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Loki on National Collective

An interesting set of challenges from Loki to the National Collective. This needs to be part of the debate about the groups future and direction, see his article here.

We’d welcome a response from Ross or other members of the National Collective to the issues raised. There’s no doubt that NC did amazing work during the referendum but it would be good to hear how the group is going forward and people’s responses to Loki’s criticism.

Comments (76)

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  1. squidgybidge says:

    I like Loki (Tommy Sheridans Dead was good song), but on this one he’s coming across like a spoiled brat. National Collective is not his toy.

    Yes they do come across as appealing to a middle class (reasonably affluent) demographic. So what? That is their perogrative. It’s why I don’t look at everything they do, as I personly don’t relate to everything they discuss.

    That does not make them wrong. As a collective, they do in my opinion speak for a large part the Arts community though, but like every organisation they will exclude certain voices, that’s life.

    If Loki is so pissed off about it and I have seen him make other such rants right through the referndum about National Collective, he should establish another group, rather than forcing his ideals upon a group who have taken a different tact.

    If his vision is so strong, then he should use his own expertise to build a group that he feels repressnts the values that he says he has.

    1. the young pigs says:

      I think the point Loki is making is that it comes across as a tad totalitarian; that a select few in ‘the establishment’ linked to the SNP pull all the strings and close down debate for anyone outside the circle. Go off message then get sidelined. So much for the democratic open new Scotland. But this was always going to happen. Once the the Yes campaign had served it’s purpose the SNP machine would dispense with them win or lose. Welcome to MacAnimal Farm.

      We all get independence but some get more independence than others.

      1. Crabbit says:

        For me, this smacks too much of the politics of the hard left (or religious groups) where time and energy are spent critiquing people who are almost BUT NOT QUITE identical enough in belief and purpose to you.

        The groups concerned are voluntary and draw on quite a small pool of willing people – the overlap between the membership of Bella Caledonia, National Collective, Common Weal and RIC would make that clear enough.

        I don’t know what the plans are for National Collective (I’d heard it was being relaunched) but some of these wouldn’t outlive the referendum, whether NC, or more speculative ventures like Labour for Independence, or even Yes Scotland itself.

    2. manofmoray says:

      I agree Squidgybidge and I also like Loki. Anyway the Referendum result proves that we need to convince the middle classes in future so I don’t see what the fuss is about. It’s much easier to be a lone voice than try and create an organisation with different voices. Loki should try it and discover for himself.

      1. I created an organisation in 2009 with a group of 18 year olds and mentored them until 2013. They now run the organisation themselves.

    3. Suppose National Collective does exclude working class voices. Why is that all right? Would it be OK for them to exclude LGBT voices, or Asian voices? I am sick of a middle class mainstream. Why is it ok to have a class, colour and gender apartheid that confines people to ghettos where they can be safely ignored? I dont think it is and you would have to be a white, middle class straight bloke to think it was, purely on the grounds of self interest because it benefits them and nobody else.

  2. bob says:

    This seems like a bit of an unfair and easy target.
    Anycunt can and could always see who and what made up the core of N.C.
    this neither invalidated nor deterred from the fact that, within the context of the Independence campaign, they promoted a noble position and represented a voice from (sections of) the artistic community.
    They are not a Government body , either UK or Scottish, as far as i am aware they were created via the hard work and passion of a few individual. Aside from their frequent pretentious back slapping and occasionally nauseous statements i it really necessary to tear them a new one..?

  3. kenya says:

    I don’t think Loki is ‘tearing them a new one’.. The thing that irks me about N.C is what Loki revealed how his opinions/letters would not be published on the n.c website. Ok – its a tricky situation because on one had there has to be a compromise between the core group and the others that joined n.c later on so as to present a unified front as they were working towards a common goal – YES vote. But this Now is an appropriate and perfect time for his views to be considered – as the future of n.c is decided and the collective is relaunched at the ‘changin scotland’ event at the end if this month…. So for his timing, I am in agreement with what he is saying. He has a point but I don’t agree with his views 100% because n.c are a great collective and folk should see the bigger picture and move away from critiquing them based on class. I don’t WANT to care about what class the core group are from. I WANT to care that the collective is INCLUSIVE and especially represents artists without the type of resources/links those in this core may have so that their voices/issues are heard, acknowledged and representative of those who don’t have the means or resources.

