Women of Independence: the Unexpected Legacy

“She was one of the main youth people… she comes across as a real slut online though.”

I came across the pictures of another Yesser when someone sent me a link to a message board. On it, men were sharing photos of her photoshopped with sexually explicit writing scrawled across her body. Someone had even photoshopped semen onto her face. In the same thread others asked for naked pictures of another Yes commentator and of me. I was horrified, but not surprised. The independence movement brought out the worst in some of our opponents.

I wish I could say this was an isolated incident. One example of a few bad eggs with a political axe to grind lashing out with the worst kind of practiced misogyny. While it’s an extreme example, for sure, it’s not isolated.

In the four years since the Indyref, being a woman in the public eye has been anything but a cakewalk. What has been most disheartening is how often abuse has come from those within our own cohort.

Jennifer Jones. Rhiannon Spear. Cat Boyd. Angela Haggerty. Tanja Bueltmann. I could go on naming women with a degree of prominence within the Scottish independence movement. All women who have paid the price for their involvement in it and daring to have an opinion that is unpalatable to some. All women who have experienced firsthand the impact of the self-appointed policing forces of that movement. This list is not exhaustive. They are women who have been singled out for punishment by members for stepping out of line.

Some were hounded offline. Some were doxxed. Some received racist, sectarian abuse. Some were bullied by media figures with a following so large that it was tantamount to unleashing the dogs. All have been harassed and intimidated by members of the movement they all identify with. The abuse has as times been unrelenting and unremittingly cruel. ‘Mob justice’ is a phrase that springs to mind. Get a thicker skin, they say. It’s just the internet.

Except it’s not. Not when it’s in your hand. Not when your phone is in your pocket and it won’t stop buzzing and you know the carnage that awaits when you have the nerve to unlock it. The abuse has all the hallmarks you would expect. Everything from the lazy gendered put down of the ‘stupid wee lassie’ variety – never mind that the targets are often highly educated, professionally successful grown women – to the gut-punch of discovering your parents’ address has been published online. The impact on woman’s psyche, on her health, on her personal life, her professional life, and her political participation are profound. They can’t even take a break from it without being accused of being snowflakes, flouncers, or from my own experience, a ‘professional victim’.

There is a pervasive belief that everyone should be free to hold their own opinions, and in theory should be free to engage with others with civility. It’s a belief that harks back to some imaginary time of intellectual gluttony and nascent free speech, where individuals could hold their beliefs, participate in gentle and well-meaning dialectic, and be richer for it. This idea belies the reality of online discourse. As Mary Beard noted in her book Women and Power, Western civilisation has previous here. It has thousands of years of practice when it comes to shutting women’s voices out of the discussion. The internet is just the latest iteration of an age-old practice. The same old power-dynamics that work to suppress women’s voices have their own apps.

It is to be expected that conflict between members of opposing groups will exist. When this intersects with one party’s womanhood, this conflict manifests itself in a particularly brutal fashion. What the Internet showing us, however, is that conflict within the group can yield similarly horrific forms of abuse. The motivations are different, the results are the same. Independence is the ideology, social media is the means of policing that ideology. Whether that policing is enacted by members of the different group or members who identify within the group doesn’t matter a great deal. When women say something that isn’t sanctioned by the loudest and most carrying voices within said group, women lose out. Online women are not given any latitude to deviate from the script. They are expected to know the script intimately and to conform to all aspects of it. If they do not, there is retribution. They are given no warning before they have public denigration and swift excommunication.

So what is happening here? Has our movement soured? I don’t think so. I think the divisions run deep. Without a common urgent cause to rally around, the differences that have always been present within the group have become more conspicuous. It’s natural to find points of connection and minimise points of difference when there is a clearly defined goal, and all hands are required to achieve it. Unity emerges because it is the quickest and most efficient route to victory. The lifespan of such camaraderie is timebound. It cannot be kept up forever. What we see now in the aftermath, in the absence of an important political goal and a return to normality, is pre-existing difference. It has the space to emerge because the stakes are lower. As temporary egalitarianism subsides, we see the same stale power structures that have existed and continue to exist.

