2007 - 2022

2011 is a big year

Sometimes it takes a jolt to the system to realise that you can’t take someone’s consistent, innovative unsung work for granted. When Bella Caledonia was set up in 2007 myself and Mike tried to shoulder the workload evenly but more recently it’s mainly been Mike putting his shoulder to the wheel with regards to the important strategic planning, editing and regular writing. This was unsustainable. I think we all realise how important Mike is to this project. He deals in the most important currency we have: ideas.

2011 is a big year. The London government is hellbent on destroying our much-needed frontline public services as well as penalising those least able to defend themselves. We need to keep reminding people that the banking crisis and widening budget deficit was entirely of London’s making. It doesn’t need to be this way. Especially as we consider that the Scottish economy is currently operating in surplus not in deficit.

The Tory posh boys at Number 10 and their LibDem accomplices know the DisUnited Kingdom is on the road to economic ruin and instead or making those most able to stump up they’re using what Naomi Klein correctly described as opportunistic Shock Doctrine tactics to asset strip the poorest. This is a neo-liberal smash-and-grab operation and the barbarians really are at the gate. We know it. They know it. But the unionist/mainstream media sings from a very different song book.

Here in Scotland a crucial election looms large with Independence creeping back up the agenda following a rocky period of disorientation following the banking crisis and bail outs of 2008. There is everything to play for.

All of this is bringing home the need for what Pat Kane calls ‘Thoughtland’ to make its voice heard in a calm and considered manner. Bella Caledonia, along with the vitally important Newsnet Scotland, and the rest of pro-independence blogosphere, considers itself a small cog in the greater whole that is Thoughtland. Our objective is not just helping towards Scotland’s much-needed national independence but to engage and constantly re-evaluate ideas such as ‘democracy’, ‘progress’ ‘cultural engagement’ ‘fiscal autonomy’ ‘environmentalism’ and ‘economic growth’. Clear innovative ideas are vital to counter disillusionment, apathy or plain old confusion.

With that in mind I’m taking over the helm at Bella while Mike has a breather to recharge his batteries. He’ll be back soon enough. All the suggestions and offers of help have given us both a lot of heart and will be responded to. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve too. The Vote Independence AV referendum campaign announced on St Andrew’s Day is right at the top of the agenda for May 2011.

Keep the suggestions coming and spread the word.


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  1. lenathehyena says:

    Nothing like a bit of a crisis to concentrate the mind. Onwards and upwards. Well done Kevin.

  2. Nae-a-brit says:

    Bad news — good news! Great to hear that BC is going to continue fighting for Scotland up to, and beyond, the big battle on May 5th.
    All the best.

  3. John Bottcher says:

    Why not turn Bella Caledonia into something like ConservativeHome?

    Gordon Brown managed to get “charitable status” for many of his political projects… could this be done with this site? After all, the site is not directly linked to any particular party but to a cause, and features articles from a broad range of perspectives about Scotia – cultural, economic, sociological, etc.

    John Böttcher

  4. James Mac Seoras Blair says:

    Thakn you Kevin, I would miss reading the great posts in Bella.

  5. Welsh Sion says:

    Welcome, Kevin and good luck to you in your helsmanship of Bella Caledonia. I will not pre-empt any comments from your compatriots – they are sufficiently well-experienced in matters concerning their and your homeland far better than I. I can only observe from the sidelines and learn more and more about Scotland from the likes of yourselves and Newsnet Scotland, and where appropriate, thanks to the indulgent editorships of both sites, contribute a little – mostly from a Welsh perspective.

    You are right of course that 2011 is going to prove an important year, for Scotland, for my nation and the rest of the Disunited Kingdumb. For my part, as alluded previously, my aim will be to continue to foster relationships with like-minded Scots of intelligence, and find new ways of overturning our London centric, Anglophile oppressors, be they politicians, media outlets or others. In so doing, it is a deeply held wish on my part to learn more of what we have in common with those in Scotland, and hopefully, exchange ideas, thoughts of nationhood as well as educating each other as to what the situation is in our respective countries – matters which seldom get expression on mainstream media in either Scotland or Wales.

