The Guardian…of Cameron’s Little England


We have two subscriptions to the Guardian in my house because we like to think it aligns with our world view – in broad terms – and since we have ipads, it is logical to endow them with double their entitlement in order to carry it with us. To be frank I don’t find much of Scottish interest in the paper. It has everything else I like and some great writers but I pretty much know if I want to discover something about my country I can skip it. That was ever the case. I remember their Scotland correspondent in the eighties and nineties wrote maybe one or two pieces a week and they were happy to print a retrospective item catching up with something that had been published everywhere else 24 hours previously.

He was a grand man to represent you in the Scottish capital – a little like Alex Douglas-Home to look at, always in a Harris Tweed sports jacket, drove a Racing Green open top two-seater Morgan – big house in Midlothian, place in Grantown-on-Spey – and in the Jinglin’ Geordie in Fleshmarket Close at lunchtime would order a dram of Te Bheag which he pronounced Tea Bag, only with a Morningside inflection on “bag” turning the vowel sound into “eh”. As a young reporter in a hurry I loved his insouciance. If I asked: “What are you doing on the hydro electric story, John?” He would say: “I’ll give it to them tomorrow. There’s too much other news today.”

It is one explanation why I have an affection for the Guardian all these years later but the real one is that it is the only daily newspaper published which has a social conscience and often wears its heart on its sleeve. In a sea of neo-liberal, establishment toe-kissers, it is a media oasis of alternative thinking and challenging views. It is Channel 4 News to the BBC News at Ten. it has printed writers with no connection with Scotland finding common cause with Scottish democrats protesting against the British status quo, some of whom indicate they would vote Yes, given the chance. They have seen the potential for ending the stasis that blocks progress in the UK, in voting systems, accountability, equality, social mobility and patronage that shines through the Yes agenda and they have imagined how it could be a beacon for change across the country.

They don’t do much on Scotland but what they have done has been inspiring and validating. Until today. In Saturday’s edition of the Guardian they produced a leader column that could have appeared in the Telegraph such was its casual glee at what it translates as Yes getting its comeuppance.  Its entire tone could hardly contain its grim satisfaction.

It was dismaying to find a UKIP-inspired Little Englander editorial which couldn’t disguise its Unionist frisson that the “panglossian’ Salmond was finding  his “smiley” version of independence challenged because, according to the author, it had gone “unchallenged” . Perhaps the Guardian has missed the 20-odd British government reports or the entire Better Together campaign or its multi-million funding base or interventions by the European Commission and the Council and the Prime Minister of Spain, the three-year histrionics at Holyrood, reports by every committee in both Houses of Parliament, CBI objections, talks at NATO and visits by half the British Cabinet. If so, did they ever replace my drinking chum with the drop-head Morgan and are utterly uneducated about events in the far north?

Salmond’s plan, backed by 670 pages of background and Q and A – many times more than any UK Government or party ever attempts – is dismissed by the Guardian as a “pretend version”, neatly omitting the fact that Salmond’s desire for independence was in his manifesto when he won a majority of seats at Holyrood, therefore it is endorsed by the people of Scotland – still inhabitants of the United Kingdom as far as I can see. Salmond’s view cannot be maintained any longer it seems as the UK gets tough. How the British and their London media luvvies revel in the idea that they have the upper hand. It sounds like they are fighting Jerry all over again,this time in the pages of the Guardian. There is no questioning of the approach or motivation of the three Unionist parties, just delight that they have changed the debate and in essence struck back, suggesting the Little Englanders at the Guardian have been quietly resenting the success of a democratic movement which they have no chance of emulating since all their eggs are in a comatose Labour basket. No, “this new toughness must be applauded”, trumpets David Cameron’s new recruits. Get tough with the dissidents, it means. Slap them down. Show em who’s boss. We’re fed up pretending to be on side for this. The truth is we’re as backward and self-centred as any Tory – just like Labour – and we don’t really want change. It’s much too comfortable down here. 

It even goes for the Daily Mail unsubstantiated personal slight. Salmond always plays the man, we’re told. Do they mean the man who was subject to calculated character assassination at Holyrood, who was likened to his face to Robert Mugabe on Newsnight, who as we have seen in recent days, has been treated like a a petty criminal by BBC interviewers? When did Salmond go for the man without the politics? This is prejudice, the seeping loathing drip-fed by the Salmond-hating tabloids, is swallowed by the Guardian and reprinted without reference or justification.

But the most telling part of this revisionist rant is this section:

Mr Osborne’s case was made politically stronger by the fact it was tightly co-ordinated with Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It remains to be seen how the one in three Scots who say their minds are not yet made up will respond. The likelihood in the long term is probably that the undecideds will divide much as the decideds have done. Taken together with Mr Cameron’s speech last week, Mr Osborne’s helps give the pro-union parties more standing to make a reasoned case in the face of the SNP’s predictable sneering and occasional evasions.

 To any Scot who has followed this from the beginning, the idea that it is the Yes side that sneered or evaded will be richly humorous. No sensate human let alone a thinking journalist with an iota of knowledge could write that and mean it. It defies the facts in which Scots have been told – by their own UK government – that they can’t survive without subsidy, they can’t defend their own country,they are so useless neither the EU nor NATO will want them, they have made no contribution to their own currency and if the don’t settle the deal on time the result of their legal referendum will be ignored. Who’s sneering?

