Happy New 2012!

I hate focus group politics. But we want to to know what you want more of – and less of from us and our squad of scribes here at Bella Towers. So here’s a sneak-peak of our stats report from Word Press’s digital monkeys and then an opportunity for you to say ‘yay’ and ‘boo’ and that sort of thing for the year ahead with our first ever Bella Poll. There’ll be another one tomorrow.

First our 2011 Year in Blogging… London Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people. This blog was viewed about 480,000 times in 2011. If it were competing at London Olympic Stadium, it would take about 6 sold-out events for that many people to see it. If they could get a ticket, or gave a shit.

Our top 5 referring sites were Facebook (natch), Twitter (obviously), Infowars.com (eh?), Reddit.com (natch again) and … (secret).

Our Top 5 most popular posts are hilariously diverse covering Icelandic Economics (pictured, comments thankfully closed), Chomsky on Libya, David Hume’s Tercentenary, Celtic FC’s Green Brigade and a typically delightful post by LPW on The Gruniad, Britishness and its One-Faced Janus

So – what do you want from us in the year ahead? The first of a couple of polls, feel free to leave rambling explanatory comments too…

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  1. my wife and i are looking forward to the glen campbell singer coming to glasgow soon? just watched true grit the famous western ,with that other great actor john wayne , glen will surly highlight dementia as he himself is suffering , just like betty my wife of 54 yrs is now suffereing this past year, there must be more goverment funding for this evil illness , seeing my wife suffer is the most agonising event in my life ? as a community councilor in greenock i will do all in my power to improve the crisis here in greenock and the uk nation with millions now suffering , praying for everyone as we begin another new year 2012 , i was amazed to learn john waynes grandson has visited medugorje and is a priest ? who prays on the holy mountain often? praise the http://www.petercampbell..faithweb.com click my scotspeter channel

  2. MryMac says:

    We are in the run up to the independence referendum. So I think you need to be putting the case for an independent Scotland much more forcefully. On some issues, your bloggers seem out of touch with popular opinion. LPW ‘shoogly peg’ debate for instance. Online comment I read saw this debate as pointless and counterproductive. We all want to win this referendum, I hope. This isn’t the time for Salmond bashing. Or disrespecting cybernats. I dislike the intemperance of some of the conversation online. But these things happen. People tweet in all situations and frames of mind. That’s why Twitter is so entertaining. And Tom Harris and Scottish Labour are equally, if not more, intemperate at times. You didn’t support the cybernats. My impression is that you supported the faux outrage of the unionists. Poor show. I think cybernats and @bellabloggers do best when putting the positive case for independence. Salmond bashing, cybernat bashing, ‘shoogly peg’ obsession and swearing at unionists is all equally counterproductive.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      We are all for independence, that’s what we’re about. But we’re also about creating a critical questioning community. We are not members of any party. Of course we’ll be critical of the SNP when they make mistakes.

      You ‘didn’t support the cybernats’ – I’m not sure what that means.

      1. MryMac says:

        Y I am also all for criticism and debate. But I think in the run up to the referendum the focus of that criticism should be unionism. Not other nationalists. It would have been supportive of other nationalists if you had added a cybernat twibbon, or posted Hazel’s cybernat song.

  3. Tocasaid says:

    If we were independent, we could have Loony Dooks like the one above.

    1. MryMac says:

      http://youtu.be/0jTHNBKjMBU Scotland has its fair share of Loony Dooks, who also have a right to a voice in Scotland.

      1. MryMac says:

        I am in fact a member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Dook Party. You are merely an unofficial Loony Dook, but a Loony Dook all the same. You know it takes a Loony to spot a Loony.

      2. MryMac says:

        ‘aye…’

        Aye right back at ya 😀

  4. Scott says:

    Surprised anyone reading BC really expects it to start toeing party lines or muffling dissent.

    A technical thing: toward the end of this year, you often had 2-3 meaty posts in one day, which meant some really interesting stuff got bumped down the page before anyone had a chance to reply.

    1. Andrew says:

      Ageed. Would maybe be best to program site to upload one article a day, or move to a magazine type format that can better present multiple stories on the main page.
      I’d also like to see BC provide more news and opinions on what’s happening in the Indy movement outwith the SNP.
      All the best for 2012 btw.

    2. MryMac says:

      I don’t expect BC to muffle dissent or to toe a party line. I do expect BC to be passionately concerned with winning the referendum which is after all the reason it exists. There has been very little focus on the positive case for indy, or even the weakness and misbehaviour of the unionists for that matter. For these reasons, BC is looking increasingly irrelevant. Your most popular blogs list is a perfect example of this.

    3. bellacaledonia says:

      Good point, there’s technical reasons why this isn’t as easy as it sounds, as there’s drawbacks with other layout forms, but its something we’d like to move to.

    4. bellacaledonia says:

      Till we fix this there is on the right hand side a list of the last ten articles.

  5. Haven’t recommended anything in your poll because I then couldn’t complain with a clear conscience. 🙂 Post what you are good at, not something just to improve your ratings, will serve Scotland and your own sanity all the better. The future is brighter as Independence draws closer.

  6. Jacqui says:

    I found it hard to make a choice, as i think one of the great things about this country is the sheer diversity of – well – everything really! So many talented people with interesting things to say. There is room for all of this. I found this space during the election. Despairing of the absolute bias and lies in the mainstream media, I joined Twitter to hopefully find some sensible debate, and – such relief to find this blog and other similar places.
    Thank you to everyone involved and wishing you all the best in the coming year.

