Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


Weekend: Cybernats are made, not born

Posted on April 28, 2012 by

The political is the personal. Nobody comes out of the womb with a view on the merits of the free market versus state interventionism – opinions are formed by someone’s experiences and environment. So where do “cybernats” come from? Speaking as one myself, and quite a recently-minted one at that, let me see if I can explain it.


I wasn’t indoctrinated into the Nationalist cause as a child – my parents are pro-Union (but I’m working on that). My upbringing was British, and I was proud of it. So what went wrong with the United Kingdom that now in adult life I disavow the very notion of Britishness and strive to bring that same UK to an end?

Because I’m clearly not the only one who’s had this happen to them. The huge growth in membership of the SNP, both recently and as a much longer-term trend, suggests a similar awakening in many Scots. When I hear the stories they tell I’m struck by how remarkably similar they are to my own. They usually revolve around the theme of disenchantment with the political classes in the UK – a feeling of disempowerment, and anger at the inability to make changes to our democracy to better reflect society in the 21st century.

We’re supposed to have the mother of all parliaments in the Palace Of Westminster, but all too often it’s scandal, corruption and nepotism we see in its halls instead, and when the voting public finally expels a politician as undesirable they’re all too often elevated to the Lords, to retain their hold on power as an unelected, unanswerable, unremovable part of our government. Yet against this backdrop there’s a growing sense that the wind has changed, and that people aren’t prepared to lie down anymore and just blindly accept the old order of things. They want more, they want things to be better and where any sort of viable alternative exists they’re willing to make their voice heard to achieve it.

I’ve been writing for Wings Over Scotland for a few weeks now, and it feels like time I told you a little about myself and how I became a believer in independence. We all come from different walks of life but something binds us together and inspires us to better – a common faith that with the power to control our own affairs we can thrive and prosper as a nation.

My own transition to the SNP and independence happened over a long time, and I started out as a Labour supporter (well, you wouldn’t be Tory coming from a Glasgow steel-industry family). I rejected the “greed is good” motto of the Thatcherite 1980s, and preferred to think that it was the responsibility of the well-off to help the needy. I believed that with education came the opportunity to improve society, and that the NHS was an institution we should be proud of and protect. I admired the British armed forces and their professionalism in helping to restore order to war-torn communities. These things were the foundations that made Great Britain a great country, and I was proud to call myself British.

I wasn’t really into politics as a younger man, and when devolution came into being I felt no great excitement at the opportunities it offered, merely curiosity as to what would transpire. On the eve of the (re)opening of Parliament, the BBC happened to mention that as part of devolution the sea border at Berwick had been moved. It was glossed over swiftly and apparently unnoticed by the populace in all the hubbub of a new form of government, but it seemed to me a a shabby way to go about things. The old adage “a good day to bury bad news” sprang to mind.


After Iraq I was disillusioned with Labour, but still voted for them in 2005 to stop the Tories (it’s the real national sport in Scotland), although discomfited by the litany of infringements on civil liberties and the relentless rise of the “nanny state”. Things went downhill fast after that, but even then I still voted Labour for Holyrood in 2007, despite the lies, the ditching of manifesto commitments, removal of the 10p tax rate, the raiding of the pensions and the introduction of alarming free-market ideas into the NHS and education. I ‘d been conditioned by the mainstream media to believe that should the SNP gain power they’d be a disaster at government.

Yet once they were in in power, I was delighted to see that the SNP were not only capable but competent – a trait lacking in the previous administrations. I’d never bought into the visceral tribal hatred of the SNP that exists for some in the Labour party, but rather had felt that a vote for the SNP was a wasted vote – my thinking was at the time still clouded by the First Past The Post voting system of Westminster, and it soon became clear that the very different Holyrood method of representing the people offered tantalising opportunities.

Then came the expenses scandal and I just couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t vote for Labour and the morally-bankrupt party it had become, unrecognisable as the party I grew up with. The corruption eating away at the heart of the British political system was plain for all to see. It was clear that vested interests and personal accumulation of wealth mattered more to Blair and Brown’s “New Labour” than the well-being of the people. To make matters worse, the system itself was set up to perpetuate this culture, with Labour and the Tories both hiding behind FPTP and its near-inevitable two-party duopoly of power.

The old pendulum was one thing, but with Labour now wearing so many of the Tories’ traditional clothes the system was fatally flawed, and unlikely to change without a major jolt to force the issue. In 2010 I wanted to bring democracy back to Westminster and could see that the only way to do this was to challenge the two-party power structure. Then a man appeared, a nice man with charm, ideals and a plausible vision of a better way. You can guess where this is going, right?


In 2010 I voted Lib Dem, in an effort to hamstring Brown’s detached, dysfunctional government and force them into a coalition with Nick Clegg’s party. The unforeseen, unwanted result was the unholy coalition under which we now suffer. (Unless we’re wealthy bankers, hedge fund managers or Tory donors.)

At first I thought “Let’s at least give them a chance, and see if they can tame the worst excesses of the Tories”. It soon became clear, however – with the instant capitulation on any significant voting reform and the wholesale abandonment of manifesto and personal pledges – that the lure of power, ministerial cars and feet under the cabinet table had won over the leadership of the self-styled party of reform.

By this point I was so disillusioned with all three UK parties that on the 5th of May 2011 I voted SNP for the first time (and, with a heavy heart, for AV). The scale of their victory was awe-inspiring, and left me confident that we really did have people looking out for the interests of Scotland.

But there was still one more leg to go in the journey from from uncommitted swing voter to dedicated “cybernat”. After the 2011 election I was reading various UK national newspapers online, and I quickly picked up a change in mood. It was probably always there, hiding mostly beneath the surface save for the occasional outbreak, but now you couldn’t miss it. It was a sort of jilted-lover mentality, full of anger and loathing, combined with borderline racism and a superiority complex directed against the Scots.

I couldn’t believe the vitriol and hate suddenly directed towards Scotland and its people, now that we’d had the temerity to reject the “British” way of doing things. Terms like “benefit scroungers”, “subsidy junkies”, “whinging Jocks”, “wasters”, “moaners” and worse were now commonplace in forums and comment threads. Even the three-centuries-old failure of a private business venture, the Darien Scheme, was wheeled out to justify the assertion that Scotland couldn’t survive on its own.

Horrified and angered by this reaction, I made an effort to find out the truth of these allegations, and determined to refute them if I found them to be false. I was soon immersed in the internet, ploughing through documents like the McCrone and GERS reports that I’d never heard mentioned in the mainstream media, let alone explained. I was flabbergasted that the McCrone report wasn’t more prominent in the national psyche, that the theft of 6000 square miles of Scottish waters was not more widely known, that Scotland not only paid its way but had been subsidising the rest of the UK to the tune of tens of billions of pounds.