    Therefore, to reiterate, 2011 will be crucial to the future democratic and freedom loving principles of our respective peoples. The new Welsh Language Measure, enshrining in black and white legal terms establishes our national language as legally official (a status currently not applicable to English anywhere within the YUK), will receive the Royal Assent this month. As a patriot and linguist as well as a mother tongiue speaker of our old Celtic tongue, you can imagine how spine tinglingly important this occasion will be.

    On 3 March, we are due a referendum on giving further legislative powers to our National Assembly. I urge all Scots to get behind us and support a Yes vote in this referendum, and to wish for us to have a substantive majority. It is already encouraging that all main political parties support the idea of giving more autonomy to Cardiff Bay, and that should this come about, more accountability to and more policies geared towards the people of Wales will ensue. No longer will it be necessary to submit to the whims of the Westminster Parliament and unelected politicians making decisions with the connivance of at best, ignorant civil servants in a Whitehall bunker. Wales deserves better – and with the will of the people, it will get it.

    I urged Scots to rally behind us in this campaign, in the same way that we will support your national aspirations. Often, we see you as leading the way in the drive for national self-determination – let our battles be joined together, so our common strengths can best serve our respective nations. Likewise, if anyone knows of Welsh expatriates, be they in Scotland or elsewhere who can and do vote in Wales – I do for one – then encourage them and others to cast their YES votes on March 3. For further details on the YES campaign go to http://www.yesforwales.com/site/ and contact

    Yes for Wales Campaign
    c/o Unison Cymru
    Unison House
    Custom House Street
    Cardiff CF10 1AP

    E-mail: [email protected]

    Thirdly, there is the AV Referendum, being held throughout the articificial conglomerate state in which we currently live in May. I am aware of the call to spoil ballot papers by writing INDEPENDENCE on them. As a gesture of personal solidarity, I intend to do the same, only by writing the Welsh equivalent of ANNIBYNIAETH thereon. I will also encourage like minded compatriots to do the same. This referendum, a futile exercise that it is, will, if it benefits anyone, will only prove beneficial to the Londonian parties. The most vocifierous advocates of the system appear to be the Liberal Democrats – and how could any sensible person think of voting yes to a system which is alleged to aid this party, when one can see the shystering and political prostituting they have practised having become a very junior member of a shamlessly right wing and society destroying Conservative government in London?

    Again, we are already familiar with the clash in dates that this circus will have with our own democratic elections to our respective governing bodies at Holyrood and y Senedd. Where’s the respect, Mr Cameron to the Celtic nations? Not only that, we will have to endure endless Britophile adulation and imperialism – yes, imperialism – in the run-up to “the Wedding of the Century”. But this will only prove to be the death rattle of an Anglocentric persona, trying desperately to paper over the cracks of a dysfunctional and decaying UKania. True, this BritNat corroboree may push proper, meaningful discussion about the democratic deficit that this nation state has – politicians are so keen to mention the economic deficit nowadays, never the democratic deficit – and our elections may be submerged also in part by the AV referendum. But, and this is the important bit, only if we allow it.

    My final call then is to likeminded patriots and intelligent thinkers of our two great nations. Let us make our mark in 2011. Let our voices be heard. Unionism and its lackey servitude is on its hind legs in the Disunited Kingdom. Let us ensure that in pursuing our noble goals as freedom, loving peoples we will co-operate with each other, as often as we can. Ours is the future to seize, Scots and Welsh. Let our nationalist parties show true courage and build stronger alliances both within their respective nations and beyond. Let our our peoples reassert their allegiance to each other and others of a similar outlook.

    Together, everything is possible. Tomorrow is ours for the taking.

  6. John Ferguson says:

    You are very important . A worthy voice in a worthy cause.
    Thank you. John

  7. S Robertson says:

    Enjoy these blogs very much, thanks for all your hard work and best wishes for the year ahead.

  8. John Bottcher says:

    Just tweeted this post – I notice there’s just under 200 folk who follow this site via Twitter.

    Spread the word, folks!

    If all folk following on Twitter donated £10 a year that’d be a couple of grand to start off with.

    Let’s think of other revenue sources.

    John Böttcher

  9. ratzo says:

    good news.

