Scotland’s most popular pro-independence website has been labelled a “hate blog” by a pro-independence rival.
Mike Small, who edits Bella Caledonia, levelled the accusation at Wings Over Scotland in an online article published on Sunday.
In the article, Small wrote: “Hate-blogs like Wings Over Scotland and Guido Fawkes feed off the anti-media zeitgeist in a frenzy of partisan zeal.”
The left-wing editor, who is a member of the Scottish Independence Convention, also compared pro-independence activists to supporters of US President Donald Trump. Small added: “Trump supporters bate [sic] the media at live rallies, and Scottish nationalists lobby outside BBC HQ in Glasgow.”
The attack on Wings Over Scotland, which is edited by Stuart Campbell, prompted Campbell to accuse Small of jealousy. Responding to the ‘Hate Blog’ accusation, Campbell tweeted: “Jealousy is a terrible thing.”
The attack on ‘Wings’ is the latest manifestation of a bitter rivalry that emerged following the 2014 independence referendum as Bella sought to establish itself as the number one pro-Independence alternative outlet. In 2016 Small declared Bella to be “… the largest Scottish-based independence alternative forum …”
However the popularity of the Stuart Campbell blog surged in the aftermath of the 2014 vote, leaving other pro-independence sites, including Bella, in its wake.
Bella Caledonia saw significant erosion in its pro-independence readership when its editor used the site to promote the radical independence group RISE.
A campaign strategy that targeted SNP votes led to bitter acrimony between many Bella/RISE supporters and supporters of the SNP.
The fall in support for his website, and pressures in running it, led to Small to announce its closure in 2017. It was the third such announcement from the Bella editor since it launched as a blog in 2007.
The site was saved after the launch of an urgent fundraising appeal. The appeal received support from BBC Scotland business and economy editor Douglas Fraser. Despite considerable financial support and promotion from high-profile backers since 2014, Small’s site now languishes behind several less prominent pro-Yes blogs in terms of readership.
Research using a traffic estimate site shows Wings Over Scotland is far and away the most popular pro-independence website with 223,000 unique visitors a month. Its nearest rival is the Wee Ginger Dug blog run by Paul Kavanagh.
Bella Caledonia sits at around sixth place with 48,000 visitors per month behind Common Space in third, James Kelly’s ScotGoesPop in fourth and Thought Control Scotland run by Professor John Robertson in fifth.
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