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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50 comments on “A time of crisis is a time of opportunity

  1. mckcol says:

    I trust Alex. Let us all do a crowd fund and let him take them to task.

  2. Movy says:

    ‘Jist gaunie no.’ 100% correct as always.

  3. Waltet Hamilton says:

    Well said, Much as A RC must feel when they hear of a priest who the respected has abused, It was not the RC church but that one individual. However, that same RC church if they try to cover up the fact they too are guilty. We have all suffered tonight, none of us really knows the truth of the matter, and I can not believe Alex could have sexually assaulted anyone, and I will stand by what he says until proven otherwise and the timing for me seems strange.

    • harry mcaye says:

      He isn’t being accused of sexual assault, despite the Record’s lurid front page. He’s being accused of sexual harassment.

      Great article Paul.

  4. Macart says:

    Well said again Paul.

  5. fairliered says:

    Thank you Paul. Many of us (including me) will have automatically have gone on the defensive. Your positive post is what we needed. Independence is more important than any one individual. Thanks again.

  6. Great leadership and wisdom from you as always so thank you. But it’s very, very hard to ignore a pattern…

  7. Thanks for wisdom! I hope that THE TRUTH will prevail and not someone’s “MY TRUTH”!

  8. stewartb says:

    Thanks Paul for reinforcing this message and speedily.

    I believe this to be a much more important matter – namely how the Yes movement reacts – than too many folk realise yet. It presents a threat if we get this wrong but it also offers a huge opportunity to show that we are living in the early days of a better, soon to be independent country.

  9. […] Wee Ginger Dug A time of crisis is a time of opportunity I get it, I really do. The Scottish independence movement exists in a country where […]

  10. Fillofficer says:

    Jeezo Paul
    Looks like we’re on the final push here
    Divide n conquer
    Keep calm
    Tis all aboot EngExit innit
    They really are fecked & they really need us to survive
    I’m so not for any more poolin n fkn sharin
    GE looming, probably October
    Let’s fight to the death
    To the last 500

  11. David Gray says:

    I accept that victims of abuse should be encouraged to come forward. I accept that such victims must be protected to allow a full investigation by the police. I do not accept that the findings of an internal investigation should be handed to the police and at the same time the story can be leaked to the press. The suspect is entitled to the same protection as the victim until charges are laid. The person who leaked the story must be disciplined.

    • Juliette says:

      It’s a bit like Cliff Richard was leaked to the BBC . Plain nasty. I am English but don’t believe Me Salmond is guilty at all. I am surprised that he hasn’t had stuff thrown at him before. Look at what Corbyn suffers on a daily basis! I think it’s app bollocks and manipulation by the Tory press

  12. JGedd says:

    Sensible counsel, Paul. I can well understand the rush of blood to the head that follows news like this. People on the indy side have been used to the dirty tricks and smears of the British Nationalist establishment, so the expression, ” Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get me” comes to mind. However, it is wise to take things carefully and wait for events to evolve.

    Like others, this news came like an unexpected bombshell to me but I think keeping a cool head in the absence of any real clarity for the moment would be prudent.

  13. Brian says:

    Well Alec didny sound very guilty the day in fact I think this will bring his Mojo back from its holiday’s.

  14. Ronald Gillies says:

    I think it makes him more interesting.

  15. Ronald Gillies says:

    Nice to see him on the front page again.

  16. benmadigan says:

    totally agree with your wise comments Paul.

    I particularly liked “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.”

    They remind me of something Bobby Sands, Irish hunger striker to the death and Westminster MP said

    “Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something”.

    Just substitute “Everyone, SNP or otherwise . . .”

  17. Craig P says:

    I would like to find out Alex is victim of a Craig Murray or Julian Assange style smear.

    However in the meantime I believe you have struck the right note Paul.

