Her Majesty’s Press

In catching up with the intellectual zeitgeist that is Scottish politics, I see what used to be the usual suspects’ parade of Nat-bashers has been swelled by more open-minded commentators. It’s as if a dam has burst and a torrent of salty material unleashed. Bobbing in the foaming rush are the icons of infamy – Michelle Thomson, Fiona Hyslop, Fergus Frackman Ewing and even the Sun God herself waving helplessly that her record on education and health deserves a lifebelt. No chance, hen. We’re no’ happy.

The mighty buttress of informed opinion on which we rely to repel injustice and untruth – OK, Iain Macwhirter and Kevin McKenna – has turned its Olympian presence against the forces of nationalism. Even dedicated Nat Alex Bell has been putting the boot in – in the Labour-genuflecting Record.

The Press turning on those it first helped to build up is as ancient as Aesop’s Fables. Pick just about any celebrity or idea that has captured public imagination and you’ll see a pattern. First it’s something new – look, here’s a surprise –followed by the rise to fame being celebrated. Then during the long plateau of familiarity, their pet refuses to perform any new tricks. That’s when it deserves a kick or two to remind it who it owes success to. Finally, as everyone from Billy Connelly to Smeeto, from Susan Boyle to Ally McCoist has learned, they put the boot in and hoof you into the dustbin of infamy. Never look at the media as your friend – it’s like getting a loan from the Mafia.

There are fads in the media because there is no such thing as a truly independently-minded paper. To be a journalist is to run with the pack. However differently you see yourself and however distinctive you try to be, you remain in the wider family and obey its rules. You are scared of ridicule by not buying into a story line. If one paper, no matter how biased or unprofessional, gets a story, it becomes law to the herd who follow up or reference it. Trends are established so that at different times the worst evils in society are, variously, cowboy builders, doorstep conmen, dangerous dogs, East Europeans, mobile phone masts or beef burgers…until they get bored and move on to the next. It even happens with war. Papers stopped putting Iraq on the front page as soon as it failed to produce anything new. The murder of our fellow citizens by terrorists in Northern Ireland went from Front to Page 2 many years ago. The non-story of TinthePark has become, in the lazy and thus far, inaccurate jargon, ‘sleaze’.

To be fair, the SNP has had an amazing run. Amid the cacophony of Unionist spite which characterises the Scottish media (if there truly is such a thing in the real sense), there have been – there are – the insightful and intelligent who have recorded the nationalist phenomenon and presented readers with knowledge and understanding. Being a real journalist as opposed to the party hacks peering under stones, is an honourable calling because, done properly, it provides a service which improves society. If you spend your life as a teacher in Brechin, you can’t be in Holyrood to observe the body language of Nationalist MSPs or hear a whisper from Kezia’s assistant. But when those little signals lead to policies that affect your classroom, you need to know. It all requires dissemination and interpretation. News, and especially politics, is never black and white. The job of the commentator is to paint a picture for you which aids your understanding. When he can do it with wit and colour so you enjoy the process of reading it, he transcends the mundane and becomes an Iain or a Kevin.

We are well on the way to a decade of SNP government. They have dominated every aspect of politics in Scotland, their pet project became a global story, they have grown into a phenomenon, have destroyed their opponents and are now big players in a second parliament. They have the most popular leader in Britain.

This isn’t natural.

The SNP story defies all known logic. It is, in a British sense, a loony ragtag of obsessives, lefties and conservatives who have been bit players in a real sovereign nation for centuries and think that hilarious identity accessories like bagpipes and sporrans entitles them to run their own country. Many Scots agree with this.

In overturning the known world the SNP frightened the habitually superior types who know how to run our affairs from Whitehall and whose status or ability is rarely challenged by most of the media. They created a reaction in the Unionist media of fear and loathing which in turn leads to scary, hyperbolic copy. In Scotland, because of the nature of our media ownership and the inflexible mindset of dogmatic journalists, we got much of the same except from those who saw in this the ingredients of a seriously good story. Here was a complex issue that needed explanation. It involved changing public attitudes, power politics, high intensity strategies and the future of a country. Approached properly, it was the story of a lifetime. And that’s why in some notable examples, we have enjoyed a prolonged period of world class journalism, much of it explaining the SNP success and the demise of the opposition. Becoming a critic, of course, doesn’t mean abandoning journalism. But, I repeat, this championing of a party in power is not normal.