And is the Guardian really saying that the UK’s balance of trade doubling is fine? That the increased borrowing costs of this will be worth paying? That placing a frontier when none is necessary is justified? Or that business should be penalised? It would have been more courageous if the article had said this was the right economic decision and was, in the paper’s view, not just part of a political campaign and therefore ultimately, meaningless.

But the real gaffe in this student thesis is to think that bringing together the main parties as one is a masterstroke. The tight co-ordination is the death-knell of liberal politics in Britain. It says that a united campaign to resist democracy in Scotland overrides every other issue where these parties disagree. More important than welfare cuts, more important than youth unemployment, bankers bonuses, London feather-bedding and Trident replacement. On this, they stand united. On all else they disagree. And the Guardian thinks this is good news for Labour? Aligning with the Tories on behalf of the British state Guardian readers want to reform is an historic miscalculation by lightweights blinded by hatred of nationalism and not grasping its significance. It is betrayal of the roots and principles of Labour, such as they are. Now the Guardian is on side with them and with Cameron’s centralising, faux-imperial, anti-self determination zealots. Somebody, somewhere made a mistake and let out of the bag what many of us suspect that even in the metropolitan, liberal-badged London media salon, a robust anti-Scottish prejudice lurks just beneath the surface.

For the Guardian, read Telegraph…read Times… read Mail. The London media, another reason to vote Yes.

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82 thoughts on “The Guardian…of Cameron’s Little England

  1. Derek another exellent article. I am a Mancunian and have always been a Guardian/Observer reader but in the last few weeks I have decided to not buy it anymore. This is because as a Yes voting english person living in Scotland I can no longer stand the tone of its coverage of the referendum. I find it amazing that the only left-wing broadsheet supports the self-determination of people around the world…..well apart from those living in Scotland. Severin Carrell appears to be particularly anti-independence. I feel let down and tat they really donot get it at all

    • Well said and Labour and the Liberal Democrats are as hypocritical in supporting independence movements around the world but not for Scotland

    • I want to open up this debate a bit.

      Scotland I think is likely to go for independence because when you have two roughly equal political camps and one has all the passion and energy and belief and the other – the NO camp – has nothing but a few mumbled and inarticulate words of caution, it is the intense, passionate lot that will win.

      In England, they can get worked up about football and Princess Diana and about cruelty to animals and going to war in Iraq but apparently are sunk in cynical apathy about the break up of their famous and celebrated nation as it has been for no less than 300 years and as it put its indelible stamp on the whole world. A huge and mighty history of joint adventures with the Scots is shrugged aside as if it had never

      Oh well. Can’t be helped.

      But what I want your views on is this other question: What will England or the Rump UK be like when Scotland and its Labour MPs are no longer there?
      Are we doomed to a permanent hard right Tory majority?

      In that case what will the nation become like? After the initial disruption and shock in the economy will foreign investment flow into England as it will be a country with assured hard right low spending governments and a workforce that is thoroughly frightened and docile and low wage? Will the property boom go to the far skies as London is bought up by rich Chinese and Indians? Will the pound be pushed up and up and up as foreign money flows in to the biggest of all safe havens of hard capitalism?

      I wonder. Because if so, for many Britons living abroad Scottish independence might actually prove a bonanza.

      Are we going to end up in a Downton Abbey kind of society? Or another, far bigger Luxembourg?

      • Sir,
        You are already in an Extreme Right Wing Nightmare as you could not get a Cigarette Paper between the Three Westminster Parties! They work in concert to maintain the Westminster Elite, a Policy that punishes the Poor for the depredations of The Rich and gives everything to the Banks who are in turn their Paymasters!
        Democracy now is a Joke in the UK! Surely you must recognize this! It is for that reason Scotland wants no more of them!

      • This is something I wonder about too.

        My gut feeling is that it will energise the north of England politically, and probably the west too, as they realise what the absence of the Scots means for the kind of society they will become. The left will eventually revive, a genuine social democratic left, not a champagne socialist New Labour pseudo-left.

        But this will take time, and will be painful.

        I think there will be quite a bit of cross-border co-operation between Scotland and the north of England, and that disgruntled left-leaning Englishmen and women will migrate to Scotland.

        I think the British Isles will become re-balanced. A new country will be built in the north which will be more like what left-leaning English folk aspire to.

    • And you sir, give the lie to the proposition that this is all about hatred of the English.

    • I have this moment just removed my bookmarks for the Guardian/Observer, the Independent and the Telegraph. My Husband has not logged onto any of them for months, he will not give them a penny in advertising and now nor will I.

  2. The Guardian has behaved no differently over the past 18 months than any other newspaper. It is the mouthpiece of the establishment though it still pretends to be enlightened. I never buy a newspaper now, is this the death of journalism in print?

    They (Guardian) fear an Independent Scotland, I think they believe that Labour is finished as a power in Westminster without Scottish votes. What they fail to acknowledge is that Labour is already finished as a political force having abandoned it’s roots. The Trade Unions need to get their act together and form a new party that truly represents the beliefs and aspirations of their members.

    New Labour is dead and undeserving of the name, I’m lifelong Labour but voting Yes in the hope a new party will be born, here in Scotland that is deserving of the name.

