The battle was lost, but the fight for Scottish Independence continues.

When writing a script for a film, comic, or drama generally you’ll often see the cliche of the hero or heroine getting to the end of the second act, failing (or if it’s a 1980’s action film, being tortured by Viet Cong, evil drug lords, or robots from the future) to succeed just when you think they’re going to win. At the end of this act the hero/heroine is at their lowest and you cannot think they will come back to win but yes, they do in the third and final act and the myth of the hero prevails.

Of course this is a hopeless over-romanticisation of what’s happened in relation to the Scottish Referendum and the No side winning. As pointed out in previous blogs, there’s a lot of pain and anger that already, only a few hours and days later, the ‘iron timetable’ unraveled so that what was supposed to be a debate about constitutional reform in not only Scotland, has turned into a debate about Home Rule in England, extra powers for the city of London and Ed Milliband’s pledge to raise the minimum wage to a whopping £8 an hour by 2020, which at that time, will be actually a paycut for most people.

Sadly, the No vote was built on a lie as is pointed out here at Wings of Scotland from Eric Joyce MP who feels distraught about the lies spun, and being spun by David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Gordon Brown. This however is a Labour MP suddenly realising that his job is under threat in May as is every single Labour MP in Scotland who must be looking at the enormous increases in membership (as I write this SNP membership has increased by 9000 since Friday morning) with the SNP, SSP and Greens in just a few short days since the result . They must be looking online at groups like We Are The 45% which is keeping some momentum going, though personally I feel they need to be more inclusive of No voters feeling buyers remorse and wishing they’d voted Yes.

Right now things are fluid and moving quickly, but it’s clear that a tactical alliance will be formed between all the parties supporting independence so that these parties send a large amount of MP’s to Westminster in May, and whittle down Labour MSP’s in 2016. In whatever form this campaign takes when it settles, it needs to be positive with no recriminations which is what this splendid statement from the National Collective says. It cannot use the negative tactics of Better Together, who are now tearing apart their union and throwing blame at all within their ranks because they know they won this battle, but they were the bad guy. They were the ones leering over a people telling lies about pensions, oil (which would be such a burden if Scotland had it, but an asset if Westminster did), business, food prices, train times, postal services, and even whether Doctor Who would be shown in Scotland if it gained independence.

Then there’s the fact Better Together stirred up some dark forces. It’s true at the start of this campaign they disowned the Orange Lodge and the far right who were campaigning to keep the Union, but in the last few weeks, they seemed less interested in putting them at a distance. This led directly to Loyalists not only rioting in Glasgow last Friday, but far-right groups being empowered so Britain First now have more than a toehold in Scotland. Of course I know there were Yes campaigners arrested on Friday, but the majority of the media has ignored the large amounts of violence which has come from a tiny, but vocal part of the No campaign. Though an honourable mention has to go to Channel 4 News with Alex Thompson and Paul Mason being exceptional in their impartiality, Thompson is also the only national UK journalist to so far report on the arson attack on the Sunday Herald building, a paper which was the only one in the UK to support independence.

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As for the media bias and those who may suggest sour grapes, I can only post this film and ask people to make their own minds up.

Right now we have no idea what is going to happen. People are grieving for what could have been and it feels like there’s no way back from this, but the sense of loss and anger will be replaced by a sense that come May in the general election, the people of Scotland can speak to send Westminster a message. Don’t vote Tory. Don’t vote UKIP. Don’t vote Lib Dem. Don’t vote Labour. All are anti-democratic Unionist parties more interested in their own vested interests. I know people supposedly of the left and allegedly democrats south of the border are going to be angered at the thought of Scotland rejecting Labour, but tough. Labour are not of the left.

Of course had Scotland voted Yes on Thursday, on Friday morning we’d have seen constitutional change not just for an independent Scotland, but across the UK as everything would have had to be rewritten. We didn’t get that. We got a grey, dank morning which summed up a dark mood, but now put that behind us all and close the second act. The third act is where we win!

What I thought of Doctor Who: Time Heist

Thoughts about Deep Breath; Into the Dalek; Robot of Sherwood and Listen

Since Doctor Who returned in 2005, the programme has drawn heavily upon inspiration from 2000AD and British comics from the last 40 years. Russell T. Davies especially was perfectly happy to dip in and out of comics for inspiration and although Stephen Moffat has been doing less of this pilfering he’s not adverse to nicking a few tins of 2000AD, or the odd idea from the likes of Alan Moore, John Wagner and about anyone who’s written a comic in the UK.

