29 January 2014

Gonzoing the referendum

Where is the Scottish independence debate happening? Who are its main characters? 

One version, arguably the dominant version, would point to the airwaves, Newsnicht and First Minister's Questions, interviewing politicians and canvassing a recurring band of greying (or long-grey) pundits, whose opinions we're all already perfectly familiar with. That's certainly one part of the conversation about independence, and an important part - but outside the studio, overlooked, in un-newsworthy places, more lively spirits are stirring.  

We should hear more about them. We can't leave the last word on the significance of this campaign to increasingly-jaded commentators, working the dismal miracle of making the referendum boring. In that spirit, in the lead up to the referendum, I wanted to write about the campaign's quotidian, quiet revolutions. The stuff you rarely find in the papers. The social life of the referendum, if you like. 

You can find the first of these constitutional field logs in the new edition of the Drouth magazine.  I kick off on a Gonzo journalistic note, taking a look at the independence generation, treading warily inside the National Collective Hipster's Den.  


  1. I have come back to this post a few times because one of the things that interested me is the somewhat interesting point you make about the internet reducing barriers when you meet the 'real' people behind an internet persona.

    That has only happened to me once and you are right, there is far less dithering about trying to find common ground than there would be with a true stranger.

    I suspect that that is because they are not really strangers at all. On decent political web-sites it is not all 'ya boo sucks', it is about finding common ground. Once that is established you find yourself caring about what other people care about, more than you would have if you were isolated from discussions like that.

    Meeting these people face to face is a heck of a lot easier than meeting strangers.

    We parted friends.

    The opposite of stranger danger perhaps?

    1. It is a curious one, isn't it Douglas? It is something I've experienced several times now over the course of the last few years. It is perhaps especially curious in my case, as on twitter and on here, I've written under a pseudonym and without my ugly mug attached. Several folk I essentially "met" first online have become good friends. Others I've had chance meetings with at this even or that, and its almost invariably a cheery and more familiar exchange which follows.