It was at this point that I found myself applying for SNP membership. I’d only intended to donate –  I’ve never been the sort of person to join political parties – but the bilious, contemptuous disrespect shown to Scotland gave me the push I needed to sign up. I started to post responses, ensuring that nothing was inflammatory or offensive. I vowed that if I came across a lie, half-truth, misrepresentation or omission, I would do my utmost to make others aware of the reality.

We can only have an honest debate about our society if we know the facts, and one of those is that the mainstream media is institutionally biased in their reporting against both the SNP and the wider independence movement. No government should be beyond criticism, but it must be up to the public to decide based on a fair and balanced presentation of both sides of the story, and it’s clear that we can’t rely on the traditional media to provide it.

Since I got involved in the online debate, attempts to smear “cybernats” have become commonplace. For my part, I have been touched and encouraged by the camaraderie, intelligence and drive of the ‘Cybernat Army’. It’s a grossly unfair distortion to see them passed off as a “nutter” fringe – the truth is, of course, that “cybernats” are a disparate group of individuals, bound together by a common goal and a belief that with control over our own affairs we can make Scotland a fairer, more just society, and protect that which we hold dear from the advancement of the neo-liberal ideology which now commands all three UK parties but has little if any public support in Scotland.

I’m proud to be called a “cybernat”. I wasn’t born a nationalist and the conversion didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t watch Braveheart and think to myself “That’s the bloody business… FREEDOM!”. I am not oppressed. The truth is that the negativity and abuse shown to Scotland when it elected an SNP government made me question the Union, and in questioning the Union I began to see what had previously been kept hidden. The real problem for Westminster is that once that veil is lifted, you see that not only would Scotland be a viable independent country, but a prosperous one.

That truth is what moved me over to the side of independence – you can argue about 300 years of ancient history, but in the cold, hard light of the 21st Century there’s simply no longer any benefit to being in the Union for Scotland. It’s now my mission to work towards independence, and forever prevent the Westminster political classes from again imposing on Scotland political values which it has emphatically rejected. To paraphrase a great document, we seek to exert ourselves at once to drive them out as our enemy and subverter of their own rights and ours, and make some other parliament who was well able to represent us our sovereign government.

That’s my story. What’s yours?

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49 to “Weekend: Cybernats are made, not born”

  1. Kev says:

    What a lovely piece and not so different to my own journey from Labour to Nationalist and “Cybernat”. I like the recognititon of the disperate nature of the cybenat army, that encompasses a broad civic nationalism and a wide range of social and economic views in that.

    I’ll be sure to keep tabs on your blog and will shorlty start my own blog for the titanic battles ahead, when the unionist parties and institutions smear and besmirch  prominent nationalists. Equate nationalist with racists, belittle the people and area of Scotland to be sustainable and other new ideas these malign and sometimes sinister sources throw up.

    If, we lose the referendum that is only the start of the battle. Right now it’s the phoney war with shoals of red herring sent to test the voters resolve. Patience dedidication and diligence will bring Independence and I for one am glad to have you as part of the Nationalist surge.

    Well done   

  2. Seasick Dave says:

    An excellent essay Scott, and one, I’m sure, that sums up a lot of peoples’ feelings.

    The time for Independence has arrived; VOTE YES!

  3. Juteman says:

    Good article.

     My journey started a little earlier. I was first able to vote in the ’79 referendum. I couldn’t understand why he had ‘won’, but still lost.
     
    During Thatchers destruction of Scotlands industrial base, my belief that something was wrong only intensified. Why were we being governed by folks that didn’t seem to have anything in common with everyone i knew?
     I was always a Socialist at heart, and couldn’t understand this ‘greed is good’ mentality. Lots of my working class peers ended up on the streets of London, many coming to a sad end.

    I am lucky to live in a Country that can take its future into its own hands. I feel sorry for the northern English who can’t do that. Maybe a succesful, independent Scotland can light a touch-paper for the ordinary English folk.    

  4. douglas clark says:

    Hmm…
    That’s my story. What’s yours?
    I dunno exactly.
    It just sort of hit me that all the Westminster parties took us for granted. We didn’t matter in the scheme of things.
    I have railed against the Westminster Village, I have gone apoplectic about the fact that we don’t count. It is as though what happens at Westminster is all that matters.
    Gradually, I have have come around to the view that that  is all that matters to them.
     
    __________________________________________
    I have had a longstanding friendship with Sunny Hundal – http://liberalconspiracy.org/  -who is a mover and shaker in the Westminster Village.
    His site allows occasional comment about autonomy for Scotland. But neither he nor they appear to see it as sensible.
    We are left in a cleft. Do we engage with the likes of Sunny or do we go our own way? Given that we do not get ‘space’ on Liberal Conspiracy I think we have to go our own way.
    Any comments?

  5. Morag says:

    What’s my story?  Tory-leaning Dad who kept quiet about it because Mum was left-wing, but she had long since fallen out with Labour due to corruption and cronyism in local government (we’re talking Lanarkshire in the 1960s here).  So, a plague on both your houses.  And always a very strong feeling of Scottish nationality and wishing we were a normal country like other people.  I remember Winnie in Hamilton (I was at the school), and being pretty enthused, but when I started voting I don’t think we even had an SNP candidate.
     
    Then in 1982 I went to live and work in England.  I felt patronised, and my nation seen as an irrelevant joke.  I also had my first taste of what it was like living in an independent country which wasn’t constantly looking to a dominant neighbour for permission or validation.  I watched the 1992 election campaign from afar, not sure whether “Free by 93!” was a huge bluff or not.  When it turned out it was, I realised there was a lot of work to be done, and who else was going to do it if individuals like me sat on their hands?  I joined the SNP that spring, and by the next year was on the committee of the London Branch.
     
    I used to travel up to Scotland at election time and help in any constituency that would feed me.  I moved back home just in time to vote in my new constituency on 3rd May 2007 (my flitting showed up on 1st May).  Now I do my leafletting and canvassing in my own village, talking to my neighbours and walking the same familiar paths again and again.  It’s a great feeling.  Just walking between houses, looking at the hills of home and knowing that my own home lies right THERE is incomparable.
     
    Cybernattery?  It just came naturally with other online activities.  I like to roast homoeopaths (and other health-scam charlatans), and point out to Americans that we don’t have death panels, and point out that Megrahi was framed for Lockerbie, and generally hang out.  It was only natural to argue for Scottish independence as well.  I was quite active on the old unmoderated Herald threads, and other places.  I was an still am shocked by the vitriol and utterly barren debate of the unionist posters, and the tarring of the “cybernats” as the vitriolic “attack mob” strikes me as opportunistic slander.
     
