It really shouldn’t have to be explained to people that there is more going on in Scotland than independence. There are other economic, social, and political issues which require our attention. All of these live issues and questions are being addressed by a centrist party in government. The leadership and party apparatchiks of the SNP are setting the agenda on these issues and moving the country in a particular direction, and this is happening because – for the sake of independence – the overwhelming majority of the independence movement has put politics on ice.
Stuart Campbell came remarkably close to saying this in his recent interview with Alex Salmond when he said “we will all grow old and die before we have a second referendum” if we continue on with this policy of asking and asking ad nauseam permission from a British government which we have effectively handed the power to always say: “Now is not the time.” Ultimately, what this means is that the independence movement in Scotland and its political leadership are pinned down in their constant reference to England – to the will of Westminster and the English state.
Who exactly gives Mark Zuckerberg the right to say what we can and cannot express online? Sure, clear cases of hate speech and incitement to violence should – by law – be removed and offenders brought to book, but we already have laws for that. It’s upsetting that Facebook can remove content it arbitrarily finds unpleasant or distasteful. But it is a private company; it’s Facebook’s platform and Facebook’s rules. But what’s really concerning – even worrying – is that governments appear to have a say in what and what can’t be shared on the site.
Soft criminalisation is a very effective political weapon in the hands of any state establishment, and has been used countless times against people and organisations which have become too great a threat to the status quo.
If Common Space wants to go gunning for Wings – especially on the back of such a flimsy and obviously politically motivated accusation – then its producers have to know they are instigating a serious and probably catastrophic split in the entire movement.
Weaponising the accusation of homophobia against Campbell – another example of throwing mud and hoping some will stick – is nothing but a cynical attempt to discredit him and thereby his work and that for which he and others are working.
Indeed nothing has changed. The Scottish government, rather than dropping the idea of another referendum, has simply delayed introducing the required legislation until after the Brexit process has been completed.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Campbell in the movement – good or bad – thank goodness we have him. Wings was caught in the snare, and now it’s out again – thanks to the general uproar in Scotland.