A substandard democracy

What exactly is the point of a newspaper if all it does is to regurgitate press releases? It ceases to become a newspaper, it becomes a propaganda sheet. There’s a place for opinion, polemic, and bias in newspapers, that place is in the opinion columns. That’s why they’re called the opinion columns, the clue is in the name. What I write for The National is shamelessly biased. I wear my bias on my sleeve. I write an opinion column. I don’t pretend that what I produce is unbiased and balanced news. Primarily I am a polemicist. That’s my job, that’s what I do.  When your open and honest about your bias it’s not a problem, because then readers are able to apply their own filters.  The problem arises when you present your bias as balanced and unbiased.  That’s dishonest.

Fact checking is the job of a news reporter. That’s what they do. Only in Scotland they don’t. In Scotland the Unionist press prints press releases from the Labour and Conservative parties and calls it balanced news. That would be bad enough. What makes it utterly unforgivable is that in Scotland our newspaper landscape is itself heavily unbalanced. In a country where approximately half the population support independence, only one daily newspaper and one Sunday do. Every other newspaper in this country is Unionist. So when the Unionist media decides, en masse, to run a Labour press release and call it news without properly checking the facts, news reporting in Scotland is sacrificed on the altar of Union.

Yesterday the majority of the Scottish press were caught out by Wings Over Scotland. They printed a Labour press release containing an elementary error. The story was the allegation from Labour in Scotland that over half of all trains arrive late at Scotland’s busiest train stations. The error was to confuse the punctuality figures for the entire year, a year which was characterised by major closures of routes due to electrification works, with the figures for last month. All the newspapers who carried the story repeated the same simple error. In fact, the figures for last month show that over 93% of trains arrive on time in Scotland.

That doesn’t mean that there is some great Unionist conspiracy. It doesn’t mean that Unionist journalists sit down with Labour press officers in a dark and smoke filled room and plot evil ways to do down the cause of independence. What it does mean is that when Unionist newspapers receive stories from Unionist sources which enable them to indulge themselves in their favourite sport of SNP bashing, they’ll print the story as it is because it happens to confirm their own pre-existing bias. They can no longer pretend this doesn’t happen, because if it didn’t they would not all have repeated the same simple error in the Labour press release. Memo to the Scottish press, never trust anything that comes from a party that maintains that the entire purpose of weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde is to keep open a medium sized Tesco Express in the greater Helensburgh area.

One of the reasons they do so is because in the small and incestuous world of the Scottish media, journalists from Scotland’s Unionist press move seamlessly on into positions as communications officers for Unionist politicians. The Daily Mail’s Alan Roden now works for the Labour party, the Herald’s Magnus Gardham is now in his spiritual home as press guy for David Mundell. It says a lot about the Labour party in Scotland that they’re comfortable with someone from the Daily Mail as their press guy. It doesn’t say much that’s flattering. However the real point here is that when the Unionist press receives a press briefing from Labour or the Tories, they’re getting a story from one of their own. So they don’t check it with the same degree of suspicion and diligence that they apply to stories from other sources. That’s compounded by the cuts and pressures under which newsroom staff operate.

The outcome is that Scotland gets poorly served by its press, trust in the media plummets even lower, and it’s already the lowest in Europe.  Then the press dies a little bit more. A large and significant proportion of Scotland’s population no longer has any faith in the press or in our state broadcaster. That isn’t the fault of the public. It’s the fault of the press. It’s easy for the press to sling mud at its critics and claim that we are conspiracy theorists. That’s just a way of avoiding the issue, avoiding responsibility. It avoids the simple truth that you don’t need a conspiracy for bias to flourish. Most bias flourishes without any awareness that it is in fact bias, and we see that in the Scottish press every day.

This is a very serious issue for Scotland. In this country we have a traditional media which is overwhelmingly supportive of the Unionist status quo and which gives short shrift to a constitutional position favoured by almost half the population. We have a new media which is weak, lacking in secure funding, marginalised, and prone to fits of self-destructive in-fighting.

Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland is a controversial figure and a controversialist, but we need his fact checking services. He’s the one who highlighted this issue and he’s the only one who does this kind of work. We don’t get that kind of fact checking from the traditional media, nor indeed from his critics in the new media. If the new media critics of WOS want to remove his blog from Scottish life, then start doing the same job of media critique, start doing it as effectively, and start doing it as accessibly in a language and format that the vast majority of people can understand without making them feel patronised. Until that happens, there’s always going to be an appetite and an audience for Wings Over Scotland.

The bias of the traditional media and the weakness of the new media are compounded by the fact that Scotland has no public service broadcaster of its own. A country which is incapable of reflecting itself in its media, of providing its public with a forum in which all opinions found in that country can be aired, discussed, and debated, is a country which cannot function properly as a democracy. That’s Scotland in the Union, a substandard democracy in a substandard state.