    I’m a cybernat, and proud of it.

  6. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Scott, excellent and resonant with my own experience.
     
    I was begat a snotty nosed kid on the streets of Maryhill who was able to be educated  by way supportive  parents and an excellent education system which was there to help me achieve my full potential.
     
    I am certainly older that you. I have been outside the UK for 20+ years now plying my trade in alcoholic fermentation and distillation.

    WRT to distilled potable alcohol in Japan, China, Korea, Brazil and every bloody where , when I tell my clients that I am a Scot and used to make beer and Scotch in Scotland I am often awarded an entry to the inner chambers of their organisations. Something my compatriots from other countries are not, certainly not so easily.

    This made me think how much we, as Scots, have actually projected ourselves across the World and why in the name of the wee man are we not harvesting that respect we have out there, not at the personal level, but the National level?

    In China, they have quite a high regard for Scots engendered from Hong Kong, which was de fact a Scots colony and one which was very successful to both Chinese and Scots. Hong Kong was not a  democracy but it was not a white man’s pillaging and looting adventure until the years before repatriation when it was systematically raped by Thatcher and her neo liberal acolytes. The fact that the Scots are still very welcome on mainland China speaks volumes on the subtlety of the Chinese perception of the UK and Scotland.

    I want my Country to enjoy more of the respect which is out there for a Free Scotland and contribute, rightfully, to the World as a radical, egalitarian participative democracy, shorn of the corruption and degradation that is Westminster.
    Many of the “cybernats” are people like myself who have worked hard to bring up families and now have the time to look at what we are passing on to grandchildren. We are not happy and ashamed that our gift to them is what the Union offers; corruption, theft, obfuscation, class politics (faux class politics from Labour {sticks in ma craw to call Blair onwards, Labour}) and monumental City Theft.

    We as a generation, have the individual motivation and the education (see what a good education system based on need, not on ability to pay or Pater’s money has done!) and  the internet which allows to be not a bunch of unconnected ranters.

    We are a group of motivated and self co-ordinated and growing group of political activists well able to push Scotland into a modern re-invention of our own form of participative, egalitarian and just, bottom-up democracy.

    For the greater good would make a good epitaph for the Cybernat generation. I would settle for that.

  7. Ray says:

    Nicely written piece, and it’s good to see a story of somebody happily changing their mind based on evidence and experience over the years rather than blindly sticking to one side for all eternity.

  8. Ron says:

    I voted SNP in 2007, but as for many other Scots, it was less to do with the SNP as my collapsing support for and trust in Labour, both in Scotland and UK generally. Up to that point, I honestly thought that Labour and specifically Scottish Labour were doing things they and I believed in, honestly, and were perhaps just being dragged down somewhat by their Westminister party. It was just time for a change, time to give SNP a chance.
    And then came the al-Megrahi release, something I agreed with on a purely humane level, and even more so AFTER reading the legal responses from people like Jonathan Mitchell QC. I didn’t have any problem with those who disagreed, but what followed disgusted me. The politics of it. The only Scottish Labour MSP who it seemed to me didn’t dishonour himself in the aftermath of the release was Malcolm Chisholm. The rest were patently making political capital, and it shocked me. Even without the revelations about Westminister Labour actively wanting him released, while Scottish Labour screamed and shrieked.
    Since 2007 my decision to vote SNP has been vindicated. The politics of “New Labour” and the other Westminister parties have moved further and further away from mine, and I think from those of Scotland generally. How on earth do Labour supporters really square their MP’s support in a vote for private companies having a key role in NHS in England with their apparent support in Scotland for our public NHS? Labour MP’s who support thousands and thousands of pounds a year in student fees, something neither they or I ever had to pay to get a university education. The divergence in politics is just too great now. And week by week, the actions of some in Scottish Labour in particular seem to become more and more petty, so desperate to smear and insult. You’d think the collapse in 2011 would have made them change their methods.
    I was a Labour supporter. I will never ever vote for Scottish Labour again within the union. If Scots vote for independence, and the parties split and realign (as I suspect they will) into new independent parties covering the full political spectrum, there may be a left of centre “labour” party I would vote for. But within the UK? Not a chance.
    To quote Jimmy Reid, ‘I didn’t leave the Labour Party, the party left me.’

  9. steven luby says:

    As often as I read this blog,it comes as no surprise of the quality of reading with a welcome addition of the truth.Subject matters brought to light with facts,is as I have said before,a breath of fresh air!This article is one of those that stands out and tells a tale of what many of us have experienced and now share.

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to the challange! 

  10. Alex Grant says:

    Excellent article. I think there are an increasing number following a similar trajectory and thankfully I cannot see the Unionists doing anything to repair this. As FDR said “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. Unfortunately they will spread plenty of that

  11. Seasick Dave says:

    On 25th April, Alex Salmond went to London to address the Institute of Directors.

    Two hundred of the UK’s biggest businesses are being targeted as part of a new Scottish Development International campaign to attract inward investment to Scotland.

    The First Minister has made a direct pitch to hundreds of company chiefs as part of his speech to the annual Institute of Directors convention at the O2 in London. Alex Salmond is also writing personally to the CEOs of some of Britain’s biggest businesses highlighting the benefits of investing in Scotland.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGM2ZRM6s2Q

    Now, how many of you would have known of this positive action by the First Minister from all of the disgusting headlines this week in all of our newspapers?

  12. Frank Wilson says:

    Thank you for a very honest piece of writing. I believe in socialism, I have always been left of left wing. In the late 70s, early 80s I was in Militant for a time. They were planning for a socialist Europe which really puzzled me, considering we were sitting at a meeting of six people in attendance (3 of them on the platform)in one of the biggest housing estates in Scotland.

    I became convinced that the only way that Scotland could meet my aspiration was by being independent.I also began to realise that Labour were duping everyone, the unions were dubious too and in general, Scotland was being treated as an also-ran. I have never voted for an English party and never will. I would support any independent government, regardles who they were because I believe in democracy and we must back our elected government to succeed.

    I do not care for the Westminster model of contrary politics. I believe we can have unity in what Alex Salmond calls ‘the common weel’. We might argue about the nuts and bolts of a subject but in the main I am sure we can work towards developing Scotland and the peoples’ hopes and aims. The Union served its purpose when we were sailing the high seas, plundering and laying claim to riches and resources. It has not benefited Scotland since the end of WW2 at least. It is an old idea and it has been manipulated by the larger of the partners to serve them instead of sharing. Its not enough.

