council Tax as “unfair”, and so can be considered hoist on their own petard in this case.

          I am pleased there is a pro indie majority in the Scottish parliament, and one which more faithfully reflects the diverse strands of pro independent Scotland than the SNP alone could do. I would like to have seen more independent candidates in the mix, and broaden the indie movement rather than narrowing it to one party.

          Which is why I have been donating to Bella for many years now., because Bella is the broadest of all pro indie sites. Sometimes I disagree with Bella too, but it has become an indispensable window on progressive Scotland, and, by the way, allows exchanges like the ones you and I have had of late, which is surely healthy.


          1. Onwards says:

            ok fair enough, Ultimately we all want the same thing. we just differ on the most effective way to get there.

  11. pipe dreamer says:

    “Thatcher’s council tax” introduced in 1993w

    margaret thatcher Prime minister to 1990……

  12. Frank says:

    I am thinking about contributing something as I value this space in social media and I appreciate that nothing is really free. Some of the best pieces I have read on social media come from this site and I like the fact that unlike Wings Bella provides articles critical of the SNP. My only concern is that Bella stays politically neutral. I know Bella didn’t officially endorse Rise in the election but a lot of the coverage was uncritical and sometimes a regurgitation of Rise press releases. Given that Rise was so small and as we now know electorally irrelevant the disproportionate coverage seemed like political support. Having said that this is still the best site for political commentary.

    1. Thanks – all feedback appreciated (as are all donations!)

  13. David Sangster says:

    I like the way Bella not only features good writing, but also functions through links as a hub for directing readers to a wide range of articles elsewhere. Being a lazy sod myself, I do appreciate this invaluable service. More power to your elbow(s)!

  14. Broadbield says:

    I enjoyed many articles on Bella, particularly from John S Warren who is always clinical, forensic and analytical, but I turned off after the ill-advised and, frankly, mean-spirited attack on some of our best bloggers by the Editor. As Bibbit said at the top, there is a “holier than thou” attitude and a drip drip attempt to belittle others in some of the editorials which I can do without. Sorry, although I’ve contributed to other sites and causes I won’t be doing so here.

    1. Broadbield says:

      Just noticed I made a contribution last June.

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