A letter from across the divide

A guest post by an anonymous sister

I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m probably not the type of person who usually posts on this blog. I’m what you might call a turkey who votes for Christmas – a working class Scottish right-winger. Not a right winger in the sense that the whole of Scotland seems to be pretending that Jim Murphy was, but a card-carrying member of the Tory party, whose politics make Murphy look like Castro, and who once bought a copy of the National for the express purpose of burning it (to be fair, I was drunk at the time, but still.)

I don’t say this in order to pick a fight or cause offence. I just wanted to offer some context for what I’m about to say.

A month or so ago, I came home from work to find my younger brother standing in the rain outside my flat. He’d been outed as gay by my other brother (his twin), leading to fight, which had lead to him leaving the house.

After letting him get settled in my flat, I called my parents to try and suss out what was going on. Our talk turned into a screaming match within about five minutes, but in that time I got some of the story from my mum, and the rest of it from my brother after slamming down the phone. He’d sent an email to some nationalist blogger asking for advice about how to come out to us. Somehow, his twin had ended up reading it, and the rest of my family had… let’s say… reacted badly.

I’m going to be honest, and say that my first reaction was one I’m not particularly proud of. Mixed in with pity, anger and confusion was a sense of righteous satisfaction that a nationalist had been the cause of all these problems.

Like I said, I’m not proud of that feeling, but based on the logic that formed a cornerstone of my thinking up until recently, it seemed perfectly reasonable. Nationalists were the enemy. The Yes campaign was the enemy. 45% of the Scottish population were the enemy. Yes badges, Bairns not Bombs signs, Stronger for Scotland stickers were a sign of nothing short of a subversive movement trying to destroy a country I loved, and anyone who displayed them was to be treated as such.

You can probably guess what the result was. I spent my life in a state of paranoid anger at the world. I didn’t quite have a panic attack watching the election coverage on the night of May the 7th, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had. If I hadn’t been able to take some small comfort from the fact that the SNP surge in Scotland was driving more and more English voters into the hands of the Tory Party.

So, naturally, I assumed whatever influence this Nat blogger had had on the whole situation had to be negative. After all, SNP = Bad. SNP supporters on the internet = Very Bad. Therefore, Pro-SNP blogger whose tagline is “Biting the hand of project fear” = Very Very Bad. I decided to look it up  – maybe to send an abusive email, more likely just so I could roll my eyes in disgust. If my timing had been different, chances are that’s all I would have done. But when I happened to look up this blog, I found a piece written about my brother. If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll probably have read it, so I won’t waste your time talking you though it – suffice to say it was mature, sensitive, compassionate – everything my brother needed at that point. He took even more strength from the comments below it – comments from people who, in any other situation, I’d have lazily categorised as cybernats – as the enemy.

So first of all, I need to apologise to you – apologise for forgetting that really we’re all on the same side, for doubting that you could respond like decent people to a situation like this. Secondly, I want to thank you – not only on behalf of my little brother for all your support and solidarity (He knows I’ve written this piece. I think he left a comment on the original piece, but it bears saying again), but also for reminding me how decent most people are, regardless of their political views.

Unfortunately, I think (know?) that there are people – a minority I grant you, but a loud one – on both sides of the independence debate who think like I used to, in terms of us and them. It’s wrong and it’s dangerous. It’s the kind of thinking that has divided Scotland in the past, between Catholic and Protestant. It’s the kind of thinking that stopped the rest of my family from accepting my brother. There’s good and bad in all people, and while we may have our differences, we also, at the end of the day, have the same concerns. Whether Scotland is an independent country or not, it will still have its problems that it’s the duty of all of us – Unionist and Nationalist – to come together to solve. We can’t do that if we’re at each other’s throats, and we certainly can’t do it with the same kind of thinking that used to motivate me.

Unfortunately, it’s looking like the future will hold elections and referendums that will leave us more divided as a country than ever. Maybe this time next year we’ll all be screaming at each other again. But if we are, just keep in mind one thing – somewhere in Scotland, there’s a proud Tory and staunch Unionist. She’ll never agree with many of your views, and she’ll certainly never vote with you.

But she’s grateful to you all the same.

100 comments on “A letter from across the divide

  1. Davy. says:

    Ach see, theirs hope for you yet.

  2. Aucheorn says:

    Including our politics we are all the same with our different beliefs, priorities, wants and needs, we are people. We will live together now and in the future, people generally are nice so let’s spread that as widely as possible.

  3. Barbara Watson says:

    I sincerely hope that your family can overcome their prejudice and realise that he is first and foremost a son and brother who’s love is unconditional. As a parents should be.

    What we all fought for was a better country, one of equality and inclusiveness, socially just and humanitarian. I guess there are many still out there who will never realise what the Independence movement is all about and that is a shame.

    Kindest regards


  4. macart763 says:

    Hope your brother is doing well.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      Still not quite his old self but he’s getting there. Thanks for your concern.

      • Devereux says:

        Sister Anonymous a lovely letter, magnanimous and kind. Good luck to you.

        Scotland is a rich cloth and we are still weaving it. A timely reminder to us all not to sit on our assumptions and think that because ‘we are right’ others are 100 per cent wrong.

        Love and best wishes to your family and I hope time heals the rift.

