The Great Scottish Blog War

I’ve been keeping out the Great Scottish Blog Wars. In case you haven’t noticed, which is another way of saying in case you’re a sane person who doesn’t care about arguments on social media because you have a real life, battle lines have been drawn over the question of list votes, and the best way to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs in the next Scottish parliament. The merits and demerits of voting for RISE or the Greens in the list instead of voting twice for the SNP have been debated, dissected, and screamed at from trenches.

Some have accused other people of trying to silence them and shut down the debate, only they’ve been making the accusation on blogs and on Twitter where there really is very little sign that anyone is being gagged. In fact the ones who are claiming to have been censored and closed down seem to be the ones who are speaking the most.

Others have claimed that some have adopted a political strategy of trying to persuade supporters of party A to vote for party B by claiming that party A’s supporters are stupidly blind followers of a neo-capitalist front which is as radical as a vicar’s tea party, but hey, we support indy too. It has been pointed out that possibly this isn’t the best way to endear party B in anyone’s affections.

Then there are those who claim that unless you give both your votes to the SNP you’ve pretty much sold out Scotland to the forces of Unionism and you really ought to go and hide your head under a rock.

You might think that all this was purely a disagreement over tactics, over differing means to the same end, but handbags have been drawn at dawn and huffs taken. Meanwhile the Yooneristas keep very quiet and allow members of the independence campaign to knock seven shades of shazbot out of one another in the, probably vain, hope that it will put some folk off from voting for a pro-independence party and they’ll vote for Kezia instead. Because Labour really is the very model of a party that has got its act together. And in much the same way a monkey with a typewriter is the real author of Shakespeare’s plays.

An important reason for keeping out of arguments about which party to give my second vote to is that I’m deeply uncertain about my first vote. I have two main criteria for voting. Firstly I’ll only vote for a candidate who is pro-independence, and secondly I’ll only vote for a candidate who supports lesbian and gay equality. That means I won’t be voting SNP in the constituency vote because in my constituency the SNP candidate has a track record of voting against LGBT rights, voting to restrict women’s reproductive rights, and has attempted to introduce so called intelligent design, creationism by another name, into school science classes.

I’m not voting for an MSP who is going to promote an agenda which is damaging to my human rights and the human rights of other gay people and women, and who wants to bring religion into science lessons. I have no issues with Christians being represented in the Scottish Parliament, but they’re not going to promote their agenda on the back of my vote. No doubt there are some who will accuse me of betraying the independence cause for not voting SNP in the constituency vote, but I certainly won’t be voting for a Unionist either. In fact I’ll probably abstain in the constituency vote as it’s unlikely that there will be another pro-independence candidate.

What all this means is that when you vote you should do so according to the dictates of your own conscience. Tactical voting in Scottish elections is fraught with danger. It’s futile to try and game a voting system as opaque as the D’Hondt method used in Scottish parliamentary elections and attempts to do so risk allowing a Unionist party to get in through the back door. You cannot be certain that your tactical vote will produce the result you want, and there’s a very real chance that the only parties which will benefit will be the Unionists. Whatever you vote for, the priority is to get a pro-independence majority, and speaking as a member of one of Scotland’s minorities, a parliament that also supports the rights of all of Scotland’s communities.

I respect the fact that other people have different priorities, that they may find it difficult to understand why I might risk a Unionist getting into power by abstaining in the election of a nationalist. I was politicised in the struggle for LGBTI rights, and for me the struggle for the collective rights of the people of Scotland as a nation is part of the same battle for equality and acceptance. I can’t have one without the other. What I’m certainly not going to do is to tell you who to vote for or what priorities you should have. I believe the personal is political, so those are matters for you to decide yourself. That is the essence of independence, and Scottish independence begins with personal independence.

Who I do vote for would depend on which constituency or region I lived in, and who is standing. If I lived in Central Scotland I would vote for the Greens on the list, because one of their candidates is John Wilson, and John is a good friend of mine. He gave me support as a friend when I needed it most. I respect his politics, he has impeccable socialist and pacifist credentials, and he’s committed to independence. If Liam McLaughlin was standing for the socialists on the list I’d vote for him, because I’ve known him since he was born and he’s a passionate, intelligent and articulate young man who will do Scotland proud. Or I’d vote SNP on the list as they have many fine candidates whose commitment to LGBTI equality and social justice is faultless.

The point being, I will vote for whoever is standing locally that I believe in and who I trust to help bring about an independent Scotland that is an accepting and tolerant place that values all its citizens equally, and I suggest that you do the same. That is the essence of democracy, and that’s the kind of Scotland that we’re all striving for, irrespective of our differences.

Mind you, it should be pointed out that having such big fall outs over which parties to vote for in an election is all very peculiar for what is supposed to be a one party state, so if anything has been discredited by the Great Scottish Blog War it’s certainly the claims of Unionism. The recent disagreements have proven that the independence movement is anything but a monolithic one party state which doesn’t have room for dissent, and that’s a good and healthy thing.

Now let’s all give one another a big hug, and get back to the business of building a better, an independent, Scotland.