In a democracy, the institutional role of the media is to challenge power. That may be laughable when you read the British Press or listen to some BBC correspondents basically do the government Press office’s job on air. But when it comes to MP’s expenses or steel closures caused partly by cheap imports when the Chinese leader is here, the media starts doing its job. In dictatorships (see China) that doesn’t happen.

Yet how do you challenge a government that hardly does anything wrong? What case do you make against it when its popularity isn’t just huge but growing? How do you attack them when they are also an opposition in another parliament ‘fighting injustice’ and ‘standing up for Scotland’? And how do you criticise them when their opponents are so utterly incompetent in comparison and offer so little in useable material? Damn. This is difficult.

Difficult or not, it has to be done. It’s almost as if we need the old media in attack mode for normalisation to occur.

Governments should be doubted, they should agonise over decisions to avoid challenge. They should get used to being disliked – they run our affairs, don’t they, and are you so happy you’ve nothing to complain about?

It may be that at long last the SNP honeymoon is over and it’s already lasted longer than many marriages. From now on we may expect regular bashings across all the conventional media and quite right too. Let’s have our journalists doing what journalists do in every other country. It will be interesting to see how long the Canadian media give the appealing and popular Trudeau.

But, you know I can’t help feeling some of the criticism is contrived. There is no sign that the wider public thinks the SNP is doing such a poor job. One of Macwhirter’s criticisms is based on the Oxfam report showing how the rich have got richer and inequality is rising but this is a global phenomenon from the financial crash. Those with the means to do so moved their money around or withdrew it. When governments threw money at the banks in quantative easing it shored up share values and other assets, putting cash into the pockets of the wealthy. A public sector worker had no such luxury and was used as the dupe who would pay for it all by the government.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/aug/23/britains-richest-gained-quantative-easing-bank Even the Oxfam report is woolly on what specific powers the Scottish government has which could have arrested and reversed this situation. When you don’t even control tax and spend, you can’t begin to take on global finance.

But, never mind, this is how things should be with a questioning media and I believe it is also a good thing for the SNP. They have lived with a largely oppositionist media all these years and it simply doesn’t impact on them the way you might expect. When there is public doubt as there was over independence, it does matter that the media is biased because they act to confirm people’s fears. But when you remove the independence issue and ask Scots what they think of the SNP as a devolved administration, they are untouchable, protected by a force field of respect and admiration.

The non SNP Left may not agree but then they don’t represent more than a slice of opinion compared to the bedrock of support. The referendum experience taught Scots much about their media and it is now the new normal to scoff at journalism that once commanded respect. Like so many institutions, the media was exposed during the indyref and found wanting. The Scottish media will never have the same power again.

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53 thoughts on “Her Majesty’s Press

  1. Much of the old Scottish print media ( like the Labour Party ) has cut its own throat in its fury at the success of the SNP and few people will lament its passing . BBC Scotland ( if there is such a beast ) is in terminal decline due to its own political cowardice in the face of orders from their masters in London . Alternative sources of information are flourishing post-referendum and providing a much needed breath of fresh air compared with the stale product of the London dominated media .

  2. The SNP have never had a honymoon with the press! The BBC, Record,Mail, Herald, Scotsman. Have been against them since they won in 2007.

    A change would be if this lot decided to support them. This isn’t sudden criticism, and they didn’t build them up in the first place as you stated. What we are witnessing is the few good guys like McWhirter and McKenna now reverting to the MSM SNP bad ideology.

    So effectively it’s gone from 95% SNP bad to 99% SNP bad. The SNP are the only party in the UK that does not have a single newspaper supporting them (Excluding the National). The sunday Herald played with the idea and then reverted to SNP bad. Yes criticism is healthy but that’s all we have had from MSM. It’s a continuing theme not a change.

    I am afraid I don’t agree that this is normal Derek.

