You Can’t Elect a Blocklist

Timing is everything in politics, so it’s particularly strange that Stuart Campbell should use this week to float the idea of his new party. It was according to Nicola Sturgeon a ‘watershed week for Scotland’s future’ – with polls showing the tide turning for independence and Labour and Scottish Labour in complete chaos.

Into this new positivity steps Stuart Campbell, in a platform gleefully presented by Murdoch’s Times newspaper. The staggering idea has apparently been taken seriously by some people and given the despised ‘Yoon’ media a field day. Here’s some reasons why this is a laughably stupid idea.

The wildly hypocritical idea of running on the regional list for Holyrood (from a group who spent the last four years howling “BothVotesSNP” at anyone who suggested supporting the pro-indy Greens on the same list) is astonishing. The mental gymnastics involved in the most vociferous supporters of Both Votes SNP is a sight to behold. A common thread of Wings ‘analysis’ has been to denounce and deride anyone elected on the list. That too seems conveniently forgotten.

Campbell’s initiative – curiously described in the plural this morning – described the Scottish Greens as “far left”, a comical description that tells you all you need to know about Campbell’s own politics. While Wings supporters express hatred towards the Tories and ‘Red Tories’ their own politics remain curiously unclear to themselves, but there’s a strand of anti-green politics that runs through it. Some of this stems from a personal gripe with the Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer and other Greens dating back to 2014, some of this stems from an obsession with north sea oil. Campbell argues we should keep Trident – a policy cheered by acolytes in comments every time it’s raised.

If any progressive cause is mentioned they are dismissed as “woke” and derided as a distraction from the main the only cause (curiously this rule is thrown out with his obsession with trans issues).

So when the argument is put that this is – somehow – miraculously – going to be just another pro-indy party (as the Greens are), it’s just not true. A Wings Party would have its own distinct policies and the bones of this are already present. As the Times interview described:

“It is understood that the Wings party would aim to emulate the success of populist, anti-elite movements in the United States, the UK and elsewhere.”

And what is the most distinct policy platform?

Well the motivation to split with the SNP is not about differences on energy, economy or social policy, they are mostly about obsessive anger over the Scottish Governments policy on gender recognition reform for transgender people.

The Wings site has been inundated for the past few months with Campbell’s obsession with the topic spewing out transphobic blogs to cheers from enthusiastic supporters.

But if you think that Campbell’s motivation is as a defender of women and the feminist cause, you be wise to take a glance at ‘Ugly witches are easy to Hunt’ (as just one example).

In this he responds to the Bill Walker case by saying:

“So what’s the ACTUAL story here? It’s this: “Man retrospectively accused of assault 20 years ago; later became politician”. That’s it. There are allegations, as yet unproven, which haven’t been and at no point will be the subject of any police action, which the alleged perpetrator denies, and which happened (if they happened) before a sizeable proportion of the current electorate was born. But let’s not let trivial details like that get in the way of a good old lynching, right? After all, we gave up on the old “innocent until proven guilty” thing in this country a long time ago, let alone the notion that people can change and find redemption for their past wrongs.”

The idea that this party could be successful can only be formed within a complete silo – a subculture of nationalism that is immersed in itself and has totally abandoned the idea of engaging with other people who don’t agree with you, which, if you think about it, is the essence of electoral politics.

In the real world you can’t just block everyone who disagrees with you. If someone was to not vote for Wings they can’t be ‘blocked’. This entire fantasy has been cultivated in a closed world.

Imagining a launch you’d have to assume journalists (despised but unblocked in the real world) would ask a litany of questions to prospective candidates:

“Do you agree with your party leaders views on Hillsborough?”

“every single solitary person who died at Hillsborough was killed by Liverpool fans”.

“Do you agree with your party leaders views on gaelic?”

“Over 99% of Scots can’t speak Gaelic and don’t have any interest in doing so, no matter how loudly people shout that there are a couple of Gaelic schools in Glasgow now.

(If anything, most folk are mildly irritated and resentful of being made to feel like either imperialist intruders in their own country or somehow a lesser species of Scots, by being constantly presented with a language that’s supposedly their own but that they can’t even begin to pronounce, let alone understand.)”

“This site has no time for the Gaelic lobby. The obsolete language spoken by just 0.9% of Scotland’s population might be part of the nation’s “cultural heritage”, but so were burning witches and replacing Highlanders with sheep and we don’t do those any more either.

Being multilingual is an excellent thing, but the significant amount of time and effort taken to learn a literally-pointless second language (because everyone you can talk to in Gaelic already understood English) would be vastly better directed to picking up one that was actually of some use, and every extra fraction of a second spent scanning a road sign trying to find the bit you can read is a fraction of a second spent with your eyes off the road.

Non-primary native languages are a tool whose main utility in practice is at best the exclusion of outsiders, and at worst an expression of dodgy blood-and-soil ethnic nationalism. They’re a barrier to communication and an irritation to the vast majority of the population, who are made to feel like uncultured aliens in their own land.”

“Do you agree with the following statements  made by your party leader about transgender people?”


Setting aside the fact that this is all about a terrible reactionary politics – the idea that this wouldn’t be divisive for the independence movement, or that it wouldn’t be used to smear the entire Yes movement is just incredible.

The reality is that in real life people will challenge you, question you and you will not be surrounded by genuflecting acolytes.

This blight on the independence movement has been tolerated for far too long. This painfully stupid political project may have life. Who knows? People voted for Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. But if they do it will be a travesty for the Yes movement which is after a very long journey, near its destination.

For the people who have been quiet supporters or apologists for Wings for far too long this may be a threshold for them.


Comments (142)

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  1. david says:

    I think we already knew you didn’t like him, Mike.

    1. Be best to address the issues raised

      1. Bob says:

        Or simply acknowledge the unprecedented publicity the Wings Website and Yes campaign has gained across the U.K. MSM.

  2. Jim Anderson says:

    Evidence of Cambell’s suggestion is in the reworking of the list seat calculation. I took the Mid Scotland & Fife 2016 Election results and reworked the votes cast using the D’Hondt calculator easily available on line. The best result I got was reallocating the SNP list votes (120k) as SNP – 30k, new Party – 60k, and encouraging 30k former SNP voters to vote Green. This would give 1 Green and 2 SNP list seats (from the Cons!). This is the best result that could occur due to the number of constituency seats won by the SNP! Not rocket science and easy to understand. Maybe a bit of tolerance of others and consideration of their views would help.

    1. Lynsey says:

      You do know that this ‘not rocket science’ argument has been put to the WoS guy time and again and was met with great derision and pack attacks on everyone advocating SNP 1 SGP 2? If you are advising tolerance of others and consideration of their views, I’d start with the WoS guy. Don’t forget to mention the block list!

    2. Legerwood says:

      But resting on the, by no means secure, assumption that the SNP would get same number of constituency seats. What happens if their constituency total falls, the WoS party has taken regional seats with the result that the SNP is not able to form a government?

      How is independence looking then?

    3. Craig says:

      Sadly the acolytes and their deity broach no questioning as I have just found out.

  3. Lynsey says:

    I missed all of that about the Gaelic language (I’m block listed!) but he really is as thick as mince if he believes what he is saying. Asides from there being screeds of research into the benefits of bilingualism, his monolingual mindset is probably threatened by the thought of Scottish folk conversing in a language HE doesn’t understand. I really hope he falls flat on his fizzog and that any reasonable folk still supporting him see him for what he is now -an egotistical, hateful, sleeker scunner of a man.

    1. Andrew Wilson says:

      tha mi ag aontachadh riut gu h-iomlain. I completely agree with you; the Gaelic comment was the final straw for me.

  4. alasdair galloway says:

    Well leaving aside that we dont know what his new party’s policies would be – we don’t even have a name for it – and that the ideas he espouses about trans people are not his alone so are part of the debate whether you agree with it or not – the fact remains Mike that come the next Holyrood election large numbers of SNP List votes are going to be wasted – they will elect no one at all because the SNP (despite what Smith says today in the Herald) are likely to clean up in the constituency section. So, what is the answer to this that is both politically feasible and will get by the Electoral Commission and/or the Courts (for you can bet the Unionist parties will be on this like flies on shit)?
    My view is if Campbell can provoke a debate around this then he will have done the indy cause a service.
    There is a group in the indy movement, of which Campbell has been part (though he may now be in the process of recanting) but also James Kelly who will just not countenance any splitting of the SNP vote. You might have seen his latest one last weekend?
    One thing that is missed is that the SNP came up just short of a majority in the constituency section – winning 59 seats, when 65 would give an overal majority. What about those other 6 seats. One of them is Jackie Baillie’s – I am a constituent – and I understand Jackie turned up at the count with a concession speech in her handbag, and was surprised to win by just over 100 (one hundred) votes. What about Ruth Davidson taking Edinburgh Central by 610, or Aberdeenshire West (900). Point is that the smallest majorities combined of Unionist constituency MSPs might make five figures, though I doubt it. Set against that the number of SNP List votes wasted in Central Scotland Region ALONE was 142585. Fairly clear where, thinking about it, in terms of effort and gain, where we should be applying our heads?