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99 comments on “The Great Scottish Blog War

  1. Brian Murray says:

    I’d stick a Creationist in the same category as a Unionist and treat them with the same contempt. Religious buffoonery is bad enough, but should always remain secular, but some of the worst buffoons are creationists. Trouble is these people have to push it into politics and peoples lives. this candidate should be removed, and removed yesterday

    • Marconatrix says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m shocked in fact that such a person could even be considered as an SNP candidate. What future would there be for an indy Scotland governed by bigoted eejuts? I always thought the SNP was a progressive party in every sense. Have I been misled?

      • Guga says:

        It’s hard to believe that, in this day and age, there are people in Scotland that propagate this “creationist” garbage. How did the SNP allow such a fool to be selected as a candidate for election?

        I personally don’t give a stuff about other people’s beliefs, but I strongly object to any of them trying to force it down the throats of others, and that includes any attempt to have their beliefs implemented in science lessons.

        • Robert Williamson says:

          Humza Yousaf, the Minister for Europe and International Development, believes in creationism.

        • DrI says:

          I am utterly committed to secular tolerance in all matters, but I will say a few things in defence of this MSP. To characterise his views as unalloyed creationism on the US model would be inaccurate- in fact he is quite willing to engage with constituents holding contrary opinions, and his voting record is based on a view that religious tolerance also includes respect for literal interpretations of scripture as truth. Personally I don’t agree, but I will vote for him as he is an active champion for his constituents.

      • Dr Jim says:

        No you have’nt

  2. Ally Farquhar says:

    Hear Hear Paul. The job of achieving self determination is hard enough without infighting building internal barriers.

  3. I too find it surprising that the SNP allowed such a heid the ba’ through the net and I can readily understand why he’s not welcome at your table.

    You’ve done well to highlight the reality of the ridiculous “one party state” claims though. 😊

  4. Mick Pork says:

    “What all this means is that when you vote you should do so according to the dictates of your own conscience. Tactical voting in Scottish elections is fraught with danger. It’s futile to try and game a voting system as opaque as the D’Hondt method used in Scottish parliamentary elections and attempts to do so risk allowing a Unionist party to get in through the back door. You cannot be certain that your tactical vote will produce the result you want, and there’s a very real chance that the only parties which will benefit will be the Unionists.”

    That right there is the Alpha and Omega of this whole thing.

    For those interested this started many months ago with a few heid the ba’s trying to claim the complete opposite on twitter and elsewhere. Scot Goes Pop was spammed by them for weeks/months. Mike Smalll and through him Bella have also been blithely promoting the risk the list stuff with some even going so far as to claim a second vote is wasted on the SNP.

    Fact is there’s a world of difference between deceiving scottish voters on what is possible with the D’Hondt system and yer usual party political knockabout. You want to campaign for RISE, Solidarity or whoever then go right ahead. But treat the Scottish voters with respect and do so by debating policy. Don’t lie to them about the list being some kind of easy to use, risk free, second preference vote when it so clearly is anything but that.

    Much as I’d like to see an end to this there are some in RISE including Small (and some in Solidarity and the Greens too) who seem to have zero qualms or shame about misrepresenting what the D’Hondt system is all about. If they keep doing that they will get called out on it every single time, and rightly so.

    • Greensoul says:

      I may have missed it but looked back to middle of December and can’t see any articles on Bella Caledonia blithely promoting the fact that a Regional vote for the SNP is a wasted vote. As I say I may have missed it as there are a lot of articles so could you oblige and point it out.

      • Mick Pork says:

        Put “Bella second vote” into Google and you’ll find it in seconds.

      • Norman Ross says:

        “I may have missed it but looked back to middle of December and can’t see any articles…”

        That’s because those promoting D’Hondt fallacies tend to jump into the middle of existing threads discussing something else and start to promote D’Hondt fallacies as a snake oil solution to all of Scotland’s problem.

  5. Alex Birnie says:

    See that Mick Pork? – what he said!…..

  6. David Agnew says:

    this whole ballyhoo about rise getting vote charity because we need a credible opposition, is getting dangerously close to the level of nonsense spouted by the #snpout campaign. All they need to discredit themselves further is to release a “tactical” voting wheel.

    The problem with rise is that its voting power is almost nonexistent. To get that list seat they would need every SNP voter to vote rise on the list. That simply isn’t going to happen. The most likely outcome is that a unionist party would sneak in instead.

  7. J. R. Tomlin says:

    Very, very well said. I think the person in question has some strong communities ties that allowed him to become the SNP candidate, but that doesn’t mitigate his loathsome views on equality and reproductive rights. I know that it is a controversial thing to say, but voting your conscience seems the way to go and each person has to decide what that is for themselves.

  8. platinum says:

    I can’t be the only one who is sick to the back teeth over all the nonsense that’s been going back and forth over the last few days. So much so that I’ve been turning off the Twitter and the blogs and doing something more productive like poking my brain out with a rusty spoon.

    I, along with many others, voted Lib Dem my whole life in order to keep the 2nd placed Tories out in WM elections… Look how well that turned out in 2010. Tactical voting doesn’t always work out the way you planned even if you are successful. Nope, from then I made the choice that I would only vote positively for the party that had done enough to earn my vote, at least that way I can sleep at night.

  9. Macart says:

    Two choices you can truly call your own in life, your friends and your vote. No one should tell you what to do with either.

    You vote for who will best represent and reflect your views as a person and who you feel will most benefit your constituency. You vote your conscience and your best judgement and your vote won’t be wasted. Its all anyone can ask.

