Some good news to start…the relaunch of Newsnet is imminent. We’ve undergone a transformation – OK, a website redesign – and opened up the original site to more content with a heavy focus on reader-led content, both in citizen journalism and in being a forum for what you are thinking.
Details will follow but we are taking the successful template and broadening the output into all areas of current affairs, not just politics, while maintaining our commitment to the Yes movement. Our aim – to be an essential part of your information toolkit heading into the general election in May – all based at newsnet.scot.
We want a deeper engagement with the site’s followers including subscription (to keep us on the road), ideas, articles and images – both photos and video – and will issue invitations to events we will stage. I’ll keep you informed.
You’ll even find this blog on the site. (I think the marketing people call this cross-fertilisation and many of you have made plain you already link the blog with fertiliser).
On which point, there is much talk of a continuing rift in our politics and for the need to reach a rapprochement. Gerry Hassan has laid out a plan for how we conduct a new politics (some of which I even understood).
Now I agree with a lot of this. First, there clearly is a divide which is what the referendum was all about and that chasm cannot be crossed in any short-term amicable arrangement of ‘agreeing to disagree’. The divide was exactly what the referendum was about – some of us believe in Scotland and put it first and some of us believe Britain is pre-eminent and takes precedence. I’m not sure how you compromise on that because if you ask: are we supposed to believe that after a Yes vote, Ian Davidson, Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy and Michael Kelly would give up the Union and offer their efforts to making independence work, I think we know the answer. They would have to appear to do so, of course but isn’t it more likely they would point to every mishap and say they told us so? In fact, the truth is that Unionism is already doing that after a No vote by revelling in the falling oil price and linking it – inaccurately – to independence.
But we shouldn’t be afraid of core disagreements and instead embrace the areas where there is understanding by putting the acrimony to one side. Democracy decided that there will not be independence – until there is a material change in circumstance – and the job now is to get the very best deal and strive to make it work. But how do you ‘put it to one side’ when you read revealing detail in the Guardian and the Telegraph of how they constructed a programme of deceit and misinformation and deliberately used fear to win the day?
Has anyone – like the Daily Mail’s Jim Murphy – explained why they did that? Can they tell us why their love of – whatever it is…the British state, Westminster, Churchill, the Archers…is so important that they had to create what m’learned friends in the High Court used to call ‘a tissue of lies’?
Would it not make sense to have public hearings in which the key participants tell their side of the story to the people rather than the journalists and in a forum where they can be challenged. Did you know for example that Alastair Campbell (another Iraq warmonger, whatever his other credentials) was advising Better Together? Did he disclose that to Salmond before interviewing him for GQ magazine in which Salmond’s honest assessment of Putin was blurbed by the mag as a pro-Russian endorsement?
Can we have an explanation from the Palace for the Queen’s deliberate snub to constitutional impartiality by allowing a campaign group to put words in her mouth?
Will NATO officials unburden on how they agreed to follow UK diktat and pretend Scotland would be barred from membership? Would you like to know what was the genesis of the Barroso politicking now debunked by all informed observers?
Look how key institutions in public life have been debased and in some cases destroyed in our eyes as mere tools of the Establishment and pretty incompetent ones at that…the Civil Service, once revered for neutrality, now exposed as a political front for British interests against the Scots and awarding themselves prizes for so doing (confirming that this charade of neutrality is a trend dating back to McCrone); the Treasury, whose head publicly joined the Unionist Front politicians to deny the Scots access to their own currency; the CBI (I fall on the floor and I laughing); ‘The Business Community’, the men and women who put profit before people and country; the Financial Sector, ditto; the BBC, reduced under the spotlight to a steaming pile of self-preservation and threat; the Labour Party, too Establishment and too stupid to foresee its own downfall.
The kind of healing that is being sought involves forgetting what they did and forgiving a campaign that sunk to previously unknown depths of mendacity and intimidation in a toxic mix of self-serving, anti-Scottish gesture politics that temporarily saved their skins while destroying the credibility of all involved. Who emerged with credit and is now rewarded? Labour? The Lib Dems? The Tories? Is the British state enriched by the experience?
It is because their campaign was a revolting mess of corporate money, landowning interests, dodgy businessmen, careerist academics and supercilious politicians without principle that history is even now according them the contempt they deserve.
I will always work with anyone who wants genuinely to improve Scotland (although Smith, like Calman, is not nearly the answer – both suffer from foetal inadequacy syndrome). But it will be done with civility rather than warmth as the stench they created in the name of Union will linger long.by