It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Scotland in Union and its claim to be a grassroots organisation. Poor sowels. There you are, telling anyone who’ll listen that you represent the voices of grassroots supporters of the British state and along come those pesky cybernats with their Scoobie Doo impressions who bust you and prove to the world that not only have you come up with a conspiracy plan that even Enid Blyton would consider somewhat childish, but that the nearest you get to grassroots is a small formal lawn in an extensive estate which is attended to by your private forelock tugging gardener. A lawn, moreover, which only grows because it’s fed with copious amounts of expensive and artificial shit. Scotland in Union is so posh that even astroturf is a bit too common for them.
We have Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland to thank for revealing the information about Scotland in Union’s funding, and uncovering the truth that the organisation operates on large donations from a relatively small number of rich and well connected people. Independence organisations have to crowdfund, seeking small donations from large numbers of people, but Scotland in Union is backed by lords, ladies, and lairds. An organisation which is about to host a fund raising “Robbie Burns” supper, is predominantly funded by the kind of people that the Bard decried as a parcel of rogues. Many of us in the independence movement have suspected this for some while, but it took Wings Over Scotland to give us the truth.
Stu Campbell is a controversial figure in the independence movement for some, but until his critics are prepared to do the job that he does, to do it better, and to do it in a way and expressed in a language that makes it accessible to your average Scottish punter, he’s going to have an important role to play in this movement. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to recognise the value of the work he does.
It’s clear that Scotland in Union is an organisation in meltdown. First off a bunch of zoomers who were too frothy even for an organisation that counts certain splenetic individuals who shall remain nameless amongst its prominent supporters split off and formed a new pro-Brexit group of their own. And in the process they made some risible videos inviting separatist scum to come along for a wee chat if they think they’re hard enough. That split all by itself tells you that there are serious tensions running right through the very heart of Scotland in Union. For an organisation that claims to promote the value of unity its members are pretty poor at staying in union with one another.
Then Scotland in Union members were caught out in a wee conspiracy to bombard newspapers with letters, pretending to come from ordinary concerned individual citizens and not as part of some organised campaign. Naturally lots of the letters get published, since a very large majority of Scotland’s press outlets support the Unionist line so the letters agree with the editors’ preferences. But they got busted by an independence supporter who had wormed his way into the confidence of certain Scotland in Union members. The result was that their letter writing campaign turned them into a laughing stock. For an organisation which spends so much time claiming that the independence movement is a cult, they’ve adopted some suspiciously cult-like tactics of their own, spreading the word of the union in the Press and Journal, the Courier, the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, the Shetland Times, Pravda, and the Ouagadougou Telegraph.
Now we’ve discovered that Scotland in Union operates largely on Tory money, on money from the rich and well connected, the powerful and the titled. It fundraises in elite London clubs, and at shooting parties for the wealthy. It’s hardly surprising that people who have done very well out of the British state want to see the British state continue its rule in Scotland. There are more titles amongst Scotland in Union donors than there are on the shelves of a local library that’s just been closed due to Tory cuts.
The funding strategies of Scotland in Union reveal the uncomfortable truth about those who campaign against Scottish independence – they are engaged in a fundamentally conservative project, a fundamentally reactionary enterprise. Opposing independence isn’t about making Scotland a better place for all its citizens, it’s about preserving the privilege and wealth of those who already enjoy privilege and wealth. Anything else they tell us is just a Vow on the front page of the Daily Record.
However the really interesting story here isn’t the predictable truth that much of the group’s funding comes from rich Tories and landed gentry, it’s that there is someone high up within the organisation who is so monumentally pissed off, fed up, angry, and frustrated that they’re prepared to reveal its embarrassing financial secrets to Stu Campbell, Vile Cybernat Prime himself. Whoever tipped Stu off to the existence and location of the information had to have had a position of some responsibility in order to know how to access data which is sensitive and confidential. It speaks volumes about the amateurish and incompetent nature of Scotland in Union that the data remained accessible on a public Google Drive folder, unencrypted and not protected by a password even after a very public falling out amongst members of the organisation which had led to some of them breaking away to form a rival group. There will most certainly be other tensions and other arguments within Scotland in Union which have not – yet – seen the light of day.
Still, I am sure that our fearless traditional print media will be on the case just as they are whenever independence supporters have a wee spat on Twitter. Oh. Right. They’ll probably tell us there is no story here, as the person who tipped off Stu Campbell had really intended to email the Campbell who’s Duke of Argyll instead.
Naturally the implosion of Scotland in Union has created a great disturbance in the Yoonstream – which is the technical term for the batshit end of British nationalist support on social media. Twitter troll and journo pal Brian Spanner has even been trying to take the moral high ground, but sadly for him he doesn’t know where it is. [A wee hint for Brian – it’s about 3,000 metres above your head, love.]
What has come to light about Scotland in Union hasn’t come thanks to the traditional Scottish media. It’s come through social media, and through the efforts of online independence campaigners. What we’ve learned is that Scotland in Union is a microcosm of the British state which it seeks to protect. It’s elitist and top down, but it’s also amateurish, shambolic, childishly inane, and it’s dysfunctional and riven with petty jealousies and rivalries. But most importantly of all, it exists to protect the interests of the rich and the powerful. It’s entirely appropriate that a British state which isn’t fit for purpose is defended by an organisation which is equally unfit.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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