Statement on Common Space

Butterfly Rebellion can no longer endorse or support Common Space as a partner in the Scottish independence movement.

“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest person gives up but with life itself,” states the Declaration of Arbroath. When the Butterfly Rebellion was launched on 20 September 2014 it was with one singular purpose in mind, the continuation of our national struggle for independence. This remains the priority of the editor and contributors who work hard to keep the blog going.

We have made it clear from the beginning that we are prepared to collaborate with and support anyone and any organisation committed to the same cause. Equality and social justice are and will always be important to us, but we recognise that while our country is a part of the United Kingdom these ideals will always be vulnerable to the whims and expediencies of Westminster. Nothing of these can be fully realised in a Scotland over which we, the people of Scotland, have no or limited control. Therefore we affirm that the need for national self-determination – the normal state of nations – transcends all other social and political concerns.

Our position – considering the power of the British government, the unionist establishment, and their media apparatus – is that solidarity is essential to the project of building and maintaining a social and political movement strong enough to win Scottish independence.

Common Space has now repeatedly – and even on the pages of the national press – called for the independence movement to support the leader of the unionist Scottish Labour Party and “send Wings Over Scotland packing,” repeating Kezia Dugdale’s weaponised accusation that Stuart Campbell is a “homophobe.” We do not accept that Campbell’s comment (3 March 2017) was homophobic, but regardless of anyone’s thoughts on this it is clear it was used opportunistically by Dugdale against him.

In spite of movement-wide criticism of Common Space’s ongoing efforts to discredit Wings Over Scotland, its editor, Angela Haggerty, proceeded in the Sunday Herald to spuriously link Stu Campbell with Tommy Sheridan and suggest his decision to defend himself in the courts against a unionist accusation was “a dirty, divisive distraction.” Her intention and that of Common Space as a platform is now clear; to undermine confidence in Wings Over Scotland – the largest pro-independence blog in the country – and so “send it packing.”

We do not always agree with Stuart Campbell or indeed with Wings. “He is not,” as so many keep pointing out, “the independence movement.” This is true. He is not. But Wings Over Scotland is one of our own; a proven and committed independentista. Wings is an integral and invaluable component of our movement, keeping tens of thousands of Yes voters informed and active. Love it or hate it, we will struggle infinitely more as a movement without Wings Over Scotland than we would without Common Space. Given that Angela Haggerty and Common Space are determined to pursue this attack on Wings – an endeavour that, if successful, might feasibly pose an existential threat to the movement – we in the Butterfly Rebellion have decided that we can no longer endorse or support Common Space as a partner in our journey to independence.


Dear Common Space – We have agonised over this decision. We are deeply frustrated that you have put us in a position where we have felt the need to speak out against you. As we are convinced your present actions are a threat to the unity of the independence movement and therefore that you have become an asset to Great Britain, we will campaign against you as we would campaign against any other instrument of the union. However, we do not wish this to be a permanent situation. If you are prepared to de-escalate your campaign against Wings Over Scotland and leave any judgement to the courts we will be the first to open our arms to you – as partners, as friends, and as comrades.


The Butterfly Rebellion
Glasgow, Scotland

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41 thoughts on “Statement on Common Space

  1. Couldn’t agree more. The way Wings dissects the rubbish printed in the msm is invaluable to the YES movement. An incredible own goal by common space.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well said piece. My respect for Robin McAlpine, David Jamieson, Michael Gray and Robert J Somynne is undiminished. Unfortunately, by allowing Ms Haggerty a platform for her undisguised dislike of WoS has, and will do more, damage to CS.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This saddens me – Campbell was wrong on two counts – to wish that someone had never been born – and to make references to the sexuality of a public figure. However it is described, this is bad behaviour. It certainly comes close to harassment.

    As an out gay man – (and someone who has experienced homophobia) I have to express solidarity with other people who are LGBTQ – it does not matter what I feel about their politics – it is wrong that I have to express credentials to discuss this – and of course being a gay man does not mean that I am not homophobic myself. My right to have a personal and private life comes first, nationality a way distant second.