  7. Jennifer Farquharson says:

    I would like to see a pro-unionist put up a decent argument for staying in the union that doesn’t include fear. Everything they’ve said has been about the bad things that would happen to Scotland when we become independent. And some of their comments are downright laughable. So please, all you pro-union people, what’s good about staying in the union?

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      We’ll invite some positive input and see if we can make this happen. If forums become closed loops of people who all agree with each other getting together and agreeing with each other this becomes pretty stagnant pretty quickly. It’s good to hear views that challenge your own…

      1. MryMac says:

        I agree Jennifer I would like to see more engagement with the debate about the referendum. I would love to hear the positive case for the union.

  8. Likewise to some comments by other posters, have not ticked any of the boxes in your poll (part 1) as am generally very happy with, and stimulated by your articles; however, it would be super to see guest postings from other anti-colonialist/imperialist groups from time to time, eg, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Galician, Cornish and Irish et al, and their take on how the movement in Scotland and our diverse thinking meshes with their struggles and thoughts (am often struck at how pivotal many of these friends view events here in terms of their own peoples’ unfolding destinies, and how upto date they are on the evolving situation here). Anyway, just a thought.

    Another swift, and probably techie naive, thought is related to how widespread the movement and its debate is across a variety of Internet sites – quite incredible in its depth,
    passion, and articulation of ideas – yet, it is – for non-geeks like me – to fluidly move between sites and witness the kind of cross-fertilisation and onwards re-post the conversations to the wider world – eg, Japan – where there is a genuine appetite to be informed, from a non-establishment media perspective, about, literally, global game-changing events like Scottish independence (where people’s power not only speaks to truth but shatters, potentially, another link in the chain of the shackles fastened upon our limbs by the current, global elites: Our struggle is their struggles too, be they Tamils, Okinawans, Galicians, Native Americans, or whatever). Only another thought.

    Anyway, many thanks to all of you at Bella for contributing to, I hope, another Enlightenment, and the restoration of the peoples’ sovereign rights in Alba-Caledonia-Scotia; and by dint of that, opening up our own windows to let out the choking stuffiness
    of the current political status quo imposed upon us, but offering an example to others across the globe as to how they might do the same thing also.

    Whatever the outcome(s), sincere good luck in the evolution of this vital site.

    Regards
    David

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Thanks for thoughtful comments David, I guess that would be ‘more international’. We certainly have been building links with Basque and Catalan groups in the last year and links across Europe with the European Partnership for Independence (launched in Bruges). We’ve also tried to make more guests posts from Irish and Welsh and are awaiting posts from our English correspondent (no pressure Paul).

  9. Andrew Barr says:

    Happy New Year, Bella Caledonia.

    For some reason I have always thought of sites like Newsnet as more political and Bella as more cultural. I think it would be good to go further and look at things like political arts, not only in Scotland but internationally. And, as you said above, having input from Catalans or Basques or the Welsh would be fantastic.

    I remember an article on Bella called Mapping Online Scotland, about charting online activity – is this still going ahead?

    Andrew

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I’d argue actually we’re more political but beyond just parliamentary politics. We dont think you can really separate culture and politics.

    2. MryMac says:

      This clarifies things for me. Sites like Newsnet, and blogs like @moridura and @weegiewarbler are far more political, and far more useful as sources of information if you are actively campaigning for a ‘yes’ to indy. BC is cultural, and sadly reflects many of the things I dislike about Scottish culture.

      Scotland, like most other countrys is male dominated and sexist. BC has a ‘token burd’ and mainly prints the views of men. My guess is that women are better represented in the Scottish parliament than amongst BC contributors. Sectarian football
      teams are a big influence on Scottish culture. BC has articles about football, and did not support the anti sectarian football bill. Despite the fact that 91% of Scots want something done about sectarianism. The ‘token burd’ retweeted a Neil Lennon joke on Twitter. LPW included ‘FTP’ photos on his blog that could easily be construed as sectarian within the context of Scottish culture. This is ‘Scottish culture’ I could do without.

      No wonder BC is always dissenting and criticizing the SNP. SNP supports causes which are progressive and threaten the sort of Scottish culture BC promotes. Usual comeback to this line of argument is that I
      am obviously some sort of SNP shill. Wrong. I just happen to agree with a lot of SNP policies, at the moment. I didn’t agree with their lack of support for N30
      strikes and soon let them know.

      On the I like the positive side, I like the internationalist perspective of BC. It is interesting to learn about how other small independant nations manage. You don’t get that so much on other blogs.

      is anti

  10. Considering the quality of some of the stuff here and I am happy and surprised to have made last year’s top five!

  11. J McIllaney says:

    Bella should do what it does best. Stretch and challenge the independence movement and confront the forces of conservatism that keep the country back.

  12. MryMac says:

    I haven’t been online very long, and at first I thought BC was a publication that was left of centre. I have been very disappointed to discover that this is not the case. It seems that BC is to the right of the SNP. And promotes small ‘c’ conservative Scottish culture. i.e. male dominated, let the Old Firm be. This really isn’t what I expected. 🙁

  13. bellacaledonia says:

    It may come as a surprise to Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon etc that they are to the left of Mike and myself as well as all the other contribs. When the meeja find this out they could be in for a tough ride over the next few years. 🙂

    Anyway Happy New Year, as I’ve just woken up.

    KW

    1. MryMac says:

      ‘snp to the left of Bellacaledonia’.

      Might be perceived as a mischievious wind up of all concerned. Perhaps I better drop that one 😉

      Happy New Year to all at Bella.

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