When they try to silence us it means we’re winning

The National is reporting today that a number of newsagents have cancelled their orders for the Sunday National, despite selling out the copies that they previously received. The news has been received with the usual contempt and dismissal by opponents of independence, some of whom have openly accused the newspaper’s staff of consciously and deliberately inventing an outright lie in order to mislead and deceive – you know, as if it were a right wing tabloid which specialises in stories about Diana’s ghost telling a medium that she supports Brexit.

It’s a sad reflection of some people Scotland that they are so terrified of independence that they will attempt to prevent other people from talking about it and reading about it. It’s a perfectly legitimate point of view to oppose Scottish independence. It’s not a view I share. It’s a view that I believe is wrong on multiple levels. But I wouldn’t ban an anti-independence newspaper from a shop or hide it so that people couldn’t find it. Although to be fair, if you tried to hide all the anti-independence newspapers there wouldn’t be many newspapers left.

There are some 38 daily and Sunday newspapers in Scotland, and only one which supports independence despite the fact that independence is the constitutional option favoured by half the population. However British nationalists are so threatened by the existence of a single newspaper with a pro-independence editorial line that they will hide it, censor it, and try to prevent people reading it. They loudly take to social media to decry it as McPravda, as though the Scotsman or the Mail were beacons of balance.

For decades opponents of independence had the entire Scottish media on their side, independence was a marginal idea, consigned to the far edges of the frayed tartan blanket of Scottish newspapers. It wasn’t taken seriously. It is now, but the media in Scotland still hasn’t adapted to that new reality, and neither have many opponents of independence. Their problem is that they still hanker for the days when independence wasn’t taken seriously. Their entire strategy is based upon the mistaken idea that they can put us back in the box. That’s why there’s the barrage of SNPbad stories. It’s not going to work.

When Callum Baird, the editor of The National, stated in public that one of the difficulties The National experiences in distribution is that there are individuals who hide copies of the paper, he was called out as a conspiracy theorist and mocked by anti-independence journalists. Callum didn’t just invent the allegation that individuals opposed to independence were hiding copies of The National so that they couldn’t be seen on newspaper displays, he said so because people attending National Roadshow events had told him that they’d caught them in the act of it.

Someone who reads this blog wrote in to tell me that they are an employee of a large supermarket chain, and they had caught a person taking copies of The National off the newspaper display and hiding them. The person was banned from the store as a result. I have also had people attending a talk or event I’ve been at telling me that they have caught opponents of independence hiding copies of The National.

The allegation that opponents of independence are hiding copies of The National in order to prevent them being seen and purchased is credible and well sourced, not a wild eyed invention. The wild eyed invention is refusing to believe, a priori, that the allegation cannot possibly be true because it’s only independence supporters who are nutjobs. Honey, your bias is showing. The truth is that the actual fascists, sectarian bigots, racists and anti-democratic right wing extremists are largely to be found on the anti-independence side of this debate.

It’s not a conspiracy theory to point out that the press in Scotland is overwhelmingly opposed to independence. It’s a simple fact. When the Sunday National was launched, it was announced on social media and on the BBC’s Reporting Scotland that the Herald, and the new Sunday edition of the daily Herald, would continue to be “neutral” on the topic of independence. It’s not often that I laugh out loud during a broadcast of Reporting Scotland, but I did that day. The Herald is neutral on the topic of Scottish independence in the same way that the Kardashians are neutral on whether they want to avoid publicity.

The fact that a newspaper occasionally carries opinion columns from people who support independence doesn’t make that paper balanced or neutral on the subject of independence. It’s the newspaper’s editorial stance that counts, and it’s the choice, selection, and presentation of their news stories. What we see in Scotland is a rush to publish anything that paints independence in a negative light, and a corresponding reluctance to publish anything that is positive for independence.

There remains amongst the deeply conservative (with both a small and a large C) Scottish press the notion that opposition to independence is the neutral and apolitical stance, the status quo, whereas support for independence is political in a way that opposing it is not. That might have been true a couple of decades ago, but it’s most certainly not true now as the UK lurches toward a chaotic Brexit that Scotland has consistently opposed. There is no status quo any more. There is only Brexit, or independence. There is only change. There is only change imposed upon Scotland, or change which Scotland has a voice and a say in. That’s it. Those are the only options.

