Wings Over Scotland raises £60,000 for wage and possible Dugdale appeal

Pro-independence blog Wings Over Scotland has raised more than £60,000 to fund the future of the site in just a matter of hours.

Pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell from Wings Over Scotland leaves Edinburgh Sheriff Court earlier this year. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The website, run by prominent independence campaigner Stuart Campbell, appealed for readers to pledge a total of £50,000 to fund ongoing coverage of Brexit and the independence movement.

The funding drive was launched earlier today.

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The cash may also be used to pay for ongoing costs in Mr Campbell’s defamation legal battle with former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

In a post on the site, Mr Campbell said: “We’ve been putting off the crowdfunder in the hope of some clarity arriving, but as deadline after deadline has passed and Westminster has failed and failed again to reach any sort of conclusion, we’ve come to a point where neither we nor Scotland can afford to wait any longer, and we need to get on with it.

“We also need to be prepared to act swiftly should circumstances change suddenly, such as in the event of a UK general election.”

The donations will pay a wage for Mr Campbell and other contributors, general running costs, commissioning fees for opinion polls and building up a ‘Wings Fighting Fund’ ahead of another possible second referendum. The fund would pay for the distribution of Mr Campbell’s Wee Blue Book.

Mr Campbell, who lives in Somerset, added: “Some will also have to be used in respect of our court case against Kezia Dugdale, either to pay costs or to file an appeal against the judgement, but that decision will only be taken after consultation with readers.”

Earlier this year the Wings Over Scotland blogger lost a high-profile defamation case he brought against Ms Dugdale.

The Lothian MSP had been taken to court over her claims in a newspaper column that Mr Campbell sent a homophobic tweet.

Mr Campbell sought £25,000 in damages.

Although a sheriff found the tweet had not been homophobic, he said Ms Dugdale’s claims in her Daily Record column met the test of a “defence of fair comment”.

In a statement following the conclusion of the case, Ms Dugdale said: “I am delighted to have won this case and hugely relived after two long years of it hanging over me.”

The Wings Over Scotland blog has run several crowdfunding campaigns during its history to pay for the site and the publication of the Wee Blue Book before the 2014 referendum.

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