    • I am in total agreement with all that is written above.Were the Guardian to do the math it is so difficult for Scotland to influence the numbers at Westminster that I believe it has only happened once in my lifetime(65+). If Scotland had any meaningful representation at Westminster we would not be justifiably seeking independence.

  3. I feel your pain Derek. It hurts as the scales fall from your eyes. First the BBC now the Guardian. When I could no longer stomach the Scottish press I thought I had found peace with the i. They never mentioned Scotland and so were never insulting. It was a useful world view from a London perspective. But then they did, and it was poisonous. Then I thought I would read El Pais and get a world view from Madrid instead. Guess what? Yes, the foreign office has recruited them to the dark side too. Now I Sad, is’nt it.

  4. Sqirrel Towers
    I echo your remarks about the quality of Derek’ article and the disappointment of the Guardian’s stance on SCOTTISH independence.
    Growing up I read the paper because of it’s liberal politics, including support for every country which wanted to throw off the cloak of Empire. I think previous Editors would turn in their graves at the present attitude to Scotland.
    Severin Carrell is a nasty piece of work, but gets every encouragement (and money from our licence fee) from BBC Scotland to talk down our country.

  5. It defies the facts in which Scots have been told – by their own UK government – that they can’t survive without subsidy, they can’t defend their own country,they are so useless neither the EU nor NATO will want them, they have made no contribution to their own currency and if the don’t settle the deal on time the result of their legal referendum will be ignored.

    I’ve said this before, they’re waging psychological warfare on Scotland’s people with the purpose of reducing their morale and diminishing their sense of self worth.

  6. Since the beginning the Guardian has been against democracy in Scotland when it goes against the union. Last weeks centre page in the Observer on economic made a case against Scotland running its own affairs is a prime example. I Am not an everyday reader of both papers but everytime I read a copy it was always sneering at Scottish politics. Its very odd as what the Yes agenda is to deliver a democracy that the Guardian has always written about and dreamed off. You have to realise they are all of the same block. Educated at elite schools and universities. Some turned left and others turned right but they relate together, protecting their interests above all else keeping themselves at the top with their chums. This is a real threat to that cozy relationship.

  7. Spot on Derek

    I believe in the ever expanding lexicon of the Referendum this sort and style of article has been dubbed.


    Where a London based hack ‘explains the Scottish Question’ in a way which is so removed from reality it baffles, bemuses and (as demonstrated by your good self) angers any Scot who reads it.

  8. Derek – save yourself some pain and just cancel your subscription! Their negativity can spoil your breakfast. Don’t feed the monster – the world is a better place if they are ignored!

    Back to the BBC – can anyone ever recall any other story that was ‘not yet a story’ leading the headlines on BBC Scotland website for 3 whole days? Interestingly the story did not get any where near as much coverage on the UK page. I suspect that is because many English readers might not appreciate the open hostility those politicians are now showing Scotland. Many people in England respect and admire us for standing up to Westminster

    • The BBC are trying very, very hard to brainwash people into thinking that this is not a referendum on our sovereignty, but a referendum on whether or not Scotland can use the pound.

      I also find the Barroso intervention today heartening. These two things indicate to me that the establishment, both british and European, are coming to realise that Scotland is indeed going to vote for independence. Barroso has his own reasons to oppose independence and will try anything to derail Scottish self-determination. They will try anything to halt or reverse the juggernaut that Yes has become. They will all turn out to be irrelevant at the end of the day.

      The harder they try the more they help the Yes cause. It’s hilarious really.

  9. You’re right on the money here, and the Guardian won’t be getting any more of mine.

  10. I too gave up on the grauniad after more than 30 yrs. there were lots of issues with the lack of quality in the journalism but the apparent reprinting of bitters press releases and their coverage of the White Paper was sufficient to donate my subscription to Bella, wings et al

  11. What are they talking about in that article, that people will vote no if they think their mortgage, job, pension is at risk? Those are the typical worries of people in the south of England, the description is not one I have ever had with people living up here about the referendum. All the discussions I have are not about such personal issues, they are usually broader.

    I have never been a member of a political party but I am campaigning in my own small way for a Yes. I find it exciting and invigourating this period in time. People are talking reasonably about it out and about, the grassroots Yes campaign both online and out in the village halls/street is inspiring, I feel part of something much bigger than me and and with such positive momentum. This is just not being reported in any way, why not Derek? Surely its like Obamas use of social media prior to his election? I am also astounded by the weight of opposition and threats from the establishment and the resilience of thousands of ordinary citizens of Scotland forging forward and IGNORING the establishment! HURRAH!

  12. A superb analysis once more!
    I fear the future whether YES or No – the hate of Scotland becomes transparent and its desire for change will not be tolerated by the UK. The triumvirate will escalate its rhetoric abetted by the lapdogs of the British media ( the Scottish media included) and will make sure independence does not happen. Thursday’s speech was the opening salvo of what will be a vicious campaign of lies and threats.

  13. Of all the media it has been the Guardian that I have been the most disappointed with. You expect the unionist point of view from the rest, but the Guardian?

  14. Thomas William Dunlop

    I share the same sense of disappointment towards the Guardian.

    I have lost count of the times that I have tried to point out the fact in comments to their articles, if it was anywhere else but Scotland, the Guardian would be applauding the Scottish government as a beacon of progressive thought & action. My rejoinder is that we should make it so.

