The dust is settling as a week or two pass after that fateful day. Already we know of more bombing runs, more austerity (as if we didn’t before), and we see parties positioning themselves, through the inevitable internecine strife, for the looming election. But Scotland looks further ahead than May next year, important though that will be. The website of Yes Scotland has lain static since the 18th; for that was a funded venture, salaried positions. But the new media continues, and gathers strength.
It is widely accepted that the campaign for an independent Scotland had the cards stacked against it from the start. Much criticism has been levied at our media. The written press can of course take whatever line the editors, or more likely the owners and shareholders, decide. And the consumers can make a decision to purchase or to ignore. But the broadcast media is another matter, and in the state-funded broadcaster, the one with an explicit duty of impartiality, we have been ill-served; especially from Pacific Quay from where BBC Scotland has provided endless skewed broadcasts and articles. The evidence is out there.
But today’s media is very much an online venture, and we can, and have, all joined in. In that area the Yes campaign has flourished, and continues, despite or because of the heartache. We have though reached the stage where many have become politically motivated where previously they were disenfranchised. Party membership, which has to be the very last thing that few decide to participate in, has been rocketing. The SNP are close to tripling their numbers in the aftermath of the result and the realisation of what lies ahead. The Greens and the SSP are on a similar path. That is quite some movement in our society.
My online reading confirms what I have hoped to see, and that is dedicated outlets intent on continuing, beyond the vote, into the future. And that takes us to a quandary. For these are resources we have accessed for free; hours of work put in without financial reward. That cannot continue and we need to address not only how we access our media and sources of information, but how we fund it.
In today’s world many have no requirement to pay the TV license, finding routes other than watching live television to keep in touch with their favourite programmes. Newspaper sales, save for the honourable exception of the one paper backing independence, the Sunday Herald, continue to plummet. So we have a budget available. Between our daily newsprint habit now foregone and our TV tax levy, it is not unreasonable to suggest we may have £500 or so as a continuation of our previous annual budget. And we can spend that much more wisely, for we have seen how critical the media have been in spreading fear, for those remaining faithful to the traditional outlets. We have to spread the word further, and invest in the machinery.
We have crowd-funded, donated and subscribed; and we have lost. We need to look ahead. Already announcements have been made. Newsnet Scotland, which I remember as a monthly newsletter and has now become essential daily reading, are going forward and Derek Bateman will add his expertise, through his blog and his broadcasting, in a joint venture.
Jack Foster and his team, the ones that brought you The Fear Factor, Scotland Yet, and Dateline Scotland, are intent on being onscreen. Their fundraiser set a target over 60 days and broke it in an hour or two. Stuart Campbell’s Wings Over Scotland may have some role with them. And Wings too is open for donations and subscriptions, having led the crowd-funding way time and again in carving a niche that now sees what started as a blog reaching millions.
Bella Caledonia have been writing since 2007, covering much more than politics. Again donations and subscriptions are needed to help Mike Small and his team do what they want to do, and that is to continue, to expand and to move forward.
And one of my own campaign heroes, Robin McAlpine, has similar plans with his Common Weal project. The begging bowl is out, but we know where it all can lead, and we know what we want to achieve. Watch Robin’s video outlining the exciting plans he has. This broken society can be fixed. It will not happen overnight, but, and I say this having just witnessed at first hand the world’s happiest nation – Denmark has held that position for some 35 years so must be doing many things right – we can look towards Lesley Riddoch’s Nordic Horizons and make our nation Blossom.
So our writers, bloggers, broadcasters, producers and interviewers all have the knowledge and the experience to move forward together. Resources can be ‘pooled and shared’ to borrow a vile phrase. I have seen a suggestion of a full Yes Media get together. I hope it happens. But for now we all need to examine our media budget, and where best to spend it. With 1.6m and more, all with a huge desire, we have the numbers. At say £500pa it is quite possible to commit £10 or £20pm here and there, – choose your own preferences – and to let those outlets flourish. For a couple of million tenners every month make it all possible. And we can still deal with specific crowd-funding from time to time. Let’s do it.
PS Another worthy cause: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iscot-a-free-fearless-news-service-4-scotland