On the personification of the Independence Movement

Saint Nicola?

By Contrary:

After watching an analysis by Professor John Robertson (full title because this is his profession) of the media coverage of the 2014 Independence Referendum again, I was reflecting on how interesting the bit about how the BBC and other media personified the independence movement: by constantly referring to ‘Alex Salmond’s referendum’ so they could attack the person, not the group or the idea. Interesting that that’s what a lot of the independence movement seem to be doing to themselves now with Nicola Sturgeon. I just wonder if that’s through choice, copying behaviour or through malign influence, that is, are the media still doing it (they are, but…). But the effect is still the same, independence has been centred on one person instead of attributed to the whole of Scotland, with its diversity. It narrows the field and makes Independence party-political, and easily attacked.

Comment by Clydebuilt: 

Rubbish the Person, destroy the person, you’ve beaten the YES movement.

Contrary reply:

That does seem to be the mindset Clydebuilt – but it’s a bit of a yes and no, or maybe a chicken and egg situation. The thing is, the Yes movement is a wide and dispersed group of many differing opinions, so what the dark forces need to do first is corrall everyone into believing independence banks on only one person – so not be too fierce with their attacks for a start, but critical enough we all rally round – and once you have achieved that, then you destroy the person and the independence movement with it.

Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and I have been disturbed to see the growing number of strongly protective comments when it comes to Nicola Sturgeon – it’s their right to support her and believe everything she does is perfect, but when those comments turn into attacks on others that don’t believe that or are critical in any way, effectively claiming that if you are critical of the SNP/Nicola Sturgeon then you will destroy any hope of independence – that’s where I see the trend. Shut down debate, make one person into the personification of independence – easily taken down or controlled at whim. 

It’s a weakness we will always have – we need some kind of central leadership to rally behind and believe will deliver us from the forces of darkness – but we just can’t, because it leaves us vulnerable. We all need to be, or stay, flexible, open-minded and tolerant of each other.

25 thoughts on “On the personification of the Independence Movement”

    1. Thanks Sam. I think everyone should feel comfortable expressing their opinion without fear of being attacked for not holding what might be the currently accepted ‘opinion’. There is no harm in trying to change someone’s mind – but to shut down any discussion at all for fabricated and unverifiable reasons (in this case, it will mean we can’t get independence! Don’t say that!) to my mind means there is something wrong. I think of scots as having fairly strong (and ever changing!) opinions, but at the same time generally fairly tolerant of others – any changes to that feels to me like it hasn’t come about naturally. We all have to constantly examine how and why our opinion on something is the way it is, and where it came from. And be open to considering other views.

      Well, I can dream.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The pending Alex Salmond investigation is an obvious example of how the focus on Nicola may come to prove to have been flawed.
    Please note I said ‘may’.


    1. Yes, exactly Iki, we just don’t actually know. The point is, it is all just opinion, and there are no data to say which may be the right one – until we actually get independence and look back, we won’t know.

