Despair in the Square 3: Terror and Tommygeddon at #HopeOverFear

To commemorate a year since the referendum and (we hope) to coincide with International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the Tommy Sheridan Show AKA “Hope over Fear” held their third rally in George Square today.


Hope Over Feaaaaaarrrrr.

A further degree of riddy had been added to the festivities by the decision of our old pals at Glasgow City Council to refuse the organisers permission to use the Square, amidst non-existent worries of public order incidents/rival demos/whatever excuses they could muster.

jm13304Telling Tam he’s banned from something tends to encourage him and despite the Council’s best efforts, thousands turned out.  Speaking of bans, The Sunday Herald were apparently banned from the press area at the event, possibly due to the fact some of their journalists have a record of, erm, reporting about Sheridan and his well documented antics.  We cannae say we bothered asking for a press pass but it wouldn’t be Hope Over Fear without A Thousand Flowers lurking in the shadows.

I normally try (and fail) to reflect on the positives of these events as well as the negatives, to remind myself that loads of punters just go down for a day out, that not everyone is a fan of captain shouty – but I can’t even kid on today, this was  a gruelling ordeal which raises serious questions about where a significant section of nationalists are heading.


We are the 55…

We arrived to find perjuring Pete himself shouting away as per, with the usual mix of interchangeable bands and speakers punctuating his many loud proclamations.  Amongst the surprises were the fact we only heard Caledonia and Something Inside So Strong twice each.  Not everyone was terrible of course, speakers like Susan Archibald, Roza Salih and Dennis Curran provided some respite and Eddi Reader, The Twa Tenors and Gerry Cinnamon certainly know how to entertain a crowd but bubbling away not so far beneath the surface was some worrying, backwards rhetoric.DSCF1329One speaker told the crowd about how “We had repelled the Vikings…and the Danes” coz obviously, a Scotland which gets rid of foreigners is something to be celebrating in the current context.  “Water is going over the border…whisky revenues are at an all time high.” As he furiously bellowed about “traitors”, a woman behind me shouted “burn the Witch” and I breathed a sigh in relief, realising I wasn’t alone in finding all this slightly troublesome.

All this repelling (or is that repulsive?) chat was broken up by the arrival of the Yes bikers, what nationalist movement would be complete without a biker gang?

jm13301jm13303It was nice of ex-BNPers Joe Finnie and Max Dunbar to make a relatively brief appearance before being chased away…DSCF1348


No Surrender? The nazis running away

Following this minor fracas, I returned to find a Solidarity member speaking, following which Sheridan was temporarily replaced in his compering slot in favour of “a more handsome, younger and elected politician” (emphasis his) Pat Lee, a councillor and member of…Solidarity.  Although he was elected as a member of the SNP, if we’re counting.

Pat thanked the Police, asked if anyone had lost the keys to their Volkswagen and did some pretty amusing dad dancing for a decent chunk of the day, avoiding his previous calls for Scotland to just declare independence, not that the UDI community weren’t represented.


Pat Lee: the parrot on Sheridan’s shoulder

jm13305We were then treated to a speech by “Irish Supporters of Hope over Fear” who talked of “a proud Celtic nation about to break with their foreign masters” and saluted “the bravery of the Scottish people in fighting for freedom throughout the world” (presumably in colonies like, erm, Ireland, where Scots have done a great job shooting the natives at the behest of the British state for the last 300 plus years).

Following Pat Lee delivering good wishes to “a 9 year old celebrating their 10th Birthday today” (perhaps a bit prematurely), we had a nice happy song about dying Westminster paedophiles followed by another one about Pandas, obviously.

After hours and hours of this nonsense, we decided at least one pint was in order, although we were fortunate enough to catch the “Ghetto Croft Movement” (no really) before we went.  This seemed to consist of a guy playing the bagpipes over breakbeat records.   He then gave us a wee Gaelic rap, the chorus of which focused on how this guy was born and raised in what he described as “the proud nation of Alba.”  That’ll doubtless swing the significant percentage on non-native born Scots who voted No this time last year.


Ghetto as fuck m8

We returned to find it all still going, albeit with a smaller audience than had been about earlier in the day, even Tommy’s teacups had packed up.

jm13306As one band sang, “hang me from a rope,” we were beginning to have similar feelings about spending more time on the sinking ship.  But we couldn’t walk the plank without witnessing the main event –  Sheridan being “asked to say a few words” (presumably by the organiser AKA Tommy Sheridan).  Of course, we were treated to a proposal and a rendition of The Impossible Dream en route.