    Its pretty much the core of independence and democracy… personal choice.

    P.S. I’m a natural born hugger.

  10. Steve Bowers says:

    Get a grip Paul, it’s a bosie up here, nae a hug. tsk tsk tsk

  11. Steve Asaneilean says:

    If what you say about your local candidate is true Paul then I am appalled that they were selected (and thereby condoned).

    But perhaps you could offer them the chance to put their views forward here so we can see for ourselves what they stand for?

    Your general views re voting are spot on. Vote for who you want but also accept responsibility for the consequences of that choice.

    As for the blog war – honestly pigs in a barn yard fighting over a bowel of scraps would have handled themselves better.

    The blatant name calling in CW and the tiny tot tantrums from Bella and others were like something you would come across in a P1 playground and nobody came out of it well.

    And did it achieve anything positive or do anything good? I think not.

  12. bjsalba says:

    A breath of fresh air, Paul. You thought it out based on the situation that confronted you.

    Thank you for your candour and clarity. I think it behoves us all to follow your excellent example.

  13. […] Source: The Great Scottish Blog War […]

  14. Sparks says:

    Well that went well Paul, and I was getting a nice warm glow from reading that until that name Mick Pork scrolled into view. Not satisfied with accepting that there are counter arguments to the SNP x2 argument the “other” side are now being accused, every one of them as promoting tactical voting, even though many, like you are just saying vote fro who you and what you believe in.

    • Mick Pork says:

      I was unaware that my name scrolling into view dispelled warm glows but it’s good to know the almost supernatural effect it has on some. 😀 LOL

      Speaking of which, who is this mysterious “other side” you speak of and do we need a ouija board to contact them beyond the veil?

      In case you still don’t get it, far from getting involved in the peripheral stuff I was outlining precisely where this whole spat originated and what the crux of it actually is. I do so because I know from reading James site that is the case and because when Bella (and some others) started repeating the disinformation about the list vote it escalated into the spat we see now.

      That central point about the D’Hondt system being a complete gamble and unfit for tactic voting (which Paul skillfully and succinctly summarised as have Wings in a couple of articles) needs repeating because, as I said, trying to deceive Scottish voters about the nature of the Holyrood voting system goes way, WAY beyond the usual party knockabout and deserves to be called out every time the lie is repeated.

      “even though many, like you are just saying vote fro who you and what you believe in.”

      That “many” self-evidently includes those who are pointing out the actual nature of the D’Hondt voting system rather than lying about it. Hence me quoting Paul.

      As for there being counter arguments to SNPx2, of course there are but there is absolutely nothing unfair or arrogant in the SNP trying to win a Holyrood election by campaigning on winning those two votes.

      Anyone who seriously thinks otherwise is going to be in for a bit of a shock when Nicola repeats that message time after time after time in debates and on the campaign trail up and down Scotland.

      The SNP did it last Holyrood election too and it worked out rather well as it happens. 🙂

  15. Ian says:

    I think that some people have fallen into the trap of thinking that Independence is achieved or all but and they are now focussing on the type of politics they envisage in an independent Scotland.

    The fact is that Independence is still a long way off and by no means a foregone conclusion so it doesn’t matter if someone is for or against gay issues or is too dictatorial or not left or right enough. It is too early to make such distinctions.

    The focus should be on achieving independence. Nothing should get in the way of that therefore voting SNP/SNP is the only rational choice.

    • Douglas Porteous says:

      Ian yes yes yes

    • Jim Bennett says:

      Ian, you are utterly and entirely wrong.

      Scotland had the power to enact legislation on equal marriage, it did so and therefor gave a very real signal to the world about the type of nation we are.

      It has the power to enact legislation on land reform for land ownership to be restricted to legal entities registered inside the European Union in a bid to exclude tax havens and improve transparency.

      We have the power to create the biggest house building programme in Europe since WWII.

      We have the power to create the best childcare provision in Europe, right now.

      I’m tired of this “do nothing till independence” malarkey. There’s plenty we could be doing now to model what we’re planning to become.

      • Ian says:

        Without independence, Scotland can only become what Westminster allows and voting against the SNP now for any reason simply dilutes the drive towards independence. Doing so is to give priority to personal interests which is no less than what most No voters did.

        Voting SNP/SNP is a means to an end. It is not the end.

  16. Martin says:

    Very well said

    thanks

  17. “the SNP candidate … has attempted to introduce so called intelligent design, creationism by another name, into school science classes” Can you name names?

    And there’s worse. John Mason, supported by Richard Lyle and Dave Thompson (all SNP), tabled Parliamentary Motion S4M-12149, according to which

    … some people believe that God created the world in six days, some people believe that God created the world over a longer period of time and some people believe that the world came about without anyone creating it; considers that none of these positions can be proved or disproved by science and all are valid beliefs for people to hold, and further considers that children in Scotland’s schools should be aware of all of these different belief systems.

    There will be challenges to religious privilege in the next Parliament, and your readers would do well to bear that in mind.

    • mogabee says:

      I, as a parent, am more than comfortable with my daughter discussing ALL belief or non-belief systems at school. Having them laid out in the light of debate is healthy and long may it continue.