    1. Millsy says:

      The numbers certainly don’t lie ! It is passed time for the YES movement ( SNP et al ) to think strategically about the ridiculous waste of votes ( and it is a waste ) in Holyrood elections under this system of voting .
      Whether it be Wings ( which does a great job of debunking unionist media lies and distortions – regardless of what aninosity its creator attracts ) or another Yes front , we need to maximise the independence vote in the next election – the unionist parties never hesitated to ‘loan’ votes to anyone who stood a chance of defeating an SNP candidate in recent votes . Let us do the same !

      And Mike , surely you cannot deny the effectiveness of Wings in showing up the Scottish/UK media and unionist parties when they have deliberately misled voters with scare stories without number over the years .
      You may not like the singer , but the song is worth listening to !

      1. Hi Millsy – I don’t see how its possible to separate singer and song. I think the strategy is highly suspect – there’s no apology or explanation from the whole section of the indy movement (including Wings) who argued for Both Votes SNP and have now abandoned that – and I think much of his analysis is terrible (sorry) as outlined in the article with just a few examples.

        1. alasdair galloway says:

          OK Mike, you don’t like Campbell. As the first contributor pointed out, we all knew that already. Btw, he appears to speak less than well about you!
          However, as this thread has also discussed, the waste of SNP List votes is dreadful. If we were wasting natural resources at this rate we would be looking to have legislation passed to put a stop to it.
          Now I might be old fashioned – I have already admitted to my age – BUT two things seem clear. First, as my second paragraph points out, there IS a problem. Secondly, as my first paragraph points out, you (and others) neither like nor trust Campbell. However, can I put it to you – and through this to Stewart Campbell as well – that there is a greater prize here than his views or your own – the independence of our country. Recognising that there is a problem that is pissing support for the SNP/ independence at Holyrood elections down a drain, can you guys put your feelings to one side for a change, stop sweating over the small(er) stuff and put your mind to what you might be able to do together to take forward the cause we all care about.
          As I noted before, if Campbell can initiate a discussion about the problem (second paragraph, remember?) then he has done us all a service. I hope he would be able to work with others to take this forward and that it’s not just the “Stewart Campbell Show”, but a more collective effort. It might be for instance that it’s another, at present non-existant, organization that takes this forward. If so, I trust you and he won’t make it a priority to tear it apart?

          1. I’ve laid out why the idea is bad and hypocritical and why his offering is toxic to many (with several examples – I could give many more). It would be good to hear what you think of these substantive points?

    2. India Owl says:

      >So, what is the answer to this that is both politically feasible and will get by the Electoral Commission and/or the Courts (for you can bet the Unionist parties will be on this like flies on shit)?

      It’s to vote for a branch office party lead by a man whose understanding of Scottish Politics leads him to think the Greens oppose another independence referendum, has written apologetics for domestic abusers like Bill Walker, who defended tories like Mark Field for battering Greenpeace protestors, retweeted attacks on Rape Crisis Centres operating in Scotland, claimed that the NSPCC and Stonewall are grooming children, who plays up sectarian issues to score points, who protested the SNP’s position on gay marriage and was last seen in Scotland pursuing a vexatious lawsuit against a lesbian woman who had the temerity to criticise his attacking a gay man on the basis of their sexuality, obviously.

      If we had other pro-independence parties, things might be different, but we are where we are.

      1. alasdair galloway says:

        where we are is wasting 147 thousand List votes in one region alone. That’s not a small problem – it’s desperate.
        You seem content – “we are where we are” – to allow this to continue. Personally I would be happy to see the Greens as the beneficiary, but ideally a wider Yes-based organization. I have my own differences with Campbell, and no I dont think he is the Saviour, but the fact he has raised this issue is something that is positive. Rather than pissing on his head, how about dealing with the issue? Or is your dislike of him more important to you than our independence?

        1. India Owl says:

          I don’t think we are wasting hundreds of thousands of votes. To the SNP, those votes act as insurance against a candidate failing to win election at a constituency level. Campbell pretends that the SNP will thank him for taking their list votes, making their MSPs much more vulnerable to tactical voting at a constituency level, giving them less insurance at a regional level and reducing the number of people an SNP Government can fill its 25 ministerial slots with, even if 2016’s results were replicated.

          And those votes aren’t wasted at the ground level, either: the people who cast them won representation at a constituency level. At the regional level, their list votes are reduced in an attempt to achieve a proportional result, something that the SNP electoral strategy (successful in 2011, but not so successful in 2016) tries to game by establishing an astonishingly loyal voting pattern. My primary loyalty and my list vote goes elsewhere (to a party that Campbell has inexplicably determined is anti-independence) so I have a conversational incentive to say that his analysis is right and you should vote with me. But, honestly, if your primary loyalty is to the SNP I think trying to game the system in this way is daft. Daft and it attempts to ignore the larger political problem that the results in our mostly-proportional system point towards: winning a huge majority yes majority in parliament only turns into what Campbell claims to want if there’s a yes majority in the public.

          Without that public majority, all he’ll have succeeded in is weakening the Scottish Government’s mandate in the way that the Brexit Party weakened the UK’s. As a bonus, he’ll have turned Holyrood into an institution which will be easy to portray as unrepresentative, disconnected from ordinary Scots and a platform where the differences of the ‘yes parties’ would be magnified.

          So, aye, that’s my view on these proposals when I’m not raging at Campbell’s history of contributions to our national discussion.

          1. alasdair galloway says:

            First of all there are hundreds of thousands votes wasted in that they elect precisely no one at all. For instance the SNP’s list vote in Central Scotland region was more than the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Greens combined – yet they won not a single list seat. I appreciate and understand why the system was put in place and in general I support PR. However, WM continually brays that the SNP “don’t have a majority like we do” – well not quite just now – but they “don’t have a majority” in a voting system precisely devised to prevent anyone from winning a majority.
            It is true that their list vote is an insurance against losing constituency seats, but on present polls that seems unlikely to be required. Moreover, the irony of losing seats, and picking up List seats is that it is arguable that the 2011 outcome – when their vote was actually lower but they won a majority – was because they “hit the sweetspot” in the electoral system.
            One last thing – I think your dislike of Campbell is blinding you to the fact that there IS a problem. I don’t necessarily support Campbell’s specific initiative – if there is actually one (it’s all talk just now) – but something needs to be done, and I really don’t think the Greens/ Rise etc looking to opportunistically secure political capital is the best way to achieve this. There has, for instance, been a great deal of criticism of Campbell’s position on a number of matters (trans people, Hillsborough etc) but there are people who would be critical of the policies pursued by the Greens and also by the parties in the Rise grouping. All well and good and perfectly reasonable, BUT rather missing the point that these are issues which can be resolved once we are independent. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, eh?

        2. India Owl says:

          >Moreover, the irony of losing seats, and picking up List seats is that it is arguable that the 2011 outcome – when their vote was actually lower but they won a majority – was because they “hit the sweetspot” in the electoral system.

          If you look at the results from 2016, you’ll see that the SNP’s share of the list vote — and list MSPs — is down. If you use the calculator for the Scottish Parliament, the SNP returning to their 2011 share of the list vote gives them… more seats. Three extra seats if the votes come at the expense of the Conservatives (here’s hoping).

          I agree that there’s a problem for independence supporters, but ‘a steady majority of yes voters’ isn’t something that can be created by a tactical voting umbrella trying to game a PR system so as to defeat a yoon talking point about there not enough MSPs. It’s a total distraction. If someone says a majority of the Scottish Parliament is not enough now, it won’t be enough later. We can’t fix that, and neither can thirty of Stuart Campbell’s ‘I think Nicola Sturgeon is responsible for Rapists’ MSPs.

          Our job isn’t to rig the Scottish Parliament, but to win over the Scottish People. That’s the something that needs to be done, there aren’t any shortcuts and it won’t be done by angry wee men foaming at the mouth about what’s in someone’s breeks. Maybe, rather than spending his evenings firing into Stonewall and Rape Crisis Scotland’s centres, he could keep his eyes on the prize?

        3. Ros says:

          Are we ‘wasting’ these votes, though? The system returns a pretty close to proportional representation.

          If you support Wings (or anyone else) trying to play the system to get a greater proportion of pro-independence MSPs elected than the proportion of votes cast for pro-indy candidates, what is this doing to our democracy?

          Are you genuinely saying we should try to cheat the system to get what we want?

          1. Mac says:

            It’s not cheating. Simples.

  5. kate mcgarrigle says:

    I have never taken to his blog for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I now feel vindicated.

    1. kate mcgarrigle says:

      Oops – changed my mind here as I have just watched Gordon Ross (Indycar) on the subject. As he is a very clued-up man with complete integrity, I trust his judgement completely and his take on it is that it might be a good thing allbeit one that hasn’t been tried before.

  6. Chris Downie says:

    While I don’t agree with all Campbell says or stands for, by a long shot, I think Bella and co. need a little introspection here before shouting the odds about who should and should not be deemed good ambassadors for the YES movement.

    One of the key reasons YES Scotland lost in 2014 was its leftward bias and absence (with a few exceptions like Wealthy Nation and the SDA) of good arguments from a centre right, more libertarian perspective. While I am sympathetic to the rebuke that they are ‘small c’ conservatives, it is the broad church approach which must be deployed, if we are to convince a majority of the electorate of our case for independence. The virtue signalling extreme left are a bane of our movement and deserve to be marginalised.

