Desperation Days 2

It didn’t take long. A day after the last blog, the latest slew of last-gasp hysteria splashed across the page. On Twitter ‘STV digital reporter’ Aidan Kerr commends a Daily Record editorial: The political divide in Scotland is no longer between left and right. It is between Yes and No. He adds a hashtag #Ulsterisation.

I explained yesterday how the dafter and more extreme examples of anti-SNP messaging, increasingly now the norm, made me laugh rather than angry. I’m afraid I didn’t laugh at this disgraceful and unwarranted slight on Scotland’s political culture. It is an attempt to introduce sectarianism from Northern Ireland into the national debate – a tone and tribal venom we have mostly and rightly avoided, apart from the Unionist mini riot in George Square.

What possible justification can there be for deliberately stirring partisan division along Protestant/Catholic and UK/ Ireland lines? Can this seriously be viewed as an appropriate and intelligent addition from a mainstream broadcast organisation? Having your staff generate online storms with anti-nationalist, pro-Labour rants is already a dubious role for a regulated broadcaster. But bringing the politics of Ulster into the public domain without historical explanation or detailed justification isn’t just cheap. It’s despicable. Who’d have thought as the anti-Nat voices rage that they’d sink this low. On the same day, we read with horror of graffiti deriding the Ibrox Disaster. Among the retweets below Kerr’s dangerous outburst is one saying: This is the legacy of SNPIRA. It is from someone using the Red Hand.

And what could be the justification for STV bringing the Ulster troubles into our election debate? We have a political argument – something which exists in all democracies. Is it religion-based? Is it tribal as in one identifiable community against another? Is it geographical pitting one area against another? Does it require the Army to separate sides? Have there been any murders? Knee-cappings? Kidnappings? Shootings or barricades? Or is the suggestion from STV’s ‘digital reporter’ that is where we are headed – that all this talk of separation is leading us into internecine warfare? Who, could he tell us, are the terrorists? Which side is the IRA and which the UDA? Is he forecasting we move into enclaves with the like-minded and only use Nationalist taxis or Unionist taxis and employ private enforcers? There is not the slightest sign that the democratic will of the electorate is being subverted either through extra-legal resistance to the SNP majority or in acceptance of the referendum result. The very fact that politically, there is a row about if and when there will be another is the clearest evidence that the first referendum is done and dusted. No riots, no bombings, no killings. So just which aspect of Ulsterisation is he referring to and could he stand up and tell us instead of hiding behind STV whose ‘digital offer’ since the indyref has been characterised by juvenile agitprop. Is our political divide filled with genuine hatred so that one community is pitched against another and can never come together, never resolve differences or accommodate each other? We know conclusively that some Nationalists vote for Unionist parties and that the SNP has firm backing from those who don’t want independence, hardly irreconcilable positions. There are Twitter storms (STV’s real aim?) but that hardly accounts for majority opinion. We took pride in the indyref in being an independence movement without a hint of violence or threat. The in-your-face shouting from both sides was less than I witnessed during the poll tax demonstrations. Here we see again that for every rational Unionist-minded Scot there is a journalistic scavenger exploiting doubts and fears to whip up hatred. What a disgrace of a media we have.

It’s also telling that he is endorsing the Record’s line that Yes/No is a ‘new divide’. Really? This is new, yeah? I’m afraid that to anyone over the age of 40 the fault line in our politics has been glaringly obvious since the 70’s. There was a Tory-Labour fight until around the discovery of oil when the SNP began their rise and threatened them both. But it was Labour that realised the potential damage the Nationalists could do to their support and when they began to turn the Tory tide, making themselves rulers of Scots, the SNP became the main enemy. After Thatcher the Tories were finished and Labour dominance meant having constantly to repel SNP attacks. That has been the sharpest and most contested territory in Scotland for 40 years. The viciousness of this could be frightening but for all the spitting, intimidation and shoving, it was never like Ulster. The comparison with a Falls Road riot or Drumcree – or the sense of fear you could see in the eyes of the brave people of the North – is laughable and an insult both to the Scots and the Ulster folk themselves. The ignorance of our political journalism is bad enough. Marrying it to deliberately combustible comparisons is downright dangerous.

