You might be forgiven for thinking, given that the promise to stand up for the interests of the Scottish fishing industry was the only commitment made by Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ during last year’s General Election that consisted of saying more than “We don’t want another referendum”, that the Scottish media would now be hounding St Ruth Davidson the Messiah of Britishness and Saviour of the Union over her party’s abject failure to do so. All the more so since Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ were consistently branded as Ruth’s party and answerable to Ruth and to Ruth alone. However this is Scotland.
In Scotland there are 38 daily and Sunday newspapers of which 36 are constantly seeking stories to undermine the SNP and the cause of independence, and a broadcast media which takes its news agenda from that 94.7% of the press that is British nationalist. That would be the same media that has recently been tsking about the heavy bias in the media in Russia. Supporters of British nationalism don’t need Cambridge Analytica in Scotland. We have a constant diet of SNPbaddery.
Because the mainstream Scottish media is so overwhelmingly biased, supporters of independence develop a siege mentality. We are constantly attacked, belittled, criticised, and demonised by the great majority of the press. That has the unfortunate side-effect of making independence supporters intolerant and suspicious whenever another independence supporter, or one of the few pro-independence outlets that we do have, is perceived to be attacking other independence supporters or parties, or when they say something we disagree with. It’s perceived by some as a form of betrayal, and causes anger which is out of all proportion to the supposed offence. That’s precisely what anti-independence forces are hoping to achieve. You may not like it when Angela Haggerty, Cat Boyd, Stu Campbell, Bella Caledonia, me, or anyone else says something that you might perceive as being unhelpful to the independence cause, but when we attack one another we’re only doing the British nationalists’ job for them.
Angela and Cat come in for sustained criticism. I know both of them personally and have not the slightest doubt about their commitment to Scottish independence. You or I might not agree with what they say, we might not agree with their tactics, but they have a right to say it without being subject to the sexist remarks they constantly receive. There’s little doubt that as women they are given a harder time than men. Angela receives particular criticism because she’s achieved a public profile few independence campaigners have done. You might be rubbed up the wrong way because both of them can be contrarian, but let’s not help British nationalism by attacking other independence supporters with a different point of view.
It’s the same with the attacks on Stu Campbell, who is likewise a contrarian. I certainly don’t agree with everything he says, but constantly attacking him doesn’t help the Yes movement. He does a job that no one else does, and if you want to remove his influence from the movement you’re not going to do so by trading insults on social media. If you want to remove the influence of Wings Over Scotland, do the job Wings does, and do it better.
In other words, we all need stop carping about one another, and start rebutting the anti-independence media. God knows we need more of that. Independence is supported by about 50% of the Scottish population, but we only have 5% of the media on our side.
Diversity within the Yes movement means that it’s going to contain opinions and views that you or I find disagreeable. It’s going to contain people who have views that you vehemently disagree with. Let’s be calm and measured. Let’s disagree without being disagreeable. Let’s leave the hysteria to those people on social media with Union flegs in their avatars. Let’s focus our criticisms on those people who truly deserve our criticisms – that would be those people who support and sustain British nationalism in Scotland. That would be the anti-independence parties and the press which promotes them. It’s not like they’re not doing much which is worthy of our negative attention.
Pointing out the shortcomings of St Ruth the Redeemer of the Union doesn’t figure high amongst the priorities of the Scottish press. If it doesn’t involve calling on Humza Yousaf to resign because Gaelic place names on road signs cause pot holes, the Scottish press isn’t really interested. If it doesn’t involve gleefully reporting on yet another supposed division within the Yes movement, the Scottish media doesn’t want to know. If it’s not about screaming about how shite everything is under the SNP, the Scottish media doesn’t really care, especially not when those same public services are even more shite under the Tories south of the border because that’s not relevant. However on those occasions when public services are better in England, we get to hear all about it as then it suddenly becomes relevant. Because SNPbad.
The fact is that the Scottish media has given Thatalicsammin more negative coverage in the past week than St. Ruth Davidson has had in her entire career, and he’s not even a serving politician. Over just the past few days the supposed scandal of Thatalicsammin’s telly show on Russia Today has featured on Reporting Scotland four times, and on BBC Radio Scotland several times more. The Scottish media wants us to believe the fact that a former politician has a telly show on RT is far more important than the fact that the Scottish leader of the UK governing party has not only failed to deliver on the only promise that her party made to the Scottish people, but that her party has made the existing situation far worse. And moreover this Scottish leader was bummed up by that same Scottish media as being in charge of the Conservatives in Scotland, whose MPs would vote as a bloc to defend Scottish interests and who would personally ensure that Theresa May’s government attended to Scottish interests.
However whenever there is a spot of difficulty for the Tories in Scotland, the normally publicity hogging Ruth is harder to find than a Scotsman editorial that says something nice about Thatalicsammin. Yet today Ruth Davidson, lead singer of the Scottish media’s favourite band Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™, is back in the public eye doing what she is best at. What she’s best at is schmoozing with light entertainment presenters. On Wednesday in the Herald there was a wee piece about St Ruth which made a mediaeval hagiography seem overly cynical. It was a nauseatingly sweet digest of her adventures in British light entertainment and not a fish quota in sight. It was the Great British Boak Off.
Meanwhile Ross Thomson, MP for Aberdeen South – a city which voted by a larger majority to remain a part of the EU than it did to remain a part of the UK – appeared on a boat in the Thames alongside Nigel Farage, throwing dead fish into the river. It was a metaphor for the Scottish Conservatives’ promises to Scotland, but you can be sure that his exploits will be given considerably less coverage than Thatalicsammin.
We’re up against the Great British Boak Off. As independence activists our task is to highlight the many and manifest shortcomings of the British nationalists in Scotland. It’s to paint a picture of the better country that independence can achieve. That’s our day job. I’m going to get on with it. I hope you will too.
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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