  5. Kate says:

    My own daughter says she is a Tory at heart, I myself have been SNP since 1974. Joined the party 10 yrs later, so have always held the belief that Scotland has the right to run her own affairs. My son, voted YES & also joined the party after the referendum. There are times when we are together & politics does come up, that I could hit her. But I still respect her differences from myself, husband, son, & granddaughter. The one thing we have all noticed when politics is raised is, that we all can debate about many aspects to do with politics or Scotland in general, she can’t. And that is when I feel like hitting her. As she is a CLOSED mind, & thinks that all nationalists ARE NASTY social media bullies, with the exception of us of course. Sigh!! As another famous Tory once said, the Daughter is NOT for turning. Lol lol I live in hope though..

    Hope your brother has found a lot of peace now that he is FREE..

  6. Just to note, sister Anonymous – that the Left-Social Democratic stance of the SNP is not the only thread in the Independence movement.

    For example the Scottish Democratic Alliance is a Centre-Right, pro-independence party. http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.com/

    And the ‘Wealthy Nation’ group similar, although it is constituted as a pressure group rather than a political party.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      Oooh that’s actually pretty interesting. I’m afraid there’s more than the SNP’s Leftiness that’s putting me off independence, but that’s interesting all the same

      • hektorsmum says:

        Can I ask you without you breaching your anonymity where you see yourself on the economic scale. Do you know that if it were left to the Party that you support you would today have no means of expressing your Political viewpoint. That it is in the name Conservative. They have opposed every single thing from votes for the working man to votes for women in their day and do not think they would remove said vote given time. They are a party created for the upper class, their intention is to keep those who are below them in exactly the place they want them to stay. So I imagine that means you.
        I know that in England the Tory party covers all parts of society but generally not here in Scotland. I would just love for you to express what attracts you to them. Given your reaction to your young brother at the beginning, I take it the sexuality of Ms Davidson had no effect, which is strange given you were so upset with your Brother.
        Her sexuality doesn’t bother me, her Politics does.

        • Sister Anonymous says:

          I really don’t think this is the time/place for a debate about the merits and failings of the Tory party in Scotland. If you want to chat about it more fully you can get my email off of Paul and we can talk it through.

          One thing i want to clear up though- i wasn’t upset my brother was gay, i was upset he’d been kicked out by my parents for it.

          • hektorsmum says:

            Thank you for replying and I shall not bother Paul though I would think that given time and another term of Toryism might change your mind. I am glad you were there for your Brother, Parents are often set in their ways, and it takes time to reconcile. I was absolutely thrilled when my Mother changed her mind about women who had children out of wedlock, I doubt she would have been happy had it been me. I hope in time your family can become one again and make your Brother happy, Being gay should not be a cause for families to fall out.

    • Iona Brand says:

      Well said Derick.

  7. Dan Huil says:

    “Whether Scotland is an independent country or not, it will still have its problems that it’s the duty of all of us – Unionist and Nationalist – to come together to solve.”

    Yes. It’s just that at the moment we are subject to the machinations of politicians in Westminster who are not resident in Scotland, or do not represent constituents in Scotland. Thus they have other problems to solve, the solving of which may impact defectively on Scotland. We in Scotland are left to solve the “devolved” problems which Westminster has kindly [!] given us without full powers to do so. To be honest, I view it as “all or nothing”. Complete independence for Scotand or complete union with England with Scotland’s parliament once again disolved.
    This will sound twee but I have a devout unionist living next door who I would trust with my life. I’m pretty sure he feels the same about me.

    • Muscleguy says:

      I’m married to one. I was on referendum day doing double duty outside the local polling place for Yes and my Unionist wife came to vote (I had done so first in the queue, could not have abided otherwise). I greeted her and enquired if there was any chance of some chips, pretty please? She voted and grumbled off. I should point out there was a not bad local Labour chappie, a sort of social worker, who was there for No and we had broken the nice as the hours stretched on. My wife bought me some chips, and a Mars bar for him. Just to emphasise the point.

      She admires my dedication to the cause, campaigning for RIC and sidelining on street stalls for the very local Yes group. But she fundamentally disagrees with me. Though Labour abstaining on the Welfare Bill has caused to declare that ‘I no longer have a party’. So there is some hope. She is my next of kin so of course I trust my life to her. The children inherit (what?) so I can’t trust them😉

      • Devereux says:

        I feel your pain Muscleguy. I am married to an Englishman and a Tory! I dream of one day converting him to vote SNP and persuading him that they are Social Democrats not communists (who I have nothing against btw). He is making noises in that direction for a quiet life. Independence? Never – we will go to our graves disagreeing on that one!

        But I have the last laugh. I made sure our offspring have the Independence gene. Doubled the population see? – so I reckon he has contributed to a free Scotland whether he likes it or not.

  8. Roibert a Briuis says:

    Mostly good.

    But politically totally deluded.

    It was nothing to do with the SNP nor the media hype about a possible SNP LIEbour coalition that we have a CONservative UK government.

    Miss Anonymous do some research, even take the easy road and read Wings over Scotland🙂


    The CONsevativs got in because the LIEbour party imploded and many UKIP supporters gave their vote to the CONseratives to keep out LIEbour.

    Winning a UK election relies on wining a very small number of key seats .

    Win them and your in.

    The/Your winning majority relies on winning lots of other seats of course and the CONservatives ‘just’ sneaked a win because they did not do that.

    • tartanfever says:

      Ok, fair point – but do you have to do all the stuff with capitals – “LIE’, ‘CON’ etc ?