    1. to be inclusive means more than just being open to anyone.

      i think NC did little to achieve active inclusion by reaching out to marginalised working class artists.

      also it had/has no internal democracy or any transparency or any accountability really.

      it was a useful organisation but it was/is also quite flawed.

      i hope but seriously doubt that the relaunch will address any of these problems.

      i asked them to take down material of mine when they started taking party political sides after the ref and they said they would but still haven’t done so.

  4. Loki is on the ball. We all know about the Sheridan clown. But the nc. Seem to me to be something else As a fully functioning contemporary artist I find most of that stuff to be first order shite. That means ponses on society pretending to be artists sculptors artichokes or other arseholes of that ilk.

    Scotland does indeed have an avant garde. It is just none of these fukkers.


  5. Steven Reynolds says:

    Loki is spot on. It’s no a fuckin community mural we’re trying to put together here.

  6. Mealer says:

    National Collective is an artists collective.If it wasn’t falling out among itself now and then there would be something far wrong.

  7. Oh really. Could it be that nc is is just another group of people mincing together for the collective pie of creative Scotland and local authority funding in the long and short term to keep them from the real engagement of an avant garde. Which for me right now takes the form of B and M


    1. …or could it be that it is not?

  8. bob says:

    National Collective does not have the monopoly on the artistic heart or expression of Scotland and i’m not sure they ever claimed to.
    During the YES campaign they activated, operated and dedicated their time and efforts towards a common cause.
    So what if they are middle class, so what if they champion ‘twee shite’, the Scottish cringe is alive and well and as equally applicable to embarrassing Scottish Gangsta rap as it is to nuevo pibroch pish.

    As an artist Loki has demonstrated innovative challenging productions with incredibly visceral and eloquent lyrics but getting wound up by the behaviour or subsequent vocational aspirations of past , present or current members of National Collective just makes him sound like an angry wee bastard.

    chill the fuck oot Loki and get back in the studio where you belong.

    1. Incredibly patronising. Especially the ‘back where you belong’ bit. National Collective can be so much more. The name of their organisation suggests a ‘national’ remit. And even if I am angry that does not automatically disarm what I am saying. Dissent is all too often disarmed on grounds of tone; serving nothing but the status quo. The issue with NC alludes to a wider problem with the Yes campaign. You may only have heard of me recently but I’ve been an activist since my teens and my work in that area predates my hip hop output. Therefore, when you make assumptions about what my default mode of expression should be you reveal yourself to be extremely ignorant and culturally naive all the while you talk with authority.

      My point is: Nobody outside of this very small Yes bubble really cares. Why? Because the discussion is so heavily policed and sanitised.

      1. bob says:

        I’m glad my ‘tone’ was interpreted as being authoritarian and patronising whilst also revealing my profound cultural naivety and ignorance.
        A perfectly reasonable summary of my faculties based on my audacious exercise of opinion…

        Loki reacts to critique A visual metaphor :


      2. When I dissent I usually get called a troll or an attention seeker. It is just name calling to avoid engaging with what I am saying. Angry wee bastard? I will always dismiss what Loki says in future on the grounds he is an angry wee bastard. Aye. Right.

  9. bob says:

    *or indeed on the stage

  10. The issue is about practicing the democratic values you espouse. Simple. I founded an organisation in 2009 called Volition and went through a process over 2 years of devising with them a constitution. The group had its problems, not least because of my inexperience as a leader, but essentially control was handed to the young people wherever possible and they now run the group themselves, recruiting other young people in a cycle of peer learning and mentorship.

    It’s precisely because I respect NC that I have said these things. I tried meeting with people privately but my concerns never got addressed.

    For me it is very simple…citizen democracy means every organisation must adopt a framework for taking decisions.

    I’m surprised some people find this so difficult to understand, particularly since NC is founded on a trouble making mantra.

    This is what a trouble maker really looks like.


    1. It seems to me that these are valid concerns and that National Collective will have to address them honestly and openly if it is to have any future.

    2. Crabbit says:

      I think this is a misapprehension, possibly stemming from the title “National Collective” – it might be national but it isn’t a collective.

      Offhand, I can’t think of any of the Yes websites that were collective, membership, community efforts – the reality is they’re started and managed by individuals or small groups of individuals.

      Examples include Bella itself, Common Weal, WoS, and Better Nation.

      Even Yes Scotland wasn’t community/member-owned and managed.

      Websites are a relatively new form of media, but they seem quite close to traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines or record labels. There will be a small group setting the parameters and deciding what gets in and what doesn’t.