    So I express solidarity with David Mundell, Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale even though I am a political nationalist – and before you doubt my political credentials, I am one of the Orkney Four,

    Liked by 3 people

    • So sad that one’s sexuality or perceived homophobia is more important than our Nations’ future and well being. This surely transcends all, for the benefit of all persons living in Scotland whether they be gay or straight. I am a Dundee UNited fan and have had crossed words with other football fans who are also pro Independence. Doesn’t mean I create a stushie and pull our movement apart because of it. My love of my Club is every bit important to me as your sexuality is to you.
      Let the Courts deal with the issue. They will decide who is right in this furore.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Why not express solidarity with Paul Kavanagh? He is an out gay man who backs Stu Campbell in this dispute.

      The gayness of the antagonists is not the issue, their rightness or otherwise is.

      Liked by 5 people

    • The mere mention of sexuality does not make a comment homophobic. (From an aging lesbian) How saying he ‘should have come out sooner’ is homophobic is a real mystery to me. Was it mean? Was it casting shade? Sure. Did it make Stu likable? Absolutely not. None of those make it homophobic.

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    • There isn’t an LBGT consensus on this, and by showing solidarity with Dugdale and Co you turn your back on Paul Kavanagh. So why are they right and he’s wrong?

      As for wishing someone had never been born, that’s a bad thing now is it? I can hear the dry , raking sound of straws being clutched there. I wish Hitler had never been born, Stalin and Trump and Maggie Thatcher. Jimmy Saville and Fred West, Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. Am I wrong to wish they’d never been born either?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dennis, my sexuality is rather more fundamental to me than your choice of football team – this debate is showing a deep tribalism – Campbell may be on the same side as me but on this one he is very wrong – taking it to the courts, they may well decide but, as you know that I know, the courts are not concerned with the rights and wrongs of a situation but the legality.

    Campbell made a homophobic comment – the correct response to doing that is to apologise and not do it again.

    And in terms of priority, no one has ever tried to kill me because of my politics but because of my sexuality, twice – that is pretty basic is it not?

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    • And yet many others in the LGBTQ community support Stuart Campbell and DO NOT consider the remark homophobic. They accept is was a gibe, but reject utterly that SC is a homophobe, as his activities in support of them confirms.

      I have members of the LGBT community among my family and friends. NONE of them see the comment as other than a joke at the expense of a ‘straight’ Tory MP.

      Kezia Dugdale chose to politicise this, none of the Mundells have done so. She defamed (allegedly, the courts will decide) Stuart Campbell, and it behoves no one else, especially on the YES side, to use this to vent personal spite at a long standing and valued asset to the Independence movement.

      A little more thought and reflection is necessary.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The Vole: “I have to express solidarity with other people who are LGBTQ”… Not at all costs, surely?
    With the greatest respect – sincerely – you’re coming across, first and foremost, as someone who has a dislike for Stuart Campbell and nothing else matters.
    “It certainly comes close to harassment.”; all that says to me is ‘it’s close but not close enough, ergo, he’s done nothing wrong’. He’s a brutal, smart-arse bastard at times, sure, and for that I could never be mates with him, but I don’t read his brilliant work to be his mate. For the first time in my life I have a street-fighter, a champion who threatens those who would have us cower under the rule of a corrupt system that favours only the wealthy. Stuart Campbell emboldens Scots where previously we’ve had to suck-up so much. He treads on the toes of the union without having the shackles of ‘MP’ or ‘MSP’ after his name and gives a hoot about the unionist msm. I like the feeling that we’ve suddenly got balls and a voice that challenges them.

    I’m a straight male and I felt Stuart said nothing offensive in that tweet – but what does a straight male know about homophobia? Well, I have to go to Paul Kavanagh for my barometer of blatant homophobia (I could be mates with Paul) and If Paul confirms to me that Stuart’s tweet isn’t homophobic then as far as I’m concerned, that’s that.