      And yes, I’ve been thinking about Alex Salmond – in the context of above, they (the dark forces) no longer want him around as a focus for the independence movement, take him out of the picture, so everyone has a focus on just one person, a new personification, and not a ‘figure of fun’ one this time – a more serious take-down planned for the future? Who knows. But it has been quite stark the brutal way – based on very little – Alex Salmond’s reputation has been attacked, and his freedom too in fact. I think the attack on Craig Murray is (well, it’ll be multi fold I’m sure, but in this context) a way to warn off any Alex Salmond supporters from speaking out. I’m sure the establishment thought his support would dwindle naturally, but it hasn’t really, so I guess more pro-active measures needed to be taken to keep us under control – maybe!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Oh and to reply to your comment on the impending Holyrood investigation – I reckon that’s just a stirring of the pot, to keep us focused on Alex Salmond, and how much we can’t govern ourselves – because look! You can’t even be fair on basic procedures – look! You can’t trust the SNP – etc – I doubt it will affect Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity in the grand scheme of things, and doubt it will be a take-down. It’s probably just to sow doubt and confusion, and maybe cause some despair, and more in-fighting. If you avoid putting any one person on a pedestal (except your spouses, obviously), you can look at any blip rationally, and not be wracked by despair at every minor mishap. But I think this is just politics and will play itself out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aye, they always seem to be chuffed with themselves without actually achieving anything though. It could be damaging, but I really can’t see it at the moment – not as a permanent thing anyway – the daily briefs have been good for Nicola Sturgeon’s visibility and popularity, and people aren’t going to forget it in a hurry. They’ll try before the next election to get the smears in, but the timing isn’t good for them. We’ll see though, nothing is certain.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Aye….but a large part of the swing by prev NO voters and those undecided is down up her handli g of the pandemic and by reflection onto the competant Scottish government. Building confidence in doubters that we can run our own nation more successfully than Westminster. During a time of no campaigning… The build of the YES vote is mainly down to this factor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tony, but you are missing the point here – I’m just saying that IF someone thinks differently to you, don’t criticise them for it. Their opinion is just as valuable as yours – and even though you word your comment (which has got nothing to do with the article) as a statement of fact, it is still just an opinion. If you can back it with good correlation data (cause and effect) or some good reasoning, you are more likely to convince others of your view.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Blair Jenkins has twice stated on the BBC’s radio station in Scotland that the rise in SNP support started late last year. Linked to Brexit, way before Covid-19 . Momentum continued through 2020.


  3. Sturgeon is a man-hating closeted dyke with a poof for a fake husband. Anyone who lies that much about their own life has no business interfering in mine.

    She tried to have Alex Salmond put in prison for life to help her friends Jen , and Shirl. She can rot in Hell with her Yoon friends and take her cohort of Paedophiles, Alyn Smyth and Stewart MacDonald prominent among them, with her.


    1. Sigh.

      See. Again, here we have a comment making something into a statement of fact when it most definitely IS NOT. You don’t know any of that, you don’t have any evidence to back up your accusations, which is what they are when you make it a statement – you are into territory of defamation and getting sued as soon as you publish something like that –

      All it takes is a simple:

      I think that,,,

      I believe that,,,

      And then it’s an opinion!

      You haven’t even told us how you came to those conclusions, let alone give us reasoning on how you reached them let alone give us evidence. So you can’t stand Nicola Sturgeon? Fine, but don’t MAKE STUFF UP just to JUSTIFY the way you FEEL, but mainly:

      DON’T publish it on someone’s blog where BOTH you and the blog owner can get SUED for it – okay?

      If you come back here with any unverifiable slander stated as though it’s fact, John will impose a permanent ban.

      Your comment also has nothing to do with, and is in fact the antithesis, of what I’m trying to say in this article – or perhaps a perfect example of the intolerant, narrow-minded, moronic, shit-stirring, nonsensical, irrelevant, unhelpful, pointless, brain-dead sort of comment that does nothing to inform and is DESIGNED to get people’s backs up – I think we all know what that’s called yeah?

      You know – what is the purpose of your comment? Do you want to convince others of your view? Then back up your view with some reasoning. Are you open to seeing any other viewpoint? If you are, then where is your opening? But again – unless you have hard evidence to back up any statement of fact – write it as an opinion, ALWAYS.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, it really is not pleasant to see, but you also need to remember these type of comments are designed to try and stop other people expressing their opinion – so I’m glad you did post – and if you see anything that’s stated as a fact, without any evidence or reasoning to back it up, you need to immediately consign is to the ‘total rubbish’ file in your head and ignore – it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, if you don’t know (like Tony’s above, which doesn’t add to any discussion either, but isn’t offensive) – when it involves actual defamation of character as well and weak reasons for thinking it ‘bad’, consign it to the ‘flat earth’ section and treat it accordingly. Your brain filing system will be different from mine, but I’m sure you must have similar categories.

      The main thing is – be wary of any comment stating something as though it is a fact, and don’t let any of the content upset you.


      1. Thank for the very thoughtful reply. I totally agree with you. These kind of comments do worry me about who’s really behind them. I was reading about how we got Devolution on a site last night (I don’t want to put a link in case it’s not allowed) it’s called electric Scotland. UN-Scotland. I wonder if you have any thoughts about authenticity. I have some doubts.