    Since I came to England to work almost 4 years ago it has made me more determined for Scotland to become independent. The fact is this; in day to day life in England, Scotland does not exist. No good news is ever shown about Scotland on TV, it is always negative. In my experience our accents, our culture, celtic background, sporting prowess or lack of it, every part of us is insulted on a daily basis and is so common place it doesn’t even register. We are drunken, junkie, sponging, whinger gingers and sweaty socks. Union? stronger, fairer, richer? The part of England I live in has no recession. Incomes are good, house prices are high and when I come back to Glasgow I am struck at how poor the city and the people look.

    It angers me to think we have been sold by Westminster in general and robbed by Labour in particular of any equality, opportunity and fairness. Scotland must become independent. Am I  cybernat? Am I whinger ginger, a sweaty sock? Its just another derogatory name. There is a catalogue of them but lets keep doing what we are doing and hopefully, come the referendum we can sing ‘milk, lemonade, chocolate’ with smug satisfaction.

  13. annie says:

    I can’t believe how many of us are disenchanted labour supporters – i dont remember which particular outrageous unionist lie drove me to join the snp – there were so many of them but i hope there are tens of thousands more like me.

  14. Robert Bain says:

    Reading this after writing an article of my own on the almost exact same subject. I was struck by how much we share in common mate, my whole family were a Labour family from North Lanarkshire, and the way in which we ‘defected’ to the Nat side is the same. It great to know that there are many other Scots out there who have the same story and views as me (believe me, for a while I thought I was alone in the dark). 

    It can only be a matter of time before the truth is shown to all of Scotland. Reading about such thing as the covered up McCrone report a while back I was as shocked as you. It’s our suty as cyber-Nats to show the rest of Scotland the true facts about our nation that we are not a poor wee rainy village to the North. With time, we’ll get there but there’s a hell of a lot of work to do before we get there. 

    Saor Alba! 

  15. peter says:

    ’79 devolution vote and labours half-hearted approach at that time. i was onle 15yrs old, however, as a politcally naive teenager i was shocked at the vitriol directed at the snp.
     

  16. Macart says:

    Scott that is almost spooky. With the exception of the timescale that is indeed a very similar experience to my own. My independence conviction began shortly after I saw the electoral map of Scotland turn almost completely red and watched as Margaret Thatcher marched serenely on to dismantle my country, prior to this I had no interest in politics whatsoever. I remember asking friends and family at the time, how can it be that an entire country can vote against a system of government and yet still be forced to follow the rule of another? The decision was easy after that and my vote has been for independence ever since.

    Recently though I applied for SNP membership for almost exactly the same reasons as yourself in response to the appalling media coverage aimed at my country since last year. I thought now is the time to offer more than simply a vote and whether it is the pittance I can give on a monthly basis or time and effort in my profession, I’ll not be convinced anytime soon that there is a benefit to this union and continue to offer anything I can to help.

  17. Dál Riata says:

    Great article Scott!
    (And, while here, I’d like to say a big ‘Thank You’ for your work as “Sneaky Boy”. Your contributions to the Guardian’s CiF have been tremendous, repudiating the scare stories, lies, smears and ignorance of contributors (and those who comment BTL) that have been, and are still, published by that ‘distinguished’ member of the MSM. Keep it going!)

    While reading this, it was almost as if I was following my own story on why I have become so committed to doing all I can to help Scotland regain its independence.

    I won’t give my whole story at this time. (I’m working on writing my own blog soon.) For now, I’ll just say that though still resident in Scotland I have been living and working abroad for the best part of twenty-five years. For the most of these I have been in Asia, as I am now, based in Taiwan and China. I have my own business here, not of any great size, but as it is built around the Internet it could be said to be worldwide!

    I became a member of the SNP a few months ago for almost exactly the same reasons Scott gave! I am now one of those belonging to the Asian branch!

    I believe the will of the Scottish people is unstoppable no matter what will be thrown at us – and there will be a lot – and that Scotland will be declared independent in 2016.

    From now until then I will be working on shifting the base of my business (back) to Scotland. I will still be using Taiwanese and Chinese companies as associates, but Scotland will be home base.

    I believe that independence will bring a renaissance to a ‘New’ Scotland. I want to be there as it happens and contribute to it every way I can in a resurgent Scotland. My home. 

  18. Longshanker says:

    @Scott Minto

    “and forever prevent the Westminster political classes from again imposing on Scotland political values which it has emphatically rejected.”

    There’s a similar more direct piece on this theme written by Rev Stu on this site (I’d post the link but I’m not allowed to, apparently)

    Good as your piece is, RevStu’s is less a confessional and more a powerfully convincing political polemic on the rejection of the three main UK parties. I wholeheartedly agree with  it apart from some of the conclusions, and would argue that its power could shatter the majority of the arguments aimed at the SNP by the forces of the Unholy Alliance.     

    I agree with the gist of your piece which appears to be along the lines of, “I was so disaffected with the mainstream political parties that there was no other alternative than the SNP. I then experienced an epiphany of outlook based on my newfound Nationalist perception and haven’t looked back since.” (apologies for the paraphrasing).

    I was happy when Scotland got its own parliament in 1999 and hoped that it could provide the actions of a bulwark against some of the excesses of Westminster’s incumbents. To some degree it has, and that’s welcome.

    The leap of faith though, which the SNP so dearly need, to gain independence come the referendum, took a large step back, for me, in 2009 and it was due to the lack of judgement, embarrassingly demonstrated, by the Firstminster when dealing with drinks giant Diageo. (Yet another monopolistic corporate shark).

    At a rally in the town of Kilmarnock – which I attended – I saw the power and populism of Salmond’s speechmaking. He’s impressive, no doubt about it. I whooped and cheered like everyone else until he overstepped the mark. Amid the hoopla, he deigned to publicly lecture Diageo on what they could and couldn’t do with their own products.

    A MASSIVE COSTLY MISTAKE. I turned to my partner and said to her that he shouldn’t have said what he said – especially considering the manner in which it had been said.

    Chief Excecutive of Diageo, Paul Walsh, in interview with Douglas Fraser of the BBC alluded to this, when summing up the reasons for the decision to close Kilmarnock’s Johnnie Walker plant. Walsh chose to use this interview to publicly upbraid Salmond. It was a deserved humiliation – much as I despise Walsh and his corporate minions.

    It didn’t stop me liking Salmond, but it did stop me trusting in his judgement.       