  3. Unfortunately, years of crying wolf (SNPBad) will result in real scandals, real “sleaze” or real deficiencies in the SNP being ignored by consumers of the old media. There is only so much unwarranted criticism or non-stories people will read before they’ll begin to ignore it.

  4. The UK media and in particular the Scottish MSM have descended to such a level belligerent imbecility that I now refer to it as the Daily Hate. The SNP has had to endure this since 2007. It is largely responsible for driving so many to the SNP for being witless mouthpieces for Scottish labour.

    So Bad has this become that decent Journalists like McWhirter can’t call out the SNP now on things it should be call out for without running into charges that he too – is as biased as all the rest. So many are now hyper sensitive and largely unwilling to hear what the media has to say.

    As Wee Ginger Dug has it – when trust breaks down between the people and the media – it is the fault of the media – not the other way around.

  5. The SNP are not the brightest bunch. Instead of highlighting the failures of the rulers of Scotland since the Second World War and demostrating how repairs will be made, how long it will take and how much it will cost, or indeed confirming why repairs can never be made, they have simply tinkered. Moreover they have made some blunders. If it is the case that the new Forth Road Bridge (a stupidity in itself) is being built of Chinese steel, how are they going to explain that down Lanarkshire way?

    • Stop believing the unionist press releases, no Scottish company bid for this.

      The reason being that no Scottish company produced the type of steel required being as Ravenscraig was closed in the 80s as an act of revenge for Scotland daring to ask for some devolution.

      http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/statement-behalf-minister-transport-keith-brown-and-tata-steel

    • I don’t know if you’re being ironic here, Antoine. The fact is that since Thatcher and Labour following, there are NO firms capable of producing the type of steel needed for the contract. The WM government decimated the steel industry, not just in Scotland but throughout the UK. If you don’t really know that – I strongly urge you to do some basic research before posting.

    • As others have explained no Scottish firm even put in a bid for the contract for the Forth Road Bridge, because Scotland no longer has the capacity to carry out the job. You can put it down to a Union dividend…

    • You could start here, on Ian McGregor:

      “… His tenure at British Steel was controversial. On his appointment, British Steel employed 166,000 staff and produced 14 million tons of steel annually at a loss of £1.8 billion. MacGregor was remorseless in his programme of plant closures and redundancies. A few of the redundancies were voluntary but were made against a background of mounting unemployment in the UK and damaged many traditional steel-working communities. By 1983, there were only 71,000 staff with losses stemmed to £256M…”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_MacGregor

      Britain lost its markets when it opened them to the US after World War II. It opened its markets because it was broke and needed to borrow American cash. It was broke because it spent all its money & power fighting an enemy it had supposedly defeated twenty years earlier.

      Britain also wasted its Marshall Aid, of which it received 30% more than Germany did –

      “… The French and German tenders for Marshall Aid resemble today’s four-year business plans, being detailed technocratic strategies which give clear priority to investment in reconstructing industry and infrastructure. However, the British tender, originally drafted by a senior Treasury civil servant, resembled an Oxbridge economist’s prolix prize-essay – with a tour of the world’s economic horizon and Britain’s place within it.

      In the words of Sir Stafford Cripps, Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was a ‘general statement’ rather than a set of ‘detailed proposals’. Certainly it amounted to nothing like an action-plan with a clearly stated strategic objective…”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/marshall_01.shtml

    • They can explain it due to the fact that not one British company put in a bid to supple the steel for the new bridge. Check your facts before you spout nonsense.

      • Thank you Irene et al. So where did Scottish steel-making (and aluminium) go and who sent it?
        And having lost it, did we really have to buy from China?. Nothing available from the Tata empire? So we have to put out contracts out to tender because the EU says so? Who is in charge around here?

        • Scottish steel makers produced sheet metal, no idea where it went to, but there is now no longer any capacity in Scotland or the UK to actually fabricate steel. Which was what was needed for the bridge.

          And what is so bad about putting contracts out to tender?

        • Unfortunately Antoine,
          Westminster is still firmly in control of Scottish affairs.
          That is what we voted for.

        • Aluminium smelters come and they go. The Scottish one came on the back of cheap and reliable hydro power. It died partly because general power demand from the rest of the economy raised the cost of the power and new smelters got built much closer to the sources of bauxite, saving money on shipping.

