All posts by williamthomson

The YES movement working together

The YES movement working together. It does happen!

The YES movement is as broad and deep as Loch Ness.  This is its power but it can also be its weakness.

Over the last (insert time period when you first thought “hold on a minute, aren’t we all supposed to be on the same side?”) I will go for “wee while”, we have seen many figures and organisations in the movement bash up against one and another.

All too often in the gaze of Twitter, but thankfully not too often, in the full light of the general public.

But as the year draws to a close I want to highlight what the movement can achieve when it works together.

The IndyREPLAY#1

On the 30th and 31st of December, Independence Live will run a two-day virtual event showing twelve hours of brilliant content: IndyREPLAY#1

Four organisations (and one super productive person) have donated content for the event:

  • AUOB
  • Believe in Scotland
  • Phantom Power
  • the Scottish Currency Group and
  • Voices for Scotland

You may have heard about it via the National.

All of those organisations have donated the content for free with all the proceeds going to two Scottish Charities that invest in Scotland’s future: Tiny Changes and the Rock Trust.

So far the indy movement has donated over £800 for those two charities.

The Good Guys

Of course, we have to look way beyond a newspaper, four organisations and a Phantom Power to REALLY see who is behind this.

It is politicians. Campaigners. Singers. Songwriters. Poets. Authors. Journalists: everyone who makes this movement so powerful. There is a wealth of content befitting a wealth of talent in the movement.


The more people who attend the more impact we have. We can:

  1. Show a great example of the movement working together (even if it is just to those on Scottish Twitter)
  2. Put some great content in front of YESers and soon to be YESers (or as others call them “current no voters”)
  3. Raise £1000s for Tiny Changes and the Rock Trust.

The two cheques will read “From the independence movement”

Hopefully, you can tell how united the movement is by how many people will retweet this post AND join the IndyREPLAY#1

 Thanks so much to AUOB, Believe in Scotland, Phantom Power, the Scottish Currency Group and Voices for Scotland.

Digital Natives

Independence Live and Gallus Events partner to increase multi-media and digital support for independence campaigners and independence organisations.


We all know how valuable an asset Independence Live has been since 2014.

If there is a more tireless, selfless, dedicated campaigner for Scottish independence than Kevin Gibney, then I am yet to meet them.

So I am delighted that my small team at Gallus Events will be working more closely with Kevin and his team of volunteers.

Kevin and I have two shared goals: to help turn Sottish natives into digital ones and to achieve Scottish independence.

And we both believe these are goals are closely aligned, in fact, they are inseparable.

Into 2021

Independence Live will continue to offer support to citizen live-streamers, as well as their prodigious work with Indy Live Radio and the WhatsOnGuide.

The digital output from Independence Live will be beefed up in 2021, especially in offering training and support in multi-media to campaigners and organisations in support of Scottish independence.

We will be running virtual events for independence supporting organisations, as well as taking advantage of our skills, to run our own events to further our two aligned goals.

  1. To help turn Sottish natives into digital ones
  2. To achieve Scottish independence

We are all aware of the support that Independence Live have given the movement for years. It has been amazing and the Gallus Events team strive to have as much of a positive impact.

Since September Gallus Events have supported:

  • AUOB Assembly
  • Believe In Scotland
  • Phantom Power
  • The Scottish Currency Group and
  • Voices for Scotland

In part, to plan, produce and execute virtual events.

With the support of Independence Live, we will continue to offer that support.

Totally Gallus Events and Independence Live

Next year we will run our own virtual events:

“Brought to you by Totally Gallus Events and Independence Live. All funds raised will support the multi-media campaign for Scottish Independence”

As 2021 develops we will share more of our plans and details of how we will be actively supporting the independence campaign. This is a not for profit venture and our accounts will be open and available to the movement.

Look out for our first event launching this week!!!!!!

Finally, the movement has moved

If it is a choice between imperfection and inaction: I will take the former every time!


At the start of the year, I wrote this post, after another article about some kind of a new YES body.