      It will never persuade anyone to objectively review their political thinking, it just rubs people up the wrong way.

      Anyway, hope your bro is doing well, anon sister and thanks to you for the honesty with your post. If more people took your attitude then our society would be much more understanding and tolerant.

      • Roibert a Briuis says:

        One thing I am not trying to do is convert anyone I was correcting a LIE that has been propagated endlessly and you know what they say “keep repeating a lie and soon everyone will believe it is the truth”. There were only 14 caps that could have been lower-case in what was a post that contained almost 600 characters hardly ‘all’ the stuff

    • Brian Fleming says:

      Robert, as far as I’ve understood it, the Labour vote did not implode in England. A lot of potential UKIP voters voted Tory and a lot of LibDem voters in previously LibDem seats voted Labour, thus letting the second-placed Tories take those seats. British democracy, ya gotta love it, or what?

  9. grahamp960 says:

    Good article ,well written . I find the article moving and compassionate. My slight confusion is over why a very humane caring lady who I suspect is beginning to have something of a political re – awakening is so fond of the Tories & British state that seems at odds with this ! Although I’m curious, it doesn’t distract from the admirable sentiments she displays- so good luck to her .

  10. david stewart says:

    Yes. Absolutely. But how can a compassionate and clever woman like you support what the Tory’s are doing?

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      When i read the comments on the post about my brother i wondered “How can so many nice people be nationalists?” haha

      • Catherine says:

        David’s comment was about what the tories are DOING, yours is about what people ARE. Interesting, no?

        • Sister Anonymous says:

          Enlighten me?

          • Catherine says:

            Well, he talked about supporting what the tories are doing, you talk about nice people BEING nationalists. It’s one thing to take exception to the actions of say the tories (and there’s plenty that’s objectionable), but what is it that Scottish nationalists are doing that you object too?

            • Sister Anonymous says:

              Ahh ok. Surely just a different way of expressing it?I didn’t mean anything different to what he meant. Apologies if i caused offence xx

              • Justin Fayre says:

                It’s an old saying but ‘living in someone else’s shoes’ is still very apt.
                I have friends down in Wales and England in the farming community, who are scathing about SNPs stance on fox hunting. TBH hearing tales of little lambs being slaughtered by marauding foxes and children’s tears when confronted by the sight, it is hard not to feel sympathy with their views.
                My own political views changed afterworking with homeless 18 – 25 year olds in particular but homeless ppeople in general.
                The despicable way they are treated by an evil and soulless Government and the lackeys in Labour/Tory coalition Councils is horrendous.
                The solution?
                Bring back Knights of the Round Table LOL

      • Steve Bowers says:

        Probably because sometimes it’s not an easy thing to be and a lot of “nationalists” ( like me) feel we have to do our best for everyone, not just a few, we have to take into account our whole society and look after those hardest hit.
        Hope your Bro’s ok, give your family time and space, I hope they come to realise that he’s still the same guy he was the day before they “found out” and accept him for who he is not for what they perceive he is. S

  11. scotsgeoff says:

    A very nice, magnanimous post.

    That being on the dole left me at one point having to eat thrown away chips out of a bin outside the local chip shop means I am unlikely ever to be supportive of a ‘Union’ that was borne out of threats & bribery and results in others so poor they cannot afford to eat.

    I guess until one experiences that first hand the Union seems just fine.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      First of all, i’m very sorry to hear that- no one should have to go through what you did. Secondly, i accept that the union ain’t perfect: although i’ll never vote for independence, the fact so many of the poorest in society voted Yes is a sign we can’t have business s usual any longer.

      • Liz says:

        But yet we have business as usual. We have a very brutal Tory government and when we had a chance to not have business as usual we did not take it. It’s very sad

      • Patience is a Virtue says:

        I suspect SA you are ‘an enlightened Unionist’ – as the old joke goes… how many Unionists does it take to change a lightbulb?… …..none……… cos they think its still working.

        ..though I suspect you can see it is flickering and does need changing.. but by what mechanism?

        What aspects of the Union do you consider ‘ain’t perfect’ then ?

        • Sister Anonymous says:

          Lack of opportunities for people to make a success of themselves based on their own merits rather than their background, mainly.

          • Patience is a Virtue says:

            Ceart nas leòr.

          • hektorsmum says:

            I would say those lack of opportunities lie within the Conservative Party whose aim is to maintain the status quo. Hence the assistance given by Labour with Tuition Fees in England. The SNP have opened up opportunities in this country with at least the chance for poor people with aptitude to go to University, that they have more full time College posts for those who will benefit. The Tories have such a good record on assisting those they see as beneath them, usually by kicking them in the teeth. I would say my dear that you are in the wrong country, the Conservatives are presently giving Scotland what they see as a well deserved kicking for being uppity. Sure you are in the right place and the right party,

  12. jimnarlene says:

    We will never agree about politics but, on a human level, I agree we all need to understand and care for each other.

  13. DR says:

    It’s a brave letter, but isn’t the wider issue for politics, sexuality, and indeed sexual (and every other kind of) politics, why some people – because it’s for sure not ‘all’ – perceive a division instead of a difference? It’s better than nothing to recognise the humanity and decency of people you’ve decided are divided from you by some personal chasm you ‘will never’ cross. But, bottom line, that chasm exists only in the mind: it’s a choice, and choosing to make it ensures that you’ll never treat the people *you put* on the ‘other side’ the same as those you put on ‘your side’. *Even when* you do recognise them as decent human beings. That’s what discrimination is, and ending discrimination means not making the division (it doesn’t mean refusing to recognise difference).

