12 June 2014

Keeping the Peat fires burning...

I could do with a hand.

I love writing. I haven't yet found a way to make it pay to any remotely sustaining extent, but few pleasures compare to firing up the blog and unleashing a thought or two in print about the affairs of the day. Those pleasures have been heightened by the independence referendum, and the profusion of stuff to be thought and scribbled about, but the pressures of other duties and concerns have to a great extent limited the time I can judiciously commit to it.

I've particularly enjoyed the opportunity to try my hand at a different sort of writing in the latest two editions of the Drouth, the first being an account of a National Collective meet up, the second a surreal conversation with a lushed-up Old Soldier about the positive case for the Union. It'd be splendid to be able to do more. 

Term is over, the doctorate is essentially done and dusted, and I'm in the market for more permanent, remunerative work. This is, as countless other folk have experienced, a joyless, harrowing endeavour punctuated mainly by setbacks and failures, but I'm not downhearted.  I am, however, at a loose end and must try to keep body and soul together somehow over the next few months.

My first order preference would be to be able to use the time to give the #indyref the attention it deserves, and to be able to write more considered, Drouth-style pieces for the blog about how the campaign is unfolding and being experienced. The conversation in the media has become so unrepresentatively shrill, that I'd like to expand the sort of discussions Michael Greenwell, our guests and I have been having to include more folk who disagree with us on the constitution, exploring some of the ambivalences of both sides of the debate which the aggressive binary vision of the referendum consistently elides and suppresses.

This was one of the charms, for me, of Derek Bateman's recent return to the microphone. As a first stab in this direction, I'm hoping to record a discussion with arch unionist professor, Adam Tomkins, over the next few weeks, with respectful but not unchallenging dialogue being the watchword. People do politics better in this country than the ongoing stramash portrays. We should all do our best to reflect that much more thoughtful and civilised reality.

Which is where you come in, or can come in, if this vision appeals to you. As it stands, it doesn't look like I'll be able to afford to take that time away to do the referendum justice. This is bad timing, but it's as simple as that. I am not, however, a man of great needs and wants and have tried to work out the minimum extra income I'd need, to make it possible to supercharge the blog over the last three months of the campaign, instead of offering only a skeleton service and the very occasional comment piece.

By my reckoning, it is about £750 to £1,000: not an insignificant sum of money, but the least required to keep the show consistently on the road. So that's what I'm pitching for. What's to lose? If you value the occasionally oddball, but independent and open-minded legal and political commentary I've undertaken here since 2009, I'd very much appreciate your support at this key time in Scottish politics. 

As the journalists rightly reminds us, if you want to invest in quality journalism, buy a paper. The same goes for quality blogging. There is something a bit mortifying about this -- but I'll choke it down. Fear of failure is remarkably debilitating. If you've enjoyed my work here, and would like to see much more of it over the final push towards the referendum, making the case for independence and rooting out some of those overlooked Scotlands fizzing away in this campaign, whatever your views on the constitution, I'd very much appreciate any contribution you might feel moved to make. If not, I'll see you over the pint I'll be pulling.

Aping recent successes in the Scottish blogging scene, I've set up crowdfunding campaign site with Indiegogo. All contributions, however wee, very gratefully received. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to contribute directly via Paypal, you can use my Donate button to the right of the screen. With your help, we can keep the Peat fires burning bright, all the way through to September.


15 comments :

  1. Congratulations, Andrew, you've made your initial target already! That must be some kind of record - was it two hours?!

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    1. Thanks, James. It was remarkably speedy. Exceeded all my expectations. Am terrifically grateful to everyone who contributed or gave it a punt.

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  2. If you do find a bottle of Chateau Margaux 1971 I will hate you forever! I actually feel quite humbled on your behalf to see the express financial support in 2-3hours. Take heart and enjoy the feeling of enormous warmth from all of us.

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    1. Very kind of you to say, Archie. Can't believe it.

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  3. Congratulations! I didn't add to that total but I have sent you something via Paypal. Please, please keep up the great work. Your legal 'opinions' have been invaluable to me already, as have the posts on MEP elections. Hugh Wallace

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  4. Excellent! I didn't contribute to that impressive total but have sent you something via paypal. Please keep up the excellent work. Your legal input is invaluable to us indy bloggers. Hugh Wallace http://arewebettertogetherscotland.wordpress.com/

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    1. Dear Hugh, very many thanks for your contribution. I'm glad my posts have been instructive and of interest.

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  5. Couldn't you have just done a quick divorce case...?

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    1. Ach he hopes to do that divorce case on 19 September.

      LPW many congrats - I cant chip in just now - vet bill (for cat not me) - but will make small one later for bottle of wine as before.

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    2. Plenty of jobs for the boys (and girls) in that divorce! It is one of the angles on the referendum which I'm surprised hasn't been pushed more to our havering middle classes. Your wean has a decent shot, with a good education, of being Scottish ambassador to - you name it. Or at least, a better shot than they have than in the more competitive, UK context...

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    3. Indeed. The poet Kate Clanchy noted how some Edinburgh families have been producing middle-class professionals in a caste-like manner for a long time - the law, medicine etc. I know one family myself who seem to have had medics since Conan Doyle's days.

      Who knows - maybe the next few decades will see diplomatic castes - we likely have those anyway (douce accents are all over the world in British embassies) but as you indicate the job market will be wider.

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    4. Some familiar stories on that score from the law too. The former Lord President Hope was the second member of his family to serve as Scotland's highest judge. As I remember, from an amusing essay, his mother insisted on referring to the 18th century original as the real Lord President Hope, in preference to her son. Not to mention the family of Lord President Emslie, whose two sons both became Court of Session judges. And so on, and so on. Ye unto the middle ages. A very Scottish coup...

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    5. I was at a book launch at the Signet once and was talking to a friendly aristocrat who pointed out a group of sleek advocates heading into a side room for some purpose - can't remember his exact words but they were on the lines of 'they will be around when we are long gone'.

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    6. All that is solid melts into air. Although the Faculty membership roll has expanded drastically since the 1970s, I hear constant glum things from that quarter, particularly at the bottom end of the Bar, concerning the financial viability of a career under the horsehair. One striking thing about the newer intakes of devils is that they're (a) markedly older than they were in the past and (b) frequently have long-standing legal careers in the solicitor's profession behind him. Your advocates may not long emerge from yon side room, sleekness intact.

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