The article in The National stated: “Leading independence campaigners back new Yes Scotland group” 

And guess what. Nothing happened. Another false start.

Since January (and to be frank well before that) the idea has been blown about the movement, from pillar to post. From one place to the next.

A good idea, with a lot of support, including cross-party support.

Something that we pretty much all agree on. The YES movement needs some more structured support. We need a movement that is grassroots led. Let’s do it!!!!!!

Almost everyone agrees on this.

But what seems to have even more consensus, is that we should leave it to someone else.

Well, that ended in November when AUOB took up the challenge. They actually did something.

Something bold, brash, and gallus; something that every single one of the AUOB team knew they would get pelters for: they acted. 

Raising your head and your hand in many movements paints a target on your back. But they did it.

An assembly created online

The AUOB committee knew that if they wanted to create a body for the YES movement during COVID times, they would need to come out of the comfort zone.

So here we have a group of campaigners doing something that they KNEW they would take flack for, and also doing it in an environment that they weren’t comfortable with. 

These are street campaigners, not digital natives. But they knew that this had to be an online event: the platform was a virtual one, not one constructed out of wood and bricks.

So for some support, they approached the founder of the Virtual Events Campus and one of the leading authorities on virtual events to ask them to help. And I did.

In the same way, I have helped the National Yes Registry, Believe In Scotland, Voices for Scotland, Scottish CND and The Scottish Currency Group. I helped them to run an online event. 

And within a couple of weeks, AUOB organised an online event that had the declared aim of doing something. Not talking about it. Not writing about it. But doing something about it. 

A few weeks later a 15 person committee had been elected. Its task is to set up a national YES body. 

Once this is done, the individuals will, we assume, then resign, and seek reelection (or not) to positions on the new organisation.  

This is action. 

This is what we need to do. 

It is something that so many people in the movement have shied away from. 

AUOB put their shoulder to the wheel to get things going and those 15 committee members will graft away over the coming months to create something that will help us win independence. 

Finally, the movement, as a whole, is moving.

Imperfection or inaction? 

AUOB decided to move at speed to set this up. And in doing so they did a lot of difficult things very quickly. 

As someone who has set up several departments in big organisations, created several small businesses, and organised many events at short notice, you know you make a trade-off when you move at pace.

But with a BREXIT cliff edge approaching, a Scottish election on the horizon, and very possibly another referendum, how long should they have waited? 

A few more days to source a better free voting app, a few more weeks to fully engage with every campaigner, a few more months to coordinate and communicate with every other group?

Waiting isn’t an option anymore. And our other options are running out as well. 

When it comes to this grassroots YES organisation – we have two choices. 

One. We pick apart the process and “call out” the individuals on the holding committee for all the things they: are/have said/have done or who they read/have shared a platform with, or how much their house cost. Ripping it apart before it has even begun.

Or two. We acknowledge those who took action when many of us didn’t. We challenge it, we offer our help and advice.

And when it is fully formed we make our decision.

If you want a movement that is perfect, you will wait and wait until the years pass you by.  I for one and not that patient.

Let’s move. Now.

A new national YES Group

It is great to see “leading independence campaigners” talking about the need for a new national YES group again. A coordinating body is essential.  A YES vote is unlikely to happen without one.

The National’s article published on the 20th Jan, will hopefully give some spark to the idea of a new YES group.

The leading independence campaigners they have quoted are three politicians from the SNP, Scottish Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party, plus SNP’s former strategic communications chief.

So, it seems like there’s cross party support to look at this idea again.

Many have been looking at this and suggesting a way forward for a lot longer.

Because a YES body wasn’t deemed to be successful in 2014, doesn’t mean the idea is a bad one, but perhaps it was how it was constituted, what it did and who was involved.

I’ve been suggesting that we needed a coordinating body since we lost the 2014 referendum.

Any coordinating body for the YES movement has to be a different type of organisation from YES Scotland, the body that oversaw the camping in 2014.

It has to do things differently. It has to have different people involved in running it, and it has to be above (not beholden to) political parties.

