Lies, damned lies, and newspaper headlines

There’s misleading headlines, there’s biased headlines, and then there’s outright trolling headlines. However an article in Tuesday’s Herald newspaper managed to have a headline which wasn’t just trolling, it was the newspaper attention seeking equivalent of baring your arse at a wedding, wiping your backside with the wedding cake, and all the while screaming that you’d not just shagged both the bride and groom, you’d shagged their cat as well. The headline in question was “Opponents to Scottish independence outstrip Yes voters four-fold, petition shows”. Funnily enough, or rather not so funnily enough, comments on the article were closed, just in case people below the line pointed out the ludicrously misleading nature of the headline.

The reporters who write the articles are rarely if ever responsible for the headline that ends up on the piece when it goes to press. This headline is most certainly not the responsibility of the reporter who wrote the article, it was most likely some sub-editor. But most readers don’t get much further than the headline, so all that the majority will have seen is a headline making the claim that independence supporters are outnumbered four to one by opponents of independence. The message was clear – give up now those of you who dream of a better Scotland. Go home and stick your head under that tartan duvet and cry yourself to sleep.

The article itself cited two online parliamentary petitions, one calling for a second independence referendum which received just shy of 34,000 signatures in Scotland, and one calling for there to be no second independence referendum which received just short of 159,000 signatures in Scotland. Despite the fact that the signatories are by definition a self-selecting sample, it could be argued that this would indeed have provided some evidence of respective support for pro and anti independence sentiment in Scotland – but only if the two petitions had received the same publicity and were promoted in exactly the same way and those who signed the petitions felt that there was some point to signing. But that’s not what happened. There was absolutely no effort in the article to explain any of that either, although to be fair the article itself was largely concerned with the Parliamentary debate provoked by the anti-independence petition.

The pro-independence petition was started by a private individual on Twitter, received no support or backing from any pro-independence party, and was never publicised anywhere. Even if it had been, what precisely is the point of signing a petition asking a Tory and Labour dominated Westminster to facilitate another independence referendum when all they’ve done for the past three years is to scream that they don’t want one? I saw the petition being tweeted online, and despite the fact that you might just possibly think I was in favour of another independence referendum, I didn’t sign it. There was no point. Even if the petition did reach the required number of signatures required to provoke a debate in the Commons it wasn’t going to bring a referendum about. All it would do would be to provide British nationalists with the opportunity to stand up in the Commons and tell us all how much of a disaster independence would be, and how everything that was wrong with Scotland was all the fault of the SNP anyway.

The anti-independence petition claimed that Scotland was being “persecuted” by the SNP. There’s constant one trope about British nationalism, apart from it not being nationalist at all because it’s British, and that’s that it is a poor victim of persecution at the hands of evil nationalists. It’s an odd claim, on the one hand British nationalism proclaims from the rooftops the strength and stability and reputation of the British state, but on the other it can be victimised by a granny from Cowdenbeath who wilfully waves a saltire. These two things are, on even a second’s reflection, contradictory. Just how exactly are the powerful capable of being victimised by those who have no power? It’s the tactic of the privileged the world over, to claim that a loss of their privilege is oppression. But then self-reflection isn’t the strong suit of the British nationalist establishment. It’s an even stranger sort of persecution when you claim you’re being victimised into having a say on your own future. Those bastards! They’re empowering me! They’re demanding that I have a voice and have influence! How vile. Victimhood is when you’re silenced, like you know, what the Tories are trying to do to Scotland.

The “we don’t want a say on our future” petition was backed by the Tories, and received wide support online from Conservative supporters and the usual British nationalist suspects. The pattern of signatories showed considerable support for the petition in areas with active local Conservative party associations, which were clearly encouraging their local members to sign up and to encourage their friends and families to sign too. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, however the point is that there was no equivalent activity on the pro-independence side to encourage people to sign the pro-independence referendum.

The subsequent we don’t want another independence referendum debate in the Commons wasn’t a debate at all. It was an entirely predictable rehash from the British nationalist parties of all the reasons why Scotland is too poor, too wee, and too stupid, and naturally all this is the fault of the SNP and not those Westminster governments which have had sole control over the levers of macroeconomic management for the past 300 years.