Although, we must say we still prefer the original Alice Sheridan version:

He made a blanket call to support the SNP in the first ballot at the 2016 election, to get rid of the “Blue, Red and Yellow Tories at Holyrood”  That means support for homophobes like John Mason or Nats like Fergus Ewing, who this week teamed up with Labour’s Jackie Baillie, to denounce Jeremy Corbyn for his promise to nationalise the energy companies.


Pretty sure we’ve already done that…

He predictably called for the crowd to give their 2nd vote to Solidarity, the group set up solely to provide solidarity to him in his ongoing quest to wreck the left to satisfy his own ego.

There was a statement that the audience should vote for parties who put “indyref2” in their manifestos and Tam demanded a vote “no later than 2018.”  Actual radicalism has now been replaced by this view, which just demands loads of votes without any real analysis of why we didn’t win last time.


I blame fedoras and V for Vendetta masks…

Most gallingly, as always, there was the lie that today represented “all of the Yes family.”   This didn’t feel like “the Yes movement” or “the independence movement” as was claimed, it felt like Tommy stoking a burgeoning nationalist movement, one which has strengthened significantly in the last year and which is being fed by Sheridan’s calculation that he can ride on its coattails to Holyrood in 2016.  The least he can do is sell T-shirts, CDs and beer to it for as long as he can.

There were no Greens, no SSP/RISE/socialists who weren’t in Solidarity, no representatives from Women for Independence, even Robin McAlpine was under orders not to show his face after the furore following his last appearance alongside the suntanned superman.   Come to think of it, there wasn’t a single SNP speaker either, at least not in an official capacity.

After Tommy had finished, I was mildly cheered up by the fact the crowd had clearly only stuck around for Gerry Cinnamon, even I can’t pretend that’s not a catchy tune.

DSCF1559jm13308A year ago today, like every other Yes voter, I was greeting and wondering what would happen to the movement which fought for a better Scotland.  I need to keep reminding myself it’s still going and that some of it was in the Square today, alongside those seeking to repel the Danes and pretend they’re Ghetto coz they’re from the Highlands – but it’s hard to watch the so called left deliberately replacing socialism with Saltires to try to win a few votes.


Che wood b soo prowd

As I fought back the tears this time last year I wrote, “My hope is that the independence we are creating in Scotland continues to resist the forces of nationalism.”  I sincerely hope it does – but after today’s event, I fear we’ve got a long fight ahead.




Brufleg patter


Further Reading:

The Trouble with Tommy

Just Another Naturday? Glasgow march for independence

Despair in the Square with #HopeoverFear

Despair in the Square 2: Less Hope, More Fear


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26 responses to “Despair in the Square 3: Terror and Tommygeddon at #HopeOverFear

  1. Spot on: I payed a brief five minute visit and all I heard was mindless ranting, and all I saw was mindless, almost thuggish, blind nationalism, and I walked away not inspired, but depressed.

  2. I think this observation needs to be developed “this was a gruelling ordeal which raises serious questions about where a significant section of nationalists are heading.”.

    Where are ‘a significant section of nationalists heading’ ? Not to a good place, that is for sure. But how dark might it get?

  3. I’m hoping that the Yes movement will find their natural levels, like water, into two or three groups that aren’t necessarily coalescent but are travelling in the same direction. One thing we can’t afford is for the yes movement en masse to be split and at odds. Better for there to be vaguely discernible demarcation lines and a strong message that underpins everyone’s aspirations – independence.

    • “Independence” isn’t “everyone’s aspirations”. It isn’t a good description of a state that would be a member of NATO and the EU and the UN, that would be made up of land owned by various rich bastards and of resources owned by various rich bastards. Many of us supported a Yes vote as a step in the right derection but against our concerns that a Nationalist movement would sap energy away from the resistance.

  4. Whilst I’m not a fan of the overall tone of the article, I tend to agree. The Yes movement is on a shoogly peg here and could be led astray by a man more interested in stroking his own ego than actually constructively working to wards independence.

    The “independence at any cost” crowd will fracture the movement if events like today’s continue.

    We desperately need new leaders to come forward and bring all Yes wings together.