          Smelters like the one at Tiwai Point right down at the South of the South Island of New Zealand. The NZ govt built a new power station, a Scottish style tunnel through the mountain tapping two large higher up lakes. It is just across the Tasman Sea from the big bauxite mines in Queensland, Australia.

          The owners are now making noises about possibly moving on.

  6. It is not criticism I object to, it’s the demonising of individual SNP politicians that I object to.

    We do need effective opposition but it’snot the fault of the SNP that the unionists parties are useless.
    IMO this occured because Labour got rid of all of it’s intellegent, articulate folk and replaced them with nodding dogs.

    The be all and end all of the unionists parties is to keep the UK state together and they don’t care how much is destroyed in the process.

  7. Antoine – Do your homework!

    The Forth crossing was built using foreign steel, because Scotland does not produce the steel required. TATA did not even bid for the tender because it couldn’t supply it! Even if they had the EU competitive tendering would not allow the SG to pick the local supplier even if they bid. They would still have to be the cheapest. This is the tired argument that Labour like to spin out. Same for the rail franchise, Scottish water and the ferries. All come under competitive tendering regulations. A government can’t just pick their mates or neighbours to do contracts.

    It’s all very well having opinions and using this argument. However an ill informed opinion is codswallop!

    • Thank you Big Jock. I am always impressed by the level of polite debate on here. The point is that we cannot run our own country, whether it is WM, EU, or multinationals that have the power over the Scottish government and people. The SNP seem to have no solution.

      • Antoine, since Scotland is not an independent country why do you expect the SNP to provide a solution to the current situation created by successive Westminster governments? Perhaps you should be asking why, despite the promises (lies, in reality) of the Better Together campaign, that these jobs have been deliberately sacrificed by the current Westminster government.

    • Actually Big Jock, EU competitive tendering is not based on cost alone. Social and environmental factors can apply as well. The tendering rules are that the best bid should be chosen, but best and cheapest are not necessarily the same thing.

  8. Scottish Sunday Express now making up smears against SNP MPs. See WoS for their latest affront to journalism. On this issue I disagree with you Derek. The SNP Government has NEVER had anything remotely like a honeymoon. It has been wall-to-wall attacks from day one.

    the BBC is arguably the worst cuplrit as it seems incapable of even making a bland statement about something the SG has done for the good, without putting in some casual aside or sneering remark. And please contrast the interview style between the SNP and the Unionist (i.e. Pro-WM) MP/MSPs.

  9. For those interested, here is the Wings over Scotland article about the SSE http://wingsoverscotland.com/tiny-correction-watch/

  10. Les Wilson (Islay)

    In a book she wrote about the art of writing, A.L. Kennedy warned: ‘A journalist is a stranger with an agenda’. Sadly, after 40 years in journalism, I have to agree. No movement can count on have ‘friends’ in the media.

    • Sorry, had to stop here to have a quick snigger. No movement can count on having “friends” in the media.
      The Labour party in Scotland is not a movement then? Mind you, it hasn’t shown much sign of life or movement for decades, so mibbe you’re right.

      I don’t think the SNP are looking for friends in the media; only a fair and unbiased approach from professional journalists.

  11. The only criticism of the SNP that comes from MSM is outright smears and lies. It’s not criticism of their policies or government mistakes. McWhirter and co jumped on the smear bandwaggon, and that’s why this is not a normal country. The few decent journalists are just as bad as MSM.

    In a normal country a press reports on news it doesn’t invent stories to make news. Please follow the link below to see todays lies. SNP supporters should not simply accept criticism. We are not a normal party, we are a movement. An attack on individual MP’s , smears and lies. Are a blatant attack on the wider yes movement and Scotland We will continue to defend ourselves and stay united whether the press like it or not! We are right to do so.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/tiny-correction-watch/#more-76960

  12. I suspect that some Scottish journalists who may have dabbled with independence,know which side their toast is buttered on and have now reverted to viewing life through the London prism.
    As long as our press is owned and controlled by people who live elsewhere and are supportive of the indivisibility of the British state,nothing is going to change.
    Our main hope is that sufficient Scots realise that there is an alternative to this view through online media who do not have a British agenda.

