A legend has passed, but his legacy lives on

The independence movement has suffered an immense loss with the passing of Mike Blackshaw, the tireless and indefatigable organiser of the Yes Hub in the South of Edinburgh, in the heart of what he once described to me as ‘bandit country’, the No-voting constituency of Edinburgh South.

Mike was firmly of the view that it was not only vital for the wider Yes movement to have a visible presence in the streets of Scotland’s towns and cities, but it was even more important that that presence was in areas like Edinburgh South, the constituency of Scotland’s last Labour MP, who only keeps his seat thanks to the votes of douce Morningside Tories. Mike thought that it was vital for the yes movement to do ‘missionary work’ amongst No voters, to demonstrate both that Yes voters are not the anti-English racist monsters which the frothing angry Über- British nationalist social media accounts like to make us out to be, and also to show them that Yes supporters are everywhere, because supporting Scottish independence is a normal mainstream part of the Scottish political landscape.

Having such a visible presence as the Edinburgh Yes hub gave the Yes movement the opportunity to organise and host events which had a chance of reaching out to No voters and exopsing them to arguments for independence. Even if they didn’t change their minds it might get them to start to think more seriously about independence and not dismiss it out of hand.

I first met Mike in 2016 when he asked me – and the dug of course – to come to the Yes Hub to do a talk. It was always a pleasure, and the dug was always made especially welcome with treats and lots of love and attention.

Mike was also tireless in organising coaches to take Yes supporters from Edinburgh to marches and rallies across the country. He was also responsible for organising the event which brought Ginger the greatest happiness I have ever seen. Mike organised a debate night at the Queens Hall in Edinburgh in 2019 and I was honoured to be one of the speakers. Naturally the dug came too. We were sitting backstage awaiting our turn to go on, but someone left the door open and Ginger caught a glimpse of the packed audience. He was off, and within seconds was working the crowd like a pro, getting pats and hugs from the people there. He was in his element, lapping up the attention like the diva dug he was. It took a good twenty minutes to get him back.

Mike was born in Margaret Thatcher’s home town of Grantham but came to Edinburgh with his family when he was a teenager and made his life in the Scotland that he loved. There’s a statue of Thatcher in Grantham, if there was any justice there would be one of Mike too, he gave infinitely more to Scotland than Thatcher ever did.

Mike continued to keep busy, ensuring that the Yes Hub kept going despite his own failing health. He was an immense inspiration to me after I had my stroke, as he continued to work for independence even as he came to rely on a wheelchair. Right up to the very end he was campaigning and organising. He showed me that disability is not the end, it just means new challenges.

Mike was a force of nature, one of the giants on whose shoulders the Yes movement will stand. He will be much missed, but his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all those whom he inspired and continues to inspire even now. He will be missed.

We will honour Mike’s legacy by continuing the campaign that he devoted his life to.


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38 comments on “A legend has passed, but his legacy lives on

  1. Capella says:

    This is a very touching eulogy for someone I never met but who has made a huge contribution to the cause of independence. He has certainly inspired a great many people which is the legacy he would most value.

  2. deelsdugs says:

    That’s just braw

  3. Bob Lamont says:

    Aye, an eloquent eulogy for a man who never gave up on what he thought was honest and decent. May he rest in peace…
    Well said.

  4. ArtyHetty says:

    That’s a very nice and fitting tribute Paul.

    I hope that we can secure independence, in memory of Mike and others, may he rest in peace. It usually takes a very special person devoted to a cause to coordinate and manage people. The so called media do all they can to thwart their hard work and efforts in Scotland, to suit the BritNat narrative.
    I wonder as well, if the internet had been available in years before it came into general use, if Scotland would now be independent.

  5. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Sad news…..

    Many people ,now alas have died, who were committed to and passionate about Scotland getting it’s independence…….so very sad that they will not see it.

    However in their memory we will continue the fight on their behalf…..and come the day , come the hour we will raise a glass to them in memory of all all that they did to help us try and get there while valued members of the YES movement……may they RIP and never be forgotten.

    Condolences to his family and friends…..

  6. Margaret Lear says:

    Thanks for this heartfelt tribute

  7. Didn’t know the guy personally, but a lovely tribute Paul. Sounds like the movement has lost a real star.

    My sympathies to those that knew him.