The ostriches of British nationalism want to pretend that change is not happening. The ubiquitous anti-independence media is pushing a nulliquitous reality, a reality that is the opposite of ubiquitous, it doesn’t exist anywhere. But it means that independence supporters can take heart. The fact that our opponents feel the need to hide from us, to censor us, to silence us, can only mean that they have no confidence in their own arguments. It means that those of us who support independence must redouble our efforts to support the pro-independence media that we do have. It means that we are making compelling arguments. The attempts of some newsagents to prevent the message getting to their customers means that we are getting through. They’re only doing it because they are afraid.

The panic in the British state was clear in Theresa May’s Brexit speech this afternoon. The UK is threatening to commit economic suicide if the EU doesn’t meet it halfway. But the EU is under no obligation to meet the UK halfway when it’s the UK which has moved off into a fantasy world. It’s not independence which is based in romantic notions of an idealised past that never really existed. That would be the UK. Theresa said today that she will not overturn the result of the EU referendum, and she will not “break up her country”. She doesn’t need to worry, Brexit has broken it up for her. Theresa May had her bluff called in Salzburg, but she’s still trying the same bluff with the same cards. This has been going on for two years. Her bluff will be called again tomorrow and she’ll still have nothing. Rinse and repeat, until the UK crashes out of the EU.

People all over Scotland are waking up to the truth that there is no security and stability in the UK any more. And that means we’re winning.

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34 comments on “When they try to silence us it means we’re winning

  1. Ronnie says:

    I tend to leave mine on public transport for wider dissemination.

  2. Ahem, I have a confession to make. I am an indy warrior and I do hide other papers with copies of the National. Usually there are only one or two copies of the National to do this with once I’ve picked up the one I’m going to buy so I am quite selective over who gets hidden, but usually the Ex***** and the Daily Broken Record get it. This is after, in one shop, I have almost put my back out reaching into the bowels of the newspaper stand to rescue the National from it’s lowly place under “Local News”, next to the Ayrshire Post (owned by Daily Broken Record) and some racing papers.

    One Saturday, I was doing my, err, merchandising, and who was behind me but Alex Neil who was finding it all very amusing. He kindly waited while I exercised my artistic arrangement before picking up a copy and following me to the till. I could see he was impressed with my window dressing skills.

    You are right Paul, they are scared. Good. I can’t wait to be rid of the whole dam’ lot of them. Now where did I put my paper…….

  3. Macart says:

    Yes, they are afraid of ideological opposition and competition. One printed title leaves them all tremulous and outraged in equal measure. That’s yer UK democracy in action right there. No dissenting voices… or else. They do so love the whole FUD approach to politics.

    The true face of oppression, abuse of rights, the closing off of free speech? The true face of abuse, intimidation and exploitation. Laydeeeez an ginnamin! Hay giv yooz, yer British Nationalist. Their political class. Their meeja and their apologist public support.

    Terrified and outraged at one title they don’t approve of. If they could shut down the indyweb they’d do that too. Again, because they don’t like the fact that folk disagree with their insular and exclusive world view.

    Somehow though. Somehow word has gotten out that there is a differing world view and worse than that? It’s a view that’s gaining in popularity. It’s a view that offers hope and an open hand where theirs offers Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. That popularity? That’d be down to folk like our host and folk like you. Because you kept talking to each other.

    There is nothing more powerful or more profound, than an idea whose time has come.

  4. Willie N says:

    There are quite a few places like Aldi and Lidl who don’t seem to sell the National. Our local Sainsburys display the National quite prominantly but is can be a bit ofr a hunt in the local Tesco.

  5. Once the oil and gas run out, Westminster will say you can have your independence.

  6. George Gannon says:

    So who are these organisation, newsagents who refuse to sell the National?

    Do you know their names, you are employed by the National, have they not informed you?

    • weegingerdug says:

      I am not employed by The National. I am freelance. Are you saying that they’re lying?

      If The National doesn’t name the newsagents, then people will imply that they don’t exist. If they do name the newsagents, then opponents of independence will accuse The National of bullying newsagents and allowing them to be abused by vile cybernats.

      • George Gannon says:

        I never said they were lying, I get your point abou being freelance. I only asked if you knew whom these organisation where, after all you did a great deal on your blog to promote the launch the Sunday addition.

        I have no axe to gorind here, I live in SHEFFIELD and I subscribe to the digital edition.

  7. […] Wee Ginger Dug When they try to silence us it means we’re winning The National is reporting today that a number of newsagents have cancelled their […]

  8. Gordon G says:

    I had to ‘un-hide’ the National today – someone had taken the whole batch, turned them upside down and then back-to-front. So all customers could see was half of an upside-down sports page. I’ve done this now three or four times in the last 6 months or so.

