Out for indy

I don’t often comment on Guardian articles, but did the other day. It was in reply to a particularly annoying and persistent clueless Unionist who wanted to know what independence supporters were “most insulted by”. I replied I was most insulted by Unionist trolls who are all over the Guardian’s Scottish comment threads like a manic depressive Ian Paisley at a Gay Pride march. The comment was removed, no doubt because it was considered an example of egregious cybernat monstering, or possibly was considered offensive to Ian Paisley, or both.

But I was telling lies, evil cybernat lies, lies of the sort you’ll never ever find in the august pages of a respected national newspaper, oh no. Not the bit about Unionist trolls being like a manic Ian Paisley at a Gay Pride march, because that bit is true, it’s the bit about being most insulted by the hobby Unionists who post below the article. All too often the article itself is way more insulting. This is especially true if it’s a Guardian editorial, a paper which dishes out insulting flavoured with extra seasonings of hypocrisy and a crunchy topping of sanctimonious. I was being unfair to the troll, because whoever writes Guardian leaders is like Fred Phelps after snorting a line of speed the length of the M25. Which is also the circumference of a Guardian leader writer’s mental universe.

On Friday the Guardian published an editorial which managed to squeeze into one short article just about every slur, stereotype and lie about the referendum campaign, and which – without any apparent shred of self-awareness – was entitled Scottish referendum: Accentuate the positive. It then went on to accuse yes supporters of whipping up anti-English sentiment, abuse, and general nastiness, praised the “grassroots” Vote Nob Orders astroturf, and called on Unionists to start making a “more” positive case. Which makes it sound as though they have a baseline of positivity to work from. Not that the Guardian’s leader writer attempted to give a positive case, he or she was just making another addition to the increasingly lengthy list of politicians and leader writers who call on someone else to make a positive case for them. Now we know what a collective failure of imagination looks like. Just read a Guardian editorial about Scotland.

There’s little point deconstructing the piece. It would be like deconstructing soiled toilet paper. You already know it’s full of shit. Poking through it only makes you feel dirty, even with marigold gloves and a claes peg on your nose.

Some people insist that printing such lies, misinformation and arrant nonsense is evidence of a conspiracy against Scottish independence. That’s not to say that the British state is not secretly pulling whatever strings it can behind the media curtains, because it certainly is. But those with a direct line to secret services handler are relatively few in number. Most of the crap originates in the universal human propensity to focus on any auld shite that happens to confirm an existing prejudice and ignore everything that doesn’t.

It’s like the anti-gay bible bashers of Ian Paisley’s and Fred Phelps’ ilk, they scream verses from the Bible which prohibit marching down Bath Street waving a Rainbow saltire hand in hand with your same-sex beloved, but then they’ll go to McDonalds and munch on a cheeseburger. The verses in the same chapter of the Bible prohibiting eating meat and dairy products together don’t apply to people who think Jesus tells them to hate. Better Together works in a similar way and so its message is eagerly lapped up by those predisposed to believe it, and who have a vested interest in continuing to believe it – such as Guardian leader writers and certain Labour party cooncillors.

Ah but ah but, our Ian Paisley impersonating Unitroll would say – all that applies to independence supporters too. You just believe what that alicsammin tells you and he’s a liar and he eats too many pies and wears tartan troosers that you’ve paid for with no currency because you can’t use the pound so he can go on holiday with Putin and plot how to rid Europe of bearded Austrian drag queens who win the Eurovision Song Contest – because that’s how evil he is and so must you be as well. Ah ha. Or words to that effect.

There may well be a small minority of people who would still prefer independence even if it did mean we’d all be living in caves without any friends. Not that I’ve ever met any. And I’m sure there is also a tiny minority of people who believe every single word that a politician utters. Not that I know any of those either, but they do exist. Usually they’re politicians’ grannies. Although with some even that’s a stretch.

The real difference is that for most people who want independence, a belief in it is something that they arrived at after a period of doubt and questioning. They sought evidence, they compared sources, they reflected upon it and discussed it with people whose opinions they trusted. We’ve been lied to by the mainstream media and politicians so often and for so long that they no longer enjoy the authority they once did, and the Internet allows information to be searched for, sourced, and made accessible in a way that was never possible before. And then that information can be passed on.

