Back in 2005, politically, I, like many lefties in Scotland, felt our time was now. Scottish Socialism was the new Rock 'n Roll. We had filled halls, built a huge reaction to the rumours and actuality of the Bush/Blair wars, and helped facilitate unprecedented street level dissent at the G8 conference, drawing the international media to Dungavel, Faslane and to the awful poverty the Thatcherite, followed by London centric Blairite capitalism had meted out on the poorest parts of Scotland.
Scotland, we thought, was ready for left policies like free school meals, an end to the unfair council tax, removal of Trident and an Independent Socialist Scotland.
The figurehead of our group, our party, our movement, Tommy Sheridan, had stood down from leadership and our party *seemed* to be moving away from its "one man army" portrayal with strong women coming to the fore in our group of MSP's, and branches across Scotland were leading local activism and dissent.
And then, Tommy Sheridan was found out after partying in a swingers club with a News of the World journalist. And first to us as a party, he confessed, but in the act his ego was crushed as the exposure of the messiah as a very naughty boy cut right through to his very existence. He tried to retake the leadership, but soon realised he couldn't take the majority of members with him, so encouraged by hangers on and opportunist left sects, he created his own party. Socialist Unity, or Tommy Sheridan was the choice that killed rock 'n roll Scottish Socialism. And so died the movement that had moved Scottish politics towards an inclusive, progressive paradigm.
Will the Salmond ego trip effect the movement for independence in the same way?
Not on his own, even though his six hour sitting last Friday was summed up by the unionist press across the UK as him saying the present Scottish Government wont deliver independence. In Salmond's head, what he really means is, "the only person who can deliver Independence is me, or someone I choose, " even though poll after poll show independence, for the first time ever, is exactly what the Scottish people are asking for. Salmond, like Sheridan, believes his "man of destiny" PR.
Like Sheridan, he is fragile, male ego driven, and he needs the alliance of opportunists, sects and messiah seekers to cheer him on. In these dangerous inter-Trumpist years, lets reflect on the QAnonites, Nazi's, Condederates, opportunists and messiah seekers who are still a huge threat to the Republic across the Atlantic. Movements progressive and regressive are made up of smaller groups, cults, individuals and seekers of messiahs who find a common messianic, narcissistic leader or "manifesto."
Bella Caledonia published a damning article about Salmondist opportunist, and wanna be bargain bucket Christ, Stu "Wings" Campbell, and the people around him who are attacking Sturgeon and the SNP a couple of weeks ago. Our article on Campbell, by Sam Hamad, written during last summer has also been doing the rounds. These articles deserve to be read and the facts they convey will be taken as read by the time you have come to this piece.
Those people in the Wings bubble have been extremely animated in the past few days, especially since last weekend's weekend Transphobia busting SNP NEC (Trans people have been turned into a perceived threat by some of these people,, and this has been noticed by Trump - he attacked Trans women in sports in his CPAC speech at the end of February ) and of course, Salmond's appearance in the Inquiry. Conspiracy theorists must feel pushed outside. They must feel attacked, and tgeyt must ensure those around them feel threatened, but they must feel they are the righteous arbiters of truth who gave been targeted because of their superior intel and analysis. Narcissists project fears and anxieties outward. They externalize fears onto people or vulnerable groups. Vulnerability is terrifying to a narcissist, so enemies are identified to externalize their fear. And they cannot survive without other people to admire them, serve and prop them up. Envy is also a driving force of narcissism. The Salmond attacks on a Government that he feels has rejected him, are an interesting case study, at present.
To criticise Salmond, Wings, or any of the angry alt right like poseurs, alt left poseurs (see the red brownism of Galloway) opportunists and seekers around them, is to trigger a Scientology like "Fair Game" cult like mobbing attack. Fair Game was the policy (for "policy", read "religious doctrine" ) Scientologists referred to when someone criticises them. It gives them free reign to do what they can to destroy the critic… to smash dissent inside the cult, hounding people to mental breakdowns by mobbing them, stalking them, picketing their houses, following and shouting at them in the street, to the point where the "suppressive person" is eliminated as a perceived threat. Those who criticise the doctrines built up by Wings, Murray and the recent ramblings of ego-self preserving Salmond, is to place in the open, right in front of the righteous guns of the "true believers." A place to be stabbed, shot, hung and quartered as an unbeliever, or doubter.