Time Heist is a 2000AD strip from the bizarre aliens, crude satires on modern life (in this case, banks and the super-rich) and lots of actin, though in this case it’s endless running up and down corridors.

This isn’t a great episode. It’s  bit light, even though it further explores how Capaldi’s Doctor can be a ‘good man’ but this isn’t to say it’s not enjoyable which it is but it’s just a bit too much like things we’ve seen on the programme before. Also for some reason this episode reminded me a bit of Lexx, a forgotten bit of SF telly from a wee while ago. Maybe it’s the monsters, or the sexy women in leather, or the mysterious hacker, but it’s an oddly lacking episode that reminds me of the weaker of RTD’s Big SF Episodes. Maybe this is because this series so far is of such a high quality that I felt this episode was so weak, or maybe it’s because I’ve been so depressed by the result of the Scottish referendum that watching it again in a few days might be better when there isn’t a dark cloud hovering above me.

What was a stand out though was the appearance, albeit briefly, of Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer, the character created for Dez Skinn’s Doctor Who Weekly by Steve Moore and Steve Dillon.

Yes it’s for a fraction of a second but it’s a nice fun thing for Moffat to throw in and yes, it makes Abslom Daak canon for Who fans which means reams and reams of dreadful fanfiction. Joy.

So sadly, I didn’t think this to be anything more than a bit of fluff. Peter Capaldi was excellent still and Jenna Coleman continues to impress, as did the splendid supporting cast but it was a ll bit, well, meh.

Wipe your eyes. On your feet.

Horselover Fat:

This sums up with my thinking too. With this and the growing idea to kick out every Unionist MP from Scotland in May, there’s every truth to me saying this wasn’t over yet in the wee hours after the result yesterday.

Originally posted on :

10552637_683212328423444_31606524078828249_nBy Robin McAlpine

The rebellion: Phase Two

There will be a time to put in words how I feel now. There will be a time for me to discuss what I think we should have done differently to win. There will most certainly be a time (when the pain subsides) in which I will celebrate who we became in these two years, to memorialise the countless heroes of our failed revolution who changed my life and who changed Scotland.

This minute, this grey Friday, I just want to list what we need to do next. (This is a long read for a day like this – read the rest tomorrow). I do it for three reasons. First to let you know that once this weekend is over, Monday is when we start. It will be hard, but the team who are working on the Common Weal project will be meeting…

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The fight for Scottish Independence: What do we do next?

This song by the Proclaimers sums up mine and many other people’s moods today.

I’ve had a few hours kip after the result of the referendum and now I can say I feel not exactly refreshed but less angry than I was when I saw smirking politicians like John Reid and David Cameron proclaim this as a ‘great victory for the Union’ yet anyone who even followed this campaign with neutral eyes over the last two weeks will know the No campaign promised things they cannot deliver.

This does not mean I disrespect the decision of those voting No. I do, but I think they were wrong, and much, much worse than that, they’ve been lied to. They’ve been made to think that voting No was to gain ‘more powers’ or that it was a vote for Labour rather than an answer to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’. Looking back at the campaign it’s clear the No campaign was failing to gather support and at the point when the opinion poll which showed Yes in the lead came out, there was an almighty panic which saw Gordon Brown being wheeled out and it’s this intervention which seems to have sheered up the No vote.Yes Brown is a liar but you never saw his lies about these ‘powers’ or the NHS exposed in the media, because frankly, every single part of the media spoke against Independence apart from the Sunday Herald.

There were other good voices who were either fine examples of neutral reporting like Paul Mason and Alex Thompson at Channel 4 News, while Suzanne Moore and George Monbiot at the Guardian made up for that paper’s shameful and despicable support of the establishment and it’s attacks upon grassroots campaigners as they warned constantly of violence if there was a No vote. Well, there is a No vote and Yes campaigners may well be angry, but there’s no violence. Not a jot. Yes campaigners show the campaign in defeat to be the civil campaign it’s been all the time.There’s been some vicious slander thrown at the Yes campaign from Unionists from the threats of violence to calling Salmond a Hitler figure leading people off a cliff.

