The loose screw in the Scottish media

The news that someone attempted to sabotage the Yes Bikers as they rode into Galashiels on Saturday to attend the independence march and rally is a worrying development. That same march also saw opponents of independence racially abuse independence supporters of English and Asian origin, but it was the attack on the Yes Bikers which had the potential to cause injury or worse. This attack was the second directed against the Yes Bikers. During the Glasgow march last month, British nationalists hurled traffic cones at the Bikers’ convoy.

According to reports, screws were scattered over the roadway as the bikers approached Galashiels, seemingly with the intention of causing punctures, and possibly to cause some bikers to lose control of their vehicles. The perpetrator partially succeeded. Seven of the bikes suffered punctures to their tyres. It is only by some good fortune that no rider lost control of their bike, and no injuries, or worse, were caused.

No one has taken responsibility for the incident, and it’s unlikely that anyone will. With the exception of The National, the incident has passed unremarked in the Scottish media. Indeed, some of the usual red white and blue tinfoil hat wearing anti-independence trolls have attempted to claim that the incident never happened, or that if it did then it was an attempt at self-sabotage in order to garner sympathy. Yet this is serious. This is an attempt, possibly by an extremist British nationalist, to cause harm and injury to people simply because they support Scottish independence. This is several orders of magnitude worse than threats and abuse on social media. This is terrorism, this is an actual attack upon the physical safety of a prominent and well-regarded group of peaceful and lawful independence supporters, and for the most part the Scottish media doesn’t care.

However can you imagine the response if there had been a similar attempt to sabotage some pro-UK event, a sabotage attempt that could potentially have caused injuries or even deaths? It would have made TERRORISM headlines and the Daily Express would have gone into one of its paroxysms of random capitalisation. There would be calls for Nicola Sturgeon to condemn it. There would be reporters doorstopping SNP politicians demanding that they call out the extremists in the independence movement. There would be a special programme on the BBC featuring Glenn Campbell flying off to the USA to interview someone no one has ever heard of about Scotland’s shame. It wouldn’t be off the front pages for weeks.

Yet when there is actual violence in Scottish politics, it’s invariably produced by the extreme fringe of British nationalist support. It was right wing British nationalists who went on the rampage in George Square in the aftermath of the independence referendum in 2014, attacking independence supporters, beating people up, running riot in the streets of Scotland’s largest city.

This was an incident which was shamefully reported by the BBC as clashes between supporters and opponents of independence, as though there was a moral equivalence between a violent British nationalist thug and the victim he chose to attack. It was clear that the BBC and the Scottish media in general did not want to face up to the ugly reality about the extremists amongst the ranks of opponents of independence. It ran counter to the carefully constructed narrative that it’s only the independence movement which has a problem with bad behaviour.

We saw something similar last year when a right wing thug was convicted and sentenced in Edinburgh for planning to make explosive devices. His links to British nationalist anti-independence groups were downplayed in the Scottish media, yet we can be quite certain that had he been an independence supporter, the entire Scottish government and the wider independence movement would have been held to account.

Peter Morgan was sentenced to 12 years in jail for possessing bomb making materials. Morgan was a member of the Scottish Defence League, whose members sing Rule Britannia and wave union flegs. According to Rational Wiki, the SDL has ties to Regimental Blues, a nakedly sectarian far-right Orange anti-independence group founded in Glasgow in 2013. The SDL also has strong links to other fascist and white supremicist groups elsewhere in the UK, and like them is a British nationalist extremist organisation which violently opposes Scottish independence.

This was the nasty little British nationalist puddle in which Morgan tried to make a splash, but the most prominent photo of him to appear in the press showed him with a Saltire, and downplayed his British nationalist and anti-independence ideology. A casual reader of many of the news reports of his conviction could have thought he was an independence supporter. I’m sure that was entirely accidental on the part of the press. You know, like it’s accidental that Scottish Conservatives call themselves the Ruth Davidson’s Ruth Davidson Party for More Ruth Davidson, and hope that we’ll forget that they’re really a branch office who do what they’re told by their masters and mistresses in Westminster and expect Scotland to follow suit.

Now of course none of the anti-independence parties are responsible for the reckless act of sabotage against the Yes Bikers, which could so easily have led to someone losing control of their bike and quite possibly losing their life. The point however is that it wouldn’t occur to anyone in the Scottish media to demand that prominent anti-independence politicians condemn whoever was responsible. That’s despite the fact that we frequently see dog whistles from Tory politicians on social media aimed at those of their supporters who reside in a 1690 timewarp.

