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Our TOXIC Environment and Hostile

It was standing room only in the Kilmarnock Yes Shop on Titchfield Street when my talking tour began at the end of January.

Looking out over the audience there were a few familiar faces – some family members, one or two retired teachers from my school days, and others who knew me from childhood. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and why wouldn’t it be? Kilmarnock is, after all, my home town. Support for independence here was significant in 2014 and since then the town has comprehensively rejected Labour – the British unionist party which had held the Kilmarnock and Loudoun Westminster constituency since the creation of the seat.

What had not occurred to me was quite how unwelcome this tour was to the unionist political and media establishment in our country.

Moments before the Kilmarnock talk was scheduled to start, a “freelance journalist” approached me with some questions at the front door. Apparently Maree Todd, an SNP MSP from the Highlands and Islands, had branded my opinions “abhorrent” and apologised for supporting my planned visit to Invergordon in March. The very next day, before speaking in Airdrie, the Daily Mail could barely contain its excitement as it blasted me as a “hate-filled blogger” and an IRA sympathiser.

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