So if those “leading independence campaigners” are serious about looking at a new body, they could start here, on a blog that has been discussing a YES body for a few years.

A short “story” of what Catalonia did to break the political impasse back in 2012 (and the role of their YES organisations) from 2019 would be a good place to start.

Here’s an appraisal of the YES movement (Oct 2018) Where I:

  • look at the damp squib that is the Scottish Independence Convention. Actually that’s not fair because it has given us a perfect template of how NOT to set up a kind of YES body.
  • give some good examples from Catalonia and Italy.
  • add some boring (but exceptionally important) stuff like structures of a successful campaigning organisation

And a follow up post on how one could be set up: so the bare bones of a grass roots led YES organisation. 

A post from (May 2018) suggesting what a YES organisation would need to get up and running. 

A post from 2017 looking at the Catalan National Assembly (a possible template for your YES body)

And trying to be as practical as possible to say:  some examples that show what we are missing when we don’t have an active YES body.

McCrone Report and a missed opportunity

Live Experiences as part of an indy campaign

And various stuff, using hoop and AUOB as examples of how much harder it is for the movement to work in silos, this for example on why events have made so little impact on politics in Scotland while they do in other countries.

I do not have all the answers and neither do politicians. The wider YES movement has a lot of questions about any body that wanted to “oversee” a YES campaign.

The unfortunate thing is, that many of the established characters (leading independence campaigners)  probably wouldn’t like the answers.

A short story from Catalonia

In September 2012, while Scotland and England were preparing  to sign the Edinburgh Agreement, the Catalan independence movement forced the Catalan Government to take radical steps towards independence.

Yes, it’s like comparing apples and pears when looking at Scottish and Catalan independence, and of course there are many, many differences.

However, the purpose of this short piece, is not to compare one with the other, but to tell the story of how the Catalan movement took the decisive step in 2012 to push for independence.

They organised, they pressurised, they coalesced: they moved.  They did not sit and watch their elected leaders do nothing.

There can be no more pertinent story for the YES movement in Scotland to hear.

Catalonia and Scotland’s independence movements were re born in 2012

In June 2012, Catalan independentistas, welcomed the first ever poll that gave Catalan independence a lead, all be it a small one, with 51.5% responding, that they were in favour of Catalan independence.

The mood of the country seemed to have switched and after the massive and unprecedented La Diada celebrations on the 11th September, the demand became tangible.

A poll, simply numbers on a pie chart. It is numbers on the street that really matter. Evidence backed up, in colour.

Over 1.5 million people marched in Barcelona to demand that the Catalan President Artur Mas listen to the movement.

The messages were clear: head to Madrid and demand concessions for Catalonia or lose office. Independence is bigger than you and your party.

The last seven incredibly rocky years for the Catalan independence movement started that 11th of September.

One month later Scotland and England would sign The Edinburgh Agreement.

This was no simple coincidence: both movements paid close attention to the machinations that were taking place in the UK and Spain that year and the Catalans demanded what had been offered to Scotland.

And so it has continued. Over those seven years, Scotland and Catalonia, have looked at each others journeys. During the ebbs and flows it is easy to reflect on specific moments and wonder……

Would the Edinburgh agreement ever have been signed if David Cameron had woken up one Summer morning, to find a poll putting YES ahead?

Would Catalonia be independent, if Spain had allowed a similar referendum in 2014?

But back to 2012

That year the Catalan independence movement faced off against a conservative leader of a political party immersed in the establishment.

Of course many will see the similarity with Scotland in 2019. How does the YES movement persuade a conservative leader of a political party immersed in the establishment to make a radical move?

To many independence supporters in Scotland a radical move (or any move) in the next two years by Nicola Sturgeon seems impossible.

The SNP’s “waiting game” appears to be an unshakable political position.

So what have we to learn from Catalonia?

A movement moves, it doesn’t wait

Such was the display of strength by the Catalan independence movement, that on the day after the La Diada, the Catalan President, for the first time, came out in favour of independence. It was a seismic shift in Spanish politics.