The other example today is normally cogent Alex Massie taking a serpentine journey through the pages of the Times to explain why, in essence, the SNP is bad. Awfy bad. It’s about democracy and how you can’t trust it and why it’s deceitful for Sturgeon to try to use it as a device to win independence. Not the strongest case for Unionism, you might think, this anti-democratic approach. It may be that he thinks by not committing to a referendum in all and any circumstance in the manifesto that the SNP have no right to call one after Thursday. As he himself would say: Poppycock. First because manifestos have no legal authority and have been shredded by every single government including the SNP when it suits. Second, there can’t be a single person voting SNP who doesn’t know what they stand for and what their long-term objective is. They may not want independence or may not want it soon but they can’t escape the consequence of the party’s principle aim. Having said that, the effect of yet another Unionist newspaper blast at independence succeeds in leaving the impression it is an immediate ‘threat’ and as soon as the Nats line up the target and it stops moving – Blam! No matter how often she says it, they just don’t hear. It’s as if the only way to confirm their own hysteria is to convince themselves she’s lying – if only you could see the lizard face under her mask!

Still, only one more Desperation Day to go until we get the power to do the one thing that silently and brutally trumps them all…

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47 thoughts on “Desperation Days 2

  1. Writhing unionists in pain. All I see. All I want to see tbh. They got jobs writing stuff that colours the debate a ‘dubious brown’.

  2. I am getting two mailshots a day from Ruth Davidson telling me only she can successfully oppose the SNP and deliver us from a second referendum. (Edinburgh Southern, where Jim Eadie is defending a slender majority).

    Where is the money coming from?

    I sense there is a concerted drive amongst unionists to frighten us sheep back into the fold. My biggest fear is that they will turn out in droves whilst our supporters get lazy and don’t turn up because they think it’s a shoo-in.

    • Emails and photo ops but has Ruth actually met any of the public ( not the volunteers from Yorkshire etc up here to ‘help’ appearing like her backing group in the photos? )

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Elements of the media and their chain tuggers really and truly appear to not give a shit about the collateral damage they cause in pursuit of their narrative. The callous disregard for their own society is at times truly staggering. A dead cert recipe for misery is simply to concoct any story so long as it is damaging to their opponent and if you break more than a few eggs whilst making that omelette? ‘That’s politics’!

    Some folk will happily destroy trust in our institutions of NHS, Law, Education and fragment societal cohesion simply in pursuit of putting (as they see it) the right folk in power. That they endanger the welfare and wellbeing of their own population does not appear to cause them a moments pause.

    How many won’t call for an ambulance or see a doctor because they’ve been told not to trust? How many won’t call the police, because they’ve been told not to trust? How many kids will be discouraged from achieving more, because they’ve been told their education system is crap almost beyond repair? That’s the true cost of politicking and reckless journalism. You measure it in peoples lives, life chances and well being.

    • That is a very important point.
      If decency is now being seen as a weakness in so many areas how soon will it be before the greedy and selfish aided and abetted by MSM expand their views onto others.
      Will Black, in the book Psychopathic Cultures and Toxic Empires expands on how easy it is to get decent people to do nasty things.
      Just witness the increase in American style road rage as just one of many examples.
      PS I sincerely hope that Nicola’s Billboard doesn’t turn out to be another Miliband’s Stone.

      • ‘I sincerely hope that Nicola’s Billboard doesn’t turn out to be another Miliband’s Stone.’

        We’ll find out in the early hours of Friday morning, but if folk don’t turn out and ‘be the change’ they want? Then I for one, will find it hard to listen sympathetically to any complaints about a lack of pace or change due to pro independence parties losing seats through voter apathy.

      • I think the “greedy and selfish” have already succeeded. Neoliberal economics has celebrated greed, persuaded people that the rich and wealthy deserve it because of their superiority and that the poor deserve their lot because of their fecklessness, that the State is inefficient and distorts the “market” and that private enterprise is an unalloyed good. It’s done by a constant assault of propaganda and for the past four or five years that propaganda machine (no doubt reinforced by the dept of dirty tricks) has been working on aspirations for Scottish Independence.

