The rush to judgement

I had a lovely couple of days in Wales, doing a talk for the Caernarfon branch of Yes Cymru. It was a fantastic evening, and the venue was packed out. In fact it went so well that now Yes Cymru is considering organising a national tour of Wales for the dug. I’ll get to tag along too. The news about Alex Salmond’s resignation from the SNP broke when I was away. That was what the British parties and the anti-independence media had been calling for ever since the allegations against the former First Minister came to light last week. You’d think that his resignation would have made them happy, but no.

Instead of being satisfied that Alex Salmond had done what the British parties and media had been demanding that he do, demands that were loud and shrill, they’re now working themselves up into a froth of indignation because he has had the audacity to crowdfund his eye-wateringly expensive legal action against what he feels is an unfair complaints process. It makes you wonder just what he could do to satisfy them while at the same time maintaining his heartfelt belief that he’s done nothing wrong and the complaints procedure used against him is flawed. The answer of course is nothing at all.

It is vital that people who have been subjected to sexual harrassment feel able to come forward and to make a complaint. The mere fact that two women felt confident enough to speak up about their complaints against the most powerful man in the land is a good sign. It means that in Scotland there is no one who is too powerful or too well connected not to be held to account. We should, as a society, acknowledge that as a sign of progress in our gender politics.

Those amongst us who are indulging in conspiracy theories should recognise that that there are a million and one possibilities here which don’t involve dark machinations of the British state. It is perfectly possible for a person to feel quite genuinely that they have been sexually harrassed, while the person accused quite genuinely feels that they have done nothing wrong. This is what makes these cases sensitive and difficult. This is why these cases need to be treated with respect, immense care, and an avoidance of prejudgement so that all those concerned can seek and achieve justice.

I offer an example from my own experience. It may explain why I try to avoid making this a gender issue. In speaking about this I am not making my own contribution to the MeToo movement, and I am explicitly not offering this as a possible scenario of what might have happened in Alex Salmond’s case. I don’t know what happened exactly with the allegations against the former First Minister, and neither does the Scottish media.

I am telling you this, something I’ve never spoken about in public before, because it is so important that victims of sexual harrassment at work are able to speak up, and because I know that the aggressor in this scenario genuinely felt that he had done nothing wrong.

Almost three decades ago, not too long after I had come out as gay, I was working for a large organisation in London. Back then in the stone age of sexual politics when blatant homophobia was the staple of the press, there was a widespread attitude that if you were openly gay you were sexually promiscuous and sexually available. It was, in fact, very much like the stereotype that a woman in a short skirt is inviting sexual harrassment.

My line manager’s boss was a much older closeted gay man who continually found excuses to be in my office. He kept asking me out, even though I always rebuffed his advances and told him I was quite happy in a relationship. He would make inappropriate remarks about my physical appearance, and on more than one occasion got a bit handsy, putting his hand on my backside or crotch. I tolerated it, without saying anything, mostly because I didn’t expect to be believed, because I wanted to keep my job, and because I knew that this man would retort that he was merely being “friendly”. It made my working environment deeply uncomfortable. It was only when he started to call me at home asking me to meet up with him “for drinks and a chat”, that I made a complaint. Only to be told by a senior female manager that “We all know what X is like.” And she advised me to laugh it off. I left that job shortly afterwards. To this day, I am convinced that this man believes that he did nothing wrong, that he was just being “friendly”. I am equally convinced that I was a victim of sexual harrassment.

There are many ways in which these and similar scenarios can play out, none of which involve a conspiracy organised by British secret services. They run the gamut from innocent remarks that can be misinterpreted or consensual alcohol fuelled acts which were later regretted, to aggressive sexual harrassment that the instigator – who is invariably male – feels entitled to and which is forced upon an unwilling subordinate who feels incapable of refusing, or whose refusals are ignored or trivialised. In all these scenarios and the millions of variations in between, the person later making the allegations feels genuinely aggrieved, the person who is subject to the allegations genuinely feels that they’ve done nothing wrong.