      • Would you be happy with your daughter being taught that science could not distinguish between the theories that the Earth is flat, and that the Earth is round? I am all in favour of pupils learning about different beliefs, but any honest description of six day creationism would have to say that it is completely incompatible with everything we know about astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, and biology.

        • Az says:

          Bit strawman there Paul. I agree with Mogabee.
          Your argument about science would shed light on the kind of debate outlined by Mogabee.
          Science is not foolproof – often merely settling on the most likely theory given available evidence.
          Such discussion is, I believe, enlightening to children. I’m constantly amazed by how smart kids are.
          As for the world being flat, you’ll find it difficult to evidence any culture actually believing this.
          Imagine in a few millenia and after some cataclysmic event, people scoff at our era on the basis that we believed an old man in a red suit gave out presents to the whole world in just one night…

          • The context, remember, is the actual parliamentary motion by John Mason et al saying “… some people believe that God created the world in six days, some people believe that God created the world over a longer period of time and some people believe that the world came about without anyone creating it; considers that none of these positions can be proved or disproved by science and all are valid beliefs for people to hold, and further considers that children in Scotland’s schools should be aware of all of these different belief systems.”

            So there’s no doubt about the level of ignorance of, and contempt for, science that is being shown. But you’re quite right; geocentric theory might have been a better example than flat earth theory.

          • Jeff says:

            Oh, please. Let’s kick religion out of our schools altogether. Separate church and state. Let them debate santa claus, it’s on the same sort of level anyway.

  18. Craig P says:

    During the indyref I was convinced that social media would win it for us and the days of big media were over. Very wrong. So the saving grace here is that most people aren’t even aware of these blog spats.

    When all is done my prediction is these arguments will have a narrow circulation and very little effect on the wider electorate. SNP will be the biggest party, Labour second, RISE will remain anonymous to all but a few bloggers, and hopefully the Greens will beat Libs to 4th place, though I can’t see them making the kind of advance I hoped for a year ago.

    • Milady says:

      Exactly this. My Dad who is fairly savvy (but sadly gets his news and political viewpoint courtesy of the ‘Depressing Journal’ in Aberdeen) has never heard of Rise. He will not be alone.

      I’m also saddened that the WGD has an SNP MP who is so anti all the freedoms I hold dear and would want to see in iScotland. I think sadly I too would have to abstain if there was no Green candidate on ballot.

    • Sparks says:

      Craig, spot on, I think. It comforts me somewhat to remember that Bella and Scot goes Pop, for instance have an extremely limited readership. If I’m feeling super optimistic I’d also say that some of the main players and mouthpieces and arguments will have burnt themselves out by May. However, I do have concerns for any MSM outlet picking up the stories and running with them. A sure-fire vote loser. Also, after the referendum it was impossible to forget that labour had stood shoulder to shoulder for better together. Can we really expect SNP, Greens and Rise activists to bury the hatchet for Indyref 2 if and when it comes? Again, the optimist says, ach well it’ll be a largely different, fresher and younger group of activists.

  19. Onwards says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a better candidate.
    Personally, I would hold my nose, and vote for independence and the bigger picture, but everyone has their personal limits.
    If the polls narrow, and it looks like a 2 horse race, it may be a harder choice, especially if a majority is in question. But maybe not.

    I think everyone understands that while this character may have local support, his views on LGBT rights are not representative of the wider party, and the chance of any extremist legislation getting passed is non-existent.

    I remember David Cameron’s big speech before the referendum giving the effective argument, that no matter how much Scots didn’t personally like him or the Tories, they would come and go, but independence would be forever.
    That’s good, I thought.

  20. Peter A Bell says:

    This is by no means the first article I’ve come across that seeks to minimise the debate around the issue of ‘tactical’ voting and disparage those who actually understand what that debate is about. No doubt this patronising mocking of pro-independence activists will delight those “Yooneristas” every bit as much as the serious debate which they are happy to have portrayed as a petty and pointless social media squabble.

    The shallow misapprehension evident in all of these efforts to diminish and mock is that the irksome point in recent exchanges on the matter – some admittedly quite heated – is conflict over the advisability and feasibility of tactical voting. While there is certainly disagreement on that count, this is not the real bone of contention. Nobody, I think, is hugely exercised by the discussion itself. Wrong headed as the effort to take from the SNP list votes that may be required in order to secure another pro-independence majority government, nobody is seriously questioning the right of true believers to try and make that argument.

    Few, if any, even object to the fact that this is no more than a self-serving vote-grabbing effort by the OPIPs (other pro-independence parties) – and particularly the ramshackle coalition of leftist cliques calling itself RISE. That’s just politics. Many observers are impressed almost to the point of fleeting respect that these fractious factional ferrets have been sufficiently sedated by the remote prospect of a place in parliament to temporarily occupy the same sack.

    None of this is what has ignited such anger as there may be. That has been provoked, not by discussion of the merits and demerits of various ‘cunning plans’ to circumvent the d’Hondt system, but by the tactics being used by some of those trying to sell the idea that voters can be directed and coordinated en masse so as to achieve a specified electoral outcome.

    In reality, it’s not about ‘tactical’ voting at all. It’s about the direction taken by certain sections of the alternative media which, in the eyes of many, have become mouthpieces for partisan interests in very much the same way as the Daily Record is, to all intents and purposes, the house organ of British Labour in Scotland.