  15. I’m sick to death now of posting my disappointment in the Guardian. Not so long ago they printed an anti Scottish, Anti Independence piece, lifted straight from the Scottish Edition of the Daily Mail! It was so utterly ‘Barking’ I could barely bring myself to believe I was reading the Guardian! Sadly, that was enough, I have not bought it since, nor will I in the Future. Centralization of Media ownership in London, by people so aligned to the Tories, has been the death knell of Journalism in Britain, and that is borne out by the collapse in Sales.
    God help us all if we are thrown back on BBC England for News!

  16. Derek, top class keep up the payments to Gruinard.
    Their fear is to acknowledge our success as it highlights their own failures.

  17. Well, big day tomorrow, friend’s daughter 40th in ’embra: then this drops in!
    Derek, your disappointment is clear. You know your Journalism and Journalists but, even you must now accept that MSM is giving over column inches to pre-supplied breifing notes from HMG, Lobbyists and whatever vested interests pay. Look only at the new Guardian venture with Unilever and wonder are they too close to power to adequarely hold them to account. Poor “wee” Scotland is just the latest ball to be kicked. Remember, this though; German, French, Spanish, Italian and even the US media are reporting the events of this week as Bullying and intimidation. It is only “our own homegrown” MSM which is being corrupted to the extent of providing no balance; one-sided views/opinions :cowardly led by an ever pliant BBC & BBC PQ. This YES vote will be won by, literally, the people of Scotland seeing through the bias and demise of institutions once trusted!

  18. As a relative in Scotland recently suggested this is probably stage 2 of the five stages of grief:
    1. Denial and Isolation
    2. Anger
    3. Bargaining
    4. Depression
    5. Acceptance
    When we start to hear the “If only we had:…
    – not suppressed the McCrone report,
    – experimented with the poll tax,
    – offered a third choice in the referendum,
    – come up with those positives we promised,
    – etc etc etc
    … maybe our beloved neighbors would trust us” we will know they have moved onto the 3rd phase. Given the likely consequences of the anger phase I suspect it won’t be too long and I submit Scots should be firm in stage 3 then gentle in phase 4 so that you can all get to acceptance as soon as possible.

  19. As a once-loyal Guardian reader, I have also been genuinely shocked at how over he last year the paper has consistently misjudged and mishandled the independence debate. I still find it bizarre and baffling.

  20. FreddieThreepwood

    As a daily subscriber, I share your pain Derek. I would quibble with one conclusion, however. Several folk I either trained or worked with as a journalist are still in gainful employment in various London media organisations (including The Guardian and Channel 4 News) – people I would never accuse of lacking social democratic instincts or harbouring any latent xenophobia towards any race, including Scots.
    I therefore cannot agree with your assumption that there is a default anti-Scottishness at play here. What I encounter, rather, is bewilderment, a sense of abandonment and panic. More than all of this, however, is ignorance – an almost total incomprehension of the facts and issues at play in the independence debate ‘up here’. Maybe that’s their fault – maybe they should make more of an effort to find out what is actually going on in Scotland. But, in lieu of them bursting out of the metropolitan bubble, I cannot accuse them of blind racism or even partisanship.
    And I also believe we independence supporters need to be more aware of what success for our cause would mean for ordinary men and women elsewhere in the UK. At the moment it may only be the political and media classes who are wakening up to the possibility of The End of Great Britain – but once everyone else does, the change in tone of the debate will make Osborne’s intervention this week seem like a minor technicality. Big emotions will be at play and with emotion comes that concomitant loss of rationality and proportion. It’ll get ‘tasty’ before we win the day!

  21. Sorry DB, you didn’t impress me with this one.

    I noticed months ago by its comments section that the ‘Guardian’ was as anti-Scottish as any other unionst rag.

    The ‘Guardian’ is no better than the Record in the sense that it though it pretends to be a newspaper for the ‘people’, in reality it is a newspaper for the labour party first and always.

    The people come second, and if they’re Scottish, a far distant second.

    I hope you cancelled your subscriptions.

  22. I came to the same, genuinely upsetting, conclusion after Steve Bell’s cartoon last year: . It maybe shouldn’t have been, but it’s been a shock to see the hostility of the metropolitan left media, to see it so personalised with the ad hominem attacks on Salmond and to see the policy platform of the SNP and other Yes supporting parties ignored or dismissed as a populist tactic. What’s been less surprising, but infuriating rather than upsetting, is the lack of awareness of so much of the substance, detail and nuance of the debate, compared with those who have been involved in it for longer. Perfectly understandable but it’s infuriating when accompanied withthe kind of condescending arrogance you get too often.

    So, I’ve invented a word. For a London journalist patiently to give a view and explanation that everyone’s heard before as if it was a new pearl of wisdom that no-one else had been clever enough to think about: to “metrosplain”.

  23. Just read the earlier comment re “metrosplaining”. I really did invent it. Check Twitter. I’m not deluded. Honestly.

  24. What does history tell us ?

    In times of recession or societal uncertainty it’s good to have a common enemy to focus on and bring usually disparate parts of society together. Make the citizens feel they are ‘under attack’ and it will distract them from their economic woes.

    That enemy is the independence movement. Attacks are being facilitated by every single media outlet in the UK in conjunction with Westminster. The collusion of the press and government was firmly evidenced last week over the whole currency issue and the pre-release and coverage of a speech that had not yet been made.

