During this debate on Scottish Independence the usual suspects have been firmly on the Unionist side. We’ve seen the Sun, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Express and the Metro all firmly pushing the party line from Westminster. The Independent has been a mess which is typical of a paper that’s all over the place, but it’s the role of The Guardian that’s the most puzzling.
The Guardian is the paper which proclaims itself to be a liberal and progressive voice, except it’s very firmly taking an editorial line against independence, and has been since the start of the campaign proper two years ago. You’d expect the paper and it’s editor Alan Rusbridger, to firmly come out in support of an independent Scotland based upon firm social democratic principles, except they don’t.
Now you might say those are perfectly fine, and they are as after all the Guardian is hardly an impartial voice, but it pretends to be balanced but it clearly isn’t as the anti-independence articles outnumber the ones by the likes of George Monbiot, by at least 3-1. Then there’s how they distort stories to fit a certain narrative, so for examples Sunday’s perfectly peaceful demo at the BBC in Glasgow is being painted as ‘press intimidation’ when it was entirely peaceful and conducted in good Glaswegian humour.
Why this matter is because the Guardian has a crucial voice in shaping how the left in the South form opinion because the Guardian under Rusbridger’s editorship has firmly become a paper of the South, not to mention the US and Australia, but less so the less of the UK. It still has, or at least, had a place in providing an alternative. It is trying to cover its arse with things like this splendid Billy Bragg piece aimed at the Left in England especially (the Left in Wales seem to be starting something of their own) but on the whole it’s drummed the establishment beat. It’s also veered into cheap insults with every single article on Scottish Independence has this ad for Steve Bell’s Alex Salmond squeezy stress doll.
I wouldn’t mind if there was say, an Alistair Darling one, or a David Cameron one, but this is it. On every article. It’s frankly, taking the fucking piss not because I’m a huge supporter of the SNP, which I’m not, but because they’ve done they best to reduce the campaign to a SNP V Better Together/Labour one and that is an insult to the millions of people in Scotland who are debating right now and won’t vote for the SNP in 2016.
If you’re a leftish liberal Guardian reader in London or the South then you’re being fed a lie. It’s a sad state of affairs when the paper which has spent years wondering when something to challenge the established order would arrive in the UK and it happens in Scotland and they don’t bother about it.
Now, the conspiracy theorist Craig Murray posted this the other day:
No declaration of interest from Rusbridger in Guardian pro-union editorial over Benshie estate he stands to inherit through his wife, daughter of Lord Mackie
There is a Lord Mackie, and he does indeed occasionally do stuff in the Lords, as for the Benshie estate, that’s harder to confirm though house prices in Benshie are around the £250k mark, which means a tidy profit for any landowner. There is however a popping of the myth that Rusbridger is anti-establishment when in fact, he’s firmly part of it but he does need to declare his interests as if he is due to come into the ownership of Scottish land and he’s using the Guardian to manipulate the debate then what credibility he had left is gone.
There is however no point asking him, or indeed his daughter who works at the paper under her mother’s maiden name as they didn’t want to let such an obvious case of nepotism to stand out, though it did eventually. There’s no chance of a straight answer.
So you the reader have to make sure that you don’t read one paper or get the one world view because you’re not getting the full picture.