  13. Steve Asaneilean

    My problem is that real journalism no longer exists in our MSM.

    A real journalist on hearing of a potential story goes after the facts, checks out the reliability of the sources, questions everything before reaching a valid conclusion they can back up with evidence.

    We see none of that. Instead in the UK they have become the mouth piece of Establishment press releases – never questioning the contents or the sources.

    Ian Macwhiter talks about inequality and Oxfam but doesn’t acknowledge that without full fiscal autonomy SG is severely constrained in tackling it whether an SNP government or not.

    And I lost all respect for Kevin McKenna when he published out and out lies about Scotland’s hard pressed NHS Consultant doctors.

    But you’re are right Derek. There are serious issues out there in health, in education, in housing, in transport, in infrastructure, in agriculture, in industry, etc. which in any decent democracy the Government of the day would be challenged.

    But it’s not happening. Instead the leader of the opposition feels the most crucial issue facing Scottish people is whether or not an MP did something dodgy in business several years before becoming an MP.

    And we have the Daily Express making enquiries to Trading Standards about a complaint being made against another MP’s business interest before the complaint has even been made.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up (well you could if your name was Orwell or Kafka)

  14. Online I’m surprised how often I see the anti-SNP crowd coming out with “name one redistridutive / social democratic policy the SNP have implemented!”, to which you go, “free prescriptions, free uni, council tax freeze, bedroom tax eliminated…”. Then they have any number of bend-over-backwards arguments as to why these are all better for the rich than for the poor – but voters know – everyone knows – the benefits they see in their daily lives.

    I was a bit surprised at you, too, Derek, a couple of articles back, writing that the SNP might have made significant mistakes. A lot of headlines try to say they have, but so much of it is manufactured, empty grievance.

    Unifying the police was a cross-party initiative started under Labour, and as Wings pointed out, a policy commitment in the 2011 Conservative manifesto. Merging organisations will always present the potential for problems, and we have seen problems. I don’t think Stephen House is a patsy for the SNP – his resignation is acknowledgement that responsibility lies with the police force, not the political supervision of it. So problems have happened on the SNP’s watch – but with an initiative for which all are responsible, and the benefits of which were deemed worth the effort.

    Compare and contrast the street execution of Jean Charles de Menezes in London, and the failure of anyone, form the officer who pulled the trigger all the way up to hand-sitting Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

    The main devolved matters are justice, health and education and I see many critics just listing these three off as problem areas – there’s no imagination to it at all. And I haven’t come across one story – from Kezia Dugdale’s inability to interpret educational statistics on up – where I’m persuaded there’s a genuine problem. It’s really astonishing how Labour picks on long-term problems they failed to fix during the long boom years.

  15. Spot on Big Jock! Since 2007 the media have been hostile towards the SNP, more so than towards any ruling party which can at least expect to see a few positive stories. I’d argue this stretches back even earlier but to a lesser extent when the SNP weren’t thought of as a credible threat.

    What has changed though is how desperate the media have become and willing to lie in order to try and smear the SNP. For example, the Michelle Thomson affair where so far her only crime was to buy a house at above market price, renovate and sell on for a profit. And then there’s the T-In-The-Park “scandal” where it took the organiser to state that similar financial arrangements were made by the previous Labour-LibDem government. And now the latest smear campaign against Richard Arkless by the Sunday Express.

    This level of depravity by the press was predicted months ago and is expected to get worse in the run-up to the Scottish elections. However, what is so disappointing is when normally impartial journalists, like Iain Macwhiter, join the smear bandwagon and leaving virtually no (mainstream media) journalist left to publish the truth (thank goodness for Wings Over Scotland, despite his human flaws).

  16. Antoine,
    Let’s clear this one up for you SCOTLAND LOST THE ABILITY TO MAKE STEEL WHEN RAVENSCRAIG WAS CLOSED.

    The Dalzell & Clydebridge DO NOT MAKE STEEL, they are finishing mills. They merely take raw material from elsewhere and turn it into a usable product.

    Asking them to bid on and produce steel is liking asking your butcher to quote for doing the cylinder head gasket in your car!