I look back in my experience four years ago, a young woman made alive by political cause and new-found community. What I see now in my disillusionment isn’t cynicism, but the glaring naivety of that woman. Through the rigours of the independence campaign, the highs and lows, we bonded. The constant need to be on well-versed in our politics and unrelenting in our action while Better Together tried to fragment us and destroy our arguments, brought us close. I was convinced that I had found my tribe. These people and I would always have some connection because of what we had been through together, because of where our beliefs overlapped. I never anticipated the day with independence movement was not just synonymous with an enfranchising of the people and incredible grassroots action, but also with intolerance and harassment.

These are words that I do not use lightly. I know the potential price of besmirching something sacred to the masses. Though the internet, in theory, works as a democratising force – allowing everyone almost equal access to information regardless of gender, class, race, ability, or sexual orientation – this presents a problem for movements. As sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris explained in a recent talk, intra-group tension or conflict is aired publicly thanks to social media , and as a result, can be utilised to denigrate and discredit the group as a whole. Our infighting is a precipitous Christmas for those with opposing views and ulterior motives.

Calling out problematic factions within the group can create a weak point that can be exploited to the group’s detriment. However, this is not the best reason to stay quiet. On balance, there are times when a movement has to take stock and ask if the current place in which we find ourselves was our intended destination, and if not why and how did we end up here? If this isn’t where we wanted to end up, why have gone so drastically off-piste? Pausing to reflect and ask these questions about what became of a movement we loved is not intended to bring it down. I write this out of love, out of a hope that reflection gives us an opportunity to course-correct.

We have a problem within the Scottish Independence movement. It is a problem with bullying and harassment. This is not a problem peculiar to our movement, but neither is it one that we’ve been able to escape because we are exceptional in some way. If anything, this behaviour shows how similar we are to everyone else. Our group, if I can call it that given four years of increasing fragmentation, has succumbed to social media flu. The same disease that courses through other movements in thriving in our own. Online, a spectrum of harassment, including but not limited to persistent dismissal, doxxing, reputation attacks, false profiles, slut-shaming and revenge porn has become a lingua franca for those who want to shut women up. However low-level, the effects are cumulative. They work to push women’s voices out of public discourse.

I am not saying ‘be nice to women, unwaveringly, at all costs or else’. What I am saying is that these phenomena present within our own movement is an existential threat and we have to challenge it. I’m not asking that you go soft on the girls, but instead, offer a canary in this rapidly filling mine. The movement risks losing the memory, experience, knowledge, and value of women who have been in it for the long haul but are too exhausted by the price they have to pay to continue. A movement that remains hostile to women is a movement that has no future. That is in no one’s interest.

Comments (61)

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  1. Martin Meteyard says:

    Good and timely article.

  2. Squigglypen says:

    Old Chinese proverb Vonny..stand by the river long enough and sooner or later the body of thine enemy floats by…….

  3. Clare Galloway says:

    Beautifully written, Vonny – thank you for your eloquence and truth. It feels vital that women speak their vulnerability, and that we call everyone to awareness around the destructive force of women-shaming – it supports so much other violence against and diminishment of women, and gives all women a sense of danger around their speaking their perspective.

  4. John Fullerton says:

    Just awful, too awful. Don’t the cowardly perpetrators have mothers, sisters, daughters? It’s absolutely sickening and criminal. My hat off to the author for bring it into the open.

    1. Rmc. says:

      Needs saying, brave to do so. Solidarity

  5. Keith MacKechnie says:

    That needed saying.

    “When truth needs a voice, silence lies”

  6. Tony Reekie says:

    Thanks for this. Smashing piece.

  7. Justin Kenrick says:

    Hugely appreciate this.

    It is absolutely vital to challenge bullying by anyone towards anyone: Disagreement Yes, Bullying No.

    When bullies try to use their right to ‘free speech’ to excuse their behaviour, then we need to say that there is no such excuse. Bullying destroys the conditions that make free speech possible because (as Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, put it):

    “Free speech comes with a responsibility not to espouse hate”

  8. Bill says:

    A very powerful article demonstrating bravery, well done Vonny. More fundamentally we must ask why do people act in this way? This seems to be a standard approach to women in all walks of life and in all endeavours. I despair of the hate and vitriol that social media produces. How sad that mankind should abuse a tool and technology that could liberate and enhance the human condition in this way. We need to engage with the tech companies and get them to do more to end this horrible practise. We also need to educate and intervene in some way to put an end to this intolerable behaviour. Thank you for having the courage to submit this article.