Until that decisive event run by the ANC and Òmnium, Artur Mas has let Catalan independence gather dust on the Spanish political shelf.

It was an amazing slight of foot for a politician.

Almost overnight he changed his mind, or more precisely, he had his mind changed by 1.5 million people.

President Mas, from respected establishment politician, to radical, Artur, man of the people, ready to head to Madrid and demand concessions for Catalonia.

A conservative and a Conservative political beast, plotting a radical course towards independence. It shock all of Spain.

It took this radical, brave and daring transformation of a political leader to supercharge the demand for Catalan independence. But the spark came from the two professional, civil, non political, organisations that supported independence.

Oh, to have only one of those organisations in Scotland!

What does this Catalan story tells us?

Well, maybe it is that anything can happen. Maybe it’s that one poll can make all the difference. Maybe it is that one march or demonstration can matter.

However, I believe there is one definitive and definite lesson for Scottish independence:

A movement has to move, and it can not continue to be led by a conservative leader of a conservative political party.

The YES movement should not wait for politicians.

The YES movement should not be led by politicians.

The YES movement is bigger than any politician or any political party.

A movement has to move, and it is time to move.




England will eat itself. And Scotland isn’t on the menu.

If you see Scottish independence through the double prism of English nationalism and disaster capitalism, Scottish independence seems tantalisingly close.  

The combination of English nationalism and disaster capitalism does not bode well for rUK, and no Scot should look at this sorry state and take any pleasure.

The xenophobic undercurrent of English nationalism has the potential to tear England apart, while ripping it from the international community.

The power of the disaster capitalists has the potential to damage the fabric of society even more than the right wing nature of populist Englishness.

So how can Scottish nationalists find solace in this awful situation for the rump of the UK?

English nationalism is no longer empire revivalist

The Tories would rather face Scottish independence than lose Brexit.  The poll taken in June, in reality, surprised no one (besides Ruth Davidson).

As Brexit has unfolded, it has become clear that nothing is more important than England taking its rightful international and sovereign place and acting as an independent nation.

The “unionist” part that currently sits beside the “conservative” bit, in Ruth’s party, seems to be fading as quickly as the summer.

So what led to the jettisoning of half of the Tory party moniker? Brexit.


There were many forces behind the EU referendum result in 2016, but it seems that one of those forces, English nationalism, has come to the fore.

Brexit, for many, means a no deal, or what we were calling a “hard Brexit” only a few months ago. That deal will be hard for most, but for those disaster capitalists it will provide a feeding frenzy.

It means the UK (as it stands at the moment, led by England) acting unilaterally in many areas where once they sat with European partners.

It is England first.

And it puts the interests of Scotland and Northern Ireland in a distance last place.

So how does this impact Scottish independence?

Well, the simple fact is that if you won’t be missed, no one will bother too much about you leaving.

The idea that Westminster will close Holyrood and starve Scotland of democratic representation doesn’t fit into the narrative of English exceptionalism.

The Westminster elite know that Scottish independence is coming. They can slow it down, but they simply don’t have the power or the public support to stop it. English nationalism simply won’t allow the idea that England needs Scotland.

England clearly doesn’t need the EU and to most English nationalists, England does not need Scotland.

There is a new narrative in town: unions don’t work. They chain the beast that is England and it is better to break all unions. Bye, bye Scotland. England doesn’t need you.

This blind belief has come home to roost over the summer.

There just isn’t the political will in England for a “campaign war chest” to keep Scotland in the union. 

MORE money for the Jocks? Are you having a giraffe?

With a metropolitan narrative of Scotland as a subsidy junky (you do this by looking solely at what is spent, rather than the difference between income and expenditure) there is clearly little appetite to put more effort into a cause, that only leads to MORE money leaving England.

Despite the temptation for many Scottish nationalists to spend time correcting this subsidy junky narrative, the truth doesn’t play into our hands.

English nationalists need to know (ignorant of the facts) that England doesn’t need the other nations in the UK, and that should be just fine for us.

Scotland, the sooner rid, the better.