I repeat, I have no clue what happened with Alex Salmond, but we do all know that there are two women who feel aggrieved, and that Alex Salmond equally feels he’s done nothing wrong. I don’t know where the truth lies, and neither does anyone else in politics or the media who has commented on this matter. Justice for all the parties concerned means that we don’t rush to judgement. A complaints procedure is designed to get at the truth.

However, prejudging the matter is precisely what the British media has done. We live in a country where the media is constantly in search of SNPbad stories, and in this story all their SNPbad Christmasses have come at once. The media in this country is incapable of distinguishing between Alex Salmond the individual, and the broader independence movement. Witness the number of times during the 2014 referendum that the vote was referred to as “Alex Salmond’s referendum”. That identification is still first and foremost in the minds of the British media. Just last night on Newsnight Emily Maitlis aggressively questioned the commentator Iain McWhirter about the issues around Alex Salmond, her tone was noticeably softer with the former Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika. Emily Maitlis started one of her questions to Iain McWhirter by addressing him as someone who had “signed up to Alex Salmond’s project”. By which she presumably meant Scottish independence. Iain was, quite naturally, not impressed by this line of questioning.

The line that has now been adopted by the British political parties and their media chorus is that Alex Salmond is using his power to slap down women who had the nerve to speak up against him. They are claiming that he is using the fundraiser to demonstrate that he still has influence and followers, and that those followers will back him up against any allegations made against him by any women. Some who make that allegation are genuinely unaware of the wider political and media context in Scotland. Others know but don’t care, because they’re interested in waving any stick they can find to beat up the cause of independence. In either case it’s still not true. Alex Salmond is not using his power to slap down women. He is using his power to slap down the media. He is using his power to assert that he will not be subjected to a trial and conviction by the Scottish press in the same way that media has played judge and jury with other SNP politicians.

The reason that so many people in Scotland have contributed to his fundraiser is because they know that the media in this country is using the allegations against Alex Salmond as a proxy with which to attack the cause of independence. That’s unjust to Alex Salmond, it’s unjust to the wider independence movement, but most importantly of all it’s unjust to the women who made the complaints against him. They do not deserve to see their complaints being used as pawns in a wider political battle, and by doing so the Scottish media is not only denying Alex Salmond natural justice, they are also denying natural justice to those women whom they are claiming to speak up for.


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That was then and this is now

Herman Van Rompuy, the former president of the European Council and no big supporter of the Scottish independence movement, has warned Westminster that a no-deal Brexit means that Scottish independence becomes more likely. This is a welcome indication of how the mood music from Brussels is going to be radically different during a second Scottish independence referendum compared to the first.

In the run up to the first Scottish independence referendum, Van Rompuy was one of those EU figures who, at the behest of David Cameron’s Conservatives and the EU-wide anti-independence machinations of the Spanish Partido Popular, lined up to makes statements designed to damage hopes of independence. As a member of the rightist Belgian CDV party, Van Rompuy’s party is a part of the European People’s Party in the EU parliament along with the Spanish Partido Popular, which had targetted other members of the European People’s Party in an attempt to encourage European politicians to make statements damaging to independence movements within EU states. The Spanish campaign was being led by the Partido Popular MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons.

Gonzalez Pons also had meetings with Ruth Davidson, at least twice according to reports in the Spanish press. He also claimed that he would be meeting with representatives of the Labour party in Scotland. Isn’t there a word having secret meetings with representatives of a foreign country in order to influence the outcome of a democratic vote in your own country by seeking their help against your opponents? Gosh. I can’t think what the word for that might be. I’m wracking my brains. Perhaps Robert Mueller might be able to help me.

Statements made by Van Rompuy and others might have been specifically referring to the Catalan situation but they were then spun by the Scottish media to assert that they were likewise applicable in all their details to the very different Scottish situation. Any nuance was lost in the general noise designed to create in the minds of voters in Scotland that the EU was implaccably and unmovably opposed to any notion of Scottish independence, and would go out of its way to discourage it. That’s what the Partido Popular and the British Conservatives were very keen to foster. And to be fair, at that time it’s true that there was considerable scepticism within parts of the EU about Scottish independence.