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72 comments on “A substandard democracy

  1. kininvie says:

    The reason why party press releases so easily make it into the ‘News’ is the virtual death of the ‘back bench’ – or sub-editing function. It used to be the subs’ job, not just to cut the article to length, but to check that the story ‘stood up’ on every count. Subs could terrorise reporters by demanding sources for every fact, or corroboration for anything that looked dodgy. So it was in the interests of reporters to make sure their story was watertight before it went anywhere near the back bench. Now they don’t have to bother.
    That’s because, in their search for economies of scale, much of the press has effectively contracted out the sub-editing function. I believe Johnston press sub-edits its titles from a ‘hub’ in Wales, and Newsquest seems to be following a similar path. So the cutting to length and puctuation checks can be done – but the more important function of checking the story….well, what is some guy in Wales going to know about the nuances of Scotrail’s performance?
    Personally, I blame t’internet….

  2. Dan Huil says:

    As we all know newspapers [with the exception of the National] in Scotland are overwhelmingly unionist, most rabidly so. They know thay can print just about any anti-Scottish “story” they want without it receiving any criticism from fellow unionist media, including the supposedly unbiased bbc. Indeed such is the self-serving relationship between britnat papers and britnat television the vicious cycle of uninformed views and anti-Scottish propaganda continues unabated and unchallenged every day of the week. The people of Scotland are thus treated with contempt.

    Thankfully there is the internet with intelligent writers and analysts like Paul and Stu Campbell. They and others now have the facility to publicly expose the lies and propaganda of britnat media outlets. Thankfully the people of Scotland are looking to these sites for honest reporting and criticism.No wonder the britnat press is angry. No wonder the britnat press in Scotland is losing readers. No wonder trust in the bbc in Scotland is so low.

    Keep supporting pro-indy sites like WGD and WOS.

  3. Macart says:

    They saw what they wanted to see. What they were used to seeing, receiving and printing almost without question.

    That it’s left them with massive amounts of egg all over the place should tell them something, but it won’t and they’ll do it again and yet again. Our media is over invested in multiple political and societal narratives. I doubt they could give up or back track now even if they were of a mind to.

    Politics and media bound at the hip. There is no fourth estate. No public watchdog or guardian of our rights and interests. Leveson blew that out of the water long since. There is only mutual political and corporate interest. These days if a journo, (of any title), told me the sky was blue and the grass green? My first reaction would be to ask for a second opinion, followed by a swift look oot the windae for some personal confirmation and I cannot tell you how sad and disappointed that makes me feel.

    They brought their woes upon themselves. They pooped on their own dinner table and really shouldn’t be stunned to find that folk would take offence at that and generally don’t like sitting in smelly livingrooms. (shrugs)

    I’ll save my sympathy for folk who really need some.

  4. PQsCPRteam says:

    My other half and I have this discussion almost daily.
    His response is ( in relation to football coverage) I’ve grown up with it, as long as you know what they’re doing, ignore them.
    My response is that’s not good enough, why pay them ( BBC Scotland) or the newspapers?
    What I don’t understand is, we keep being asked not to tar all journalists in Scotland with the same brush but there is going to come a time when readers say to themselves, why buy product B,C and D when A ( one paper) carries exactly the same story as BC and D? That won’t be the fault of the readers that’ll be the journalists who were happy to churn out press releases.
    As for democracy? I’m still waiting for them to ask Ruth Davidson how she could campaign on No 2 a second ref when it had already been voted on or what exactly has David Mundell done for Scotland or och you get the drift…

  5. SandyW says:

    What Macart said. They’ve just managed to produce pretty irrefutable evidence of their effective collusion with the Labour Party and their own poor standards of journalism, on top of their embarrassment over the reporting on Michelle Thompson. Let’s work to ensure that as many of their readers as possible are confronted with this evidence and speed their demise.

  6. scrandoonyeah says:

    if only the dignity and journalistic integrity of ‘Ian Bell’ was still with us…Scotland’s voice would have been heard in the MSM…….and what a searing voice he had

  7. Alex Clark says:

    Sorry to have to tell you that there are no journalists now as they used to be known. A journalist as I understood it would get to the facts, dig as deep as they had to and then report the story. As a result we became more informed

    The sad fact now though is that ALL newspapers in Scotland are full of the same old crap, mainly when it comes to politics mind you. They will happily print press releases from any party without checking the facts other than those of the SNP.

    I really don’t know if this is the journalists fault but I can say this. I wouldn’t have their job for double the money I earn now. Lying for a living is just not worth it in my mind.

  8. When I was getting ready to leave “The Big School” and hoping for a place at University, one of the careers I was swithering over was Journalism. How glad I am that I didn’t plump for this option! Back then, a Journalist was worthy of respect (if not of admiration or liking) and Journalism was a “Profession” rather than just a job. Nowadays? The majority of reporters are just paid hacks who write what their editors / publishers tell them with NO obligation to discern the truth so long as what they write suits the purpose of their masters. Today’s ‘journalists’ – be they in printed or broadcast media – are by-and-large the lowest of the low! Present company excepted, of course, Mr Kavanagh!

    Scotland is indeed very ill-served by it’s press and media and you do well to point out that WoS is one of the few “fact-checkers” operating in here. You don’t have to like Mr Campbell to recognise and appreciate the job he does for all of us.

  9. Jim says:

    There is no conspiracy, just the hard fact that this ‘erroneous’ story was released deliberately by multiple news outlets with the sole purpose of denegrating Abellio, Humza Yousaf and the SNP in the eyes of their readership!