Yet if the boot was on the other foot and there had been an illegal act of sabotage which risked the lives and physical safety of opponents of independence, finding an SNP politician to condemn it would be the first thing on the Scottish media’s mind. The independence movement as a whole is held responsible by the media for the behaviour of a tiny minority of extremists, the reverse is never the case. The reason for that is nakedly political. It’s a ploy to prevent people from engaging with the arguments for independence. It’s not an omission. It’s not a mistake. It’s not an accident. It’s not coincidence. It’s a tactic.

As we get closer to Brexit and another independence referendum, a campaign which will begin with half of Scotland supporting independence, the extremist wing of British nationalism will grow increasingly angry and increasingly desperate. This is why we need to continue to support the pro-independence media that we do have. If it wasn’t for The National there would be no mentions of the attack on the Yes Bikers anywhere in the traditional Scottish media. It would have been left entirely to social media to highlight it, and that would not have given the incident the profile and importance it deserves. It’s very easy to dismiss reports on social media. It’s harder to dismiss the front page of a national newspaper. If the bulk of the Scottish media won’t hold British nationalism to account, it’s up to the independence movement and the pro-independence press to do their job for them.

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31 comments on “The loose screw in the Scottish media

  1. Robert Harrison says:

    Now you see how far they are willing to go how low they will sink to destroy anyone who thinks different from them ive seent this shite my entire life even been on the receiving end of it for practically nothing but rejecting the English supremacist bs the bbc peddle after 26 years of that day in day out its no wonder ive not snapped yet and gone on a killing spree at some point because thats unionism English supremacist bs shoved down our throats and anyone who rejects it must be destroyed in there eyes.

  2. Andy Anderson says:

    All this makes me angry however on marches or on street stall I will force a smile and walk away.

    I hate nearly all MSM. In a free sovereign Scotland I want a law to curtail this. I also want it that all public media must be owned by a person or business that resides here. No foreign ownership of media.

  3. Liz Strauli says:

    Didn’t something similar happen on the Edinburgh to Glasgow bike ride a couple or so years ago? May have been tacks rather than screws. Nothing to do with independence – that was simply idiocy. My memory is not what it was, but I could swear a friend who does this marathon regularly told me about it. Unfortunately she hides herself away in Arran with limited email access as soon as winter’s over so I can’t check with her directly.

  4. fairliered says:

    If there are any SNP or Green MSPs reading this (I hope and trust that there are), could you raise it at FMs questions on Thursday? It would hopefully give this despicable act more public awareness that it would otherwise receive.

    • ‘Do the Conservative, Labour,and Willie Rennie condemn the attack on …Of course they do, in public.
      I seem to recall the other day that the actor who played Robert The Bruce in the Braveheart movie, you know the wee timeless piece of celluloid that even yet gets on the Brit Nats’ tits, I can’t recall his name, declared that he would ‘die for’ his country, Scotland, if needs be: admittedly he was publicising the sequel to Mel Gibson’s romp, ‘Robert the Bruce’.
      That declaration of fervent love of his country had the peddlers of drivel in the Foreign Owned Brit Nat Dead Tree Scrolls all in a tizzy.
      He was threatening an armed Uprising apparently, and Cole Hamilton and Murdo Fraser were alarmed disturbed outraged, or whatever, at this escalation in hostilities by the Nasty Nats.
      As an aside, you never see Fraser and Cole Hamilton in the same room at the same time, do you?
      The two man Tweet brigade of the Brits. Well, they’ve got to do something for thei £1200 a week plus exes.

      This is the art of Black Ops and the State and Big Money controlled Propaganda Machine.
      The Blue Red and Beige Brit Nat Blackshirts work in the shadows,thus there is complete deniability.
      I note today at Trump and May’s joint press conference that #everything is on the table’, including the NHS and our farming and whisky industries.
      Everything is on the butcher’s table.
      I read some accounts on twitter from US citizens describing the horrors of Health privatisation Over There.
      $1000 a mile is charged if you call an ambulance. One recalled being in $2000 debt before they reached the hospital.
      That’s what awaits us when Liam Fox takes over as CEO of G4S Health Providers.

      There shall be Indyref 2, and we will win.