    • I agree with the tone of the article. I was at the event, and while I remain a firm supporter of independence, I just hope that when the day does come, it won’t be people like some of those commentors that will be making the rules.
      Some of the comments from some of the speakers were absolutely cringeworthy. That guy (whom I’ve never heard of before and hopefully won’t hear of again) belting on about “traitors” Blair and Brown is really not what I hoped or expected to hear from what a year ago was a movement that prided itself on being progressive and all-inclusive. But that was the Yes campaign..what we have now is something far less appealing.
      I recently returned from a trip to Slovakia, a former Soviet bloc nation that decalred independence in 1993. As a former client state of Germany who’s own people succesfully rebelled against its Nazi rulers in 1944, the experience of having repelled succesive larger neighbours that were inflict their will over them, is very much a living memory for many Slovakians, not just something they read about in books.
      As one of my Slovakian friends commented when the matter of Scotland’s independence came up, he said nobody regretted the decision that they made, and that people are much happier because of it. He also said that one important thing they did was to draw a line under the old rivalries, hate, and desire for revenge against their neighbours, otherwise nothing would change. Scotland and especially the Scots must learn from that. If anybody is to take the independence movement seriously, then it needs a responsible leader who reflects a positive outlook. Sheridan is not that person.

      • I entirely agree with you,I spent about 5mins in the square,not impressed by Mr Sheridan ,and I think he could do more harm than good,this is about his ego and nothing more,true independence supporters will hopefully see through him,

  5. Nice to see you’re smart enough to expect me to be concerned about convincing NO voters to change their minds whilst performing to a square full of people who voted YES!? Also ‘Alba gu Brath’ does not mean ‘proud nation of Scotland.’ Not all of us have strong allegiances to any political movement – but I wish someone had recorded my speech because I speak truth from the heart, and I’m not even going to try and explain the intricacies of my music/poetry to you. I happen to perform all over the world with my music and have received multiple awards and rave reviews for what I do. So it’s not ok to be proud of being Scottish and of being a Gael..? Well fuck you! I’ve been getting that inferiority shit drummed into me from ignorant pigs like you my whole life and it’s not going to wash. I’ll just give up my culture and go back to highlands with heather in my ears where I belong will I? Because you’re afraid I might scare people? There were many immigrants present, like the Moroccan I spoke to after my performance who wanted to know more about the Gaelic/piping etc. and just like most immigrants to our country and people all over the world who hear Gaelic, he had a genuine interest. Another wee lassie I spoke to afterwards wanted to learn Gaelic because of what she heard.. That’s why I was there.. To represent my culture in front of an audience I believe need to hear about it. It’s only closet racists against the Gaels and our culture like you that have a problem with it (nearly all of whom are Scottish by the way, NOT ENGLISH). Alot of those people there today were there because they need each other, some of the most vulnerable in our society.. They truly believe in the independence movement and just want a get together. Just to be a presence and have at least some kind of voice in a society that shuns them.. and you go pulling them all apart? Well some of those people heard my message today and there’s fuck all you can do about it. Your ‘Ghetto as fuck’ comment is stinkingly racist. Wonder what my African American friends would make of that? Just the type of reaction I’m looking for from you kind of people.

    • Literally no-one was there because they needed a lying perjuring fantastist to shout at them, although I don’t doubt he seeks to exploit the vulnerable and by sharing a platform with him, you’ve helped.

      I made no comment on people’s reason for attendance, that’s not the issue, the political content of what was on offer and most importantly who benefits from that is what concerns me. I have zero sympathy for anyone daft enough to associate with someone with such a well documented history of being a dangerous man.

      If me mocking your appropriation of the word “ghetto” for your “struggles” as a white dude comes across as racist, it’s because you appropriating that word is probably pretty racist.

    • Yeah, you have every right to be angry about the destruction of Gaelic culture and every right to defend it. I’m glad you reached folk who showed an interest – as a Gaelic leaner I have encountered exactly the kind of socialist / centre-left bullshit and racism about Gaels and Gaelic culture that you mention. Utterly disheartening every time I encounter it. I believe you. But if you stand with the likes of misogynist abuser and perjurer Tommy Sheridan you will be called out. And appropriating the term “ghetto” for your struggle is not on – it is in itself racist (as a White man trying to use the struggle of Black people in the US to your own ends) and embarrassing. It means I can’t share your stuff. Calm down and take a look, do some reading around that.