    People like to think that the days of the early 20th Century are past, that we are not the same society, that war and poverty could never again be seen on such a scale, nor racism, bigotry or blind hatred to democracy. Don’t kid yourself.

    The constant drip, drip, drip of alienation, racism and the old empire rallying call of ‘splendid isolation’ being fed through the media is having a major effect on citizens in the UK, and not in a good way.

    If the Uk government could somehow orchestrate some violence into the campaign, I’d have no doubt they would. If the opinion polls start showing a Yes lead, I’m afraid it will happen.

    I’m kind of surprised that Ian Smart, Brian Wilson or Michael Kelly have turned up for their weekly newsnicht appearances wearing self inflicted black eyes and cauliflower ears (courtesy of BBC Scotland’s make up department) claiming violence against Alex Salmond.

  25. My question is, do they know they are being mendacious or is it actually delusional?

  26. Nice article, Derk, but you’re not really calling Severin Carrell’s articles as Scottish Correspondent “inspiring and validating” are you?

    • Just to add that I find The Guardian’s new Spanish correspondents pretty sympathetic to Catalan independence so far, well informed and didactic.

      Why the Scottish movement should get the treatment and the correspondent it does is a puzzle. Maybe it depends whose elite is being threatened.

  27. The Guardian is the only paper with any independence of editorial. It’s coverage of Scottish Independence is despicable and disgusting.

    Always parroting,’freedom this’ and ‘injustice that’. The British establishment sent in the heavy mob to vandalise the Press room and threaten the Editor. Maybe that is why they keep on hanging on. Is it jealousy or spite?

    The only respite, is the majority of the posters agree with Scotland and many advise, ‘Go for Independence, we would like to join you’. The Guardian has been a big, big let down for the ‘Left’.

    The foreign Press/Media is more enlightened.

  28. Well done, Sir, for managing to write the above without recourse to shouty capitals or double punctuation. Please continue to get very angry on behalf of those of us with no voice, just a vote.

  29. This excellent piece triggered a thought regarding the unnecessary hostility of Naughtie and Wark the other day. They moved a long time ago to the introspective South East ( I know how introspective it is, I lived in Royal Tunbridge Wells for 30 years, there, since not enough local professionals would work for the salaries the State offered and it’s still the same today ) and they needed to fit in but were recruited for social correctness as well as the perceived honesty of the accent ( rather like the Co-op’s man who is Good with Food ). After so many years and becoming an embodiment of the Establishment, non-metropolitan issues simply aren’t as important and those professing them, even if on behalf of your homeland, should be dismissed. There is an analogy here with the Labour apparatchiks.

    • Naughtie’s reputation will never recover from his stint on GMS. You only have to listen to any pairs of his interviews to know he’s just doing the No campaign’s job for them. I’ve got the same contempt for him that I have for the rest of BBC Scotland’s output and reporters (with a very small number of exceptions). Not that I imagine this will worry him. He must have given up all pretence of being viewed as a respected journalist when he took the GMS gig.

  30. The Guardian’s like Russia Today. Great channel, but you wouldn’t expect too much coverage of gay bashing or the Circassians in between Max Keiser and Sputnik. It’s gone now, but this morning the favourite Guardian photo of Scarlet with her favourite settlement toy was the largest on the page. down the page, Observer ethical awards. Kevin McKenna’s article, tucked away in comment is free. There’s some great writers but I would’nt buy one.

  31. Living in London, I can only get any form of Scottish news from the internet or from STV and BBC2 Scotland via my satellite and most of that is garbage. I have read the Guardian for a number of years but agree it is very short on Scottish affairs except to give a very negative, one sided spin. Unfortunately it is the best English paper I can buy and there is a good article in today’s Observer by Kevin McKenna.

  32. “European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says it would be “extremely difficult” for an independent Scotland to join the EU.”
    Wonder if this guy has been bribed by Cameron/Osbourne to come to their aid. Never heard such a load of old tosh in my life. They had no trouble taking in Croatia or the Chezch Republic (a former communist country) however, would have with a resource rich Scotland with a stable economy and government. This has to be a set up.

  33. It doesn’t matter what currency a country uses. It is just a form of exchange. What matters is whether a country balances it’s books. Scotland does. Total revenues raised £60Billion total spent £60Billion, but could save £3Billion etc. £1.5Billion Trident, £1.5Billion a tax on ‘loss leading’ alcohol. Total taxes raised in the UK £600Billion. Total Westminster spending £700Billion. The rest of the UK borrows and spends £100Billion. Pro rata £10Billion more.

    Scotland just needs to borrow £60Billion (less than current debt as part of the UK) and it’s away. If Scotland is in the EU join the Euro. If not adopt it’s own currency.

  34. After independence,we are going to have to address the problem of all of our media being controlled by another country.
    Not for one second would the Westminster establishment allow,say France,to have complete control over TV and printed media.
    Any time England and France had a disagreement,the French could use the media to bypass democratic process in order to obtain their desired outcome.
    Democracy in Scotland is being exposed for the sham it is.
    No free press and a political system of governance harking back to colonial days.
    The London establishment telling us that we can only have self government if they agree and on their terms.
    They are storing up a deal of ill will for the future,whatever the outcome of our referendum but since I have always believed that it is Scottish resources they covet and not our people,I don’t suppose they are too bothered.
    Thanks Derek.

