It has been nearly two months since the general election, and if I am honest, I still haven't quite gotten over it. So much so, that in the weeks since, I had all but switched off from politics altogether. But life goes on, and so should I. So should we all. I’m wondering, what have I missed? Where are we now? The answer, or rather answers, appear to be chaos, and chaos. If you relied solely on the mainstream media, you will be all too aware that the Trump administration is in chaos. You might however, be slightly less aware that the May administration (can we call it that?) is similarly in chaos. Traditional news outlets in the UK appear to be keen report on the revolving door in the West Wing, whilst less eager to make anything of a spate of departures from Team Theresa. Are we not supposed to notice? Or is it just that in the “national interest”, what with Brexit and everything, we are expected to do our “patriotic duty” (as BritNats!) and pretend we don't notice?
Those of us on social media sometimes like to think we are better informed. If we are, you would think that we would use this to our advantage, particularly those of us who support the independence movement, given that the aforementioned mainstream media is all but exclusively in favour of the Union. What we ought to be doing, is highlighting their bias, and the utter ineptitude of Theresa May, David Davis, Liam Fox, and other ministers responsible for Brexit, haranguing them for the unmitigated mess they’ve made of it so far. Who will say it was unreasonable to have expected the Prime Minister and her Cabinet to have ironed out any disagreements amongst themselves, before attempting to negotiate any agreement with the EU.
But no. Instead, the independence is in danger of also slipping into chaos, determined to outdo the sort of infighting that hamstrung the Labour Party for so long. The most obvious example of this in the last week or so, you will no doubt be aware, surrounds Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland fame, and whether or not he is a homophobe, or more specifically, whether a tweet he tweeted was homophobic. I saw the tweet, shortly after he tweeted it, and I laughed out loud. It never entered my head for a second that it might be interpreted as homophobia. Indeed, when Kezia Dugdale stood up in Parliament and called upon the First Minister to condemn Stuart Campbell and Wings Over Scotland, again, I saw this as it happened, and my first thought was that this is a piece of puerile political opportunism.
I could, of course, be completely wrong. It might be that Kezia Dugdale, like an ex of mine, sees life almost entirely through a pink prism, interpreting just about everything, down to a nod from a neighbour in place of a ‘hello’, as a homophobic snub. I would argue, that if anything, Stuart Campbell’s tweet was Mundellophobic, and some might well ask, is it any bloody wonder?
Let’s be quite clear here. Kezia Dugdale used her position as an MSP to “call-out” (another irritant of a phrase, up there with ‘going forward”) and condemn an pro-independence blogger for homophobia. That’s fine, she’s perfectly entitled to do that. The problem with this is that Stuart Campbell, and plenty of others, gay, straight, or otherwise, (https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/throwing-some-light-on-throwing-shade/) who do not believe that the tweet in question was in any way homophobic, nor that the man is inherently a homophobe. In fact, in stating otherwise, he believes Kezia Dugdale has defamed him. As such, he is perfectly entitled to seek legal recourse. It is irrelevant that Dugdale is gay. Or a woman. Or a politician. Absolutely irrelevant.
To make matters worse, the whole sorry affair has ignited an(other) intra-indy movement spat, the main protagonists of which are Stuart Campbell’s Wings, and Angela Haggerty's CommonSpace. It would be beyond ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Haggerty, Jordan Daly (https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/11424/jordan-daly-why-we-should-back-kezia-dugdale-and-send-wings-over-scotland-packing), or anyone else, shouldn't ‘side’ with Kezia on this one. If they believe what they believe, and they feel what they feel, that's just how it is. It is also altogether perfectly reasonable, is it not, for people like Jonathan Rimmer (https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/3947/jonathan-rimmer-we-need-to-talk-about-wings-over-scotland) to take exception with Campbell’s more controversial outpourings?
That being said, if the independence movement is to have any hope of overcoming the might of the British State, the British Establishment, and it’s relentless, well-resourced propaganda machine, it has to pile all of its finite resources into attacking those, instead of squabbling amongst ourselves. The SNP does not speak for every independence supporter all of the time. Neither does Wings. Or CommonSpace. Or anyone else. Surely we all realise that?
Writers and speakers, journalists and politicians, you and I, none of us has a right to tell another what to read, and what to think. If you believe Stuart Campbell is a homophobe, fair enough. I don’t. I’ll keep reading Wings, and I’ll keep reading CommonSpace for that matter. And when I do, without a doubt, I’ll snort and tut and shake my head when I read something that I disagree with, or dislike, and I will, often. But I am absolutely sure I’ll see and hear far less that I like and agree with, in the Mail and the Record, the Express and on the BBC, or SKY, among others. The British State, the Establishment, are past masters at divide and rule. We know this, yet we still fall for it. Put simply, stop it.