Predicting a political eruption? 5 cool things from the Scottish Independence debate

Just in case you are needing a wee break from the endless dancing stream of lava-shaped fabulousness from Iceland in your Twitter feed here’s a wee #indyref moment.

Quite a lot of the interdisciplinary research I do in volcanology looks at the role that community-based or collective action has to play in encouraging societies to reduce their volcanic risk.

So, it has been interesting to watch the groundswell of opinion coming from the ‘grassroots’ on behalf of the ‘Yes’ campaign leading up to the Scottish Referendum on independence.  Quite probably one of the most exciting pieces of optimistic, humorous subversion I can remember in UK politics. I don’t think you even need to want to vote ‘yes’ to appreciate the healthy upswing in interest in all things political around the Referendum.

Until now, its gone largely un-noticed by the mainstream media but suddenly the impact has become collective and the energy is beginning to spill into the polls, and the whole of the UK is noticing.

This is the best article I’ve read about waking up to this from Paul Mason (Channel 4’s Economics Editor)

So, regardless of the arguments around how to vote here are my Top 5 things from the quiet seismic revolution rumbling along in my #indyref Twitter feed.

(1) Billy Bragg weighs into the independence debate, sings a song at Yestival and makes some really good points about seeing the U.K. positively and changing politics in the whole country for the better.  Billy Bragg’s Twitterfeed says ‘A progressive is someone who wants to see society re-organised so that everyone has access to the means by which to reach their full potential.‘ Yes please to that, Billy, however we manage it.



(2) The pace has accelerated in the last week or two. The most highly charged explosion was around ‘the Patronising  BT Lady’ advert.  Even those in the Better Together Campaign seemed a bit upset. This buzzfeed headline captures it nicely….. biggest collective outcry I’ve seen since the  ‘Science, its a girl thing’ shenanigans. Take a look.

Patronising Better Together Lady: Buzzfeed

(3) The @NationalCollective Twitter Feed. Its funny, informative, never super-extra cruel to the ‘no’ campaign and sometimes a wee bit silly…. worth a follow over the next few weeks, even if you want to vote ‘no’.

(4) The Common Weal (@Common_Weal) This was triggered by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, which was set up in memory of the famous orator and trade unionist(*). It’s a collective posting and sharing of visions for the setting up of a new independent country.  An optimistic thinking space.

(5) …. and finally SKYNEWS’ new campaign to get you to watch the referendum result with them is pretty good. Especially David Cameron doing Taylor Swift…




(*)Jimmy Reid is partly famous for his ‘rat race’ speech which he gave when accepting his Rectorship of Glasgow University. This bit is my best quote antidote to those moments when academia feels a little bit like a treadmill.

To the students I address this appeal. Reject these attitudes. Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack.’

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