However that was then, and this is now. Last year that self same Esteban Gonzalez Pons said in the European Parliament that the Conservatives were taking Scotland out of the EU against its will. He then tweeted his personal belief that the EU should enter into talks with Scotland. Representatives of the Spanish government have since confirmed what this blog had been saying for years, that Spain would not veto a Scottish application for EU membership. And now we have Herman Van Rompuy telling the Conservatives that the actions of Theresa May’s government are only making Scottish independence more likely.

As Scotland heads towards a showdown on its constitutional future, following the betrayals of all the promises made back in 2014 to keep us a part of the UK, there will not be a series of prominent EU figures appearing in the British press to do the British government any favours. The EU is a members’ club. It looks after the interests of the states which make it up, but within a few months the UK will no longer be a member. The EU will no longer consider what the British government wants when it makes announcements. There will be no more favours, no more deals struck in secret behind closed doors to form a common front against independence movements. They will no longer stand in the way of Scottish independence.

On Monday in The National, the Scottish Government’s Brexit Secretary Mike Russell was quoted saying that previous scepticism about Scottish independence from EU leaders had now “gone away”, and that there was now a much stronger sympathy for Scottish independence throughout the EU. That is unquestionably true. Throughout Europe, people look with horror upon what is happening in the UK, and see Scotland as an oasis of sanity amidst a sea of Brexit madness. Scotland might not be able to save the rest of the UK from Brexit, but it can save itself. There’s considerable sympathy in the rest of the EU for any Scottish efforts to do so.

It scares many in Scotland that the only people who can save Scotland are the people of Scotland. It’s a sobering realisation that when you’re in need of a hero you have to become one, because the real hero is the one you find inside yourself. But all over this country hundreds and thousands of ordinary people have risen to the challenge with style and panache. In the end, saving yourself has to be your own choice, and all over Scotland people are standing up and saying yes. They’re going to save themselves, they’re going to save their families, they’re going to save their communities. They’re going to save Scotland from the pathology of passivity, the sickness of subordination, the disorder of dependence. Unlike the last time, this time the British media in Scotland is going to struggle to find EU voices warning Scotland to sit down, to be quiet, to trust in our Westminster bosses. The EU won’t save us, but this time round they will stand by our side as we save ourselves.

The second Scottish independence vote is going to be characterised by utter desperation and a lack of allies on the side of those who oppose independence. They won’t have the big guns from the EU coming to their aid. They won’t be able to trot out a series of bosses of global companies warning Scotland that cutting itself off from the UK and Europe will damage jobs and opportunities. They won’t be able to tell us that those seeking independence in order to retain our ties with the rest of the continent are the narrow minded xenophobes when they’re the ones defending a Brexit that’s driven by a fear of immigration. Above all, Brexit means that they won’t be able to tell us that we’re the narrow minded parochial nationalists.

The character of the second Scottish vote is going to be very different. It’s going to be dirty. It’s going to be ugly. It’s going to be unpleasant and personal. It always is when an old establishment realises that its claws no longer firmly grasp onto power. But that British nastiness, that bile, that viciousness, they only mean that we’re going to win. 2014 was then, this is now. This time it’s different.

There won’t be any updates to the blog for the rest of this week as I am off to Wales tomorrow to do a talk for Yes Cymru in Caernarfon on Wednesday. I expect to get home late on Thursday evening. If you’re going to the rally in Dunfermline on Saturday, I’ll be attending with the dug and will see you there!


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The bridge over troubled waters

August is traditionally a slow news month. August is usually the month that those of us who write and blog about political developments get to put our feet up, eat junk food, and watch crap on the telly, while complaining that Impossible is a whole lot crappier than Pointless and adding it to the ever lengthening list of things that pisses us off about the BBC. But not this week. This week has been a newsmaggedon.