  35. Why can’t the Scottish gov set up a TV or Radio station. Does it have devolved communication powers?

  36. I don’t think they have even thought for a second just how destructive this approach is. They are doing such hatchet job on Scotland and its reputation with the rest of the UK and the wider world, that even in the event of a no vote, nothing will ever be the same. We are going to be more wary of Westminster, more annoyed at the slights and insults that will come our way. Oh yes, we won’t be thanked for voting no. Voting no will convince everyone else in the UK that we are scroungers. We’ll be openly mocked and traduced for voting no. Unionists will sit there with a silly smug grin on their faces, blissfully unaware that it is directed at them and those who voted no. The cuts will come. Then the special tax just for being a scot. The anger and tempers will flare. Anti Scottish will be confronted with intense anti British sentiment. it won’t just be directed at the usual suspects (Tories) but at the unionist parties. They are the ones will suffer the most. Rejected by Scots for their failure to protect Scotland and ridiculed by the English, for convincing enough of us that we were dependent on English charity.

    What a truly idiotic campaign. They’re killing their precious union and haven’t the wit to see it.

  37. I have been complaining below the line in The Guardian since they started giving independence any coverage at all. And I’ve been reading The Observer since I was 15, The Guardian since I was 17. James Cameron wrote for them when I started reading the newspaper. Ye Gods!

    Every utterance of every government minister is subject to analysis in the respective part of the newspaper; George Osborne’s idiocy is routinely eviscerated by their economics writers. And yet, for some reason, when they pontificate on Scotland, their words are treated as the hallmark of wisdom.

    In just one example, the society page carried a piece on how rises in council tax penalise the worst off – then their Scottish page carried the Labour mantra that council tax frees benefits the better off!

    This piece reminded me the old nickname for The Times was The Thunderer – the editorial looked as if it would be at home there. And it’s the second week in a row they have printed an anti-independence editorial.

    And it says everything about their ignorance of the subject that, again, they talk about a referendum on Devolution!

    Patronising, metroparochial nonsense.

  38. I have been a Guardian reader on and off for 50 years and I too have been disgusted by the reporting of the Referendum. The problem,as I see it, is that all English based newspapers have not had to think too much about Scotland.This has been the case with the Referendum since, until recently, it was assumed that a NO vote was a foregone conclusion. Now that there is a distinct possibility that Scotland will become Independent,their Scottish correspondents have had a steep learning curve to understand the Scottish situation and they have failed.
    I will persevere with the Guardian.The Edward Snowdon story was outstanding journalism. I will ignore the Referendum articles.

  39. Never in a thousand years would I have believed it. Is it time to think the unthinkable.
    Count the number of examples in the link and ask yourself ‘How many are happening on a daily basis today.’ I counted eight out of ten. Only two more to go for a ‘clean sweep’.
    It honestly scares the s**t out of me.

  40. Spain has been a member of the EU, since 1986 and only joined the Eurozone in 1999. Scotland has been a member for over forty years. The corrupt Spanish Gov will dictate for Europe. Scottish representation was applauded in the EU Parliament.

  41. The sad reality is not just the Guardian’s lack of awareness about what is actually happening in Scotland and simply runs Labour press releases on Scotland as defacto truth it is clear to any one who is or has put the case for independence in a non hostile and informative manner. If you attempt to describe the actual potential of an independent Scotland’s economy you will be howled down.

    We are dealing with a case of abject ignorance amongst supposed informed English readers not only to do with the economic impact of no currency union on Sterling but of the actual legal and constitutional basis of the UK Parliament, a parliament that ceases to have any sovereign power on the announcement of a ‘Yes’ vote as only the two original sovereign signatory parliaments can negotiate the winding up of the UK Parliament. On a ‘Yes’ vote the sovereign parliament of England and Wales is recalled from its current temporary suspension – there is no room for a ‘sovereign’ UK Parliament as well. Logically this means Scottish MPs and Lords go on gardening leave until April 2015 when the UK Parliament is prorogued for the final time and the election to the parliament of England and Wales takes place in May 2015. Scotland’s next parliamentary election is in May 2016.

    The English media may like to ignore the Articles of the Treaty of Union and believe Scotland was subsumed by England in 1707 but on both counts they and the politicians peddling this line are in gross error. The key to all of this is the core of Scotland’s current ‘constitution’ in the 1689 Claim of Right, protected for all time by the 1706 Treaty of Union, upheld by Lord Cooper in McCormack vs the Lord Advocate, conceded by the UK Parliament, reflected in the UK Supreme Court’s judgement in Axa and other vs the Scottish Parliament and others and it is this:

    The considered will of the people of Scotland is paramount.

  42. I’ve been commenting BTL on the Guardian’s Scotland pages since 2011 (barring a two month layoff when Personally indisposed). Since the SNPs May 2011 victory in point of fact. Over this period I’ve steadily watched what was a title with a conscience move inexorably rightward, certainly so far as attitudes toward Scottish democracy is concerned.

