Time for Scotland will ‘keep getting Scotland in the news’ after successful debut
After its succesful debut rallies, Time for Scotland has confirmed it will continue to help boost the profile of the independence movement with live events and protests, reacting on-the-day to major stories.
The group, which first came together to stage a demonstration around the Supreme Court’s ruling on indyref2, is made up of a few core volunteers bringing together various strands of expertise, with little funding except small donations for each individual event from the Scottish Independence Foundation.
The group’s efforts have been spearheaded by National columnist, author and broadcaster, Lesley Riddoch who says she “feels like a broken record” repeating that news works on the basis that people act the day news breaks.
She stressed that the “point of Time for Scotland is impactful activism” and there is no aim to turn it into a membership organisation of any kind as “there are plenty other groups who do that very well” – with efforts instead focused on co-ordinating action.
Riddoch had previously suggested events putting the spotlight on raw reaction to the SNP and other existing organisations – but nothing came about as a result.
So, the broadcaster and a few volunteers decided to use their experience to organise an event at Holyrood, on which the media’s lens could be focused.
This was inspired by the Brexit rally event previously organised with the late Mike Blackshaw of Edinburgh Yes Hub and a conversation Riddoch had while on a panel she was chairing at a Europe for Scotland event.
Riddoch said: “They all had a strong conception that Scotland should have the right to make its own decision.”
But Europeans questioned Scotland’s desire for independence as they didn’t see the movement. She added: “Now that fricken hurt, but they said, ‘We’re not seeing anything.’”
Riddoch said the comments from international supporters really struck her, and it was the reason she started to go around Yes groups in October, trying to persuade them to get active on the date of the Supreme Court verdict.
Several Yes supporters who also felt the movement could be drawing more media attention in relation to big stories approached Riddoch to be involved.
Riddoch has used her experience built from 25 years of working for BBC and Channel 4 to draw in media coverage from across Europe, writing press releases and, instrumental to their success, getting Yes groups on board in supporting the events.
Lawyer Andrew Wilson told Riddoch he would love to be involved and help the group get a functioning, reliable sound system for events. He was successful in sourcing this, as well as liaising with the council and Holyrood Park departments.
Fraser Thompson, a parliamentary staffer, offered to set up a website which he updates with event information, as well as send out mass email and text message updates around event time.
Stewart Kerr Brown heard through word of mouth about the Supreme Court rallies and offered to lend his skills in design. He now creates the promotional visuals, including The National’s recent Lights On pull-out poster. He is also producer of the group’s short film series on Brexit.
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The films looking at Brexit’s impact on Scotland are available to watch on Time for Scotland’s Twitter and YouTube accounts, and its team want to produce more “until there is an actual news event” that requires them to mobilise again.
Brown said: “These are important to me personally as the independence movement does not get a fair share of coverage from the majority of the media in Scotland. We suffer a deluge of disingenuous Unionist propaganda daily so this was my small way to counteract it.
“Going forward, we plan to produce films not only on the effects of Brexit but of being in this Union which prevents us functioning as a normal country, preventing us from being the country we want to be.”
Former top BBC Scotland correspondent and author Ken Macdonald, who presents the group’s films, said: “Scotland was hauled out of the EU against her will following a Leave campaign built on even more lies. The great majority of Scottish voters didn’t fall for them, but we were overruled as usual.
“Since then, the overwhelmingly Unionist media have tried to treat Brexit as a settled issue, downplaying or just ignoring the huge damage it’s doing.
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“All we’re trying to do is provide some balance to that.”
Moving away from the Brexit anniversary, Brown told The National more films are being planned on the UK’s treatment of Scotland.
Brown added: “The UK does not love us for who we are, they love us for our resources, a myth we need to put to bed as well – so films on that as well are being planned.”