  18. C avery says:

    Can someone tell me why the head of the Scottish Government civil service is from England; appears to have no formal qualifications in Scots law and is appointed by an English based commissioner. Colonialismc? On one view can it be argued that RUK nationals hold many positions of power in Scotland and are now using those positions to thwart the natives desire for independence from the mother country.The BBC management being a case another example.

    • jimcopeland6307 says:

      It is not important where they are from as long as they are eligible to live and work in the UK Civil Service. I for one am not an ethnic nationalist. I would say anyone who is acceptable as a citizen of Scotland would be able to be in the Scottish Civil Service (with reasonable security checks). Nation of birth is irrelevant on it’s own.

      If I have read this correctly the Scottish Civil Service is accountable to the ministers of the Scottish Government. They are governed by the UK Civil Service Board, a board of joint responsibility comprising Permanent Secretaries of which the head of the Scottish Civil Service is one.

      So accountable to Scottish ministers, governed by UK board. Possible conflict, another thing reserved by Westminster.

      IIRC secretary originally meant ‘one who keeps secrets for their superior’, but I could be wrong.

    • I Wright says:

      The civil service in Scotland is the UK/Home Civil Service. There is no ‘Scottish Civil Service’ (although Northern Ireland has its own Civil Service).

  19. angusskye says:

    The Independence Movement and the SNP are judged very differently from any other movement or party. How many Tory and Labour ex-ministers are there, forced to resign over impropriety of all sorts? Just as many remain(ed) in position. How many of their MPs, MSPs and councillors have behaved in such a way? How many of them were hounded the way AS is being hounded .. guilty guilty guilty without anyone knowing the real facts yet?

    These complaints take a long time to work through, and so it may be that this is a deliberate tactic to sideline AS at a crucial time. His seeking of a judicial review may spike some guns if this is the case. I hope that it does and that the matter is cleared up soon – one way or the other – and we can move on.

    As you say, Paul, the movement is more than one person, but apart from NS, AS is the biggest target and he will receive more attention from the yoonpress than every Tory and Labour politician put together.

    Level playing field?

  20. susan says:

    I dunno, allegations of SNP sexual harrassment, front page news. Allegations of Tory dark money, hardly a whisper. Surely just as concerning to Scotland?

  21. paul mccormack says:

    All is as to be expected. Craig Murray, I believe has the heart of the matter in his title and first paragraph:

    When They Decide to Get You

    Alex Salmond’s jeopardy has caused me a dreadful shudder of recognition and empathy. I too was accused of hideous offences under a civil service disciplinary code and barred from taking any action to defend myself. I was not allowed to speak to anybody at all about the charges, and particularly not allowed to know the identity of my accusers, or to organise witnesses in my defence – which appears the exact procedure which Alex Salmond now, with absolute justice, complains of. These Civil Service disciplinary investigations are contrary to all rules of natural justice, and designed to facilitate executive stitch-ups, not to uncover the truth.

    just to repeat – that these disciplinary investigations are designed to facilitate executive stitch-ups, not to uncover the truth.

  22. I think the British Establishment have made a mistake here. They have made yet another misjudgement. Remember, this is the mob that are hellbent on a cataclysmic, No Deal Brexit. So their wisdom, is not the best.

  23. Macart says:

    Paul’s two posts of the past 48hrs are bang on the nail IMV. Scotland’s electorate cannot afford to allow the media to dictate their attention or drive the agenda.

    Brexit is falling apart in the most ungodly mess. Raab’s statement next to Barnier was merely a glimpse. It was the picture of a man who has seen his world view and his confidence shaken to its core. Hammond’s release of the impending costs and the on again off again release of the contingency papers, should be a heads up as to the political and social catastrophe headed our way.

    A wave of austerity that will make the past ten years look like days of plenty. We allow the meeja and their chain tuggers to take our eyes off that at our peril.

  24. Cubby says:

    Whether or not Alex Salmond has committed any offence or not the point remains that the media in Scotland is poisonous. Those who thought that the Record or Foote or any of these other potential media converts have changed their spots – no – do not trust them they are just messing us about.

