Pro-independence website smashes fundraising target

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A controversial pro-independence website has smashed its annual fundraising target after predicting that a second constitutional referendum could be just a year away.

Wings over Scotland, which is edited by Bath-based journalist Stuart Campbell, has raised more than £80,000 from over 1,300 individual donors in the two days since the appeal was launched.

Stuart Campbell. Picture: Contributed

Stuart Campbell. Picture: Contributed

Calling on readers to continue their financial support, he said: “Scottish politics might be dozing in its baffies in front of the fire at the moment, but there’s a strong likelihood that a second independence referendum is barely a year away.”

The website rose to prominence during the 2014 referendum campaign and has now staged 10 successful fundraising appeals in the last five years.

But 2017 was a challenging one for Mr Campbell. He was arrested by Avon and Somerset police in August on suspicion of harassment and malicious communications after a complaint was made to police in London, only to be told in November he would face no further action.

In an unrelated case, Mr Campbell launched a defamation action against former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale after she accused him of homophobia in a newspaper column.

The journalist’s lawyers launched an action at Edinburgh Sheriff Court claiming Ms Dugdale, writing in a newspaper column, damaged his personal reputation.

In May last year, Ms Duglade explained to MSPs at First Minister’s Questions that she used a newspaper column to bring up “homophobic comments” made by Mr Campbell about the son of Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell, Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell.

At a hearing in November, Duncan Hamilton, Ms Duglade’s lawyer, told Sheriff Norman McFadyen that his client believes her comments to be truthful.

A second hearing will take place later this year.

Asked by The Scotsman why he felt the 2018 fundraising campaign was proving a success, Mr Campbell said: “My best guess for why Wings is popular is that it’s primarily fact-based rather than opinion-based, and that it doesn’t treat its readers either as idiots or naughty schoolchildren in need of a lecture about the right way to think. We never make a factual assertion without a link to the source, and that’s a remarkably rare thing in political journalism.”