  4. No targets missed here. “what a disgrace of a media we have”. It’s becoming more like Stalin’s Pravda or Orwell’s Ministry of Truth every day. They accuse the SNP and their supporters of the very things they themselves are guilty of: lies, distortions, insults, smears, exaggeration, false comparisons and the politics of the sewer. As you said, the Ulsterisation of the argument is beneath contempt, it is offensive and dangerous and shows that some journalists and their editors have lost all sense of moral compass. But there seems to be no way to bring these morons to book.

  5. Just returned from Airdrie. Was surprised to see a “Vote No” placard tied to a lamp post in Stirling Street. The loony yoons appear to be in full on Indyref#2 mode.

    On the way back was listening to John Beattie show – Michael Connarty ex Slabour MP (2015), Falkirk, lying through his teeth that Slabour is being well received on the doorsteps with people eager to tell him they are voting Slabour and eager to pay higher taxes.

  6. ScottishPsyche

    Aidan Kerr has been promoting ‘ulsterisation’ as his own for some time now. I believe Northern Irish politics was an area of study /interest before he gave up learning to be an STV journalist.

    He has used the term on numerous occasions. It is shameful and reductionist and ill behoves him to use such an emotive term to promote himself within the MSM. Real dog whistle stuff and lapped up by the rabid Loyalists who are keen to be seen as the voice of Unionism.

    It really casts a light on who is actually causing division – and it is not those in favour of Independence.

  7. Yet the only Ulsterisation which you have pointed out Derek. Is the empty headed, moronic dog whistle unionists that destroyed a peaceful yes rally in the square. The divide and there is one. Is about what constitutes democracy in Scotland. We returned 56 SNP mp’s with 51% of the vote, and yet we still have a Tory government we didn’t vote for. Is that a fact that can be used to support our continued membership of a one sided union. The union was never a merger or partnership. It was a takeover!

  8. You do realise Aiden Kerr was a fairly well known yes activist during the referendum campaign? I think he was only trying to make the point that for most people the main dividing line is the constitutional question. Nothing more.

    Just chill out Derek!

    • I couldn’t care less what his politics are.And whatever point he’s trying to make, it’s moronic to link it to Ulster politics. There are some things that can’t be dismissed with Chill.

      • How is it moronic? It was just a hashtag used on Twitter, I really think you shouldn’t get too worked up about it.

        And I think his politics do matter as your clear implication was that this was some sort of unionist conspiracy, when he is clearly not a unionist

  9. The right wing MSM has always been Scotland’s enemy. The more they are exposed the better.

  10. I agree with everything you say there Derek, except the thing about “introduce[d] sectarianism from Northern Ireland”. This is something you hear quite a lot but the truth is that it was Scotland that introduced sectarianism to Northern Ireland, when Scots kings sent Presbyterians to Ulster to lord iot over the indigenous Catholic population. The oft-repeated fiction that sectarianism in Scotland is at heart a foreign problem imported from Ireland simply doesn’t stand up to any historical analysis. We should have a think about this before we pass our snide remarks and congratulate ourselves on our superiority in this regard.

    • Indeed. To be fair, I wasn’t ascribing blame for the Troubles but rather the importing of their effects into our debate today. Sorry you think that’s snide. I re-read it and it still seems obvious but then I wrote it!

      • I didn’t mean to suggest you were being snide in this instance. (I clearly failed to phrase my sentiments very well.) What I meant to say is that when we in Scotland talk about Northern Ireland, it is often done in very derogatory and snooty terms. In particular there is a popular myth that Scotland’s sectarianism problems have been imported from Northern Ireland, when in fact precisely the opposite is the case – Northern Ireland’s sectarianism problem is Scottish in origin. The very word “Ulsterisation” coined by this commentator is a snide dismissal of a society supposedly obviously inferior to ours without apparently considering that there is literally no where else on the whole of planet Earth that is more like Northern Ireland than Scotland is. It is interesting to me that when this person wanted to insult Scottish society he chose to do so by (apparently without irony) comparing us to our closest cultural neighbours. It also seems to me to imply a certain kind of snobbery about people in our own country which nowadays seems to pass without comment – a shameful sense of hatred towards the sort of working class people who live in post-industrial Scotland, follow football, still eat fried breakfasts, smoke tobacco despite the middle-class fatwa against it, etc., etc.

