My ancestors were all Scots–MacDougalls, MacLeods, MacLennans, MacFarlanes, MacIsaacs, Rankins, Macdonalds, and more than one who spelled my last name MacFhearghais–and so I’ve followed the run-up to next Thursday’s referendum asking “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
This is a question for the voters of Scotland, and I don’t pretend to have advice on how they should vote. In the social media streams I follow, though, I’ve seen many remarks to the effect that, despite excesses here and there, discussions in Scotland have had a high level of seriousness.
Just today, on the Facebook page for an artist I follow who’s an ardent advocate for Yes, a person planning to vote No was invited to a public discussion. He felt secure enough to ask with an emoticon wink, “Will I be safe?”
Ordinary individuals are exploring, considering, pondering, which is a good thing for any democracy.
What this post is about is not a Yes or No vote in the referendum, but the thoroughness of one organization firmly on the Yes side–Wings Over Scotland, a political website focused on the media.
What I mean by thoroughness is their approach to communicating with potential readers. I only happened to notice this because I came across a link to An Leabhar Beag Gorm, the Gaelic edition of their publication, The Wee Blue Book. (I don’t know much Gaelic, but I knew all four words in the Gaelic title, so it caught my eye.)
As Wings Over Scotland explains in their introduction to The Wee Blue Book, none of the 37 national or daily papers available in Scotland supports independence. “Newspapers have no duty to be fair or balanced, but… the press being so overwhelmingly skewed to one side is a problem for democracy.
“Our website…is biased, too. We support independence…”
To that end, they’ve collected a great deal of information and assembled it into the Wee Blue Book.
What’s impressive is how they’re offering it up. You can see on their August 11 post that the book is available:
- For smartphones and tablets
- For desktops and laptops
- For ebooks (epub, Kindle, etc.)
- As a website
- In print
- As an audio book
And, as you’ve seen, in Gaelic.
But wait! There’s more!
Wings Over Scotland has a print-ready edition–and when they say “print,” they mean A6 paper, self-cover, CMYK, saddle-stitched, with a 3mm bleed, on 130gsm stock, so you can “just hand the PDF to a printing company.”
I’ve never met the Reverend Stuart Campbell, who runs the site, but I’m pretty sure he’s a lot smarter than the average social media guru whose self-promotions rain down on LinkedIn and Twitter.