A campaign reported by journaloids

Well it’s all over now. Decided. Minds made up. No need to say a syllable more. JK Rowling backed up by her island of lawyers has pronounced upon the EU referendum with a Harry Potter reference and it’s all over the papers. JK and Harry Potter and want us all to remain a part of the EU, in case you were wondering. Although if you’re a regular reader of this blog it’s a pretty safe bet that you weren’t. Discovering you’re on the same side of an argument as JK Rowling isn’t generally regarded as being a sure-fire signal that you’re doing the right thing, at least not in this household, and I am quite sure in many others.

It’s not that authors of fantasy fiction for young people have no right to express an opinion. Of course she does. She has every right to pronounce upon any topic that takes her fancy, and she frequently does. It’s what we all aspire to. When I become a grown up writer I want to write a series of books for young adults, sell the rights to Hollywood for a series of blockbusting movies, become a billionaire on the royalties, and then sit on Twitter threatening people with defamation. That’s living the high life that is.

It’s just a bit wearing that every time JK Rowling indulges herself in a Harry Potter reference on social media about something serious and non-fictional that’s going on in the world it’s plastered all over the front pages of the newspapers as though it were the latest addendum to the tablets of the ten commandments which were handed down by God to Moses Potter on Mount Sinai. Which is apparently somewhere near Hogwarts and only accessible via a special camel train on Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station. The publicity her views receive is probably not unrelated to the way in which a claque of journaloids hang on to each of her 140 characters as though they were holy writ. It saves them from having to do any proper work.

Journaloids, in case you were wondering, are people who give the outward appearance of being employed as news gatherers without actually gathering anything newsworthy, and who prefer to collect fluff from the navels of celebrities which they write up without any semblance of wit, originality, or skill. If you read through the lightweight tripe they produce you could be forgiven for believing that the search for some weighty news was as difficult and technical as the search for gravity waves.

It’s not as if JK Rowling’s intervention is going to alter the outcome in any way. Most people who possess IQs in at least double digits are not swayed in their political opinions by celebs. No one hangs on to Rylan’s words of wisdom on the debt crisis in the Mediterranean, although to be fair he probably thinks it’s got something to do with a shortage of sun loungers. No one cares about Kim Kardashian’s views on Syria, although Kanye probably thinks that it would all be solved if only he had a starring role. The reason, the only reason, we get some much of our newspapers filled up with the vacuous views of entertainers is because it saves the newspapers from having to do any proper work, and in saving themselves from proper work they’re not doing their job of holding the powerful to account.

Both sides in this EU referendum campaign have been indulging themselves in dishonesty and lies on a truly epic scale. I want Scotland to remain a part of the EU, but our intelligence is insulted by the hyperbolic scaremongering of the remain campaign just as most people are revolted by the racist dog-whistling of Nigel Farage for the leave campaign. Actually it’s not even dog-whistling, it’s audible to one and all. Amidst all the screaming in the dumbed down hysteria that passes for an EU referendum campaign you can’t hear any truth or sense. And instead of clarifying and simplifying things for the public, the media is screaming the most. You only need to look at the headlines in the press to be overcome by a feeling of nausea and despair. All you’re going to learn is that both sides in this campaign think that the public have less intelligence than a wannabe Rylan who has fried their brains on a sunbed.

Right now as I type this, leave supporter Michael Forsyth, Thatcher’s former bagman in Scotland who presided over the annihilation of his party but who still gets to sit in the House of Lords influencing our laws, is pontificating on an EU referendum debate on BBC Scotland about how important it is for a country to be governed by people that it votes for and the injustice of laws being made by politicians who are unaccountable. That’s right, a man who was utterly rejected by voters and whom we can’t get rid of thinks it’s wrong that other people influence laws without being directly accountable to the voters. It’s fine as long as it’s Tories like him though. Self-awareness was never one of Mikey’s strong suits. Thankfully an audience member has asked him whether the phrase pot, kettle, and black means anything to him. It takes a punter to ask the questions that the media won’t ask.

One person screaming is a ranter, it takes two to create a rammy. This is a campaign which is dominated and led by Tory men, in which Conservative concerns are the only ones which get an airing, and in which the tone is set by the Tories. When the nasty party holds a referendum, it’s going to get nasty. The tone we see just now is how the Conservatives conduct their politics. You’re going to get an incoherent and bitter campaign when it’s run by a party which sees no problem in governing Scotland despite the fact that their support is confined to a small minority of Scottish voters, which cheerfully stuffs the unelected House of Lords with placepersons like Mikey Forsyth, and then preaches about how unfair it is that the popular will is ignored.