    Those of us who recognise the crucial role that alternative media have in the independence movement have very good reason to be disappointed and deeply concerned by this development. It is not enough that pro-independence blogs and news websites should be able to boast of their huge following. It’s not only a matter of numbers. What alternative media requires in order to be an effective counter to the British establishment’s propaganda machine is credibility. It’s no good just competing on the basis of unique visitors versus total readership. Alternative media must acquire the authority that is rapidly seeping away from the ‘quality’ print media.. They need to win the trust that the broadcast media (BBC) has squandered. This will not be achieved by emulating their methods and behaviour.

    It is right that people should speak out about standards in the alternative media just as they do about the mainstream media. This is not a trivial matter.

    • Mick Pork says:

      The problem is that it’s the ‘stooshie’ part of the spat that contains the most illuminating and revealing insight into how Small/RISE/ Bella plan to proceed along with their methods.

      As such very few will bother to read the email exchanges. Or rather, human nature being what it is, most will wring their hands proclaim “this is appalling! We don’t care about this fighting” and then proceed to launch into their own hobby horse off the back of the increased pageviews and interest a spat always invokes. While some will dive straight into the emails to look for the ‘juicy bits’. “He called him a what?!? Oh my!”

      Unfortunate because the fact is James has regularly submitted articles to Editors for publication elsewhere so it’s not as if Small can pretend James doesn’t know how it works, or what is reasonable and unreasonable interference.

      I suspect those Greens and left-wing people who aren’t RISE would have had their eyes opened if they cared to examine the detail.

      Many of them are fine with anything that propounds the deceitful idea that you can use D’Hont in a risk free way for a second vote (for obvious reasons) but if they thought Bella would happily publish any articles which explain why they are more deserving of that second vote then they weren’t paying attention. Particularly when Small seemed most excised and upset at James pointing out the harsh reality of the likely electoral prospects of RISE

      I suspect (backed up by Smalll’s blatant reluctance to publish James fairly measured piece) that come the election campaign proper Small will look for the most vituperative, angry, outspoken and voter scaring Green he can find, publish a diatribe from that individual while claiming that he’s doing so to expand the debate or find a voice outside the tired old mainstream or some such bollocks.

      If he can bring himself to even acknowledge the likes of Solidarity and other left-wing voices apart from RISE he’ll find another ‘colourful’ voice or two for them.

      All this while leaning heavily into every RISE press release and utterance he can while trying not to make it too bloody obvious where his allegiance clearly is.

      Bella does seem to be his website to do as he pleases though so there’s not much point in worrying about it TBH.

      It’s also not as if SNP supporters haven’t already noticed the kind of clickbait style ‘SNPBad’ articles Small/Bella is happy to run in the name of “improving the debate”.

      • Peter A Bell says:

        While I made a point of not naming names, you are correct in identifying Bella Caledonia as one of the sites I was referring to. You are undoubtedly correct also to say that people are on to Mike Small’s wee game. There is some amusing irony in the fact that so many are better able to spot such manipulative tendencies largely thanks to the increased political engagement and awareness that was promoted by sites such as Bella Caledonia.

  21. Dan Huil says:

    Well said, Paul. Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph, I know, sorry, has another front page saying we in Scotland should be grateful to volunteer to become cannon fodder.

  22. Dan Huil says:

    Coutesy of scottish skier:

    “Polling data and fundamental to the cross-border differences on the EU.

    UK Yougov poll.

    Generally speaking, do you think the British Empire was
    UK
    43% A good thing
    19% A bad thing
    25% Neither a good nor bad thing
    13% DK
    =+24% NET

    Scotland
    30% A good thing
    34% A bad thing
    26% Neither a good nor bad thing
    11% DK
    =-4% NET

    UK
    Do you think Britain’s history of colonialism is…
    44% Part of our history that we should proud happened
    21% Part of our history that we should regret happening
    23% Neither
    13% DK
    =+23% NET

    Scotland
    Do you think Britain’s history of colonialism is…
    34% Part of our history that we should proud happened
    36% Part of our history that we should regret happening
    18% Neither
    11% DK
    =-2% NET

    UK
    Thinking about how Britain talks and thinks about our past, do you think…
    29% Britain tends to view our history of colonisation too positively – there was much cruelty, killing, injustice and racism that we try not to talk about
    28% Britain tends to view our history of colonisation too negatively – we talk too much about the cruelty and racism of Empire, and ignore the good that it did
    27% Britain tends to get the balance between the good and bad sides of our colonial histor about right
    16% DK
    =+1% NET

    Scotland
    Thinking about how Britain talks and thinks about our past, do you think…
    49% Britain tends to view our history of colonisation too positively – there was much cruelty, killing, injustice and racism that we try not to talk about
    19% Britain tends to view our history of colonisation too negatively – we talk too much about the cruelty and racism of Empire, and ignore the good that it did
    19% Britain tends to get the balance between the good and bad sides of our colonial history about right
    16% DK
    =-30% NET

    This is something quite fundamental in terms of national psyche which influences the way people on either side of the border see their country’s place in the world, and why Scotland is more pro-European.
    Far fewer rose tinted glasses in Scotland about the empire because it was never really Scotland’s. It was England’s empire to which Scotland found itself attached without a great deal of choice. Such was the world of the time; if you weren’t big enough to have your own, you ended up as part of someone else’s.

