The rag that’s lost the rag

Is it possible for a newspaper to go insane? There are only two possible explanations for the stories about Scottish independence that have been appearing in the Daily Express of late. Either the newspaper has gone insane and lost whatever tenuous grip on reality that it might once have possessed, or it has descended into a hate filled disregard for truth that makes the hysteria fuelled propaganda sheets of a fascist totalitarian regime seem like the dry and sober reporting of the minutes of the Auchterarder Allotments and Vegetable Growers’ Society. Admittedly those possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

The Express was one of the most avid proponents of a Brexit, and ever since the EU referendum has been one of the most fervid deniers that there might be any negative consequences for the UK flowing from the result. Over recent weeks it has been publishing increasingly personalised attacks on Nicola Sturgeon for her wilful refusal to rule out a Scotland that refuses to meekly roll over and accept the Brexit result that we didn’t vote for. The articles have been using the sort of language that even Owen Smith would recognise as dangerously approaching a misogynistic call to violence against women.

Now the paper has ballooned into the stratosphere with its hot air. The rag has lost the rag. According to an article which verges perilously on defamation, Nicola Sturgeon is geeing up independence supporters for a campaign of violence against the Union. The sheer effrontery of the hateful rag is breath taking. This is not journalism. This is not reporting. This is a blatant and shameless attempt to stir up the more atavistic supporters of Unionism and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of violence, and the blame for any such violence will then be conveniently laid at the door of the independence movement.

There were indeed some instances of violence associated with the 2014 independence referendum. There was the shameful assault of an elderly independence supporter in Edinburgh, allegedly carried out by a Unionist woman who disagreed violently with his peaceful message. The old man ended up with a broken arm, his alleged assailant was never caught. Then there was the accusation of assault against a pro-independence canvasser outside a polling station in Shettleston in the East End of Glasgow. Her alleged assailant was none other than the Labour MP Marie Rimmer. The court case is still on-going. And finally, and most disgracefully, there was the mass attack by Unionist supporting fascists against peaceful pro-independence demonstrators in George Square during the aftermath of the referendum result. The indy crowd was charged by dozens of extreme right wing Unionists who attacked men, women, old and young indiscriminately. The Express article was illustrated by a short video of this attack, labelled “Nationalists and Unionists in wild clash”.

See a pattern here? A child could see a pattern here. A five year old could readily assign due blame. The Express can’t. Or more accurately, won’t. According to the Express the violence is all the fault of the independence movement and its supporters. It’s like saying that homophobic attacks are the fault of gay people for being openly gay. It’s like saying that misogynistic violence is the fault of women who were asking for it. It’s like saying that racist beatings are the fault of ethnic minorities for being willfully foreign in a public space. This is not journalism. This is abuse of a public platform. This is abuse of an entire nation. This is a newspaper which recognises that it’s destined to find a more socially useful role as lavatory paper and so helpfully it’s already covered with shite and dripping with pish when it’s purchased.

The fact is that the Scottish Police Federation issued a statement just before the independence referendum dismissing claims that the country was a hotbed of aggression and on the verge of violent outbreaks. Brian Docherty, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, condemned the No campaign for its irresponsible exaggerations. The Express never got the message. It’s still exaggerating, still demonising the yes movement. And the moment that some violent fascist bully with a grudge takes out their insecurity on a harmless independence supporter, the Express will be the first to condemn the yes movement for creating division and violence.

There was another video illustrating the article too. Titled “Aggressive Scottish protesters intimidate ex-Labour …” it showed the stramashette in St Enoch when Sean Clerkin and a couple of his pals ranted at Jim Murphy. That was the occasion when Jim Murphy deliberately walked into a placard being waved by Sean and then claimed he was being abused. The entire event was a set up by Labour. Clerkin’s merry little band later claimed that they’d been tipped off by someone in Murphy’s local party. It was blatantly obvious that Murphy wanted to create the impression that Scottish independence supporters were violent and extreme, and so someone in the Labour party got in touch with a notorious fringe group, the Scottish Resistance. A group that’s so fringe and so uninfluential in the independence movement that there are actually more photographs of prominent Unionists ironically wearing Scottish Resistance T-shirts than there are members of the Scottish Resistance.