    Campbell’s right to take this to law. I’ll crowdfund him just the same as I crowdfunded the Orkney Four against the liar Carmichael. Lest you forget; unionist Carmichael was found guilty of lying in order to sway the result of a General Election. Carmichael would happily impoverish millions of his fellow Scots for his own end – that is one utterly reprehensible swine in my book.

    Liked by 6 people

    • And another individual, supported unequivocally by Stuart/WoS, has a sleekit wee knife in to Stuart.

      Stuart wrote unequivocally in support of Haggerty when she was bewailing her treatment at a Sunday paper. He wasn’t asked/prompted, he did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. Exactly the same behaviour he exhibited over the substantial fundraiser for the Orkney 4. Did he enquire about your sexuality when he publicised your cause, over and over again? How many from WoS, like me contributed many times over? You made it clear your personal assets were at stake, and people right across the spectrum raised that huge amount of money for your cause.

      The second biggest political blog in the uk, right there behind you, and you rushing to denounce him as a homophobe.

      Discretion is often the better part of valour, just a pity some seem unable to practice it.

      You, Haggerty and her clique are fully entitled to your views of the incident. But, just like Haggertys behaviour now, you reveal an awful lot about your personality and self importance.

      I thought last night’s attempted smear of Mhairi Black by Haggerty and her new reporter Logan, was a new low. I was wrong.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. The ‘rights and wrongs’ of the situation that the court will decide upon, is whether Dugdale was justified in branding Campbell a homophobe. That is the entire substance of the case. Whether Campbell is a bad person, was wrong for bringing the case, or is an asset or liability to the independence cause, is immaterial.
    I believe Dugdale used a spurious claim of homophobia for political purposes. IMO, If the LGBTQ community should be angry at anyone, it should be Dugdale.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Vole,
    your sexuality is your own concern and no one elses. Homophobia or perceived homophobia is a personal thing too. Many gay people have said they do not think Stuart Campbell’s comment was homophobic, so this is not a gay versus straight acceptance of abuse but one’s own setting of the homophobic bar. Sorry for your personal attacks because of your sexuality, that should never happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Are we not missing the point that it was a joke, just like Billy Connolly’s when he said a man buried his wife with her arse poking out of the ground so he could park his bike, ok Billy tells it better, but is this Billy condoning violence against women, no of course not. It would be childish in the extreme, some Mary Whitehouse madness to construe it so.

    But what I have read above is virte signaling, fake offence and pretend indignation. And I include butterflies in this too,
    As for the protagonist Kezia of Fifi fame, incidentally she tells some crackers privately. What has happened is a witticism was striped for political advantage and spin. In short as most people know explaining the punchline of a joke just makes it not funny, whether or not it would be otherwise.

    What was not funny was Kezia making this a debate in Holyrood, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the joke, or better the “taste” of the audience she is attempting to create a situation where she is seen as a victim, and in doing so she is undermining the most fundamental of human rights, on par with freedom of sexuality, and that is freedom of speech, to call for a Journalist to be silenced because you didn’t like his joke is just a short step away from totalitarian state.

    And that is not funny, that is an attack on everyone gay straight or the rainbow in between……. and if you can’t see the strings behind this story, if you join the rabble then god help us all.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. It was simply a GOOD JOKE about a straight man’s public speaking ability.

    If I had said something like “If only Mr & Mrs Hitler (senior) had taken oaths of celibacy – would the world have been saved some inconvenience in 1939?” – would that joke make me bad?

    Dugdale was using the opportunity to make political capital by impugning a reputation, nothing more, nothing less – it is justifiable that Mr Campbell seeks to right the wrong and I will donate as necessary to see justice being done in a court of law.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’ll state from the outset that I’m a Wings supporter, and as a straight woman I wasn’t immediately sure what to make of this. However, I thought long and hard, and having taken account of quite a number of views, particularly those of Paul Kavanagh, I believe that Kezia Dugdale said what she did – and especially when she did – in order to make purely political capital out of trying to directly associate Wings with the SNP government. She even waited till several months after he said it before raiding the issue in parliament, by which time it was ancient history, and clearly did so I order to deflect flak from Scottish Labour on other, more topical issues of the day. I would also ask those members of the LGBTQI community who support Kezia’s stance, to please explain exactly what words in Stuart Campbell’s tweet they found to be homophobic? He said in effect that he wished Oliver Mundell had never been born, and that had David Mundell been open/aware/accepting of his sexuality much earlier, then perhaps Oliver wouldn’t have been born. Indeed it’s a horrible, offensive thing to say to anyone, but exactly what makes it homophobic?