    As a side note, for many of us, in the absence of peer-reviewed, hard empirical (i.e. scientific) evidence, the “transgender” phenomenal will remain no more than an irrational attempt to normalise a severe form of dysmorphia (point in question: have Bruce Jenner’s athletic accomplishments been replicated by a female athlete? Or how about the obvious physical advantage “trans male” athletes have against their female peers?)

    1. Alastair McIver says:

      “the “transgender” phenomenal will remain no more than an irrational attempt to normalise a severe form of dysmorphia ”

      I take it, then, that you are a doctor. And an exceptional doctor, at that, if you can accurately diagnose hundreds of people that you’ve never met!

      Look, I understand that when you’ve been raised in a world where male means “has penis” and female means “has vagina”, it can be very difficult to wrap your head round the idea that for many trans men and women, and nonbinary people, that narrow definition of gender simply doesn’t work. I find it hard to wrap my head round it, too. But it’s important for me to acknowledge that my truth is not necessarily someone else’s truth, and when I fail to fully understand someone else’s, to try not to be an arse about it.

      1. Daphne Broon says:

        Sex and gender are not the same. Stop pushing the fiction that they are.

    2. India Owl says:

      >As a side note, for many of us, in the absence of peer-reviewed, hard empirical (i.e. scientific) evidence

      Your problem isn’t an absence of evidence. The scientific community and the evidence don’t agree with your position. Here’s a Nature editorial skewering some of the binary nonsense, when it came from the Trump administration:

  7. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Oh Yes You Can elect a block list. I had great difficulty finding how many SNP MSPs were elected last time but the link attached indicates that there were only 4 out of 56 SNP members elected on the list system. The system is designed to ensure minority government and apart from one aberration it succeeds.

    Set a new team up and call them Angels, each with a firm commitment to independence. Let them stand only as list MSPs and hey presto we have another team playing on our side. Let them be more radical and argue the cases that the SNP are too timid to tackle and we have the best of both worlds; more independence supporting MSPs and a ginger group to gee up the Scottish Government.

    I think we could get the message out to vote SNP in constituency and Angels on the list. We have enough volunteers to tell the people the story through the campaign

    1. Joe Gibson says:


      In my humble opinion.

      PS. I am 82 and wanting our independence.

      1. Alasdair Galloway says:

        And if the arithmetic does not support that, do we do away with arithmetic. The SNP are the victims of the deHondt system which was put in place originally to prevent a Scottish Parliament becoming Strathclyde Region writ large – ie to constrain the Labour Party. It is what it is and for now has to be lived with. The issue is how best to deal with it?
        Btw, I am 67 and want independence for my country before I get to be too old to enjoy it.

        1. John B Dick says:

          The notion that d’Hondt was chosen to contain Labour is arithmetical and anachronistic nonsence as is the myth that it was chosen (a) in the 1990’s, (b) by “Senior Labour People” and (c) to disadvantage the SNP. The latter myth originates on p52 of Brian Taylor’s book in a single word of assent from Jack McConnell. (b.1960)

          When the Scottish Parliament opened,I lerned nothing about it that I had not heard about more than four decades earlier. d’Hondt, PO and FM and Convenors, Founding Principles, committees, Petitions, what we now know as SPICe and even the seating arragements in the chamber.

          Between 1951/52 and 1956/57, I was briefed on the [Scottish?] Labour party’s vision for a Home Rule parliament for Scotland. It was “official Labour party policy” and “to be enacted by the next Labour government.

          Tony Blair wasn’t born till 1955.

          In nearly 100 conversations with a school friend a year older than I was, plus a formal debate continued in a corridor-blocking crowd discussion, and a one-to-one 20-30 minute cloakroom exposition worthy of a higher degree tutorial, on PR systems world wide – the pro-s and con-s of each, where they were used and what for,

          You will recognise that, considering who it was that trained me, my voting tactics and other dealings with the parliament are still grounded in what I learned as a teenager, and that at 80, in a few weeks, I’m not going to change now. My Constituency MSP understands that is the reason why, although it is no longer expected to CC him with correspondence with list MSPs or other parliament contacts, I still do it,

          I have never been a Nationalist. I started as an anti-Con, and Blairite Tory-lite turned me into an anti-(Con+Lab). The UK coalition was the right thing for the Libdems but I can no longer vote for the LibDems either because of their manifest incompetence in not realising that their Highland support was not for Liberal policies, but rather because they were the best-buy for anti-Cons. They trashed the work of generations in local issues, sacrificing their Highland troops with the insoucience of WW1 generals, by coming away empty handed.

          So with that background it will not surprise you that I am a SNP/SGP split voter and was not persuaded by the SNPx2 arguments.

          And I don’t need to tell you who my tutor was, do I? I can’t paste the image of the 1997 bill. This will have to do.

      2. Mac says:

        No disrespect Joe… But the UK are going to frustrate any normal political battle fought on Westminster terms…
        The SNP have not got enough people on side yet.

        We should be looking at additional ideas.

    2. alasdair galloway says:

      I have long felt (well since 2014) that the precipitate way that Yes was shut down was a mistake. It could not go on the way it had been – its purpose had gone (at least for then). However, it could have acted as a think tank for proposals to make Scotland a better place, even while still in the UK. But clearly, with an eye toward independence! This could have been done for not a lot, and relatively easily crowdfunded I think.
      Had this been done, then it might have been possible for regional Yes groups to put up a list of their own in their region, crowdfunding the costs of the campaign in their own region. This would have had the advantages of localism, but also making it much easier to avoid the trap of the claim of “gaming” the system by being no more than an extension of the SNP.
      However, we are where we are, so, as before, if Campbell provokes a debate around this that has an outcome we can (mostly) regard as positive, then I think he has done us all a service.

      1. florian albert says:

        ‘making it much easier to avoid the trap of the claim of ‘gaming’ the system’

        You and, as far as I understand his position, Stuart Campbell are trying to game the system. The system was set up to prevent the election of one party with a majority of
        MSPs. You can argue that the cause of independence justifies you in subverting the system and that the system is wrong but what you propose is contrary to the spirit of devolved government as it was created twenty years ago.

        At a practical level, it strikes me that what is proposed would be challenged in the courts, as happens so routinely today. If allowed, other parties would – of course – follow your lead. The likely end would be to discredit Scottish parliamentary politics.

        1. Millsy says:

          I don’t see how you can ”subvert ” the system by legitimately voting for a party that is legally standing in an election , and to claim that it is ”contrary to the spirit of devolution ” is frankly absurd !
          Is the ”spirit ‘of devolution” that we must NEVER have a majority for one group of voters regardless ? That is anti-democratic !

        2. alasdair galloway says:

          Thanks Millsy – you have said basically what my reply would have been. Question for you Florian Albert is whether the end (in this case independence) justifies the means?

          1. florian albert says:

            Alasdair Galloway

            As a general rule, I would say that the end does not justify the means.
            I find it a bit worrying that you should bring up the suggestion of the end justifying the means in a country where your objective is achievable by legitimate democratic means.
            The comment you made, which I quoted, suggested that you were quite willing to ‘game’ the system but wanted to do so in a manner that made it appear you were not doing so.

    3. Lynsey says:

      We already have such a party – they are called the Scottish Green Party.

      1. Dougie Blackwood says:

        I voted green on the list on one occasion but will probably not do so again. Yes the Greens are for independence but they are the tail wagging the dog. They demand that their cherished a, and sometimes silly, policies become Scottish Government policies or they will withhold support on vital legislation. Think workplace parking tax.

        The public now see the greens in the same light as the DUP in Westminster with the SNP being held to ransom for grudging support elsewhere.

        1. H Scott says:


          The Greens are a separate – opposition – party. They’re not beholden to the SNP. All parties maximise their position.

        2. Ros says:

          How would it be any different with a ‘Wings’ party? It seems highly unlikely they would agree completely with everything the SNP wants

        3. Lynsey says:

          Not sure what you mean by ‘cherished’ policies but I’d be curious to know which ones you think are silly? And where is the SGP bung, if the are the Scottish DUP?

  8. Stuart Jackson says:

    I like the idea of Nother party but that bird has flown until after 2021, he’s certainly not the man to do it, on many of the issues pointed out he’s clearly lacking, though the distrust of the greens comes like a fare number of people about what was felt to be a stab in the back on the anti sectarian legislation.
    Rockal also promoted a strange position from Andy Wightman, but indeed Mr Campbell is pretty absent on many issues.
    He’s a kid in many respects, maybe after this we shouldn’t do the Yoon press any favors and give him the oxygen of publicity, I’ve got the feeling this is a stunt on his account, he surly can’t be in his right mind if his only reason for a distinct political manifesto is trans issues, what ever you’re personal views on the issue is.

    1. Stuart Jackson says:

      Another, nother, typo. Not a tomato, tamatie.

  9. Sandy Thomson says:

    . . . and Bella is, of course, a model of tolerant and modest rationalism. We would all be better off if you and Wings would stop sniping at each other.

    1. If someone suggests an idea that is obviously damaging to the movement it is our responsibility to respond.

      Feel free to respond to any of the actual points raised in the article.

  10. Petra says:

    It would seem that you get banned from the Wings site now if you don’t agree with Mr Campbell’s latest ”idea” and more so dare to point out some home truths, as I did yesterday afternoon.

    1. Steph says:

      I learned that fact a while ago. Campbell cannot stand criticism of any kind nor anyone disagreeing with him. He also resorts to name-calling and has a rotten attitude in response to certain comments.

