As a Scottish lefty media hub We are going to take NO editorial lead & allow you to make up your mind in #POTUS2016. Our contributers are going out unedited- their views- their analysis. Some agree, some don't.
Different left views, Ungagged!
A new approach on the left. Respecting all left views and allowing them a voice. Passing no editorial judgement.
YOU decide. You hear the evidence, and if you are a citizen of the USA, you decide.
Steve McAuliffe was born and raised in South East London, and is a published author, performed playwright and a lover of the poetry and ethos of William Blake.
His writing has appeared in various political and poetical publications to date.
Having left a secondary Modern with little more than 2 O-levels and a comprehensive education in avoiding violence through humour, he finally returned to education in his early 30’s, when he attended Ruskin College in Oxford. Ruskin at that time was a perfect place to hone his political beliefs; there he mixed with veterans of the miner’s strike, plus assorted anarchists, communists and a handful of anarcho-syndaclists. He eventually attained a Master’s Degree in Scriptwriting from Goldsmith’s College in London
All Steve's writing is fired by a desire for social justice and the idea of individual liberty, as well as an unshakeable belief in the power of the imagination. He says two quotes from William Blake best sum up his philosophy;
‘Imagination is a glimpse of the divine’
‘I must create my own system, or be enslaved by another man’s’
Having written endless plays, and film and TV scripts Steve has recently discovered that the best vehicle for his voice is poetry.
In July he had his first collection of poetry published, entitled: ‘Thamesmead’
Presented by Neil Scott. Recorded by the contributors... Edited by Neil Scott and Neil Anderson, with thanks to Victoria Pearson.
Do we take a stance. Yes. Do we agree with each other all the time? No.
Music by inspirational women and women's groups:
the Wimmins’ Institute
Ethical Debating Society
Sharon Martin is a Scottish singer, songwriter and musician.
A BA (Hons) Commercial Music Graduate from the University of West of Scotland, Sharon has gigged and recorded extensively, sharing the stage and the studio with a multitude of award winning, world class musicians.
A professional session vocalist, Sharon has been involved in numerous recording projects, for Multinational Music Publishing companies, Hit record production and songwriting teams, Grammy award winners and British record breaking music producers.
Sharon is front woman for electro disco duo Flesh, with Grammy award winning record producer Stephen Lironi (Black Grape/Bon Jovi/Hanson/Fun Lovin Criminals). Flesh released their debut album 'Sick Electricity' in 2011 to an array of positive reviews, including being BBC Radio Scotland's Album of the Week.
Sharon is a highly proficient songwriter and collaborator. In 2011, she co-wrote the UEFA Women's Champions League song for top European side and Scottish Champions Glasgow City FC. The song is played extensively at the clubs home games, in stadiums throughout Europe and featured heavily in the 6 part BBC Alba TV documentary 'Glasgow City FC'.
Sharon was recently commissioned to write a Scottish Women's National Anthem for National Sporting Organisation SWF (Scottish Women's Football). A groundbreaking short film has been recorded to accompany the anthem by Award Winning Scottish TV Production Company Purple TV. The anthem 'Girl' is due for national release in July 2015.
The concept for The Babelfish Project was concieved by Derek Stewart McPherson in May 2000 as a way of drawing together the many artists from disparate backgrounds and disciplines he had met in three decades of playing music.
The Wimmins’ Institute are a one year old, all female indie rock band.
They are comprised of: Jen Denitto on drums / vox / guitar,
Cassie Fox on bass / vox / keys
Mel Reardon on trumpet / vox / drums, and
Deb Van Der Geugten on guitar / vox / bass
Petrol Girls are a punk rock, feminist band that use their music to voice their opinions on how women are judged for their sexual activity far more than men.
Petrol Girls are comprised of Liepa Kuraitė on Bass and Vox,
Ren Aldridge on Guitar and Vox,
Joe York on Guitar and Vox and
Zock on Drums.
Argonaut are purveyors of fiery female fronted alternative punk rock. The band released their self titled debut in 2012 and have recently unleashed their second album, Try.
Comprised of Lorna on vocals,
Nathan on guitar and backing vocals,
Abby on synth,
Guitar And Backing Vocals,
Joules on Bass and
Oz on drums.
You can find out more on their Facebook
Or follow them on twitter
Foxcunt are a punk band made up of Jo Bevan on bass, Sean Clothier on guitar, Chris Damage on electric violin and vocals, Ally Moss on vocals and occasional guitar and Melissa Reardon on drums.