    Liked by 2 people

    • How sweet – this is not about offence – LGBTQ people experience routine discrimination – it is acceptable to use our sexuality as a source of bad gags – so glad that does not bother you – and – I don’t think anyone could doubt my commitment to an independent Scotland – one where people are well-mannered to their enemies.

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    • As a straight woman you are not necessarily the best person to state what homophobia anymore than I as a gay white man can define sexism or racism.

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  11. An excellent article.

    Vole 10.15

    “So I express solidarity with David Mundell, Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale even though I am a political nationalist – and before you doubt my political credentials, I am one of the Orkney Four,”

    Not surprised that the likes of you – gay or otherwise – claim in one sentence that you’re a “political nationalist” and also that you express solidarity with those who wish to destroy Scotland. Maybe you should sue the concern trolling school.

    More surprised that you’re apparently “one of the Orkney Four” Now that I know I’m glad I never got round to contributing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not apparently one of the Orkney Four, I am one of them. I want to see an independent Scotland where politics are done decently – and a pluralistic society. Ask yourself why you never got round to contributing? Perhaps because a decent political environment is not worth £5.

      Like

    • “The Vole
      JULY 31, 2017 AT 11:55 PM
      As a straight woman you are not necessarily the best person to state what homophobia anymore than I as a gay white man can define sexism or racism.”

      I’m not a bin man but I know rubbish when I see it.
      I’m getting a bit tired of this crap, that straight people can’t see what homophobia or that white people can’t define racism. These are the last desperate cries of someone who has lost the argument and tries to fall back on their sexuality as a trump card.

      Which brings us back neatly to Kezia Dugdale. Funny, eh?

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    • @Jester
      Well said. This Vole can’t see for self righteous indignation. What absolute garbage that straight people have no right to comment. What kind of country does the Vole envisage, where we keep our mouths shut? I’m white, and I’ve assisted on a few occasions, where someone was getting racial abuse. I should have stood back, eh? I’m not qualified due to my colour.

      Vole, get yourself a goddamn mirror, because I can’t believe what you are posting here.
      Go and stand with Rapeclause Ruth and her homophobic DUP friends. See what kind of welcome you get. The protection and freedoms you enjoy in Scotland won’t last long under the future Unionist gov’t., ask gay people or even women in NI, what life is like there.

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  12. I wonder if David Mundell had never come out and this joke had been about a burst condom would Stuart Campbell have been accused of heterophobia by Ms Dugdale. This is a witchhunt and regardless of the outcome of the court case I can guarantee you one side or the other will think the law is an ass.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I really think commonspace has to consider the reputational damage contributors of the likes of haggerty , cat boyd and this guy Jason are having on their assertion that they are an indy supporting site .

    Commonspace take heed As far as I’m concerned ANYONE who openly supports and calls for others to support any britnat unionist party who is vehemently opposed to an Independent Scotland is not only politically naive but deliberately out to undermine the independence movement , and as such THEY are the ones who are pariahs and should be ejected from the indy movement
    @the Vole as one who donated and supported the Orkney 4 because you were correct and i admired your stance and integrity I am dismayed that IMO you have interpreted the tweet SC made as homophobic not only that , you have aligned yourself with a person duplicitously using an apparent smear to garner attention and sabotage a website owner and denigrate it’s supporters for political gain.

    Re Mr muddle and his homosexuality I never noticed this outrage and vehemence from the LGBTQ community when prior to his coming out he was voting against LGBTQ matters , all of a sudden he is all righteous indignation and his feelings should be cosseted

    Liked by 1 person

  14. First, a bit of house keeping:

    Tony L says
    >Kezia Dugdale chose to politicise this, none of the Mundells have done so.

