Hi there, I'm James Kelly, and since 2008 I've been one of Scotland's most prolific pro-independence bloggers. My blog Scot Goes Pop has carved out a niche for itself with its detailed coverage of opinion polls. During the 2014 independence referendum, it relentlessly challenged the agenda-driven misreporting of polls as showing that the Yes campaign were not even in the game. In the run-up to the 2015 general election, it picked up the extraordinary SNP surge a few weeks earlier than the mainstream media and most other polling websites. And as the 2016 Holyrood election approached, it warned that the SNP were in danger of losing their overall majority at a time when other voices were insisting that a majority was a foregone conclusion, and that the SNP didn't need any list votes at all.
According to the Traffic Estimate site, more than 50,000 unique visitors have read the blog in the 30 days (as of 2nd August 2018). Even if only half of those people are in Scotland, it would mean that around 1 in 200 of the country’s population is reached every month. Not bad for a one-person operation! There have also been a number of spin-offs from the success of the blog - I've written for publications such as the International Business Times, The National, iScot, the TalkRadio website and Fair Observer. Many of the IBTimes articles have been syndicated on Yahoo, sometimes reaching huge audiences. I've been interviewed on BBC Breakfast, CTV News (Canada), the Bauer radio network, Radio Sputnik, and numerous alternative media podcasts, films and livestreams.
None of this would have been possible without your incredibly generous support in previous fundraisers. Writing the blog is often the equivalent of a very time-consuming part-time job, and for short spells during elections/referendums it can almost start to feel like a full-time job. Your help via the fundraisers has given me the freedom and flexibility to drop everything and write, as and when required.
I don't have the future mapped out in great detail, although I do intend to continue writing, probably on the blog, perhaps on other websites, or perhaps I'll follow the example of other pro-indy bloggers by taking time out to write a book for self-publication. The best way of looking at this new fundraiser is as an opportunity to donate if you've enjoyed my blogging or found it useful, and if you'd like to help me continue writing in some form over the coming months. Who knows what the next twelve months may bring? We could see another snap general election, another EU referendum, the calling of a second independence referendum, a Tory leadership contest, or all of the above. One thing we expect to see is Britain's withdrawal from the EU - although if that's delayed, we could even (crazily) see the UK participate in another EU Parliament election next May.
A number of you have asked me to run a fundraiser specifically so that Scot Goes Pop can commission an exclusive opinion poll. My experience of the past fundraisers is that they've just barely raised enough to keep my writing going, so it's highly unlikely that this one will raise enough to cover a poll as well. However, should the target figure be significantly exceeded, I'll certainly give the idea some consideration.
As always, please don’t feel under any pressure to make a donation. Scot Goes Pop isn’t a newspaper or a magazine – it’s a blog, and there’s absolutely no charge to read it. The option to donate is there if you want to, but it’s only an option. And, of course, if you have a spare minute or two you can always pass on the word to others – every tweet or Facebook share helps enormously!