Yes, the referendum has been and gone, and in the bluster of party conference season, it’s shifted off the radar of the national media.
But just in the same way that Labour supporters didn’t defect to the Tories because they got beat in the last election, there’s still over a million Scots campaigning, hoping to secure more powers for Scotland – and one day, independence.
With the Yes vote coming primarily from the relatively young 25-39 age range, and the vote given to 16 year olds for the first time, it’s no surprise that social media is an important battleground for the debate – to the extent that the catchy terms ‘cybernats’ and ‘unitrolls’ were coined to refer to some of the debate’s more… enthusiastic participants.
In a post-referendum Scotland, where voters are still worried about when the promised extra powers are going to appear and people are joining the SNP in droves, it’s no surprise that Nationalist Twitter is still going strong. Here’s the 7 people you need to follow if you’re going to keep up with how the Yes side is getting on – God knows the papers aren’t going to tell you.
Wings Over Scotland
Leader of the vile cybernats, scourge of Unionists everywhere and supposed ‘Reverend’ who lives in Bath, Stuart Campbell, AKA Wings Over Scotland is one of the more Twitter-popular pro-Independence voices on the social network. He’s sometimes foul-mouthed and prone to tempers, but often a reliable fact-checker and bitingly critical of the shortcomings of the Unionist cause. Basically, he’s the exact sort of person you want on your side.
Although more active before the referendum, his Twitter timeline now is more of a curated list of the best pro-Indy tweets, with tweets from the man himself being few and far between. His timeline certainly leans towards more shareable pro-Indy soundbites, but that’s generally how political debate goes on Twitter. Wings Over Scotland maybe isn’t the best account to follow if you want to keep up with the political nuts and bolts of the debate, but it’s always inspiring and entertaining.
The BBC’s policy of only showing Brian Limond’s wonderful Limmy’s Show on BBC Scotland is nothing short of criminal. Maybe he’s just too Scottish for the good people of England, who knows. Like Wings, Limmy isn’t one to follow if you’re looking for links to intellectual op-eds or an in-depth analysis of the North Sea oil situation. But in terms of sheer enthusiasm for the cause and occasional, 20-tweet monologues on the nature of the vote and Scottish identity, Limmy’s essential.
Also, a few years back he tried, and succeeded, to lost 1,000 followers in 24 hours. It was amazing.
As a political journalist at STV, Mr. Daisley’s timeline is the perfect mix of up-to-date political commentary and snark. His tweets are fairly non-partisan, and he take shots equally at the loons on either side of the debate. What’s more, his topical desk decoration should be an inspiration to any hack looking to spice up their workplace.
Maybe this one doesn’t count because it’s the account of a pro-indy blog, but they’re still worth a follow. Something of an antidote to Wings Over Scotland’s vitriol, their posts are more thoughtful takes on the future of the movement and the current state of Scotland. At the very least, their posts are unlikely to provoke an angry Twitter storm from No voters, and that’s something. Most of their original tweets are just links to their articles, but they’re worth the click, and their many retweets seem carefully chosen to avoid the anger and rumour-milling that the Yes side is suceptible to.
They occasionally publish articles in Gaelic as well, and you can’t get much more Scottish than that. Their media ‘buycott’ appears to be making waves as well, so they’re certainly one to watch.
Welsh surely needs no introduction. It’s hardly surprising that the man who wrote:
“Fuckin failures in a country of failures. Its nae good blamin it oan the English fir colonising us. Ah don’t hate the English. They’re just wankers. We are colonised by wankers. We can’t even pick a decent, vibrant healthy society to be colonised by. No..we are ruled by effete arseholes. What does that make us? The lowest of the low, the scum of the earth. The most wretched servile, miserable, pathetic trash that was ever shat intae creation. Ah don’t hate the English. They just git oan wis the shite thev got. Ah hate the Scots.”
…has got a lot of refreshingly plain words to say about the independence debate. He’s got a keen bullshit detector and not a lot of tolerance for politicking. But that shouldn’t really be a shock either.
The Common Weal
Interestingly, crowdfunded site The Common Weal doesn’t bill itself as a pro-independence organisation. They take their name from an old Scots saying, which essentially means ‘shared wealth for the benefit of all’. Interested in progressive politics, they ask the question, “if you could do anything, what would you do?”. Naturally, most of their output is pro-Indy, but generally they’re looking for a more progressive Scotland.
Their website is fairly blog-heavy, but their timeline isn’t just links. Unfortunately, there’s a fair amount of retweets given to their new donors, a common feature of many crowdfunded Nationalist sites – but there’s still a lot of good stuff there. There’s liveblogs from Indy events, well-produced and informative videos, and the occasional merch plug. As one of the more internet-savvy folk on this list, their website’s bloody lovely, which is a bonus.
Alright, this one’s definitely cheating. But it’s hard to properly follow a movement without listening to one of that movement’s senior members, right? Right. Unusually for a politician’s twitter account, her tweets aren’t the usual wooden promises that the other party leaders’ timelines are full of. Whether that’ll change if she wins the SNP leadership in November I’m not sure, but we can enjoy the sassiness for the time being.
Her hair is amazing, as well.
The Honourable Mention
And finally, an honourable mention goes to #the45 – the latest Twitter movement made up of the 45% of Scots who voted Yes. It’s hard to include them on this list, as there’s no real ‘official’ Twitter account – they’re very much a grassroots-style movement. Which is great for Scotland, but not so good for my Twitter list. At any rate, keeping that very active hashtag as a saved search should keep you up to speed with things.
Have I missed anyone out? It’s always seemed to me that pro-Indy tweeters are very interconnected – everyone always seems to be retweeting one another. But I’ve no doubt there’s a bunch of great people I’ve missed purely because they’re out of my circle. Please let me know your suggestions in the comments, or by tweeting me @DougieBolton.