    Stuart Campbell does a fantastic job of exposing their lies and corruption of the truth but what do we get, a small retraction of maybe a paragraph tucked away, barely noticeable, whereas their goal has been met and some damage done.

    People are asking, “why are Kezia Dugdale and the Daily record still perpetuating this lie”; the answer being that they know full well that though Stuart Campbell has exposed them, it will not matter to those that do not follow his blogs or twitter page.

    The National could print a rebuttal but not enough people read that publication, we could have leflets or booklets printed with the real facts and freely handed out but those truths would be downed as Nationalist propaganda.

    As far as Rodden and Dugdale are concerned it is ‘job done’, the lie is out there presented as truth and until these news outlets start representing the full gamut of political views then it’s a case of “Give me control of the media and I will tell the people of Scotland what I want them to know, but not necessarily the facts.”!

  10. Jim says:

    Regarding Stuart Campbell; why are other Independence sites attacking him in particular; are they jealous of his success at exposing Unionist lies and/or the funding afforded to him by his readership?

    “If the new media critics of WOS want to remove his blog from Scottish life, then start doing the same job of media critique,”

    Even if they did I am not sure why this would cause the removal of his blog as they are not mutually exclusive!

    As stated before, this guy does a fantastic job of exposing Unionist lies and as the saying goes, “Lang may his lum reek”.

  11. I posted a comment on today’s Herald article about the Scottish exam results. As I am having a few days off, I have had time to look in greater detail at certain websites.
    The first headline was of the usual SNP BAD variety, something like Exam results dip all because of SNP policy. There were some furious and well-informed comments, among the all-too familiar denigrating and destructive ones.
    As I am a former teacher (and SQA examiner/setter) I was of course particularly interested in the reporting of the results. I had no free time to comment then, but revisited the site later, and discovered that the headline had changed to something much more factual and neutral.
    I believe that the changed headline came about because of (justified) fear that The Herald would be obliged to retract, just as in the case of the train debacle the previous day.
    I am a long-time supporter of The Herald, and the depths to which their reporting under Gardham and Gordon really distress me. So I made a comment to the effect that I realised and appreciated the change of headline.
    I am not optimistic enough to think that this will make a lot of difference. But it is interesting to see that WOS has been able to challenge the agenda.
    (And don’t attack me because of my regard for the late lamented Ian Bell).

  12. Del says:

    The Herald published press releases verbatim because it’s ‘safer’. If the story’s wrong, it’s Labour’s fault, not theirs. Or Conservatives, or SNP or whoever. Except it isn’t safe. Mud sticks. Shit sticks to them as well are the originating party.
    Anyone with 2 grey cells knows Labour press releases in particular are rubbish, because they’re up by one grey cell on the people who churn these releases out.

  13. JGedd says:

    This is just so good, a summary of what we all feel about the media. This is where divisiveness comes in – the media puts out this kind of thing which is basically collusion and then thinks that we all are subservient to the message. But, at least half of the public no longer believes what they print or put out, because probably all of us at some point, have encountered their bias. Once trust is lost, it doesn’t return.

    It could be pointed out to them that democracy is damaged by their obvious bias but I really don’t think that they actually care. As Paul has indicated, they are simply purveying what they think is necessary to maintain society as it is and of course, to maintain their own position in it. Unfortunately this expresses exactly what unionist voters want too.

    I never think of the public as helpless sponges – soaking up whatever is put out on the media. There is something more subtle going on, involving a subliminal element of choice. While campaigning, I might encounter a unionist voter who would repeat what they had heard or read in the MSM, particularly the BBC. Whenever you tried to respond with a rebuttal, you lost your audience, either literally, or the face would close, like shutters coming down. I realised that they were not wanting to argue a point and that all they sought from the media was confirmation of their own beliefs – confirmation bias. The MSM are the voices of unionism.

    We are going to be up against this all the time unless something breaks, irrespective of the lies put out by the MSM and at the moment, they think that we will break first. They only need to keep putting out virtual propaganda virtually unopposed. That was why last week’s little self-indulgent spat made me so angry about the direction of the independence movement.

    I concur with other commenters about our need for our own dissenting media. We need people like WGD and WoS as well as Robin MacAlpine, Derek Bateman et al. Independence should be the end goal for all of us and especially for those who suffer most from WM policies. There should be no gatekeepers in the independence movement deciding whether we are worthy to reach that goal or not. To be an independent country is our right.

  14. m boyd says:

    The sad thing is every failing in Scotland is replicated 10 fold in England. Why don’t they report that.

  15. m boyd says:

    Paul, it’s not just the press. I just finished Murray Pittock’s book on Culloden. He points out that Scottish historiography is riven with Unionism where Scottish culture is portrayed as barbarous whilst British culture ie English is civilised and progressive. Specifically to Culloden and the Jacobites he points out that they were far removed from being the sword wielding; tactically naive; manic charging Catholic Highland savages that history has portrayed them as. Indeed he points out that the Jacobites were fundamentally Nationlists throughout Scotland who were motivated more by the restoration of Independence than that of the House of Stuart. After the defeat at Culloden the British state set about the subjugation and colonisation of Scotland.