  8. Dr Jim says:

    The British nationalist unionists have used this anti English tactic and gotten away with it for far too long, every time anybody utters the word English in any fashion whatsoever these fascists twist it into the same anti individual behaviour that they themselves have always engaged in

    Being anti England is no different to England being anti Russia over the behaviour of that country’s regime, yet when it comes out of Scotland it becomes a twisted personal attack on every individual person of English nationality
    But how can that be if the British nationalists all claim to be British?
    So which is it? is Scotland and its people anti English anti British or could it be Scottish people are just plain anti those people who represent this ever moving English British feast of whatever they want to call themselves on any given day that keeps abusing the rest of our three nations that makes up this union of four that we have no say in

    Are we only allowed to be anti a particular entity when the UK of Britains England play football matches against, well, anybody? even ourselves in Scotland who are the “Auld enemy”? or is it them? who knows anymore?

    Such sensitive wee souls aren’t they, how can a nation with the uninflammable brass neck of England be in the slightest annoyed with our wee meaningless country of Scotland in the north of their Britain where some say they don’t like them when three quarters of the worlds population think way worse of them than we do

    Oh dear how sad never mind, there there, how’s that? feel better?

    I’m absolutely sure no foreign waiters ever spit in their hamburgers when they go on holiday, and it’s better to keep right on thinking that

  9. James Mills says:

    The United Kingdom ?

    Wales and England jetted off today to Qatar for the World Cup .

    A special visitor paid a secret, unscheduled visit to see off the England team with a message that ”the whole country is behind you !”
    The secret visitor – The Prince of Wales !

    Meanwhile , the Wales team left without secret visitors or rousing personal messages of support from – The Prince of Wales !

  10. Sad news, Paul.
    I never knew of Mike Blackshaw, but I recognise his spirit.
    what a warm tribute you pay this clearly committed and principled man.
    His good will not be interred with his bones, that’s for sure.
    We stand on the shoulders of giants.

  11. Dr Jim says:

    DRoss lied about Police Scotland going on strike and when confronted by reporters DRoss doubled down on the lie and repeated it
    Police Scotland were approached for comment and said Police Scotland have no intention of striking

    DRoss is a liar for hire by his bosses in London trying to spread malicious rumours attempting to destabilize Scotland’s governance

  12. Hamish100 says:

    I see McKenna – labour, says Wings over Scotland keeps us honest!
    The delusionalist obviously hopes one day labour will sign him up formally.
    Of course we then have the 3 or 4 Albanist piling in on Cue.
    Still it diverts away from the spat between Scot goes pop and wings. Wings supports the tories, labour Lib Dems against the Greens and SNP. They undermine.

    That’s all you need to know if you believe in Independence.

    • jfngw says:

      The pea-shooter at dawn event between WoS and SGP was very amusing, with an ex-diplomat trying to act as mediator. No doubt the other vegetables below the line will be scattered everywhere.

      Which one will get the vessel with the pestle, which one the chalice from the palace, I’m on the edge of my seat in anticipation.

    • 11.1%, and this is all McKenna can find about which to write.
      Campbell must be a Celtic supporter.

    • Alec Lomax says:

      The Rev ? Didn’t he jump the shark a few years ago ? He, like his Alba buddies, exist now purely to put the boot into Sturgeon. Can you really imagine him leaving Bath ? As for McKenna I’d take his desire for Scottish independence with a bucket of salt.

      • Dr Jim says:

        Wee Ginger Dug, the independence for Scotland blog that doesn’t pretend to be what it is
        There are people who are just nasty and people who are fooled into being nasty, those other blogs cater for them

        Wings’ll be announcing he’s standing for President of the US any minute, send me money

  13. Capella says:

    Still enjoying those “strong and stable” broad shoulders?

    UK inflation hits 41-year high following surge in energy prices

    SOARING energy bills sent UK inflation to its highest level for 41 years in October as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit households, according to official figures.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that inflation jumped to a higher than expected 11.1% in October – the highest rate since October 1981 and up from 10.1% in September, as gas and electricity costs rocketed.

    Most economists had been expecting it to rise to 10.7%. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has warned that getting inflation under control would require “tough but necessary decisions on tax and spending to help balance the books”.

    He is set to lay out his autumn Budget on Thursday.