  10. Davie Park says:

    I appreciate your commitment Kevin and am delighted (and relieved) that Bella fights on. Along with Newsnet, it could form a game-changing frontline for the nationalist movement. I feel that, potentially, it really is that important.
    We all need to support it in whatever way we can.
    Here’s to Mike – hope he’s not too long away.

  11. Well done Kevin. Great to see Bella alive and kicking (no Simple Minds pun intended). It’s up to all of us to support BC as much as we can – financially, logistically, etc. I’m not sure about charity status but the PayPal button could work, also perhaps you/we could organise Bella Caledonia conference-type events between now and May featuring speakers, debates, discussions: we all know the appetite for debate is out there and might be an opportunity to raise funds. Just a thought.

    Good luck.

  12. Vronsky says:

    Thank you – what a relief.

  13. Alex Porter says:

    A big year indeed Kevin! Much is at stake and there’s work to be done. Thanks for putting our struggle in context.

    At Newsnet Scotland we are gearing up for the election. We have a number of projects which we’ll launch over the coming weeks – all designed to have a bigger impact on the campaign. The media war is pretty much one-way traffic right now. Our aim is to open up a new front for the independence movement. What we can do will be limited right now but at the very minimum provide encouragement to the many thousands out there who feel carpet-bombed by unionist propaganda. It has drained momentum and Newsnet will strive to put the gumption back.

    To do that we need inspiration from our finest intellectuals and cultural activists. What a blessed relief it is then to note that BC remains with us. The movement needs to be anchored. We’d know a lot less about Scotland’s soul and ourselves as Scots and independentistas without Bella Caledonia and so our cause would lose coherence and structure – we’d be further adrift.

    It is clear that BC and Newsnet are very different kinds of beast. Newsnet may well be in a better position to attract more funding. Where we can we will seek to join forces with BC with a view to combining resources and so strengthening both our positions.

    Our tormentors are fewer and their force dimishes daily. Every complex system has a point of weakness. UKania’s is their control over the media. They are holding on with white knuckles but it’s slipping. Readership is collapsing and people realise they are being lied to. How many journalists/broadcasters out there are happy working for the BBC or The Scotsman? How many have already upped and gone?

    Let’s build the alternative from the ground up. The goodwill Newsnet receives is mindblowing. We are merely amateurs yet soon will have all kinds of professional features, columns and projects kicking off much of which will be provided FREE. In short we feel we are on to something big here that could with careful handling become an avalanche. We intend to keep applying focused pressure on this weakness in the UKanian complex system.

    We will also continue to expose the propaganda and have exciting and innovative plans afoot. Each time we strike back we’ll offer writers the chance to sense their collective power and volunteer to work for the Newsnet Scotland revolution. As we gain credibility (our new site will be launched by Burns day) we will put out a call to join forces to create an alternative to the present captured and uninspiring mainstream media.

    It’s a big idea but with the spirit of the cause being nurtured by the likes of BC and which gives us our strength from deep inside, Scots need feel adrift no longer. Big ideas are for big people.

    Many will speculate on when the prize will be won. I say it’s there for winning now. Let’s not limit our horizons. By combining our talents we can outwit and outmanouvre unionism.

    Good luck to Bella and all!

    Newsnet Scotland

  14. dcomerf says:

    BC absolutely necessary in complement with newsnet – especially with newsnet espousing an austrian economics line, there is a space for BC contributers to promote the absolute necessity of deficit financed public service provision in these recessionary times (even if Scotland is running a public sector debt repayment at the moment (*), it should be increasing spending rather than cutting given the high levels of unemployment caused by the recession).

    (*) My translation of “as we consider that the Scottish economy is currently operating in surplus not in deficit”.

  15. Donald Adamson says:

    Brilliant piece Kevin.

    All credit to you too, for having the balls to publicly say something that needed to be said.

    You’ve also outlined an ambitious agenda for Bella this year and beyond. Bella has never lacked ambition of course and, as the response to this and the previous thread demonstrate, it’s that ambition, oriented as it is to its vision of an independent Scotland, that unites all the contributors, readers and friends of Bella.

    It looks as if the events of the last week will make Bella stronger, with a renewed sense of purpose and ambition. What a prospect!

  16. Great article and good news about Bella, Kevin that you can put your talents as a writer and campaigner to good use in 2011.
    Lawrence Morton
    Scottish Republic

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