      WoS has become nothing more than an echo chamber. Especially when it comes to transphobia.

    2. PictAtRandom says:

      I was online at the time and feel that you were very unjustly banned. I wouldn’t want to give any support to the Unionist “vile Cybernat” mob . “The Rev” has done some useful work on showing various people on that side up as blinkered purveyors of hate-speech but he doesn’t seem to understand that waving a hi-tech NUJ card from a distance does not qualify you to dictate the way in which a nation should express itself. I particularly loathe his attitude towards language, his banning of Gaelic slogans and his idea that we should simply aspire to be a better-administered monoglot region, trading under the name of “England North” or “Euro Region 35” .
      I’ve surprised myself by posting on here. I haven’t always been complimentary about Bella and I think that it can share some of the same precious pc attitudes as WoS. I do respect it for having awareness of the broader cultural dimension that justifies a move to independence. I hope that it will also continue to give a bigger voice to nationalist Eurosceptics than Wings, “Wings Political Party” and their automated clapometer cultists have done.
      And I reserve the right to remain a member of the awkward squad wherever I post.

      1. Awkward Squads very welcome here …

    3. Legerwood says:

      Petra, I saw his comment and wondered if you had in fact been blocked. That finishes it for me too.

      1. Petra says:

        Hi Legerwood it’s dawned on me, duh, that I won’t be communicating with you on a regular basis now, as I’ve been banned from Wings. In fact I won’t be able to say goodbye to anyone on Wings at all. Makes me wonder too how often this happens, such as I read somewhere that Yesindyref2 had been banned with no announcement being made. We all just disappear into the ether.

        Anyway I just wanted to say that it was great ”knowing” you, loved your informative posts and wish you all the best for the future. It won’t be too long now until we get our Independence and when the result is declared I’ll raise my glass to you (and many others on Wings and beyond).

        Looks as though the ”idea” will go ahead with Mr Campbell fronting the venture and I’d reckon that the long term plan is to see him sitting in Holyrood. Time will tell.

        1. Legerwood says:

          I am sure our paths will cross somewhere in the ether …WGD? I enjoyed your posts but clearly even the mildest of criticism is not to be tolerated

          I never understood why yesindyref2 was banned and only knew about it because someone mentioned it in passing.

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    This article is bizarre, politically illiterate.

    It reads like revenge on Wings for some imagined heinous series of political crimes rather than a popular blog doing a service analysing the press and poll statistics on a daily basis. Worse, it confuses Wings Twitter site with Wings blog site. It shirks from addressing what Campbell is actually suggesting relating to List seats, and instead concentrates on dragging in as much slander and slur as the author can muster, using a scatter gun in the hope something will be mortally wounded.

    Finishing the hate piece with ‘this blight on the independence movement’ is nothing short of a reprehensible attack on Wings integrity.

    A disgraceful piece of chicanery.

    1. Hi Gareth
      my someones mighty triggered.

      What’s the difference between Wings Twitter bile and his blog? Why should they be separated?
      Citing what someone has actually said or written isn’t slander, is it?

    2. India Owl says:

      >This article is bizarre, politically illiterate.

      Like quoting Hitler’s anti-semitic conspiracy theories in a personal attack on a Jewish trade unionist?

      1. Grouse Beater says:

        No. Like penning a review on the Holocaust film ‘Son of Saul’, giving it fulsome praise, and discussing my Jewish family, two of whom escaped Auschwitz.

        Any more libellous innuendo from the brat that you are – apparently encouraged by the editor of this site – gets forwarded to my legal representative.

        1. India Owl says:

          If you think penning a positive review of Son of Saul was politically illiterate, what are the politics that you’re catering for? For now, I am forwarding my mystification to Barry White.

    3. Petra says:

      Grouse Beater you say, ”Worse, it confuses Wings Twitter site with Wings blog site. It shirks from addressing what Campbell is actually suggesting relating to List seats, and instead concentrates on dragging in as much slander and slur as the author can muster, using a scatter gun in the hope something will be mortally wounded.”

      To my mind the crux of the matter is all about the man who is 100% totally involved in both sites, Grouse Beater. The MSM won’t give a damn, if Stu Campbell tries to link a political party to the Wings site. They’ll rather just focus on what’s been said on Twitter. Do you really think that the general public are going to have any faith in a person who has come out with numerous vulgar, nasty (and worse) comments over time? And they, the MSM, will have loads of ammunition that won’t be considered to be ”slander and slur” against Stu Campbell, because people can quite easily check it all out online.

      Stu Campbell stated on Wings yesterday (or Saturday) that he had no intention of standing as a politician, but we now hear via the Robertson interview this morning that he will stand. He says that he won’t progress with this ”idea” of his, if Nicola Sturgeon holds Indyref2 next year. Let’s wait and see how that one pans out.

      I’ve got no idea if a new party targeting the list vote is conducive to helping us to get Independence or not, however what I do know (think) is that Stu Campbell is the last man that should be fronting such a party. I said so on Wings yesterday and it looks as though I’ve now been banned from the site. It just makes me wonder how many other genuine Independence supporters have gone that way too, in conjunction with the site being overrun with, at the very least, Nicola Sturgeon / SNP detesters.

      1. Grouse Beater says:

        I won’t get involved in petty squabbles about which site is superior, Bella Caledonia or Wings. Both have a right to exist.

        My point is made about the nature of Small’s attack on character. (I forgive his snide use of my name.) The issue is whether or not there is merit in a group prepared to stop nonentities and unionist placemen and women monopolising parliamentary seats to the determent of our nation’s progress. I see little discussion of that here. From the first paragraph it sinks to the the level of, if you hate Stuart Campbell clap your hands.

        The obsession over whether or not Campbell is likeable pleases the opponents of democracy. Small’s unprofessional attack must have them delirious.

        1. Millsy says:

          Petra : ” Do you really think the general public are going to have faith in a person who has come out with vulgar , nasty ( and worse ) comments over time …”

          I give you Donald Trump and Boris Johnson !

        2. No-one cares whether someone is likeable or not – it is about whether his views are objectionable/toxic or bigoted and therefore likely to put-off ordinary people en masse. Isn’t this super clear?

          1. Grouse Beater says:

            “No-one cares whether someone is likeable or not.”

            Hypocrisy. You do, and you confirm that with every response you make. Unprofessional conduct.

          2. This is a about political beliefs and statements. Is there something that Ive quoted incorrectly or fact that I have wrong?

            If there is I’m happy to correct it, but we both know there isn’t and it’s just embarrassing that these disgraceful comments are being made public.

    4. Ergasiophobe says:

      Except, Campbell doesn’t have integrity. He doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.

      Like anyone other mortal being he has a modicum of talent. To “suggestibles” like yourself, they are probably commendable. But one attribute Campbell completely and utterly lacks above all other attributes is integrity.

      Apologies for putting a link to my site on here Mike and if you remove it, fair dos.

      However, you might like to read the piece too. I don’t see how anyone can defend Campbell from his own contradictory duplicity and lies when you see what he himself said in relation to his imaginary fantasy stalker who was allegedly arrested.

      Here’s the link:

      Would be mildly interesting to see Campbell or any of his slavish acolytes like Groin Beater here rebut it.



      1. Grouse Beater says:

        “…any of his slavish acolytes like Groin Beater here rebut it.”

        Your ‘contribution” adds weight to my argument. That’s the level of discussion the editorial has engendered. Shameful.

        1. Ergasiophobe says:

          Notes that nothing in the way of rebuttal on the exposure of Campbell’s alleged “integrity” has taken place.


    5. kate mcgarrigle says:

      Well said.

      1. kate mcgarrigle says:

        The above comment was about Grouse Beater’s excellent post berating Mike Small.

  12. Alastair McIver says:

    Very well said! Stuart Campbell is a complete embarrassment, and needs to be called out. He is a homophobe, a transphobe, and his remarks about Hillsborough should sicken any decent human being. I hope you’re right about his chances of electoral success. I fear he could split the pro-indy vote.

    1. Steph says:

      Amen to that.

    2. Jo says:


      I’m sorry, I don’t much care for Stuart Campbell myself, but, seriously….. calling someone a homophobe and a transphobe is way out of order.

      These are very damaging claims indeed and some of us are sick of people using them as weapons to close down the debate. They’re highly defamatory.

      Ironically, you’ve claimed elsewhere on this very thread:-

      “But it’s important for me to acknowledge that my truth is not necessarily someone else’s truth…”

      Does that only apply when it suits your own argument? Are those with whom YOU disagree unworthy of the same courtesy? If so then you are a hypocrite and worse!

      There is an ongoing debate, on Trans rights, which ALL of us have the right to participate in. There are genuine concerns being raised, valid concerns and you don’t have the right to throw those words around in order to demonise people voicing them. That is a vicious tactic and a dishonest one.

      Also, as I recall, the judge in the Campbell v Dugdale case ruled that Campbell’s comments were not homophobic.

      Please take more care before throwing such dangerous insults around.

      1. India Owl says:

        > calling someone a homophobe and a transphobe is way out of order.

        Maybe if he spent less time harassing LGBT people online and portraying them as rapists, perverts and child molesters people might be nicer to him.

        1. Jo says:

          My point stands. These words are being held in reserve by too many as weapons to close down debate on certain issues. It’s a despicable tactic.