    Wake up man for goodness sake.

  17. It comes down to this.

    Criticise the government for policy mistakes, and we will take it on the chin. For instance I disagree with having a monarchy post independence. I accept the party majority possibly don’t agree with me. So if the press had a debate on this issue , I would welcome the debate or even criticism.

    In terms of the devolved issues. I honestly can’t find any fundamental problems with what the sNP are doing. So if I were in the press and detest the SNP what do I do? I attack individuals and smear the party. This is not normal press criticism, it’s a deliberate witch hunt.

    Now the press are reduced to making up lies as per the Daily Express. How can we ever just accept this? If we accept a world where any story can be invented then we might as well pack up and go.

    McWhirter was puled up for joining in the unfounded smears of an individual. He was not pulled up for criticising the government mistakes in office. We must disentangle the two distinct issues.

  18. “…the SNP honeymoon is over…expect regular bashings across all conventional media and quite right too”

    The SNP have been given the unionist bovver boots by a “conventional” media for a long time.This is a monolithic anti SNP propagandist media hell bent on the total destruction of a democratically elected government and the supression of political will toward self determination via the ballot box by the people of Scotland.

    Why “regular bashings” ? And why should that be right ? The truth is there will never be a balanced reportage after decent investigation and consideration while this “conventional” media is Unionist controlled.

    The SNP and the larger YES movement is much more than “…a looney ragtag of obsessives lefties and conservatives (who)…think that hilarious identity accessories like bagpipes and sporrans entitle them to run their own country”, but thanks for an example that could have come straight from the “conventional” unionist media.

  19. Derek-must try harder.

    Have you forgot to take your anti-establishment pills again?

    Or let the 1% of the media that actually consider the merits of the SNP and their record of government just become like the 99% shit shovellers and be done?

    Get a fucking grip!

  20. After Brillo’s disgraceful lying performance in his Sunday interview with Angus Robertson Rev Stu on Wings has gone into battle on-line and slaughtered him while at the same time in his replies Brillo displays his excremental patronising arrogance.

    Have a look at the battle on Wings – well worth a look.

    Can any effective action can be taken against the BBC for that interview and the equally disgusting one with Stewart Hosie last friday which was also liberally sprinkled with barefaced lies by Brillo.

  21. What sticks in my craw is the lies, half-truths, distortions, gratuitous smears etc, all without any foundation. Like Andrew Neil’s crap, meticulously demolished by Wings today; or the rubbish about how Cameron has increased NHS spending more than SG, ignoring fact that Scotland spends more per head on NHS and out of its diminishing cake has chosen to allocate funds elsewhere as described above. So which services do critics want the SG to cut so that NHS spend can increase more?

    RE the rise in inequality, which has been on an upward trend since Thatcher/Reagan with a slight plateau until fairly recently since when the 0.1% have been soaring away (see Danny Dorling, Atkinson and others). The fiscal tools to counter this inequality are all held by Westminster which has assiduously been working to increase inequality by allowing obscene increases in income and wealth for the top 1%, has refused to tax high earning individuals and companies properly and indeed, has done the exact opposite, by reducing taxes and increasing tax breaks. Plus they have done little to root out tax evasion and avoidance by the wealthy. (see the Tax Justice Network)

    Why are Cameron/Osborne so keen on the City of London? Simple, it’s the biggest tax haven and facilitator of avoidance/evasion in the world, seeking and hiding the billions of drug barons, despots, criminals, companies and individuals with no questions asked. (see The Greatest Invention)

    Are the press interested in the real causes of inequality? Are HMG or HMLO? Of course not, because they want to be, or already are, part of the 0.1%.

  22. Derek is like the film:” A few good men”. You are one of the good guys Derek. Stay that way, and let McWhirter et.al ,do their MSM home comforts thing!

    A maverick is someone who goes out on a limb, and challenges what has gone before and what is accepted wisdom.

    The important thing to get across is that this is a media war against Scotland. The SNP are Scotland! The media are the British state. We can’t lose anymore people in the press or social media. We need them all ,as we are up against state propaganda.The smears and slights are challenging us the people ,who elected the MP’s they despise. That’s why we gather around our MP’s ,MSP’s. It’s the only way we can survive as a movement.