    Salmond’s recent actions, regarding corporate dealings, have shown that the most likely course to be taken by an independent  Scotland is one of plutocratic rule. That’s the vision emanating from him despite the sovereignty of the people rhetoric.

    It’s no coincidence that the day the Scottish Sun came out was the day I started blogging. It’s my way of dealing with the dissonance of having no viable political party to vote for.

    The fact that the Nats aren’t tearing themselves apart over the Leveson email revelation only further reinforces my belief – bleak as it may sound – that the SNP offer no viable alternative to more of the same ie. democracy paying lip service to corporations.  

    I understand the excitement of SNP supporters and pro-independence supporters. I think it’s based on delusion judging by present actions.       
              

  19. steven luby says:

    As I have heard,read and repeated myself,”S.N.P is a vehicle to Scottish Independence,the S.N.P are not the beginning or end, they hold no monopoly over Scottish Politics or direction in which to take,because it’s Independence as a new beginning for all it’s peoples and politics that will take care of that”!

  20. Randomscot says:

    I’ve been an SNP voter for many many years, but personal circumstance limited my active involvement.
    Blether with Brian changed that. The exchange of information showed us how much we were being lied to by the press, even the BBC.
    Then came the Purcell affair. The BBC colluded with Labour and the West of Scotland press to shut that down. Iended up writing a piece for the Scottish Review after  ’CyberNats’ were villified by Kenneth Roy, picking up the line from the BBC. I knew we were just aking ‘what is going on’ and the answer is ‘nothing to see here’
    Then the shutdowns of BwB became more frequent. I haunted CiF for a while, I return on a weekly basis to mock Kevin McKenna if he deserves it (he usually does)and I talk to folk here and there.
    Sunny Hunddal I like, but he has a big blind spot about Scotland.
    longshanker above? I don’t believe a fucking word of his ‘disillusioned Nat’ act. He would never have chosen that name. 
    RevStu. Your comment plug-in doesn’t work on Dolphin HD on Android 2.3.6. I’ll try aversion browser later

  21. Dál Riata says:

    @Longshanker

    Mmmm… So you’re implying that Alex Salmond saying:

    “Let’s have no more nonsense from anyone that these proposals are in any way socially acceptable to the people of Scotland.” in Kilmarnock was, as you screamed, “A MASSIVE COSTLY MISTAKE?” Really? Is this your belief? My oh my!
     
    You do know, I’m sure, that Alex Salmond said later:

    “Not only will I never apologise for standing shoulder to shoulder with a workforce in their time of extremity, I am proud of a country and a community that cares enough about their company and their product to rally in defence of jobs in Scotland.”

    So, following your line of thinking, sticking up for his country’s humble workforce against corporate giants was also “A MASSIVE COSTLY MISTAKE”, by Alex Salmond, yes?
     
    Was it also “A MASSIVE COSTLY MISTAKE” for Unite’s Len McCluskey to say:

    “These are job cuts driven by one thing only – greed. This is a company drunk on greed. They are making megaprofits – more than s2billion last year – and want still more. We have news for Diageo and their boardroom – the days of ‘greed is good’ are over. Unite are not going to accept these jobs are going. If this company think they can throw hundreds of decent working men and women on the dole without a fight, they have been partaking of too much of their merchandise.”?
     
    And, Alex Salmond being “humiliated” on BBC Scotland…Tsk! Tsk! “BBC Scotland’, eh? You’ll have to do better than that, sorry!
     
    Oh, and an independent Scotland “likely” to be one of “plutocratic rule”, huh? You mean like this example from Wikipedia:

    “One modern, perhaps unique, formalised example of a plutocracy is the City of London.” … Ehh…naah, can’t see it myself!
     
    And by the way, that’s not the first time you have used the term, “Firstminster” instead of the correct term, First Minister for the head of the Scottish Government. Why do you do this? Is to be ‘funny’, or deliberately provocative or offensive? Do tell.
     

  22. Alex Grant says:

    Longshanker is always offensive wherever he trolls! Don’t waste your breath!

  23. No confessional here – I’m proud to say that I’ve never voted Liebour, EVER.  First election was way back in 1983 and I voted SNP as I wanted my country to be independent, something I’ve wanted ever since I knew what the word meant.  It’s just phenomenal to have arrived at the point we’re at now after all these years of watching our industrial base being systematically destroyed while the self-styled people’s party repeatedly promised things would be better if we just stuck their snouts in the trough one more time.

    Nor was I seduced like so many others by that grinning imbecile Blair.  First time I set eyes on that guy my first thought was “maniac”.  Thatcher scared me but Blair with these eyes shining with messianic zeal was in another league altogether. 

    So am I a “cybernat”?  Hell yeah, and I’ve got the domain name to prove it!  ;)

    Someone above mentioned starting a blog.  If anyone wants a good cybernat domain name (totally free of charge) just leave a reply for me.  By doing a blog and linking back to sites like this you’re doing one hell of a lot of good.

  24. Well I have not read all the comments,but I never had such a conversion,and my life story is very different.I,was taken to East Kilbride in 1959,by my mother and step father,him a hard line Tory,my mother I knew she was a nationalist,but she pretended to be a Labour supporter. My own father was an ardent Nationalist.Now as I was in EK,and close to Hamilton,in 1967 I was 15,there was a by-election,and I went down to see about it i got a chance to pass out some leaflets,Winnie Ewing of course,so i was always an SNP follower.
    I never liked Labour and the reason was I remember the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson,introducing selective employment tax,SET,and my step father having to sack the spare driver,as it would cost too much in SET and his wages would cover 4 men,so I associated Labour with the sacking of men.It may seem odd but a small business could not pay out the extra for no return,and I was always having to work for “the family” and never a couple of bob for me.

  25. Frank Wilson says:

    The SNP will hold the referendum and if the people decide on independence there will be a general election. You can vote for any party you like then. Now, I have no more the power to predict the future than any other human being, seer or otherwise, but so many pundits seem to speak with such authority of Scotland’s future its a pity they were not around to predict the credit crisis and the mess the UK is in now. They are probably the same people who foresaw  Armageddon caused by the millenium bug. Remember that? and what happened? A washing machine in Wakefield broke down. Sorry, it stopped, but proved to be ok after five pound card was put in the meter.

  26. Dál Riata says:

    @Alex Grant
     Of course you’re right, Alex. Yes, I know Longshanker comes here to troll. I usually can’t be bothered with trolls, but occasionally, with five minutes to spare, it’s irresistible! Though I know I shouldn’t as it does give them what they crave – the sad little buggers – attention. 
     
    By the way, have you taken a look at his ‘quirky’, ‘offbeat’ and ‘idiosyncratic’ blog…?  Cool dude, huh!
     