You can find out more about them on their Facebook page
Listen to them on YouTube
Or follow their twitter
Madame So is a Paris-born/London-based singer-songwriter.
She makes lyric-led guitar pop that has been likened to Hole, Blondie, Patti Smith and PJ Harvey.
You'll either love the catchy immediacy of her melodies or dismiss it as being too "lo-fi"… Either way, in her own words: "If I pushed your buttons, I've accomplished my mission."
Fightmilk describe themselves as “sweaty pop for indie schmucks”
They are comprised of Lily on vocals and guitar,
Alex on vocals and guitar,
Adam on bass,
And Nick on Drums.
You can find them on Facebook
And on twitter
Or listen to more on their soundcloud
The Ethical Debating Society
The ethical debating society started as a pseudonym for Tegan Xmas writing anti-love songs on her hooty piano. It blossomed into a full band, now with Kristen Martin on guitar/vocals and Elizabeth playing pots and pans.
If they are trying to prove anything, it’s that music is for everyone to have fun with, not just a chosen few.
Matt Geraghty has played the part of; soldier, photographer, poet, jazz club entrepreneur, (very amateur) boxer, journalist, designer, event director, PR professional, theatre manager, brand director, and Dad.
Amber Daniels is an aspiring screenwriter and occasional blogger who often finds herself musing over the rise of the internet’s global influence, the execution of stories within popular culture, the differing forms of prejudice manifesting within contemporary society, one’s internal psychological landscape and living as a transgender woman in a world still trying to grasp the concept of gender non-conformity.
An avid reader, Amber enjoys both non-fiction and fiction, but is particularly fond of science fiction, satire, anything Stephen King, history, psychology, politics and biographical.
In her spare time, Amber enjoys jogging and walking, and has a love of exploring new areas and nature routes whilst listening to podcasts.
Amber also enjoys going to the cinema. She will watch anything, reasoning that if it's bad, it gives her something to rant and rave about and if it's good, then it's money well spent.
Amber describes herself as someone who is politically I’m somewhat naive, yet forever striving to learn more. She leans pretty far to the left when it comes to her worldviews.
Bruce is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Edinburgh and an independent writer and researcher.
He completed his existential and phenomenological informed training in psychoanalysis with the Philadelphia Association in London.
The Philadelphia Association was founded by the radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing and others in 1965. He is also a trained experimental psychologist (University of Southampton, PhD) and he conducted research into the cognitive model of depression (the theoretical model which informs cognitive behavioural therapy; CBT) and the cognitive effects of SSRI antidepressants.
He is a member and on the board of governors of the College of Psychoanalysts-UK (2010-present), and a member of the Philadelphia Association and Free Psychotherapy Network.
Bruce is a contributing author to ‘R.D. Laing: 50 Years since 'The Divided Self’, Edited by Theodor Itten and Courtenay Young(2012), and the author of “Testimony of Experience: Docta Ignorantia and the Philadelphia Association communities, both published by PCCS Books Ltd (2014).
Bruce's current interests include: the interface between psychoanalysis and politics, DWP psychocoercian, societies of control, state philosophy, regimes of "truth" and cultural hegemonies.
He is particulary influenced by the work of Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzche, and Georges Bataille.
You can find Bruce on twitter, @DrBruceScott or find out more on his website, or you can find out more about his work at the links below.
Born in Glasgow in 1965 and brought up in Clydebank, in the shadow of the John Brown cranes, Derek Stewart Macpherson’s earliest memory is attending the launch of the QE2 at the age of two. Since then he has been a student activist, traveller, father of two, public servant, negotiator, political strategist, campaign manager and trade union official, having brought together a broad left faction within the CPSU (Australian public sector union).
He is a Scottish-Australian dual national, having taken out Australian citizenship in 1985, and insists on his right to comment and participate fully in the politics of both countries. Returning to Scotland in 2014 for the indyref, he joined the grassroots campaigners of Yes Clydebank, while completing his acclaimed five-part series of articles, ‘The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence.’
These days he is a musician, writer, pro-indy blogger and economic and political commentator. He is also the founder of The Babel Fish Project, which was conceived in May, 2000, as a way of drawing together the many artists from disparate backgrounds and disciplines he had met in three decades of playing music.
Derek plays guitar and other instruments, sings, arranges and produces the music of The Babel Fish Project but would also like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the many musicians and others who have contributed musically, technically and administratively to the project.