    *What* is ‘unfortunate’ about 85% of people participating in a democratic decision together, or 71% of people participating in an election together and voting with consensus not matched in more than half a century? I don’t feel ‘divided’ from people I know who are unionists, or people who I know are unionists (they don’t shout at me, I don’t shout at them – IRL I saw no shouting at all during either campaign) any more than I do from people who have other personal differences from me: we are not ‘divided’. Are people ‘divided’ into people who have the same sexuality as me, and people who don’t; ‘divided’ into people who choose my marital status or another one; ‘divided’ into people who share my gender or don’t; ‘divided’ into people who vote Green and everyone else, or people who volunteer and don’t, or whatever? No. If – like the letter-writer – you are ‘divided’, that’s your choice, not something other people did to you by ‘being different’.

    People like the letter-writer are not on ‘the other side’ from me, or independence supporters, or non-Tory voters, or not-straight people. They’ve set themselves apart from everyone else (most people recognise that their own experiences have led them to their own thoughts and actions *just like everyone’s* experiences lead them to their own thoughts and actions, and this is all fine, normal, and *totally unavoidable*). The only theoretical ‘two kinds of people’ are people who think there *are* ‘two kinds of people’ and everyone else who notices that there are a pretty infinite number of intersecting kinds of people.

    So can we stop pretending that feeling divided by everyday things is normal, whatever side of any issue we’re on? Support or oppose whatever, just don’t try and call the division *you put* between yourself and everyone who feels/thinks differently ‘natural’, or say they’re responsible for your feelings.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      Thank you- you’ve put into words what i’ve been thinking for a while. It’s what i tired to get across when i wrote the piece, so sorry if it didn’t come clearly enough

    • Catherine says:

      Well said. This post left me depressed, anonymous sister being amazed that we are actually human. She apologises for “doubting that you could respond ‘like’ decent people”. Doesn’t actually say we are decent. And we are supposed to be the “cybernats”. I wonder how many people sit at home seething at our very existence without ever trying to engage.

      • Sister Anonymous says:

        Sorry! That wasn’t my intention at all Catherine.You ARE decent people, and i’m very grateful for all the help you’ve given to my brother. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

  14. dennis mclaughlin says:

    “a proud Tory and staunch Unionist”,i honestly hope you can sleep at night with the warm thoughts of what your Tory Government is doing to the least fortunate in our society; the sight of Mundell opening a foodbank in Dumfries was stomach-churning.

    Better Together is tasting like ashes in the mouth from this SNP member.

  15. Glad your brother is alright. Thanks for trying to reach out and most of all for trying to overcome your prejudice, as a nationalist for the country called Great Britain, to nationalists for the country called Scotland. I hope you’ll even buy another ‘National’ paper and possibly not to burn… The blogger Wee Ginger Dug now writes in it every Thursday so that’d be a good day for another ‘sortie’ into another country….

  16. squidgybidge says:

    Glad you’re brother is doing fine. I’ve thought of him from time to time after reading the Gingers Dug’s original post on him. Hopefully you’re family can overcome their prejiduice against him.

    Although I am on the Left (the far, FAR left) as the above poster pointed out, there were and still is right wing supporters of an Independent Scotland as well.

    All persuasions will be needed to build a better Scotland, not just those of us on the Left. The UK is failing millions of people, maybe, just maybe Scotland looking after its own affairs could do it better.

    I would definitely suggest checking out the groups mentioned above, particularly “Wealthy Nation” as they had some very good ideas during the IndyRef. I didn’t agree with all of them, but I did agree with some.


    If you do like Wealthy Nation I would also humbly suggest checking out Common Weal, as they give the opposite end of the arguement.


  17. kevin says:


    I don’t normally comment on this great blog I am just a reader but I felt I had to comment.

    One of the biggest questions we lost out on after the refurendum was “what do we agree on”. I always felt if Scotland had left the union as an island we would have to look at what makes us the same rather than our differences.

    I begin with that opinion to outline how I felt the post as well written as it was was a list of differences about politics, religious differences, social differences. As long as people focus on us and them (which I felt the post done very well) we will always sit in this bog of separation.

    I myself voted yes so Scotland could choose always a government that best serves Scotland and we could move on as an island and find our common goals as a shared island of four nations. I have must point out that the union fails miserably at doing this.

    I hope you and your brother are doing well.

  18. Justin Fayre says:

    Despite an inability to understand the logic of even the most right wing thinking people to endorse the decaying rotten motives of the current monster raving loonies from the Garden of Eton, I nevertheless accept your reasons for support the Tories although I would genuinely like to know what they are.
    However I think there is a world of difference between old style Conservatism, a belief in wealth creation and work ethics etc and the current neoliberalism religion spouted by Cameron, Osborne,Johnson etc which turns gross incompetence into gross profit for a select few. All this while subjecting misery and fear on decent folk.
    After saying that, it IS only with open minds and a desire to learn as well as preach that we can move forward.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      Honest question deserves an honest answer- it’s mainly cause of the old conservative values that you mentioned- hard work, self reliance etc. I’m not a fan of the Cameron/Osborne clique tbh, cause i don’t think millionaire old etonians who haven’t worked a day in their lives are the right people to be acting as the symbols of the values i mentioned (which is also the reason why, unlike most Tories, i’m not a monarchist). I’d say i’m more of a Ruth Davidson/ David Davies kind of Tory, if that makes sense.