      Apres ca, le deluge. as the Loyalists and the knuckle draggers, tacitly propped up and financed by the Brit Nat losers will turn to violence. George Sq in 2014 was just a taster. That was how they behaved when they won.

      Great article,Paul.
      It is going to get very ugly indeed.
      And yes, I am prepared to die for my country, Scotland.
      Will I get picked up by England’s Homeland Security for this violent assertion? We can but hope. Jack the martyr has a ring to it.

  5. […] Wee Ginger Dug The loose screw in the Scottish media The news that someone attempted to sabotage the Yes Bikers as they rode into […]

  6. JSM says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female and commented:
    My husband rides with the indy bikers but he was away at the weekend of the Galashiels march, thankfully. Now I’ll worry about what will happen at all the other marches he attends. Someone must have seen the nails being scattered on the road. Are they too scared to come forward?

    • Brian Mckenna says:

      I also am a regular with the Yes Bikers and also wasnt there in Galasheils .Was on my way back from holiday. I will be with them in Oban hope your hubby will be too .Dont worry we are all big boys and girls .They wont stop us NO WAY !

      • JSM says:

        We’ve got something on so he won’t manage , but hope you all have a safe and enjoyable day! Saor Alba!

  7. chicmac says:

    When I made this video for our Yes shop window in 2014 I expected accusations that it was paranoid conjecture. Now it seems just a rather banal statement of the obvious.

  8. Bob Lamont says:

    First hearing of this was on Facebook where they were spreading the word to other bikers both to double check their tyres and advising it had an incident number with the Police.
    Only a complete nutcase would do such a stupid thing, and you can be sure that even the most ardent anti-Independence folks would roundly condemn this if they knew, which is where an unbiased media would have been leading the charge but for their wilful blindspot.
    I agree with fairliered’s suggestion that the incident and complete absence of media coverage should be raised in Holyrood, the Press would have to report it and avoid hanging themselves in the process… “Why are you not getting on with the day job?” would be a class Sturgeon comment…
    The Press are used to setting the agenda, not reporting. The anti-EU rhetoric was running for decades before Brexit hove into sight, they have gone from reporting on the King’s lack of clothes to being the King-makers, Murdoch the classic example.
    We may not be currently able to call them to account, but MSPs could highlight the media’s behaviour much more than they do..

  9. Welsh Sion says:

    “It’s harder to dismiss the front page of a national newspaper.”


    The whole story is sickening, WGD. But note that “Scott” and I called out the BBC around 9 am this morning in noting that the front page of the National was actually missing from their daily review of Scotland’s ‘newspapers.’

    I don’t know exactly when it *did* appear, but truth to tell the front page of the National did make an appearance by the time I checked again @ 11.30 am, today. (Apologies for not actively being on sentry duty all morning, but, hey, I do have a professional career to follow as well as supporting indy.)

    Such ‘errors’ or ‘omissions’ (quite deliberate in my view) are also par for the course (and not just referencing pro-indy stories) on BBC Wales and BBC Cymru. I regularly take them to task over such things – in both languages – and often succeed.

    I’m appalled by the story itself. I’m appalled by the subsequent ‘omission by default’ by BBC Scotland. I’m appalled by the lack of follow-up by the state broadcaster. And no doubt if I lived in Scotland, I’d be appalled by any reportage of the matter by ‘Good Evening, Jockland’.

    They’ve learnt their lesons well from Dr. Goebbels.

  10. Gordon Hardie says:

    Unless you’ve ridden a bike this may not appear to be a huge safety issue – but the consequences could have been serious.
    A screw flicked up from a rear tyre could have caused injury to a following rider or even a roadside bystander.
    A screw could get lodged in a tyre going unnoticed leading to a puncture much later, possibly with the bike moving at high speed…
    Not to mention the screws left around the scene after the event which could trash other folks tyres.
    Police Scotland should be all over this to apprehend the culprit…

    • Let’s hope that there’s cctv footage, Gordon.