      Powercut Productions works on the same basis, does it not? Quality might be just another word for being selective.

      1. bellacaledonia says:

        Bella is a forum for writers and actively encourages media participation and literacy. We have had hundreds of contributors over eight years. Commonweal has dozens of people involved. WoS is (mostly) a one man blog.

      2. Crabbit says:

        @BellaCaledonia – my point was that while you can have dozens (or hundreds of thousands in the case of something like Reddit) of contributors, the nature of websites/newspapers/record labels is that they’re not collectively owned.

        For example, WoS, Bella and Common Weal are all websites owned by a single individual, are they not?

        And it is they who decide what goes in and what does not. None of them are about to introduce a democratic structure to decide how they are run – nor do they need to. It’s not what they’re about.

  11. George Gunn says:

    Loki has a point. Let it be discussed.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      I think he does too. But I’m wondering about a few things here. I don’t get the ceilidh v rap split. We need to call on or look back to people and music that bridged this false divide between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’, I’m thinking Test Dept, Martyn Bennet or Dick Gaughan. The idea that one is radical and the other is conservative is just too one dimensional for and I think Loki should look at that. Reality is quite a lot of trad music has been marginalised and looked down on for a very long time, so to picture it as the establishment music seems a bit weird.

      But I suppose the point where I agree with Loki is the potential for NC (or similar) to be much more broad and dynamic and the question might be – are those guys open to that? Are NC open to having a discussion? If not that’s okay – as organisations morph and develop post-indyref new spaces should emerge.

      1. All of that is true, Mike, but I don’t think there is any need to get hung up about it. As a middle-class folkie, I have no problem with Loki giving the contemporary ceilidh consensus a sharp poke. Each to their own and controversy is good!

        And hasn’t rap already been assimilated by the international Borg Collective? Just listen to “Glory” from the motion picture, “Selma”.

      2. Clydebuilt says:

        Runrig is trad music, BUT virtually banned from BBC Scotland airwaves. Since the middle class voted NO maybe NC should be aimed at it / them?

  12. Clootie says:

    I thought we were just working together with the focus on the “Big Picture”. I accept that the direction of society, political parties, my company etc are not always as I would have liked.
    It is called acceptance of collective responsibility e.g. The YES campaign was about a fairer society , the right to make the decisions here in Scotland etc

    SNP,SSP,Greens, Labour for Independence etc put aside narrower party or personal aims and objectives to enable the opportunity for change (not anyones fixed idea – just different from Westminster). NC was an example of another group with the same primary drive.

    I don’t like this “..but what about me” approach or the posts “…selected establishment /SNP”
    It appears Westminster is not the only risk enabling divide and rule.

    Be unique, we all are…..but when you focus on that remember that it won’t take us an inch down the road to independence. It is very important but a topic for development after we win.

    1. Bringing these problems to public attention before the indyref wouldnt have been wise, but now is an ideal time. Independence will be pointless to many if current inequalities are not addressed. Replacing a Westminster media/political elite with a Holyrood one is not going to wash. I am taking from what Loki has said that National Colllective has an a elitist/cliquey way of operating. Yessers are looking to these types of organisations for a fairer more inclusive influence on society. In fact it looks like out of the frying pan into the fire. If people are interested in setting themselves up as a new elite, or a new establishment, I do not support those people and neither I think would the vast majority of Yessers. The whole point for many is to create a less elitist society.

  13. Steven Reynolds says:

    NC were good at drawing fire away from the angry cybernat line though. Here! Look at some fops!

  14. Stuart says:

    National Collective made a brilliant contribution and was a real highlight of 2014. There was a good mix of acts at the event that I attended – most of which I’d never heard of before, but thoroughly enjoyed.

    It’d be great to see NC expand to cover more artists and to reach a wider audience. It’s big names that are needed though – most people were attending events because they were already ‘Yes’, rather than because they really wanted to see a specific band / beatboxer / dancer / playwright. It’d be nice for NC to have a more representative mix of acts, but it would be far more effective to attract a bigger and less partisan audience by having big names Paulo Nutini or Mogwai headlining.