  27. Stuart M says:

    Interesting piece. I’d say my own journey to the SNP is a tiny bit unusual, particularly for the West of Scotland.
    I grew up on a housing scheme in the south of Glasgow. My father was a traditional Labour voter. However, he had his “faith” shaken by the inaction of his trade union when, for the first time in 20 years of paying dues, he actually needed their help. They turned a deaf ear. Then somehow in council elections in the mid-80s, the scheme had the temerity to elect an SNP councillor (I think there was a scandal which got to the press about his predecessor): the council took a vicious revenge, and the estate became a dumping ground for every druggie they could find. We got out a few years later, my parents scraping the cash together to buy a house as interest rates soared to 15%.
    Not long after was my first ever opportunity to vote. I voted SNP, and have pretty much done so ever since. I’m proud to say that I’m a Glaswegian who has never voted Labour, and never will.

  28. Alex Grant says:

    To Dal Riata
    AS they say in Glasgow ..”Aye right”!!! And once was was more than enough!

  29. Randomscot says:

    I just read Longshanker’s bog

    That definitely shows that his pose above is an arrant fucking lie

    Having read that I would be glad never to read a single word coming from that sewer of a mind again 

  30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “That definitely shows that his pose above is an arrant fucking lie”

    It’s not awfully convincing, is it? My first recollection of him posting here is an absolutely furious rage against the SNP for events in 1979, and given how angry he still is about that 33 years later it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine him as a Nat in the intervening period. But judge for yourselves:

    http://wingsland.podgamer.com/behind-our-backs/#comment-6167

    “The SNP and Alex Salmond have earned the contempt they deserve – even if it is from a bunch of corrupt, out of touch, gin swilling, doddering fraudsters like the House of Lords. Poachers and gamekeepers, pots and kettles and a’that. I’m not anti or pro independence, I’m just agin that parcel of rogues calling itself the Scottish National Party.”

  31. Adam Davidson says:

    Newsnetscotland did it for me. I was reading the Herald article online about the Citibank advisor suggesting that his energy clients shouldn’t invest in Scotland. Up to this point I liked the idea of independence but like many believed Scotland would struggle. The bank bailout was what really made me have my doubts, how could Scoland have afforded that?

    I was reading the Citibank article and in the comments someone left a reference to Newsnetscotland and the McCrone report. I googled it and that was it. I couldn’t believe I had believed everything the Herald had written. Banks, military, GERS, Europe, Oil, Wind!, What a sucker. I have been determined that I would do my best not to allow others to be misled in the way I had.

    Thru NNS I discovered Wings and thru Wings discovered Sairfecht. I haven’t read a book in about six months. By the time I do the Herald and Scotsman online, comment, then read NNS, Wings and SF, then maybe The Daily Record if I am really desperate my free time is gone. 

    This is the most exciting time in Scotland’s history, I feel very privileged to be part of it and just maybe play a small part in spreading the word. Cybernat and very proud to be so!
     

  32. Seasick Dave says:

    It was the ‘Divorce is an Expensive Business’ that did it for me.

    The BBC used to play the ad whenever they could at which point I thought, “No point complaining to that shower so I joined the SNP and have been a member ever since”.

  33. Jen says:

    Hello What a great article.  Your story is similar to many of my friends.  However, mine is one that spans generations!  My great grandad thought there must be something better for Scotland after WW1 thus the nationalist cause was started in my family.  My grandad who was in WW2 was vocal in his views within the family and everyone votes SNP.    My own father never lived to see the SNP victories of 2007 and 2011 however before he died he indicated that he had a regret, about never being active in a political way other than persuading people he knew that independence was possible.   A last wish if you like was that all members of the family do what they can come another chance for a referendum.    My familiy hailed from Glasgow and my grandad suffered somewhat career wise for his views thus he has a passionate dislike for the British Labour Party and is very suspicious of the trade unions.   

    My Grandad maintains that voting for the British Labour Party is voting against the economic and social interest of Scotland and her people.  Put simply, its a wasted vote and one that has the individual voting against himself.   As independence is whats needed for a fairer and socially just society.     You couldn’t publish this comment with what he has to say about the Tories.

    When Scotland is independent it will be the first time that I and my familiy will vote with a look at any parties policies! 

  34. Suth says:

    I can’t believe it took you that long to become the “cybernat” you are now. The Lib Dems had done the same thing in Hollyrood as they did in Westminster with the Tories now and had never stood their ground before, so why on Earth would you think they’d do it then all of a sudden? I fully expected cooperation with the Tories from them. They had never shown reasons to trust them about anything (and at least the Tories did what people expected and some who voted for them got what they wanted, which is more than you can say for some other parties). Likewise with Labour, they have done incredibly nasty or downright incompetent things decades ago for those with eyes and ears to find it. Waiting for all those years for it to sink in at a glacial pace…it’s not just you though. It seems everyone takes such a long time to get over these things or for it to sink in. As hard as moving outside of your religious and cultural upbringing. It’s relying on the utterly useless and frequently lying mainstream media or family/cultural heritage to form opinions (family voting loyalties being as common as family and area football team support choice) that hampers this awakening, I think.

  35. Iain More says:

    The first time I have read anything you have written. I found it an interesting read. My journey was one of having a father who was a life long Labour man and a shop steward. He married a Scottish Tory girl so make of that what you will. I know that before his end he was voting SNP even though he was a Londoner born and bred. Tony Blair was the last straw for him. Thatcher was the last straw for my mother.

    NuLabour and Thatcherite Tories were repellent to each as they went against everything that they believed in. A vote for Liberal was just out of the question. My mothers family had the expereince of being clerared from thier land by a Highland Liberal politician, the hate ran deep towards that Party. 

    The object though was not just to vote blindly for the SNP, the goal was to achieve an Independent Scotland. To create a fair and just Scotand. The only vehicle for that was to vote for the SNP.

    To quote my mother

    “The present day Tories in Scotland are incapable of independent thought and have sacrificed standing up for Scots to advance thier careers outwith Scotland! They betrayed a generation that fought against the Nazis!”

    To quote my father

    “Labour in Scotland has no ambition other than to become what they hate or profess to hate! The ermine chasing mongrels that occupy the House of Lords!
    A breed that woulds ell thier own grandmothers to gain a title!We will never be able to create a just Scotland as long as those vermin are allowed to rule us! The only hope for a socially just England is through an Independent Scotland and the sweeping away of everything that is holding back social progress and that is to dump Wesminster Rule totally!