This week we’ve had the annual GERSmas festivities of North British mediocrity, an occasion traditionally celebrated on Scottish social media with the production of a graph showing that Scotland is somewhere behind Zimbabwe in the economic competence leagues. A graph which equally traditionally fails to point out that it’s the UK Parliament which has its paws very firmly on the economic levers that have led to this situation, if in fact it were true.

We’ve had the mounting calamities of the Trump presidency. This week saw court convictions of close associates of Donald Trump. It saw immunities granted to some of his other close associates in return for cooperating with prosecutors. And it saw the Big Orange Cheeto’s belated realisation that the quickest and easiest way to get Hillary Clinton locked up would have been just to have given her a job in his campaign staff.

We’ve received the news from a heavily sweating Dominic Raab that the British government’s plans for a no-deal Brexit tell us that the UK won’t be easily able to keep importing sperm from the EU and so the UK is going to need even more wankers than it’s already got. Which considering that the Conservative party is already amongst the world’s leading suppliers is going to be very difficult.

And then there’s the allegations made against Alex Salmond and his decision to mount a legal challenge over the way that the matter has been handled, much to the distastefully salacious lip-smacking glee of the British nationalist press in Scotland which is always in search of something to criticise the SNP for and now thinks all its SNPBadmasses have come at once. There’s a lot going on.

With all that to keep us occupied, it would be forgivable if you’d missed a speech given by Jacob Rees Mogg in which he suggested that the issue of the Irish border could be easily resolved, by inspecting people crossing it the same way they were subjected to checks during the Troubles. Jacob clearly thinks that the Troubles were so called because their onset coincided chronologically with that Simon and Garfunkel song about a bridge over troubled water, and not because they were, you know, troubled. But no matter, in Jacob’s mental universe the Irish border issue which bedevils Brexit can be easily solved with a song; like a bridge over troubled waters, I will subject you to searches by armed soldiers. Because that will really ensure that the Troubles are kept in history.

In reality, Jacob is probably aware that the reintroduction of border checks would run a serious risk of reigniting the Troubles. It’s just that he doesn’t care too much. The concerns of the natives in a distant province are standing in the way of what Olde Englande wants, and that will never do. He’s probably vaguely aware that the UK has an international treaty obligation to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic open and checkpoint free. It’s just that he doesn’t care too much. Treaties made by the British with lesser breeds only need to be adhered to as long as it suits Great Britain. Because Britain has Great in its name, and nowhere else does. Except Great Neck in Long Island in New York state, which is so called because it was settled by one of Jacob’s ancestors. Donald Trump has property there.

It’s remarkable how nonchalant the Conservative and Unionist party are about throwing the “unionist” bit under the Brexit bus when it suits them. Or at least it’s remarkable, or should be remarkable, if you are a Conservative and Unionist in one of the non-English parts of the UK. The rest of us already knew that the Conservative party has a definite hierarchy of interests. First there’s what’s good for the Conservative party. Then there’s what’s good for Conservative supporting newspapers. Then there’s what’s good for the City of London. Then there’s what’s good for the south east of England. Then there’s what’s good for Conservative constituencies elsewhere. What’s good for those parts of the UK that are covered by the “unionist” rubric doesn’t even figure.

“Unionism” only ever existed in the first place in order to provide a non-nationalist figleaf for English nationalism, and can be discarded whenever it’s convenient, leaving us the naked glory of Jacob in full Rule Britannia mode. It’s only those who still call themselves Unionists in Scotland and Northern Ireland who haven’t realised that as far as the British establishment and the Conservative party are concerned, they are as disposable as a used nappy. And indeed, serve much the same purpose.

Even arch-Unionist Edward Carson, the architect of the Orange statelet of Northern Ireland, eventually came to that realisation. Writing in 1921 about his political beliefs and deeds of the previous thirty years, he said, “What a fool I was. I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into power.” Almost 100 years later and nothing has changed. Scotland and Northern Ireland remain the political playthings of the Conservatives.