The entire No campaign was built on fear. ”Oh don’t do that, things will be awful if you gain control of your own resources. If you’re not sure just vote No and we’ll do everything for you’‘. As a wise man once said, ‘fear is the mind killer‘ and in this case Better Together seem to have done enough to kill off rational thinking. This isn’t to say that if waking up today to an independent Scotland would have been easy; it certainly wouldn’t have been. It would be hard but the fight would have been for the people of Scotland to strive forward and build a country for themselves, their children and their children. They could have built an example that the Westminster system could have looked at and the neoliberal experiment which has caused so much suffering would have been proven to have been wrong.

This sadly hasn’t happened. Yet.

Alex Salmond has been magnanimous in defeat. Something many of his critics said he wouldn’t be, but he’s said he will ensure that the plan to give Scotland more powers is seen out to the letter. Yet he said this isn’t over yet, and he’s right. It bloody well isn’t. See, if and when Westminster fails all those people who voted No based upon the promise of more powers will realise what they’ve done, just as those people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 realised what they’d done. They’ll be an anger, and it’s down to those of us hurting right now to not gloat or be angry at those people but speak to them. Ask them if they want control of their own future again and they’ll say Yes because looking at the figures from last night there’s not much to be done in some parts of Scotland to push a No to a Yes. The current reckoning is by the likes of David Cameron that this is over for another generation, which means that this won’t happen for another 30-40 years and by that time people like me are possibly going to be dead and I’ll never have seen an independent Scotland in my lifetime like so many Scots over the years.

But you’re a Scot living in Bristol” many of you familiar with my blogs on comics, festivals and stuff are saying now, and yes, that’s entirely right. I am. However I’d made a decision a few weeks ago that regardless of the result I’m going back to Glasgow. I’ve made a reasonable life in the UK with some dramatic ups and some equally dramatic downs but I had this confirmed to me yesterday morning when walking into work and hearing people Othering the people of Scotland as ‘scroungers‘. I cannot sit back and let myself fall back into a rut while the people of Scotland need it’s blood that ran away to return and bring our experiences back with us. I know other ex-pats down here I know would like to but many have family and it’s understandable that even if they did want to go back, they’ve got a life elsewhere now but this hasn’t stopped them to do what they can outside of Scotland. Many will, but I would plead with ex-pats who fought for independence online with such vigor and strength to come back.

When I’ll get back I have no idea. I do need to get back soon but finances dictate when this happens, but I’ve looked at how friends back home have campaigned hard for independence and I feel that they’ve helped revive something in myself. I look at what the creative community in Scotland have done with friends like Alan Grant, Gary Erskine and Jon Campbell who have campaigned hard for independence not just within their communities, but online with their fans in Scotland where the Yes campaign won the battlefield. Or friends like like Ash, Bridget and Iain who pushed hard and who must be hurting badly today. I look at groups like Wings Over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, The Common Weal, Radical Independence and Women for Independence, or inspiring individuals like the Independence Climber Lindsay Jarrett who helped expose Gordon Brown’s lies about the NHS.

I look at all these groups and people and think it cannot simply be over and things go back to talking heads on the telly standing around outside The Houses of Parliament. But the thing is Cameron said it was over for a generation?

No, it isn’t. I refuse to let it die and promises melt into the mist. Too many groups with too many people have fought to get us here with 45% of the Scottish people supporting independence and a large proportion of those 55% who voted No thinking they’re going to get more powers, or even an effective Labour government led by that waste of space Ed Milliband next May. As far as I am concerned I now consign Labour into the same circle of Hell as I do Tories, but this doesn’t mean Labour voters are lost. They just be informed that the party they vote for are not of the people or for the people. I’m hoping the various grassroots movements combine to form be it a party of the left that’s truly inclusive and that gives the working class a voice. One of the few positives to take from this is how engaged people are now in politics, and when Westminster fucks it all up (as I speak there’s a news item explaining that there is no idea what the ‘more powers’ promised to Scotland outside what they would get in 2016 would be) then that wave to discontent can be channeled into hopefully one more push for independence.