The Unionist position is the default position. It’s a position that went unchallenged for so long that those who hold it no longer realised it was a position at all. It was like heterosexuality. It was the normal against which everything else was judged abnormal. Scotland’s learned that other normalities are possible. And achievable. While supporting independence is not like being gay, it is a lot like taking the decision to come out of the closet. It’s taking a leap of faith in yourself and in your own possibilities. Scotland is the country that’s coming out of the closet.

The Unionist media is reacting in the same way now as the homophobic editorials of old. The media demonisation of independence supporters is a surreal experience for those of us who have been here before. Gay and lesbian people lived through all this in the 1980s. Newspaper editorials then were full of wilfully ignorant fulminations about evil pariahs who wanted to break up the traditional family. Now take the preceding sentence and just add the words “of nations” – and you’re describing 2014.

But when the establishment demonises and misrepresents you, when it issues increasingly hysterial threats and bluster about all the dire consequences that will come to pass, the wrath of Ian Paisley’s God that will smite you for being a drag queen with a beard or a supporter of Scottish independence, it tells you something important. It tells you that you should not be afraid. You are scaring them. They are afraid of you. You are the powerful one in this equation.

I’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating. Gay and lesbian people are always going to be a minority, but we won the campaign for legal equality because we came out of the closet in large numbers from the 1980s onwards. We faced up to those who demonised us and refused to be afraid. And in turn that meant more and more straight people who previously had no reason to think about the homophobic attitudes of the law or social convention found that they actually knew “one of them”, and were often related to “one of them”.  For the first time they had to examine their own attitudes.  And that’s what wrote a new normality.

Independence supporters are not a small minority. We’re everywhere, we’re in everyone’s family. Independence supporters can be demonised in the pages of newspaper editorials and television studios. But they can’t be demonised where it matters, in the social circles and networks of family and friends of independence supporters. Those are the people who’re most likely to have a vote. The more of us who come out of the Unionist closet, the more we establish the new normality of a Scotland where other paths can be trodden. Where, dare I say it, we can dae it oor wey.

So say it loud, say it proud. I’m out for indy.


33 comments on “Out for indy

  1. RobertTyreBute says:

    Absolutely outstanding Paul! If I wasn’t in Vietnam at the moment (where the govt block Twitter access – WM take note), I’d be sharing this far and wide. You consistently deliver commentary that exposes the No side’s lies spouted by their MSM lackeys.

  2. Absolutely agree, Paul. I’ve taken a couple of friends aback by telling them I’m voting Yes and then we’ve discussed the subject, with passion but without either side ranting.

    Have RTed about your house. Your mother sounds like a very wise woman!

  3. macart763m says:

    A beaut to start the week with. There’s no truth like a home truth.

    I spend a chunk of time on the old Graun. Upon a time I’d say it even reflected a value or two of mine, though those days are long past I’m afraid. Today I see it as possibly the most dishonest of all titles. Supposedly considered the home of Liberal thought, on the subject of Scottish independence its editorial these days can be as offensively right wing as the Mail. In fact they’ve even borrowed the odd Mail editorial recently on the subject and certainly don’t hesitate to quote from it.

    At least with the loony right titles you get what you see on the tin. They don’t pretend to be anything they’re not. I considered chucking visiting a while back, so angered by their blatant editorial line and pretence at social conscience. Then I had a think again as the indy bloggers sites began to take off. You’ll know yourself Paul that there are quite a few indy supportive regulars on the threads. Many still Graun readers despite the title’s best efforts to alienate and misrepresent us. I reckoned what better way to introduce some balance than by punting the articles of our own alternative sites on line?

    I used to have a right old rant at the Graun’s editorials in months past. These days I turn up to support a few friends and pass links. If the odd more interested and thoughtful bod from from their readership clicks on those links and pays our favourite sites a visit, who knows maybe they’ll learn something? Maybe, just maybe they’ll see through the line being spun by the MSM and it’ll make them pause. More importantly what it will do is spread the word that there’s two sides to every story and that we have talented and insightful commentators too.

  4. Andy Nimmo says:

    Well said Your Dugginess.

    Can I also add that it bears comparison to people with learning disabilities coming out of their institutions to live a new life in the community. So so many professionals stated it would never work – too many of them cos they wanted to retain the control and power over other peoples’ lives.