      Hope that helps.

      • Alex Waugh says:

        I can understand why a person would support ‘old’ Tory values. Yes, they were always the party of capital and private wealth but not all their beliefs were inimical to concern for the rest of society. There was a kind of benevolent paternalism which, though condescending and rooted in feelings of superiority, would, nonetheless, find it scandalous that people were going without food in a rich country.The problem is that those old values have been completely obliterated by the new flavor of Conservatism, which exists solely and shamelessly to feather the nests of the few at the expense of the many. You are absolutely right in your assessment of Cameron et al. but , given that you hold no brief for these modern-day robber barons, how can you continue to support them? Would it not be better to remove Scotland from their malign and corrupt influence and, after independence, work to establish a new conservative party in Scotland which was more in line with your values? I believe that it is possible to be a conservative and also wish Scotland free of Westminster rule. I ask this question very seriously: can you point to one, single way in which Scotland benefits from Westminster rule? (and please don’t say Barnett; that was debunked a long time ago).

  19. Rab Kay says:

    The details of why you wrote your letter sparked an interest in me. At the end of the letter I found myself worrying about your brother. I do hope he is allright.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      Obviously you take a while to come back from a hit like the one he’s taken, but he’s getting there. Thanks for your concern.

  20. arthur thomson says:

    I am glad you were able to write this piece. I feel sure that the Dug will be a great role model for your brother. I see him as being a great role model for all our young people – whatever their sexual orientation.

    I wish you peace and happiness whilst asking you to understand that I can never, ever give up my lifetime commitment to the realisation of Scottish independence.

  21. Giulia Morrell says:

    I’m glad your brother is doing well. Yes, I saw the article about him, and I’d heard about the friction in your family. I hope you manage to put this behind you.
    Thank you for what you have written. Everything that helps us to understand each other better is helpful. I know that not all unionists are bitter Britnat traitors, and you know that not all indy supporters are raving, resentful bullies.
    I do actually have some friends that are unionists, but I’m a bit too much of a lefty to have any friends that are Tories. Sorry 😉
    All the best to you and your bro! Thanks again for writing…Oh! And yes! Do look into the groups mentioned above! You never know…

  22. Paul says:

    At least someone in the family has been there for him and for that, I salute you. There always will be room for some (small “c”) conservatism in Scotland, indy or not. Indeed, this year, although I tend to disagree with most conservative commentary, I felt that wee Ruth could still play a decent part at Holyrood and was talking more from a Scottish point of view than any of the red ones have been in recent years.
    Hope you take the time to look at the links, and come back here. WGD is the dogs….. 🙂

  23. Lollysmum says:

    Sister Anonymous
    Both your brothers need help & understanding right now. They both have their demons to deal with. The brother living with you just now has clearly moved on a little by removing himself from a difficult situation at home. That took inner strength to do what was needed to save himself from further pain in the short term.

    He asked for help from Paul, and latterly got it by the bucketload from us ‘cybernats’ when Paul wrote his original post about it. (I have to say that I’m English & live in England but I support indy wholeheartedly because I hate what labour & the tories have done to the UK & will be moving to Scotland shortly- so yes I too want to live in a better nation) so I’m proud to be called a cybernat, proud to be a member of the Wings Over Scotland & WGD families because none of us are the ‘cybernats’ you’ve learned or been conditioned to hate. Why Wings & WGD you may ask-I know I’ll get the truth that I don’t see in the press/TV from both sites. If you were to look at some of the articles on Wings, you will find the same as you found here on WGD (both giving evidence for their views). People who care passionately about their & everyone else’s future as Cameron makes the UK the laughing stock of Europe & beyond. You certainly won’t see the bile that you’ve been conditioned to expect from either site.

    Truth is important to all of us just as it was for James who wanted advice in telling his family the truth about himself. He’s done the hardest bit now & I hope is well on the way to building a future for his true self. I work in London & I see the truth every single working day in people suffering from homelessness, poverty, disability, mental ill health etc through no fault of their own but they are being forced to pay for the excesses of our so-called government, the bankers & corporations because govt knows they can’t fight back.I see the dishonesty & depravity in Westminster where the mighty pound is all that matters so I do my bit to support the indy cause because Scotland has the opportunity to break away & be that better nation that we all aspire to be part of.

    I’d like to extend an invitation to you to come to London & I’ll show you what your precious heroes are doing to real people who do not deserve this treatment from their own government. Perhaps that might open your eyes a little just as mine were opened when Blair took us into an illegal war. I can be contacted via Twitter @lollysmum1 or via Paul who I’m sure would forward an email to me, if you want to accept my offer. You will be made very welcome by me & my staff team-all rebels fighting an unjust system on behalf of those who can’t fight for themselves, half are Bangladeshi & half English including a couple of gay men for good measure & I wouldn’t like to lose a single one of them-they are what makes our centre work for the 1900 families we support.

    In the meantime, look after both brothers-they both need you & your parents to stand up to the challenges ahead. Good luck to you all.

  24. Grizzle McPuss says:

    Full respect to you Sister Anonymous for writing your article.

    I hope as with everyone else that your brother just keeps his head held high, knowing that many of us stand by his side…regardless of our differences.

    I couldn’t agree more Lollysmum.