    • That is what I have always thought about the Jacobites and about the reason for the bloody reprisals after Culloden. I am delighted to hear that someone more knowledgeable than I am has written on the subject and will look out for Mr Pittock’s book.

  16. northbritain says:

    The Unionist press are signing their own death warrant. They print off Unionist propaganda without any fact checking and then when caught print small half-hearted apologies in the midst of the newspaper. That’s how they operate and that’s why they are dying.

    They rely on an audience which doesn’t go online. That same audience will believe their lies. Unfortunately for them, the internet is reaching more and more – and their lies are being uncovered there. Yes, people can still go online and buy the printed press or watch the BBC but eventually the lies catch up with those people and the trust goes. They might buy the newspaper for the crossword or watch BBC for Still Game but that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

    The latest lies uncovered by Wings wholesale across the Unionist press should embarrass the Scottish Unionist press. Pravda was less biased than their output and Goebbels would be proud of them. Will it finally wake them up from their Unionist unthink and reflex SNPBad? If the press was worth its salt, it would – but I have my doubts. They are like a bag of salt and shake crisps that’s missing the wee blue bag but even more tasteless.

    And to those who criticise Wings? The service that Wings offers holding the Unionist media to account and detailing their lies and smears is invaluable. So, unless they plan to better that service, frankly, they should put up or shut up.

    And unless the media starts to cast a critical eye over Unionist propaganda, they should shut up too. Their falling sales figures should be a big hint that the public won’t put up with their bullshit any more.

    • Alex Clark says:

      Very well put. They can shove their bullshit, fewer and fewer are listening anyway. Their lies will be their downfall. “Hoist with his own petard” right enough and the sooner the better.

  17. To all our nurses, doctors, teachers, train drivers, care workers, the Unionist Dead Tree Scrolls think that your work is sub standard, and that you are a collective Social Failure.
    A&E targets are shite, waiting lists are shite, you are smothering babies to death in baby boxes, and thousands of the elderly are bed blocking because Nicola Sturgeon is shite.
    Kids are not upping their game to match the wealthy private school High Fliers, and just because they are living in poverty visited upon them by Ruth Davidson, is no excuse, and by the way, their teachers are shite, otherwise they would be working in fee paying seats of learning.
    And what are you train drivers and engineers like? Our railway system is shite and its all your fault, or so says the scribe whores of the Dead Tree Scrolls, and BBC Distorting Scotland.
    It seems that the only skill needed these days to get on the Dead Tree Scrolls Gravy Train is the ability to cut and paste, that and coming from the ‘right background’, middle class, unionist, Brit.
    I repeat, if the RMT don’t withdraw support and funding to the Labour Branch Office, they may find that their members may vote with their feet.
    The dog whistle junk churned out by our press these days will lead eventually to their demise.
    The Findo Gask Advertiser is gonna need a bigger ‘hot desk’.
    Paul, well said.
    I wonder what a coo’s erse they’ll make of reporting Brexit and the Death of Empire?

    • I’ve heard of making a pig’s ear o’ things, Jack, but never before a coo’s erse! Once again you have enriched my vocabulary as well as my knowledge. 😉

      • Wendy, I just caught the wee clip of Jackie Bird, with all the soor ploom faced disdain of Reporting North Korea’s Anchor Woman, Li Sum Moah, adding her wee Yoon editorial to the good news about Scottish, sorry, North British exam results.
        ‘… critics’ say the success is ‘despite SNP policy.’
        I pay your wages, Jackie Bird, not Alan Roden or Magnus Gardham,
        the ‘critics’ to whom Ms Bird refers.
        There is a mighty storm brewing, Wendy.
        The Establishment is quaking, but hey, let’s head North and shoot a few animals for fun, and perhaps spend a day on the grouse moors as well.
        ‘Critics’ say that the Iron Heel Oligarchy has completely closed down Free Speech in Scotland, and some argue that there is no need for a ‘conspiracy’, it is all being manipulated out in the open, in the full light of day, with the approval and financial and ‘military’ backing of their London masters.
        Scotland is a country under occupation now.
        ‘In other news, Kezia Dugdale is said to have welcomed the news that Donald Trump, the leader of the ‘Free World’ is prepared to blow us all to kingdom come to save us from North Korean tyranny.’
        Madness stalks our airwaves, Wendy.

        • Jack, here in Canada everyone is smiling in a superior fashion and treating the war of words between The Orange One and Kim Jong Un as a nursery spat between two unruly, spoilt toddlers. It is tempting to follow suit but I am not so sure that anyone in either country can prevent these two man-children from coming to blows sooner or later, if only so that each can play with their nasty, dangerous nuclear toys!

          As for Ms Bird – and her cohorts … anyone who still believes a word that issues from their mouths has their fingers in their ears and is singing “La-la-la-la-la – not listening”. No-one with an ounce of judgement can fail to see how the press and media are being manipulated by the Yoons to further their aims of complete subjugation of the Scottish people. Shame on Jackie and her ilk for taking part in it!

          The Not-So-Glorious Twelfth looms …. I hated it with a passion when we lived in Scotland and used to have fantasies about mega-grouse armed with twelve-bores shooting back! If only ….

    • Patsy says:

      Absolutely brilliant summary!