          1. India Owl says:

            > close down debate on certain issues

            Let’s stop pretending that naming someone’s bigotry amounts to a problem and that calling LGBT people rapists and child molesters amounts to debate, Jo.

          2. Jo says:

            India Owl

            I think you should give up the pretence that valid concerns about new legislation on Trans rights amount to bigotry or transphobia. That is exactly what you are doing and you have no right to label and defame people in such a reckless manner. It’s a form of intimidation and bullying.

            Concerns have come from ordinary folk and politicians, women’s groups and, yes, even from within the LGBT community. Are you going to label them all bigots and transphobes? That’s absurd.

            It’s absolutely fine to disagree. It’s not fine to pin defamatory labels on others as you do.

          3. Hi Jo – if someone is racists are you allowed to call them racist? If someone is misogynist are you allowed to call them misogynist?

          4. India Owl says:

            >I think you should give up the pretence that valid concerns about new legislation on Trans rights amount to bigotry or transphobia.

            ‘LGBT people are rapists’ isn’t a valid concern. Conspiracy theories about Stonewall grooming children isn’t a valid concern. MPs, MSPs and bloggers participating in the harassment of bookshops and rape crisis centres is not a valid concern. Hallucinatory claims about legislation destroying womanhood is not a valid concern. Arguing an LGBT MSP sanctioned ‘sectarian bigotry’ and was seeking to inflame tensions in Northern Ireland because a parliamentary motion supporting trans people mentioned a ginger cat is not a valid concern. Obsessively circulating photographs of people attending pride and describing them as rapists, rape enablers, child molesters and misogynists is not a valid concern. Joking about LGBT suicide rates is not a valid concern. Deluging LGBT people online with graphic depictions of sexual violence is not a valid concern. It’s hatred.

            Describing the people who do the above as ‘homophobic’ or ‘transphobic’ is ‘way out of order’, ‘very damaging claims indeed’ and ‘reckless’? Do you think it’s reckless because they’ll come after you?

          5. Jo says:


            I’ve made valid points in my contributions here. Your decision to ignore them and then deflect to another subject suggests you’re not keen to address them. Fine.

  13. Steph says:

    Nice to see someone call Campbell out on his BS. His cult members will be not too pleased though.

  14. Valentine Scarlett says:

    I had forgotten about the fact this guy was such a complete idiot. I am taking great pains to be polite here. Stuart Campbell needs to have his attention diverted into something useful so that he doesn’t waste people’s time and votes. There will of course be the usual hangers on, there always are, of people just as stupid. This is a democracy. When Scotland does get Independence there will be people like this as there are now running around saying things that leave you standing looking perplexed, ‘did he really say that?’ That is life. Sadly now of course we have two of the biggest plonkers imaginable in major seats of influence, one more so than the other. Trump is a prime example of how stupidity and narcissism can worm their way into power, Boris Johnston being the next contender, although I would suggest he is not quite so stupid. The question is, is Campbell stupid or clumsily outspoken and rude. He is certainly one of what is becoming a painfully familiar sight in public politics. I do not think we are in danger of seeing him in power in Scotland. Too many of us are allergic to ‘assholes’

  15. Daphne Broon says:

    I don’t think you’re talking at all about the purpose of Wings candidates standing on the list. He made it plain in at least 2 interviews. And independence supporters agree with him. You don’t have to like him to agree with the idea.

    1. Legerwood says:

      But you do have to seriously question his timing and, by extension, his strategic thinking.

      Last week a poll showed Independence at 52%. The Unionist parties and in particular Labour went into meltdown. The week-end papers should have been full of op-ed pieces and news articles. There was no way they could avoid the subject and all the ramifications. Then along comes Mr Campbell and his idea. At a stroke the MSM had its squirrel and they have played it for all it is worth. Labour’s disarray over independence all but gone from the MSM. Ms Davidson off the hook again.

      It has also distracted large sections of the Yes movement. The poll should have been the trigger for talking about independence, discussing ideas for the campaign and generally making plans. Instead…defeat from the jaws of victory.

  16. Welsh Sion says:

    Just leaving you this here as note of what seemingly is a similar (if not more advanced) stage in my home country.

    I’m not a Plaid Cymru right-or-wrong Member (I only want independence for my homeland and yours – and I hope the feeling is mutual). I contribute occasionally in this vein below the line here, on Wee Ginger Dug and on Wings. I try to keep abreast of developments in both countries and their leading pro-indy parties so I can share info. back and forth between our two nations.

    However, whilst I do not think it appropriate for me to comment one way or t’other on Stu Campbell’s putative ideas of a new pro-indy Party in Scotland, my fear would be, that were the model of Ein Gwlad be followed, then this would not only dilute the nationalist vote, (in my case Plaid Cymru’s) and be ‘food and drink’ for the Unionists in presenting splits and that parties such as EG, Wings Party etc are somehow ‘purer’ nationalists and, in turning away good, decent supporters of indy from their purist credo, they (would) do irreparable harm to the wider YES movements that we have. I offer sympathy to Petra and others who have been bounced off Stu Campbell’s site; I have to admit that I sometimes post there holding my nose as I vehemently dislike his comments regarding other languages other than English.

    The sun set pretty quickly on RISE – and oppressed people are vulnerable to chasing all sorts of different self-proclaimed Messiahs, who may or may not ultimately deliver that which is sought. (Witness the Brexit absolutists in their search for cartwheeling unicorns, too.) I trust that those purists soon realize it’s better to have our support in the common goal, than, as the French have it, ‘being the cockerel of his own dung heap.’

    We need less of these Patriotic Fronts of Judah or Judaean Patriotic Fronts. What we need is clear, unambiguous leadership, promising, leading and working together with us for indy. Is there anything else more noble or worthy than to join forces with our families, our friends, our fellow-citizens and proclaim with unanimity that it is independence we seek and not destructive, abusive and indeed unnecessary in-fighting?

    “For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive and posting on social media, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man or woman gives up but with life itself. ”

    In common amity.

    1. Millsy says:

      Unfortunately , while the points you make may be valid for Wales , you ignore or are unaware of the key point ( or should be ) of this discussion (ad hominem attacks from any quarter are not progressing the debate ) – vid the wastage of votes during the Scottish Holyrood elections using the D’Honte voting system .
      The suggestion from Mr Campbell is that another Independence Party hoovering up votes in the List Vote will result in a larger majority for the Independence movement in the parliament .
      Properly utilised this would add considerably to the independence majority which is being made a prerequisite by some unionists for the granting of a Section 30 for another referendum .

      1. Millsy – did you always reject the Both Votes SNP argument or are you a recent convert to that?

        1. Millsy says:

          Mike , I have always voted for SNP ( constituency and List ) – but to be honest , there was never any alternative . I did not think that voting Green would have enough traction ( at least in my area ) so did not want to ‘waste’ the vote .
          I had not given this idea of another Indy Party ( not the Greens ) being on the ballot paper and providing support within Holyrood for Independence . However , since Mr Campbell has raised the issue , I would certainly like to see it explored in some detail by the YES side .
          Perhaps , given the Marmite nature of Mr Campbell’s personality , it would be better if this strategy was presented by some figure who is less objectionable ( to some ) .

          I contribute to Wings and Bella and several other Indy sites and have been saddened by the vitriol that has been apparent in so many posts on here . I have my own misgivings about some in the indy movement but try to keep my feelings to myself .
          Eye on the prize , folks , eye on the prize !

  17. Hamish Kirk says:

    I distrust and dislike The Rev. In my professional judgement he is “aff his heid” BUT he might have something here !

  18. H Scott says:

    The only known purpose of Stuart Campbell’s proposal is to maximise the number of pro-indy MSPs elected in 2021, in particular to ensure a majority. This is a very important issue and there are valid arguments to be made both for and against. it’s a pity so little of this article engaged with the arguments.

    I also have to say that the attack on Wings ‘followers’ both in the article and in the btl comments are not only nasty but wrong. I read the comments on Wings regularly and don’t recognise the commenters or their comments in this attack. For example, when Stuart Campbell occasionally gives his contentious opinions on Hillsborough or Gaelic he is generally called out on it by his supposedly ‘cultish’ ‘acolytes’.

    1. The article deals with the issues on two fronts: 1. – how do you reconcile the previous vehemently held belief that Both Votes SNP was the one and only way with this announcement? (I’d really like to hear what you think about this) 2. How would any party deal with the various views held by their leader?

      These are both quite simple and reasonable questions.

      1. H Scott says:

        Mike, anyone previously advocating ‘Both Votes SNP’ and now advocating the contrary could be a number of things. It could be hypocrisy, it could be a change of mind, it could be someone opposing a different list vote for a party they disapprove of but supporting one for a different party they do approve of.

