The job of most media commentators in Scotland is to criticise the SNP. To do so they use a Scottish media which overwhelmingly takes as its starting point that British nationalism is the norm and is a norm which is not nationalist at all. The job of the media in Scotland is to judge Scotland by the standards of Britain. Their job is to shoehorn criticism of the SNP and Scottish independence into any topic you care to think of. Their job is to undermine Scottish self-confidence and instill in us the fear that we couldn’t cope as a normal nation. But don’t you dare criticise them back, and for the sake of all the gods don’t dream of mocking them. That means you’re a tyrant who is silencing them.
The state capitol building in Hartford Connecticut has a domed roof covered with golf leaf. It’s a big building, it’s a big dome, but the amount of the precious metal used to gild it works out at a couple of gold coins’ worth. That’s because gold leaf is incredibly thin, a mere couple of hundred of atoms thick. If you could cut a leaf of gold leaf into cubes with the length and breadth equal to the thickness, each would be smaller than a virus. A single gold sovereign coin, if beaten out into gold leaf, could cover the floor of a room in your house. That’s how thin gold leaf is, but it’s still a whole lot thicker than the skin of your average media apologist for Scottish Unionism. And unlike British nationalism, gold leaf won’t tarnish.
One of the iron-clad laws of Scottish politics is that those who have greatest access to publicity, to the media, and to the corridors of British power, are those who complain most about how they are being silenced. Generally it turns out that they’re being silenced by people who write blogs which get only a fraction of the readership of a newspaper, or by ordinary punters who tweet mockery. Public figures with a platform in a national newspaper and who make regular appearances as a commentator on the telly are being bullied because a granny in Grangemouth tweets a cutting remark. Oh the irony, the British state with its military fetish, its nukes, its Brexit, its nostalgia for empire, and it’s complaining that it’s being bullied by a guy in Invergordon with an internet connection. The privileged always regard a challenge to their privilege as discrimination. The privileged are always the first to rush to claim victim status.
They’re being victimised and silenced because they no longer can lecture us without push-back. Their definition of democracy is one where they should be allowed to tell us how bad an independent Scotland would be without being challenged. Dare to challenge, and there will be anguished articles in several newspapers and right wing magazines bewailing how silenced they are. Talking heads will pop up on politics programmes to lecture us about how they’re being silenced. We’re being deafened by the silenced. The bullies are complaining that the bullied are threatening them.
Those who are really silenced, those who really struggle to make their voices and opinions heard, are being told by those who disproportionately dominate the mass media that the silenced are silencing those with the megaphones. People who oppose independence are far more likely to be given a platform than those who support it. Scotland has a legion of Conservative commentators, far out of proportion to the number of Conservatives. Meanwhile the likelihood of a pro-independence voice in Scotland being granted access to the TV, or to the vast majority of Scotland’s print media, is directly proportional to that voice’s willingness to attack and criticise other pro-independence voices.
It’s now day three of The Biggest Scandal in Scottish Politics Since Last Week, beardy-glasses-guy-gate. The SNP party political broadcast featuring a beardy guy with hipster glasses, who may or may not have been based upon the Herald columnist and proponent of SNPbadness David Torrance, has spawned outraged articles in the Herald, the Scotsman, the Times, the Express, and on Saturday Stephen Daisley piled in with a piece in the Spectator. That’s the Daisley who was silenced by the SNP and who told us all, at great length, about how silenced he was in his columns for the Mail and the Spectator. No doubt there will be more pieces decrying the SNP’s intolerance of criticism in the Sundays.
Mind you, for a party that’s supposedly intolerant of criticism it does seem to come in for an awful lot of criticism. It is impossible to open a newspaper or view a news broadcast in Scotland without being subjected to a barrage of stories telling us just how terrible the SNP is. So it does appear that what those who complain about the SNP’s supposed intolerance of criticism are really upset about is when the party turns the tables on its critics and gently takes the piss out of them.
Hysterical voices like the Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton have complained about the “tyranny” of the SNP. In Alex’s world, tyranny is when a party produces a video featuring a guy who bears a passing resemblance to a right wing columnist who’s a pal of Alex’s. If Alex had never stoked the fires by submitting his ridiculously petulant complaint to Ofcom, the entire episode would have passed as nothing more than a little bit of piss-taking on Twitter. Instead Alex wants to liken it to the oppression of journalists by authoritarian regimes. That’s the very definition of victimhood seeking.
It has all been counterproductive. All that has happened is that a party political broadcast which would have struggled to have attracted an audience of a few thousand people will now be seen by considerably more. By complaining loudly and vociferously that they’re being silenced, the apologists for British nationalism have only amplified the audience for the video that they claim is silencing them.
The real silenced in Scotland is the half of the population who support independence but who rarely see their viewpoint given airtime or column inches in a Scottish media which is overwhelmingly British nationalist in outlook. When apologists for British nationalism complain that they are being silenced, what they really mean is that they are appalled that other voices, voices which disagree with them, demand to be heard as well.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot 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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