  9. Jo says:

    I’m going to show some courage too and disagree completely even if I’m in the minority.

    Online abuse directed at prominent people of both sexes is not new and it isn’t something that women alone have to deal with. Women cannot expect to be treated as a special case, especially when they too can form a mob at times and select a target.

    I started thinking about the number of prominent men I know of who have been under the cosh online…often from women as well as men.

    Iain Gray, Gordon Brown, Jim Murphy, Alex Salmond, Anas Sarwar, Richard Lennard, Alistair Darling, Jacob Rees Mogg, Boris Johnson, David Torrance, Kevin McKenna (before his conversion to YES), Paul Hutcheon, Gordon Brewer, Glenn Campbell, David Cameron…..the list goes on.

    I have a separate list of women who have also had pelters over the years, again, from both sexes.

    Ruth Davidson, Johan Lamont, Jackie Baillie, Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, JK Rowling, Helen Liddell, Margaret Curran, Arlene Foster, Kezia Dugdale…there are others.

    The truth is we all need to take a good long look at how we each conduct ourselves. It is a two-way street. No one sex is entitled to demand preferential treatment or exemption.

    It’s really quite sad that with so much going on today we seem ultimately to have ended up entrenched in gender wars. There’s an easy answer. It’s that we all show respect for each other. Certain folk, male and female, annoy the life out of me. I know I can annoy people…but if they have a go I’m not going to label them a misogynist just because I’m a woman.

    1. Bill says:

      Hi Jo, your point is well made, however it is in the nature of the abuse that is directed at women that one takes exception. The threat of rape for example. Few men are threatened with rape. Men and women can face death threats, but few men are shamed in the way that women are, and it is in this way, I think that there is an exception. Often those who indulge in this form of abuse demonstrate fear for no particular reason. I condemn all forms of abuse directed at those in the public eye, mature debate is what we require, but as I have said, the abuse directed at women is particularly vitriolic and dangerous.

    2. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      Jo,

      Why did you omit the name ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ from your list of prominent women who have suffered abuse?

      1. Jo says:

        Alasdair
        The omission wasn’t sinister. I’d actually listed her originally and accidentally missed including her.

        1. Stu Kinnear says:

          The author missed out Ms Haggerty outing Mhairi Black’s partner – I wonder why?

      2. Jo says:

        Alasdair
        I actually missed out Corbyn too. Look at what he’s taken constantly for more than two years. And the most vicious plotters against him were women in his own PLP! (Who claimed THEY were being bullied.)

    3. Muscleguy says:

      Well said Jo. Also expecting everything to be all sweetness, light, rainbows and unicorns after all this time and amidst all this frustration and all the false dawns of when Ms Sturgeon might actually enlighten us wrt indyref2 instead of promising to do so then not doing so is it any wonder tempers are fraying and isn’t it just human inevitability that some people will rub other people up the wrong way without blame accruing to either party? Some people just do that to each other.

      Back in university I went out briefly with a girl in first year, she broke it off for no obvious reason, maybe I was too much of a gentleman. After she treated me like I was made of objection and had no right to exist near her. Difficult when we moved in the same friend circles. I tried not to be near her. Then the next year I took up with the woman who became my wife and mother to our children. The first woman was her best friend and had to decide whether her animus against me was worth losing my wife’s friendship and to her credit she chose friendship over animus. We were never bosom buddies again but we managed to be civil to each other as our offspring had playdates etc. She is gone now, RIP but it shows we can overcome our prejudices and be better people, we just have to will it.

    4. milgram says:

      One gender’s _already_ getting preferential treatment, but. The one that doesn’t get the vast majority of sexual threats, doxxing or mobbing.

  10. R. Eric Swanepoel says:

    Dreadful. Well done for speaking out. Wish I had an answer. I can but express sympathy.

  11. SleepingDog says:

    So if the behaviour is this bad now, and the “divisions run deep”, imagine what it would be like on a 51% of turnout pro-Independence referendum vote.

  12. Muscleguy says:

    Is Cat Boyd still a yesser? she seems so far into Corbynism it seems very unlikely. As for Ms Haggerty her output seems also to bring her commitment to Yes into question. It also seems she is death to all her employ her, or she chooses her employers unwisely. As for the others, who knows. I’m prepared to take your online abuse on trust but are you absolutely sure it is not deserved or is actually coming from Yessers? With the likes of Jim Sillers carping from the sidelines and gleefully given space by the Unionist media sometimes it is very, very hard to tell who is on our side and who isn’t and that includes Bella these days.