For all that has happened this week, for all the crowing, the preening, the gloating and muck raking, that essential truth about the nature of the British state remains the same. Scotland, just like Northern Ireland, just like Wales, just like working class communities in England, exists only in order to serve the needs of a British Conservative political class that doesn’t care much for us and which knows us even less. No crowing headlines in the Daily Record alter that truth. The independence movement is all about a bigger prize, the prize of self-respect. It’s the bridge over the troubled waters of British nationalism.


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A time of crisis is a time of opportunity

I get it, I really do. The Scottish independence movement exists in a country where the overwhelming majority of the media is opposed, where it actively seeks opportunities to scream SNPBaaaaad from the rooftops at the slightest provocation. And all too often without any provocation at all. I get it, that the unceasing attacks and slights make us feel defensive, beleaguered, threatened, and abused. I get it. It gives us the unshakeable conviction that we’re the real victims of those anti-independence campaigners and British nationalists who constantly claim victimhood. I get it. It promotes the mentality of circling the wagons to defend ourselves from the never ending onslaught. I get it. I feel it. All of us who are involved in this independence movement do.

But never forget that every single one of us is an ambassador for this movement. Every individual who campaigns for Scottish independence, who believes in it, who supports it. We all represent this movement to the world, to the rest of Scotland, to those we seek to persuade to our cause. Each and every one of us is just as important to this campaign and to the future of Scotland as any politician or political figure, no matter how high profile they are, no matter how much influence they wield. We all own this movement. We are all a part of it. This is a grassroots movement, and each and every one of us is a leaf, a flower, a living shoot in the meadow. It exists because of us. It is us. The meadow is not the creation of its tallest flower. The meadow will not die because one stem is uprooted, no matter how big or prominent that it may be.

The responsibility that every individual in the independence movement has as an ambassador for Scotland means that it is all the more important that when our movement faces a moment of crisis, that we hold our heads high, and we rise above the feeding frenzy of the British media. That responsibility means that it is all the more important that we respond with nobility to the ignoble smears of British nationalists. That responsibility means it is all the more important that we comport ourselves with dignity and poise. Because all of Scotland is looking at us right now. It’s not just Alex Salmond who is going to be judged here. It’s all of us, and the way in which we respond to these events.

I wrote yesterday that we must never forget that Scottish independence is not contingent upon the personal behaviour of any individual, no matter how prominent or powerful that individual may be. That remains true today. Independence is about a whole country, not a single person. It is about all our futures, and not about the actions of a single person. The accusations against Alex Salmond, and his legal dispute with the Scottish Government, will have no bearing on the prospects for independence in any way. Brexit is still happening. Scotland is still being sidelined and ignored by Westminster. The devolution settlement is still under threat. But what will influence the prospects for independence is how we as a movement react to what has happened this week.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know the ins and outs of the case that Alex Salmond is currently dealing with, and neither do you. The conspiracy theorising, the counter accusations, the mud-slinging, the casting of aspersions on the motives of the Scottish civil service, none of that is a good look. None of that is doing us any favours. Jist gaunie no. Those who are undecided, those who are not engaged with or invested in politics, they will look upon the reactions of independence supporters and will judge the movement as a whole based upon our behaviour and our response. That’s the real danger to the independence movement here, not any allegations faced by Alex Salmond.

When someone makes an allegation against a powerful person, if we blame it on conspiracy theories, if we respond in hurt and anger, if we react with accusations and counter attacks, if we reply with insults and slurs, it means that those who oppose our dream of a better country can point to our behaviour and say – they don’t believe in a better country at all. They will say – they want a Scotland where the powerful are protected and the weak are dismissed. They will say – they want a Scotland that works for men with influence where women are silenced and traduced. They will say – they want a Scotland that preserves all the old inequalities and injustices but just tarts them up with a tartan bow. You know and I know that those accusations are not true. The power is in your hands not to give opponents of independence that ammunition.

Opponents of independence will not judge us by the best amongst us, they will judge us by the worst. So it is incumbent upon all of us to call out poor behaviour online, to persuade those who express their anger and upset on social media that they need to be calm. This is our movement, it is incumbent upon all of us to care for it. It is incumbent upon all of us as a society to ensure that people who feel that they are victims of sexual misbehaviour are comfortable coming forward to report it, without finding themselves under suspicion as agents of the British state. It is incumbent upon all of us as a society to allow the law to take its course without political interference, without casting aspersions, without rushing to prejudgment.