    • Ealasaid says:

      Just look at all these groups you mention there that are getting criticised and their hard work dismissed as worthless. They know their work and the value of it and they know what is being said about it is wrong and just plain lies.

      Add up all those hardworking groups that recognise the propaganda from personal experience and that must make up a fair percentage of the population. Add in their family and friends to whom they talk about this and it is multiplied, and they may spread the word as well.

      All the time more and more groups in society are being unjustly denigrated and know it and moan about it to someone.

      Not likely to make them listen to or vote for those that are denigrating them, is it?

      • Yet their Union Leaders and shop stewards are Labour supporters, and some of their Union dues go to fund Dugdale and Murray, and their Unions take a Unionists stance against self determination, without consulting the membership.
        It’s time for the Rank and File to rise up. Statistically 62% of Union Members voted to Remain in the EU, 45% voted Yes, and near 80% polled in favour of at least Home Rule.
        That’s not reflected in their leaders’ support for Unionism at all costs.

        • No, Jack, because they see their own power being diminished by Scottish self-determination. What of their big salaries and their voice in the politics of rUK if Scotland is independent? No … they aren’t going to support the view of their membership any time soon, are they?

      • You would think not, Ealasaid, but look at all the people who have been royally screwed by the Tories in rUK and yet STILL voted for them! I sometimes wonder if they’re putting something in the water ….

  18. Douglas says:

    Simple honest question…

    Is it a conspiracy if no one takes minutes, no one issues orders but everyone in the news business ‘just knows’ the ‘right’ line to take?

    This is far situation more insidious.

    If the name is not conspiracy… is there a more semantically correct label?

    • Douglas, they are all ‘good eggs’ from roughly the same ‘background’.
      They were reared from Birth to join the Establishment, and promote its values and elitism.
      Nobody had to tell them to do anything.
      To ‘get on’ in the media, means to do your master’s bidding, otherwise hoot toot, you’re oot.
      They are Unionists from birth, and owe their ‘success’ to ensuring that any dissent is crushed and dissenters vilified.
      How they sleep at night trashing Scotland beats me.

    • Brian Fleming says:

      In Nazi Germany, it was known as “working towards the Fuhrer”. This makes it possible to deny any conspiracy or central planning.You just do what you know or believe your bosses would want.

      • Brian, you hit the nail on the head. We Northern Brits need to be ‘good Germans’, and forget all about this Scotland a Free Nation subversive junk?
        BBC PQ is full of ‘good Germans’, nein?

  19. chicmac says:

    So the yoons have a new go to for a fact hunt?

    They should be mindful that:

    Facts are chiels that winna ding,
    E’en mired wi a’ yon yoony spin.

    The Rev. kens claims ur nae enuch.
    Ye mun gie a source tae check the stuff.

  20. Alex Waugh says:

    Duncan Campbell, Ryan Gallacher, Andrew Jennings, Ludovic Kennedy: all Scottish; all REAL journalists. All of them imbued with what Jeremy Paxman called, “… that obsessional, slightly nutty commitment that marks out all successful investigative reporters” (a fair description of Wings methinks). How dare the brown-nosed party hacks we have today place themselves in the same category as these and the many other true journalists who have dedicated their lives to exposing lies, corruption and injustice. I won’t even mention Pilger, Woodward and Bernstein – nah, I couldn’t leave them out.

    • Sam, a new phrase is being introduced to the Yoon lexicon:-
      ‘home grown.’
      BBC Breakfast announces an additional 500 student doctor places to produce ‘home grown’ doctors for the English Health Service, rising to 1500 ‘home grown’ medics by 2027.
      This is proposed to counter the fact that ‘foreign grown’ doctors and nurses are leaving/no longer coming to Brexit England?
      I expect that Reporting Scotland will lead their teatime programme with headline news of the excellent increase in students from deprived, sorry ‘less well off’, backgrounds getting into our universities.
      ‘Kitchen sink students’?
      I expect ‘home grown’ care workers, fruit pickers, hotel maids, and so on, will be the order of the day as Europeans are driven from England or denied employment post April 2019.
      There will clearly be a lot of manure needed to develop and nurture this instant crop of millions of ‘home grown’ replacements over the next 19 months.
      I expect Wullie Rennie to break from his 9 weeks’ holiday tp congratulate John Swinney and the SNP Education policy in practice.
      Or will Sally report that ‘critics’ say that it is ‘too little too late’, ‘does not go far enough’, or some such?
      On BBC Breakfast this morning, the English bit, Skye is reported to be bursting at the seams by their ‘Scotland Correspondent’, presumably flown North for a wee holiday.
      It’s all the Scottish Government’s fault of course.

      • Macart says:

        Remember the heady days Jack when we were told, TOLD mind you, how insular, exclusive and downright xenophobic we were as ‘nats’? (nats was the metrosplained meeja catch all for anyone daring to vote YES) Seems our desire for self determination and fully empowered Scottish government wasn’t based on political need or principle of freedoms, fairness and a desire for social justice, oh no. No, it was based on bad stuff apparently.

        Yeah, we were told how some folk had more in common with right thinking, right on people from across the UK and further afield and had no need to define themselves in narrow nationalistic terms. Cuz, nationalism and exceptionalism is baaaad and can bring out the very, very worstest in society.