    The ONS said gas prices have leaped nearly 130% higher over the past year, while electricity has risen by around 66%.

    Families were also hit by rising costs across a range of food items, which also pushed up the cost of living to eye watering levels.


  14. Capella says:

    Sadly, this needs to be said. Dr Jamie Fairbairn tells us about the progress made since the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) brought out the Scots Language Award in 2013.

    Scots is invaluable for bairns’ wellbeing and confidence

    BAIRNS where I teach in Banffshire are more likely to say that they are clarted wi dubs rather than covered in mud.

    They talk about fit wye they’re gaan rather than which way they’re going. They’ll eat gulsh, not cheap sweeties and they’ll go ben e hoose rather than through the house, and ging feel rather than go crazy. They’ll see you i morn, not tomorrow.

    A boy reached the top stair to say he was fair peuchart, while a lassie said her shoes were covered in yaavins (barley awn). A lad described the reek yoamin oot the back o his car (smoke belching). A cleaner mentioned a cassent cloth (faded) and one of the jannies said his mother was aye wyvin a maazie (always knitting a sweater). I learn from them every day.

    But if, as a teacher, you don’t make bairns feel at ease with their language, you’ll hear silence or English, because most bairns will code switch between Scots and English to suit the situation.


  15. https://archive.ph/DVLXg

    Scots divided on whether independence would make them better off

    …Results showed 43% expect Scotland would be better off out of the Union but just as many expect it would be worse off.

    This meant 14% of Scots polled either felt there would be “no difference” or “didn’t know” what they thought.

    This of course means that 57% think we’d be better off or it wouldn’t make any difference economically with indy, but with the benefit of getting the governments we voted for, being able to re-join the EU etc.

    The economy has always been the unionist’s strongest hand, and brexit is trashing it.

    We don’t actually need most to think we’d be better off, just most to think this or it wouldn’t make us worse off. This is because Scots don’t like London rule very much at all, hence e.g. 3/4 for devolution in 1997. However, they’ve had it drilled into them that being in it is economically better. That’s all falling apart now.

    Need to have a look into the rest of this poll to see what little nuggets might be found.

    • Scots give the UK less than 5 years:

      54% think it will all be over by then. We’ll have voted Yes and left or be well on our way out by 2027.

      Jeez, look at 10 years. That’s 70% sure it will all be over by then.

      Scots can feel the plates shifting beneath their feet. Even unionists admit it.

    • Sweet.

      Respondents in Scotland:
      1. If a referendum were held in Scotland on its constitutional future, would you personally prefer Scotland to vote for or against leaving the UK and becoming an independent country?
      50% I would prefer Scotland to vote against leaving the UK and becoming an independent country
      43% I would prefer Scotland to vote against leaving the UK and becoming an independent country

      = 54% Yes ex DK

    • Oops, major copy and paste error in first attempt. This should of course be:


      Respondents in Scotland:
      1. If a referendum were held in Scotland on its constitutional future, would you personally prefer Scotland to vote for or against leaving the UK and becoming an independent country?
      50% I would prefer Scotland to vote for leaving the UK and becoming an independent country
      43% I would prefer Scotland to vote against
      leaving the UK and becoming an independent country
      4% Don’t mind either way
      3% Don’t know

      = 54% Yes ex DK

      What’s even more telling, is all the talk about ‘leaving the UK’ which is negative, so tends to reduce Yes. So Yes is probably higher here for the standard question.

      • Dr Jim says:

        The success of the campaign of placing *doubt* in the minds of voters has always been the easy mark for the Brits,” when in doubt do nowt” worked before so they believe it’ll work again, that remains to be seen

  16. Not-My-Real-Name says:

    Re the Prince of Wales telling England football players that “the country is behind you”…….Good. Spell it out to THE whole UK what ‘nation’ you support and what ‘Nationality’ you identify with and as…..as just like the politics within the UK…sport also exposes who in this UK are THE country within the UK who the majority of the media identify as worthy to support and give precedence to……so why not also the Royal family ?

    Perhaps now MORE people will realise that the titles bestowed upon members of the Royal family to represent parts of the UK are but titles only…..their allegiance however is with but ONE nation and one nation alone…..the titles are a smokescreen to obscure that fact….