David Mundell, Scotland’s entirely useless governor general, used the debate as an excuse to Tweet “SNP MP Martin Day let’s cat out of bag. SNP position is to stop the UK leaving the EU.” My God! And to think no one knew. A party which is determined to oppose Brexit is opposing Brexit. Imagine that. Mind you we did suspect that David wasn’t bright enough to spell properly, and now he’s confirmed it. There’s no apostrophe in lets, unless it’s a contraction of let us, and the Tories never mean to let us in reference to Scotland. And it’s Martyn, not Martin, but points for trying.

Despite the trolling newspaper headline and the equally trolling non-debate in the Commons, there is no evidence that support for independence has declined. The most recent opinion poll, which is not composed of a self-selecting sample of Conservative activists and their friends and families, showed that 46% back Scottish independence. That’s a long way from being outnumbered four to one.

The real reason why the British nationalist parties are so determined to avoid another independence referendum is not because “no one” wants one. It’s because so many people do. But even more than that it’s because so many people in Scotland don’t just want another referendum, they want independence. Support for independence will begin a second independence referendum campaign at a far far higher level than it began the first. The British nationalists are desperate to avoid another independence referendum because they are keeching themselves with fear at the prospect of losing it. They’ve shot their bolt. They’ve used up all their arguments. None of the promises they can make the second time around will be believed because we can test their Vows from 2014 against reality and they turned out to be lies. Independence is just something that we haven’t won yet, and all the trolling newspaper headlines in the world won’t stop it happening.

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. You can now access this blog simply by typing into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.

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0 thoughts on “Lies, damned lies, and newspaper headlines

  1. I read the article this morning and was surprised but the next article up was that Russia was causing trouble in Catalonia… then i knew it was all crap.

    The simple logic i apply to establishment crap these days is that the leader of the UK is Theresa May. Just finished reading, ‘ I, Maybot’ by John Crace- its well worth a punt.

    • When Prime Minister’s address the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, the theme of their speech is usually about the economy and sending signals to the City which is gathered around them. For example, Mr Gordon Brown lauded ‘light touch regulation’.

      However, with Mrs May’s speech we were told how bad Russia is and what a threat to ‘our way of life’ it poses. Whatever else was in the speech we had to search, often in vain, through our mainstream media. Clearly, she was diverting attention away from the dire state of her Government and of the economy. Clearly, “we all have to pull together in the face of this threat and support our Government unquestioningly. It will do the RIGHT THING,”

      And, of course, it allowed the toadies of BBC Scotland to keep alive the story of Mr Salmond and RT.

  2. All that showed is they are afraid of scottish independence yet they have the bbc tell us we are the basket case yet they are desperate to keep us and yet every time I asked that to people I get no answer except from our side who say it’s them who needs us which the westminster lots actions keep proving when scottish independence always rears it’s head and this brexit if Scotland will to remain in the eu isn’t respected we should start it because they won’t respect our will unless it suit them our remain vote doesn’t suit them that’s why they’ve ignored it

  3. The start of this piece was a bit tacky, Paul. Please keep it a bit more above-the-belt for readers so’s not to turn them off. Doesn’t bother me, really, but is just an observation. And the Tory fools pick up their victimhood status from America, as usual, where the Republiscum can do and say anything they want, but the minute they are challenged they move into Poor-Me Victim Mode and whine like children spanked at anything said to them. Bizarre, ludicrous, disturbing, and totally effing pathetic. As ever.

  4. Over and above which, I don’t want another indy ref – at least not yet. I want it when the nostrils of the soft NOs have been thoroughly defiled by the stench of Brexit keech wafting up them.

    We’re in a holding pattern right now, biding our time. So no – I don;t want another indy ref at the moment. Next year? Different matter.

    How many of those 159 thousand ‘cut out my vocal chords ’cause I don’t want a voice’ lemmings also are thinking like that?

    • How long do you want the campaign to last though? if you want the referendum to happen next year shouldn’t we be campaigning on it now?

      You have not thought this through unless you mean you want the announcement of another referendum to happen next year.

      • I think any campaign could be up and running quite quickly. Many YES groups are quietly active, from what I read about, just awaiting the starter’s gun. I would want a short, sharp campaign focused on the need for self-determination in contrast to the economic, social, and cultural disaster that awaits Scotland if she decides that the “broad shoulders’ of the UK state will protect her, despite all the warnings and reality.

        That said, I expect to hear that gun go off in Autumn next year, with a vote in early March 2019.