    MUST we infect the entire Yes movement with your obsession about identity politics? Can’t we leave all that stuff until after Indy is won please? In return I promise not to oppress anyone and hope some forgive me if I get the woke language wrong. But with unpleasant terms like Terf being bandied about it is hard these days to identify who deserves their identity to be recognised and respected and who is just an MRA activist in drag.

    1. Jo says:

      I’ve been busy on google today. I had to look up “doxxing” earlier and now I’ve had to look up “terf”.
      Jings I feel old.

    2. John says:

      Completely agree Muscleguy , especially about Cat Boyd and Angela Haggerty .I have listened to them and I would say they are more into Corbyism than independence , which is their choice but don’t pretend to be something you are not .

    3. milgram says:

      So if the women you mention don’t pass your Yes Test, is it OK to photoshop their heads onto centrefolds?
      What is “identity politics” about “don’t use misogynist means to attack people you disagree with”?
      And what sort of “infection” is represented by the idea that women are people too?

  13. Stan Reeves says:

    I don’t think we need all the explanations and qualifications. It is really quite simple for me. If you can’t conduct a debate without put downs, insults, and innuendo , just step out. Take a few minutes to review what you have written and imagine a loved one receiving it.
    I am so sorry that some folk in the Indy movement can’t conduct themselves in a respectful manner, and that Vonny has had to put up with that. Best wishes to her!!

  14. Stuart Kinnear says:

    Another glaring omission from the article is Janey Godley – she suffers horrendous abuse online, but of course she’s a Yesser so it doesn’t matter to Vonny.

    1. Er, Vonny campaigned for Yes, as did all of the people she is talking about (…)

      1. Stuart Kinnear says:

        Jones and Spiers are not pro Yes – the others have rightly had their commitment to indy questioned as they have come out in support of Corbyn.

        Explain Janey’s omission considering out of all the prominent pro yes women online – Janey by far suffers the most abuse.

        1. The author said quite clearly ‘this list is not exhaustive’. Sadly I can think of a number of other women who could have been on that list, including Jane Godley. Jennifer Jones is a Yes supporter.

          1. Stuart Kinnear says:

            Whilst it might not be exhaustive, its bewildering one of the high profile yessers who suffers the most abuse is ignored – clearly she’s not the right type of yesser for BC. With regard to Jennifer Jones – IMO you’re wrong.

            I noticed you ignored Spears who is quite clearly not a yes supporter.

          2. You mean Rhiannon Spear the SNP councillor? Sorry.I’m confused now.

        2. Doug Daniel says:

          Rhiannon Spear is an SNP Councillor, former Convener of Young Scots for Independence and was heavily involved in the creation of Generation Yes, the youth movement during the independence campaign. Accusing her of not being pro-Yes is not just inaccurate, but incredibly insulting. I’d suggest taking a step back and re-evaluating priorities.

          1. Thanks Doug – it all gets quite bizarre – Jennifer Jones was reduced to posting dozens of photos of herself campaigning to ‘prove’ she was a Yes supporter.

            As I have repeatedly said – all the people listed here were – though of course the idea that you should act decently to other people shouldn’t be confined to people you agree with (!)

          2. Simon Brooke says:

            Indeed. I find it bizarre that we’re even having this discussion!

            We won’t win independence by being rude, or offensive, or dismissive, or insulting, to anyone. We won’t win independence with ‘clever’ debating points. We’ll win independence with facts, with confidence, with politeness. Anyone who suggests different really isn’t being serious about it.

      2. Muscleguy says:

        The issue of course, particularly wrt Boyd and Haggerty is whether they are still Yessers, because Corbynism. That you refuse to see that is quite telling and reminds me why I don’t drop in here anywhere near as often as I used to.

        If you need it explaining how Corbynims and Independence are not compatible then there is no hope for you. Corbyn has spent his life representing an inner London suburb, he is the very definition of a Metropolitan. The ignorance he has displayed when up here and his insouciance when they were pointed out just emphasises it.