This belief in the unconditional power of England, is what sits behind English nationalism, and in the short term, it will see its way to lessening the fight to stop Scotland leaving the UK.

English nationalism won’t allow a space where it has to admit that England needs Scotland.

We will have to wait a couple of years for Scottish independence because the break up of the UK will be the second course for the disaster capitalists.

Westminster can only deny Scotland an exit until the disaster capitalists have fed on the carcass of the UK brought to slaughter, by the folly of Brexit.

Then and only then, will Westminster concede the inevitable.

There is no disaster, only change

According to English and British nationalists, Scotland leaving the “precious union” will not bring any financial disaster for rUK, but of course it will bring about change. It will be the disaster capitalists running the UK government who will have to react to that change.

With Scottish independence, England will have rid itself of the spongers from the North, in much the same way as England has jettisoned the EU gravy train in the east. When Northern Ireland rejoins the Republic, the spongers in the west will disappear too.

England will be ready to flourish again.

So how will it do that? Simple, give the neo-liberals a free run.

The first phase in the great UK mega sale, is Brexit. The second phase is the break up of the UK. And no UK government is going to pull that menu away from under the noses of the disaster capitalists.

Post Brexit

By 2021 the UK government led by disaster capitalists one and all (what role for arch neo-liberal Liam Fox?) will be ready to listen to Scotland’s demands, legal arguments, opinion polls, or even possibly a referendum result.

And listen they will because the prizes available after the breakup of the UK are just too large.

The chance to open up the defence industry? Too good to miss. Just imagine the bounty for private firms as they fight over the contract to move nuclear weapons, store them and build a base?

How can those disaster capitalists pass up the chance to re-evaluate the infrastructure of rUK, when its biggest neighbour becomes independent?

Imagine the size of the government fracking contracts to replace the flow of oil and gas from the north?

rUK loses a lot when Scotland leaves.

However, the break up of the UK keeps 90% of it under control of the juiced up neo-liberals. And that is more than enough to feast on.

Scottish independence is in the interests of disaster capitalists and it plays into the narrative of English nationalism.

MPs who display these two traits will be in a position of power in the coming refreshed UK government, and those Ministers will not stand in the way of Scotland’s independence.

The next few years will be tough but Scottish independence is coming, not because the UK Government doesn’t want it, but because it does.

Make a move. Take Scottish independence to London’s streets

Follow Catalonia’s lead. Take the universal, undeniable right of self determination to London’s streets.

Typically people will read this and say, “but Scotland isn’t like Catalonia, we don’t and can’t march with the numbers they can” Well, I have had enough of that, it’s not about numbers it is about desire. With a desire to make a truly global impact with our campaigning events we can make a difference.

Once again the “Catalan question” received global coverage and once again the vehicle for that explosion of coverage was a huge rally. Above is a news report from Aljazeera. Here’s the coverage on the BBC, Reuters and The Washington Post and the list of international reports is pretty much endless.

This marks an unusual spike in coverage for the Catalan right to self determination. Every 11th September the world is reminded of the call from Catalonia during the La Diada celebrations. It was’t only the date that made this rally different it was the location: not the Catalan capital but the Spanish capital.

Around 120,000 demonstrators peacefully took over the Madrid streets on a warm Saturday evening. Just normal people, plus representatives from political parties and civic organisations from all over Spain joined the rally to highlight the desire of Catalonia to be able to democratically vote for self determination.

The demonstration had extra impact this year as the twelve pro Catalan independence  leaders, currently on trial for the ridiculously archaic charges of “rebellion and sedition”, are being held only a few kilometres from the start of the rally.

Madrid proves a new canvas for the red and yellow picture

The Catalan right to self determination is not a regional issue, it is a national and an international one and taking such a huge demonstration to the Spanish capital has powered the issue further into the international and national consciousness.

Catalonia is being denied the opportunity to hold a legal referendum on its future and a similar position is likely to arise in Scotland. The Catalans are ploughing a furrow that we could easily follow. If, if, we had the desire and the leadership to do it.