  5. > I don’t want another referendum. I want the people of Scotland to empower our government to declare the end of the Treaty of Union.There are reasons a plenty to justify such a declaration, and there are reasons a plenty not to trust the voting system in a referendum.

    And can’t some Tory entrepreneur issue the Tory MPs and MSPs clones with dark glasses so that they do really image the Matrix Guys…and Dolls. I mean they all say and think the same stuff, why don’t they complete the circle and all look the same.

    • Late reading replies,have you read the treaty of the union throughly,read the piece about taxes again,when Maggie thatcher applied the poll tax in Scotland it legally broke the treaty of union,there are a few other instances also,such as David Cameron changing what religion the monarchy can marry in 2011,or that arms cannot be raised in Britain unless we are at war to defend Britain and or prosident against catholics to protect the crown and parliament religion,(which as I mention)David Cameron changed.
      As for a referendum we don’t need one,but we need to recognise why,firstly west minister government has broken the treaty already,secondly the treaty was based on a business contract between the elites due to Darien scheme,and those individuals whom signed the treaty were duely paid as a business contract.thirdly. There was no consultation,vote,or referendum put legally to the civilian population of Scotland,in fact the people of Scotland rebelled when they found out that there country and people’s were being sold for a business deal.big question,is the treaty of the union a legal binding contract as the people of scotland and there country were never asked,and did it legally belong to the elites whom sold it into a contractual treaty.
      I have also been thinking that when Hollywood opened Winnie Ewing said that the Scottish parliament had reconvened,I checked history,and find that the Scottish parliament never closed,it only suspended its parliament for a future date.our parliament legally in Scots law belongs to Scotland,not a devolved government of westminister.
      I have been intrigued with Robert pheffers point of views over the years on WOS,and think he is very astute and legally correct on the matter of the United Kingdom’s,well worth reading

  6. Pingback: Lies, damned lies, and newspaper headlines | speymouth

  7. It seems the more British nationalists come up with “proof”- or what they think is “proof” – that people don’t want to have indyref2 the more obviously desperate the British nationalists become.

    Here’s proof! Here’s more proof! And more proof! Proof proof proof! Why don’t you accept our proof?! Here’s proof you don’t accept our proof! Proof!

    Thus they cry to their chums in the britnat media who dutifully advertize the britnat proof, and nothing but the britnat proof, whilst ignoring the fall in readership and the increase in the sceptcism of television news.

    This so-called united kingdom is only just kept going by the prejudice of the press and the bias of the bbc. Theirs is a paper proof and a tabloid TV truth. Worthless, the lot of them.

  8. Bang on the money Paul !!!

    Westminster in my opinion, seem incapable of any type of progressive planned Governance. Every day almost, we are fed via the MSM, s–t and Jackie Baillie, but their Propaganda this time may just be diluted, because even the “soft no,s ” can see, even feel the effects of this rancid Tory Party. Just take a look at the Chaos and Mayhem Alex Salmond has caused them , ( he is not even a MSP or MP ,and they are horrified at his Power) . I said on WGD ages ago this is the Pi-h we are getting now ,just wait till our First Minister starts Indy ref 2. I bet the Negativity from the Unionists will far surpass any Hurricanes or Disasters reported around the Globe.

    ps I don’t post often but I,m angry !!!


  9. I tried to sign the pro-independence petition on numerous occasions without success. I checked the number of signatures on numerous occasions over a 24 hour period and the number of signatures actually fell. I’ve seen similar things happen with other petitions on that website including an anti-Trident petition. There may be an innocent explanation but I strongly suspect that petitions can be manipulated when it suits the government.

    • Just to clarify, the petition said that I had already signed it, even though I hadn’t. The result was that I couldn’t sign it. I know others who had the same problem. I suspect skulduggery.

  10. @ Colin Dawson: yup, and postal votes, vote counting off-site (sight?) of the polling station. And sigh, proposals to have an electronic voting system.

    • When I brought up the subject of vote rigging with an SNP MP, her response was “I don’t believe that theory”. It is not a theory.

      Methods of increasing security in the next Referendum are being actively addressed, but we need more of us lobbying our MSPs to ensure that all of them are aware of the dangers of not doing so.

      We all need to work on this. There is absolutely no point in campaigning and voting if the system is not secure.

