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Hi, I’m James Kelly. I write the pro-independence blog Scot Goes Pop, which over the years has carved out a niche for itself with its detailed coverage of opinion polls. During the independence referendum, it relentlessly challenged the agenda-driven misreporting of polls as showing that the Yes campaign were not even in the game. In the run-up to the general election, it picked up the extraordinary SNP surge a few weeks earlier than the mainstream media and most other polling websites, mainly because it didn’t shy away from the controversial approach of looking at the Scottish subsamples of Britain-wide polls. According to Google Analytics, an astonishing 210,000 unique visitors have read the blog over the last twelve months alone. Even if only half of those people are in Scotland (and the true figure is likely to be higher than that), it means that over 2% of the country’s population has been reached. Not bad for a one-person operation!
Throughout much of 2014 and 2015, writing Scot Goes Pop has been the equivalent of either a full-time job or a very time-consuming part-time job. It simply wouldn’t have been possible to put in that level of commitment if it hadn’t been for your incredibly generous contributions to two fundraisers – the first in May 2014, and the second in September 2014. Between them, they raised over £9000. For the avoidance of doubt, the fundraisers weren’t intended to cover the running costs of the blog – there aren’t really any running costs at all, and there won’t be any in future unless it becomes necessary to switch to a different platform. A small percentage of the money was spent on drawing in new readers via adverts on social media, but the bulk of it simply helped cover my own living expenses. I do have other sources of income, but obviously time spent blogging is time that I can’t spend earning money elsewhere.
The period covered by the second fundraiser ended with the general election in May. Since then, I’ve held off from running a third, because I wanted to take time to consider what its exact purpose might be. I’ve seriously toyed with the idea of following the example of a few fellow political bloggers, and scaling back on the blogging to concentrate on writing a book (for self-publication). At other times, I’ve thought I’ll probably continue blogging as regularly as I’ve been doing recently, and perhaps even look at the possibility of using crowdfunding to commission the occasional opinion poll myself. In all honesty, my plans are still very unclear, although I do know that I’d like to continue writing regularly in some form. Unfortunately, financial pressures have very suddenly come to a head, and I now realise that I can’t wait for the mists to clear in my mind before I attempt to raise some more funds.
When I first explained this dilemma in May, a number of you very kindly said that you appreciate the large amount of work I’ve put into the blog, and would be willing to make a donation in recognition of that. I believe the internet jargon is “buying me a coffee”. The only snag is that I detest the taste of coffee. Luckily, however, I do seem to spend a fair percentage of my life in Edinburgh or Glasgow coffee shops drinking hot chocolate, ideally with cream and chocolate sprinkles on top. So perhaps the best way of looking at this fundraiser is as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (and you know what that means) to buy me a hot chocolate or two if you’ve enjoyed the blog, and don’t want to see me go thirsty (sniff) as I endeavour to keep writing in the months to come.
In case you don’t know much about me, I’ve been blogging at Scot Goes Pop for seven-and-a-half years now. I’ve also written articles for The National newspaper, and for numerous websites including the International Business Times, Bella Caledonia, Wings Over Scotland, Political Betting, National Collective, Fair Observer, Scottish Roundup and the Eurovision Times. Many of my IBTimes articles have been syndicated on Yahoo News. I was interviewed twice on BBC Breakfast during the week of the referendum, and I’ve taken part in several alternative media podcasts and videos. Oh, and as I never let anyone forget, I was a runner-up in Fish Publishing’s Micro-fiction competition in May 2008 (which come to think of it was the same month I started the blog – I must have been on fire that month).
I’m going to make the same commitment that I made during the previous two fundraisers – if for any reason I can’t put the money to good use to support my writing, I’ll pass whatever is left onto other pro-independence causes. Or conceivably I might use it to run an opinion poll if there happens to be enough to cover that, but either way you can rest assured that nothing will go to waste.
As always, please don’t feel under any pressure to make a donation. Scot Goes Pop isn’t a newspaper or a magazine – it’s a blog, and there’s absolutely no charge to read it. The option to donate is there if you want to, but it’s only an option. And, of course, if you have a spare minute or two you can always pass on the word to others – every tweet or Facebook share helps enormously!
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