There is a serious and thoughtful debate to be had about the European Union, about its structures and its goals and the place of the United Kingdom and Scotland within it. This is not that debate. We’re not going to get it as long as we have a media which is more interested in reporting the opinions of celebrities than it is in asking difficult questions of the Palace of Westminster. This is a campaign reported by journaloids.

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37 comments on “A campaign reported by journaloids

  1. diabloandco says:

    Rowling and Forsyth – a lovely pair with Uranus sized egos.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug A campaign reported by journaloids […]

  3. Macart says:

    Oh good grief! Not another intervention from the glitterati?

    I posted a link on the last thread worth taking a swatch at from Professor Michael Dougan of Liverpool University and a go to guy apparently on EU law. He’s equally scathing about the campaign fought by both sides, however IMO its worth having a look at. In the meantime I’ll pass on contemplating the pontifications of both Ms Rowling and wee Mikey. Just had ma tea and all that.🙂

    • As they are my contemporaries I am allowed to call Forsyth and Sillars a pair of old dodderers, who shouldn’t be allowed near a microphone, never mind spearhead a debate on leaving the EU.
      I have thanked you elsewhere, Macart for the heads up on Michael Dougan’s informed and reasoned view on the campaign so far.
      He is probably a contemporary of my Bro in Law from Belfast, and is an expert on EU Law, and in 20 odd minutes destroyed the Leave Campaign’s arguments re Sovereignty, International Trade, and immigration.
      He has not got an encouraging word to say about the Remain efforts so far , however.
      I mention my bro inlaw, because the poor soul is based in Pisa at the moment, part of the team that detected gravity waves, Paul.
      He spends a lot of time in the terraces of café bars sipping vino and café, and munching on pasta, though but. However unlike our cut and paste Dead Tree Scrollers, he actually does a bit of work every now and again. It is rocket science, unlike reporting the truth, a discipline which our MSM have abandoned completely now.
      We are Europeans, in every sense of the word. When I am in Pisa, or Strasburg, or San Sebastian, or Gothenburg, I have the feeling of belonging. I cannot imagine turning my back on this.
      I’d no sooner vote to return to the World of Wooster, the Home Counties idyll of Henley, Lords, Wimbers, and Cowes, and there always being an England (which has subsumed Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland?) than I would buy a newspaper nowadays.
      I see Dugdale flipped again.
      She’ll want to stay in Farage’s UK?

      • Macart says:

        At some point Ms Dugdale will pick a principle and stick to it I’m sure and if we don’t like that one…😀

        Not a prob on the link and a lucky find. All the more remarkable since this is the go to guy for both the government and the media. Spooky that they didn’t want the fella to air his findings more publicly don’t you think?

        On identity? Heh, we’re all immigrants IMV and Mr Dougan nailed the legality and hypocrisy spectacularly on that issue.

        • For the first time, I have a sense that Remain will just scrape it.
          Will they do a ‘settled will of the people’, like they diod with our Referendum, where they ordered all us Yessers to accept the result and abandon the Road to Self Determination?
          Will Farge, IDI, Boris, and Gove resign from politics, and accept the ‘will of the people’, even if a sieable minority voted to Leave? Doubt it.
          The Tory party may self combust either way.
          I quoted Marx, Groucho that is, when Murphy the Eggman was changing his mind more often than his hair colour.
          ‘These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.’
          Joanna Cherry is good, isn’t she?
          A future PM of an Independent Scotland? Or at least our first Foreign Secretary.
          I’m in the mood to crash on my favourite Bro in Law’s couch for a while.
          Andiamo !

  4. Andimac says:

    “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.” – J.K. Rowling. You’d have thought, having invented them, J.K. would be on their side in the referendum.

  5. Who the f*** is Rylan? Sounds like some kind of sheep fencing

  6. brianmchugheng says:

    The biggest problem I have with the EU Ref, is that no matter which way I vote, I’ll end up ‘agreeing’ with reprehensible individuals that I feel it is my duty to oppose.

    I guess this really isn’t Scotlands Referendum.

  7. Ann Rayner says:

    Brilliant stuff Wee Ginger, Love the term Journaloids, of which there are far too many.They are a pain in the a**e like haemorrhoids.

  8. Connor McEwen says:

    On a lighter note THE LADY AND THE TRAMP cartoon by Walt Disney, how about WEE GINGER DUG AND THE JAKEY ROWLING, a tale of lost love in a divided society.
    Andimac and Dementors, love it . Hope you have educated you children on the perils of reading JAKEY POTTER

  9. Holebender says:

    Journaloids… You need some Preparation J.

  10. Stuckdoonhame says:

    Erm… I haven’t heard of Rylan either.

    • Guga says:

      Neither have I, but I don’t pay much attention to nonentities that are apparently hero worshiped by people that have I.Q.s the same as their shoe size.