Neil started in the theatrical world in 1993. In that time he has been involved in most areas of getting performances out to the public.
Starting with working backstage with the Minerva Club at the King’s theatre to recording and editing for Ungagged he has been on stage in numerous theatres in every genre you can think of, on radio with “VIP on Air” in studio and with recorded talking books and on screen in various low budget local movies.
His contribution (so far) to Ungagged is to have edited (including adding sound effects & music) inputs from contributors and voiced the manuscript “Finding God” from Victoria Pearson.
In real life he works as a SEN Teacher, lives in Glasgow, is over 50 and is politically active for what is now termed by the media as “the hard left”.
Ruth Hopkins is a Native American writer and activist who is Lakota and Dakota from the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation). She was born in Fort Yates, North Dakota on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (People) of the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota. Her Native name is Cankudutawin, Red Road Woman.
A descendant of Chief Wabasha, a hereditary Dakota chief that fought with Tecumseh, and Andrew Robertson, a Scotsman who came to America in the 1800s, Ruth grew up in poverty on Reservations that were formerly concentration camps. Her ancestors were placed there by the U.S. government after the Dakota War of 1862. The Governor of Minnesota had placed a bounty on their heads and they were exiled from their homelands.
Despite being a teenage mother, she put herself through school, becoming the first person in her family to earn a college degree. Ruth has a Bachelors Degree in Biology and Chemistry, a Masters Degree in Biology and Educational Leadership, and a Juris Doctorate Degree, all from the University of North Dakota.
She’s been a Science Professor on the college level, Grantwriter, Administrator, and an Attorney. Since 2012, Ruth worked a Tribal Judge for the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe.
Ruth is a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network, and the co-founder of Lastrealindians.com. She’s contributed to a number of online blogs and publications, including Jezebel.com, Racialicious.com, Truthout.Org, The Guardian, and dozens of others. She’s been featured and interviewed for everything from the Associated Press to Huffington Post, the Washington Post, NPR, The New York Daily News, Hollywood Reporter, Gawker, PerezHilton.com, and TMZ.
She’s won a number of awards from the Native American Journalist’s Association, and she was part of an Indian Country Today series called “Circle of Violence” that won a Clarion award.
Watch for Ruth’s new book, “War Bonnets, Bikinis and Genocide: Exploring Pop Culture’s War Against Native Ethos,” set for publication in 2017.
Eric Joyce writes and works on issues related to Africa, the extractive industries and Scottish independence. He is a former soldier and politician, having served 15 years in the British Army then 15 more as the member of the UK parliament for Falkirk. While in parliament, Eric served on both the front and back-benches; in government and in opposition.
Eric was a Labour, then independent, MP who opposed independence until Brexit. He entered and exited politics in fairly well-known and controversial circumstances. Today, he edits and contributes to the project ‘FromnotoYes.scot’ which aims to help Scots who previously opposed independence to move across and support it.
‘FromnotoYes.Scot’ will soon launch a new, updated website. It features regular comment features and will shortly include a weekly blog. There is a newsletter for anyone who would like to be sent it. There will be occasional and open ‘From No to Yes’ events where all will be most welcome.
John was born in Glasgow 1967 and grew up in the west end until the age of 6 before moving over to the East End. In these formative years he developed a love for punk rock which continues to this day and particularly Anarcho Political groups such as Crass and Conflict which he says is where he developed his interest of politics and animal rights.
At 16-17 he was involved with the protests for the miners strike and set up a collection table with 3 others in Argyle Street Glasgow collecting money for the miners wife's groups at the time . In total £11,000 was collected and distributed to help feed the miners families.
Along with these activities John was one of the founding members of the Clydeside Hunt Saboteurs operating and effectively campaigned with a large group of fellow activists against the barbarity of the Houstoun fox hunt.
Between the years 1987 -1995 john studied at College and University gaining a BA in Spatial Design and Bsc Architectural Technology then going to live in Southern California travelling Europe, Australia and Uganda in between contracting for Architectural Companies around Scotland.
John met and married Sarah and on the 24th January 2014 his son Joel was born. The next day John flung himself head first into the Yes Campaign realising that morning when he picked his son up for the first time that a future in the UK was not a place he wanted to see Joel grow up in. John voted Yes on the 18th of September 2014 and started Yes2 Dunblane on the 19th of September 2014 which is now Yes2 a campaign for Independence group now at 50,000 followers.
