Outstanding Contribution to the Campaign, Best Public Speaker, Voice of Wisdom, Most Creative Voice and Ideas Generator.
Book of the Year
Stuart Campbell’s self-published Wee Blue Book was the epitome of the self-organising grassroots alternative information network. A vast 300,000 copies were distributed to arm activists with key facts. Campbell writes:
“The White Paper had to exist, and it had to exist in the form it did, but it wasn’t the thing to hand to an undecided voter and say, ‘Here, get wired into 700 pages of that and you’ll be golden’. The Wee Blue Book was planned as a comprehensive but concise reference that not only gave people easy-to-access facts but also made the argument for independence from first principles in language that wouldn’t make people’s eyes glaze over. It was designed to be something you could carry in your jacket pocket and be able to quickly answer questions with, or just give to someone should the opportunity arise. It was meant to be shorter, but it turned out there were a lot of reasons to vote Yes.”
Iain Macwhirter’s The Road to the Referendum was one of the most articulate and authoritative publications of the campaign. Some might say that it had a fair wind behind it with a tv series and newspaper backing – but the book brought a balance and complexity that was sometimes missing elsewhere amongst the passion.
It was a boost for Cargo – and part of the revival of publishing in Scotland that took place across 2013 and 2014. Andrew Marr called it: “A truly important book, particularly at this moment… It offers a huge sweep of history and deals with recent Scottish politics in formidable, but never tedious detail.”
Best Young Activist
Jenny Lindsay was a tour de force of cultural activism and one of the key people behind the National Collective. Read her Ten Reasons for Yes here.
She wrote: “It was almost like what I imagine it would be like admitting to being an alcoholic. Most folks I knew had indulged in a little bit of it; most had experienced a dalliance at the thought of it – some had snorted up their sleeves at the lack of control such an admission conjures. It’s downright daft, if not dangerous. So, to say the words “My name is Jenny, and I believe in an independent Scotland”? Well. It was quite an admission.
Despite the swirling thoughts that are currently bogging up every mind in Scotland, it is often a hard thing to admit, especially for one brought up on a diet of internationalism, Cool Britannia and sex to sell us literally everything. There was nothing sexy about the swirly thought I was starting to have…
Scottish? Independence? (shudder…) Isn’t that all parochial, inward-looking neanderthals with a chip on their shoulder? Isn’t the whole idea predicated on an outmoded view of class and yet another chip on the shoulder? Isn’t it all about electing King Salmond and, er, I dunno, yet more chips?”
School student Liam McLaughlan was co-founder of the RIC Glasgow North East branch. He became one of the most articulate public speakers – one of thousands of radicalised young people who came to shape and inspire the movement.
Here he is speaking at RIC2013
Zara Gladman’s alter ego Lady Alba’s performed ‘Bad Romance – Gaga for Indy’ on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle. Her pro-independence anthem attracted 132,850 views on YouTube and personified the cultural creativity that powered the Yes movement. Just one of hundreds of young women empowered and inspired by the new politics.
Lallands Peat Worrier brought a gilt-edged wit to the referendum. With prose sharper than a rapier the periwigged iconoclast had more japes and wheezes than all the other blogs combined. For all the droning about the ‘quality of debate’ here was a genuine freethinker who was as funny as he was urbane. Described as “Highfalutin nonsense…” by Kate Higgins, and or as Love & Garbage put it: “… the erudite and loquacious Peat Worrier who never knowingly avoids a prolix circumlocution.”
Could a writer with “Robespierrist and Neo-Jacobin tendencies” be the funniest blog?
Biggest Campaign Disaster
George Robertson and ‘the Forces of Darkness’. Scotland leaving the United Kingdom would be a “pre-Christmas present” to “the forces of darkness”, former Nato chief claimed during a speech in the US widely noted as him losing the plot. The ex-secretary general Lord Robertson also warned Scottish independence could lead to the “Balkanization” of Europe and have a “cataclysmic” impact on the global balance of power.
Ciaran Murphy’s ‘Scotland be Brave’ sold out after winning Bella’s competition to find the iconic image of the campaign.
1000s of posters went out across the country after repeated re-prints due to demand – as the image came to represent not just an enduring positivity but the new role for women in our political culture.
Song of the Campaign
Stanley Odd stormed their way into the iTunes Alternative Charts with their single ‘Son I Voted Yes’ then took ‘A Night for Scotland’ event at the Usher Hall by storm alongside Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, and Frightened Rabbit. Stanley Odd frontman, Solareye (aka Dave Hook) said: “It is amazing to see the country at its most politicised and engaged in generations. The number of people inspired by the debate and the possibilities for positive change that an independent Scotland offers is something that should be celebrated. This referendum is a chance to look at new models and ask questions of how our political system operates; to address issues of poverty and social inequality; and to recognise the importance of public services like the Post Office and the NHS”.
Car Crash Interview of the Year
Watch Alex Massie and Lesley Riddoch shift uncomfortably as Johann Lamont’s campaign incoherence becomes apparent …