I've got a very soft spot for National Collective, partly because I was a contributor to the site in its early days, but mainly because it's since developed into an all-round class act, which does ingenious things that simply aren't being done anywhere else. So I'm absolutely appalled to see the cowardly attempts to bully the site into silence, and more especially the apologism of the anti-independence 'Better Together' campaign for that bullying. Their passive-aggressive press release on the subject is eerily reminiscent of the one Argyll and Bute Council issued when they tried to ban a nine-year-old girl from publishing a photo-blog. It seems that bullying is absolutely fine just so long as the victim has been criticising the quality of your school dinners - or if you need to keep a multi-millionaire, Tory-supporting, non-Scottish-domiciled donor sweet.
Leaving aside the truth or otherwise of the serious allegations against Ian Taylor (who has in any case removed any doubt as to what an odious individual he is through his own actions over the last couple of days), it has to be said that the list of Better Together donors is a thoroughgoing embarrassment to the entire anti-independence campaign. We now know that they're largely being bankrolled by two fabulously wealthy individuals, neither of whom live in Scotland, and neither of whom have any stake in this country's future. They do, of course, have a stake in a No vote in the sense that it's the only way in which the country they now live in will continue to have access to Scottish natural resources. A cynical person might assume that's what it's all about, but who knows.
Suffice to say that the trademark whines about the residency status of prominent Yes supporters such as Brian Cox and Alan Cumming will ring even more hollow from this moment on. I can only imagine that the No campaign released the list when they did because they knew the hit was coming and wanted to get it over and done with.
Their second-biggest donor, Sussex resident C J Samson, actually wrote a novel recently in which he openly boasted about "really going to town on the SNP" - by which he meant that he portrayed a barking mad alternative history of the Second World War in which the Scottish National Party collaborates with a British Nazi government. Even if we are generous to the man and assume that he honestly believes that the SNP's brand of nationalism in the 1930s and 40s had fascist leanings (in spite of the fact that the SNP were pretty much the only party in Britain that Oswald Mosley never actually represented as an MP), it's rather hard to understand how he thinks they would have furthered the cause of a Scottish quasi-fascist state by collaborating with British fascism. One thing about far-right nationalism is that the nation in question is generally held to be indivisible. Still, I dare say a man who is capable of convincing himself that Alex Salmond is Hitler probably isn't too troubled by such logical quibbles.
Oh yes, indeed. You see, Samson finishes the novel with a propaganda chapter (how ironic) in which he explains that the purpose of the book is to convert "even one person" to the cause he espouses - which is essentially to prevent the modern SNP (you know, that moderate, centre-left, pro-immigration party) from turning Scotland into a one-party state, "perhaps forever".
Let's call a spade a spade - the anti-independence campaign is seemingly content to be financed by a nutter who reckons his donation is part of a heroic struggle against fascism. That's how Alice in Wonderland this has become.
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Talking of donations, if you want to fight back against the No campaign's bully-boy tactics, the simplest way is to make a contribution (large or small) to National Collective's fundraising drive. Click HERE if you'd like to do so.