WEEKLY WANKER #017: WINGS OVER SCOTLAND

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Yeah, that’s right, you heard – we’re making a fellow pro-indy blog Weekly Wanker. And the reason is because you can’t defend the indefensible, and no one is immune to the potential for making a total wanker of themselves.

Wings Over Scotland is run by independence blogger “Rev. Stuart Campbell, a Liberal Democrat voter at every election for the last 22 years” by his own admission. We’ve never had any major bone to pick with them (except that the logo is a bit scary lol), we’ve even linked to them a few times.

Unfortunately though, as is prone to happen when people let loose on twitter, it turns out he’s a bit of a wanker. A lot of a wanker actually. A really transphobic wanker. After being pulled up for deliberately misgendering Chelsea Manning, he let rip with this twitter tirade:

Screen shot 2013-09-01 at 22.14.10

I don’t think I really have the energy to explain how out of order this is. I’ve written a little about transphobia in Scotland before. We know by now, surely? We know, don’t we?! Apparently we don’t. There is no circumstance in which it is ok for a cisgender person to assert their dominance over a transgender person’s right to exist. And neither is there a circumstance in which it’s ok to let this slide. Just because it doesn’t use sweary words doesn’t mean it isn’t out and out hate speech.

Personally, I think that anyone who denies the existence of trans people should be held directly accountable when a cis person, confronted with the undeniable reality of a trans person’s existence, goes ahead and murders them. This isn’t fucking funny. Transphobia is incredibly dangerous, you are seriously playing with people’s lives when you engage in it.

Clearly, Wings Over Scotland doesn’t share the same vision of independence that we do. If you don’t want Scotland to be a country in which trans people can live safely, with their lives acknowledged and valued, then you don’t want independence for all. We’ve got a very real chance here to build something so different, a country that could – if we do it right – support and empower its citizens in a way we’ll never have with the status quo. I am not up for keeping quiet about transphobia, sexism, racism or anything else for the sake of the referendum. I want transgender people to feel there is value in them voting yes, not the same old shit or worse. We know we want independence, the important question is what kind of independence we want.

Chelsea Manning

Special wanker shout out to the various pro-indy movers, shakers and tweeters circling the wagons to defend one of their own, no matter how gross they are. Don’t think you’ve escaped the Wanker Hammer.

In particular, I want to make an appeal to Alan Bissett. Do you truly want to call yourself a male feminist? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this time and believe that you do. Please take seriously what I am saying. The very first step to being a male feminist, Male Feminist 101, is know when to stop talking. You absolutely have to listen to what women are saying on this, and that means not just cis women but trans women too. When you raise – for what reason, I’m not entirely sure – the point of “yeah, but he’s totally sound on independence though”, you are enabling his transphobia. Excusing someone’s right to hold on to dangerous, violent ideologies on the basis that they are right about other things is excusing their behaviour and worse than that, it’s allowing them to continue. If they know that no matter what outrageous, hateful stuff they say, there will always be other men around to say ‘yeah but we still have to listen to him when he talks about other stuff’, they can continue to say whatever they like for as long as they like. It doesn’t matter what his opinions are on other stuff! What matters is sending a message to him that no one will listen to what he has to say about other stuff unless he ditches the virulent transphobia.

It’s a bit like saying yes well Tommy Sheridan is a terrible misogynist but he is very good at shouting so let’s talk about that instead. George Galloway literally goes on telly to deny women’s experience of rape – why on EARTH should we stand by and let him also go on telly to talk about Syria? He’s lost the right! Any time we let him back on telly to talk about his other interests, his ability to publically encourage rape culture grows stronger. There absolutely is power in cutting off people who otherwise might be on our side, when they prove that fundamentally they see some of us as less than human. I’m pretty sure that if Wings Over Scotland dude, or George Galloway, said publically that they saw YOU as less than human, you’d give less of a shit about whether they’re pro-independence or anti-war.

And by the way, turning to ‘but George Orwell and Malcolm X were homophobic and we value what they did’ is incredibly daft. Firstly, it probably actually IS a bit shit how hard a boner lefties get for 1984. I’m sure his homophobia did affect his work. We should talk about it more so we’re not doomed to repeat the same mistakes, constantly pissing ourselves for the gatekeepers of academia instead of giving a shit about the people they deem expendable. But more importantly, are you SERIOUSLY trying to excuse CURRENT, REAL, HAPPENING BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES oppression on the basis that it’s happened in the past? You can’t do anything about historical homophobes. You very much can do something about the transphobia occuring in our own independence movement, that you surely feel you have a stake in, right now.

Please, god, for your own sake – learn when to stop talking and when to start listening.