    Without Scotland to bleed dry they have nothing to prop up what is effectively permanent right wing Tory rule in one form or another! The present breed of Tories have more in common with American neo cons than one Nation Tories! What was more frightening to him is that thier neo darwinism and other modern Tory strands of thought that have infected the Brit Labour Party as they try to sell the Party to a rapacious breed in the city of London and also a greedy breed who hanker for the peasant free Hunting Estate and titles!”

  36. Yes yes yes to everything this article says. Excellent stuff.

    Iraq happened while I was in high school, and was why I got into politics. What I learned – about the UK, about the US, about corruption and war – was not pretty. 

    It, perhaps unusually, led me to a brief period in my late teens where I thought I was a libertarian. Then that slowly gravitated towards a socially liberal position on the left. The illiberal approach of New Labour continued to dismay, and for some similar reasons to this post’s author I voted (for the first time) in 2010 for the Lib Dems.

    Regretted that pretty damn soon of course, and became despondent, negative and close to apathetic about politics for quite a while. I think the SNP winning big in 2011 even somewhat passed me by, although I’d been keen on the idea of independence at least in principle for a number of years.

    Strange, it was a very small thing that re-engaged me with politics. I caught an article quoting Salmond saying “when the rocks melt wi the sun” on whether students would ever have tuition fees imposed in Scotland, and then expounding on the nature of education as a national investment. It chimed with me far more than anything any mainstream politician had said in some time – until I caught on youtube the question time clip of the FM telling an English audience not to let “these three parties destroy your national health service.”

    I went from an appreciation of Mr. Salmond as a politician (“appreciation” and “politician” having previously constituted an oxymoron to my mind) to slowly becoming engrossed in the pro-independence arguments – the economic rationale I saw as increasingly obvious, the very clear wealth of the Scottish nation, and the overwhelming sense that the Union was a hindrance to that, to the full realising of Scottish potential, not a help. More than just economics though, I came to appreciate that if you truly believe Scotland is a nation, then full independence is the only thing you can possibly want.

    This was a long educative process, helpfully speeded along by the clumsy intervention into the Scottish debate by Messrs Cameron and Osbourne. That’s when it went from being an interest to a passion, following which I joined the SNP. Just in time, hopefully, to see us take my home city of Glasgow … fingers crossed.

  37. douglas clark says:

    Scott Minto is a very clever man.

    It is the BTL posts here that he asked for that promote solidarity. Which is as it should be.

    I have often wondered just how people came to be or became independence minded. What an intelligent awakening folk have had! And felt liberated to express here.

    It is your comments, dear reader, that make me proud to be associated with so many nice people. For we are all on a journey together.
     
     

  38. rableather says:

    My story is completely different to that above. It comes in 2 parts, the heart and then the head.

    At school we walked into music, one Monday we had a new tune. The English squad qualified for the world cup and the tune was Back Home. I was so proud to be English. I dont remember how long I laboured under that misapprehension but I can tell you when realisation hit I was angry. I was angry with the media/ society that presented this event as having personal meaning to me, for not letting me know there was a difference between Scotland and England. I was angry with me for having believed it. I was EIGHT years old.

    My Great Grandfather was a founder member of the ILP the Labour party was important in our house. But I felt disenfranchised especially when we kicked the tories out of Scotland and still had a tory gov.

    Then came the head in the form of a documentary called “Scotching the Myth”. It was a seminal moment in my life. For the first time in my life someone had said, yes we could make it on our own. I switched voting allegance immediately.  

    I met a Westminster candidate up the street and he pursuaded me to join the party. Need to get a move on now, meeting in 10 mins to go leafleting. My husband is standing for council as an SNP candidate.

     

  39. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Thank you for all the positive comments.

    @Annie – I believe that for Labour to have once been the Party of Scotland and for the SNP to replace them, there must be many many more disgruntled Labour supporters turned SNP supporters who see independence as the only way to achieve left wing policies they ascribe to.

    @ Juteman – I dont always agree with your stance on issues like renewables, but I always welcome your opinion and are glad to be part of the “Indy crowd” with you.

    @ Bugger (The Panda) – Yes, it is strange that probably the greatest example of grass roots politics gets overlooked for attention as it is Cybernats. To admit the extent, ability and success of possibly the very first social network, would raise too many questions as to how it came into existence, and why, for the MSM to spin with any shred of believability, so we are ignored and margianalised instead.

    @ Suth – “I cant believe it took you so long to become the Cybernat you are now”

    I think like many people, it is more about good governance and opportunities for future generations that resonate with me. The truth is that I tried the avenues available to me to improve the outlook within the UK, but that was a non starter as the game is rigged for the wealthy plutocracy of the UK (Regardless of the colour of the Party in power).

    If the game isnt working for you, you change it! That is the opportunity of Independence, a chance to level the playing field so that everyone can get a positive chance in life. People dont like massive upheaval, but if you have exhausted the avenues available you become more receptive. I think that UK politics has reached that impass. It is too far gone now for people to think that there are ANY avenues left to rectify the corruption and self serving nature of the beast. Independence is our only positive way forward and it comes with the benefit that it offers the other nations in the UK a chance to change the power structure in a favourable way.

    @Douglas Clark – Thank you for the kind words. I think after the last few weeks of Independence supporters bickering aobut what happens AFTER we get independence it is a good idea to have them agree on what we need FIRST.

  40. Longshanker says:


    @Dál Riata
      
    “Let’s have no more nonsense from anyone that these proposals are in any way socially acceptable to the people of Scotland.” in Kilmarnock was, as you screamed, “A MASSIVE COSTLY MISTAKE?” Really? Is this your belief? My oh my!

    Read what I said. If you were there, you’ll know how special a day that day was. If you have any connection to the town you’ll know how special that day was.

    Salmond made a major mistake roughly 3 1/2 to 4 minutes in with his speech. It’s still available to see on Youtube. Communities standing together and shoulder to shoulder rhetoric, all very well, rousing and good. Publicly telling a highly profitable, morally repugnant, corporation what they can and cannot do with their own products and brands – ‘intangible assets’ – is unrestrained hubris. Plus, it sounded like a threat.

    To deign to publicly lecture a corporation with such a powerful hold on such an important industry was a MASSIVE MISTAKE. Salmond’s ego took over, possibly assisted by the adulation of the crowd, and he publicly insulted Diageo for a bit of easily gained populism. Rank amateur behaviour. Certainly not the actions of a would be statesman. I expect more from political leaders.

    Opposition politicians can get away with words and actions like that. Salmond is allegedly our best shot at a statesman. He failed. Statesman remains a mere allegation. 
      

    Lickspittle

    Admittedly, he learned. Now he acts like a lickspittle prostitute to corporations such as NewsCorps. 