I have no doubt that many civic organisations across the UK support Scottish independence, or at least the right for a sovereign parliament to call such a vote. And I believe that London holds 10,000s of people who would support Scotland’s cause. We could take London by storm. But firstly we have to work out who would rally the “we”

I’ve written about the hope that the Scottish Independence Convention can replicate the success of the Catalan National Assembly by coordinating the YES movement, but like many, I remain in serious doubt that this organisation has the capacity, the leadership or the desire to truly make any kind of impact. Their fund raiser seems to have stalled on around £100,000 and they have one post on their website THIS YEAR.

And I am still in quiet shock from reading this back in November:

“30K will get the organisation started and branded – complete with public engagement research (so we know that undecided voters will be open  to what they see when they look at our messages and branding)”

And the movement continues to have unanswered questions about this organisation.

So if that is the “who” would coordinate the movement, let’s look at the what.

George Kerevan suggested an alternative approach to having our voice heard in London, blocking the London underground. I posted yesterday what happens when organisations have the wrong person making campaigning decisions, and hopefully this idea will be stuck on a red light forever.

I would suggest a much more successful PR campaign would be to aim for a similar event to yesterday’s march in Madrid.

It really shouldn’t be beyond our movement to organise an event like this. But we just don’t seem to understand the value it can bring. Incidentally, it could be done for the cost of the SIC set up and branding.

The Catalans not only understand how to use events to supercharge their demands but they crucially have an infrastructure to support the event.

Scotland is clearly lacking the understanding and the infrastructure to organise a truly impactful event. I hope we are not also lacking the desire.

March To Leave coverage is all about Nigel Farage

If you want media coverage for your event then just  follow the March to Leave template.

It has begun the “historic journey from Sunderland to London” A sodding Saturday afternoon and an approx 15 mile march to Hartlepool would only surely pull the most ardent of leave supporters on to a march.

And it has. Perhaps a few hundred people will make the journey today. And surely less will join tomorrow. The images circulating on line look terrible.

I have no doubt that there are millions of people who want to leave in the way this campaigns promotes, basically with a no deal. But organising a march in March to demonstrate that was pointless from the outset.  Unless of course you are all but guaranteed media coverage.

Like every event it should be designed to deliver an objective.  It is clear what the objective should be: organise something that would show the great number and incredible strength of feeling towards the “current Brexit betrayal” so that the media are compelled to show it as a act of democracy.

As you can see from any of the images posted online (from both those mocking and those promoting) it is poorly attended. The objective was to show the great strength of feeling against the “Westminster elite” so with such a low turnout it should therefore lead to a black out in terms of media coverage.

Out of the couple of hundred currently on the march perhaps, at best, there are 50 core marchers. Those are the ones really pissed off at the current Brexit process.  What an absolute shambles.

Owing to the tiny turnout, the organisers are likely now to argue it is not all about numbers. However, “we want to see as many people as possible joining the core marches” says the campaign video, and this shows that the objective was to have a large turnout.

Their “epic plan” has turned out to be the exact opposite. An epic failure.

From an event organisers perspective I’ve seen all this before. No doubt someone like Nigel Farage said “let’s organise a march” and no one said, Nigel, that’s a stupid idea.

The people running this campaign will have no event experience or if they do, they don’t have the authority to say, “think of something else because this isn’t going to work” So it happened. And it will be the disaster you’d expect.

And I bet behind the scenes it’s even worse. I await the social media updates from people saying “I was promised accommodation, food and support for my £50 but received a bacon sandwich and a can of pop” Or worse.

And how about the “whole series of mini events set to be announced” that are supposed to happen as part of the march. News Flash: there won’t be any.

So you have a poor turn out at poor event with those taking part complaining about the event. In every sense it has been a total non event. Unless. Unless……….

Unless the media play by a totally different set of rules for this “celebrity” event. Here’s the Guardian giving some air to the event as it starts off.  And Sky News too.