    1. kenya says:

      N.C did indeed do an amazing job…if you’re into Trad Scot music, poetry and art. The politicians they were able to get to speak at their events were notable too – Nicola Sturgeon at yestival Glasgow in her then constituency here and Fiona Hyslop (cultural minister). They attracted rm hubbert, and two members of Mogwai. Mogwai as a band played the ‘night for Scotland’ so I am guessing that all members of the band were interested, though only 2 were ‘active’. And Scottish folk legend Dick Gaughan and even Billy Bragg!! So how ‘big’ an artist is needed? As a wee core group of mebbe 13/14 folk, they did a bloody fantastic job with their own/readily available resources and in a very very very fastpaced, stressful and short space of time they had up to the referendum. So they deserve their recognition for galvanizing the number of people they did.

      However, as much as I have a lot of admiration for N.C and recognise their own sacrifices (time, jobs, lives) I clearly see where Loki is coming from. I didn’t, personally feel his cussing out of them fair but then the issue here is ‘tone policing’ vs expression of those he knows feels/think like he does. Fair enough… I agree that his timing of NOW is important and it makes complete sense he brings the attention to getting an answer of ‘what is national collective now’. How are they organised… I remember filling in a form from a survey conducted by them to their members asking these very questions to which I especially want to see more inclusivity and diversity…involvement with communities in underprivileged inner city areas would be great but ALAS where is this ‘relaunch’ happening – Ullapool

  15. the young pigs says:

    The real issue are the shadows in the background. Through out the Indyref folk kept on about it being about grassroots and people, not establishment politics and the SNP. But all these so called independent ‘new media’ have very close ties to the SNP. And if you point this out on their blogs, you get deleted or sidelined. See how long this one stays up.

    1. the young pigs says:

      And I’m not saying their is anything necessarily wrong with this, all media is partisan and have political masters. But honesty is also important, no?

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      Bella is not connected to any political party

      1. the young pigs says:

        Really? Not what so ever? Not even indirectly, like the editor also being in receipt of SNP government/ public funds for another project? Hard to see how a media org can be truly independent under these circumstances?

      2. Anton says:

        …and that’s one of the reasons I value it.

    3. If National Collective is to have any future it must be demonstrably independent and grassroots. That means not being run by SNP functionaries.

      1. douglas clark says:

        the young pigs, some details please?

        It is about facts not about unsubstantiated stuff.

        Your next post on here should include time, dates and preferably pictures.

  16. the young pigs says:

    Ahhh…the ‘comment is awaiting moderation’ pregnant pause. So much for free discussion.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      All up for free discussion but you are on the edge of defamation.

      1. All up for free discussion? Really? So why did you block me for pointing out that Gerry Hassan was being paid to ‘dialogue’ with the marginalized, but seemed only to ever bemoan about the need to do so without ever actually doing it? It worries me that Bellacaledonia shuts down dissenting voices like this. If it happened to me I guess it has happened to many others.No down shaming ‘offenders’ as nasty, abusive cybernats or in some way mentally ill in the process. It worries me that National Collective are censoring the input of artists like Loki. This isn’t the better Scotland I imagine, nor I guess the majority of Yessers either. I am not voting Yes to give more power to already over privileged groups that silence and smear and exclude those with a different viewpoint. I am voting for a fairer and more inclusive society, and the harsh attitude to dissent and opposing viewpoints I have seen on Bellacaledonia is not the way forward. Neither is the censorship, exclusion and lack of democracy that Loki talks about in National Collective.

  17. the young pigs says:

    And as for the NC, they are all SNP. The political editor stood as a prospective SNP candidate for the GE. So that certainly isn’t independent, nor ‘grassroots.’

    1. muttley79 says:

      No, National Collective are not all SNP as you put it. That is a lie, and anyone who knows anything about NC would not be making such ignorant remarks. You are only damaging your own credibility with assertions like that. There was a significant section that was non SNP.

    2. Garrion says:

      Just for the benefit of the uninformed, what’s wrong with the SNP?

      1. I see nothing surprising or untoward in people involved in running National Collective being SNP members. A lot of people are these days! It would not be smart for the organisation to be run or directed by SNP employees, however!

  18. Steph says:

    “Facebook and its social media cohorts form cells of concern gathered together into change agents driven by an autonomous audacity spiked by anti-capitalist angst…”


    1. Crabbit says:

      Bella needs a Like button.

  19. the young pigs says:

    Aye, it’s all about perspective.

  20. Kenny says:

    Just because a member of NC stands for the SNP doesn’t mean they’re “run by the SNP from the shadows.” To be honest, that’s just a silly argument. Does that mean that if another member stands for the Greens or the SSP then those parties are also in on the act as part of the establishment?