    Read more – ‘My Sweet Lord –

    Oh I can just imagine the Daily Wail ‘journalists’ ecstacy – “Evil Cybernat claims all Scots are mentally deficient”

  5. diabloandco says:

    An excellent start to my day! Both you and Newsnet have crystalised my thoughts on the shameless ,lying drivel that is the MSM.

    I felt a tad impotent after yesterdays , couldn’t think how to help but there has to be somebody out there who loves sun , sea and sangria enough to want to buy into it so I posted a wee advert on Wings!

  6. ferdinand francino says:

    Another gem, thanks.

    Every idea that conflicts with what is considered normality or consensus provokes resistance from the status quo, this isn’t new. You talk from one experience, I’m thinking suffragettes would agree from another angle, as would slaves but that’s longer back. And then there’s this dude who got in trouble for stating the world revolved around the sun and not the other way around. But the resistance by the status quo, form and intensity, depends on their mindset, on how secure they feel. Galileo got in trouble, but he wasn’t even the first one to propose this revolutionary idea. Copernicus beat him to it but didn’t get in trouble at all. Different times, status quo already under (different) pressures, can’t have this one as well. Burn, heretic.
    So, the more stressed the status quo is, the more endangered it feels, the more virulent their oppression of alternative ideas. The worst is yet to come. Which might be a good thing, a bigger gun to shoot themselves in the foot with.
    Anyhow, i didn’t figure this out by myself, its from an essay by Paul Graham titled ‘what you can’t say’. It’s an interesting read about moral fashions and taboos (and how to find them).
    It lives here:

    • JGedd says:

      I agree entirely. You said what I was going to say which saves me the bother. I don’t know the essay but i will certainly read it. Thanks for the link.

      It is quite striking how similar are the behaviour patterns of human groups. Individuals are often more predictable but it seems that the bigger the group set the simpler the behaviour model and just as Paul found, when the dominating set feels threatened, they behave in the same predictable ways. It is so with gender issues, with race issues etc.

      As well as the poisonous attacks by the media who are part of the dominating establishment group we have the other fall back position which is to claim victimhood. So we have the reiterated complaints that the attackers are themselves being attacked – the traditional family is being undermined, for example, in the case of gays and feminists. In the circumstance of the present referendum we can see the parallels in the claims of being silenced or ” monstered ” by evil cybernats. This from a media which swamps us with one-sided propaganda!

      The trouble is that it tends to be those who are being misrepresented who notice. Those comfortable within the citadel do not. Until the day when they might find themselves part of a targeted out-group. We are each of us in some minority or other after all. Perhaps the hidden fear of being ” outed ” in our own particular unorthodoxy makes many human beings so anxious to abandon their individuality to a majority mind set.

      ( There I did go on and I didn’t mean to. Sorry. )

  7. john says:

    Lol you got blocked….. like you did me…..hypocrisy….

  8. Ah said on Friday, because of yir day aff, Monday’s contribution better be worth the wait, it is.

  9. JimnArlene says:

    I’m all out for Indy. I read that article too, or most of it, gave up the will to live, well the will to keep reading how shite we are.

  10. Eilean says:

    I am please to say that I have converted a couple of previous Labour voters to voting for Yes. I only wish that it were more. Unfortunately I am having to enter a second phase with my converts. they think that now they have converted that, that is enough. they can forget about it till Sept. 18th. Phase two is otherwise known as the “Haud oan a minute” tactic. This campaign is way too important to just sit on your backside and wait for polling day.

    Not everyone will want to deliver newspapers or leaflets. Or man a Yes stall at the weekend for that matter and that is fine. I think that it is important that we all get visible (wear a badge) and get informed. You just never know when the opportunity will arise to make a conversion.

    It suits the agenda of the unionists to portray independence supporters as tartan clad, haggis munching, blue facepainted, swivel-eyed loonies that couldn’t run a bath never mind a country. All we have to do to counter that myth is to demonstrate to those around us and more specifically those that matter that we are anything but.

    We are independence, we are normal!

    • Helena Brown says:

      My Badge is on, I am no big person on the converting line but the car got it’s own wee badge too and we have a replacement in case someone takes it off. Brother in Law had a stock of wee YES badges, magnetic for pittin on the car in his shop in Penicuik, anyone needing one Motivation is the place. Says they are going like hot cakes.