    I get sick of the inane comments from our adversaries that appear to just follow the pack without substance or merit. I personally strongly believe in playing Devils Advocate in seeking to be informed (Nat-goggles are not a part of my attire); I’m no-ones stooge as I want to be informed…not brainwashed.

    (Hands up, I confess…I’m an indy supporter…BIG TIME)

    Paul / WGD writes some very thought-provoking & inspirational blogs, which few could pick fault with. He puts into words what many of us try to say, but at the very least, what we think.

    Wings IMO, is thoroughly well researched and try as you might, is very difficult to pick fault with…and I’ve tried. Wings suffers more from demonisation of Stu than anything (and as a silver winged supporter I feel I can criticise when I say that at times the site can indeed drive you nuts as the tone drops and makes you blush). But hey, you cannot criticise Stu for doing the job of thorough journalism that his contemporaries gave up on long ago.

    My message to all our doubting opponents is please, read all commentators with an open mind, then condemn if you must.

  25. tashaposts says:

    It’s unfortunate that Wings over Scotland is run by a transphobe. I used to read it and comment every day, supported it financially and went to WOS get-togethers. Then I read a twitter comment from Stuart Campbell essentially claiming that Chelsea Manning should not be taken seriously when she said she was a woman.

    I asked my 17 year old transgender daughter to look into it, as she has a twitter account, and what she discovered shocked and sickened both of us. In a conversation with my daughter, who tried to provide him with evidence of scientific research into the issue, Campbell came out with the comment, “If someone looks like a man, then as far as I’m concerned they’re a man, and no sanctimonious wankhole is going to tell me otherwise.” His response to my daughter’s link to scientific studies? “Bollocks”. This from the man who makes so much of providing cast-iron evidence and links to sources for his articles.

    So five years after the Equality Act was passed, we are still encountering attitudes like this from high-profile influential commentators. My daughter has been through hell in the past four years and was finally brave enough to confide her true identity to us. She is still waiting for hormone treatment and surgery, so no doubt she wouldn’t look feminine enough to satisfy Mr Campbell, arbiter of gender identity for others. But she is female, and has been since birth. She was just unlucky enough to be born in a body with the wrong genitals. I am intensely proud of her and always will be. But thanks to her fear of attitudes such as Stuart Campbell’s, she suffers from depression, social anxiety, almost constant headaches and is reluctant to leave the house. She hasn’t been able to attend school since she was 13 due to all of this. She used to vomit every time she caught sight of herself in the mirror. But no, she’s not a woman until Stuart Campbell says she is.

    I’m sure most followers of WOS would not support it if Stuart Campbell were racist. But apparently transphobia is acceptable. Frankly, it makes me feel sick when I think about the hypocrisy of that.

    • JGedd says:

      I was quite taken aback by your post. I think you used to post on Wings at one time? I can appreciate how difficult it was to encounter that hurtful response to your daughter’s situation. . Although I have no personal knowledge of transgender people, in my eyes, people can be what they choose to be or what they feel comfortable with in their own skin. They do no one any harm and obviously have much to endure from the attitudes of the unthinking. Someone who reacts with the aggressive prejudice you describe, must have issues of their own they can’t deal with, which would explain the hostility being expressed.

      We can tolerate pain on our own behalf but it is so much more unbearable to witness the hurt of our children. Your daughter evidently has your comfort and support but your post eloquently expresses the anguish you feel for her. I wish you well on the difficult journey you both must take together.

      It is a salutary reminder that someone with whom one might have thought to have a common purpose can reveal an unexpected and disturbing flaw in their understanding. You have certainly given me cause for much thought regarding Stuart Campbell. I was quite shocked by his response and lack of compassion.

      • tashaposts says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful and sympathetic response. You’re right, I used to post on Wings as Natasha; when I posted on here, my WordPress account used the name ‘Tashaposts’, which I wasn’t expecting; I would have been quite happy to use my own name. I always found your comments on Wings to be very much worth reading.

        Wings was a massive part of my life for quite a long time and it has been very painful to leave that community with its shared sense of purpose; but I’m sure you understand my position. I absolutely cannot have anything to do with a person who expresses the kinds of views that Stuart Campbell does. I feel that transphobia is in the same place that racism was forty years ago, or homophobia twenty years ago; people who didn’t have black or gay friends or relatives probably felt it was nothing to do with them and weren’t that bothered by it. What changed that and made it socially unacceptable was education; and it is only education that will do the same for transphobia.

        • Oneironaut says:

          The same Natasha I met in Glasgow on the Wings night out there?

          Really didn’t know that about Stu. I don’t go on Twitter.
          I’ve pretty much quit Wings myself, though for my own personal reasons that I was kind of wavering on.
          But knowing this, I doubt I’ll ever go back now.

          This is an issue I feel quite strongly on too. So if you ever need a friendly voice to talk to, you can reach me on here: darkstar27@gmail.com

          Wishing you and your daughter all the best for the future🙂

          • tashaposts says:

            Hi, Oneironaut, yes, the same Natasha! It was lovely meeting you. Thanks for the email address and for the best wishes. I feel sad not to be in touch with the great people I met through Wings, but my daughter has to come first.
            All the best.🙂

      • Rev. Stu says:

        I’m not transphobic, of course. I unequivocally support equal rights for everyone and always have. As far as I’m concerned Chelsea Manning is a hero and should have been given a medal, not a prison sentence. But there’s no reasoning with some people once they’ve decided what you think and what you are, no matter what you actually say, and it’s a waste of time even trying to debate the subject.

