The day the Nationalists stole me

Last Friday saw the launch of Yes Scotland, the campaign for Scottish independence. I wrote at the time that it really amounted to some white blokes talking in a cinema.

It’s not been a good week for them because yesterday they were forced to change their website after I found out my photo was on it, among others, under the headline “Powered by people o’ independent mind”.  The clear implication was that I support their cause when I absolutely do not.

I also found out I had a profile on their site, and had been awarded 50 “political capital” points for tweeting about them. It was just ever so slightly ironic and amusing that at least some of them had been given for tweets taking the mickey out of them for having their launch on Towel Day, the annual tribute to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. After all, we’d need a lot more than a towel to protect us from the crazy and unpredictable risks of splitting up the UK.  I’d never registered with their site, though, not expressed any support for them. The reason I was there was simply because I followed the @yesscotland account on Twitter.

Now, I follow lots of people on Twitter, just because I’m interested in what they might be up to. They include William Hague to the Downing Street Cat to Rupert Murdoch to Mitt Romney and even people I really loathe like Lewis Hamilton. I rarely agree with any of them, especially Larry when he’s being mean about Nick Clegg.

So,  I raised a tiny bit of a stink about it by writing about it on my blog. Willie Rennie also released a statement about it:

They tried to rig the referendum, now they are rigging the website.

Following an individual or group on Twitter should not be misrepresented as support.

 The Yes Scotland website fails to make this distinction and implies that everyone who follows the campaign supports the campaign.

This is an underhanded way to pad out numbers to make it look like more people support the break-up of the UK than is actually the case.

What Yes Scotland should have done was to apologises, say it was a mistake and they’d change it straight away.  Instead, with the sort of arrogant bluster we’ve come to expect from them, they  said:

YesScotland.net is open to all people who want to find out about the many benefits of an independent Scotland, including 15,000 supporters who have already signed the Yes Declaration and followers, people of ‘independent mind’, who are not counted as supporters, and who have connected with Yes Scotland through our website, Facebook page or twitter account simply to find out more.

Well, they might make the distinction between followers and supporters but their website does not make that clear.  However, in response to the concerns I and others have expressed and the pressure we have put on them, they have now changed both their Twitter profile and website to indicate that the people in the photographs are following them on Twitter and Facebook.

As I was writing this, I realised that the wording on their site had been changed again. In a further climbdown, they had removed the “Powered by people o’ independent mind” and the banner now says “Already thousands have followed Yes Scotland, here are some of them”. Firstly, I think that should be two sentences. Secondly, I still don’t think it’s enough. I feel that  only those who have registered with them or signed what seems to have become known as the Declaration of Cineworld should be pictured. Let’s face it, that’s quite an appropriate name for something that’s not exactly the most stirring piece of prose there’s ever been.

The STV news website has taken up the story. It’s interesting how the Yes Scotland line has changed since yesterday. Now they say:

YesScotland.net is an organic site which is constantly evolving and improving to keep up with demand and great ideas as it is powered by the people who use it. We welcome all feedback and are constantly striving to improve the site.

When you see someone’s photograph on the front page of a website, you automatically assume that they’re there because they support that cause. It’s quite devious to misrepresent people’s intentions in the way that Yes Scotland has done and they should stop doing it immediately.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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4 Comments

  • Caron, I think the real problem is you don’t know how to use Twitter. It would be more interesting to hear what policies the Lib Dems will be proposing in the Referendum debate or are we going to have wait another hundred years to find out what your alleged commitment to “Home Rule” actually means.

  • Love the comment from Hireton: It misses the point, erroneously suggests that *you* don’t know how to use twitter (not the pro-separation campaign or anything, oh no), ignoring the outrageous appropriation of your image as a twitter follower to imply you support their cause (clearly not the case), and – apparently – not reading up on alternative policies despite committing to one option already.

  • Henry

    Do the LibDems have a defined policy other than rejecting independence, denying us a vote on a devo-max options and setting up yet another commission to define your Home Rule policy?

    By the way love the “pro-separation” line; can’t you bring yourself to say independence?

  • Keith Browning 31st May '12 - 6:49pm

    For most of Man’s organised existence on these islands the piece of land north of the Whin Sill has been occupied by a different tribe to the one who lived to the south. The Act of Union was only signed in 1707, although King James I & VI was an earlier aberation.

    The Scots never welcomed southerners in their part, although they were happy to come and take our jobs south of the border. I have been dogged in my life by a succession of arrogant and bullish Scots managers.

    Let them have their land back – on one condition – they are forced to take Michael Gove back – and Alex Ferguson, both the unacceptable face of Scotsmen in England.

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