        Seems they were half right, though I’m not sure they understand the concepts of irony or Karma.

        • They don’t understand either, Sam. They’ve caught this from America where irony is, by-and-large, completely unknown. There must be something about Alt-Right brain-washing which removes the capacity to “see oorselves as ithers see us”. Americans are fond of the expression “Karma is a bitch” when they glory in other folks’ downfall. My response is “Karma is only a bitch if YOU are!”

      • The Scottish Government is of course to blame for tourists getting their rented cars stuck in single track road side bogs on Skye..
        One local restauranteur, or should that be ‘restauranteuse’, wants ‘proper roads’, and it’s up to the Bad SNP to pay for it. That would be the Bad SNP that scrapped bridge tolls?
        Lots more car parks and dual carriageways; that’ll fix it.

        ‘Don’t it always seem to go,
        That you don’t know what you’ve got.
        ‘Til it’s gone.
        They paved Paradise,
        And put up a parking lot.’

        Perhaps a fleet of Big Yellow Taxis , a pink hotel, and a Hotspot, would be the solution?

        Younger readers, Google Big Yellow Taxi.
        BBC England has a ‘Scotland Correspondent’?
        You couldn’t make it up, unless you are BBC Scotland, that is.

    • John Munro says:

      The Tories attacked this trend as being unfair to middle class applicants who were being unfairly discriminated against in order to get more deprived pupils in. No evidence of this but it came in a Tory press handout so it had to be true. Bingo!

  21. Graham says:

    Even if the lies in the unionist press about train performance were true, what Labour and Conservative parties will be at pains to avoid focussing on is that Network Rail who own and operate the rail infrastructure are owned and operated by the Westminster government.
    And it is Westinster’s Network Rail which causes the bulk of train delays in Scotland.
    The unionist press can’t claim ignorance of this reality…

    “Some 54% of delayed minutes on Scottish railways are directly attributed to Network Rail, he claimed, calling for management and accountability of the service to be devolved alongside other transport powers”
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/15158661.Devolving_control_of_Network_Rail_in_Scotland_could_save___100m_a_year__MSPs_told/

    “However, Network Rail, the UK body that maintains the track, is understood to be responsible for more than half of the delays.”
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/network-rail-in-scotland-should-be-put-under-control-of-ministers-9qzd3sk8v

    “However, Network Rail – which is responsible for managing the track, signalling and infrastructure – answers to the UK Government, even though its performance has a direct impact on ScotRail.”
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/push-for-control-of-railways-to-be-devolved-to-scotland-1-4341843

  22. Macart says:

    OFFS! You honestly couldn’t make this shit up.

    Apparently there’s a piece in the Times saying not enough kids from middle class families have made it to Uni in Scotland.

    So just to be clear:

    Not enough poor kids gain access = SNP bad

    Kids from poorer families make the grade and having a good year? Move on to PLAN B!

    Not enough better advantaged kids gaining access = SNP bad

    At this point the meeja and their chain tuggers really, REALLY, have jumped the shark, the beach, the car park and the attendant bus stop. This is becoming a farce.

    • Macart, it gets better.
      The Herald and the Huffington Post are attempting to rebrand Ruth Davidson as a Brexit ‘sceptic’, challenging May’s immigration policy, and the whole idea of leaving the EU at all.
      We are asked to suspend belief, and wipe out LT memory to save this little pipsqueak’s bacon.
      Big T is no longer her mate?
      Will Colonel Gadaffidson join Wullie in demanding a second referendum?
      Will Celtic side a team whose average age is 15 this season?
      Brexit is suddenly toxic, and Davidson is jumping ship.
      UK GE in October looks a cert now.

      • Macart says:

        I doubt Ms Davidson has many ‘friends’ in the political sphere. Mind you, it’s more than possible to draw conclusions from actual associations and public record now isn’t it?

        Pause for a moment and consider, politically, just who is the career minded Ms Davidson most closely aligned with? What demographics? What policies?

        Scary isn’t it?

        And our press are apparently acting as PR for same. It’s up to the reader of course, but personally I’d be more inclined to have a think about that.

    • Could not agree more, Sam. It is a downright [expletive deleted] farce!

    • Jim says:

      So if working class kids succeeded in spite of SNP policies, (according to Iain Gray), does that mean middle class kids failed in spite of SNP policies.

      Forgetting the class system and seeing kids as kids, the total number of passes was above 150,000 for a third successive year and University admissions stand at 28,700, 400 more than last year.

      • Macart says:

        You’d think that particular logic would apply. However, as they would have it, the kids of disadvantaged families ‘in spite of’ and the the kids of better off families ‘because of’.

        Cake and eat it scenario.

        As I said, farce.

        Farcical logic, farcical argument, and basically they’re beyond caring themselves at this point just how insulting these arguments are. Simply move on day to day and churn out the next steaming pile of pooh on an assembly line.

  23. Patsy says:

    Great article again Paul. One thing that really annoys me about mistakes in newspaper reports is that the correction is printed somewhere almost out of sight. I’ve always felt that the correction should take up the same space as the original ‘error’ and in the same place.