      2. Very interesting – Electricscotland seems to a Scottish history website – I can’t tell anything about that as I’d have to remember my history better! Generally for websites, to get to trust them, you have read through who started if and why, and take everything with a pinch of salt until it proves trustworthy – the history part is likely as standard as any (and looks like it has lots of info, maybe aimed at an international audience?).

        But you were reading the forum, this I think?


        (This blog allows one link, any more and your comment goes into moderation)

        Anyway – that’s quite a fascinating find: a story – a personal one – on how devolution came about from someone involved. It’s very long and has far too many ads popping up for me to read the whole thing just now. Can I assume you see parallels to today, but wonder if you are being led astray? The best way to check veracity, is check who the author actually is – and do any dates tie up with the alleged timeline if he has an online profile, stuff like that. If it’s a very different description from what is the accepted story, a more thorough check on how it ties us with reality before you adopt anything as fact. If lots of Internet links lead you to conspiracy websites, chances are it’s a dud 😉

        The lazy way of doing it is to write a comment on the most recent article on this blog with a short description of what it says and/or why you find it interesting and just ask if anyone knows anything – there are some super sleuth readers here, and some old-timers that might remember details to debunk or verify stuff. Sometimes you can spark an interest, sometimes not.


      3. Here we go (see, I couldn’t help myself!). Thus is a comment by Morag on Wings in 2012 (8th Feb) – I’ve seen a fair number of Morag’s comments, she’s a vet I think, and generally is quite sensible, she says:

        “Morag says:
        8 February, 2012 at 12:07 pm
        The Scottish Democratic Alliance has been around for a while, at least as a web site. Whether it’s more than half-a-dozen guys and some html code is debatable though. It’s James Wilkie again, he of the “Scotland-UN-Committee” fantasy, which periodically sends ripples through the more gullible sections of the blogosphere by claiming to have lobbied the Council of Europe into forcing Blair to pass the Scotland bill in 1997. (He provides evidence of having petitioned various bodies, but no evidence of having influenced these bodies into doing anything more than sending a polite acknowledgement.)”

        So, it’s someone on the forum, posting someone else’s claims – it was rather over dramatic and hyperbolic on reading it properly -so I wouldn’t say his claims are absolutely incorrect – but there is enough doubt to not waste your time on it!


  4. Well said!

    Maybe what Prof Robertson needs is a disclaimer along the lines of
    “The unsubstantiated. offensive and potentially libellous statements made by foaming, ‘intolerant, narrow-minded, moronic, shit-stirring, nonsensical, irrelevant, unhelpful, pointless, brain-dead commenters’ of any political persuasion are not those of the blog owner/author.”


    1. Haha. Yeah, I think John needs a disclaimer, mainly because I very much doubt he knows how to ban anyone!

      One point to note here, though, is that I didn’t aim my criticism (I do wish I’d thought of ‘foaming’, that’s a good one) of the content at the person – and in fact I watered it down by saying ‘type of comment’ – so the criticism of the action of publishing is aimed at the person (and not abusive), but the content is criticised on its own merits. I know this seems like nuance – but I do it very purposefully – you can’t judge a person on just one comment and tell them they are an imbecile – but you can say the content of the comment is imbecilic (and give a reason why) and it keeps any discussion civilised. To my mind anyway.

      In penguin’s comment above the words and phrases used are pure security services flat-earther type hype – so you kind of get the drift of ‘some bloke down the pub said,,,’ but to not even mention ‘I heard this from,,,’ at the start is unacceptable – to get any kind of real discussions going, we need to stamp out the apparently extremist views, it’s just interference from security services to disrupt and sow doubt and to influence people into holding extreme views (‘divide and conquer’) I’m sure, but it’s getting to be a right pain in the arse. And it’s just going to get worse up to the Holyrood elections, so I’m just hoping all normal folk will take a step back, think, and be aware of why they think something (what’s my source? Where did I hear that? Is what I’ve heard likely to be true? Do I need to repeat this? Etc – questions everyone should ask themselves)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point, and I totally agree. I was just adapting those at the head of articles on MSN etc

        How about…

        “The unsubstantiated. offensive and potentially libellous statements in foaming, ‘intolerant, narrow-minded, moronic, shit-stirring, nonsensical, irrelevant, unhelpful, pointless, brain-dead’ comments [by persons] of any political persuasion are not those of the blog owner/author.”?