  11. Let’s face it, there’s no point in signing petitions about independence, even although enough sign to cause a debate in Westmonster, the result of that debate is a foregone conclusion. The pro-indy MPs are so outnumbered in London that they will be overturned in every debate.

  12. I didn’t read that article. Didn’t know it existed before reading this post. Why?

    Because I don’t care what appears in the mainstream media. Why would I trust them? Why would I trust a media that is so heavily politically compromised? Why would I trust a media that actively sought to smother my democratic rights, mislead me and equally actively demonised those who believe in their right to self determination? A media that gives unfettered access, column space and air time to those who put their opponents in harms way.

    They don’t speak for me. They don’t represent me and certainly do not give equal weight or representation to my democratic beliefs. They have no moral high ground. They show no special insight. They show little empathy or understanding and their grasp of democracy? Well, that’s what they say it is.

    So no. No, I really don’t find much of anything they have to say very trustworthy. If they feel like attempting to stifle, misinform, mislead or otherwise seek to cause distress or harm to others for the sake of political and/or corporate gain? That kinda tells you all you need to know about them, now doesn’t it?

    Oh and just to make a point about my belief in self determination. Tonight there was a vote on an amendment to the brexit bill which would have allowed for the consent of devolved parliaments.

    The amendment was defeated 318-52.

    Self determination… accept no substitutes. It’s not a serving suggestion. Without it, you determine NOTHING.

  13. With the shit hitting the fan steadily now, it canny be long before previously unconvinced folk start to seriously look at the options for Scotland now..
    Do we continue not to be heard in our future decisions or stand on our own and make them for our selves..
    The message just now is ‘shut her face and dae as yer telt!’ Amendment to let devolved administrations give consent to brexit voted down- 52 for 300 odd against!
    Old Tarzan Heseltine was discussing May on a shooglie yin the other day and stated it was often the way in politics that folk had to plump for a least worst option, which Indy may seem for some now.. and even more so as the days and weeks go on.
    The very fact that SNP want to remain part of EU may still be a card to be played if the Tory’s keep on keechin (on the cake!) Jobs going left right and centre, pounds rolling off them broad shoulders, and billions and millions stashed offshore.
    Yer great British army me 20 years out of date due to cuts in funding they telt us today.. Jings who knew eh?
    Hunners o’ weans vulnerable and living on the streets from a report from blackpool this morn, yer head man from NHS doon sooth telling it like it is the other day..
    Folk are distracted to the point of ignorance/apathy at the moment but when the time is right, Scotland can say- NAW. We ur staying PUT. Yeez can keep yer jobs up here folks, we will attract more when England leaves. No customs border for us fishermen, except a wee yin with England, which would ironically boost our ports if they imposed hefty tariffs which would be in their nature .. we will most likely continue trade to NI in this case as there seems to be little appetite for a border in Ireland at all.
    Any border at berwick-carlisle would be a smaller price to pay than crashing out with no deal, timing though is all important, and the barrage of info to hit them with when the time does arrive . leave them as the little Britain they deserve to be..
    We must do ‘a bit of a braveheart’ the noo but and ‘..HOLD..’.

    All those stashing their wealth, and enabling it, should face charges for removing wealth from the austerity economy, her maj. included. What a despicable lot of self- serving shiesters this is..
    Would I be wrong to say they have betrayed the people of this country with these actions? NHS guy? Sure would fit my defenition of the word.. Could apply it to so many institutions situations lately though- bankers, saville, expenses, harrassment, so this just plays into the apathy cycle ..
    Once it visits their door in the form of a mortgage rising or losing a job or home or the like, will it seriously change minds as I have said before on here..

    Customs rattling the cage today, as are the car businesses.. Shortage of food on the shelves, yet another jobs blow..

    Carney hovering with his next deflection trick, it canny be long now..

    Hold.. tight..

    Hope the rib gets better soon big man-doin wonders for the
    snarling blogs though!

    Thocht ye said there would be nae blogging for a while? Yer jist like ane o’ them politicians ya big liar ye!( no’ really!..treats and claps fur the dug- methinks he must huv smelt a Rothesay Tory tbh..)

    • Reading you is like diving into the brain dump of Joyce’s Leopold Bloom, Jamie. and I mean that in a good way.
      You appear to be on your own Odyssey.
      Great ramble.
      I spy the soft gentle shores of Ithaca just ahead.
      Nearly home and dry now.