      As for journaloids, we should treat them with the same disdain as the English controlled MSM, and refuse to buy their outpourings of garbage. If we all do that, they will eventually go out of business.

      • Joe Kinnear says:

        Bit harsh on the seeming ‘dear leader’ style groupthink in much of the SNP. Not a single SNP MP or MSP thinks the EU is anything but the “progressive” source of goodness and truth? Bovine is generous as a description, yes?

        • Dave Hansell says:

          That was almost funny Joe. Have you thought of employing an agent rather than sitting there in the dark handling yourself?

  11. Electric blue says:

    Spot on as usual. You have a way with words and express so eloquently what many people are thinking.

  12. Steve Asaneilean says:

    I presume Paul meant this Rylan:


  13. Jan Cowan says:

    I have not read JKR’s books nor have I seen any of the Potter films so I cannot comment on her body of work. But I did see some of her immature remarks on Twitter – enough to ensure I continue to ignore anything she says or writes.

    • benmadigan says:

      Delved into 1 book as i was instructed to buy it as a birthday present for a 13 year old niece – could hardly get past paragraph 1. Asked the mother if she thought it was suitable reading material for her daughter.

      Anecdotal evidence on harry potter popularity – know an italian family (parents both doctors) who took their 2 children on a HP tour last year.
      Mind boggles at the inanity!

      On a lighter note -here’s my brexit party playlist – feel free to add other music as you wish to while away the time as we wait for votes to come in


  14. 110,000 views and rising. Thanks to Macart for the link. I’m trying my best to post everywhere I can. The brexit campaign described as “lying on an industrial scale”.

    • Joe Kinnear says:

      https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/left-case-brexit I wonder if anyone connected with the SNP actually reads widely or thinks critically?

      The left-wing case against the EU is overwhelming, robust and intellectually coherent – something the increasingly dreadful Sturgeon is not.

      I’d make this point. The SNP do not own my vote, nor my mind. The lack of any debate within the SNP is worrying to see. Not a single MP or MSP diverges from the simple-minded groupthink that the EU is “progressive” and the implication that if one disagrees that you are acting against the interests of Scotland or Scottish independence.

      I for one strongly object to this unpleasant experience/undertone. Where is the sign of open debate and intelligent disagreement within SNP circles. If the ‘dear leader’ cannot and shouldn’t be questioned under any circumstances what feedback mechanism exist to correct mistaken thinking on the ‘dear leader’s’ part?

      Just as the SNP do not own the votes of independence supporters, nor do they own Scottish independence or sovereignty – but act as if they do. It’s deeply problematic.

      • Dan Huil says:

        I still hear [sigh] what you’re saying, Joe. When Scotland regains its independence I’ll be voting for a party which advocates leaving the EU – as it stands. If the EU makes substantial changes [a big “if”] I might change my mind. Until then I’m concentrating on what’s best to achieve Scotland’s independence, and that’s to vote Remain because I believe England will vote Leave, and thus indyref2 to follow.

      • Clachangowk says:

        I took the time to read (most) of your link. In the main convoluted arguments about how the Labour party can return.

        “So if the UK leaves the EU, Scottish independence comes to look much less plausible, and a chance is offered to the Labour Party to rebuild in Scotland. It may not be much of a chance, certainly, but staying in the EU offers virtually no chance at all. Contrary to what almost all commentators have concluded, Brexit may be the only way in which the United Kingdom can be preserved. In turn, it is also the only way in which a British Labour Party can be rebuilt.”

        I don’t think there are many in the SNP who would agree with any of this. I do think critically which is why I can easily dismiss this nonsense

    • Dave Hansell says:

      To be fair Dougan also said the remain campaign had hardly covered itself in glory, or words to that effect.

      Of course there is a left case for exiting the EU. The problem is that it is not something which is on offer right now because both options are, in terms of actual and practical outcomes, neo liberal ones. One of the points Dougan raises, about the role and influence of the UK (as the original single market) in the EU as one of the big three (with France & Germany) gives a hint as to why this is so.

      It is a matter of historical record that since at least Tudor times the English and later the BritishState has pursued a consistent policy of ensuring that no entity, be it a single nation state or amalgam, on the European continent has got to a point where it can challenge the lead role of the British State, it’s establishment and it’s single market. At any one time over the past few centuries the British State has collaborated with one or more smaller states to ensure that no one else, be it the Spanish, the Dutch, the French, or the Germans, get to uppity.

      It’s policy with the EU has followed a similar trajectory. Blocking initiatives such as punitive tariff of Chinese steel dumping and voting against country by country tax reporting on the hand and actively ensuring that pre Lisbon the policy would be widening rather than deepening membership to take advantage of cheap East European labour (arising from known asymmetric levels of comparative economic development), whilst at the same time ensure that it was the EU who took the blame for the negative results rather than the UK.