  24. bringiton says:

    As with so many things in Scotland,accountability for service provision is deliberately obscure.
    Network Rail who are responsible for track,signalling and most of the rail infrastructure,which are the source of most delays,are not accountable to the Scottish government.
    You will never,however,read about that in HM press.
    There is a difference between having a political editorial stance and fake news printed for flagrant propaganda purposes.

  25. Clapper57 says:

    “It’s easy for the press to sling mud at its critics and claim that we are conspiracy theorists.”

    Which was exactly what Roden did when in a Twitter spat with someone the other day….and his prime ‘conspiracy theory’ target was WOS……pity then that he, Roden, has been caught out conspiring with the media in publishing a misrepresentation of the truth , par for the course via their own distorted conspiracy theories on all things linked to the SNP , with the ultimate objective of firing yet another cheap , though now misfired, shot …..at…….yet again……the SNP.

    I would say that someone is not doing their job properly…..but like others on here…..I suspect that they ARE doing their job………..it might have worked too……printing SNPBAD news minus fact checking…………if only those pesky kids on social media ….in this particular instance WOS….were not around to expose them…..”Are we the baddies ? ” ……seems appropriate for our friends in the media to perhaps be asking themselves this very question…..I would advise them to ” stay away from political party’s communication director’s with political axes to grind” …..and stick to doing what they do best………. making it up as they go along.

    Paul , you have once again written with clarity and eloquence and only a brave person or a stupid one could dispute your reasoning or your ultimate conclusion on this particular fiasco.

  26. Annie Martin says:

    I’ve just signed this petition using the postcode on my electoral registration, which is in Mundell’s constituency.

    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/david-mundell-should-resign?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1498757722

  27. Roibert a Briuis says:

    HO HUM If you have ever been interviewed by a Scottish jurnulist you will discover that the words that appear in the newspaper bear ABSOLUTELY NO RELATION to what you told them…(and for me it was a REAL NEWSPAPER The GOOD OLD GLASGOW HERALD- shocked I was) …..

    When I was a yooof we had a ‘friend’ who wrote the centre pages of The Sunday Post ‘together he, me and my mates’ well we made 90% of that up in Samuel (Sammy) Dow’s Bar In Nithsdale Street on a Friday night.

    So you will appreciate as I DO my old Grannies saying believe all you hear or read and you will eat all you see…..AKA Do you think I came up The Clyde on a Banana Boat

  28. Eilidh says:

    Great post as usual Paul,our MS media truly are pathetic.Most of our newspapers wouldn’t know the truth of it got up and bit them.I don’t know what the Sunday Herald is up these days.I’ve been a reader practically since the Sunday edition started although never was keen on the weekday version. Although it sat on the fence for a long time it was good to see it come out for Yes in the Indy campaign. However since the General Election it seems to have turned into a Tory rag and gives a platform to arrogant twerps like Ross Greer. If it no longer supports Indy it should says so then I will just use my money to buy more editions of The National Mr Greer is a young man who seems to think he is more important as he was out chapping doors during the Indy campaign. Whoop de doo so were a lot of people.People like me have been supporting Indy for many more years than he has been alive but I don’t think myself better than anyone else.He would do well to remember that individual activists or bloggers won’t deliver Scottish Independence it is we the people who will,by voting for it.He with aid of the MSM having a go at other Indy supporters is totally unhelpful.

  29. AnnieM says:

    This is brilliant, but I’ll bet it doesn’t appear in MSM or on Misreporting Scotland.

    https://www.thecanary.co/2017/08/08/scotland-responds-exam-results-day-brilliant-way-possible-tweets/

  30. Couldn’t help myself this morning: I dipped into the 3 minutes and 13 seconds devoted to Scottish televised News Where We are on BBC Breakfast.

    Scotland is still shite.

    There are 12,000 of us homeless and sleeping rough or in temporary accommodation.

    We are consuming the equivalent of four and a half million chocolate bars in sugar in our food and drink, and charities are lobbying the Scottish Government to ban multi buy deals, because it’s all the SNP’s fault.

    The Housing market has slowed down, again the Bad SNP new property tax rules are not helping, and a three week old item about an island lighthouse where a keeper was murrderrred, (I refuse to give the selling agent a plug, BBC managed that ) is up for sale.

    Perhaps the estate agent is a mate of someone at PQ?

    And that’s it.

    Scotland has no news other than the bad stuff.

    Doubtless GMS steam radio will have a phone in about fat folk, and diabetes, and first time buyers trashing the Bad EssEnnPee Administration?

    Drip drip drip.
    Scotland you are shite, Scotland you are…

    Good job, Donalda.

    • Macart says:

      You know Jack, I’m not normally swerry or insulting in either my posts or comments.

      However… after this week of ‘news’?

      https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-vanishings/

      The mainstream media, their orthodoxy and their much vaunted ‘professionalism’ can go take a flying fuck to itself.

      Apologies if this offends some readers.