The difference of course is that whereas the violent Unionist right wing extremists who attacked the peaceful independence supporters in George Square are never to be associated with the mainstream of Unionism, the entire independence movement is tarred with the brush of Scottish Resistance in reports in the Unionist press.

We still don’t know when there’s to be another independence referendum, and already that end of the Unionist press which is deeper in sewage is spewing its cacophony of cack. Because they know what we know too. They know that the next time Scotland goes into an independence referendum the yes campaign will be able to count on the support of half the population. They know that the political case for the Union has been destroyed by the actions of the Unionists themselves. They know that the Union is in its final days, and that they’re responsible for ending it.

What we’re hearing now is the high pitching howl of a fatally wounded animal. The howls are only going to grow in intensity, because Scotland is heading for independence. And there’s nothing the Express can do to stop it.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

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61 comments on “The rag that’s lost the rag

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug The rag that’s lost the rag […]

  2. David says:

    The Express and I imagine many others in Team UK view is that if the Indy supporters weren’t there then their followers wouldn’t have to be so aggressive.

  3. Weechid says:

    I asked the author of the Express piece (via Twitter) if she was even in Scotland at the time. She said that she was and that she was threatened and intimidated. I asked her if she reported this to the police, were there prosecutions and at which court. She said she wasn’t answerable to me, which is fair enough – I didn’t suggest she was – and she suggested that I try to find her evidence myself. I could start, she said, by ringing round the courts on Monday. This seemed to me to be a rather childish response. I almost suggested that any intimidation was down to her personality and attitude – nothing to do with the referendum and all to do with her being an objectionable person but, well, I can’t really be bothered with her. Her unwillingness to provide evidence for her claims simply reinforce the lies in her article as far as I’m concerned. It’s just galling that such claims are printed and go unchallenged and, even worse, that some people believe them. Please Scotland, please vote Yes next time.

    • Lewis Wilde says:

      I also communicated with this reporter and found her less than communicative as well quite amateurish in her handling of any criticism. It did seem she was writing for the attention she was getting rather than any connection with the important issues involved.

      • weegingerdug says:

        That’s why I neither mentioned the reporter’s name nor linked to the article in the blog piece above.

        • Lewis wilde says:

          Good point
          This MSM article does seem to be so much click bait

          • Saor Alba says:

            Do not give them the time of day. Do not respond to them.
            Do not feed them. Do not interact with them.
            Their job is to twist whatever they can into a falsehood.
            Ignore them. They will not like to be ignored.

            Hatred eventually will destroy itself. That process has already begun.
            Leave them to continue their own inevitable self-destruction.
            The evidence against them is mounting and the on-line comments they make have all been captured. The time to use this evidence will come.

            The Scottish Police Federation have already indicated that they know what is going on.
            All will fall into place eventually.

            There are a number of opinions in the rag in question, whose circulation continues to drop.

            “An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.”

            Our opinions will remain the result of thought. Let’s leave them with the substitutes.

            The tides of opinion are changing and not to the liking of the Unionists and Loyalists.
            Just sit back and watch them self-harm.

        • Weechid says:

          Good job you didn’t. I see Wings has been suspended from Twitter.

    • Panama says:

      The rule is if you make a claim then you have to show the evidence to support your claim. If you don’t then your claim fails and your argument is dismissed. Making a claim and then telling your opponents to research it doesn’t work.

      • RabMacPhoto says:

        I’ve come across this a great deal recently on Twitter, and must confess to being something of an agent provocateur when I do.

        There’s something quite delicious about politely & civilly pushing an argument until whoever the poor sap may be paints himself into a corner/fatally contradicts himself/loses the rag.

        As you may have figured, I have a lot of time on my hands 🙂

  4. kininvie says:

    Provocative story=outrage=clicks=high online readership=analytics shown to advertisers=cash.

    All you need to know about the modern media.

  5. Paul, as usual, on the money.
    I believe that the lass who produced this nonsense is cried Siobhan Mc Fadyen? Siobhan, may I give you a ‘there, there’ cuddle?
    You need help and support urgently.
    Do you really believe this tosh which you churn out?

  6. Macart says:

    The media is beyond reason by this point. Clearly the aftermath of indyref, the tragedy in the midst of the EU ref and the alarming rise of hate crime since has left no impression upon them. This is nothing less than reckless and wilful endangerment of the public by sectors of the media.