    • Jan Cowan says:

      At the National Roadshow in Thurso last summer I asked Callum Baird why so few Nationals were to be found on our news-stands. Very often I had difficulty finding a copy. The fact that the National was being hidden regularly was brought up by several people. I must say this surprised me. The answer, of course, is to order a daily copy. Luckily our local store owners are happy to do so.

    • chicmac says:

      Same here, just yesterday.

  9. Clydebuilt says:

    I Heard that the first edition of the Sunday National sold nearly as many cooies as the Herald on Sunday. Last Sunday Bill Whitefird talked up the Sunday Herald. During the paper review he also pointed that the SN is Independence supporting. Letting listeners think the HoS is fair and balanced in their reporting.
    The BBC were doing their best to increase HoS sales ove the SN.

    In the days and weeks after the launch of the National if was often hard to get a copy. Sellers were getting wildly different number of copies from one day to the next. Quickly sales figures dropped away from the large numbers sold in tge first week.
    “THEY” won’t accept / be happy with the SN equalling the sales of the HoS

  10. Chris Airey says:

    It wôuld be good if those finding the National hidden or in a side corner reported the where and when. That way we could task the shop and chain to police the display properly and ban whoever is doing this.

  11. Iain MacEchern says:

    Whenever I have a dental or medical appointment, I always leave a copy of the National in their waiting rooms, I also do it the occasional times I’m in a coffeehouse house or cafe. There are ways to counter the censorship.

  12. Robert Graham says:

    Not surprised ,along the same lines as the non existent blacklist the BBC utilise to forget to employ anyone with independence thoughts, nothing down in writing so can’t actually be proved , it’s their baw and their game, with 99.99% of the media under their control and they still aren’t winning how sad eh .

  13. Clydebuilt says:

    BBC Radio 4 Archive on 4 . . “What if there never was a ‘truth’ era before ‘post -truth’
    9 to 10pm

    Examines a century of disinformation to identify tricks and techniques that are still in use today . . . . .

    At one point concentrates on a population told constant lies.

    • Ealasaid says:

      Well Radio 4 should know. I got rid of the TV license and, besides The National, get most of the wider news from the Radio. I have discovered that the balance in the BBC reporting on Radio 4 is when the Today program starts at 6am. That is when you get most truth, when fewest people are listening.

      Friday was wonderful with the reporter sounding very distressed, almost to the point of tears, over the EU totally rejecting the UK’s latest and best efforts on Brexit. There were some wonderful quotes from top EU leaders Macron and Merkel while the distressed reporter told us how Theresa May was shaking with rage. But the propaganda clicks back in pretty quickly.

  14. Davy says:

    I was in a local ASDA (couple of years back) and asked a member of the staff where the National was ? she actually replied in a very grumpy tone “none left – their nae popular anyway”, too which I replied “if their nae-popular why have they sold out before ten.

    Funny enough she went off in a huff, I guess she may have had unionist leanings.

    It used to be pretty regular to find the National being hidden, but not so much now, and if it happens I just spread the joy around the rack to get my own back.

    And if a chain of newsagents etc don’t want to stock the National !!! well there are other places to get your paper and spend your money.

  15. steelewires says:

    I was up in Scotland from Wales in September of last year. I went into a newsagents in Muir St, Motherwell to by a copy of the National. It was on the bottom shelf. One had to be looking for it and bend down to see it. I took the 2 or 3 copies to buy one, and exchanged places with The Sun.

  16. Kat hamilton says:

    at local ‘every little helps’ supermarket I notice the Nationals are round the far side of the stand…I’ve rearranged them to prominence like others, but soon after they’re back as before…staff undoing the good work…noticed Aldi where I shop regular.y doesn’t stock the national or Sunday edition…time they were invited to do so..same with lidl…

    • deelsdugs says:

      Kinda gone off Aldi after the dreadful advert aimed at students and less expensive shopping on prime time tv, featuring a young person with a uj emblazoned in the background.
      Complained to Aldi that this is not a good selling point for them in Scotland. Not seen it since.

  17. markrussell20085017 says:

    Rejoice! It’s the moment it starts to unwind. Witness the pathetic spectacle of the UK PM this afternoon. Bide your time. Choose the moment.

    Censoring newsagents. Aye. The stuff of future bedtime stories. What else did you expect? A critique of McProust?

    The end of Empire is upon us. Fuck off Fukushima – it starts in Falkirk.