        But then we have Richard Leonard, a leader of Labour in Scotland who doesn’t know Scottish Water is always has been in public hands. The SNP make it clear they will entertain a public sector bidder for Scotrail and terminate the current franchise early if performance does not improve and what does Labour do? trot out the ‘We will renationalise the railways’ which they utterly failed to do while in government for 13 of the 25years quoted. But then it took them a century to let Scotland have its own parliament again, with many fewer powers than planned by Kier Hardie all those years ago.

        That Yessers would engage with this in hope of different behaviour speaks badly about their judgement. Neither should be guilty of naivety.

        1. Simon Brooke says:

          I despair. Half the so-called ‘independence’ movement feels so threatened by the idea that women should be allowed to have opinions that they’d rather throw the idea of independence under a bus than support an inclusive movement with disparate voices.

          Cat Boyd is a socialist. She’s always been a socialist. Corbyn is a socialist. It’s no surprise at all that Cat Boyd agrees with Corbyn on some – probably most – things. But guess what, fully half the independence movement are socialists. If you want to expell socialists from the movement, you won’t have much movement left.

          1. Jo says:

            “Half of the independence movement”

            Really Simon? You’re saying half don’t want the voices of women in the debate?

            I think that is utter nonsense.

          2. Stuart Kinnear says:

            Utter nonsense Simon, people question Boyd’s commitment to Yes because of her words and actions – it’s got nothing to do with her gender.

          3. Stuart – Cat Boyd was one of the organisers of one of the biggest events and campaigns in the whole of the indyref. Are you just completely unaware of all of this?

        2. The issue actually isn’t whether ‘Boyd and Haggerty’ are still Yessers (they absolutely are btw), the issue is whether you should treat people with respect.

          1. Jo says:

            And the answer to that is yes, Mike. Only it’s a two-way street. I’ve listed in an earlier post the number of folk, politicians and journalists mainly, who have taken tons of abuse for years….some long before Vonny and these others were even on the scene! They copped it big-time from men and women. Now we see women, in my view, looking for an exemption. Why? Because they’re women! I’m sorry, no. Just no!

            We either show respect for everyone or not at all. It’s that simple. This article smears an entire movement and is very damaging but I guess Vonny knew that when she wrote it. It is just not the case that women aren’t wanted in the movement. At any events I’ve attended women were welcomed.

            In fact, if you ask me, the MeToo movement has spawned a breed of female politicians and journalists who want, not equality, but supremacy. They barely want men in the debate at all! They want to set aside judicial processes and just try and convict people, well, men, on Twitter! They want to behave like a modern day lynch mob. I honestly believe that their movement has done great damage indeed to create division and undermine the justice systems everywhere. It’s not healthy.

          2. “It is just not the case that women aren’t wanted in the movement. At any events I’ve attended women were welcomed.” Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?

          3. Jo says:

            “Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?”

            Did you really just say that to me Mike? Are you comfortable to be belittling a woman engaging in this debate?

            It is not stupid! I responded to the implication that women were not welcome in the independence movement. That they’re singled out if they don’t stick to the script. It’s not true. I also said I’d seen no evidence of any such thing at events I’ve attended. What is “stupid” about that?

            I respect your position as Editor, Mike, but labelling people who post as “stupid” is completely wrong. In fact, it’s abusive.

  15. Willie says:

    I smiled at the outraged angst at the “” stupid wee lassie ” comment.

    Are we really saying that we don’t get stupid wee lassies along with their male counterparts the” daft big laddies”

    What a ” daft thing,” “would say that!

    Personally I detest all forms of abuse and intimidation from whatever quarter it comes. And I hope that in the use of the word” quarter” I do so not to cause offence.

    1. Simon Brooke says:

      If you check with Google, they can find you about 151,000 results for ‘stupid wee lassie’. ‘Daft big laddie’ finds you about 32,600 results. So clearly, abuse is gendered. Women are overwhelmingly more likely to be belittled and patronised than men.

      We have to stop doing this.

      1. Jo says:

        You’re being ridiculous Simon! Hilariously so.

    2. heartsupwards says:

      I experienced an opinion of a woman post indyref 2014 in 2016 within a discussion on indyref 2. Her opinion was that she couldn’t vote for independence because SNP would be in power forever after. I offered the maxim of either I was stupid or she was. Which one was it? To which she turned to her partner and without a word from her he started hurling abuse at me with threats and whatnot about that I should just shut up and that I was not to call his partner stupid. Anyway, cos I’m obviously so stupid we don’t really talk anymore.