        • It would appear that you have spent no time in Northern Ireland between 1969 and the early 2000’s, Chris.
          Sure we have the West Coast ‘Up to our knees’ brigade, and the ‘Ooh, ah, up the Ra’ Morons.
          It is NOTHING like NI politics or the ongoing tensions that exist between two communities to this day.
          What we have is a diminishing band of knuckle draggers on both sides, who have stubbornly held on to the myth that they are ‘ra peeple’.

          Northern Ireland is not our closest cultural neighbour. Far from it.
          I’ve never shot anybody, nor felt like it.
          I’ve not donned a dayglow pseudo uniform and marched through the streets yelling my defiance.
          I’ve not bemoaned my fate because of A POTATO FAMINE 160 YEARS AGO IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.

          • This is exactly what I mean. Thanks fire proving my point.

          • Sorry, Chris, you don’t get away with it that lightly.
            The ‘subsections’ of Scottish and Northern Irish ‘cultures’ with which you attribute all Scots and Northern Irish folk, cooked breakfasts, fags, and football, and so on, is pusillanimous to say the least.
            It plays into the hands of the Kerrs of this world as they try and peddle their cack handed attempt to classify the YES / NO dichotomy over here, with the tribal braying of football teams and the murderous slaughter by psychopaths and murderers past and present over there; the ‘Ulsterisation’ of our campaign for self determination is a deliberate attempt at reductionism.
            If Scotland goes it alone , all hell will break loose, and blood will be spilt.? What a pile of doo doo, my friend.
            Ireland has not has its troubles to seek. They are a distinct race, and have a unique and rich culture, as do we.
            We are talking rabble rousers here, who threaten violence if they don’t get their way.


  11. STV; I demand that this rabble rouser Kerr be sacked on the spot.
    My wife and many of my family are from Belfast, and we have all lived first hand through the carnage there.
    To compare our Road to Independence with the tragedies of Enniskillen, or the Shankhill Butchers, takes an especially warped psychotic mind.
    How dare this little shit stirrer draw comparisons.
    Fuckwit of the first order.
    They are getting this desperate?
    He should be charged with inciting hatred and encouraging violence, IMHO.

  12. The britnat media would dearly love to see violence break out in Scotland. It desires it so much it would eagerly instigate it.

    • Scott Cameron

      That would certainly mitigate the post indyref civil war myth that Torrance etc. love to propogate.

  13. Gavin.C.Barrie

    There must be a reason for Wee Ruthie’s recent sour-faced demeaner. She has had opportunities beyond the “wildest dreams” of most folk – sitting on the gun barrel of a tank; driving a rally car; sitting on a buffalo. She even has her own political party – Vote for Ruth pamphlets – funded by the Tories.

  14. Graham Ballantyne

    I’d really like to know who does the hiring of “political” staff for the STV website and what the hell they think they’re doing. Daisley and Kerr are a pair of provocateurs rather than serious commentators. Daisley is a Tory pretending not to be and Kerr is a pipsqueak with delusions of adequacy. His “ulsterisation” line manages to be both a gross and fatuous insult to Indy supporters and has no basis in reality.

  15. “Ulsterisation” – Just another Project Fear rabbit from a hat that is looking increasingly tatty and battered by the realities of Scottish political change. All acts end up looking dated when you’re seen enough of them. Most get sidelined naturally. The MSM are self-maintaining and Scots need to create a more thoughtful alternative.

  16. Gordon Murray

    Google: ‘you can stick your independence up your arse’.
    I think there you’ll see where any ‘Ulsterisation’ is coming from.
    It ain’t the Scottish independence movement but from apparent britnat brain donors.

  17. Ulsterisation? Ah feck it. I’m going on hunger strike tomorrow. Well actually its just one of the “2” days in my 5:2 diet.

    What kind of tube of a man writes this stuff?

  18. God preserve us from minds like that!

  19. That said folks, one can indeed speculate that after Thursday, it might be the Tank Commander who is the official opposition! At least then it becomes crystal clear how constitutional issues determine the style of politics.