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12 responses to “WEEKLY WANKER #017: WINGS OVER SCOTLAND

  1. Pingback: Godwin’s law is totally as bad as Hitler (not) | Some anarchist reviews of stuff·

  2. This post is causing some serious shit on Facebook. I would like to point out that a bunch of us last night were discussing the Wings Over Scotland / Alan Bissett issue together and the author of this post happened to be the one who pulled all of our thoughts together to write it. This writer is copping it for presenting something a bunch of us were saying- some of the words are even mine, and I specifically encouraged turning it into a Weekly Wanker post. Still glad I did, I think it’s great. But that means I feel partly responsible for the author getting shit over this. Loads of very committed pro-indy activists in Radical Queer Independence, the Village Aunties, and other pro-indy groups support this post. I’m raising my hand to say the only reason I didn’t write it was because I don’t have the energy and talent of this writer. I am very grateful and I have your back.

  3. Pingback: Village Aunties at the Independence March and Rally 2013 | village aunties·

  4. Wholeheartedly agree with this post. Sharing common ground on one area with someone never justifies cutting them some slack when they are being, at best, a mixture of insensitive and ignorant. We should pick up on every instance of transphobia, homophobia, misogyny or racism regardless of where the person stands on the political spectrum.

  5. Last week i was totally stunned and ashamed of so many Scots folks pouring out mass venom on JK Rowling – a “bitch”, “whore”, “bint”, who as a single mother should have been “grateful” of the benefits “we” gave her, and calling out for the mass burning of books and DVDs!

    The Referendum has never sunk lower so far. I pray to God that it doesn’t get any worse!

    Wings over Scotland/ Bath by a fake Reverend (I thought only the BNP had those megalomaniacs?) is just interested in yah-boo politic. They featured one of my videos just because it had a lot of snarling/ shouting/ barracking/ jeering at a Trade Union activist and a Labour MSP. I have umpteen much more informative and balanced videos, but Wings isn’t interested in that kind of thing at all – its Yah-boo Wings-serving propaganda of nothing (very like the worst of Westminster actually!).

    I’m all up for calling them out on the transphobia issue – but all the other stuff above is just as damning!

    Calling for general integrity would be important. I’ve been called all sorts in this campaign, and no doubt if some people are on the “loosing side” then there may be recriminations for years to come! All I say is that which ever side wins, the fight to build and struggle for socialism is only just beginning – and that should bring us some unity in that realization!

    • There are a few reasons why I like this blog, and one is that it challenges me. As a straght male, it’s pretty easy for me to just not think about issues from the perspective of anyone who’s not also a straight male. So I come here, where I know the little bubble of ignorance I often forget I’m floating in is likely to be popped, allowing my to see more clearly.

      Here’s an example: in the article “These Streets Were Made For Walking” (also by Tarzan Girl) she advises guys not to “walk too close or too fast next to women on their own at night, because while you might know you’re a good guy, we have no way of knowing that.” I’ve almost certainly done this loads of times without thinking about it, but now I’ve learned.

      Another thing I did too quickly and without thinking enough was post the following on my own blog:

      “…the utter non-story of a few people giving J K Rowling abuse on twitter, which dominated STV and BBC Scotland television news headlines for days. I don’t condone the abuse, but c’mon, welcome to the fucking internet.”

      At the time, my thought-process ran along the lines of “Everybody gets abuse on twitter every day, I don’t see why a few idots dishing it out to a billionaire is such a news big news story”. But in retrospect, this was a case of a women getting abuse that related to her sex and the fact that she is/was a single mother. That’s not the same as people on twitter calling Piers Morgan a prick or trolling footballers, which was the category I initially put it in.

      I trivialised it, wrongly, because from my perspective as a straight male it’s too easy to think ‘Twitter abuse is like pish in the pool’ and forget that the sort of comments directed towards JK Rowling marginalise women and single parents and imply that they somehow shouldn’t be involved in campaigns for/against independence.

      There was something about seeing your comment on this particular blog that made me rethink what I’d said. So there’s another thing I’ve learned from visiting athousandflowers.

  6. Pingback: Yes Scotland is a bit late to realise that Wings over Scotland is bad news | Caron's Musings·

  7. Good call, and I support this nomination for Weekly Wanker. But not just for the transphobia, which is disgraceful enough. I nominate Wings for abusing its own contributors – fellow Yessers – who have the temerity to present evidence and facts that show that the so-called-rev has got it wrong, such as the recent monstering of Clare Lally, a carer and ordinary mother who happens to be a No supporter. Clare wasn’t related to Pat Lally, and she isn’t a Labour politician trying to climb the slippery pole: that would be impossible when you have a very sick kid who is in and out of hospital all the time.
    Q: who calls themselves Reverend if they aren’t one?
    A: Wankers who feel some need to assert positional authority.

  8. Pingback: Yes Together: Robin McAlpine, Wings Over Scotland, and the progressive whitewashing of misogyny « Better Nation·

  9. Pingback: Feminism in the Scottish post-referendum movement – #the45plus feminists rising | village aunties·

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