      2. Liz g says:

        Well as I understood it at the time, both votes for the SNP was the generic advice unless you had a good grasp of the numbers in your own particular constituency were likely to fall!
        My own area was pretty much SNP and my 2nd vote therefore was unlikely to benefit the SNP, so I voted Green.
        But if it hadn’t been so clear cut I would have reverted to the advice.
        This time the proposal is the Wings party give the SNP a clear run at the constituency seats and only put candidates up for the List/Party seats. Why the greens didn’t do that back then is beyond me.But they didn’t and I think they are too late now!
        I can quite happily reconcile the past position by taking the view that when the facts change I change my mind, and also add that democracy is a process not a one off event,we are where we are and we take it from here.
        As a regular poster on Wings I have to say that I agree with the comment from H Scott.
        I’ve disagreed with Stuart Campbell on Gaelic,Hillsborough and a suggestion from him about tackling underage drinking… I explained what I believed and why I believed it. This was a fair few years ago and I wasn’t banned he wasn’t nasty and when I disagreed with him about Faslane and Coleport more recently no trauma resulted!
        I also think that with reason and facts he too could change his mind I don’t understand why everyone is so frightened to debate him. He can be caustic,can’t we all? But in my experience never about a reasonably argued case.
        As to being the “wrong” person for Holyrood,really??? Someone who will call out lying is,I think, exactly what we do need in Holyrood,and no one can ever say he is slow to do that..

        1. It wasn’t the ‘generic advice’ it was bitterly contested and anyone who challenged it was attacked by Campbell and his followers. Now they are arguing precisely this. Its bizarre.

          1. Liz g says:

            That’s just simply not true.
            It was discussed at length below the line.
            And you haven’t addressed my point that when the situation changes it’s prudent to change your stance?
            The Greens have very little chance now of attracting the (mostly) women voters who’s numbers were enough to cause the SNP to back off the Gender Recognition Act.
            They are angry even with the SNP over it they will need a palace to put their vote and they don’t want it to fall to the British Nationalist parties. That’s enough of a shift to establish another party to keep the Parliament pro Indy.

          2. I’m confused. Are you saying that Wings didnt previously hold a position that Both Votes SNP was the only way forward?

            I think the idea that women wont vote for the Scottish Greens is not credible. Sorry.

  19. john burrows says:

    My God. What a bitter screed.

    There are many independence supporters currently disillusioned by both the SNP and the Greens. We are not all happy with the policy choices of either party.

    Suggesting that independence voters have no choice but to vote for either/or is profoundly undemocratic. How can small ‘c’ conservative independence voters be represented if they are presented with no other choices?

    The current electoral system allows unionist non entities to hover up list seats in our parliament with only single digit percentages of votes. Annie Wells ‘won’ her seat on 2000 odd votes.

    The union parties game the d’hondt system to get bums on seats. The idea that independence supporters should not do the same is profoundly naive.

    In addition, calling hundreds of thousands of Scots “cultists” is insulting in the extreme. Whether you like it or not, many Scots have viewed the output of this blogger. Myself included. This does not mean we support his opinions on social issues, even if we knew of them. In the interest of clarity, I do not use twitter and do not follow the target of your spleen.

    You should learn to accept that Scots are a diverse society. Warts and all.

    Is this polemic an example of what you would style as civic nationalism? There is nothing remotely civil about it.

    I had to double check I was indeed on Bella’s site. I almost thought I was reading a hatchet job by a Daily Telegraph hack.

    1. Grouse Beater says:


      1. Grouse Beater says:

        Should anyone prefer to read a nuanced and rational analysis of Campbell’s low-key idea of monopolising List Seats to boost the independence vote in our Parliament, I recommend this article by Peter Bell: ‘Beware of Brits Bearing Gifts’, or go straight to his blog site.

        The pompous, self-righteous clap-trap dumped here by Bella’s dishonest editor is unworthy of a supposedly open-minded magazine site.

        1. Gareth – I do love your coming on here complaining about politeness and civility, failing to address any of the political points raised then calling me dishonest and pompous.

          What a cheek you have you pathetic little supplicant.

    2. Hi John – is there some fact that is incorrect in the article?

      Stuart Campbell – or anyone – is quite free to set up whatever party the wants and you are free to vote for him – equally others are free to call them out on what they have said in the past and what views they hold. Seeems some people dont like these views being held up to the light?

      1. john burrows says:

        I see.

        You will persist in playing the man and not the ball.

        How gracious of you to allow me to vote for whom I wish.

        Puritanical views are a symptom of a closed mind, no matter who holds them. I believe your Jacobin slip is showing.

        You should be wary of applying your own version of the Bain Principle. Hatred and contempt are poor guides to objectivity and perspective.

        You should be more pragmatic and remember that “the enemy of my enemy, is my friend.” No matter how much we may be offended by their body odor.

        You share a common goal. Act accordingly.

        You cannot be so shallow as to believe that all Scots share your values. After all, we shall all still be here come independence. Both the bigots and the white as driven snow, and all the rest of us in between.

        1. John – I repeat is there some fact that is incorrect in the article?

          I fail to see how its possible to interpret that question as ‘playing the man and not the ball’?

          1. john burrows says:


            If you insist.

            In its simplest terms, you aver that Mr Campbell is an odious troll because of the personal opinions he has expressed, on the subjects you have outlined in your diatribe above.

            I will counter that odious opinions are no guarantee of electoral failure, as the current regime in Westminster amply demonstrates. Just as virtuous stands against such opinions are no guarantee of electoral success in today’s febrile atmosphere.

            As there is no current political party as suggested, Mr Campbells points are moot. But, the idea of other political parties aligned with independence as a first principle, is not unworthy of consideration.

            Why could there not be parties such as Liberals for Independence, or Labor for Independence or even Conservatives for Independence, specifically addressing the gaping whole in the regional list vote currently now occupied by the forces of union?

            Attempting to capture all voters within the confines of the SNP and Greens is counter productive to both these parties, forcing them to tread lightly on allmost all issues, barring the constitutional one and their own particular fixations. Several of which are strongly opposed by factions within their own parties.

            It is my own opinion that Mr Campbells thought experiment is just that. I do not believe he is seriously considering setting up such a party as he has surmised. Your own over the top response to his speculative musings is simply a pre cursor of the virulent campaign that would be unleashed by our Union opponents if this came to pass.

            Nonetheless, I agree with him that there is an opportunity here for a far more practical approach of reaching out to voters in a way that does not force them to set aside their own principles to gain independence. After all, it is fairly certain, given the barely constrained tensions within the SNP itself, that it will disintegrate once independence has been secured.

            But he has made a valid point that the big tent approach of corralling all independence supporters within one or two parties makes it practically impossible, within the confines of the d’hondt system, for any single party to guarantee a majority for independence in Holyrood.

            On that subject alone, I believe he has provided food for thought.

    3. John McLeod says:

      Appreciate what John Burrows has written here.

      1. Since your comment the Reverend has doubled down on his idea and made it clear he does intend to go ahead with it.

        Can you imagine the onslaught had anyone else decided to launch an alternative party?

        Cab you imagine?

        Well yes you can – because the existing pro-indy parties are relentless attacked by Wings and his supporters. What for? Splitting the vote! You couldnt make it up.

        1. john burrows says:


          Try not to let the man play you like this. You are allowing yourself to be whipped up into a frenzy for no purpose.

          Both you and Mr Campbell share a deep animus towards each other. That much is clear. I believe his ‘doubling down’ is merely his own response to your outrage.

          Get back to me when the party he proposes is anything more than a social media construct and I promise to re evaluate my position.

          1. No frenzy here. Much else to be getting on with.

  20. Willie says:

    Mike, I think you do yourself a disservice. This piece comes across as an absolute attack on Stuart Campbell and it undermines the very good work that you do.

    You may not like Campbell. But his proposal to create a list party very much supports a mechanism whereby the number of independence MSP can be maximised. Folks do not generally understand that doing well in the FPTP element of a Hollyrood election thereafter undermines the weight of the list vote.

    The object of maximising the list vote is therefore an admirable one for all of us supporting independence.

    Creating a list party however does not come without pluses and minuses. But with the right will and combined objective it could be managed. Alex Salmond is no longer an SNP member. Could he be a good list MSP candidate. Or what about someone like Craig Murray or a Dennis Cannavan type.

    That I think is what Stuart Campbell was about, and it’s something the SNP supporters and the wider Yes movement would understand. And yes, wouldn’t it sharpen up some of our existing SNP members who have maybe become a little somnolent.

    Yes as always devil and detail, but with a sole objective securing an absolute parliamentary majority ensured by a list only party could be a very good thing.

    1. Hi Willie, thanks for the comment. This is about political strategy in the real world, and what i think is a potentially very damaging idea.

      I don’t really think this is being through through for the reasons I’ve laid out. I don’t think that the world that people inhabit online – that of indy supporters – is the same as the real world out there where everyone actually lives. In that world I dont think the idolisation of Stuart Campbell will have the traction people think it will.

      You just suggested Alex Salmond as a candidate for this new party. Do you think there might be any problems with this suggestion?

      1. Willie says:

        Hi Mike, I postulated the question as to wether Alex Salmond or indeed a Craig Murray or a Denis Cannavan type could be candidates for a list party.

        Personally, I would see Alex Salmond as a fine candidate. But he might not want to stand as a candidate, and of course there could be others who think that the man who ran the establishment close might not be a suitable candidate.

        But devil and detail aside, their are some good names who would make up a fine list for people to vote for. As someone commented earlier the SNP got only four out of the 56 list MSPs despite having a huge list vote. Do the maths again Mike as I’m sure you’ve done many a time, and look at how many SNP list votes it takes to elect a list MSP. An alternative Independence list party could sort that big time.

        But aside of the three I’ve mentioned there are many more talented and committed individuals. And no, I don’t think Stuart Campbell wants to be a list candidate. But he potentially could be. But in summary blind two votes SNP reduces the chance of a majority SNP / Independence Scottish Government – and that is certainly not what we want.