    After that, their comparisons with NI are simply not on.

    Can you smell the Establishment fear?

    Both votes SNP. And absolutely no complacency!!! Get our voters out!!!

  20. Thanks Derek, missed this.

    I have friends in Ireland who would be appalled by this.

    I am not surprised by anything the various arms of the unionist establishment do. Hate filled and bitter, a sad product of the Great Brutish state. It’s history is littered with such incidents. I doubt it ever entered the 20th century, never mind the 21st.

    Paddy Ashdown, appearing on a QT programme during the independence referendum, spoke in solemn terms about the events he had experienced during the Balkan conflict. Not that he was making any comparisons you understand, all the while revisiting the horrors of those days, reigniting the nightmare images we will never forget.

    My partner and I were, for a moment, incensed at his attempt to ‘Balkanise’ our country’s peaceful debate with such a vision. A vision most Scots have, thankfully, consigned to history as a way of co-existing.

    Our rage didn’t last long. We were all too aware that Ashdown, and the London establishment, would like nothing better than turn up the heat in Scotland.

    Scots at each other’s throats? Send in the troops.

    A recent comment, on one of the more rabid sites, demanded that Nicola Sturgeon be dragged by her hair, in chains, to London, as a traitor to ‘our’ country. There, to be dealt with in the same manner ‘we’ dealt with William Wallace. One ugly result of the establishment’s demonisation of our democratically elected representative.

    As I stated before, I am not surprised by anything the reactionary, self serving establishment in all it’s forms, does.

    Fomenting civil strife included.

    I am proud to live in a country which deals with our issues in the manner we dealt with the referendum. Our maturity during those days bodes well for our future, in spite of attempts at rabble rousing.

    We also have, in our modern world, sites such as this to forewarn us of any attempts to do so.

    Once again, thank you.

  21. Is there anybody left who doesn’t believe that STV is every bit as bad as the BBC. Living in Moray and being trapped indoors as a 24/7 carer unless I get a day off, I regularly have to suffer STV Aberdeen’s poisonous output. I just call it the P&J TV or more to the point Donald Trump TV as the P&J just loves those Golf Courses and the Union at any price.

    I can recall all too well STV Aberdeen basically accusing the SG of murder after a road accident that the Police blamed not on the road but on reckless/dangerous driving. We have a truly disgusting Press and Media in this Nation of Scotland.

    I don’t know what they are vomiting out at STV Dundee etc but considering what they have been turning out at STV Aberdeen since 2007 at least it is remarkable that anybody votes for the SNP or even the Greens at all ever in the North East.

  22. Chris you are only half right. When Bruce and other Scottish kings sent settlers to Eire. Up until about 1600 the Royals in Scotland were Catholic or Catholic light in the Stuarts case. The Ulster Scots were a mixture of Catholics and later Protestants after the reformation.

    However modern sectarianism in Scotland was actually created by reverse colonisation. The Scots Irish came back to Scotland and brought their bile with them. At the same time Scotland had catholic immigrants from southern Eire. That’s how the bigotry started.

    Remember that up until the late 19th century Scotland was 90% protestant and the indigenous Catholics were highlanders and islanders. But they lived in relative peace until the Ulster Scots came back and couldn’t tolerate Irish Catholics or any Catholics. I say that as a 3Rd generation Catholic Irish Scot.

  23. “On the same day, we read with horror of graffiti deriding the Ibrox Disaster”.

    I saw that tweet earlier (Tue morning).
    Absolutely we have head-cases in the West of Scotland, and call me super-suspicious, but as soon as I saw the tweet I could see no ‘sense’ in that graffiti at this time. And, it struck me as being perfectly laid-out, good grammar, perfect writing – not the handiwork of your average ned. It’s only when I read-through this piece by Derek that a penny-dropped…

    I’m seriously doubting that graffiti was the work of any yobbo-youth.
    Of course they’d resort to this tactic, they’re desperate.