        My only prejudice is that I have no time for idiots.

  26. Az says:

    I don’t get it. She states that she was at first expressing feelings she has later come to regret. But her closing statements basically dismiss any notion of real change, as her affirmation that she will never vote with you, reveals a closed mind still exists.

    • A closed mind that has seen a slightly different light, because of the kindness shown to her brother by The Dug, and the assembled vile cybernats. And a Tory who now knows that there are centre-right people who support Independence, in sufficient number to form a political party – the Scottish Democratic Alliance and a thoughtful pressure group – Wealthy Nation.
      Not my team btw – I’m not a socialist, but a syndicalist. Rather a Housing Association than a Council, rather a Co-op than a HA, rather a fully mutual co-op with professional staff. And rather a self-managed co-op without professional staff if that makes sense.

  27. mealer says:

    I enjoyed reading this well written piece.Its thought provoking and has drawn some very interesting comments.I well remember reading the original post.I think Scotland is a country and that countries are best run by the folk who live there.I’m Scottish,not British,but many of my friends are Brits and we manage to get along fine even though we can’t thole each other’s politics.

  28. Jan Cowan says:

    Lucky brother to have such a loyal, understanding sister. But why no empathy with nor sympathy for the poor, unfortunate people who are being trodden upon by the present WM government? Please explain, Big Sister. Something not quite fitting together here!

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      Thank you for your comments, first of all. I really don’t think this is the place for a debate about the pros and cons of a Tory government, but if you give me a contact i can explain my position more fully to you? Cheers🙂

  29. AuldGranny says:

    I’m so glad that he has a sister like you, someone who will love, respect, nurture and stand up for him.

    It also took real guts to write the article that you have. To admit that you were “in a state of paranoid anger at the world” due to your worry about the referendum and its aftermath was honest and insightful. To bare your heart and publish this on a popular nationalist blog is worthy of respect.

    I have friends and family who are committed unionists but we all realise that what we want is for Scotland to be better. We just differ about the means to achieve it. (Mind you, we do tend to be a bit of a bolshy lot, so arguing amongst ourselves has always been treated as a bit of a hobby)

    I hope that one day your family eventually realise that the love they feel for your brother overrides everything else. Unfortunately, having seen a similar situation in my extended family, this may take some time.

    Meantime, he has you. A decent, kind, loving sister.

    And lots of people who care and wish him the best in the world.

  30. J Galt says:

    There is much to be said for “conservative values with a small c”.

    Take away the Scottish/British “thing” for a minute and who could argue that a society which encourages self reliance, individuality, creativity and yes small business and wealth creation is not a good thing?

    And yes some “loyalty” to the state – if it does more or less the decent thing by you then you should more or less do the decent thing by it.

    By the “decent thing” read good quality health and education systems for those who need or choose to use them – but freedom to provide your own.

    That takes utilities such as power, water and public transport into public ownership to ensure that dangerous private monopolies are squashed and is ever vigilant regarding “Big Business” abuses in all spheres.

    That does not seek to influence how we think other than to prevent us harming the legitimate interests of our fellow citizens.

    That provides a safety net – particularly for those not able to provide for themselves – but does not encourage sloth or self-indulgence.

    However the UK Conservative Party is currently “owned” by forces very far indeed from from the ideas expressed above.

    On a personal note I hope things work out for you and your brother and that your family will come together again – and it is good to hear reasoned debate from all “sides”.

    • Justin Fayre says:

      An excellent summary. Describes my ideals and vision for the future perfectly.
      This is why I continually bring up the Scandinavian model, particularly Norway, Denmark and Iceland as the blueprint for the future – and yes I do note with some dismay the alarming recent inroads made by the ‘far right’ in Denmark.
      My real rationale for being a staunch supporter of Independence for over 30 years is that I am tired of a group of small countries in the North Atlantic still being conned by a ruling establishment into considering itself to be a World Superpower (and the waste of billions that entails).
      A case of a Jack Russell thinking it’s a Bulldog I’m afraid.

  31. Sister Anonymous says:

    There’s very little in either post i don’t agree with (probably not surprising, considering i’m a Tory and your name is an Ayn Rand reference :p) I’m not sure i’d be up for trident being totally scrapped, but maybe scaled back to Polaris levels?

  32. KnightAngel45 says:

    I am for Indy and will never vote Tory or Labour ~ but I wish you and your brother best wishes and must say you standing up for your brother is what every loving sister should do ~ he is lucky to have you ~ all the best to your both and may your brother find inner peace and happiness in life ~ you too x

  33. Scotland04 says:

    You need to remember that the division you perceive. Is not a result of the referendum. It has always been there. The Brits, The Scots, The Irish, Catholics protestants etc.

    Don’t blame division on Scotland being able to talk openly about itself. Like it or not your prime loyalty lies with the UK mine with Scotland. It’s always been the case for me and others.

    I accept your choice and you just need to respect mine.

  34. M says:

    It is interesting to see that there are points of agreement between Independence supporters and a Unionist. And some sort of dialogue. Polarisation is easy. I once saw a documentary (that would never have been shown on TV) made by a peace worker at the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland. He would try to get groups of people of opposing views to talk to each other. He did this by dividing them into different groups so they could find what they had in common. Instead of Protestant and Catholic he divided them into groups of men and women where they found common ground with each other: the pressures and the suffering and they were able to understand each other in new ways. Each new way of sub dividing groups found new ways for them to find more in common. Finding where we can meet is a proper start to dialogue and it enables the finding of new solutions. Well done to the poster to reaching out beyond her comfort zone. I hope she takes up Lolly’smum’s offer to go and explore a world that is not her own. That would be brave. And good luck to your brother. I hope he will find strength he never knew he had.