This is our movement, and the strength and resilience of any movement is not displayed when everything goes well, it is displayed when there is a crisis. Let us display our strength and resilience. Let us display our strength of character. Leave the conspiracy theorising, the insults, the abuse, the slurs, and the aspersions to British nationalist trolls on social media. Rise above it, and we can demonstrate that better Scotland that we all strive for. Times of crisis are times of opportunity, let’s seize this opportunity to show our dignity. Let’s seize this opportunity to demonstrate that the Scottish independence movement really does stand for a better country.


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Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Some observations on Thursday night’s events

I’ve only just heard that Alex Salmond is taking the Scottish Government to court over their handling of two allegations of sexual misbehaviour made against him. I know no more about the details of the allegations than you do, which is no more than has been revealed in the press, but allow me to make a couple of observations.

Firstly, Alex Salmond is taking legal action against the Civil Service because of the way in which they have handled this matter, not Nicola Sturgeon or her cabinet, who have – rightly – no role in this. It’s also important to point out that anyone accused of an offence has the right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law.

That said, we cannot make judgements about the guilt or innocence of anyone who is accused of a sexual offence on the basis of our sympathies with their political views on the Scottish constitution. That applies equally to the political views of the person or persons doing the accusing. If we weaponise this incident for the purposes of point scoring in Scotland’s constitutional debate, we are not taking the issue of sexual aggression seriously. We would not be taking the issue of sexual abuse seriously.

Victims of sexual aggression deserve better than our wild and uninformed speculations, and so do those who are wrongly accused. People who have been subjected to any form of sexual abuse need to feel that if they come forward to report their abuse to the authorities, that they will be treated sympathetically, appropriately, and they will not become pawns in wider topics which are unrelated to the abuse they allege they have suffered. The importance of that cannot be stressed enough.

Finally, and most importantly, while I sincerely hope that further investigation proves that Alex Salmond has done nothing wrong, this incident should have precisely zero influence on the question of whether Scotland should become an independent country. Scottish independence is not predicated on the personal behaviour of any individual.

Resist the temptation to rise to British nationalist taunting. This is not a time for wild conspiracy theories. It is not a time for lashing out. It is most certainly not a time for speculating on the motives or identities of those involved. This is a time to be calm, to be respectful, and to respect the due process which is now taking place. The truth will come out in the end.

Update: Friday 24 August, 8.45pm

I wrote this article in order to counsel calm, to appeal for moderation.  I wrote it to advise people not to indulge in conspiracy theories, yet too many are doing exactly that. Please refrain from this or I will, sadly and reluctantly, be forced to close down comments on this article.

A GERSmas carol

It was a GERSmas morning, and all through the land
the scare stories were tickling the naysayers’ glands.
Doom and gloom was published by the papers out there,
to get the wee Scots and Nicola into a scare.
The britnats were nestled all snug in their twitter,
while visions of penury made them all jitter.
And yer maw in her Facebook, and Yes Scotland tap,
had just debunked and dismantled all the newspapers’ crap,
When on the Twitters there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my laptop to see what was the matter.
Away to the screen I hurriedly sped,
I launched the app and opened the thread.
The blue light shone with an ungodly sheen
and lit up the text that appeared on my screen.
Then what to my rolling eyes did appear,
but a graph and a bankrupt GERS deficit sneer,
and a Scotland secretary so crabbit and thick,
I knew in a moment he’d sold his soul tae Auld Nick.
More rapid than vultures the cringers they came,
and GERS whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Ruthie! now, Richard! now Wullie and Rosser!
On Beeb! on Herald! on Hootsmon! ya tossers!
To the top of the newsfeed! to each Facebook scrawl!
Now cringe away! cringe away! cringe away all!”
Pursed lips that believe the wild Daily Mail cries,
they can only see obstacles, they won’t even try;
So off to the redtops the naysayers they flew
Nae toys for you Scotland, or that Nicola too—
And then, predictably, I heard on the telly
The Proud Scot whose spine has turned into jelly.
He talked Scotland down, going straight to his work,
and trashed any hope; then turned with a smirk,
and laying his finger aside of his nose,
said you’re poorer than Greece, everyone knows.
He brandished a think tank, gave a Tory dog whistle,
another year’s work of crushing the thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight—
“Rotten GERSmas to all, cos if it’s Scottish it’s shite!”


