It’s No Fair (No.75)

‘But they can still be expected to outspend us by as much as three to one, while David Cameron is promising to dust down the playbook of smear and fear from 1992, knowing that large sections of the press can be relied upon to help him.’

Who can be complaining so plaintively about smears, budgets and media bias?

Why, it’s Douglas Alexander in the Observer, referring of course to the British general election but with eerie echoes of the referendum campaign.

It’s just not fair, is it, that the Press will side with the other team against you? As you know, Douglas never stops moaning that the Scottish Press is prejudiced against independence. I’m sure I heard him demand that the Scotsman begins immediately to be more balanced in order to aid democracy.

And all those fears and smears…where did that come from? Do Tories go in for stuff like that, do they? Douglas would never engage nor condone such behaviour which has not been the hallmark of the No campaign, has it? Please, if you find any hints at fears or smears about Yes or Mr Salmond, do send them to Douglas at his constituency office so he can tell them off.

Ed Miliband launched our local and European campaign with a sensible market-based policy on rents. The Tories responded by comparing him to Hugo Chávez.’

Shocking, Douglas. It’s not as if Labour in Scotland tied to liken Salmond to Putin, is it? Or is that an entirely different type of comparison?

Read too how radical Labour will be (in Britain). He refers to ‘clarity of strategy, effective rebuttal, and superior field organisation with our network of community organisers.’ Any of those in Scotland, do you think? Clarity of strategy…mmmh. I suppose Vote Naw counts as strategy but I didn’t think Johann understood her own policy when she last appeared in interview. Rebuttal and organization…well presumably that’s where Frank Roy comes in.

It all points to two agendas, one for the big vote in the south and one for us. I’m not sure many Labour voters in Scotland recognize Douglas’s categorizing of Labour as the hard-done-to, smart, radical party.

But I think in the Herald today David Torrance was doing a wee bit of Douglas’s work for him, inadvertently, by suggesting Salmond just say sorry. For what? Are we really saying he should say sorry for saying what he believed to be true? Or sorry for causing a flutter among the media and the politicos? This is exactly why people are sick of politics, because an MSP can’t say what he thinks without howls of fake protest. You can almost hear the groans if Salmond said: OK, I meant it but if it’s caused offence, sorry everybody.

The equation with the CBI is ludicrous. They said sorry because the manifestly cocked it up by not consulting members, claiming a junior was at fault, withdrawing their registration, causing the abandonment of their association by 20 members and looking like prats. Sorry is hardly enough in their case. Sorry from Salmond simply lets everyone down and would be used by the same moaners in future as a sign you cant trust him. Stand up and speak up, would be a fine motto for today’s peely wally, media obsessed pygmy politicans, if only they actually stood for something and could articulate it.

Perhaps they should do us all a favour and apologise for getting elected in the first place.




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33 thoughts on “It’s No Fair (No.75)

  1. Jon Snow appears to have some honest reporting and some understanding of the feelings involved in the referendum. Recommend it.

    It’s at wos “something to believe in” @big al 1:49

  2. But it really is no fair, Derek. In the last week, Magnus Gardham of The Herald has devoted two of his columns (30 April and 3 May) to bleating that the Yes campaign’s greater diversity and grass-roots strength might give it an unfair advantage in the final months of the campaign. The prospect of people power overcoming the efforts of Tory millionaires certainly brought a tear to my glass ee.

  3. I think these journalists are beginning to realise that they may be caught on the wrong side of history. The Independence debate, thanks to our fearless bloggers and neighbourhood campaigners, is challenging the tired old politics of the Westminster bubble. We are examining every aspect of the Union and finding it wanting. Howls of faux rage at Alec Salmon’s comments on Putin are so predictable that they hardly register. To borrow another old insult from yesteryear, these journalists and their political masters are “Paper Tigers”.

  4. Mainstream political journalists are angry because they see their “expertise” being challenged by internet commentators, most of whom are pro-independence, hence the mainstream media using any excuse to attack Mr Salmond and the Yes campaign.

    • Dan, you have hit the nail on the head.

      It’s not even confined to politics; the rise in social media and the voice it has given to the hitherto silent majority’ has caused all sorts of pompous ‘experts’ to take umbrage with the ‘mob’.

      Sports journalists in Scotland are just as bad as political journalists and commentators when it comes to sneering at the ‘ordinary people’ and their new found determination to be heard.