  35. Big Jock says:

    Yes but the well intentioned post was ruined by the last paragraph where she talks of division and shouting at each other.

    The only people that shouted at me were unionists in my office. The only division and violence I saw was when unionists took over George Square. It’s all very well intentioned but chooses to ignore the fact that some right wing unionists are headcases who actually despise the flag of Scotland.

    The division is created by moronic anti Scottish unionists.

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      I’d say there’s morons on both sides who poison the debate for everyone else. As a former unionist headaches i promise you that we don’t hate the flag of Scotland, for any other faults we may have. I’m sorry for any bad experiences you may have had at the hands of my side, and i’m sure you feel the same for any i had at the hands of yours.

  36. arthur thomson says:

    I am glad I thought to look back on this page to read any new comments. I am saddened by the comments of tashaposts re Wings. I find it difficult to understand the situation described because Stew can be very abrasive but I hadn’t thought that he would be a transphobe.

    For my part, I am definitely not. I have an acquaintance – the good friend of a good friend – who has gone through the process of realising what she sees as her true gender. She is now a highly successful young woman who works internationally. No doubt like most of us her apparent confidence is a relatively fragile veneer but she is carving out a good quality life for herself. I wish your daughter every success and trust that the vast majority of those who share my aspirations for Scotland would also share my wish that your daughter will achieve her aspirations..

    • tashaposts says:

      Thank you Arthur. Sadness is my main feeling about it too; it really hurt to find that someone I had respected and supported was capable of such bigotry and unkindness. When you’ve seen what transgender people have to go through – first of all finding the courage to actually tell people, then being brave enough to go out dressed as their true gender when their body doesn’t match who they are, then having to prove to medical professionals that they’re not making it all up, then waiting months, sometime years, for medical help simply to be the person they know they are (something the rest of us take for granted) – it is beyond belief that people can be so cruel. My daughter considered suicide at one point. But according to Stuart Campbell, until she looks enough like a woman to satisfy him, then she’s just making it all up. She’s seventeen, for crying out loud. How many of us would have had the courage at her age to face what she has coped with? He’s beneath contempt, frankly, and nothing he does for the cause of independence alters that basic fact.

  37. Sister Anonymous says:

    OK guys, thanks a lot for all of your comments- it’s been really interesting. If anyone wants to ask me anything else/argue with me further then you can get my email from Paul. Cheers!

  38. Big jock says:

    Sister I am afraid it’s lazy thinking to say there are morons on both sides.Its true individuals can do silly things and say silly things.

    Collectively the yes side were peaceful,inclusive and determined. Collectively the no side was all about talking Scotland down,actual mob violence and intimidation.

    It’s not respectful or accepting to just pretend that the Yes side have the same motivation and despicable mobs that are attached to the unionist cause. Namely The Orange Order,Rangers fans, ulster loyalists,anti Catholic, jingoistic,anti foreigners. These groups are your bedfellows.

    • J Galt says:

      Fair enough but we’re not gonna make any converts going on about the extremists – they’re lost to reason. I’m sure many of them make Sister anon’s toes curl as well!

      Maybe we should tone it down a bit and see where this debate goes?

    • Sister Anonymous says:

      You’re welcome to your opinion, of course. Equally, however, i’m a celtic-supporting catholic with a boyfriend who people with UKIPish leanings might define as “foreign”. None of the no supporters i know have any problem with that, just as i’m sure no conventional Yes supporter has anything against (say) protestants or English people. At the end of the day people on both sides of the referendum are exactly that- people- with good and bad in all of them.

      • Patience is a Virtue says:

        I suspect you may be making a generalisation and perhaps assumption that there are no or few Protestant English people or indeed Protestant Scots who voted Yes and want Independence for Scotland. Yes supporters are, I would argue, ‘not following convention’ but are a diverse group, simply opposing what has been the status quo. Independence is a state of mind (and is independent of religion and place of birth). Mar sin leibh.

  39. Big jock says:

    Fair enough Galt. But let’s start by being honest. The problem of nutters is mostly on the no side. You can’t allow people to make unfounded accusations with deliberately lazy thinking to hide the truth.

    I haven’t met one yes supporter who is an extremist. I have met plenty of narrow minded bigots on the no side with sinister beliefs.

  40. Jim Arnott says:

    Sister Anonymous, if there are two books that I could recommend that deal with creating a better Scotland they would be:

    “Blossom” by Lesley Riddoch


    “The Common Weal” by Robin McAlpine

    To a large extent they both deal with issues that could make Scotland a better country with or without independence.

    For me personally, the philosophy espouced in “The Common Weal” of “all of us first” is very much the Scotland I want to live in.

    I do hope you decide to get a hold of and read these two books. You may of course have already done so. Even if you have done so already, a second reading often brings out in greater clarity “things” you may have missed on the first reading.

    The essential thing for me about independence is that I want to live in a country where we make our own mistakes.

    Hope this helps.

    Finally, the love, support and understanding you are giving your brother is wonderful. After all “We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns”.

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