  16. Simon Brooke says:

    No one calls me a slag, Jo. No one calls me a slut. No one calls me a whore. No one threatens to rape me. No one, as far as I know, has posted pictures of my face photoshopped with sexually explicit writing scrawled across my body, or other less salubrious things. People very rarely criticise me for not being attractive enough.

    These things don’t happen to men.. They especially don’t happen to older white men. They happen to woken, and they particularly happen to younger, articulate women.

    There is not an equality of abuse here; there is not an equality of discourse. The discourse of abuse is strongly gendered – particularly, perhaps, in Scotland. Men are, occasionally, called ‘cunts’ – even, sometimes, by Janey Godley – but ‘cunt’, when used as an insult, is nevertheless a gendered insult. The other insults I’ve listed are all almost exclusively directed by men, at women.

    Yes, men do insult men on the Internet. Women do insult men, and women do insult women. But the offensiveness, the intrusion, the intimacy of the insults is not the same. The way men insult women is special, it is worse, and it must stop.

    Because we should be, and we need to be, better than this.

    1. Jo says:

      And I say again Simon, you are talking nonsense.

      There are certainly insults used specifically at women. And at men.

      Men get death threats but I see that as seriously as rape threats. And if you want to see appalling language you could find out about the choice insults Rose McGowan hurled all over Twitter at anyone who has misgivings about the route MeeToo has gone. Her language was disgusting.

      We all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves properly and show respect for the debate.

      I don’t condone any of it. Men are ridiculed for their appearance and looks too. Look at Trump with the hair and the hands! Gordon Brown for his sight disability and the tic in his face. John Prescott for his weight.

      There is a problem with online conduct so let’s deal with it honestly. Let’s not deal with it by suggesting that the only people in the firing line are women.

    2. Willie says:

      Simon, the offensive C word which is extremely rude, and in my opinion demeaning on anyone who uses it, is I think very much a word of abuse used by men against other men. Most women I think find the word offensive and would not use it, whereas men would.

      Abuse however is abuse and it can come from both sexes. One of the easiest and most damaging forms of abuse is to allege sexual harassment or bullying.

      It’s a cheap nasty vicious shot to play, and whilst this comment may run against the tide it, since abuse only comes from men, it does happen. But there is no outcry about those who bear false witness. Why is this?

      Less seriously, I did smile at your having checked out Wee Stupid Lassie and Big Daft Laddie.

      Not an expert myself on identifying such persons. But since some folk can take grave offence at the slightest of things, and because there may actually be phonetically, linguistically and intellectually challenged folks out there who do take offense at the drop of a hat, do you really think Google’s relative recording of 151,000 Wee Stupid Lassies as opposed to 33,000 Big Daft Laddies tells anything.

      Three words each time, two adjectives relating to intellectual ability with a noun identifying gender.

      Maybe Simon it would be helpful to check out the extent of put downs such as ” you’re a big Jessie ” or ” you’re a big wuss ”

      But aside and back to the serious issue of real abuse, as opposed to imagined abuse, what is being done to restrict the abuse of false witness, and the devastating effects that that can cause.

      We need a debate about that.

    3. Me Bungo Pony says:

      I think you’ll find the pejorative, gender specific use of the words “dick” and “cock” are used far more often than the “c” word (sorry, just can’t use the whole word – it jars horribly in my head). Almost exclusively in abuse directed towards men.

  17. Jo says:

    Of the five others Vonny listed in this piece I knew of only two. Cat Boyd and Angela Haggerty. I’d not heard of the others.

    Angela Haggerty was virtually unknown until her now infamous spat with a section of the Rangers support. While someone was jailed for his behaviour towards her, rightly, Angela has created trouble for herself by claiming to be a victim of sectarianism while often publishing dodgy material in her own right.

    Ask me what I’m glad my dad lived to see and I’d say, two daughters happily married and many grandchildren. Ask Angela and she’d say , in a public blog, she’s glad her dad lived to see the collapse of Rangers Football Club. You’ll also find an article headed, “Why the Name Sevco Matters.” All of which tells us a great deal about her. It tells me, along with a lot of other stuff she’s written, that Angela indulges in tribal and sectarian conduct as much as anyone. She’s currently leading some cause, “Call It Out”, which she claims will speak for Catholics , or, as she calls them, Irish Catholics, who are subjected to sectarianism in Scotland. She isn’t fit to lead any such group given her own efforts to stir it up.