    Whenever possible do not give the media in Scotland any of your money. If you have to have a newspaper in your life then buy the National.

    The media in Scotland stinks.
    The Britnats stink.
    Still waiting for the media to apologise to Michelle Mone.

  25. grizebard says:

    My feeling also, Paul. Calmly let this thing work through by due process, provided it’s fair all round.

    But glancing at the papers today, not least the salacious Daily Record, there’s much provocation, and much never to forget.

  26. Dan Huil says:

    Regardless of the outcome of the alledged harrassment one sector of the public will definitely suffer: the media in Scotland. And rightly so.

    The media’s wolf-pack-drooling over this story, and its obvious glee in persuing it, will be noted by all regardless of political affinity.

    Keep boycotting the Britnat media. Wipe the slimy smile from their incestuous faces.

  27. J Galt says:

    Ca’canny – good advice for Indy supporters.

    However, as I’m sure most on here would agree, this should not be interpreted as compliance in a stitch up.

    When that stitch up becomes obvious they’ll hear us then.

  28. Kate says:

    I agree that commenting on the case, the validity or invalidity of the charges, etc. shouldn’t be entered into. I agree that we need to let the rest of the world see that we believe in justice and the justice procedure and that it goes ahead unimpeeded and without racuous comments back & forth between opposing sides.

    HOWEVER, I believe there are loads of questions that need to be asked that do not actually touch on or prejudice the actual case. And I believe some of these questions SHOULD be asked – and answers found, ie how did David Clegg, editor of a tabloid rag that trumpets ‘lewd rumour’ news FAR & WIDE, come to see the Statement made by one of the complainants? Should we ignore this blatant disregard for ‘fair and honest justice’? Is it fair that David Clegg knows who the complainants are but the ‘accused’ doesn’t? I don’t believe so. My thinking is that the SYSTEM, the way this was done, needs questioning…

    • The Permanent Secretary was born in Northern Ireland.
      Where was David Clegg born?

    • Cubby says:

      CLEGG and the whole system stinks.

      Sectarian bigotry infecting Scotland.

      It is a disgrace that newspapers know all about the case but the accused does not. What a stinking world we live in.

  29. You’re right Paul; of course you are.
    It’s awfy hard though.

  30. Derick Tulloch says:

    you said what I’d like to say, but so much more eloquently.

    110% agreement

  31. Greg says:

    You’re right, but I think you should be extremely careful that this doesn’t turn into your “Owen Jones disavowing Corbyn” moment.

    You’re probably already being called a Yoon Stooge by some for daring to introduce some nuance. Like the hardest Corbynites, the Ultra-Salmonistas exist in a Manichean world: you’re either one of them or you are pure evil. Once they turn on you, you’ll never hear the end of it.

  32. Electric blue says:

    As usual, Paul, 100 per cent correct. I love that you always write what I think but 100 times more eloquently.
    Thanks. I wish more people read you and listened to you.

  33. John Mc Cormack says:

    Thanks wee gingerdug a timely Chat.

  34. Ghillie says:

    Wise words.

    Encouraging words gratefully received.

    We have Scotland to win back. All of us =)

  35. duncanio says:

    Agreed Paul, let’s ‘keep the heid’ and, especially, our dignity.

    There is already too much divide and conquer (AS v SGov) – let’s not give the opponents of Scottish Independence any more ammo by indulging in angry speculation when none of us know the facts.

    The truth will out and, in any case, the activities or non-activities of one individual do not define the Indy movement or myriad reasons for wanting self-determination.

  36. Jason Smoothpiece says:

    Again well said keep the powder dry. Say little give nothing to our enemies.

    The slight problem however is I and I suspect others suspected something like this was going to occur my own prediction was “something” would be found on a computer belonging to a prominent independence supporter.

    We watch and wait.

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