      2. 🙂

        Perfect! – you can lose the inverted commas and square brackets and present it to John now!

        It is SO easy to make it the comment not the person eh, and to make something an opinion and not a statement for that matter – folk don’t get away with being lazy on this blog 😀 (well, not if I spot it,,,)


  5. I’ve been reading and posting on WOS for quite a few years and TBQH if or when any poster criticised the SNP or NS they were rounded on by many commenters , but as S Campbell started to expose the failings and duplicity within the SNP and was openly critical of them he was also rounded on and accused of treachery , lies and division , irrespective that these same people had lauded him on his forensic investigation and destruction of unionist claims

    It was apparent they were happy to encourage and support Stu as long as he didn’t go off reservation and produce any exposure of failings within the SNP or NS but when he refused to acquiesce to their bullying many argued with him and left the site

    TBH I openly state I am not a member of any party but I am a firm believer in independence , I do NOT hold any politician , leader , or party in reverence , they are PAID to do a job and do it right and in the case of NS and the SNP SG that is INDEPENDENCE and good governance they are above average in one of these but FAILING miserably on the other

    I find it unfathomable that people who are devoted and believe passionately in independence can so easily delude themselves that everything is going swimmingly for independence with the current trajectory , NS continuing with the GRA and HCB despite massive opposition , the brexshit debacle , the power grab, this uncontested unchallenged clusterbourach IS not rational

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you Twathater on this. i have found the about turn of many apparent wings-supporters when they were told what they didn’t want to hear,,, interesting. But it is human nature for many.

      I too don’t hold any politician in reverence – anyone in fact, pop stars, actors etc – but many do and I think this is what affects people’s ability to consider the political realities rationally. It takes a gentler ,,, way of introducing a new reality when it affects someone’s trust and belief (there is the grieving process to go through, before acceptance). People naturally bury their heads in the sand when the alternative is the loss of all hope. I try and keep ideas and other solutions moving on so the loss of hope isn’t so devastating, but if people are still in denial, there isn’t much we can do.

      But – we can’t really move on and look for other solutions, or find a new way to ‘insist’ that we get independence, until we get the majority of supporters realising the reality. It can be frustrating, but those of us of a cynical disposition find it easy (ish) to accept these things, go gently on the rest of the troops eh?

      Here is a hypothetical – the SNP have become fully establishment (neoliberal – I.e. their economic thinking: anti-Russian stance: supporting WM wars, etc) and have recently suggested to Westminster they’d like a stronger and more intrusive MI5 presence to ‘protect us from the Russians’ . Nicola Sturgeon sees herself as progressive and has her own ideas on how society should be changed to become ‘fairer and more equal’ – she has the power now, within devolution, to make these changes that she believes are ‘for our own good’, power that she won’t have within her lifetime if we get independence (other things to do apart from social change) – so, say, she makes a DEAL with the security services, hypothetically – she toes the line on the neoliberal austerity warmongering ideology and maintains devolution in exchange for the security services promising the control of society to make us go along with her social changes (GRA and hate speech – and probably more to come). I’m sure this sort of large scale social experiment has a name… Anyway – purely hypothetical – BUT it would explain all the recent few years of decisions, stalling, and manoeuvring AND it would also explain why seemingly opposing views (for and against the SNP) have exactly the SAME effect – to shut down debate and remove ANY reasonable criticism of the SNP. Purely hypothetical – but say you were given the opportunity to realise your dream, you just need to decide how much you are willing to sacrifice to get it. Hypothetically speaking. I am happy to envision all sorts of hypotheticals like this – many many other are not. None of us want to be told we are being conned.


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