    This past week I see as the culmination of this journey and I set about posting links to relevant articles wherever I could drawing as much attention as possible to the articles and comments which underlined the attitude of the London media toward the people of Scotland and their mandated government. They are very much with the Westminster narrative programme, make no mistake. They’ve lost even the pretence of objectivity, the facts certainly ain’t sacred and as for moderation of intemperate racist, bigoted anti Scottish posting? Well this week was an education.

    The Guardian, much like the rest of the media orthodoxy in the UK is well and truly a lost cause. So let’s have a big hand for the arrival of UKs latest right wing broadsheet.

    • Same here – but I now think the Guardian are beyong redemption.
      I went to comment on the Kev McKenna article – the abuse is shocking.
      They ignore any links posted to support a view and howl down anyone disagreeing with them
      I have a feeling it might be mis-placed anger – they feel helpless as their country disintegrates in front of their eyes but instead of blaming WM they lash out at all around them.

      Some No folk in Scotland really need to open their eyes.

      • A very bright poster once said (HandandShrimp I think), that people choose their titles and reading materials to confirm their POV or prejudice. As the Guardian’s stance toward Scotland and in particular Scottish affairs started drifting toward the right, the more they attracted right leaning readership and posters.

        You are right though, the anger of the average poster is based on misinformation and lack knowledge about Scotland, Scots and Scottish issues. There are of course other posters who are very much aware of what they are doing and are deliberately setting about spreading fear, misinformation and bigoted hatred.

        HMG and their media have done their work well. But remember the vast majority of the readership is English and London centric, these articles are targeted specifically for that readership. As far as they are concerned Westminster is fighting their corner and putting tribalistic, whinging, uppity Jocks in their place. What they are not doing is offering informed commentary on the birth of a nation or the march of peaceful democratic mandate.

  43. I’m a Mancunian who has lived all over the UK and am now resident in Scotland and very happy here. I started reading the Guardian 60 years ago and still get it daily. Like others here I’ve gradually become disillusioned by its rightward drift and metropolitanisation (Snowden notwithstanding, though that seems to have gone quiet now). They seem to think that stopping giving us recipes for the Mid Week ‘Sappa’ and instead advising us non-hardworking layabouts on how to make nourishing meals for less than £1 they maintain their socialist credentials, while at the same time banging up the price to £1.60. They persist (Polly Toynbee in particular) in the vain hope that some sweet day the Labour Party will get off its arse and start to represent us again. Fat chance. They’re all bought and paid for by the same ones who own the Tories.
    Sorry, long ramble. Just wanted to say great article and I’m stopping buying it too. I’m also voting Yes and looking forward to the great adventure.

  44. C’mon Derek you really must have lived in a bubble when you worked for the BBC. You didn’t think it was biased against Scottish Independence, And in your podcast the other day you seemed reluctant to admit that it is biased. Well I hope ye ken noo.
    And above you seem to have only just discovered that even amongst the liberal media people in London there is an underlying anti-Scots agenda. Christ almighty where have you been living?. I have no time for Brown or Darling but they were subjected to the worst form of racism (all unspoken of course) by the London media left and right wing just after the finanxial collapse. They were more or less run out of Dodge (Government) by the London media. And the English media have continued this anti-Scottish assault for the last 6 years. It is that which has made me a strong Indy supporter.

  45. Does the Guardian simply fear the loss of a market in the event of a Yes vote? That’s clearly part of everyone else’s thinking d’ahn rUK, not least the Labour Party. Nothing to do with principles.

  46. Is the Guardian following the Labour Party in its lurch to the Right or is it vice versa?
    I used to buy the Guardian when I was on holiday on the south coast of Crete as the alternatives available -English Red Tops are/were a news free zone. I always found that the Guardian journalism was up to standard but that there was little or no Scottish content to speak of.. It was like an English language paper from a country that was foreign to me.I occasionally now see it or excerpts from it quoted on blogs and it now appears that they operate a cut and paste approach from such authoritative sources and impeccable angles as the Daily Mail (!!!) when commentating on the present Scottish political scene.
    Rather like George Galloway they appear to embrace the self- determination movement of any nation other than Scotland. Where do we fail to get support or even fair minded consideration? Do we adhere too closely to the democratic approach or is it that we have not spilt blood – and please be sure that I am not advocating that we should abandon the first or adopt the second of those options

  47. The Guardian only sells 8000 copies a day in Scotland – not enough to warrant a separate Scottish edition. That’s why you have London correspondents writing ignorantly about Scotland. I am a Guardian reader and we, too, used to buy two copies a day – now just down to one. Jonathan Freedland’s article last Saturday summed it up. He said that if he was Scottish he “might vote for independence but as he wasn’t he pleaded with Scots not to vote for it”. Sheer hypocrisy and he basically admitted it himself.

  48. The Guardian CiF is now definitely a target for UKIP sympathisers. Maybe it’s because most of the right-wing press is behind paywalls now.

  49. So glad to hear all these similar comments and disappointment with the Guardian. It had the chance to rise to the occasion and stand out amongst the rest of the unionist biased media but instead joined them. What a betrayal to its own standards, readers and the truth. History will record that the whole of the main stream media was against Scottish Independence.

  50. The top page on the Guardian website now has
    “Independent Scotland ‘would find it extremely difficult to join EU'”
    0 Guardian picks
    0 staff replies
    There’s an article with Alex salmond’s reply to Osborne but you’d have to dig for it. On the positive side, they’ve stopped using photos of Mel Gibson waving his arms about to convey some idea of Scottishness to their intended audience.