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Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

The National launches a Sunday edition

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You might recall that a wee while ago I posted on this blog that I’d heard some good news about The National which I said that I wasn’t able to share in public. Now the news is out, and it is the fantastic development that The National is due to launch a Sunday edition starting on Sunday September 9, meaning that the independence movement will now have a seven day a week newspaper covering Scottish news and current affairs from a Scotland-positive perspective.

It’s sad that we’ve lost the Sunday Herald, but in a way it’s a positive development for the pro-independence press. It means that the pro-independence press now has a clear and distinct identity, both in its print and its digital editions. The fact that the Sunday Herald shared a website with the daily meant that people logging in to read the Sunday were all too often confronted with the anti-independence reports and opinions of the daily. There was no clear division between the two newspapers online, even though the Herald and the Sunday Herald were different newspapers with different editors and different editorial lines on the constitutional question. Many people found it difficult to distinguish between the two newspapers, and indeed with their online editions it was pretty much impossible to do so.

Some independence supporters who wanted to subscribe to the Sunday Herald were reticent to pay for a subscription because it also meant that they would be subscribing to the anti-independence daily Herald. Quite a few people I have met in my and the dug’s travels across Scotland to assorted indy groups mentioned to me that they wanted to give their backing to a pro-independence Sunday newspaper, but not at the expense of supporting an anti-independence daily.

As one person remarked to me at an indy meeting after I’d spoken about the overwhelming anti-indy bias of the Scottish press and the need for our movement to support the pro-indy media that we do have, “Why should I subsidise one day a week of pro-independence media if that comes at the price of subsidising six days a week of anti-independence media.” They went on to explain that the lack of a clear separation between the Sunday Herald and the daily meant that by subscribing to a pro-independence newspaper they were boosting the circulation figures and income of an anti-independence newspaper. Something they were highly reluctant to do. That was a very fair point. A point I had no easy answer to. But with the launch of a Sunday edition of The National, it’s no longer an issue.

The Sunday Herald may be no more, subsumed into the daily and adopting the editorial line of the daily, but the great news is that the editor of the new Sunday edition of The National will be the highly esteemed and experienced Richard Walker. Richard was the editor of the Sunday Herald during the referendum campaign, and it was thanks to Richard that the Sunday Herald came out for Yes. After the referendum it was thanks to Richard that The National was launched. And it was also thanks to Richard that yours truly was asked to write a regular column in the new newspaper. We can be certain that he will ensure that the Sunday edition of The National will be a heavyweight contribution to the pro-independence media in Scotland. One that everyone will have to take seriously.

And I can also exclusively reveal that at long last, the dug and I are going to be on the telly. Admittedly it’s in an advert for The National, and not as presenters of a new Scottish politics show on BBC Scotland, but hey, it’s a starring role. My mammy is very proud, even though it was of course the dug that they really wanted. To be fair, he’s a lot more photogenic than I am.

More details about the launch of the new Sunday edition will be announced soon. The team behind it have a lot of exciting plans, and they are hoping to make the newspaper indispensable Sunday reading for everyone who wants an independent Scotland, and for everyone whose mind is open to a better future for this country. I cannae wait.

So you can now subscribe to a pro-independence newspaper, seven days a week. Starting from 9 September, seven days a week there will be a traditional print newspaper challenging the myths, the stereotypes, and the outright mince churned out by the anti-independence press. Support it, back it, subscribe to it, buy it. Tell all your friends. We need this.


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.