        1. Do you see any downsides to Alex Salmond as a candidate for office for a new political party?

          1. Willie says:

            Mike, I’ve made my comment about the strategy of creating an Independence List Party to maximise independence representation.

            It makes so much sense.

            Why are you therefore focussing on Alex Salmond who has not uttered a word about the topic -or anyone else for that matter who has not uttered a word on the subject.

            I don’t want to be tiring because I think you, and you personally have contributed much to the independence debate. You know the readership figures!

            We’re all on the same side. We may differ in approach, or the complexion of our future state, but we’re on the same side.

            Would Salmond attract votes – yes I think he would but he’s only one of many who could be candidates or not.

            Independence List Party – yes I think an concept long overdue. And yes, I think something that pro indi supporters from within and beyond SNP supporters would support.

            Who would you like to see as candidates Mike

          2. I wouldn’t like to see anyone as candidates as I think its a monumentally stupid idea.

            If you cant see why Salmond might be problematic we are in a lot more trouble than I thought.

  21. MBC says:

    I think there is a world of difference between running a blog and running a political party. You can have complete autonomy with a blog and controversially present your own niche politics but with a party you have to compromise with others to reach a sensible consensus. You don’t get it all your own way, and you have to woo the voters too. I think Wings does a good job critiquing the media and showing its falsities, hypocrisy and slop, but it’s a far harder thing to build a party, as party leaders need to have sufficient charisma to be able to build a team and a movement and reach out to doubters. Loners are not much good at that. You also need policies, constructive suggestions – not just the ability to point out what other people are getting wrong.

    The idea of having another Yes party is basically a good one but the idea of its brand being based on one man’s Marmite persona and militaristic logo is not likely to be helpful to the wider Yes movement.

    1. Liz Gray says:

      MBC That’s certainly a position that could be reasonably held, especially if you take the view that Stuart Campbell is better where he is doing what he dose.
      Although doing what he dose in Holyrood could certainly be the kind of change in politics we need.
      The media would certainly go after him but their power is not what it was and they will do so anyway to any candidate!

      But , and it’s a big but, the question becomes then, WHO?

      Who has the reach of Wings?
      The yes movement has had 5 years a no one has come through.
      The Greens can’t seem to break out on the List and they too have had 5+ years!
      While I understand that Stuart Campbell is saying that this is only going to happen if there has been no Referendum before the 2021 Holyrood elections…
      But even if there has and we have our Yes vote
      I find the thought of all the dross the British Nationalist party’s inflict on us on that List ,negotiating Scotland’s future, Our Constitution, Faslane and our assets and liabilities,quite frankly chilling. A Wings party in there would somewhat ensure that it’s Scottish interests that are being taken care of not Westminster ‘s!
      Not to mention the possibility of the British party’s trying to reverse the vote!
      We, I think, need to be targeting this List vote and have everyone in the Yes movement explaining how it is intended to work…
      If the consensus is not Wings,again I’ll ask if not him then WHO ?

      1. PictAtRandom says:

        “Who has the reach of Wings?”

        Who has the reach of an albatross?

        “The yes movement has had 5 years a[nd] no one has come through.”

        Any chance that could be related to Blairite on-message SNP BAAAAAism?

        “The Greens can’t seem to break out on the List and they too have had 5+ years!”

        Could it be because they are perceived as trying to out-pc the SNP for the benefit of central belt suburbia rather than concentrating on “Far Left” Greenery?

        “If the consensus is not Wings,again I’ll ask if not him then WHO ?”

        So try thinking of some group, maybe 36% of SNP voters, currently unable to express themselves through elected politicians.

        1. Lynsey says:

          I suspect the WoS guy’s SGP hate campaign may have something to do with the reason why some indy supporters won’t support the Greens. It could even have something to do with the long and bitter ‘both votes SNP’ also pushed by the WoS guy. Has he published a retraction on that yet and an apology to all those he and his followers berated for suggesting there was a better way to maximise the Indy vote? Thought not.

          1. Liz Gray says:

            Well in about 4 or 5 posts my first time on this site….
            I’ve been called Blairite, a follower about 6 different ways, more or less a liar by the site editor , had my spelling corrected and still not one question answered.
            The main one being is it reasonable that when the facts change ye change yer mind?
            Says it all really!
            I’ll leave ye all to it and stick to the much more inclusive Wings blog!!

          2. Julia Gibb says:

            I won’t support the Greens with my second vote for a very good reason. The put playing party politics above all else, including Independence. They want to decide what an Independent Scotland will look like instead of the people shaping it post Independence. I am a natural Green Party voter but their aggressive forced change by a handful of individual who scrapped through on the list.

            We can do nothing until we achieve Independence. The day after Independence is when parties set out their manifesto. Holding my nose to vote green is not my idea of democracy. The D’hont system needs a second truly independence supporting party.

      2. India Owl says:

        >The main one being is it reasonable that when the facts change ye change yer mind?

        >Says it all really!

        I think the thing that a few of us are highlighting is that the facts haven’t changed.

        He’s just switched targets: instead of viciously decrying those who would vote for another party and blaming them for Holyrood being deprived of a pro independence majority (he thinks the Greens are anti-indy, but then he doesn’t follow Scottish politics), he’s bitching about his old pals in #BothVotesSNP.

    2. Chris MacLullich says:

      Indeed, let’s see the WOS Manifesto. Policies on Trident, Gaelic, Europe, currency, equalities, sectarianism .

  22. Chris Downie says:

    Playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment, are we overlooking the fact we already had an alternative in 2016? The Scottish Libertarian Party have been in play for a couple of years now. They may only have got about 1800 votes, myself and my wife included, but with a bit more publicity could do much, much better next time. Crucially, they favour independence OUTSIDE of the EU a la Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. They could reach out to a lot of YES/Leave voters (apparently 35-40% of indy supporters backed Leave and many soft Remain voters might even be interested) and give a voice to the huge chunk of our electorate who see an EEA/EFTA scenario as preferable to the EU.

    As a side note, I find it worrying that the independence media in general have neglected the fact the YES/Leave demographic will be crucial in any future referendum.

  23. Sean Swan says:

    Taking an objective look at the Wings suggestion and some critiques of it…

    Firstly, there can be no legal challenge to the formation of a new party which wishes to contest list seats only – there COULD be if it was just an SNP front organisation and was tied to the SNP somehow, but if it’s a fully separate and independent party, there are no grounds for ANY legal challenge. It would be exactly the same as if I formed a party for the banning of hopscotch and stood list only. The fact that it shares the goal of Indy with the SNP (and Greens, and RISE, and SSP, etc) is irrelevant in legal terms. So forget any ‘legal challenge there is no basis for it so long as this new party is fully independent from the SNP.

    Secondly, the idea that the unionists might copy this idea also fails to fly. The bulk of unionist seats were won at Regional/list level -24 of the Tories 31, 21 of Labour’s 24. They could only take seats from themselves. In any case, they cant do it because they are British, not Scottish parties – they have to take into account how it would look to their head offices – are Corbyn and Boris going to nod and smile at the idea of the Scottish Tories and Labour getting into bed together? I think not… They can, to limited unofficial tactical voting sense cooperate in Scotland, but the extent to which they can do so is hampered by the reality of their being ‘allies’ (as unionists) in Scotland, but rivals in the UK. Anyway, think of the reaction of Labour voters if SLab got into bed with Boris’s Tories….it would be the end of Labour in Scotland.

    As to the ‘ethical’ question of ‘gaming the system’ (let me clutch my pears!)…frankly ‘so what?’. It is the only existing system, it’s all there is to work with. ‘Gaming the system’ is what ANY self-respecting serious politician would do.

    As or Campbell’s personal charm – or lack there of – everything would depend on the candidates. Think if Alex Salmond signed up to this…

    Also if this new party was more…what’s the word I’m looking for? ‘less woke’, more socially conservative, that could be a plus in electoral terms (catch the more socially conservative potential Indy supporters). And it might actually be healthy to have political diversity within the Indy movement – there is in the country.

    Finally, to say this represents a total volt face from Wings previous ‘both votes SNP’ strategy is possibly true, but can be countered with Keynes quote ‘When I find I’m mistaken, I change my mind – what do YOU do?

    Anyway, it’s an interesting idea that deserves consideration – even if it goes nowhere or is ultimately taken up by somebody else (I keep thinking Salmond could found such a party….with no Wings links).

    Technically speaking – and I speak as a psephologist (see ), the idea is more than feasible.

    1. Sean do you think there are any problems with Salmond being a leading candidate in a new political party?

      On the issue of a complete 360 about Both Votes SNP – – you are right – anyone can change their minds. If you’ve spent years vehemently attacking people for holding the view you’re now adopting you could expect an apology or an explanation. I look forward to someone pointing me to that.

      1. Sean Swan says:

        There would be ‘problems – and opportunities – whoever led it. Obviously I’m assuming he gets cleared. One thing that nobody would doubt about Salmond is his commitment to Indy. And he’s certainly a known factor – and hopefully people would be able to put past differences behind them – something easier done if people are on the same side but not in the same party.
        As for apologising for changing your mind…that might be ethically good, but it’s politically unwise – it certainly didn’t save Clegg over tuition fees. The politically wise thing to do is just say the circumstances have changed – then shut up about it and move on.
        Ultimately politics is the art of the possible and there are, sadly. such things as antagonistic contradictions …

    2. florian albert says:

      I do not accept your view that there could be no legal challenge to the formation of a new pro-Independence party to game the system. Judicial challenges have become just as much part of the political process as the Chamber in Westminister, Such a challenge would be political as much as legal. It would be to draw attention to what was seen as political dirty tricks. Its aim would be political rather than legal success.