    We are not being prejudiced, sensitive or over protective. The challenge of the media is not on government policies. The challenge is our elected governments right to rule, and we must never forget this.

  23. Derek, I disagree that the role of the media in democracy is to challenge power. Its role is (or should be) to honestly inform and to challenge the abuse of power.
    A “journalist” who does not ensure that, in any story he writes (or presents) the facts reported are true, accurate and complete – the favourable and unfavourable – is not a journalist but a propagandist!
    I am not a blind follower of the SNP – some of the omissions from the land reform proposals, for example, are frankly baffling – but you have to be very partisan to deny that they have made a much better job of governing Scotland than any previous administration, and under much more trying circumstances.
    The persistent failure of the media to acknowledge this, coupled with their constant lies and half-truths (eg. Current Andrew Neil thing, the famous Nick Robinson “report”) has fataly undermined their credibility. I don’t read papers (except the National, with a pinch of salt) anymore and when listening to the BBC I start with the expectation that any “facts” will be half-truths, mis-representations or downright lies. Interestingly, my scepticism re media reliability has expanded from Scottish politics to include economics, world affairs etc. in fact, I consider the weather forecast to be the most reliable item in the “news” reports!

  24. “It may be that at long last the SNP honeymoon is over and it’s already lasted longer than many marriages. From now on we may expect regular bashings across all the conventional media and quite right too.”

    Get a grip, Derek – what ‘honeymoon’ has the SNP had from the MSM? None that was worthy of remark. Any regular bashings the SNP get from them from here on in will just be more of the same that they’ve always had. Have you not been reading the comments section of The Herald over the past few weeks? The mendacity of their headlines and ludicrous ramping up of their established pro-Union, SNP Bad stance (which the ‘independence supporting’ Sunday Herald is back to aping) have been the story of most commentators. For, despite The Herald’s stance, the comments reflect the reality of post-referendum Scotland in that they are well in the majority of supporting independence. As for The National – they’re continuing their position of taking money from independence supporters whilst increasing the drip feed of more or less subtle underminings of the one party machine which can actually deliver independence – the SNP. Bu then, The National is owned by Newsquest and comes out of the same offices as The Herald. As for the Scottish editions of UK MSM – I see nothing changed in the long-standing SNP bashing in rags like the Express, the Record, the Mail etc.

    • What rubbish. So a newspaper that provides us with Mairi Black, George Kerevan, Tasmina, Wee Ginger Dug, Gordon Mcintyre-Kemp,Alex Salmond, Angry Salmond, Lesley Riddoch, Michael Gray, Cat Boyd, Carolyn Leckie, Pat Kane, Greg Moodie and other on a weekly basis (and a shoestring) is not a good idea?
      And last Sunday’s Sunday Herald was first class.

      • Thank goodness for a sane voice, David. I’m not that happy giving money to Gannett, and I never buy the weekday Herald, but to suggest Macwhirter and McKenna are ‘out to get us’ is beyond daft.

        • Rubbish. Though he’s blown hot and cold, essentially Macwhirter is no friend of Scottish aspirations, and has become more so in line with the increasing pro-Unionist hysteria at The Herald over recent weeks. Ian Bell is the only writer on The Herald who reflects the reality of post-referendum Scotland without an agenda to more or less subtly undermine it.

          As for David Hills list of pro-independence writers from The National – yes, they are, but The National could hardly have positioned itself to take commercial advantage of the independence movement in Scotland without them, could it? The point I make is about the editorial and in-house journalists (most of whom are from The Herald stable) at The National, and their more or less subtle undermining of the SNP – the only political engine capable of delivering the independence the paper purports to support.

  25. I don’t recall the Golden Age when the SNP were media favourites. I’ve seen nothing but furious attack and sneering for years. It is hard to believe that the SNP are in fact the governing party in Scotland, so seldom are they represented in media debates. The BBC is predominantly Labour supporting. All the media are foreign owned. (is the Courier possibly an exception?).

    However, there are highly respected and competent journalists in the UK media. Robert Fisk and George Monbiot spring to mind. I can’t think of any Scottish print journalist with that kind authority which is based on their knowledge of their subject.