  6. Lot of food for thought here. I need to know more about the details of this. Although I was home for the referendum last year, and I’m coming back next year, I’ve been away a lot and missed most of the Tommy drama. How would you feel about a private chat to help me out before I go talking about it publicly? Oh, by the way, I also left a comment on an old piece of yours from last year, the one about Tony Abbott.

  7. I felt there was a mix of spectators there. There were some who, no doubt, we supporters of TS/Solidarity. Fair enough, they organised the event, but many others, my group included were simply there to show support for indy. If there had been a tiny turnout the MSM would have jumped upon it. Admittedly, my oh turned to me at one point and said that once we win indy ‘we shall be ‘enemy’ TS preaches about’ i.e anyone who doesn’t share his particular brand of politics.

  8. I understand why people were there yesterday. I really do like most folk I mourn for what was in our grasp. I was quoted in a Herald article today saying I would not share a platform with Tommy because of the impact he has had on women in politics. They missed out that I understand why folk were there and I have deep respect for women like Susan Archibald who spoke. I will never share a platform with Tommy though (not that he would have me), because of the impact he has had on many women in politics. I know there were many pro-indy women there yesterday wanting to be with other YESsers but I still dream of a different Scotland with a few less shouty men there are enough of them. For an Independent Scotland with different Scotland. Thanks to all at A 1000 flowers for the report.

  9. Man I used to enjoy reading ATF articles, with weekly wankers being on of my regular faves. Being queer, pro Indy and from the Highlands it was a match made in my Facebook feed heaven. Although recently the articles I think have been a bit…off and poor quality and not the reason I chose to follow ATF, and mainly not as engaging or as funny anymore.

    Look I hate Tommy, and he does more damage to the Indy movement than I’d like. I also didn’t agree with probably about 80% of what was said yesterday, but I don’t think articles like this help either. Take a bit of time instead of just attacking the likes of “ghetto croft” which by the way I thought the bagpipes/ rapping was fucking brilliant!… and highlight the issues of blind nationalism/ “independence at all costs” without being such a wanker yourself.

    C’man ATF you can do better.

    • Thanks for this.

      7 hours of standing around listening to that is enough to turn anyone into a wanker tbh. There just wasnae much point in paying lip service to yesterday, I found more positive and thoughtful things to say about Orangefest to be honest.

      It was grim and (I’d venture at least) worth deviating from any pretence at helpfulness for a bit of a rage.

      I’d like to hope ATF has been consistently inconsistent in every way since we started and I doubt that will change.

    • See my comment above. It’s not OK for White people to appropriate the term “ghetto” for their struggles no matter how much you might relate to or be inspired by African American politics and struggles. As a queer woman I can also say it’s not OK to take over my city centre supporting the likes of Tommy Sheridan – because make no mistake, no matter why you have turned up at Hope Over Fear you are giving him support. And making it an unsafe space for people like me. I’ll support Gaels and the Gaelic struggle to my dying breath but I don’t support appropriating Black struggles to make yourselves look cool – it’s not cool it’s embarrassing on a world stage where #BlackLivesMatter is to the fore. Do some reading about what racism and appropriation look like – being oppressed yourself doesn’t absolve you from educating yourself.

      • Juan has been deleting my comments in defence of the term GhettoCroft so far.. Perhaps a bit too strong? If he allows this up – don’t presume separation of struggle or cultural appropriation. Hip Hop is an extremely complex subject and it actually firms part of my PhD thesis. Have a look into KES Ones masters thesis etc. There are MCs, DJs etc. like myself all over the globe from Berlin to Japan who belong to the culture in their own way. I also play jazz and I’m white. Is that cultural appropriation? Are you aware that Ghettos exist out with the black community all over the world and always have done? Look at Boston when the victims of the Irish famine arrived for example. No I defend GhettoCroft and I have friends, black, white, Hispanic etc. who will stand by me on it. Show some imagination guys and don’t presume to know what my reason for using the word are. Hip Hop is as much a part of my culture now as Gaelic is. We’re all global citizens. One love.