  51. Couldn’t agree more Derek. I can clearly understand now why you had to leave the bbc despite being the blindingly most gifted and honest journalist in their midst. On a similair connected note, I enjoyed being cold called by The Times marketing dept to enquire why I had cancelled my subscription despite being offered a further reduction in cost to ensure I remained in the headlights of their brands and advertising clients.
    After a good 5 mins on a Friday evening ( g&t o’clock ) the young lady seemed vaguely impressed by the revelation that many of us up North are a little bit sick about reading where the rich and richer of the south east spend their vast discretionary income and which chalet they should book without delay for half-term ! Enough is enough. But I’d suggest that perhaps the SNP are in fact happy the way things are going ! I mean if the Guardian hacks are being drawn down into the swamp and mud of a media bannock urn then maybe , just maybe , the undecided will have the guts to say it as well. Enough is enough !

  52. MacPherson’s briefing paper can be found here.

    Basically, he says the same as Carney, that a currency union requires a lot of co-operation, that Scotland might have some minor input into fiscal and monetary policy but would basically concede sovereignty over these key policy areas; and if Scotland didn’t comply with agreed fiscal policy and defaulted, the Bank of England would have to bail her out, which in effect would mean the English taxpayer (as well as the Scottish taxpayer). This is of course spurious. Why would we act irresponsibly? Especially as Carney pointed out, our economies are well integrated. Whilst Carney put this neutrally, and emphasised there was on the positive side some wriggle room for minor adjustments, given the asymmetry between the different sizes of the two economies, MacPherson puts this asymmetry extremely negatively, assuming a worst case scenario of flagrant non co-operation.

    Basically he is saying we are a banana republic, tartan wogs. What a strong vote of confidence in the effects of three hundred years of union! What utter impertinence!

    (The Bank of England was founded by a Scot in 1695).

  53. A lovely article. I’d take issue with one thing only: where I find the “yes” response has been generally well-put, I’ve been disappointed in the response to Gideon/Balls/Beaker on the Sterling Zone, and in the response to Barroso on EU membership. Saying it’s ludicrous and nonsense doesn’t help, and there was a fair bit of sneering from Mr Swinney, who had very little to offer as a counter. The union side is full of negativity and condescension – all the more reason then, to stay calm and rational; to present the positive AND THE ALTERNATIVES – what about NOT using Sterling? Or using it as a temporary fiscal peg? What about NOT rejoining the EU? I think the difficulty in getting undecided voters to the separatist side is the lack of flexibility, which might be due to uncertainty, but comes across as blinkered arrogance. Unionists are doing so much to send people into the “yes” camp, the last thing Eck et al want to do is drive them back to the “no” team by refusing to engage in anything deeper than is/isn’t shouting.

  54. The Guardian has one of the most savagely pro-union writers in Severin Carrell who will manipulate headlines to paint a picture which the article doesn’t support. The only positive side is that the comments section always contained a regular number of posters who would correct the impression he sought to give. Recently the comments have been flooded with a large number of unionist posters but the odd thing is that the paper now seems to be introducing more balanced articles from a number of journalists. There’s a good one on the website explaining why what Borroso has said is “ludicrous”. Oddly enough I don’t think it will make it into the print edition.

  55. An Independent Scotland will be good for all the people of the regions. These areas have all but been abandoned by London. I believe that Scotland will be the major hub of a growing northern economy, where trade and industry will give rise to a rejuvenation of it’s society and communities. Within this Scotland, I hope to see a growing ethical business mentality, where all the efforts of Your nation are focused on giving Scotland and her neighbours, a fair equal and sustainable future, and one which will give us southerners something to aim for.

    Scottish independence will be great for Scotland, great for the north, and great for all the people of England Ireland and Wales.

  56. The only admission you failed to provide was why it took you so long to realise that no matter which London based media you examine, you will quickly reveal an indigenous level of either ignorance on any number of Scottish matters or worse, sneering, condescending invective that does nothing but serve to reinforce colonial style attitudes that revels in its stereotypical view of Scotland.

  57. I have cancelled my Guardian sub…

  58. One of the ignorant, arrogant amateur economists on the Guardian, suggested the ‘Nationalists’ consistently ‘play the man’ rather than the ball. The irony. Especially from the ‘left wing’ commentators.

    The floods, the famine and the fury. Cameron suggests Alex and Co have no plan. The irony.

  59. Great read Derek, I’m a journalism student trying to write an article on the biased media coverage given against the independence campaign.
    If you would be available for comment, please get in contact via email (, any help would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Jamie
      What do you want to know? Glad to help.

      • Thanks for getting back to me,

        1. In your opinion, just how biased has the media coverage been towards the better together campaign ?

        2. How embarrassing is it that international news networks, such as Russia Today and El Pais, are providing better, more neutral coverage than our own national news ?

        3. How influential will the media coverage of the referendum be in the way people vote in September ?

        4. Would a complaint to ofcom or another media regulator change anything or would the complaint be swept under the carpet ?

        Thanks again for your help with this.

        Jamie Delaney

  60. Look at today’s Observer. (23 Feb) More of the same and a really hypocritical editorial. Currently I buy two papers a week, Guardian on Saturday and The Observer on Sunday. Think it’s time to give up on them altogether.

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