As prospects for a second Scottish independence/separation referendum fade ever more rapidly into the distant future, expect frenetic activity by nationalists to forge a contrary impression.
Expect more conferences and conventions, although don’t expect an open discussion on the subject at the next SNP conference.
Expect more Yes groups until every but and ben, every cludgie (Bogs 4 Indy?), has its own. All you need is one lonely guy in a bed sit, a logo and a Twitter account.
And not least, expect more affiliated groups professing every characteristic under the sun, although what they’re affiliated to is not clear.
Today’s example is a case in point – ‘English Scots for Yes,’ although we’ll draw a veil over whether the name makes any sense: is someone from Scotland living down South a Scots English?
They must be real, no? After all they’ve got a website.
Here it was on 1 August last year, when I first checked it:
Here it is today:
(I have the original screenshots with dates if anyone doubts me)
They’ve made impressive progress, haven’t they?
To be fair they were a ‘thing’ in the independence referendum campaign in 2014, although what sort of a thing, as with many of these groups, was never clear. If anyone knows where their constitution, office-bearers or accounts are or were, feel free to let me know. I’ll be happy to add a link to them.
Like lots of these purported groups they seemed to go into limbo after 2014. Wouldn’t you if you were roundly defeated?
And even if they can’t get a website up and running, they can relaunch themselves, which they did outside the Scottish parliament last year:
[Someone pointed out to me their summer 2016 ‘re-launch’ picture was actually a photo from 2014. And, blow me, they’ve re-launched themselves again! That’s twice since last year. They are descending from the bizarre to the farcical]
You can see the original image pinned to the top of their Twitter account (remember – one lonely guy in a bed sit …?) dated 26 July 2016, with the caption ‘see our launch photo! MSPs, Cllrs…’ Four are wearing group T-shirts so maybe they’re the members. As for the rest, guess which party they belong to? I could spot one or two known MSP faces. Suggestions for names on an electronic postcard to the comments box for this post please.
The group also have a Facebook page. If you look hard enough in the bottom right hand corner of my screenshot you might see a link to their non-existent, oops sorry – ‘undergoing scheduled maintenance’, website:
What you won’t find are any names of real people associated with or members (if they use such a boring old fuddy-duddy concept) of the group. But fret not, in the true tradition of nationalism, they’ve had an online fundraiser. You can find it on Indiegogo but here’s a screenshot from the page:
(It would be mean to ask what they did with the £1,627 so I won’t) You may need your specs on but on the right-hand side you’ll see the name of the organiser – one Math Campbell-Sturgess. You can click through for a wee bio but helpfully he also has his own Facebook page:
Notice anything? Yes, he’s an SNP councillor – from Greenock in Inverclyde. Now, I’m willing to accept that there are English people in this group, but how many? For their Holyrood relaunch last year they could muster (photo above) no more than twenty people, of whom a fair number are SNP politicians.
When the only name associated with the group in public is an SNP councillor, it doesn’t look good, does it?
How many similar nationalist groups have nothing more than a shadowy online existence and a doubtful membership?
Updates – people are sending me titbits arising from this post. I’ll park them here as they come in …
- The modest sum fundraised by the ‘group’ has been supplemented by another indiegogo effort that brought in £3,226 – all to be properly accounted for, I’m sure.
- There are said to be at least four SNP MSPs in the ‘launch’ photo – Mike Russell, Shona Robison, Stuart McMillan, and Christine Grahame. Nigel Don (former MSP) is also said to feature. Additions/corrections welcome.
- Someone was amused to see that a red-and-yellow ‘Yes’ balloon being waved in the background of the same photo seems to be left over from the sham ‘Labour for Indy’ group that was shown to be an SNP front some time ago.
- Though the group’s website is moribund, it was active briefly in 2014 when, surprise, it came complete with retail and donation opportunities.
- An alert reader said he smelt ‘bullsh*t’ when ‘English’ Math Campbell-Sturgess described himself in an entry on the Companies House website (company registration No. SC223197) as ‘Scottish.’
- Campbell-Sturgess is not seeking re-election as an Inverclyde councillor in May (however, he is still politically active, in Argyll and Bute under the new streamlined surname of Campbell, see here)