Nicky MacCrimmon: Yes is like any family - we bicker and we disagree, but we must stick together

Activist Nicky MacCrimmon says the Yes movement online must learn to put differences aside from time to time for the sake of the bigger picture

I’LL start this piece with a confession. I am not without sin.

Over the past few years I have, at one point or another, ranted at or about Trots, zoomers, Yes-marching flag wavers, BBC protestors, The National, The Sunday Herald, CommonSpace, Bella Caledonia, the SNP, Green Party, Rise, elected politicians, the Indy Twitter intelligentsia, Wings, Ponsonby and various other individuals.

Perhaps I’m just a really angry, intolerant person but I would like to think not. I suppose the answer is that, whether I like it or not, I cannot be anything but emotionally invested in all of the above. They are all intrinsic parts of the Yes family or have a crucial role to play in helping deliver the Yes message. 

Like all families, we want the best for each other. We have strong, often highly emotionally charged, views on what people should be doing and it can be hugely frustrating when we see people taking a different tack.

I don’t agree with all of them all of the time but each has their part to play and I wholeheartedly believe each does so honestly, and with conviction.

Like all families, we want the best for each other. We have strong, often highly emotionally charged, views on what people should be doing and it can be hugely frustrating when we see people taking a different tack.

To get frustrated with what other people are doing is natural and understandable and that will always be amplified when that person is meant to be on your side. It is easy to rationalise the actions of the other side, no matter how low they sink, because they want us to lose. 

When someone on our own team does something we see as detrimental to the cause, the urge to scream "what the f**k are you up to?!" can be overwhelming.

However, recently on indy Twitter we have seen a re-emergence of some of the long-simmering tensions that bubble away under the Yes movement. In the wake of the extremely worrying news about Bella Caledonia’s future some have taken the opportunity to again raise personal grievances or to accuse those who see a different road to independence as trying to actively destroy the indy movement or to be riding the movement for personal gain.

When someone on our own team does something we see as detrimental to the cause, the urge to scream "what the f**k are you up to?!" can be overwhelming.

Quite frankly, it needs to stop and grown adults should have the maturity to accept and bear that people have a different view to them as to how best to win this fight. If you have a personal grievance with an individual, no-one else cares, sort it out yourselves.

Perhaps your differences are ideological. Maybe you think folk don’t miss an opportunity to have a go at the SNP. The truth is, if people want to take a leftward position to criticise or challenge the SNP or Scottish Government, then to be quite honest they are big enough and tough enough to take it – and even on occasion respond positively to it.

Equally, sneering at those who wave flags, wear 45 badges and hate the Beeb is also counterproductive. It might not be a form of campaigning or argument that sits well with you but that’s just tough.

When we hear that Yes needs to be a radical movement for social change, I might want that to be the case, but I don’t see much evidence that the electorate think that way yet. 

Make the case and campaign for that yourself but if that is not what motivates others, or the Yes movement seems too "small c" conservative, the onus is on you to make the persuasive argument that it should be otherwise, not to criticise those who can’t see what you regard as the obvious.

Quite frankly, it needs to stop and grown adults should have the maturity to accept and bear that people have a different view to them as to how best to win this fight.

The Yes movement needs to win a majority of the voting population who will all have their own motivations and their own reasons to vote for independence. What persuades me to want an independent Scotland might not be what persuades you, but all our voices, our ideas and our energies are required going forward.

It is tempting to think, "well what does any of this matter? Twitter is all a bubble anyway". To an extent this is true. The personalities and the egos certainly don’t matter. Go and knock doors around Scotland and ask people what they think of the individuals behind Scotland’s social media scene and they won’t have a clue or care, and quite right too.

However, when you go and knock doors or stand in your local High Street and you have the arguments that have been developed through social media discourse or your Wee Blue Book; when you can share infographics or articles online to friends and family that have been developed by indy bloggers or alternative media; when you go to a town hall meeting with speakers from all spectrums of the Yes movement who have made connections and developed relationships through the online indy world – that is when you have something really powerful, something the unionists can never replicate, something of the people, for the people and, in my opinion, the most powerful weapon the Yes movement has.

When we might be as little as a year or two out from the next indyref, let’s not throw all that away.

Picture: CommonSpace

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Comments

sheenaf

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 23:20

Is the problem not that we are not actually doing anything constructive ATM to further the cause of Independence? No leaflets to deliver, no door knocking, few street stalls, marches and rallies with ever dwindling numbers. When a family or a movement is in the thick of a crisis, or a vital project, the need for urgent action unites everyone in common cause. When there is no urgent call to action, we let things slide and spend our time nit picking and arguing among ourselves.

For some, the intellectual debate and inspiration provided by our many wonderful writers and thinkers is sufficient to keep the flame alive but for others it is essential that we have something positive to DO. Endlessly supporting the foodbanks and the needy is beginning to feel like shoring up the status quo.......

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