      The fact is, whether it’s a right wing or a left wing case, we have to deal with where we are in actuality rather than where people making a particular case wish we were. Dougan as a academic with the necessary expertise lays out very starkly the trade relations impact on a UK exit, advising that, for example, the practical reality is that a whole raft of UK law based on EU legislation, from the WTD through to consumer and environmental protection would go on the bonfire. To be replaced with what one may reasonably ask.?

      Well, and this is for the Joe Kinnears/Wolfie Smiths of this world, that very much depends on what type of Government has decision making power in the UK. If it’s likely to be a left wing Government committed to rolling back nearly half a century of neo liberal economic, neo conservative political and neo feudal social policies in the UK then bunting ma ufacturerscare going to make a hefty profit. However, out here in the real world there is a distinct lack and absence of any evidence whatsoever that such an eventuality is anywhere near on the horizon, even with the Hubble telescope, an electron microscope or the blissful optimism of a Baldrick cunning plan.

      And we have not even considered the other practical impacts of the analysis which Dougan sets out, such as the two year divorce settlement, the minimum ten years negotiation of a trade deal with the EU, the liklihood and impact on the parallel withdrawal from the Single Market, the impracticality es of trying to negotiate a trade deal with others such as the US, China, India etc and the subsequent negative impact on the economy in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

      If anyone wants to have first hand experience of a command economy then the opportunity to do so is available on Thursday. For those of us who would rather go forward rather than backwards one can only stand in awe and admiration at the levels of self delusion on show. If satire died with Kissenger than surrealism is now pushing up daisies. I had thought that it was only the English who would ever consider giving credence to the incoherent ramblings of Billy (Boris) Bunter and the Year Zero fantasies for scrapping everything and starting again from a blank screen of rabid right wing Trotskyists such as Chairman Mao Tse Gove. To hear people who claim to be on the left baying at the moon for such an outcome and trying to pretend that a left wing Government is going to sweep into power in where it counts in the UK, Westminster, following an exit vote on Thursday is a script even the Python team would have baulked at.

      The only realistic and sane strategic option on Thursday for anyone setious about a left alternative is for Scotland to vote to stay in the EU and hope that England commit the UK to exit. Such a result will put unsustainable strain on the structure of the British/UK State which should allow sufficient opportunity to break up the hegemony of right wing dominance in these islands if people are canny enough to take that opportunity.

      It’s called strategic thinking Joe. You might want to try it sometime. Now would be preferable. No rush, take your time. We’ll just sit here waiting for the Vanguard to catch up.

  15. Joe Kinnear says:

    Even if Europe’s left parties do succeed in forging a common program, the EU is not the kind of political entity whose approach to the world can be altered by popular politics. Popular politics is precisely what the EU was designed to obstruct. Like independent central banks and constitutional courts, its institutions are essentially technocratic. Technocracy is not (as some like to pretend) a neutral or rational system of government. Instead, it confers immense power on culturally select bodies whose prejudices will be those of the class their members are drawn from. The SNP, nor the Labour party will ever offer a referendum on the EU.

    A reformed EU is not on the ballot paper, nor will it be reformed in any significant way in the future. A hypothetical indy-ref is not the key issue.

  16. Joe Kinnear says:

    On the SNP – it badly needs to raise its game on every front. Virtue signalling about ‘evil Tories’ and screaming ‘it’s our pound too’ is simple-minded pish that will not win over small u Unionist Scotland. Bovine conformity on all matters will not win over small u Unionist Scotland, a cult of the ‘dear leader’ will not win over small u Unionist Scotland. And jumping upon Project Fear the Goldman Sachs version (change is too risky) is utterly useless politics. Cheerleaders for idiocy does the cause of Scottish independence no favours at all.

  17. Carol says:

    Has anyone noticed that only the rich want us to vote remain? Now Beckham is telling us how to vote and he doesnt even live here. Go remain somewhere else Beckham, I’m voting to leave

    • hettyforindy says:

      Yes, the rich celebs, but many many people, not celebs, are very very worried about the possibility of a brexit. I don’t think this is anything to do with rich or not, the gits bringing this about in the first place are all millionaires, who won’t lose any sleep no matter what happens.

  18. We’re not going to talk you off the ledge, whoever you are.
    Jump if you must.
    Try using your real name the next time. Then we may listen to what you have to say. Until then, oh look a squirrel..

  19. hettyforindy says:

    Aside the dreadful so called debate, this referendum has hardly had time to start, though the decision is crucial. We know that it is a tory vanity project, let’s wait and see what the consequences will be.

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