    As far as I can see, Loki’s concern is that NC doesn’t appear to be practicing what it preaches. He’s been involved with them at various times through the campaign, so it’s not like he’s an “outsider” demanding that a group he’s not part of changes to suit him. He’s asking what an organisation he’s put his name to is doing about internal democracy. If they’re not answering him, that’s a problem.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve watched him pursue these questions since 19th September. From where I sit, it looks like he’s very conscious of the problem that many revolutions face – people shift from a “needs must” approach during the battle to accepting that kind of ad hoc dictatorial approach as a way of life. It can’t be like that. If we really want to be a better nation, we have to do all this stuff better. And for what it’s worth, I saw Loki ask the same questions of Common Weal who almost immediately published their constitution and explained their intentions. I believe Bella may have had a similar discussion. NC seems to be the one that’s holding out. They may have their reasons and at the end of they day, if they’re going to act as a private organisation then they don’t really have to. But being honest about who and what you are is the first step towards getting real honesty into our whole political system and it starts with us, not with “them.”

    1. Crabbit says:

      I think Common Weal is one of the more interesting things to happen in 2014, though I’d like them to be a bit more “think-tanky” in proposing specific solutions rather than analysing problems.

      But they don’t really make the argument over democratic control. According to Companies House Common Weal is a company owned and directed by Robin MacAlpine. He may have chosen to put himself under a board, but he is the ultimate authority. The board itself was not elected – there is no membership – but was presumably formed from close supporters.

      If that’s what gets it done, then that’s fine. Not every setup needs to be grassroots, membership-based and run by an elected group of representatives. Common Weal itself might have to move in that direction eventually given its ambitions, but for a small, provactive outfit like NC it might just suck the life out of them at this stage.

    2. kenya says:

      Excellent comment. I agree with your balanced assessment of the issue. N.C need to address loki and their statement released today is thoughtful and nice but its NOT directly addressing his concerns/question. Like you said – common weal immediately published their consitution…where is n.c’s? If they are not to be a public collective group with members then what does this membership stand for? I guess if they become a private collective that would be fair enough but I can’t help but feel that the ‘national collectives’ of this nation will not feel they actually represent the nation’s cultural voice, then…?? What is the aim of National Collective now is a valid question.

      Ps – I know membership to N.C is free. Fair enough.

  21. Garrion says:

    I hear the sound of us eating our young. Might be time to be mindful that this kind of public broadcast of opinion (the old adage of being able to start a fight on social media is way easier than ending one) plays directly into the hands of those who would at the very least be pleased that the broad left, such as they all are in Scotland, are resorting to archetype and squabbling towards the edge of the cliff.

    I’m not saying don’t debate, I’m saying debate constructively with intent to resolve or clarify, preferably either in person or through a forum that at least has the framework to support resolution. This aint it.

    Making your point is not the same as solving your problem.

    Might also add that the discussion is being directly warmed by the very real and very unresolved issues of class and massive social dichotomy in Scotland, as taken advantage of by Labour since God was a boy, especially in Glasgow and the West.

    I don’t want to open that can of worms on this forum, but can we at least acknowledge that the cultural and attitudinal realities of bringing the very very disenfranchised ( I grew up in Possil, Rutherglen and Maryhill) and the so-called middle class (I went to school in the West end) together on a common platform is going to be a long and complex road which requires patience and effort on all sides?

    I dunno if I’m being very helpful. I do know that I’m looking at an unseemly pissing match on an otherwise solid forum.

    1. ‘Much better to have the issues aired I would have thought.

      1. Garrion says:

        Issues good. Accusations bad.

    2. MBC says:

      I think you are expressing the issues very clearly, that they are about fear, trust, and control.

      Scots are pretty crap at co-operating. This is a product of our social history, rather than of ourselves as people because we have been such an unequal and insecure society for so long that the instinct is to fear, accuse, withdraw, and divide. There is a perpetual defensive attitude. It’s self-defeating, it breaks our health, our strength, and enables us to be overcome by our enemies. So it’s something in ourselves we have to learn to heal.

      Norwegians and Scandinavians in general are far better at co-operation. They have a habitual outlook of respect, openness, and trust. This is because equality and social levelling have been part of their social history for far longer than they have ours and have deep roots. They have had to rely on one another too.

      What to say? Be open, be equal, respect, tolerate. Consensus emerges from trust, and trust emerges from openness and respect.