    I would love to discover that I’m wrong on that point.

  26. I agree with comments above in that there was never a wedding, never mind a honeymoon. The SNP have known nothing but denigration and opposition from the media, indeed they’ve faced nothing but opposition from both parliamentary parties and media for as long as I can remember.

    There is no doubt that the SNP have policies or strategies we all disagree with to some degree, but enough to warrant the tsunami of keech they’ve put up with for the past eight years? And when the media and the establishment parties saw their strategies failing against a capable SNP government? They turned their attention to the public who voted for either the SNP or independence. They turned on the people Derek.

    The media and party politicians never ending wave of negative soundbite and press are now reduced to white noise. They’ve told so very many lies, spun so very many stories, that now? Well now we’ve simply turned the volume down to mute.

    They are the architects of their own downfall. Their behaviour, their attempts to direct, misrepresent and manipulate became so invasive and pervasive that all attempt at subtlety were abandoned in favour of sheer volume. They made themselves toxic and should rightly be regarded as such. The media and establishment parties cannot be trusted for good reason.

  27. Macart:” They turned on the people”.

    Exactly we are all familiar with “Je Suis Charlie” in Scotland it’s ” Je suis SNP”.

  28. Is it the Tartan Army story?

    It won’t let me into it!

  29. No correction. I think it is the NHS story pack of lies in the Record. Claiming that Scotland gets a more generous share. In reality Scotland’s NHS budget was cut slightly less than England’s….but both were slashed.

    They really despise Scotland to write this guff.

    • That’s the very one. Front page splash with image of the FM ‘NHS falling apart on your watch’.

      Over the past two years my old dad had his life saved not once, but twice by our ‘failing’ SNHS. The surgery, the nursing and aftercare were superb and I can’t praise the staff of the three hospitals where this treatment took place enough.

      Every time I see the utter pish spouted by the press, pish whose aim is purely politically motivated, I get the urge to either smack something or use some pointed language right in the offenders face. These arse wipes have destroyed our press, leaving it in a state where we simply cannot believe a word it prints. They are meant to be our watchdogs. They were meant to hold government to account without fear or favour in our name and on our behalf.

      But they overlooked the last bit. They bought into favor big time and they spread fear at the drop of a hat in the name of favour.

      Sod them, we’ll sort our own media and they can stew in their own pot.

  30. There is a difference between holding a government to account by good, honest journalism, and what is essentially going on here in Scotland. Project Fear has simply entered its next phase – Project Smear.

  31. In case anyone is wondering why the press in Scotland went doolally on the SNP baad stories today.

    http://news.stv.tv/scotland-decides/news/1331221-english-mps-handed-new-powers-as-evel-plans-backed-in-commons/

    Look over here, don’t look over there. EVEL passed 312-270.

    Better together in a parliament where parties from Wales, Scotland and NI need to be given a nod from the Speaker of the House as to what and when they can vote.

    Two words – United and Kingdom

    Apparently not so much after today.

    So the next time the press say look over here, look any place but.

  32. Just accept it, the MSM and their lackey journalists are best ignored. Circulation is falling and papers are mostly bought by yesterday’s people living in the past. There will be fewer of them around come indyref2 in 5 to 7 years from now. SNP MP’s/MSP’s need better training to deal with radio and TV interviewers and be much much more aggressive calling out absurd lines of questioning. They should certainly carry on speaking through all attempts at constant interruptions. The interviewers with an SNPbaad agenda should be treated with undisguised personal contempt. They are so far up themselves it should be easy to get right under their skin.

  33. You’ll be well clued up on yesterday’s EVEL vote Derek.

    Be interesting to see how many titles in Scotland carry this fundamental change to the treaty of Union on their front pages. How many titles explain what implications there are for Scottish representation within the treaty, their voting and democratic rights as an electorate. It should be very informative as to the nature of ‘our’ media.

    Let’s see if the press has in fact much to say outside of a passing mention.

  34. Is it possible for The HoC Scottish Affairs Committee (Chairman Pete Wishart) to compel Andrew Neil to appear before them to be questioned regarding the lies he utters on our supposedly unbiased State Broadcaster?

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