A BBC Scotland reporter has controversially suggested that the funding of “less deserving sites” by Yes activists has contributed to the demise of online site Bella Caledonia.
In a bizarre tweet on Monday, BBC Scotland’s business and economy editor Douglas Fraser said: “Financial crunch at one of the better pro-indy sites. Time for consolidation? Could it be that activists have funded less deserving sites?”
The message was prompted by an announcement from the board of Bella Caledonia that the site faces being closed down unless extra funding can be found. A statement posted on the website said: “The Advisory Board of Bella Caledonia confirms we are going to have to make the decision to close, unless an urgent fundraising appeal can be met.”
The tweet from the BBC reporter prompted questions from Yes supporting users of social media who demanded to know which sites were being deemed “less deserving sites”. Many believed the tweet was a thinly veiled attack on rival online site Wings Over Scotland.
In a tweet posted in response to the BBC reporter, Wings Over Scotland editor Stuart Campbell sarcastically asked: “I think we’d all love to know who those might be.”
The apparent demise of Bella Caledonia has prompted a mixed reaction on social media with several posters showing support and offering to help. However others have expressed dismay that a site that has received over £85,000 in donations in less than two years is unable to continue.
The announcement is the third time the site has faced closure since it was created in 2007. In January 2011 a similar announcement appeared which read: “This project is now finished. Thanks to everyone for their support and interest over the last three years, partocularly all the contributors. But it’s not possible to continue. All content will be available til the end of the month. Mike.”
The site was eventually rescued after supporters and backers rallied. However closure loomed again in October 2012 when an email message was sent by Mike Small to supporters and backers of the site which informed them that he was “stopping doing Bella Caledonia”. The site was saved again when backers stepped in to help.
The site was heavily criticised by SNP supporters during last year’s Holyrood election campaign when it was accused of promoting a tactical voting ploy aimed at persuading SNP voters their second vote was wasted. The strategy was the brainchild of the radical left group which called itself RISE which went on to flop in the subsequent election. The SNP lost its overall majority with many supporters blaming the targeting of the party’s list vote.
It is not yet known if the site can be saved a third time. An offer from well known blogger Craig Murray to take over the site has not yet elicited a response from the board.Views: 3350