  18. Robert Harrison says:

    England as a civilisation can die just like those who never adapted like the holy roman empire for 1 or the astecs who like English in England are now behind the times because they believe there old ways invincible and nothing we present as evidence proving them 100% wrong will change that mindset down there so let’s gain our independence and leave England to turn itself into another type of alectraz an abandoned island prison they created with there stupid supremacist and arrogant attitude to the rest of the world whigh is shown easily on the front pages of the mail telegraph and express all making out the eu as a bully and they are just the beaten up victim refusing to back down which is pretty pathetic for a country that’s supposed to claim to be so superior to all other civilisations no wonder the rest of the world sees them as a joke.

  19. Ginger's mam says:

    Doesn’t it prove that the pen is mightier than the sword,even when it’s a little sword.

  20. Clapper57 says:

    If they , the newsagents , do not stock the paper I buy then they lose a customer….why shop somewhere if they do not sell what you want to buy !

    Petty and pathetic but not surprising that such tactics are being used ……fear of the inevitable can make one overact and in turn , for them, cut their own throats financially. Word soon gets round and word of mouth , locally, is the best testimony for any local shops…..are they a business or a self ordained Yoon sub branch office peddling Unionist propaganda….business is more profitable where as other option can impact profit margin….seems some people not cut out for business ! After all think what other items one buys in a newsagent apart from paper….obvs they must be making a lot of money to be able to alienate specific customers.

    Don’t get me started on yoons hiding The National….in my local supermarket most days I find myself searching behind other newspapers for a copy of my paper….also seen it laid upside down and back to front behind other titles….who does this ?…. wonder what their choice of paper is…cause they have so much to choose from given the other newspapers are usually in much abundance ……and in afternoon still unsold LOL.

    Hiding newspapers and refusing to stock them…..wow …..so much for free speech and their incessant accusations of us being in a Nanny state…..better that… than a F*nny state….which is what they would have us living in if their lot took control at Holyrood ….mind you they lot would fit in just fine.

    • Ealasaid says:

      In this leafy Edinburgh suburb there are local newsagents who, when questioned, say that they have been told not to sell The National by the guys in the big hooses. So I just check before buying anything in any shop round here. If they do not sell The National they do not get ANY of my custom.

  21. mogabee says:

    I have a small local shop and have a running order of the National but still there are days it isn’t delivered to the shop, or the area. This is ok if you live in a city as a second run can sort that issue, but in Argyll we have to like it or lump it.

    I missed the first copy of the Sunday National for that very reason and believe no-one in our area was any luckier. In fact my partner was asked if we really wanted a copy as they thought it was too expensive!!! Needless to say we have made our views clear.

    Some have told me to get a digital copy which is what I do if we are away, but I believe that seeing the paper in the shop which all the auld Tory and LibDem ‘hardliners’ visit for their beloved Mail and other boaking papers is priceless. 😀

  22. Clydebuilt says:

    It’s important to continue to buy the National from shops and newsagents. Otherwise the public won’t get to see the front page headlines, or even know the paper exists.
    We have to keep the paper out in the public domain, otherwise what purpose is served other than to entertain Yessers.

    • chicmac says:

      Great point.

      • Clydebuilt says:


        the paper has been doing its best to get readers to take up digital subscriptions(free bottles of Whisky) taking papers out of shops.

        Plus they keep pushing “Still Yes”, on their mugs and the March Kits.
        That comes over as . . . . No matter how hard it’s been I’m “Still” Yes, implies to be Yes is going against the tide.

  23. Elaine McCue says:

    It took me nearly 5 mins to find a copy of the Sunday National in my local Morrisons at Anniesland last week as they were hidden back to front under piles of other newspapers. This situation has happenned numerous times to me in that store with The National. Nothing to do with the staff I am sure more that the store is adjacent to an affluent area. Rampant Tory country!!I am tempted to take out a digital subscribtion for the National and Sunday National but feel if too many do that it will disappear from newsstands and public consciousness. I thought it hilarious last week that the Herald on Sunday had been hidden too which shows the person doing the hiding is obviously thick as didn’t seem to know the new Herald Sunday does not support Scottish Independence.

  24. william oliphant says:

    24hr Tesco in Dunfermline the day. Aw Nationals hidden under Rid Tap daily paper. Must hae been twenty at least, but experience learns me to hunt fir ma paper which A duly did.

    As per normal A then pit aw Nationals on tap o every single wan o the piles and frowned at their CCTV cameras as A did it.

    These folk are sooooooo scared o us that they resort to their ain petty form o censorship.

    Wullie 0:)liphant

    Wee Ginger Dug wrote: > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ WordPress.com weegingerdug posted: “The National is reporting today that a number of newsagents have cancelled their orders for the Sunday National, despite selling out the copies that they previously received. The news has been received with the usual contempt and dismissal by opponents of”

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