You might say though that Cameron is right? This is over for a generation so that someone like my friend’s 12 year old daughter will go though all this again when she’s in her 40’s. No, I’m not having that. As many have said online (including the splendid Wings over Scotland) we have to hold Westminster now to account Every single full-stop has to be enacted and they get one thing wrong, this means that the No vote which won was built on the lies so many of us know it was. It vindicates the Yes campaign and seeing as Tory backbenchers are promising a revolt over powers being granted to Scotland, then this isn’t over. Not yet. Even if things do manage to muddle though for a few years there’s a flashpoint in 2017 when Cameron has promised an EU Referendum. the fallout from that could see another Scottish referendum. Whatever happens I know today people are hurting but we cannot let things slip for an instant.

So until I work out what I do and how I get my arse back to Glasgow. I will campaign and support the Greens. This is a massive compromise but when the choice is Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP or whatever bigot passing as a democrat is standing, I simply have no choice. I know people like speak well of the Green MP Caroline Lucas, and I will be ensuring they win in Bristol in May. In the meantime I’ve emailed Stephen Williams,( my current MP who will be hopefully unemployed in May) asking him to confirm EXACTLY what powers are to be devolved to Scotland as well as Wales, Northern Ireland and England. I do not expect a reply. I call upon comrades here in England to join in and help ensure England isn’t failed by this lot either. Take your country and your people in your hands and don’t let the bigots like UKIP take your country from you.

The future is in our hands still. Time to regroup, recharge and start again. I cannot imagine the SNP dropping this though I do expect Salmond to stand down or at least secede to Sturgeon, but either way the Yes campaign needs to ensure the SNP doesn’t give in. I know many will never vote SNP, but they’re the government of Scotland and they’re the best chance to force another referendum through not in a generation, but when things fail and they WILL fail.

This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.

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Scotland has voted against Independence

It’s now very clear the Yes campaign lost and Better Together won. Now the media are openly talking about how all those extra powers Gordon Brown promised aren’t written in stone, or how these ‘new powers’ are totally unknown to anyone. It’s now clear what got the No campaign over the line by this ‘promise’

It’s clear the No campaign managed to conflate voting No with some sort of ‘devo max’ when in fact it was a No to the question ‘should Scotland be an independent country?’, not ‘should Scotland be an independent country or get ‘more powers’?’. That and the barrage of fear over the last two weeks has pushed No over the line with the 400k or so votes that’s pushed it over the line.

It’s those undecided voters who swayed it and they came out in support of the Union thinking they were going to get more power for Scotland, yet these powers are already under threat by Tory backbenchers who promise to veto them. By Monday it may be perfectly clear that what people thought when they voted No isn’t going to happen and their vote hasn’t counted.

So as much as I respect the democratic will of the people of Scotland, I don’t have to like it.It’s been a long,  long night and I’m off for some sleep but this isn’t over yet, not by a long shot.

What I thought of The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow #4

Thoughts about #1#2 and #3.

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Four issues into a series called Midnight in Moscow there’s not a sniff of the Shadow getting near Moscow so far, though we do get to see The Shadow in post-war London

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This is a comic which should have been good pulp fun but is in fact, painfully dull especially compared to Howard Chaykin’s first Shadow mini-series from DC in the 1980’s. I am just getting this to see if by some miracle it becomes more interesting as by the end of this issue we do finally see Moscow!

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #4

Thoughts about #1#2 and #3.

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At the end of the last issue we say the introduction of Baal, one of the twelve gods and possible suspect in the murder of a judge that has framed one of the other twelve gods, Lucifer. Baal is quite frankly, an egotistical prick, but this doesn’t stop the main protagonist Laura from fancying the arse off him.

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The Wicked and the Divine is basically a whodunnit, as well as trying to be a satire on modern society, though it’s less successful being a satire than it is working out it’s story of who killed the judge and who framed Lucifer. When it tries to make light or a point of modern culture it sometimes tries a wee bit too hard to make it’s point as if it was an over enthusiastic schoolboy.

However when it does erupt into action, it does so brilliantly, and Gillen and McKelvie ensure that things crack along at an enormous pace which does help one forget about the rather large amount of exposition each issue contains.

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This is a series which just bubbles at times with the possibility of greatness before it fumbles at the last minute, but it is an engaging wee tale of gods and mortals that I’m enjoying more as the series progresses. I only hope it’s actually going somewhere.