  10. hi Juan Mac,On Friday,I asked a question on Craig Murray’s blog regarding Craig’s sharing a platform with Tommy Sheridan, a convicted perjurer.(Please see link below) Now Craig is a guy that,up to now,I really quite rated.I found him anti-establishment and prepared to take a principled position,regardless of personal cost.(see below) i.e. Basically,someone who I would want to be a representative/politician in an independent Scotland.So his position on sharing a platform with a convicted perjurer and,according to what I’ve read,a thoroughly questionable character,really puzzles and disturbs me.Also,Craig’s blog is,I would imagine,one of the most popular amongst pro-Indie people;but,as far as I can see,the fact that not a single person, was prepared to also registrar their concern with Craig leads me to a quite disturbing point of view.You say above,”this was a gruelling ordeal,which raises serious questions about where a significant section of nationalists are heading.” I’m beginning to share your concern!

  11. Me family and I .had a great time yesterday .just being there with other Yessers. Was great. The Children and Youth enjoyed the fun time. We all where there because we believe Scotland should have Independence. We are a great Country. I also brought Two New to the Yes Movement. They enjoyed the wide movement of Scotish people from all over. Getting a chance to be together. We had a great day. We didn’t listen to the Boring stuff.

  12. For the majority of us who turned up to fly the Yes flag and to promote IndyRef 2 it wasn’t about Sheridan, if he thought it was for him then he should climb down from his own arse. I was Labour, now SNP and have no interest in Sheridan other than he supports Yes. I was angry that Sunday Herald was “banned” we missed out on one fair paper who would report the basics of the day and at least show the full extent of the crowds. That was what it was all about, not Sheridan’s vanity and his own personal vendetta against the media, Makes you wonder just how big the crowd would have been if it had been all Yessers…those who stood by their principles of not wanting to be at the same event that Sheridan. Next big rally we have to make sure its a people event and not a one man, one party run event where Yes supporters can feel they can all attend. After all there is no one leader in Yes at the moment, its a people movement. I agree that some of the speakers made me cringe…..we are against Westminster, not the English people, we should all remember that especially those standing up on stage…….in the crowds are very dedicated English people who are adopted Scots, there are Scots who have English relatives or relatives in England. Our enemy is Westminster, the unionist politicians, the biased unionist media especially in London and that is the only ones we should target.

  13. I think the “Red Tories” banner, slogan, and attitude needs to be dropped as no longer applicable. I mean, seriously, the election of a long-standing and committed socialist to the leadership of the Labour Party by hundreds of thousands of members (new and old) doesn’t change things? It doesn’t deserve to be even acknowledged?

    I guarantee, the actual Tories, the Blairites, the capitalists, the owners of the media, the generals publicly threatening “a mutiny” right now , etc…. they know the difference, and they know how important this is.

    I’m not trying to convince anyone to give up on Scottish independence, but if you’re at all left-wing then you certainly shouldn’t be attacking Labour under the current circumstances. Whether or not Scotland becomes independent, if you’re against ‘austerity’, Trident & NATO, etc, then surely the new leadership of Labour is to be welcomed?

  14. I was not there, I have allways voted for independence, if you go to these things you will get this kind of stuff, you get it everywhere, and btw, I was visiting kelvingrove art gallery , lo and behold who came marching down the street on a busy Saturday afternoon disrupting the flow of traffic, yes you’ve guessed it, an orange band, most of the public just ignored them, even an Asian guy I was standing with found the whole idea of this stuff, ridiculous, we where just trying to get a bus into the city centre, time all these bands where stopped from disrupting the lives of the public in this way, and I mean all of them, not just the orange bands

  15. I passed by this this weekend and honestly, it was kind of depressing.

    I remember george sq the days before the referendum and the positive atmosphere, just people hopeful and having fun.

    from what I’ve read above, the visible face of the independence movement is turning into the caricature depicted in the media last year.

    I am also worried

  16. I was a no voter but a proud Scotsman but I will say this Tommy Sheridan is a proven liar and the worse man you could have to run a yes campaign all he is interested is to get elected again so he can have a wage. Total scumbag

  17. Maybe when the speaker referred to “repelling Danes”, he was thinking of the Danish socialist, Katrine Trolle, who after giving evidence against Sheridan in the initial NOTW libel case felt the need to go back to Denmark after receiving abusive vitriol from the Sheridanistas.

    After their history of attacking anyone (SSP etc) who does not worship at his shrine, why should there be any surprise at the atmosphere at rallies such as this.

    As for the use or misuse of ( the Italian word) “ghetto”, the first ghettos were the Jewish ones in Europe. The original one being in Venice. The most famous in modern times being that of the Warsaw Ghetto and its uprising against the Nazis.

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