  22. Darien says:

    Scotland is really on hold just now. Only independence will release the energy, cultural, economic, social, etc, and it will be enormous when it comes. At the moment we are a tragic excuse for a nation.

    1. Garrion says:

      No we’re fucking not. You, for reasons I hope I can’t fathom, are really keen on pressing the cultural cringe button that has been the means of inbred passivity for a long long time. There is absolutely no value to this. I had really hoped we’re beyond this tragic Scottish self loathing shite.

      Cheer up.

  23. Stin says:

    What an almighty waste of time this is. Loki sniping and folk returning fire. If you don’t like how an organisation is run, make a constructive proposal which can be turned into a constitutional policy. Or stop expecting “someone” To do “something” about it. Opposition is easy. Proposition which is inclusive demands hard creative thinking.

    1. Loki has a specific proposition, that the National Collective should be democratic.

  24. bellacaledonia says:

    This issued from National Collective:

    National Collective ceased to be a registered campaigner for Scotland’s Referendum on 19th
    September 2014. The referendum result was heartbreaking for everyone involved. When the
    group was founded in 2011 it started out with nothing other than a laptop and a broadband
    connection. By referendum day this had grown into a fully fledged campaign with significant

    Our budget was raised entirely through crowdfunding with smaller amounts raised to cover
    costs via an online shop. It had no full time or part time staff and everyone who worked on the
    project was a volunteer. It had no constitution, procedural documents, or formal structure. This
    was largely because, in the heat and speed of the campaign, we had no time to stop and take
    stock. The hours that were available to us were largely spent campaigning, organising events
    and creating content. All this was powered by massive amounts of goodwill and the shared
    collective goal of a Yes vote.

    During the campaign, a National Collective organisers group formed and helped to organise
    major events, perhaps most notably a national tour last summer called Yestival. Many of these
    individuals have continued to remain in contact and discuss potential future projects. As
    individuals, some of us have been invited to facilitate and co-curate events with others, including
    Changin Scotland, taking place at the end of this month. But this is not an institution: any formal
    status for the group ended with the referendum campaign. It has no funds and has no plans to
    start campaigning again.

    Our director for the duration of the campaign, Ross, left that role on the 19th of September 2014.
    Ross’s contribution to National Collective and to the wider independence campaign was
    immense and we owe him a great deal of gratitude for his tenacity, commitment and vision.

    We are aware that there is a very valid conversation taking place right now. Over the last few
    months the organisers group has been going through a long period of consultation and reflection.
    A number of months ago we surveyed our followers to find out what they would like to see from
    us. We are currently speaking to many people about ideas for the future, regarding structure,
    process and direction. The outcome of this process does not represent an imminent ‘re-launch’
    of National Collective but rather the start of a new conversation.

    National Collective as it was was all about September 18th. We had a simple and powerful aim;
    to demonstrate that independence, as a creative act, needed to have a strong and vibrant
    cultural voice. We therefore encourage this spirit of creative ambition and suggest that not
    seeking permission, a self-starting approach and a refusal to be defined by the challenges of the
    past was at the heart of our success.

    We are now in a new cultural moment. In drawing a line under National Collective’s role as a
    campaign, we encourage the many supporters, volunteers, performers, writers, and activists
    who made what we achieved possible, to continue imagining a better Scotland. We believe in a
    long term vision, in Scotland’s ability to foster a culture of independence, so that if in the future
    the opportunity were to arise to achieve political independence, we will be both confident and
    ready. This isn’t the end for National Collective, it’s a new beginning.

    National Collective Organisers

    1. MBC says:

      So your purpose now is to ‘foster a culture of independence’ in a spirit of ‘not asking permission’ and of ‘not being defined by the challenges of the past’. That’s inspiring.

      But how will you – the events organising group – do that so as to be inclusive of others who share those aims?

      I have read this entire thread and I think that there are two things coming up here: a campaign, and a creative movement. You were briefly both.

      A campaign certainly needs a structure, a constitution. It needs to be accountable and transparent.

      A creative movement like Dada or the National Romantic movements of the nineteenth century cannot be so constrained. Cultural movements are by nature self-defining, self-directing. They have a certain style, a certain way of approaching reality that appeals to certain people who are members by virtue of their creative response to the movement. A cultural movement is more felt than rationally understood. You didn’t ask to be a member of Dada. It didn’t have a constitution. If you responded to its anarchic spirit you were part of it – each in their own particular way.