    It cannot be stressed enough that supporters of independence should NOT respond recklessly to this clear baiting and incitement. They ARE waitng on it and they are counting on it. The press are putting our welfare at risk with these appalling tactics and it WILL get worse. The political union is coming to an end, chiefly through the thoughtless and callous actions of the Westminster establishment parties and their affiliated media partnerships. That there has been no intervention by the political parties on the behaviour of the press by this point speaks volumes. Apparently you can’t make an omelette and all that as far as they are concerned. As ever the welfare of the public is seen as collateral damage in protecting what they see as THEIR interests.

    Westminster will be Westminster.

    People have every right to be outraged and appalled by the actions of the Westminster parties and the media. That is simple human nature and entirely understandable. HOW we respond to these tactics is essential however. IMO there is only ONE way to put an end to this madness and it is peacefully at the ballot. So by all means remember the course they have chosen to defend their interests. Remember it as you walk past newstands leaving stacks of titles in their shelves and remember it all the way to the polling booth as you put a mark in that box.

    • Saor Alba says:

      I have to agree with everything you say Sam. As usual, your advice and comments are welcome and spot on the nail.

    • Brian says:

      I would guess that the people who read the Express fully believe what they read, but probably nobody else does. I would also guess that the paper expects to make such claims with impunity. Where is the balance? The SNP govt will be fully aware of the propaganda and false claims that appear in the Express, The Mail etc etc . Why do they choose to do nothing? That’s a real puzzle to me.

      • Macart says:

        I don’t think its a case of choosing not to do anything, rather a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If a political party, especially a governing party, goes on the offensive against the media there will only be one winner. As it is there is no competence over broadcast legislation in the Holyrood parliament and extremely limited wiggle room on print. They couldn’t bring any weight to bear even if they wanted. In short, they’d be crucified and the powers that be in central government would be only too happy to help.

        • RabMacPhoto says:

          Exactly right Sam; it’s the “Are you still beating your wife?” trap writ large, so the SNP really need to ca’ canny, as they have been doing.

          I know this annoys some people but, IMO it’s the right thing to do.

  7. brianmchugheng says:

    So called ‘newspapers’ are nothing but propaganda.

    Best thing to do is avoid at all costs… if enough people avoid them, they will eventually go away.

  8. Ian says:

    dangerously approaching a misogynistic call to violence against women.”

    Well what do you expect from the original publisher of Asian Wives?

    Tory tax dodfing pornographers tend to be not right in the head.

  9. John Edgar says:

    The Brexiteers at Westminster have de facto already put the country on the outside looking in.
    There is no rush by the “free – trade world”, the new world conjured up in the mind of Fox, to rush to London and make treaties. London has been told it must leave the EU first and outline its new relationship with the EU! As May and co realise they are now “out”, they are denigrating the Norwegian and Swiss arrangements and trumpeting a new, but as yet unknown British model. The EU just looks on and says May must invoke Article 50.
    Now that Scotland has friends and links to Brussels, the yoon rags are becoming more hysterical. They quoted ad nauseam the EU against Scotland during Idyref1 getting a helping hand from Borruso and co.
    How it has changed.
    The yoon rags in Scotland are passé. They know it. We are reading the last screech of RuleBritanniaism.

  10. diabloandco says:

    You are right about incitement .Should there nor be police action against the perpetrator ?

    I have no doubt the First Minister’s team are most interested in the writer and the paper and there will be a response which can not be met with the usual ,”SNP trying to suppress the freedom of the press” squeal.

  11. Panama says:

    Worth noting that the Express now sells in the region of 43,000 copies a day. A figure that is falling like a stone.

    • Bugger (the Panda) says:

      43K a day in Scotland?

      Now I know the people Ruthie is reaching out to with her shouty, shouty, angry, angry, pencil slamming routines.

      She has become the political embodiment of the Daily Express.

      • Alasdair Macdonald says:

        The Express is not writing for people who are already committed to independence. It is seeking to sustain a section of the NO vote who wish to hear such things to bolster their basic beliefs, which I would call prejudices, but my appellation will simply strengthen these beliefs. Secondly, they are seeking to provoke abusive replies which they can then recycle selectively. And, of course, although the Guardian, BBC, Times, etc. would not deign to express such Express views in such a way, they will have no hesitation in recycling them as evidence of cybernat bullying and intimidation.
        So, best to ignore them for the poor frictions they are.