      • It’s not as if Damian Green was Up Here talking to John Swinney and Mike Russell about the ‘shedload of new devolved powers’ (Gordon Brewer was peddling this lie some months ago) that we are now not going to get following Brexit.
        Where the feck was Mundell and Davidson to deliver this tremendously encouraging news to their new MPs?
        Donalda could hardly let a Tory Govt/ Better Together BAD story insinuate itself onto her Breakfast three minute misery guts summary of Life in Scotland, or heaven forfend, to be aired in the evening on her Reporting Shitland ‘Scottish Half Six’ Yoon Blah.
        Feel free to vet your spleen, Sam.
        They are beyond satire now.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I got annoyed at this also.

    • Robert Graham says:

      when i saw this prediction of homelessness the bit that stands out is the 25 year prediction , mystic meg would be proud of that wee bit , 25 years oh god this is stretching fantasy to stratospheric proportions , and these doom laden SNP bad mongers seem to expect the SNP to be in government for the next 25 years , I give up i surrender ,its bloody La La land on stilts

  31. Andy Anderson says:

    I use the yoon media when I try to sow discent into NO voters. I explain the real story and try to get them to read and listen to news properly. I introduce a few blogs to them and ask them to follow them a couple of months. This works so you see lying and news distorting media can help. Mind you accurate and unbiased reporting is preferably.

  32. Macart says:

    Since those members of the press have some difficulty in relating WTAF is going on around us with any accuracy, clarity or verification…

    THIS from Scot.gov

    http://thenational.scot/news/15463964.Scottish_Government_says_it__won_t_back_down_on_blatant_power_grab__as_Edinburgh_Brexit_talks_fail/

  33. Macart says:

    Better Together – Greatest union in historyA partnership of equals… Uh huh!

    Oh really?

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-magic-money-rigs/

    You know, there is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting the social union between the nations of these islands. As culturally diverse as we are, our populations do share a lot of history and family. We do share a lot as national neighbours tend to do wherever on the globe throughout history. Pretty much stands to reason IMO.

    How and ever, let no one be in any doubt that there is no argument of any description, anywhere that should support the political union and the continuance of that big hoose on the Thames. When you’ve been stolen from, abused, used and otherwise treated with utter contempt and disregard by a ‘partner’, then I’d say it’s way beyond time that partnership was dissolved.

    The populations of our nations aren’t the problem, the system of political construct, it’s inbuilt democratic deficits and the system of establishment it serves are. It was flawed in it’s creation and flawed in its execution. It has always been a broken thing and ultimately a societally and democratically destructive thing.

    You want to save the social union of these islands, these nations? I’d say the best way to start is to rebuild your system of government.

    • This democratic deficit is no more stark than when May’s Deputy heads North and tells Swinney and Russell No Deal on further devolved powers following Brexit.
      Radio Scotland seems to have blanked this significant insult to the Scottish people this morning, but they are interviewing a couple of English Folk who have nothing better to do with three months of their lives and money than to visit the 3000 odd railway stations on these isles, and in a repeat of Breakfast 3 minutes TV, sugar is bad for us and we are going to die of cancer, the surveyors are moaning because the Bad SNP’s Propety Tax, but not the feckin’ madness and financial suicide of Brexit, is slowing down the property market, and Supermarkets are being told off for flogging foreign muck asFake Farms Scottish and ‘UK’ produce..
      Our media sets out to portray Scotland as a wee twee backwater, Brigadoon.
      Even Beattie admits that his programme is stuffed with ‘silly season’ dross; unfortunately, GMS ‘silly season’ lasts 12 months.
      BBC Shitland.
      Is anybody listening apart from me, the casual listener on the morning rolls run?
      I suppose that it would be a result if Donalda managed to bore her listeners and viewers off the airwaves entirely.
      That way, Scotland is silenced completely.
      No MSM, no reason to hold them to account.

      • Robert Graham says:

        A new tactic has become evident recently ignore the jocks unless its bad news , a nationwide blackout of jockland , we have been airbrushed out we dont exist , its their media and dont we bloody well know it , we are in a straight jacket and half the country dosent realise it YET .

        • I wonder what the presenters thinks as they stare into the lens delivering this guff?
          Who compiles it? Who goes out and researches it?
          Well, we know that the ‘housing market stalled’ item is a London based story, it is the Home Counties (sic|) Surveyors who are pressing the alarm bells, and we Up Here are suffering from a a Brexit prompted ripple effect. But it’s the SNP BAD’s property tax policy which is stalling the market Up Here. Lies of course. It is the madness of Brexit, but let’s not tell the Brigadoonians that. Blame the SNP for everything.
          We are asked to be Better Together worried that somebody who bought their house in Islington thirty years ago for £100,000 is struggling to meet its current market value of £8 million, the poor souls.
          England is shut, so BBC PQ take their holidays at the same time, because they are not needed .

          Most news apart from the shit churned out by Roden and Gardham and Davidson’s ‘thought pieces’ (Alison Rowat of Herald Britalnd, are you taking the Mick?) is not happening Up Here.
          Scotland slumbers, according to Johnny Beattie.
          North Korean legions could march into London unchallenged during the first fortnight in August although they’d struggle to find a hotel room for under £150 a night.

          No more patience; we go for the jugular on a daily basis now.
          Forecasting homelessness figures into the next quarter of a century, and they’re raelly really bad, because the SNP are Bad.
          How much do we pay these idiots to produce this pointless dross?
          Aren’t there rusty park railings they could be painting instead?

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