    So considerably more mourning for the loss of the empire and a view that England doesn’t need Europe to be ‘great’. In Scotland, the view is more ‘empire is over, time to move on’”

  23. Andrew Abel says:

    I agree with a lot of this post. Particularly:

    “The point being, I will vote for whoever is standing locally that I believe in and who I trust to help bring about an independent Scotland that is an accepting and tolerant place that values all its citizens equally, and I suggest that you do the same. ”

    I’m voting SNP-SNP, but this is because it fits with what I believe. I’m sympathetic to RISE, but I’d like to see that they are going to last more than one election first. I’m inclined towards the Greens, but ultimately, the SNP have made the case for me because I am a big fan of both my local candidate (Keith Brown), and Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership. In addition, independence is my main aim, and the SNP are the best vehicle for this. But by all means, if people are more convinced by the Greens or Rise, then that is the way they should vote. I’m tired of the “tactical voting” chat, and think people vote for what they believe in. Surely better to be positive rather than negative?

    However, I disagree with you on:

    “The merits and demerits of voting for RISE or the Greens in the list instead of voting twice for the SNP have been debated, dissected, and screamed at from trenches.”

    I don’t think this is true at all. I haven’t seen anything about the merits of voting for RISE. I’ve followed the great blog wars, and I haven’t a clue what RISE stand for. I’ve heard lots about why an SNP vote is wasted, and why its just deluded zombie behaviour to vote SNP. But I’ve not heard a positive reason to vote RISE, only negative stuff aimed at the SNP. Why would I want to vote for negativity like that?

    So really, what we’ve heard are the demerits of voting twice for the SNP. I would like the RISE people to try making the case for RISE, rather than making the case for Not SNP.

  24. david says:

    Paul, wonderful. Just exactly right. That’s the Scotland I want too.

  25. maybe the problem is with the voting system itself, designed by unionists for unionists.

  26. Bill McLean says:

    Here we go again! I fully respect the views of the Dug and everyone else who has a point to make!
    However, as has ever been the case, we lose sight of the big target in arguing with each other about lesser, albeit sincerely held and honourable, issues. Independence will never be ours – our biggest failing will always ensure that. And our masters at Westminster know it and will foster it!
    Ever our own worst enemy! Sorry!

    • Dan Huil says:

      Stay cool, Bill. Just remember how far we’ve travelled towards our goal in the last few years. We’ll get there, wee internal spats and all.

  27. Maureen says:

    I respect everyone’s views but i absolutely agree with Bill McLean.We are our own Enemy.

  28. alharron says:

    “I respect the fact that other people have different priorities, that they may find it difficult to understand why I might risk a Unionist getting into power by abstaining in the election of a nationalist. I was politicised in the struggle for LGBTI rights, and for me the struggle for the collective rights of the people of Scotland as a nation is part of the same battle for equality and acceptance. I can’t have one without the other. What I’m certainly not going to do is to tell you who to vote for or what priorities you should have. I believe the personal is political, so those are matters for you to decide yourself. That is the essence of independence, and Scottish independence begins with personal independence.”

    Paul, while I’m disappointed in your decision on the constituency vote, I do understand where you’re coming from, and I certainly cannot blame you for it either. Mr Mason is nothing if not a divisive figure, and you explain your personal position admirably.

    I am one of those people who thinks the principle of independence absolutely trumps individual policies: if I was in your constituency, I absolutely would vote for Mr Mason as a result of that. While I and other SNP members may not share many of Mr Mason’s policy ideas (as evidenced by the fact we’re *not* currently teaching intelligent design in our classrooms), I agree with the notion that the people of Scotland should have final say on what those policies are, without having to look over our shoulder south to see whether we’re having another 15% of our budget cut, or a devolved power reserved back, or any number of other things. I acknowledge others may find such a position appalling, and blame anyone who votes for Mr Mason for what he does – but from my perspective, allowing or advocating an anti-independence MSP knowing that they implicitly prefer Scotland being helpless against a Tory government they didn’t vote for is worse.

    If nothing else, you could always campaign in neighbouring constituencies. 🙂

    I’m not in the SNP for their policies, though it helps that I agree with a lot of them – I’m in the SNP for the principle of independence alone. (I have to chuckle at those who criticize the SNP for not being “left-wing enough,” because to be frank, NONE of the parties currently standing are “left-wing enough” for me, and certainly none are libertarian enough).

  29. Jim Bennett says:

    I just wanted to thank Mr G. Dug for what was an excellent, well thought out and useful contribution to the debate.

    Vote for what you believe in? Hey, man, crazy concept, I hope it catches on!

  30. kailyard rules says:

    Whatever way it’s rationalised this bitchy brouhaha is the thin end of a splitwedge. Leave the ferrets in the sack of hammers until post-independence politics emerge. SNP2.

  31. James Barr Gardner says:

    No one is saying that you have to give up your choice of politics for life, what is being said is that if you truly want heart and soul an Independent Scotland some sacrifices are required on the part of the individual voter.

    Like most folk who voted yes I think the sooner the better Scotland becomes Independent. What can you do as an individual to facilitate the most efficient and shortest way to achieving a new brighter future for Scotland?