    • Dointhebiz 1 says:

      What’s also interesting about that 43k statistic, is that every one of those are sold ‘Below full rate’, meaning free or sold at a discounted rate.

  12. Tinto Chiel says:

    An excellent article, Paul, about a hateful rag. I have said it before, but I get reminded of Germany after the Weimar republic when I see not just The Express but so much of the MSM. Think Der Stuermer. Now we have a really nasty rise in xenophobic attacks in England and the UJ obsession.

    Macart’s quite right about not rising to the bait but I think most Yessers know the game and in any case are not the violent sort. Our rallies are always fun and friendly and devoid of the hate and bitterness of the Saltire Burners.

    You can smell the desperation and the impotent rage of the tabloids now.

    Let them froth themselves to death.

  13. scott aitken says:

    I think I might buy this paper just so I can wipe my arse with it.

  14. scott aitken says:

    I’ve just had to apologise to my own arse

  15. Deely says:

    Great read wgd.
    Thankfully, I neither buy, nor read, any such publications, merely acquire for floor cover to assist puppies with their toileting needs…so there we have it…pish and shite…
    Unfortunately, there are some folks who are serious indulgers of their daily shite-intake.

  16. David Agnew says:

    This is the cold cup of sick that passes for British journalism in Scotland these days. I have since come to the conclusion that the British won a referendum but irrevocably lost the union.
    No way back to the cosy banality of an existence that was never questioned. All they can do is scream their hate at us.

    Hopefully with cool heads and relentless barbed mockery, we can help those who voted no and are sickened at what they are seeing that Yes is the only antidote.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      There’s more nos jumped to yes than been reported but yes there’s still more out there to find hopefully they can be found before indy2 starts because I feel it coming espically with permant tory rule hanging over our heads forever as the remaining in the uk future which let’s remember they used that as a means to try and play on Scotlands friendly nature by saying voting yes would doom England to tory rule forever it came out no and we have torys already doing just that

  17. Mammy says:

    Happy birthday xxx

  18. FM says:

    It is not a public platform. It is a privately owned platform with an agenda, made public. We are seriously up against it.

  19. Hugh Bryce says:

    I stopped buying the Daily Express about 50 years ago and switched to the Daily Record, i now no longer buy that as well or any other paper. News Papers are supposed to report the facts not what appears in there tiny minds. I have no desire to read what they make up or there twisted views.

  20. Robert Harrison says:

    See they like keeping there readers stupid though ignorance by reporting only bits that made the uk look good and not report it’s bad nature when it’s showing yet are quick to badmouthing Scottish success as snp ruining scotland as well as when yes supporters probably had to defend themselves from bigoted people like orange order members during indy1 who get violent when they are wrong as evil nation thugs attack patriotic members of the uk those are just example of the one sided views of the tory press

  21. TheJudge says:

    “…attacks on Nicola Sturgeon for her wilful refusal to rule out a Scotland that meekly rolls over and accepts the Brexit result…”

    Is it me, or does this sentence mean the opposite of what you intended it to mean, Paul? Shouldn’t it be, “…refusal to rule out a Scotland that *doesn’t* meekly roll over…”?

  22. I believe that it was Zsa Zsa Gabor, commenting on divorce, who coolly counselled:
    ‘Don’t get angry, get the house.’
    There is a significant element of the Unionist Coalition who would like nothing better than the ‘Ulsterisation’ of our Independence Campaign.
    Problem sovled if a Scottish Republican Army is formed and starts blowing up statues of Old Victoria or Lizzie. The thud of Brit boots marching Northwards would quell those rebellious Sweaties, wouldn’t it? Scrap Holyrood; internment camps. Reinforce British Rule in the Northern Colony.
    Sorry to disappoint the sad little hacks selling anti Scottish bile and lies.
    We shall not be led meekly into the Coliseum to be torn to shreds by lions, while Bayonet Davidson and his band of vengeful Brits bay and cheer from the bleachers.
    Our tongues are rapier sharp, we have our wits about us. Our weapons are the ballot box and the truth.
    Our resolve is as hard as steel, our wits as cutting as diamond.

    ‘Not so much as a paper cut.’

    The only violence is in the minds of the Dead Tree Scrolls’ paid hacks.