    She has also upset people at times right here on Bella by suggesting our second votes in the Scottish elections should go to RISE. She’s, (for reasons I still can’t fathom) now wheeled out by STV as some sort of Scottish political commentator.

    I’d read some of Cat Boyd’s stuff. Heard her too notably on QT making a complete erse of herself when she ranted against Brexit and then admitted she hadn’t even voted in the EU referendum! Cat is all about RISE too.

    Vonny wrote in the Guardian last year I think that she didn’t want Indy2 , that she’s still pro-independence but “I don’t care for the SNP.”.

    Since then we’ve had various articles from her endorsing the MeToo movement to the hilt. Now she says the problem is that men are anti-women in the independence movement.

    “They (women) are expected to know the script intimately and to conform to all aspects of it. If they do not there is retribution. They are given no warning before they have public denigration and swift excommunication.”

    This, actually, is more apt for MeToo than for the independence movement!

    Many folk have thrown around the old, “There is more that unites than divides us.” saying. This article seems to be an attempt to ensure the opposite – that there’s more to divide than unite us!

    1. Jo – you say that someone was jailed for the sectarian abuse against Angela Haggerty, then in the next sentence you say: ‘Angela has created trouble for herself by claiming to be a victim of sectarianism”.

      That doesn’t make any sense.

      1. Jo says:

        It makes plenty of sense if you do some research on the stuff Angela has written Mike. It’s extremely provocative. She practises sectarianism herself by displaying the very traits she calls out in others. I found it a real eye opener when I read more of her offerings. I am catholic myself. I have nothing in common with her and she doesn’t speak for me. There are faults on all sides in that particular debate. Angela targets only one side. That’s not balanced.

        1. Jo says:

          PS. I absolutely condemn the actions of the person who was jailed for harassing Angela Haggerty.

          1. Carole says:

            I find it quite ironic that in a debate about women being demeaned, and using respectful language a Bella Caledonia spokesperson tells a woman that she sounds stupid.

      2. Iain says:

        Oh come on now Mr Editor, what a carefully cropped quotation that was!

        What Jo actually said was “Angela has created trouble for herself by claiming to be a victim of sectarianism *while often publishing dodgy material in her own right* “.

        Did you lop off the addendum there to try and misrepresent Jo’s position?

        1. The point stands that Jo’s argument is quite odd, in my opinion.

  18. Kathleen says:

    Angela Haggerty? The Angela Haggerty that was sacked as a news editor for doxing a lesbian couple, leading to their online homophobic abuse and hounding off of Twitter?
    Why on earth would you include her in a piece about online abuse against women? Or is abusing LGBT suddenly okay in the Scottish journalism circuit?

  19. ed says:

    My mother taught me to honour and cherish women, and I do unreservedly !! excellent article.

  20. J. MacFarlane says:

    These women listed want to be taken seriously. They want their political and social commentary to be taken without context and treated with the same gravitas as ‘the men’.

    So why post pictures of yourself dressing up and asking whether people like your hair like a ‘daft wee lassie’? Why get so upset when your height is questioned? Why the obsession with justifying your appearance if it does not matter? Why post about your drinking and inability to get through the week without it? Why constantly justify your credentials to be taken seriously, unless those credentials are dubious? Why this constant need to tell the world about yourself and then screech when the world answers back?

    It is the female equivalent of that graph person who squeals that he must be right because he has an academic medal and important people like him.

    Stop asking for excuses to be made when your opinions are questioned. There are women who navigate the cesspit of social media without immersing themselves in the gender stereotyping of these so-called feminists. Stop letting the rest of us down with your constant excuses, many of us have been doing the woman in a man’s world before you were born without this pathetic ‘look at me but don’t look at me’ nonsense.

    1. Grant Buttars says:

      Sadly, many of the comments here are evidence of why Vonny’s wonderful article was so badly needed. Basing the validity of someone’s experience on whether or not someone is/was a Yesser is part of the same tribal quagmire in which bullying thrives. Independence is a political question or it is nothing. Some people need to drag themselves out of the swamp.

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