    Time for you to decide how long you want be ruled by the Westminster elite, remember they are exceeding good at playing the long game.

  32. hamish says:

    Who is the MSP that allegedly has creationist views ?

    • I don’t know who Paul (the blog owner) was referring to, and would like to. I do know that MSPs John Mason, Richard Lyle, and Dave Thompson signed a parliamentary motion saying that science could not decide between an old Earth and a young Earth, that young Earth creationism is a valid belief to hold, and that school teaching should reflect this fact; relevant wording above.

      • Steve Asaneilean says:

        There is no dispute in mainstream science – when did Nature publish an article or editorial supporting “young Earth” theory or Creationism.

        Creationism is a religious belief which can be taught as part of Religious Education.

        But it has no place in a science class.

  33. This is a welcome reflection of sanity. And sticking by your principles in democracy.

    Thanks for writing it. 🙂

  34. wee e says:

    ” Meanwhile the Yooneristas keep very quiet ”
    I wouldn;t bet on it. I would bet that John McTernan — who actually showed his face on TV today — is doing all he can to justify still getting a wage from Labour. (And is Blair McDougall unemployed? If no, what’s he up to now?)

    I’m always wary of new “independence supporter” posters on social media.
    Especially since the “vile threatening cybernat” meme was re-employed by the PLP and McTernan against Corbynites: it became crystal clear where in Better Together that particular technique was honed.

  35. mealer says:

    Is D’Hondt standing in all the regions? I was thinking of lending them my second vote.On a tactical basis.

  36. Robert Graham says:

    Nope its SNP -SNP , if it’s not then Fluffys job is done , does anyone really believe the budget increase in this clowns department combined with this smear campaign that has been going on recently is a coincidence , waken up you are doing the unionists job for them it’s the oldest bloody method of destroying a political movement , work from within divide and rule , I can’t believe people are falling for this guff it’s so bloody obvious , get a grip , see the bigger picture

    • Dan Huil says:

      Exactly. First things first: independence.
      I know, I’ve said it before, but rest assured I’ll be saying it over and over till polling day – and after.
      Independence will mean a fresh start for ALL parties.

  37. Sooz says:

    Even if I were even to consider giving my second vote to another party (which I’m not) it would have to be a pro-Indy party. A party that has, as one of its main goals, the independence of Scotland as soon as the majority of Scotland says it’s time.

    I can’t in all conscience give my votes to anyone but the SNP – partly because I’m a member, and partly because as far as I can see, no other party has its ducks lined up publicly in a row for independence and is willing to fight for it with the SNP (rather than competing). Lots of talk about what independence should mean and how we should run Scotland, but for me those are what we tackle when we win. My opinion, and I’m welcome to it. 🙂

    Once we’re independent then let the ducks fall where they may. Everything is up for grabs then for everyone in Scotland.

  38. Oneironaut says:

    Well said WGD! 🙂

    This is one of a few reasons why I no longer frequent the other blogs/forums/etc out there.
    There’s too many people who seem to be trying their hardest to live up to the mainstream media’s “crazy nat cultist” image with their “If you’re not one of us, you’re one of them!” rants every time the debate comes up.

    Having been bombarded with that, I’m seriously considering just abstaining from voting altogether.

    I don’t trust RISE, but maybe that’s just me.

    As for the Creationist MSP… I’m not religious myself, although I’m happy to let other people believe what they believe.
    For me, the line is drawn when they start shoving their own beliefs down other people’s throats.
    Once religion starts creeping into politics, you end up with something like America. Not sure I’d want to just exchange one totalitarian regime for another…

  39. I wish the ‘wee ginger dug’ was standing for election as an msp. There’d be no doubt who would get my vote then.

  40. Jim Cassidy says:

    Once upon a time I’d have been SNP 1 & 2, sorry to say that I won’t be doing so this time. Neither 1 or 2.

    The SNP in North Lanarkshire has a truly terrible reputation for internal bullying. I saw the effects of this myself in the Westminster selection process. The sneaky hate campaign waged against one candidate, with a string of false allegations against him which led to Police and council involvement was truly despicable.

    I saw a branch meeting degenerate into what I can only describe as a baying mob, whipped up like the villagers in some Frankenstein movie.

    The SNP candidate, Alex Neil, is one I have lost all respect for. Elected on one major promise, that he would deliver a railway station to the village of Plains, has failed miserably. Were that his only failing it could possibly be overlooked.

    Leading the list vote is Councillor Sophia Coyle, who gave this interview where she voices her opposition to gay marriage and of gays being allowed to foster or adopt:
    http://plainsevangelicalchurch.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/should-i-vote-for-sophia-coyle-snp.html

    The party refuse to allow her to comment on this. They have issued a statement saying she is now “comfortable” with party policy, even though she clearly says she would defy the party on these subjects if given the opportunity!

    Were that not enough my experiences of the party’s code of silence, an Omerta worthy of the Mafia themselves, is the most worrying. Local concerns ignored, deflected, denied.
    Freedom of information requests ignored, dragged out, answered only when forced to by the watchdogs. All carried out under the watchful and informed gaze of Nicola Sturgeon.

    Like Paul, if there’s a pro-indy candidate I can support, I’ll do so. Otherwise my vote will not be cast.