    Both the Mundells have described Campbell’s remarks as disgusting and homophobic.

    Second:

    I am honestly baffled and astonished by the acrobatics on display here. The blog goes from putting a great deal of emphasis on the importance of solidarity, claiming that it will work with anyone who is working for an independent Scotland, to arguing that it must ignore; it must cut ties with; it can no longer support another party working for an independent Scotland. Eh? The basis for this is — apparently — that by criticising the homophobic remarks of a blogger, some people aren’t sufficiently committed to The Cause. That they have written, created and promoted policy documents that outline how a new state might be created; that they have provided arguments, detailed ones, about how new currencies may be backed and created; about how the economy might be improved to encourage others to support an independent Scotland; that they have done roadshows, panels, talks, and knocked doors is no longer enough: your identity as a nationalist means that they must have their Yes badges stripped from them. Solidarity with Stuart Campbell’s ego is more important than being prepared to listen — and enter a nuanced discussion with — those who are attempting to call out the bigotry that, if you believe in solidarity, is an attack on all of us — and damages The Cause.

    The blog’s prioritisation of the end of an Independent Scotland is understandable for those of a primarily nationalist bent, but what the blog and what many in the Yes movement seemingly need to understand — and this is an argument of pure self-interest for the nationalists— is that politics is about building coalitions. This essentialism, this ‘the wellbeing of the nation of Scotland transcend all other concerns?’ doesn’t recognise that for other people it doesn’t transcend all other concerns. Our side lost. Other people had other concerns: we’ve heard about currency, we may have heard about people who weren’t comfortable with Salmond’s record on abortion, we may have heard about people who weren’t sure how they would benefit. We need every lesbian vote, every gay vote, every bisexual vote, every transexual vote that’s going; we need every vote we can get our hands on.

    This whole nonsense and the discussions that have come from it do not help do that. They do not make an independent Scotland closer, they make it farther away. Attacking people who feel their ‘nation’ is other gay people; a nation that has had a good deal of shit over the years; suggesting that they aren’t sufficiently dedicated, that they are secretly unionists… Fuck me. What’s the point? You’re not making friends here, are you?

    And that’s the point: we need to make friends to be able to win. When someone says, ‘I think you’re doing this wrong’, sometimes — if the cause is more important than your ego — you need to can it and listen to them, and enter into a discussion (or not) and move forward.

    It’s something that Labour and the Tories do, and we’re better than them.

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    • Foos I respect and agree with what you are saying re the work that has been carried out by commons pace , as I have alluded to up above I have grave concerns that individuals within commonspace are DELIBERATELY working to create division and dissent within the indy movement . It is these same individuals who are calling for the exclusion of SC , WOS and it’s supporters from the movement , in effect aligning themselves with dugtail an opportunist who will and is using any excuse to subvert independence , supported either willingly or unwillingly by those mentioned.
      As I also stated above how can any intelligent person who voted for and encourages others to vote for a party who are vehemently opposed to independence convince people that they have the best interests of Scotland at heart

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  15. Trying like crazy not to get involved in this, simply because I think Wings is big enough to tough it oot himself and that I AM obsessed (as the yoons wid have it) wi indy and think we should be concentrating on that. If I did takes sides which I’m no, it wid be for Wings, nae bones aboot it. But hope it a sorts itself oot soon so that we can get back on wi achieving indy. I think the yoons will be haein a field day ower this, sadly. :/

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  16. Well put. I totally agree with you. Both Wings and Common Space fill vital roles in the independence movement, but at the end of the day it is Wings that provides us with the ammunition we need to counter the lies and deceptions of the Unionists. If CS continues to lobby against Wings they will lose my support, including the monthly contributions I make to their funds.

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  17. As a gay man, how anyone can describe encouraging someone to EMBRACE their sexuality as “homophobia” is beyond me. Yes, he’s implying David Mundell shouldn’t have been born – but there was nothing negative said or even hinted at about his father’s sexuality. This is a case of the “boy who cried homophobic wolf” and this ongoing argument is only helping the other side.

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