      The fact is the days when a journalist or commentator of politics can pontificate to the masses without fear of being contradicted are over.

      And boy do they hate it.

      • The angry spirits who rioted on the streets of Scotland in 1707 have returned and will have their day against those who sold us down the river then and seek to deny us democracy now.
        Thanks Derek.

    • Hugh Wallace

      Quite right. If you watch a news report from somewhere like Syria, there will generally be some comment to the effect that ‘this story is brought to you by a citizen journalist but we haven’t been able to verify the facts’. Now on one level that is fair enough; how would the MSM know if said ‘citizen journalist’ is genuinely reporting the ‘facts’ or is simply a PR mouthpiece for one side or another. But there is this underlying assumption that if the BBC (for example, though they are not alone in this) reports the ‘facts’ they have double and triple checked them and are totally unbiased. And we know that is just not true!

      I find it notable that such voices from Syria, Egypt, Tunisia or Ukraine (or wherever it is hard for western journalists to safely go) are referred to as ‘citizen journalists’ and accorded a degree of respect (not total respect, because, they are after all not ‘real journalists’ like westerners are) but the people writing about the Scottish Independence Referendum are never referred to in such a manner. They are ‘cybernats’ and ‘bloggers’ but never, ever is the word ‘journalist’ ever remotely attached to such people. No, that would accord them far too much respect and we can’t possibly have that, can we?

  5. The, “I didn’t think about that”, is strong among Together politicians, especially Labour, and especially in Scotland.
    The false camaraderie that seemed to be a good idea at the start of the campaign will haunt Labour.
    We lived with the eerie spectacle of Labour never criticising Conservatives and visa versa, but they seemed not give thought what would happen when the GE came closer.
    Maybe they thought it would all be over quickly then they could turn on each other.
    But the behaviour of Labour has shown its weakness, and the Conservative Party machine in Westminster will have been watching.


    i must admit,these comments seem a lot mor realistic than the long winde psuedo intellectuals who haunt these blogs,suffice to say if you dont analyse newspapers then its difficult to comment
    channel 4s jon snow was astounding in its honesty,and appeals to my sense of right
    maybe the bbc will take note,and give a fair shake to both sides (some hope)

    The Rev Stu has the GQ article up. Read it and marvel at the amazing week of spin the MSM has managed to concict out of this rather admirable interview.

  8. He’s got a point though, how dare the Tories compare Ed Miliband to Hugo Chavez?

    If I was the Chavez family, I’d be seeking legal advice.

    (Sorry, I can’t stop laughing at the idea of Miliband being compared to a bona fide socialist with charisma, leadership and the ability to win multiple elections.)

  9. OneNation Labour … “superior field organisation” – looks like they may be going for the 18th century agricultural vote.

  10. Yeah, New Labour strike me as defenceless, hard done by and misunderstood.

    Or mibbee no. 🙂

  11. I might be wrong but oor wee Dougie has had a hand in a few, ahem, cock ups, ah mean elections. I don’t think he is all that good at it. Do you think he is getting in the excuses early. Have to say that I think that if anyone has lost the Union it is the Unionist Politicians and the Fourth Estate. Maybe a bit of truth would have gone a long way.

    • Well Mr Alexander is nothing if not an opportunist and a survivor. 🙂

      Now on the general tenor of strategy by unionist politicians and the meeja. I think its safe to say they would have no one to blame but themselves in event of a YES vote. They have insulted, mis represented, smeared, lied, patronised and intimidated their collective way through this entire campaign to date. They have used this strategy relentlessly and unremittingly for almost two years to the point where they have begun to turn on themselves to ascribe blame.

      Their approach to this referendum and their own electorate/readerships/audience has become so blunt, so obvious that no reasonable thinking human being can fail to spot or be appalled by their words and actions. Its some small comfort that they are successfully driving sections of their own support toward our POV, but the cost appears to be one they are willing to pay.

      I suspect now though they are beginning to get an inkling of just how they have misread both the situation and the public’s tolerance for these tactics. The unionist/devolutionist voting public were looking for an affirmation of their trust and loyalty. A positive forward looking argument to take to the party as it were. What they got instead was a shock to their system somewhat. It probably didn’t occur that parties they had given their all to for so long didn’t have the collective wit or will to paint a positive political future for the union, that indeed those parties spent an unfeasible amount of time attacking a single man from a single party instead of just answering the damn constitutional question placed before them. What is the positive case for union’s future? Or put another way. Who cares about party politics, just how do you intend to ensure inclusive, forward looking, democratic governance fit for the 21st century?