    Nationalists who aren’t disturbed or disgusted by the NewsCorps (jobs jobs jobs) revelations are merely Murdoch’s Minions by proxy. Well done. I salute them in their communal and delusional hypocricy. The mantra/excuse/justification of “Labour did it an aw” doesn’t excuse Salmond or the SNP, it only makes him/them look like Labour. How aspirational.

    “And, Alex Salmond being “humiliated” on BBC Scotland…Tsk! Tsk! “BBC Scotland’, eh? You’ll have to do better than that, sorry!”
       

    You don’t get it. Understandable given the circumstance. It wasn’t BBC Scotland who humiliated him. It was Paul Walsh, Chief Executive of Diageo. He pointed out, using almost minimalist language, just how unseemly Salmond had been in his dealings with the drinks giant. The BBC was merely the medium for the message.

    My conclusion!

     As above – Salmond learned – don’t go up against the corporations. They have sharks like Walsh – sharks who chew minnows like Salmond up and spit them out with impunity.

    People like Lamont, Davidson and Rennie would hardly make Paul Walsh’s office cleaner. Salmond forgets that at his peril. He might be a giant amongst pygmies at Holyrood. 
    He’s a prostitute amongst Johns at Corporationsville.    
             

    @Scott Minto

    Sorry for the rant – but I do feel quite strongly about this. Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock needed some kind of modernisation. Salmond could have bought more time or other concessions. His insult put the shutters up – undermined some fine behind the scenes work by John Swinney – and sent a potentially global corporate signal out regarding Paul Walsh’s opinion of Salmond, and possibly the SNP.

    It’s not the whole story, and Salmond isn’t solely to blame for the closure of the plant, but he could have done much better. His judgement was very poor to the point of embarrassing.

    @RevStu  

       My first recollection of him posting here is an absolutely furious rage against the SNP for events in 1979,

    No. The rage was brought on by you stating that what was referred to in your piece was somehow a concerted establishment attack against the Scots (“us”), when in fact it, was nothing of the kind. It was merely you stoking up chip on the shooder Nationalist fervor. You have a very liberal interpretation of the word “us” as you admitted yourself when defining its meaning.  

    @randomscot

    Whatever you think – for you – it’s probably right.
          

  41. Tonia Wight says:

    Here here! (oops that sounds like something outta Westminster)

    Seriously though, it would be great it this could get published in the mainstream media as it is a great piece showing that just because you see the SNPs point of view (or indeed are a cybernat) you aren’t bonkers. This is a well written and well thought out piece that deserves more attention (no offense WoS but I guess your readership does not include many non-SNP voters). You have also summed up my conversion to the SNP quite nicely (though I’ve never voted Labour instead (*hangs head in shame*) I voted Lib Dem until 2007. I did however vote LD in 2010 as we didn’t have an SNP candidate standing – although thankfully my vote didn’t count for diddly as Labour got in.

    By the way – what makes someone a cybernat? Does occasionally responding to blog posts like this (or failing to ever get a comment published on NNS) make you a cybernat or do you have to write blogs and respond to everything out there? Just wondering (as I’m the former but wouldn’t mind the label just to piss off certain people of my acquaintance!).

  42. Macart says:

    Near as I can tell Tonia, all you have to do is support the idea of independence on line and hey presto, you’re a cybernat.

    Quite proud of it myself. :) 

  43. Tonia Wight says:

    Macart: Wonderful! I shall announce my cybernat-ism to the world!

  44. Tonia Wight says:

    OOooh 4 minutes and 42 seconds to edit… just found the widgety stuff that was added last week. For those who don’t have it apparently you need to enable the wordpress script if you are using noscript to block stuff (I know there was some comment about things not working on a thread last week sometime).

  45. Craig P says:

    Wow Scott. What a testament.
    I grew up happily British – why not, that was all that was on offer – but first gained a Scottish consciousness at uni (reading history in my spare time and listening to Scottish bands) and my first vote was for the SNP. When Labour and devolution came good I wobbled, thinking that perhaps independence was unnecessary and in fact full of risks (also my local SNP candidates were of low quality – I still voted for them though, albeit reluctantly). Now I’m firmly back in the indy camp, and the union seems to me far more risky to my and my country’s wellbeing than independence.
    But it was reading the McCrone report that really scunnered any remaining attachment to the union for me and turned me from a passive voter into an activist. I wonder how people who have been campaigning for the last 30-odd years feel to be finally proved right.

  46. muttley79 says:

    I have been a long-time SNP supporter.  My father was good friends with a man who played an important role in Winnie Ewing’s Hamilton by-election victory in 1967.  I suppose he passed on the ‘faith’ to me. 

  47. cath says:

    Very similar to my story. I’m half English and grew up as a massive Beatles fan and Mod. So in my teens and early 20s I was running 60s clubs, complete with Union Jacks, RAF mod symbols and all the “British culture” the 60s gave us. I always felt more Scottish, and always vaguely thought Scotland should be independent, but never to the extent I bothered with the politics of independence and certainly not to the point I’d call myself “a nationalist”.

    I was exctited by the Scottish parliament arriving, and similarly found myself slightly surprisingly pleased when the SNP got in in 2007. My real hope then was for a coalition between them and the Lib Dems, to give good, stable governance and perhaps deliver full fiscal autonomy. I was really dismayed by the clear hatred displayed by all 3 Westminster parties, and their petty attempts to frustrate the good governance Scotland really needed out of party political spite.

    I guess that’s why – like many others – I voted SNP in 2011 without a second thought about it, and was delighted by the landslide. Well, that and Westminster increasingly being so utterly corrupt and far removed from real people that it was beginning to seem irreleant at best; holding us back at worst.

    The anti-Scottish sentiment, I’ve been noticing that since Gordon Brown became PM and it became obvoiusly worse after 2011. And yes, the Cybernat term angered me a lot at first too – a crude attempt to scare people from debate. I joined the SNP – again, along with many others – when Cameron said Westminster would take control of the referendum. That was the point I moved fully from FFA to independence too.

    Like you, I’ve learned many things over the past few months, McCrone, GERS, Willie MacRae…no going back from here, and the journey wasn’t that long really. Once the light’s gone on about independence, it’s just so blindingly obvious we should have control of our own affairs, and all the abuse in the world doesn’t change that: it just re-inforces it.

  48. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Thanks for sharing Cath.

    Hopefully more will come to the same realisation also! 

  49. BrianMcC (@bmc875) says:

    I made similar transition from Tory to SNP in 2003. Strangely, that was the year I returned to Scotland from many years Dan Saff. Strange that?



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