    • Ian Hart says:

      I hope no-one is holding their breath regardig police action over this. This happens to cyclists on a regular basis and when reported, the police do absolutely nothing about it as they couldn’t care less.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Sorry, completely disagree with your final statement, whatever personal grievance you might feel, a lot of cops are fervent bikers as are many lads from Gala, if anything they would redouble efforts and get considerable local support.
        The Police can only investigate what they find or what is reported to them, if they didn’t care less it wouldn’t have had an incident number which hangs around like a bad smell unless solved.
        Yes it was disgusting and dangerous behaviour, but don’t make the mistake of hanging that on anybody but the perps…

  11. Terry callachan says:

    You cannot trust the media in Scotland because it’s not Scottish it is not a media that reports on Scotland it is a means of persistent propaganda including omissions such as this story all for the benefit of England’s Westminster , a part of their colonisation policy.
    I see today on commonweal there is a story about a large group of newspapers and other media including commonweal actually ,who are asking the Scottish government to improve their performance of freedom of information provision.
    The Scottish government are said in the report to be the best by far of the four countries in uk for providing information under the freedom of information rules but the Scottish media wants more.
    It beggars belief that we are in a situation where the media in Scotland omits information and news and tells lies and distorts the truth but is now actually so brazen that it is demanding more information be provided by the Scottish government, I thought to myself what a cheek why are we even supplying the likes of bbc and stv and the newspapers with information that we know they distort in order to harm the Scottish government and snp and Scotland as a whole.
    I also thought to myself that we should reject this new request and tell them to get on their bike and only come back when they show us that they can in fact report news truthfully and responsibly.

  12. penguin says:

    I must be living in a parallel universe, but I remember during the referendum campaign an extreme Yoon tried to ram Alex Salmond’s car off the road and was later imprisoned.

    Try as I might, I can’t find any trace of it online, but I know it happened even though the media did there best to minimise the serious nature of the event.

    Does anybody else remember?

  13. Macart says:

    Intimidation and placing others in harms way. From top to bottom, it kinda let’s you know what they’re all about really. That, and it’s all they’ve ever had in way of an argument. Seems we’re at the ‘Dae as yir telt… OR ELSE!’ part of the bestest, closest onion in the history of the galaxy. Makes you feel all fuzzy.

    Needless to say they’re looking for a like minded response. And that is exactly the response they shouldn’t get. Reason, laughter and peaceful gathering.

    Gotta be greater than the hater. 🙂

    Also? Yes. Yes the media are a disgrace.

    Their story has been one of serial failure toward Scotland’s population in general and the half of Scotland’s population supportive of self government in particular for quite some time to be fair. Mind you, their chain tuggers in the political sphere are the real problem. One creates a narrative and the other spreads it like…. Well. Like that stuff they spread across fields.

    We’re still here and we can still do this the right way.

  14. Jock McDonnell says:

    It would affect other road-users too, public safety issue. Hopefully a question to the FM on this.

  15. Shagpile says:

    In the Indyref campaign in 2014, an attempt to run Alex Salmond’s car off the road was made. I never heard about this in the UK media. I heard it on an American talk radio recording. The event lead to the FM being provided with a “copper” for personal protection which was met by derision and mockery in the Holyrood chamber by the opposition benches.

    In the recording I listened to, the American journalist said (in total disbelief) that if that had happened in the US to a State Governor, the assailant’s car would have been riddled with police bullets.

    I doubt if anyone hasn’t heard of the Murphy egg incident during the same campaign, the slow motion action replays played on the BBC time and time again and the twisted anguish on poor Jim’s face are indelibly printed in my memory.

    This is nothing new sadly, and the mould for all future formats of reporting is well and truly set.

    So, don’t be surprised by the antics of the UK MSM. Not their first time, wont be their last. Thanks for the article Paul. These actions must be recorded for posterity.

    • Shagpile says:

      Oh, and BTW. The incident which led to the protection officer was not alluded to in the Holyrood clip on the BBC. The news never reported what exactly this incident was, just that there WAS an incident. Who does the FM think he is? The prime minister or someone equally significant.. Alex shaking his head in disbelief. Thing is, Mr Salmond had no say in the appointment of his copper. It was the police which made the appointment.

      Sad that out of opposition MSPs, BBC and MSM journalists. Only a Chief Constable took their job seriously.

  16. Brian Powell says:

    There is no Scottish media, it is BritNat propaganda. It’s taken me a while to realise the press in Scotland are foreign newspapers representing a foreign government in London.

  17. The media downplaying and deliberate lying is something we should aware of at all times but I get a wee feeling that there is something Machiavellian the way they are going about the reporting smacks of a bigger mind at play here, just a feeling I get when reading these reports that don’t get reported in any other media except the National.

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