    The ridiculous position of this incident , where a member of the Royal family with a TITLE that was bestowed upon him from the previous holder of that title publicly supports an opposing team in the UK, while ignoring the team that his TITLE declares him ‘the Prince of’ is deliciously ironic and hilarious…..it also shows clearly that the royal family are NOT neutral but favour the dominance of but THE ONE country within the UK that they represent…..just like the politics and sport in THEIR UK……

    Wales will be patronised by the UK media just as they patronise other nations within the UK while expectation, attention and the majority of analysis will be upon the England football team … via both the news and the sport sections of the media…..the dominant news and much of the publicity will be directed at the ONE country that the media, sport and royalty will all be behind and who they hope are THE ones in their UK to progress and succeed in this sporting competition……..not forgetting too who many of the ‘UK’ aka British patriotic politicians will also be behind…time for SIR Keir Starmer to get out his English football shirt and get a photo op with him watching England play …….while the other UK nation also in the competition within the ‘Family of Nations’ will not be given the same support…and why should they be….Starmer is ENGLISH after all…..he’s only British when it is politics (like t’others too)….

    Strange yet NOT strange how selective the establishment are in being offended by certain people within the UK when they are perceived by them to have said or done something that they, the establishment, say is offensive thus deemed to be a huge faux pas…..while something done and obviously offensive to Welsh people…. via one whose title was bestowed upon him by Pater and supposedly, as a title, supports the country the title states he is Prince of will not be highlighted, via this PUBLIC event, as a mistake or an offensive incident……offence is only to be taken when specific people decide it is offensive….that’s the UK and their Royalty…..how petty will people be perceived to dare to highlight THIS incident because the offensive act was not one that impacts or was directed at THE one country within the UK that dominates it i.e. mainly populated by people from but ONE country in the UK via the media, politically and also whose royalty are of THAT nationality too…..aka English.

    That William is the President of the English FA tells you all you need to know….

    Princess Anne does her bit for THE family as Patron of Scottish rugby…..

    It has been reported that Prince Edward will receive the TITLE of Duke of Edinburgh at some point…..

    Prince Andrew or whatever he is called now via a title…..his arrogance and sense of entitlement went PUBLIC….so he has burnt his bridges upon receiving any NEW title….for now….however watch that space…..in the future he may be once again another (en) TITLED person …..as THE family decides enough time has lapsed for the public to have forgotten yet ANOTHER scandal linked to their FAMILY…….not another one !

    The Royal family are no different to all others within the UK establishment…

    Their job is to keep the natives subdued with crumbs from their overladen table and empty gestures to keep the natives appeased ……a wave from them represents so much apparently…..for a wave they only expect us to cheer and wave a flag….and thus enable them to maintain the position of ones who rule over us…..and are well rewarded for it.

    Personally anything that shows them for who they really are is a plus for me…as one who refuses to bow down to them and recognise them as my royal family….

    NOT my royal family….and it seems for Wales not their’s either…..well certainly not via Prince William….the Prince of Wales but not actually THE Prince of Wales..or so it seems….better he be THE Prince of England then eventually the King of it…..more apt.

  17. Capella says:

    While we’re on the subject of charts – here we are in the UK at the bottom of the OECD league table for pensions – below Lithuania and Mexico – well below the OECD average. That’s before Jeremy Hunt gets to his feet with his fiscal event.


    • Dr Jim says:

      And the cry will be the rest of the world is suffering exactly the same thing because of war and blah blah blah, knowing full well it’s not, but the population doesn’t check the foreign papers and media which shows an entirely different story, and the British media won’t report the truth, so the people remain clueless as to the goings on in the rest of the world

      Just like most of the population of Russia

  18. This hasn’t aged well.

    Of course today we have…


    Revealed: Brits are paying the highest electricity bills in the entire world

    New research reveals that the UK has the highest electricity bills. Brits pay more for their power than anywhere else on the planet.

    A new study looked at Government data on electricity and gas prices from the past five years to analyse the impact of the worsening cost of living crisis and discover which countries have had the biggest year-on-year increase in energy prices. The data, compiled by BOXT, was shared with City A.M. today

  19. Dr Jim says:

    Anyone else noticed the Tory Labour party just blatantly lie about everything and anything, they’re even denying the facts and figures from their own House of Commons library now, and when it’s pointed out and proved that they lied they call the people who pointed it out liars

    This is all just Donald Trump land now from Tory Labour

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