The rule for this event? Well,  if you have someone like Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson, someone deemed “newsworthy” you will get coverage of your appalling badly planned and executed event. The rule for other events? Well, If you have 100,00s on your march, and its just ordinary people, the main stream media will give it a wide berth.

When you plan an epic event and it turns out to be an epic failure don’t fret. All you have to do it have a media darling play one small part and your event will be a success. Our main stream media will make sure of that.

All bold and italics from the official March to Leave campaign video. 

The McCrone Report another missed opportunity for the YES movement

The McCrone report has shown many things: the selfishness of the British state, the ability to hide the truth from the Scottish people and the continued potential wealth from north sea oil being the most obvious. But it has also shown the weakness of the YES movement.

The McCrone report another missed opportunity for the YES movement

I’ve tried to look at the McCrone Report as something other than a quite extraordinary example of the UK’s narrow minded and selfish approach to Scotland. But it is impossible. It is there in black and white.

The likely (not potential) revenue and benefits from North Sea oil would, had they been earned by an independent Scottish nation, have transformed the country. This is unarguably the case that you have to draw from reading the report. But I am happy to go further.

If this report had been widely publicised in the mid 1970s, it is no great stretch to say that Scotland may already be independent. It was “secret” and guarded in the Scottish Office for the most obvious of reasons: because successive unionist governments believed that it could lead to Scottish independence!

If you haven’t already taken the time to read the report you really should. I can’t think of a more concise takedown of the British State.

So if it is this powerful (and again please read it, don’t take my word for it) why will it make no more than a ripple on those soft “No” voters? Well, that’s what I wanted to consider here.

The YES movement habit of looking a gift horse in the mouth

Many in the YES movement seem to spread defeatism on their toast in the morning. Where we could see an open goal, some see the clear opportunity to punt the ball high into the stands.

One of the reasons this report won’t have any real impact is that many in the YES movement don’t see the forest for the trees. This isn’t really about oil: it is about the UK government using Scottish resources to solve UK issues. End of.

Sure there are a myriad of sub texts in this story and oil and climate breakdown are very important issues to discuss. We all have our views on those two related topics, but why on earth would you highlight those issues when you have a major, undeniable win right in front of you?

Some of the interaction on Twitter between indy minded people who actually agree with each other have to be seen to be believed.

It is almost if some see any issue as a way to bash or discredit someone or something they don’t like. This seriously weakens the ties that should be pulling us together.

No strong organisation/s to pull all those loose strings together

A massive amount of credit must go to The National for leading so strongly with the McCrone Report. However it was a massive missed opportunity that this wasn’t a coordinated campaign.

When the movement acts out of sync we have little impact. We can and do bemoan the most bizarre media structure in Scotland and with so few indy supporting media it is crucial that they try and amplify the killer messages.

It is only when we coordinate our efforts that we stand a chance of being heard outside our indy echo chamber.

So what were the alternative media doing the week of the publication? WingsOverScotland has one article (pretty much stating my main points) and in general playing the same tune as The National.

CommonSpace doesn’t have anything on the report since 2017.

Bella Caledonia mentions the report in an interesting article that includes this:

“There’s no need to repeat the epic mismanagement of this resource over time, or replay the envious glances across the North Sea to Norway and its sovereign oil fund. There’s no doubt that the lies, distortion and hypocrisy of those who simultaneously argue that oil is insignificant and then salivate at the prospects for propping up the British economy (again) are remarkable, but there are some real problems with framing the case for independence in this way.”

So that’s the top indy supporting media outlets. What about our collective yes bodies?

Well, Scottish Independence Convention continues to talk about itself and nothing much else. You won’t find the McCrone Report on their home page or Twitter feed.  There’s nothing on Business for Scotland either.  I am sure I could go on but I hope I have made my point: to highlight these important stories in isolation is to speak quietly in an empty room.  And this happens all too often.

What’s old hat for you might not be the case for many voters

What came across from many indy supporting Twitter accounts was that the McCrone Report was old news. Well, not for everyone:

A “quite remarkable” stat for sure. Just imagine the number is this had been properly amplified.