      Their silence has been deafening, but I suspect the public’s answer won’t be so silent on Spetember 18th.

      • Very well put, Mac. Just exactly what are these “proud scots” going to say and do on the 19th, September. Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

        • Say its a tight no vote (shudders). Just how are they going to win back the trust of the forty odd percent they’ve spent this entire period denigrating and insulting? Its one thing to win with a positive unionist vision, divisions could be healed quite simply in such a circumstance, but to have spent almost two years alienating almost half your electorate? That’s a circle they’ll find hard to square.

      • Hit the nail firmly on the head. As you normally do.

  12. bringiton
    Hi do you mean these guys?

  13. David Torrance has surely now realised he tailed the wrong camp and it’s too late to rectify the mistake. Perhaps this is why he appears to be so bitter.

  14. I think that the mainstream media have pretty much burnt their boats on this one. It seems to me that this is partly down to a misunderstanding of, and underestimate of, the internet/blogs/social media, and partly due to manipulative presentation of the news to suit a particular political belief. National newspapers (in Scotland, at least) seem to look on the print version as the “real” paper, and the internet version as secondary.

    I’m in my 60s, and must admit that I’m old fashioned enough to like print papers, but if I analyse why, it’s mainly for the crossword and the editorials/guest columns. I get my news elsewhere, and after 40-odd years of regular Scotsman readership, I’ve finally been forced to give up the crossword due to my anger at the editorial stance. I don’t mind a newspaper having a political stance. I do, however, resent that stance being maintained by poor or lazy journalism, and misrepresentation or omission of facts to obtain the finished product. I’m not a fool, nor are most other newspaper readers.

    The first time any newspaper reader notes that a print article is either inaccurate, omits important information, or carries a headline which significantly misrepresents a story, they are likely to become more critical. This is likely to make them seek factual evidence elsewhere (i.e. internet). As soon as this stage is reached, we have a mistrustful reader, who is going to be considerably more wary of print newspapers, and outlets like the BBC. This cynicism is likely to be bolstered by repeats of the same scenario, and lo and behold, we reach the stage we’re at now, where for many people, analytical (even if biased pro-indy) information is widely available on the internet, and through social media, frequently with links posted to original sources of evidence, or contradictory previous stories or statements. There is no going back from this point.

    Another reason for the success of blogs, is, of course, the quality of writing. Why would I want to read a turgid and inaccurate story written by a listless and unenthusiastic journalist, who doesn’t believe what they’re writing (or sees their story edited out of recognition), when I can read a sharply written, entertaining and original piece by someone who passionately believes in what they’re writing about? The quality of writing on sites like this and Wee Ginger Dug, and the incisive analysis on Wings Over Scotland, are streets ahead of what the mainstream currently has to offer. In the event of a YES vote, which I firmly believe is not only possible, but increasingly probable, it’s difficult to see where the mainstream media in Scotland turns. We need vibrant news outlets with a broad range of opinion, and we most certainly need outlets willing to be critical of any incumbent Scottish government, or at least provide analytical news. However, when the public believes that the mainstream news available has been guilty of deliberate deception, they’re not likely to flock back. The problem for the BBC, Scotsman etc is that the current reach/readership/listening public is the best it’s going to get for the foreseeable future, and this situation is going to worsen for them in the next 6 months.

    Apologies for the length of this rant – you must have touched a nerve Derek! Time for coffee I think, then a catch-up on WGD, Wings and Twitter………………………….

  15. George Elliott

    I couldn’t have put it any better! Well written and if that’s a rant I would read that over the MSM every day Bigbricks. Also a shout to you Derek! I have not really been a contributor to these forums,although have been reading them for months, but my blood has been boiling over with our state media! to a point that almost every conversation I now have with the naws ends with a postit of these sites for the doubting Thomas to read. A few days later a blustering,raging new Yesser has been born…..we really got to get this Yes!

  16. To me, these Unionist politicians; Foulkes, Darling, Lamont, Reid et al, and their media trumpets are simply dinosaurs farting in a foggy swamp.

    Their noises mean nothing to me and the only voices worth listening to are the new Internet voices and the activists on the ground.

    The genie is well and truly out of the bottle!

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