  24. Treat the media as you would crappy bog roll, and flush it.

  25. The tin gilt-edged fiction that the union was the accepted will of the majority of Scots, was just that – a fiction. The desire for home rule has never been off the table. The means used to defend it, simply drove away a large majority of voters from both Labour in Scotland and the Lib-dems. They had no where else to go but the SNP. It was once suggested that Thatcher had been the midwife to Scotland’s determination to have its own parliament, so as to protect it from future conservative governments. Today a lot of those SNP voters see Holyrood as a vital protection from Westminster itself.

    That is the legacy of the NO campaign. They lost to the SNP. They’re going to lose again. But the answer is pretty obvious if they just cooled down. Took a breath. Took a break from this demagoguery. Then they would see it and understand. The union was tolerated not loved. To then take it and turn it into a 300 year old subsidy, just filled many YES voters with abhorrence.

  26. Murdo Fraser tweeted after the cup semi final something about the ‘queen’s eleven’. It struck me as a particularly phrased tweet that would appeal to a certain support. And I was shocked that he felt able to send that out there. I am old enough to remember a ‘unionist’ administration in Glasgow Corporation and have no doubt that that position was bolstered by a religious divide. In canvassing for the referendum and for the GE last year, I came across a number of people that I would regard as working class who were voting Tory despite the fact that they were being actively screwed by the Tories and their lib dem allies. The Tory campaign appears only to have one aim and that is to suck in the ‘hard line’ unionist vote. They don’t need policies for that and they haven’t pretended that they do. Thursday will tell how successful their strategy has been. I don’t know Aidan Kerr, don’t read the record and I don’t believe he was trying to equate the political position in Scotland with that of Ulster in its entirety. I do believe, however, that the Tories are using a hard line unionist position to recapture a tranche of stable voters (I don’t mean mentally stable) that will do the job of guaranteeing votes in the future. Now I might be wrong but I have feared this happening since the development of the SNP post referendum.

    • I have thought that polarisation into unionist / nationalist the most likely outcome too, and it does seem to be the Tories’ main card now.

      But I’m unsure if that’s a bad thing. It clarifies matters. It forces the unionists to defend their position in a rational way that they haven’t had to before.

      What’s worrying, and I sense that’s what’s really worrying you, and Derek, and this guy Aidan Kerr, is that their defence might not be rational or based on economics or security or other valid grounds, but based on emotional appeal to British identity which might create a kind of tribalism of the kind that has been so scarring in Northern Ireland.

      Scottish nationalism may be broad based and civic, a rational case for autonomy, to be able to build our own social model, but British nationalism is an ugly beast. It’s based on imperial domination, not progressive values of liberty and equality.

      Neil Oliver apparently wrote a stinking anti-SNP piece recently which I’ve not been able to read. However, in his defence, I just can’t imagine his Britishness is based on such regressive values. He probably saw the British Empire as a force for enlightenment. For progressive values.

      So what my question is, if the Tories take this imperial line, is which way will the likes of Oliver jump? That’s the sense in which I see this polarisation as offering hope and being more of an opportunity than a problem.

  27. Robert Graham

    Oops the campaign has taken on a wholly unwanted distraction and nasty with it .
    It’s been pretty obvious for weeks now an unseen influence is hard at work in the background pulling the strings , the opposition parties frankly dont have the Brains to organise this and on this scale .
    Cameron’s government wouldn’t do this would it ? I mean they are totally trustworthy .

  28. Heidstaethefire

    So it’s the night before again. Promise me you’ll not publish “It’s Time…” From 17/9/14. You’ve done it twice and reduced me to a blubbering ejit both times. Mae mair.

  29. I think the saddest aspect of all this is the lack of ambition of a young man and his slide into the turgid world of gutter press.

    Just a few years ago Kerr was a uni student with the whole world in front of him. After deciding for a career in journalism who does he choose as role models, Greenwald ? Chomsky ?

    No, a cross between Daisley and Clegg.

    What a waste.

  30. I’ve just had a fall out with an elderly neighbour who gloated that the ‘high priestess, Nicola Sturgeon” now had lost the election. When I pointed out the facts, I was called a Nazi. I’ve just had enough from this person who personifies the British Nationalist mind set. This is the result of the media and Officials from opposition parties, (Alastair Darling – blood & soil nationalists’ ) who play about with these words as if they have no consequence.

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