The IndyAnon, angry social media, ultra believers and their peripheral phenomena are a cult like mentality that for years struggled to find a focal leader. Stu Campbell acted in that way, but alienated too many people to be a real threat to centre left/left political hegemony in the SNP, but pulled in to his orbit those who believed his self generated narcissistic publicity as "the man who saved Yes".
Alex Salmond and the behaviour he has admitted to in court, plus his never dying (mostly male) fanclub, and Craig Murray's theory of "great men being attacked by women," and Joanna Cherry's mealy mouthed nod to transphobia, have given a slowly concentrating focal point for the cult of what is amounting to destructive alt right anger and a platform has been created that really could be an existential threat to the independence movement as a progressive one. Or worse, an existential threat to independence.
Of course, in a centre left Scotland, they won't admit they are alt right. But the likes of the pound shop Wings (Wings in turn, is a pound shop Guido), David Hooks and professional tack spitter, Twitter's Dead Dug Mr Malky and others, discussed openly on social media back in 2015/16 how they could pull the right into the Yes movement. They, along with Wings, Campbell, Peter Bell, Jeggit with their angry following, and others, are succeeding with their almost Rush Limbaugh like hateful gammonry, but it isn't the conservatives they have attracted. Conservatives, unionist or not, already have their party. They have given confidence and succour to the Alt right. The neu-brown shirts (or self designated, angry anti PC right, or anti snowflake right) who were already there and who are congregating around awful, bigoted, scapegoating tropes.
As soon as you give credence to these people, as soon as you give blueshirts/blackshirts/brownshirts any crack to crawl into, they smash the movement; and they are in the crack at the moment, trying to expand and break the rock.
From the left, Robin McAlpine seems to have had a terrible breakdown, and has jumped aboard the mythical Lexit like will of the working class nonsense and published a feverish splatter pattern of Salmond EckAnon conspiracy theory, from his new platform, "Source." This want to compromise with this imaginary Scottish version of Gordon Brown's bigotted woman version of the working class, shows a real lack of understanding of working class people and areas, and in fact takes on a frightening acknowledgment of the "native white working class" racist trope. McAlpine seems to have decided to try to move his brand toward a compromise with the awful Wings and Salmond gammon brigade. His extraordinary article was shared by the most vile aspects of unionism, transphobia and EckAnon on social media. His interjection was extraordinary, even by the standards the SWP/ISG and their splits and fronts, etc have been known for in the activist ground for years (McAlpine's political past was in the SWP). For a socialist to write an article full of conspiracy and praise of the conspiratorial views Wings, Murray etc have been eschewing, really was an extraordinary political moment. One that rather than educating the comrades who read his stuff, seemed to be a massive capitulation to the right wing, misogynist, transphobic conspiracy theories we've seen emanating from these awful online twitter dark clouds.
These people are a series of wee diddy sideshows, but they are coagulating together, and I would suggest that this all could become an awful Independence Movement busting Trump like cult. They are brilliant material for the cudgel-like press. And are alienating for many independence supporters.
We haven't reached the critical/tipping point yet ... A point in which you have lots of little angry groups congregating in any meaningful harmful way... Their tectonic plates are still shifting (but moving in a generally attraction-like manner). They are still pulling angry, shitty wee neufs together. But they have focal points, like their negative, hate-filled focus on Trans people, that are gaining strength.
The original Yes movement managed to push these people to the periphery but the incredible expanse of the SNP drew many of them into its ranks, and it is time to isolate them again, before they kill our chances for independence in the medium term. They will, of course, create a public meeting circuit. But we really need to ensure we do not give them any credibility within the main movement or give them credible platforms. They will damage our rainbow, butterfly movement, perhaps irreparably, and in the long term, damage Scotland.