Looking for a ‘No’ #IndyRef blogger for Slugger live in Scotland…

Now, when it comes to it, we try to the Scottish referendum seriously in its own terms, not simply to use it as a way to open conversations that are not yet viable in Northern Ireland.

We’ll have Phil Mac Giolla Bhain on the ground before, during and after the referendum poll blogging live from the ground in Scotland. Phil is a committed Yes supporter, so we are also on the look out for a counterbalancing No blogger.

In my own view, it’s going to be an uphill struggle for the Yes camp, but we want be there to bring you all the nuances and the shifting moods, that may help dictate what comes next

Current polling figures.

Battle for Scotland 2014 - 1


  • classieview

    As a contributor to ‘An Phoblacht ‘ and someone who has arguably not smoothed the communal waters in the West of Scotland with a lot of his writings, Phil MacGiolla Bhain is a courageous choice as a blogger taking the pulse in Scotland’s Yes land. I’m not sure if the boffins in Yes for Scotland will appreciate this particular choice though .

    Nor am I sure that a journalist hoping to have a lengthy Scottish professional career would wish to identify with the unpopular though majority No side and be the ‘No blogger’.

    The Scottish government allocates more and more jobs in the media and indeed is a bigger employer of media studies graduates than several of the main newspapers put together. It will be a brave soul who will drink from Slugger’s slightly poisoned chalice and i wonder just how many takers there will be.

  • Gerry Braiden

    utter mince re your second point. Scottish media is littered with No supporting columnists. And there’s no shortage of ‘news’ journalists either clearly making their No feelings clear.

  • Richmond clements

    I live in Scotland and I don’t think I know one person peorsonally that is voting ‘no’.
    Of course this may becasue of my own slightly leftie leaning circle of friends!
    But as Gerry says below, there are plenty of ‘non’ voting journalists reportoing over here.

  • classieview

    I was plainly referring to young people considering this trade and looking for something they could put on their c.v.
    I presume this is the kind of recruit that Mick Fealty was looking for.
    As an Ulsterman with radical anti-establishment views you have found your own position in the Herald which has deliberately sought a niche market among the middle-class radicals of west-central Scotland, mainly employed by the public sector.

    The Herald’s circulation figures speak for themselves but even if they were flourishing and a more plural spirit prevailed, an Ulster girl or lad of more conventional outlook would find it well nigh impossible to get started there; chances would be a bit brighter across the way at the Scotsman.
    if both papers amalgamate for survival reasons, i suspect it is the Herald ethos which will prevail.

  • mickfealty

    I get accused of bias all over the shop. But I take a relatively tough pluralist view of these matters. I want a strong and unapologetic No blogger, because Phil will be strong an unapologetic Yes.

    We also hope to have David McCann on the ground who will be getting us blow by blow detail of the process rather than any form of advocacy in the IndyRef itself. Between that and some Scottish essayists in the meantime, I hope something useful will emerge from the resulting souq.

    I’m not looking for propaganda (Slugger is likely to have little direct influence on how these matters play out, so it’s likely to be a wasted effort), so much as a sense of what people in each camp are thinking, and getting under bonnet somehow of their own side.

    As Frank Burton notes in his 1977 seminal work “The Politics of Legitimacy”…

    What order of knowledge is it that is denied the journalist? I shall argue that the reporter has little or no access to the history and context of an event, to the construction of that event and to the consequent connotations attached to that event. This is particularly true of the English press in Northern Ireland, but it is also evident in both Catholic and Protestant newspapers. All three stand on the peripheries of the social worlds which they report and, in varying degrees, each makes leaps in the dark.

    As always I encourage all our bloggers to treat these matters as an opportunity to document telling detail that will have a value beyond the conclusion of the event itself.

    Slugger is a mixed pub which welcomes diverse forms of opinion and bias so long as it’s legal and decent. Regardless of outcome, the IndyRef has already proven a momentous event in Scotland’s history, and possibly in the UK’s.

    We will have a lot to mull over afterwards, but I am determined that we start by first looking closely at the epicentre and faithfully and sincerely reporting what we can get to see.

    Regardless of the biases we inevitably bring to that game.

  • classieview

    Nobody was accusing you of bias. Your own editorial line, if anything, suggests that you lean towards continuity Britain. But I think it reasonable to suggest that a slight deficit of imagination was displayed when you enrolled Phil MacGiolla Bhain.
    I have spoken up for him in the past, that is before one of his chief missions in life became driving Rangers FC out of existence. His own blog is far from being ‘a mixed pub’. He regularly turns away comments from those who seek to challenge his embattled take on certain west of Scotland phenomena.

    Arguably, he has done a great deal of harm to community relations (This is argued in a book which was sent to you to review many months ago)
    I am waiting to be proved wrong and if he offers probing accounts of the Yes world in Scotland rather than the agitprop served up by Clydeside equivalents like ‘Wee Ginger dug’, then I’ll come back on here and say that there’s a bit more to him after all than meets the eye.

  • mickfealty

    I’ll accept the verdict of defective imagination, and having taken your comments onboard, I’d like to press ahead with asking for aa No blogger to do his/her own thing.

  • Phil MacGiollaBhain

    I just spent 10 days in Scotland trying to pick up the vibe on the Yes side and I intend to have a post on Slugger about it on Monday.