  14. Thank you, I needed this article. If it had been a pro-Indy petition of 159k signatures it would have been belittled, ridiculed and binned without hesitation. F***k, this stuff makes me rage. And it’s the complicit, fawning, no-voting so-called ‘Scots’ that make me rage most. Stubbornly swallowing the naked, blatant propaganda from public organisations we actually pay for. Gleefully seizing anything that talks down our capability as a nation, scornfully dismissing anything positive. Only, ONLY in Scotland could oil reserves be considered a curse. Ach, I could rant all night. I’m going to bed.

    • Well said Geordie, it makes my blood boil, all these folk who can not and will not accept the appalling state in which Scotland is kept thanks to their masters in London. Indeed, away to my bed!!

  15. “…but only if the two petitions had received the same publicity and were promoted in exactly the same way…”

    Yes!!! – This was exactly the problem with the indyref – if only both sides had received the same publicity and were promoted exactly the same way – Yes would have walked it!

  16. The Herald Britland is dying.
    Tom Gordon and Co., are insignificant little scribblers.
    A fourth form English student could write: ‘will say’, and cut and paste the xenophobic racist bigoted far right lies and distortions of the Red Blue Yellow and now, sadly Green Tories into the union scribes’ ‘articles’..
    There can’t be much job satisfaction in churning out Right Wing propaganda press releases in the knowledge that your interference in preventing the Truth getting out there to the Scottish public.
    You know that that Ruth Davidson is responsible for the death and deprivation of tens of thousands of her fellow citizens through her party’s Austerity measures which are designed to impoverish the many, reward the filthy rich, and destroy our civic institutions and public services like health, education and the rule of law.
    Tom Gordon backs the chaos. Herald ‘downsizing’ will ‘rightsize’ them all by Exit Day 2019.

    Scotland’s health, education, and social care in the hands of an SNP Administration are by far the best of the UK countries, despite Murdo Fraser stealing money from the infirm to give to his rich backers, yet, Tom Gordon and Co., who know better, still back evil politicians hell bent on the destruction of Scotland. They even give them political awards for killing, starving, and freezing the innocents.
    It’s as serious as that.

    I shall not be leaving the EU because a bunch of English xenophobes think that they ‘own’ my country, and can do what they like with us.

    We know the exact time and date now. March 29th, 2019, at 11.00 am apparently.

    Goodbye England and Wales. You won’t be missed.

    I don’t care how we uncouple from this corrupt insane little Union, but uncouple we shall.
    It is going to get very messy indeed.

  17. I see that Red Tories ‘abstained’ in and amendment vote to insist that the devolved Parliaments have a say in the Brexit deal.
    Scottish Labour, shame on you.
    You do not represent the people of Scotland.
    You are mere placemats, sellouts, in it for yourselves, bag carriers.
    Dugdale, Sarwar Findlay Baillie, you disgust me.
    Children starve and you do nothing; well done

  18. Fear not folks, Treeza has finally accepted Scotland as an independent nation! She said on Twitter yesterday that the UK and Scotland must work together, so we’re no longer part of the UK. HURRAY!!!

  19. I saw the petition on line but didn’t vote either.

    As you say, what is the point?

    Not only does it hand the opportunity to those braying ninnies capable of forcing their snouts out of the trough long enough to rear up on their hind legs and belch their mindless bile at the very idea but WE ALREADY HAVE A MANDATE! anyway. Duh!

    Lies, Damned lies and State Tactics.

    Scotland is a nation but not a state, however, thanks to our membership of the UK, we are, of course, in a state.

  20. I forsee a massive boost for Leith, Rosyth and Dundee. Border of any sort with England causing food shortages. Bollocks.
    No food coming north from Tesco, ASDA and Morrisons, oh dear.
    Aldi and Lidl will jump into the gap, closely followed I predict by Carrefour and Le Clerk. A boost for local goods displaying the Saltire, Nothing for sale with the union flag on it and lots with French, Dutch, German and Spanish (maybe Catalan ) flags on it.
    Border, so what, who loses, not us. The empty containers can go the other way filled with Whisky, Gin, Salmon, Beef and Lamb.
    Fuel, we refine our own.
    We do not need these fools at Westminster, but they will be begging for our energy, tarrifs and all.

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