  41. Macart says:

    Enjoyed your column in today’s National Paul.

    Another winner. 🙂

  42. Martin mortimer says:

    Liked your ‘blog wars’ post. Haven’t read today’s Wee dug in National. Will post or twit later. Having a Rubicon day. Packed it in with Twitter, loved some of the twits, but not enough. Had Enough of Bella . Been waiting patiently for people to realise their being diverted with all sorts of ‘party’ nonsense. People listen to you, maybe you should twit more often. Shall spend the rest of time before elections, hibernating with Wee ginger dug😊🤒

  43. Bill McDermott says:

    I feel I need to defend John Mason Paul. He has a perfectly legitimate point of view which he merely wants to highlight as the position of a minority of his constituents.

    He may lose the bigger arguments in respect of abortion and creationism, which again is perfectly legitimate, but he should not be subjected to the sort of vitriol evident in the above comments.

    In this society the modern phenomenon of aggressive atheism, pushing those who believe into a ghetto, is itself reminiscent of Natzi Germany. Please be more accepting of other opinions and beliefs.

    • weegingerdug says:

      I said in the article that Christians like John have every right to representation in the Scottish Parliament, and every right to push their agenda – they’re just not going to do it on the back of my vote.

    • if you are talking to me, Bill, this is a complete strawman. One of my allies against creationism is an Anglican priest, the Reverend Michael Roberts, geologist and historian, another is James McGrath, theology Professor who blogs at Exploring our Matrix. I go out of my way to cite other prominent Christians who support evolution and an old Earth, such as the evangelicals Dennis Venema at Biologos and Richard Wiens whose “Radiometric dating – a Christian perspective” is an outstanding statement of the science. I do this precisely because there are those who sow confusion by claiming that the only genuine Christianity is creationist.

      And I find your reference to the Nazis deeply offensive. The Nazis, if they had got hold of me, would have turned me into soap.

  44. Bill McDermott says:

    My point is directed at your commentators.

  45. Martin Mortimer says:

    Paul. Using husbands computer.did send a comment, but seems to be lost in the ether. Enjoyed the war blogg. Said everything I wish I could say. Will write again when I’ve had a few lessons in computer use. I think your the last man standing the others are floundering.

    On Tuesday, 19 January 2016, Wee Ginger Dug <comment-reply@wordpress.com > wrote:

    > weegingerdug posted: “I’ve been keeping out the Great Scottish Blog Wars. > In case you haven’t noticed, which is another way of saying in case you’re > a sane person who doesn’t care about arguments on social media because you > have a real life, battle lines have been drawn over ” >

  46. Sister Anonymous says:

    Still following this blog occasionally despite the fact i’m a unionist, don’t like to comment cause it’s not really my place, but i have to concede that you guys have properly put to rest the idea that Yessers are an unthinking hive-mind (a prejudice i’ve held in the past). So thanks for enlightening me, and sorry for thinking that

    • Patience is a Virtue says:

      It is important to give due consideration to all candidates and parties and before making up your mind, perhaps some here may be interested in some ‘Important Voter Information’ which dropped through my letter box this week and similar presented on the tele stating that:-

      ‘At the Scottish election in May you will have two votes’ ..

      ‘Cast your Regional List vote for Ruth Davidson, the only strong alternative to the SNP, who will secure Scotland’s place in the UK.’

      and she wasn’t saying very ‘better together’ things about the Liberals or Labour either

      and goes on to say “Scotland needs a strong voice to hold the SNP to account, stand firm against a second referendum and oppose tax rises for Scots” …..

      I thought I knew how I was going to vote, now I just can’t decide.

  47. Bill McDermott says:

    #Paul Braterman

    I believe in an old earth, but I also believe that an uncontrolled, free choice on abortion, which some would advocate, would not serve the common good which is ultimately where I want to go.

    None of what you say satisfies my concern about aggressive atheists. People of different views and beliefs have to be respected.

    • Aggressive atheists, like aggressive theists, are beside the point.

      People have to be respected, but not necessarily their beliefs. And it is no lack of respect for them as people (indeed the contrary) if you refrain from voting for them when those beliefs lead them to advocate public policies with which you disagree. Such as, the beliefs that personhood begins at conception, or that science cannot disprove a young earth.

  48. Bill McDermott says:

    So we can dismiss comments such as that John Mason is ignorant or a fool?

    He is neither. He is a genuine, hard working MSP.

  49. Dr Jim says:

    Staggering the amount of people who say they aren’t going to get involved or comment on the wee spat going on between parties who are going to get barely a vote between them because their only policy so far has been “SNP not as good as us” and then proceed to comment on that very fact by announcing who they’re not going to vote for over a single issue

    You have a right to vote for whomever you choose and nobody can do anything about that, but to dress up obvious bias in a wee fluffy anti-bias looking piece and then pretend otherwise is pretty pathetic

    I’d like the SNP to give me lots of money, but they wont will they, well to hell with them I’m not going to vote for them, even though but for them and years of graft to have the freedoms we have now with more to come and the likely hood this Blog would not even exist without them I’m going to vote for a complete nonentity even if I don’t know if they’re telling me the truth or not

    So you just do the Scottish thing and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over 1 single issue, it’s the Scottish way

    I know what I’ll be doing, even though they wont give me lots of money

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