    I see Murphy is canoodling with Mundell and that Tory Lord whose name always escapes me.
    A man of no principles, who would have had 60,000 endomorphs high on in- house booze yesterday ripping up toilet seats and singing the praises of psychopaths.
    I wonder if WATP Two Jobs Adam Tomkins, The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser, Murphy himself, and Lord Dr. John Reid were there?

    Truth will triumph. Right is on our side.

    We are not getting angry, we are getting the house, and the land, and the wealth.
    Free at last, free at last, Lord Almighty Free at Last !

  23. Luigi says:

    The thing that enrages yoons more than anything is our positivity and togetherness. The sun had barely set on the 19th of September, 2014, and we were already standing up, shaking the dust off, regrouping and planning the next battle. The empire may have struck one in 2014, but the Jedi returned bigger and stronger than ever. This eternal optimism, this never say die attitude, is something they just cannot cope with. This will take us to victory. And he who laughs last…

    A happy, optimistic “separatist”, that refuses to die, is like a hot poker where the sun don’t shine for a yoon. Keep it up, keep smiling, folks. They are crumbling.🙂

  24. Dan Huil says:

    The journalist in question must be angling for a job with the bbc.

  25. Jan Cowan says:

    Excellent article, Paul. Only since the creation of the National have I loitered around newspaper stands and I’m amazed at the obviously ridiculous headlines dreamed up by those people hired by the Express, Record etc. They are employing tactics used in the 30s by those who brought about the last world war.

    Scotland MUST become independent ASAP.

    • Jan, take comfort at the thick piles unsold at the close of day.
      I believe that they are mashed into pulp and recycled as German toilet paper. That shiny stuff that comes in separate sheets in a wee box. Good for smearing, but no good for wiping.
      I watched the first part of Marr’s Labour Party broadcast tonight..Scotland the Battle for Britain.
      Labour gave us the NHS, unemployment and sickness benefit, and the SNP was responsible for Maggie Mark I getting into power.
      Brain Wilson was given 4 or 5 minutes, musing: @Why would he turn his back on folk in Liverpool or Cardiff just because Scotland had oil?’
      Oh yes, and Boom Boom Blair was given a wee spot.
      We are apparently ‘insurgents’, we Nasty Nats are , so we are. What a fucking arrogant war criminal this man is.
      What a powder puff wee distorted representation of the last 60 years in Scotland.
      Part II should be fun.

  26. tern says:

    If the unionists were the intimidators, how come there were so few No house posters displayed, to many Yes, in a vote that No won by 10 points? And accompanying broken window stories?

    • weegingerdug says:

      Show me the evidence of actual broken windows. The police didn’t report any to my knowledge. And the reason there were so few No posters in windows to begin with is because there was no grassroots No campaign. That’s not evidence of intimidation.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Why have window posters when the BBC ITV SKY and every newspaper and news outlet were promoting NO lies. broken windows my arse .

    • Weechid says:

      “Broken window stories” – exactly – stories. Where are the court reports and the mass prosecutions? Living in Dumfriesshire I saw several No posters – mainly whacking great big ones on the land belonging to local farmers and “the Duke”.

  27. Saor Alba says:

    The edifice of the Union is crumbling as we speak.
    No need for the wrecking ball.

  28. jdman says:

    Wings Over Scotland’s twitter account has been suspended! seems like some people don’t like being called out for the lies they spread, everyone with twitter account should kicking up hell with the @support!

  29. Guga says:

    With the exception of The National, the greater majority of “Scottish” newspapers, and all of the “major” titles, are English owned and English controlled. Their circulation figures are falling, in some cases rapidly, The figures mentioned above for the Express (though they sound very exaggerated to me) include all the discounted and freebie copies. I the case of the Hootsmon I believe the circulation figure, again including the discounted copies and freebies is around 26,000 (and falling). The only one with, for some reason, a fairly high circulation is the Daily Retard (a Red Tory rag).

    Given that these newspapers (for want of a better term) specialize in blatant propaganda, out and out lies and distortions, and wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped them in the face, the best thing that all of the Scottish people can do is to refuse to purchase their product, even for use as toilet paper, and help to destroy their circulation completely.

    As for their so-called journalists, the best thing we can do is to deny them the fresh air of publicity, and treat them with the disdain they rightly deserve. Ignore them totally as they and their lying rags are heading down the toilet, where they rightly belong.

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