John continues to work in Architecture based in Glasgow and lives in Dunblane where he devotes any free time he has to his artwork which can be found on Facebook
Chuck Hamilton was born 27 June 1963 in a building literally a hundred yards from his current flat, which is also directly across the street from the university where he got his bachelor’s in political science in 1985.
While at UTC Chuck helped establish a social activist organization on campus that later put on one of the biggest anti-Reagan demonstrations of his presidency, the Myles Horton Club.
He spent four years in the Philippines, two with the U.S. Navy, two with the U.S. Refugee Program, and has been involved in various political activities ever since, including Native American rights, anti-police brutality, anti-racism, support for the Iranian Green Movement and later for the various people’s uprisings across Southwest Asia and North Africa, anti-Islamophobic, pro-Palestine, pro-worker, anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism, nonviolent Irish republicanism, and, of course, Scottish nationalism, with a preference for a worker’s republic in an independent Scotland.
Chuck has written a number of articles for one of our cities online newspapers, and has a blog called “Notes from the Ninth Circle” with 432 entries since May 2011 ranging in size from a paragraph to over a hundred pages on a wide variety of subjects.
He has been running his newsgroup on Facebook since summer 2009.
Debra Torrance is the youngest daughter of a bookkeeper and a butcher. A late baby, her parents were preparing to become Nanna and Pops not new a mum and dad again.
Debra was brought up in the east end of Glasgow and moved around Scotland from the highlands to Fife before settling in Milngavie. She has lived on the other side of the world and the other side of the Clyde.
A digital artist who studied as a 3D animator at uni, Debra can turn her hand to just about everything, from digital design and production to photography.
Debra also finds time to play wheelchair rugby for Caledonian crushers, the only wheelchair rugby team in Scotland. All of the players have various impairments on at least three of their limbs and, as a relatively high function player, Debra plays attack. She wrote a piece for the MS Society recently where she described it as chess with a ball, if the pieces were manually pushed big heaps of highly engineered metal wheelchairs. You can read it here.
When she has some downtime, Debra and her girlfriend like to go out exploring castles, standing stones or good restaurants of Scotland. They love Arran in particular. If Debra had to emigrate to any country it would be Iceland.
A politically minded, rebellious, LGBTQ, anti-trident, anti-austerity, republican, and Jedi, Debra is a natural history enthusiast, lover of maps and self-confessed geek. She can spend hours looking at google earth and can’t walk past a Burns at an antique book fair without buying it.
Neil has been politically active all his adult life, and identified with Marxism after stealing a book on Marx from his proddy, anti-USSR, unionist high school in the late seventies. Hailing originally and loudly from County Down, he moved to Scotland as a mature student after ten years of unsuccessfully working, mostly in pubs, building sites, shops, offices and women's shoes, in 1993. [to clarify-I worked in women's shoe manufacturing- I only wore court shoes on special occasions- Neil]
After the sectarian politics of Ireland, he found the working class movement in Scotland to be a real breath of fresh air, arguing and fighting his way through a degree in Film Media, getting sacked for trying to unionise a large hotel and also from a major charity after exposing wrong doing. And anyway, almost as soon as he left Northern Ireland, the troubles ended. It had been his fault.
Neil, while helping bring up a boy genius with his partner, trained to be a teacher while becoming disappointed with New Labour after THAT night of euphoria in May 1997...
In 2002, Neil attended a rally in Arbroath and heard Rosie Kane speak. He joined the SSP once he realised it wasn't just a one person vehicle for Tommy Sheridan. He argued lots about Independence in his branch and then became a branch organiser. As an early adopter of the Internet and social media, Neil videoed SSP events during the 2000's and added them to the net.
Neil's experience of PR (working in theatre in Ireland), helped him steer his branch, as organiser, through the storm that was unleashed by the one man Sheridan show and then went on to steer the SSP's online and social media profile successfully through the Independence Referendum, attracting hundreds of new members during and after that event.
Neil was a founding member of SL Left Unity, and managed to create a media storm that embarrassed the French Front National through headlines generated like "French Front National Pig Bombed!" across the world (and went some way in their trouncing at the ballot box in 2007). SL Left Unity also raised thousands of pounds for women's organisations in Afghanistan, and managed to force the resignation of a CEO of IBM during an "online strike" organised by the group.