You can get a good jist of this attitude from our established commentators. Here’s a section of that Bella article again:

“There’s no need to repeat the epic mismanagement of this resource”

Well, I would argue that there absolutely is a need to repeat the epic mismanagement, as not everyone has heard it the first 50 times. It is when you see a message again and again that it starts to stick.

Repeating things is a powerful tool in a campaign. When trying to get a message across what we need to do is to REPEAT the most important points. Again and again. How the UK mismanaged this resource should be something we all repeat at every opportunity. 

There is a real danger that we speak with the same voice and to the same people, in the same way as we did in 2014. We have to move with the times and we have to be smarter and more coordinated.

An alternative coordinated approach isn’t hard to imagine

Just imagine the Editors of all of our independent supporting new media outlets got together a few months ago and decided to “make the most of the McCrone report”. So co-ordinated articles were commissioned and set to be published the same week. Interviews were arranged to add flavour and substance to the report.

A PR campaign was started with the aim of amplifying the McCrone report to the non independence supporting media highlighting the relevance today.

An outreach to Social Media activists at the same time saw @zarkwan creating several of his brilliant images to be downloaded and shared on social media, and were available to print. @phantompower14 created a one of his killer videos.

How about all of the YES groups had a McCrone week were they focussed all of their campaigning on three central issues that they picked out of the report.

Maybe an independence supporting film maker got in touch with Alan Cumming and persuaded him to don a pin stripped suit, enter a smoke filled set, take on the role of Professor Gavin McCrone, and deliver the report, in its entirety to camera.

Just imagine an actual coordinated campaign with people working together, setting aside differences and aiming for one thing: independence. Ideas like this were as powerful in 1974, the year the McCrone report was delivered, as they are today.

Scotland doesn’t have a normal media

This is  how the media works in a normal European country. But Scotland doesn’t have a normal media. 

There is a tried and tested media strategy on the European continent. A political party organises a rally. Supporters of the cause and the media turn up. The media point their cameras at the stage and then the crowd. The day’s events are then broadcast.

To make sure the true feeling of the event was captured the cameras came on to the stage.

It doesn’t really matter the size of the audience, there were only a few hundred people at this one, or the particular cause. If a party that has elected representatives organises a rally it is news worthy.

The speeches at this particular rally included attacking the Spanish state for its stance on Civil Rights, the Barcelona mayor’s “support” for UBER and the presence of Mobile World Congress in the city again this February.

Small crowd but still worthy of media coverage

You could have a debate around “newsworthiness” of these types of rallies. ButI would like to see a debate around another concept: democracy.

How else are apolitical organisations or political parties able to edge onto TV screens if they don’t run rallies and have them covered? The state is not a functioning democracy if rallies like this are not covered by the media.

What else is a broadcaster doing if not this?

It is no stretch to say that, with media a reserved matter in the UK (it is not reserved in Spain by the way), Scotland is not a true democracy. Much that is discussed is not shown on our main TV channels or in the main newspapers in Scotland. This is not normal.

The media blanking of rallies (small, medium or large) is the much bigger picture. We should be focusing the debate on what is not in the media, not what is in the media.

Camera. Almost outnumbering the speakers on the stage

Following Thursday’s latest BBCQT fiasco many of the independence minded commentators (and the various indy supporting new media channels) have been whipping up a storm about the audience. If it’s not the QT audience that gets people going, it’s the QT panel. Both are worthy of disdain and comment but I often wonder if we are falling into the classic trap set by the establishment using the main stream media? Noam Chomsky put it like this:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate”

I wonder is this the establishment game? Use its flagship shows to ‘noise up’ the dissenters so they don’t focus on what the media isn’t covering? Keep the area of debate around panels and audience and maybe we will lose focus on what they should be covering and crucially what others are saying. And the reason behind this?

Demos, rallies and street protests will play a major role in the independence campaign that lies ahead of us. The campaign may also involve civil disobedience. However, don’t expect it to come to a TV screen near you. You would need to live in a normal country with a normal media for that to happen.