Wheesht noo. Stop criticising the Scottish media. It’s not helpful. It’s not entirely clear who it’s not helpful to, but stop it anyway. Just because. It’s bad for democracy when people criticise the media, but it’s not as bad as it is when that media is totally unrepresentative of the country it purports to report on. Democracy is seriously threatened when a country lacks a media that gives all its views and voices a fair hearing, when it’s predominantly owned by interests outwith that country, and when it’s skewed in a particular direction and in favour of a particular constitutional option. It’s even worse when that country, alone amongst the self-governing nations, territories and regions of Europe, lacks a public service broadcaster to call its own. How can a country have a conversation with itself when half of its voices are silenced and when there’s no public service broadcaster to offer a platform?
But we’re not supposed to ask these questions. It means we’re conspiracy theorists even though it’s not a theory that Scotland’s media is overwhelmingly opposed to independence, it’s a fact. It’s not paranoia. They really are out to get us. We’re not supposed to ask these questions, and we’re not supposed to build alternatives. Put up, shut up, remain forever a part of this dysfunctional union-that’s-not-a-union where the powerless and the voiceless are decried as bullies.
The dysfunction was on full display on Monday when the Scottish government published its Brexit impact studies. The Scottish government decided to commission studies into the effects of three different Brexit scenarios on Scotland after it became clear that the British government’s interest in telling the public about the consequences of Brexit were limited to blue passports and whatever lies they could fit on the side of a bus.
Despite numerous promises from Brexit Secretary David Davis that detailed and comprehensive impact studies had been carried out, what was finally revealed to MPs was as illuminating as a torch with a 15W bulb and a flat battery in a black hole. The information contained within the top secret documents which could be so devastating to the UK’s negotiating position with the EU turned out, according to those opposition MPs who had seen them, to contain the sort of information that you could find after typing “How screwed is the UK after Brexit” into Google. So why the secrecy? If UK civil servants can use Google, the chances are that the EU’s civil servants can use it too. Then, for good measure, Davie denied that he’d ever said that there were going to be impact analyses. That’s those analyses which he’d promised would go into excrutiating detail. But it turned out that the only excrutiating thing was Davie’s attempt to pretend he’d never promised anything of the sort.
The real reason why the British government hasn’t carried out detailed assessments of the economic effects of Brexit, or why they haven’t published them if they have, became clear on Monday when the Scottish government published its own studies on the effects on the impact of Brexit on the Scottish economy. It’s because the studies show that there’s no such thing as the good Brexit, the Brexit that works for Britain, that the Tories keep promising us. Every possible configuration of Brexit is a bad Brexit. Well colour us surprised. There is no good Brexit, only a Brexit scenario which is somewhat less catastrophic than the others. A hard Brexit would cost the Scottish economy £12.7 billion a year. No wonder the Tories don’t want to publish any information.
The least disastrous Brexit is for the UK to remain a part of the customs union and the EU single market after Brexit. This is the Brexit that both the Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have refused to consider. Even this Brexit will damage the Scottish economy to the tune of £688 each year for every man, woman, and child in the country. The Brexit with the sooper-dooper special bespoke deal that Theresa wants will end up costing the Scottish economy the equivalent of £1610 annually for every person in the country. This seems to be Jezza’s preferred option too. The worst option is a no deal Brexit, which is likely to cost the Scottish economy the equivalent of £2300 a year per person.
Both a no deal Brexit and the kind of Brexit that the Tories are pressing for will end up costing us considerably more than what the British Treasury was telling us in 2014 that independence was going to cost us. In 2014 the Treasury claimed that independence would cost each person in Scotland £1400 a year. If we’d voted for independence in 2014 and even if the absolute worst case scenarios of the British establishment had come true, we’d still be better off than we will be once Brexit bites.
Naturally the Tories were not impressed by the Scottish government figures, even though they refuse to come out with any figures of their own which might contradict them. “Anyone can come out with end of the world scare stories,” said huffy Fluffy Mundell in a quote which countless independence supporters have filed away for future use in memes during the next independence campaign when the British government comes out with a scare story. Tory MSP Adam Tomkins sniffed that no one can trust financial information published by the Scottish government, except of course the GERS figures, cos they show Scotland is rubbish and are like, totes accurate. So let’s compare the Scottish government’s impact studies with those published by your Tory UK government Adam, and we can see how they stand up. Oh yeah. Right-oh. The Scottish government has published papers dealing with the economic impact of Brexit. The London mayor has published papers dealing with the economic impact of Brexit. The only people who haven’t published papers dealing with the economic impact of Brexit are in the Tory cabinet.
The Scottish media struggled to find a way to report the news that could result in the SNP being blamed for something. Well I say struggled. They don’t struggle that much really. If they can’t blame the SNP for whatever the topic de jour is, they just change the subject. So there was Nicola Sturgeon presenting the impact study papers to the press, study papers which show that there are no Brexit benefits for Scotland and that all the Tory waffle about getting a good deal is just a damage limitation exercise, and instead the press decide that the real story is that Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t want to use the occasion to give them a date for another referendum. [Rolls eyes.]
Don’t wheesht. Don’t be quiet. Don’t get mad. Get the message out there. Get campaigning. Get a yes vote.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
Wee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements
Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at email@example.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.