Neil was a founding member of "Acting Strange Theatre Company," a controversial troupe who gained notoriety touring in interface areas in the North. The Prods hated us and the Catholics thought we were blasphemous... and a bit dirty. Acting Strange made a debut in Scotland a few years ago when Neil reformed the group and they performed in Faslane (and also performed a podcast black comedy series written by Neil (Tales of the Gareloch) for the Edinburgh Festival 2014). He has turned his hand to acting on occasions- but the less said about that makes everyone happy.
Neil was one of four official Yes campaign "leaders" in his local authority area; a local Radical Independence Campaign organiser and the SSP Organiser for East Dunbartonshire from 2008- 2014.
Neil has been podcasting on and off since 2010, and presented "Socialist Voices" for the SSP until he resigned from the party EC and then from the party last year. Neil decided that rather than await a socialist messiah or revolutionary core to tell him how to do stuff, he'd create a podcast that is Scottish, but internationalist, with voices from the left unfettered by lefty leaders and their dodgy analysis. And so was born Ungagged!
Neil writes fiction, plays, polemics, prose and other stuff, and has been published in Red Pepper, Sabotage Times, Huffington Post, Scottish Socialist Voice, and national and local newspapers.
Neil is a silent member of the SNP- and sees the party only as a means to one end.
Neil is now away to cook some tasty vegan food, drink a cup of green tea, walk the dog and argue over politics with his ultra lefty wife and son and vows never to write in third person again...
You can catch up with more of Neil'S politics, and some fiction here
Victoria Pearson is a writer and mum of four who lives behind a keyboard in Bedfordshire, England.
Having always wanted to be a writer, V started to think it was an achievable dream when she wrote and edited a feature for the Guardian when she was 17. Following that, she appeared live on the Richard and Judy show to discuss factors that influence teenage pregnancy rates in the Uk.
V has worked as a peer mentor to help reduce teenage pregnancy rates and educate young people about drug and alcohol misuse, and moved on from that to working as a Learning Support Assistant for children with Special Educational Needs. With a keen interest in communication in all forms, V specialised in working with children on the Autistic spectrum and supporting them to stay in mainstream education.
V was politicised at an early age by her Socialist grandfather, who she used to bond with over "fat men arguing" (PMQs), but she became more active following the birth of her third child, who was born with Congenital Heart Defects. Having received world class health care for herself and her son, V was horrified to discover that in countries without universal health care, people who couldn't afford $100,000 for the life saving operation her son had received for free were being forced to abort their much wanted children. She has made it her personal mission to try and stop NHS privatisation, believing it to be the UK's proudest achievement.
Following the Brexit vote, V joined the Labour party, hoping to help protect human rights and workers rights. She is hopeful that with Jeremy Corbyn leading the party, socialism will cease to be seen as a dirty word and we will begin to move toward greater equality, protected free healthcare and Universal Basic Income.
V writes strange fiction (which you can find here), and poetry as well as fantasy, sci-fi and dystopian novels. She is rumoured to be 106, but is far too tired to find out if that's true.
You can follow V's political ramblings on twitter - @vspearson85
Allan Grogan was the founder and National Spokesperson of Labour for Independence - a pro independence organisation which campaigned from within the Labour Party from 2012-2014.
A lifelong Labour supporter and member for over ten years. Allan left the party in September 2014 and joined the Scottish Socialist Party being elected to the National Executive Committee in May 2015. He has since left the SSP over electoral strategy and overall long term vision.
A graduate of Dundee University where he gained an honours degree in Politics and International Relations. Allan now works as a school teacher, having previously taught in South Korea and travelled Asia extensively. A socialist and Scottish independence supporter, Allan continues as an activist in his local area and within the pro yes and left wing movements in Scotland.
After his mysterious arrival on Twitter in 2012, tenteen-year-old Red Raiph, set out to change the world for the better — one tweet at a time.
Passionate about politics, equality and independence for Scotland, he uses his own brand of humour to entertain and inform both young and old alike.
A published author and prolific artist, his paintings have been displayed during the Edinburgh Fringe. But he is perhaps more well known for his books, often described as so hilarious that they should come with a health warning.
Raiph dreams of having his infamous livetweets transformed into stage performances, and to one day see his political satire have its own space in a national newspaper.
Always happy to showcase the beauty of the Scots language, his frequently misspelled utterances can be found on his Twitter timeline. Do follow @raiphsays, and as he would say himself, whit cin go rang?