      A cultural movement, even if ‘political’ (as in ‘political art’) is a kind of spirit.

      A free spirit.

      Hope this helps?

      1. Crabbit says:

        Dada did actually have a manifesto, which was more the style then.

        But what we’re talking about in relation to Bella, NC and Common Weal is more like the equivalent of a gallery. You’re not obliged to exhibit there and the gallery owners aren’t obliged to hang your work. NC are another shopfront/showcase.

        Producers, consumers and intermediaries all have (some) interests in common and use the market to try to satisfy those interests. So we’ll see some showcases rise and others disappear.

  25. Steven Reynolds says:

    “I don’t get the ceilidh v rap split”

    “They were all City Cafe types, waitresses, insurance salesmen, local government clerks, bar persons et cetera, who wanted to be musicians, actors,poets, novelists, painters, playwrights, filmmakers, models and were obsessed with their alternative careers.
    They played their dull tapes, recited their crap poems, strutted around like peacocks and pontificated with endless dogmatism on tthe arts”

    – Irvine Welsh.

    1. Has to be said, Welsh has the Scottish Cringe down to a fine art 🙂

      1. MBC says:

        And an elitist to boot!

        I seem to recollect there was once a time when Irving Welsh also hung out in the City Cafe and had a day job.

        I think in local government, if I remember correctly.

  26. Kenny says:

    It seems like NC haven’t grasped the fact that NO-ONE MINDS that during the campaign lots of things were a bit ad hoc, loose and casual. That’s fine when you’re starting something at the grassroots. But an ongoing enterprise is declaring “We are national,” you kinda have to ask “well, who is this ‘we’? And what nation do you represent? By whose authority? If I become a member, what am I signing up to?”

    According to James MacMillan, it’s a fascist cult. Is that accurate? No? Well how do I know?

    This is not just about how NC appears. That’s important, but it’s not the key issue. It’s not even about “being the change you wish to see,” although that’s vital too; the independence movement should ALWAYS be demonstrating how democracy works and how it makes things better. No. The most important thing is that making the organisation more accountable and transparent makes it a better organisation. What happens, for example, if the person in charge of NC’s Twitter account puts out something that some members find objectionable? What if it’s defamatory? How is that problem going to be resolved? Do all members hold “collective” responsibility for words issued in the name of the collective? What if some members support the person concerned and some don’t. Who decides what “official” policy is? And what if there’s a dispute about campaign priorities or strategy? Who gets to make the final decision? The membership or the self-appointed leadership? How does someone rescind their membership if they’re still unhappy?

    I fully appreciate that no-one wants to see sniping within the movement, but unfortunately, that’s how revolutions turn into dictatorships. Everyone says “we can’t disagree about anything until the revolution is secured” and that seems reasonable. But then it becomes permanent revolution, and since no-one stood up and questioned the dodgy bits when they were still changeable, they become entrenched and poison the whole thing for everyone. I’m NOT accusing NC of being dictatorial or even of any ill will, but they’re approaching this thing ALL wrong and it’s bad for them, bad for the artists who want to get involved and bad for the movement as a whole. They need to acknowledge that Loki has raised an important point and then state for the record what National Collective is, what it’s for and how it plans to constitute itself going forward. Its “members” deserve at least that much.

    1. That’s spot on, Kenny.

  27. Steve Asaneilean says:

    O/T but is Loki channelling Damien Lewis doing Henry VIII in Wolf Hall? 🙂

  28. bellacaledonia says:

    ‘MVH (@MryMac)’ – I didn’t block anything, not sure what your talking about

  29. You blocked me from your Twitter account two years ago. I am still blocked last time I checked. After a debate I had with Gerry Hassan that involved a series of questions he found uncomfortable. Wasn’t even swearing.

  30. It seems to me that there’s a lot of heat but not much light in this. Since 18th Sept, the momentum of Yes has continued but without a shared timetable. People are looking at organisations which emerged during the campaign, trying to work out how to keep things moving and to keep focused, and there’s a lot in a state of flux. This is good and healthy. As part of this, robust debate is good. Simply ‘having a go’ for the sake of it is not and I’m getting a strong sense of that in some of the comments here. As yet, I don’t know enough about the history between NC and Loki to say anything helpful about the specifics of that exchange. What I will conclude with however is to say that history is littered with far to many examples of progressive movements turning inward on themselves and losing sight of the big picture. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize folks.

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