  11. Capella says:

    It’s quite hard to track down on Youtube as it is deleted quite regularly, but this video about “The 4th Branch of the government” is more accurate than most of what the MSM spout daily. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7AM-SYMA8s

  12. bjsalba says:

    I made the mistake of going to read the actual editorial. Bad move until I got to the part about the Milliband visit. I am sorry, but I burst out laughing at the idea that Labour would be in power at the next General election or that his promising (as you so aptly put it) devo-diddlysquat would turn the tide.

    And if the move to Yes has slowed down, why are they not crowing about it and publishing the poll figures to prove it?

    • James Coleman says:

      They are basing the mythical slowdown on a few recent polls which still show NO with a large lead but neglect to mention the steady increase in YES in those polls over time, not to mention the outright finagling and spinning (but strangely low key) of last Sunday’s Poll for the D Heil. It is a concerted effort to try to stall momentum in YES by media and BT and must be resisted.

      And I wonder if the rumours about an excellent poll for YES being held back are true. We’ll never know unless there’s a leak.

  13. James Coleman says:

    You really are a powerful writer who deserves to be much more widely read. I’m glad your on the YES side. Could you do more if you had more cash? I’m willing to donate to a crowd funding exercise for you and I’m sure many more would do too. What about re-publishing your articles in Wings, NNS, Bella et al and even Scottish Review?

    • weegingerdug says:

      Thank you for the offer and the kind words, but there’s nothing productive I could do with extra cash. I’d just spend it on toys for me and the dug. If you want to donate, please give your money to someone who can do something useful with it – like NNS, Wings or Bella.

  14. yerkitbreeks says:

    Excellent piece as usual. I would like to take issue though with your assertion ” The real difference is that for most people who want independence, a belief in it is something that they arrived at after a period of doubt and questioning. They sought evidence, they compared sources, they reflected upon it and discussed it with people whose opinions they trusted. ”

    My reasons are twofold and of course anecdotal. I would regard myself as reasonably educated, but I took to reading books such as Blossom and The Claim of Scotland AFTER what I suspect has been a lifelong desire to see my Nation as Independent, was crystallised, and I have no wish whatsoever to read any tomes that might try to persuade me otherwise. I think such a Eureka moment will come to many in the days, hours or minutes prior to the cross going into the box on the 18th.

    Secondly from my limited canvassing experience I suspect many to whom I have spoken on the doorstep simply haven’t faced the thought of such a moment, but I am heartened to think the likelihood of a large turnout will make them inevitable, and thus produce a YES.

  15. Papadox says:

    Thanks Paul excellent as usual.

    I went for a haircut and the guy who cuts my hair eventually mentions the referendum and how I felt about it. Told him straight I was 100% YES.

    The usually talkative Irishman never spoke another word, just stared at me as he gave me my change. Had to ask my wife when I got home how the back looked. It was that obvious, I felt ten feet tall.

  16. I’m bitterly disappointed with the Guardian and its Establishment line on the Referendum. It’s now so bad that I expect to see pieces written by the execrable David Aaronovitch published in it any day now!

  17. andygm1 says:

    Paul, if the Guardian had a backbone, they’d publish this article on CiF.

    Unfortunately they don’t.

  18. YESGUY says:

    glad to have you back Paul. Great piece really enjoyed it.

    When my niece told me and my brothers she was gay , i expected a wee bit of back chat or even anger. ” as long as your happy hen” was their comments and thats all that matters. My youngest brother said and i quote ” If you can find love even for a wee while grab it it with both hands ”

    I was and still am very proud of my family. The MSM play on anything to divide us but in truth they are a minority , a loud one but a minority all the same and getting smaller every day.


  19. Helena Brown says:

    Two friends who I knew were gay have been together longer than my Husband and I have, never bothered me. I also had neighbours over the fence who also were openly gay but by then you had to be pretty mixed up to bother. They have two beautiful children in their care and will be great fathers. Only those with some sort of affliction seem to be bothered and I have to say my straight laced Mother made my day when she used to talk about her boys that she met and befriended in Tenerife, now if you would have said way back in the day she would have turned out to be so liberal, I would have said no way.
    I used to comment on both the Independent and the Guardian and I have to say that all us horrible Cybernats kept the heid pretty well under a torrent of abuse. I gave it up when I realised I was paying for the advertising and I wasn’t getting anywhere with the other side. I leave it now to those with a stronger stomachs.
    Another excellent pageful Paul, you make my day. In fact I was moaning how much I missed you when I was told by Hubby your were back on Sunday.