      The background to the creation of this putative party makes it clear that it is not entirely separate from the SNP in the way that RISE was.

      The ethical dimension matters politically as much as morally. In 2017, Theresa May tried to ‘game the system’ by initiating an unnecessary election. The voters responded by giving her a kicking from which she never recovered.

      The whole idea strikes me as too clever by half and I suspect that the voters would come to a similar conclusion. If independence supporters think that they are above
      electoral reprimand, they should compare the number of votes the SNP got in 2017 with the number they got in 2015. Or, of course, they could think of the fate of the once mighty SLAB.

      1. Willie says:

        What absolute tosh to suggest that a new independence list party could be subject to a legal challenge.

        You cannot be serious in saying that but in saying it, you expose the absolute fear that the establishment have of the weight that a popular independence party would add.

        Dead simple to understand the SNP in Glasgow got 44.7% of the list vote an 0, nil, zilch MSPs.

        Were there an independent list party then in Glasgow alone there could have been another 4 seats.

        Put simply the SNP success in the constituency part of the election undermines the regional part. ( Ergo 4 out of 56 regional seats )

        And what if a big hitter like Alex Salmond stood or assisted create this party. He’s a known quantity, and as no longer a member of the SNP there is no doubt that he could help pull a huge list vote.

        But there are others too who could pull a huge list vote. And that is why the unionist establishment fear this.

        The Unionist establishment created this voting system and it could, and indeed now be used against them.

        SNP voters will understand – and the result of 111,300 ( or 44.7% ) of them in Glasgow NOT securing even one seat makes the position crystal clear.

        The wider electorate, and let us think here of the 40% of Labour voters who now support independence, or the smaller percentage of Tories, they too could vote for an Independence List Party.

        So, this is something that could, indeed should be done. The UK is in chaos, independence support is rising, it is an opportunity to add diversity, and greatest of all it would give independence MSPs a super majority in Hollywood.

        That together with a huge majority, if not all of the Westminster MPs being SNP gives us the mechanism to secure what we want.

        And that is why the Unionist establishment fears this proposal and attacks it’s proponents.

        1. Lynsey says:

          You seem to ignore all the reasons there is valid criticism of the WoS guy and avoid addressing why it might not be a good idea for Alex Salmond to be involved. Can’t think of any reason Lesley Riddoch would align herself with the populist approach either and really, if you think anything more than a minority would vote for such a party, you would need to address all the issues thrown up in this article.

          1. Dougie Blackwood says:

            Both Stu Campbell and Alex Salmond are rendered toxic by the monstering tactics of the Main Stream Media. If either were to lead a new party MSM would have a field day dragging up all of the stuff already out there.

            The idea is a good one but it would need some untainted and well respected people to step up and take the lead.

          2. Lynsey says:

            The WoS guy is rendered toxic by his pen toxic behaviour, regardless of the MSM, and there are a few reasons I can think of why AS would not be a good choice of candidate. Why would any ‘untainted’ and ‘respected’ individuals have anything to do with such toxicity?

  24. Lynsey says:

    Which facts have been distorted? Would like to know.

  25. Dougie Blackwood says:

    There are some sensible comments in here and an awful lot of both rubbish and personal animosity. Two Marmite charaters are praised and derided and only a few get to the meat of the idea.

    Neither Alex Salmond nor Stu Campbell coukd reasonably be a front man meantime, they have far too much baggage, but I am sure there are others more suitable. An example, who probably wouldn’t stand, is Lesley Riddoch.

    Enough about personalities. It is an idea that should be tested; if sensible people stand up and take it forward then I believe it to be a good idea that can cement the Yes position in a positive way.

    1. MBC says:

      Lesley sensibly tries to stay clear of parties.

    2. Willie says:

      Dougie, save for the current circumstances, and even so, there is absolutely no doubt that an Alex Salmond would set a huge seal on any new list party.

      He was the most effective First Minister ever and and then some, His commitment to Independence is not in any doubt whatsoever, and even if he did not stand, his seal on a new List only party would be absolutely huge.

      Think Glasgow, and I guess you already have more than a few times where 44.7 % SNP list votes counted for nothing.

      A new Independence List Party, endorsed by people like Alex Salmond and with sound candidates like a Lesley Riddoch, or a Craig Murray, or of that llk, would be supported by voters in their droves.

      So with a First vote SNP, second vote Indy List Party, the concept could not be simpler.

      The time is now and this could be done. The prize, after all these long years is to be taken.

  26. Juteman says:

    What could have been a sensible discussion on the strategy, ruined by personal issues. Juvenile toys out of prams level.

    1. Is there something factually inaccurate? Pleaes point out and we will correct?

    2. Is there something factually inaccurate? Please point out and we will correct?

      1. Gavin says:

        Campbell does not argue we should retain Trident, his articles on the subject have looked at the process of removing Trident in an independant Scotland. The conclusion he came to was that Scotland should charge Westminster exorbitant rent for keeping Trident, so that Westminster then removes Trident of its own volition. It’s not the quickest route to get rid of Trident in Scotland, and it may not be the best route, but that’s still the endpoint.

        Regarding your Bill Walker point the rest of the article, which you did at least link to, paints the stance quite differently:

        “Doubtless we’ll be accused by hysterical idiots of misogyny and all sorts of other things for even this mildest of objections to the rapidly-developing witch-hunt. So let’s be absolutely unequivocal – we’re disgusted by what Walker is alleged to have done, and strongly dislike the idea of the SNP being represented by such a man. As we’ve already said, we hope he resigns – the party seems to have had no knowledge of his history, and has already acted as quickly as possible to suspend him, so it’s hard to see how it could be held responsible or damaged as a result.

        But democracy and justice apply to unpleasant people too. It’s easy to speak up for the rights of nice folks like Gary McKinnon when they’ve been accused of a crime or unfairly treated, whereas you win few friends or plaudits for defending the rights of the nasty, the anachronistic or the just slightly weird. And in such a way is the rule of law steadily eroded by “the court of public opinion”, aka the idiocy of the mob.

        We have no idea what Bill Walker got up to in the past, or whether he repents anything he may have done and has spent the last 20 years trying to make up for it, or whether he’s still itching to give women a quick right jab whenever he sees one. And as we’ve said, his (undisputed) attitude towards homosexuality is in our view justification enough in itself to consider him unfit to be an MSP. But this blog hasn’t called for Eric Joyce to be kicked out of his job while he’s still innocent in the eyes of the law, and we’re not going to do it with Bill Walker either. Shame on anyone who does.”

        Waiting for a court decision hardly seems controversial. Of course, Bill Walker was found guilty, but the article in question was written a year and a half before that, and quite rightly doesn’t assume guilt or innocence. There’s something to be said for consistency, and acknowledging due process.

  27. PictAtRandom says:

    Interested to see your analysis of the Glasgow 2016 vote on Wings. One thing I didn’t see mentioned was the turnout, which I believe was a mere 55.6%. And as we know the SNP then went on to lose 500,000 votes in 2017 from its 2015 Westminster total.)
    So, if the Wings Party were merely a heated-up version of the SNP offering, I wonder how the electorate would respond to a different flavour of independence dish being offered? Something like a Soft Eurosceptic Scotland in EFTA Party.
    From your experience on the other side of the North Channel could it be a bit like Sinn Fein drawing in voters unavailable to the SDLP? Maybe the effect of increased turnout could surpass the effects of any juggling with the system (and be demonstrably fairer to those on the Unionist side)?

  28. Muiris says:

    In Ireland, in the late 19th Century, the idea was mooted, to change the lingua franca to French (no pun intended), as a seperatist gesture. There were, at the time substantial Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking) areas, and larger breac Gaeltachtaí (mixed) areas, so ultimately separatists decided to try and revive Gaelic. This ongoing effort, is very much a minority interest, with mixed results.

    As a Gaelic speaker myself (far from fluent), purely as a result of these revivalist efforts, I have no doubts as to the benefits of being in closer touch with my heritage, in terms of self respect, & confidence in my national identity. Thomas H. Bak, an Edinburgh based academic has built a career on the health benefits of bi lingualism ( dementia delay of 4-5 years, for eg).

    I consider having one’s own language as being something of a bulwark against every cultural ebb & flow, of a much larger neighbour, not to be an isolationist, but as a strand of one’s independence. Not for everyone, of course, but as a choice.

  29. AyrshireScot says:

    The article and the comments are a frightening illustration of how pro-independence “thought” and resource is diverted. Sites likes Wings, and Bella, are total waste of time. Get the resource, money into Yes groups. Reading the article and comments just depressed me as an indy supporter. This is metaphorical (some literal) bald men and women arguing over a comb. Wings is awful, homophobe, transphobe – get him hunted out of Yes/ SNP and well gone as the money seeking/ attention seeking embarrassment to Scottish independence cause he is. Don’t write posts about the intolerant fringe, as Mike has done. Grow up Yes? Grow up Mike.

  30. Mark says:

    He’s like the wizard in Wizard of Oz

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