  20. Pentland Firth says:

    I always enjoy your articles, but this is outstanding.

    Many people have never questioned the Union because they’ve never been required to think about it before. It’s been for them an unthinking default position, an unexamined part of their mental furniture. Challenged by family, friends, and work colleages to examine the utility of the familiar Unionist furniture, more and more folk are coming to realise that it no longer suits their needs. They decide to throw it out of the house, and find sometimes to their surprise that their neighbours have made the same decision. As more and more broken UK chairs end up in the street waiting for the scaffies to arrive on 19th September, other neighbours will start to consider whether they too should be getting rid of the rickety old UK junk and replace it with comfortable furniture they’ve designed themselves to suit modern requirements.

  21. […] I don't often comment on Guardian articles, but did the other day. It was in reply to a particularly annoying and persistent clueless Unionist who wanted to know what independence supporters were "…  […]

  22. WRH2 says:

    Independence is just normal, so normal that I admit I can’t understand why anyone would want to vote No. To me its just weird that anybody wouldn’t want Scotland to shape its own destiny, daein it oor wey! What’s not to like.

  23. Deedee says:

    Great article Paul, I’m out for Indy too! Had lost the will to live yesterday after a five hour (yes 5 hour!) debate with my friends man on Saturday night (well midnight til 5am, maybe not the best timing to be fair). He is a Labour man, always has been and “I’m no changing to SNP”. I was about banging my head of the wall with his sheer ignorance (and he’s actually not stupid) but he’s just not getting it. When I eventually said so you’d rather vote No and have 5 maybe 10 more years of the Tories (and possibly UKIP chucked into the mix) he said “Aye” I’m just like FML honestly.- think I eventually persuaded him to at least have a look at LFI but that’s as much as I could do – I tried but this is actuaslly what we are up against as well as MSM : ( So your article today cheered me up and I’m back to positive again : )))

  24. K1 says:

    Brilliant piece, what talent and diversity our country has, it’s like we’re all waking up together now. As you say Paul, it was back in the eighties when the onslaught by the msm on gay people went into hyperdrive in the wake of the impact of AIDS. Our newspapers and news reports filled with the demonisation of homosexuals, you clearly recall the biblical metaphors, the references to God’s ‘punishment’ for our ‘sin’ of homosexuality. Thousands of young men dying, no compassion was ever shown by the msm.

    This is really when the ‘gay’ community came together, to fight that perception, to do the science, to re educate, to inform the general public that this was a virus, that it had nothing to do with same sex orientation. To my young mind back then I recall how quickly the media ‘jumped’ all over this, not as informative, balanced reporting of a tragedy that was unfolding. It was the same salacious, hypocritical, purient crap type of ‘churalism’ we are all witnessing today. I recall my parents and others ‘buying’ into this narrative too, because as you say it ‘matched’ their own prejudices.

    Same scare mongering shit stirring rhetoric. They don’t care about people, they never did.

    In the same way that the gay community altered the paradigm; by a process of encouraging fearlessness and scrutinising the default heterosexual narrative of what is regarded as ‘normal’. So too can people apply this approach in challenging the default narrative of Scotland’s place within the Union as being ‘normal’.

    Much like the idea that heterosexuality is (because the bible said so), indisputably, unalterably, factually right and therefore we must all conform to this imaginary norm. The idea that Scotland is indisputably, unalterably, factually incapable of succeeding outwith the Union, within the framework of any of the known metrics is just the same blatant display of ignorance at best, or more likely, evidence of a seriously misguided prejudice, that needs an equally serious and urgent remedy in the form of ‘wake the f***k up’ and once again find yer humanity. Or ‘go f***k yersel’ and crawl back under your rock.

  25. Perfect piece. Shared

  26. Iain Wright says:

    “I’m out for indy.”
    A tee shirt slogan if ever I saw one.

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