Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has a new chat show thingy on Russian propaganda outlet RT, and this is sending the usual suspects on the British media circlejerk insane.This article from David Torrance (for those outwith Scotland, Torrance has made a career from talking about Salmond) is the very height of smug hypocrisy from someone who has himself worked for RT.
One of the things about Scottish politics is the sheer, mind-numbing closed-minded inanity of it. The same people say the same things in the same outlets, and as a state broadcaster the BBC acts as a firm outlet for this as much as the other increasingly tired aspects of the Scottish media. So the faux outrage about Salmond appearing on a channel many of the people have also appeared on is just pitiful hypocrisy.
This isn’t to say RT is an innocent bystander here. It isn’t. As a mouthpiece for Putin it supports an anti-democratic, homophobic regime that clearly despises human rights and has its hands dripping with blood. It’d do well for some in the SNP/Indy camp to remember this and not just blindly support it because it stands against the UK’s propaganda. Of course the UK has propaganda arms but perhaps some folk need to engage a little bit of critical thinking before praising RT.
That said, the likes of the BBC and much of what’s called the ‘mainstream media’ are themselves openly biased and themselves propaganda tools for the British state.The fact is politicians will appear anywhere to get themselves heard, and although Salmond is no longer a politician, he is still a political figure and thus people are worried that he may gain a platform where he words can’t be spun to fit the propaganda spun by the British state. In short it is simply the most hypocritical instance of tedious wankery by people expressing faux outrage because someone they despise (and in Torrance’s case, uses as a business plan for a career) has went off-piste much to their annoyance.
G. A. Posonby’s book London Calling: How the BBC stole the Referendum is a fine account of media bias during the Scottish independence referendum. The focus of the book, and now, documentary, though was the BBC which when put under any sort of objective scrutiny, clearly lost any sort of objectivity during the referendum campaign to the point where outright propaganda was the norm, rather than standing out like a sore thumb.
The problems with the documentary though are more than niggling. Building a case against the BBC means using examples is fine and as it should be, but then to use Russia Today clips (and indeed, RT mouthpieces like Max Keiser) without mentioning the fact that RT is a massive propaganda exercise is creating an open goal for critics. Same goes for when the documentary slips into the realm of conspiracy theory, which to be fair, is easily done, but the often menacing music and direction distracts from telling the facts here and there’s a large reliance on talking heads rather than outline the actual examples, or include those examples for added impact.
However, the film does work. There’s a clear narrative of how the BBC, with the aid of the then Tory/Lib Dem coalition government with the aid of their proxies in Scotland, the Labour Party as well as ”grassroots’ groups supporting the Union helped manipulate opinion. After all there’s still a number of people who don’t get their news from the internet, or the root sources, and will rely upon the BBC for all their information and when the BBC decides to work on behalf of the establishment, or even push an agenda to help shape opinion, they’ll do so. The example of Nick Robinson skewing reality to make it look like Alex Salmond didn’t answer a question during the campaign is by far the most famous example of BBC bias, and when the documentary deals with things like this it tends to be superb.
On the whole, London Calling is a fine documentary that deals with not just establishment propaganda, but post-truth politics which with Brexit and Donald Trump’s election is something we should be aware of as the simple act of telling the truth and letting the public decide is gone.What we have now are narratives, and it’s whether we trust those narratives or not which for democracy is dangerous as it means those with the ability to control those narratives controls how democracy is shaped. In 2014, the people who shaped the narrative were the UK establishment and this film is a brutal reminder of how we need to fight to ensure democracy isn’t crushed.
The last part of Altered Stateoutlined the independence referendum campaign and the promises made by Better Together to ensure that Scotland remained part of the United Kingdom, for now at least.
This third part deals with the aftermath, including the SNP’s astonishing victory in May’s general election in Scotland. Like the other parts it’s essential viewing but there’s some wise words of caution from Derek Bateman in regards pushing for a second referendum sooner rather than later because if that happens too soon and it’s lost (and right now polls are split but it’d still be a defeat for Independence) then it’s over. It’ll never happen.
That’s why many on the Unionist side are desperate for another referendum to happen ASAP because they know the only way to kill the dream of Scottish Independence is to kill it stone dead via the ballot box. That’s what they thought would happen in September 2014 and it didn’t.
So be wise, proceed with caution and a second referendum will come when it can be won. That’s not for the remainder of this decade, and here I disagree with Bateman who outlines a timescale of 20 years. I disagree, I think in a decade it’ll happen. I hope it happens.
Anyhow, enjoy the third part of this splendid series….
The first part of Altered State, the documentary series about the Scottish independence referendum was a superb piece. The second part comes during the same week as the debate on the current Scotland Bill nears it’s end in the House of Commons and we realise that the result of the events of the referendum and May’s election is that both the Tory and Labour parties are united in order to fit up the SNP to punish those people that voted against the status quo.
As a Scot living in England but returning to Scotland soon (sooner than I thought hopefully) this is of course important to me, but it’s also important to people across the UK as this contempt for the electorate and democracy is something not just reserved for the people of Scotland, but indeed, the most vulnerable as the Tories despise the weakest in society and Labour would stab the most vulnerable in the back than stand up for them if they thought it might hurt a political opponent.
So Altered State 2: Winner Take Nothing is indeed perfectly timed because reminding people of the promises made from the Unionist side is important, and it’s also prescient in the dire warnings of the austerity and cuts that is about to rain down because the one chance to have the people of Scotland make their choices for themselves was taken away by people that voted No for a variety of reasons from fear to being one of the minority that believe the Union actually works for all.
For now, there is no second independence referendum but in the meantime it’s important to learn the lessons of the first one. This documentary series is a splendid way to reflect and do just that.
Altered State is the first part of a documentary series with this first part being titled How to Steal a Country in 10 Days. It’s a very good, if somewhat depressing look at how the media in the last few days running up to the vote on Scottish Independence on September 18th 2014 and in particular the role of the BBC in Scotland.
There’s some very good interviews from people like Derek Bateman but take a special note of the interview with Professor John Robertson and the comments of Scottish blogger Wee Ginger Dug who nails the issues with the media, and the legality of the UK government ‘promises’ in the last days of the referendum. I especially like his comment about how the British establishment’s glee in the inadequacies of the problems of Scotland, inadequacies predominately caused by the UK establishment.
I also noted Derek Bateman’s comments on the private polling done by the UK government which was apparently showing 54% support for a Yes vote; something I was unaware of. If true then that explains a hell of a lot, including the level of sheer blind panic from the UK government, the Tories, Labour and the entire UK establishment to try to keep Scotland as part of the UK. Of course the result was No, and within hours of the result all the promises made through teary eyes by London based politicians and crypt dwelling former Labour leaders dissipated in a shower of smoke.
The effect of all those false promises is that over a year on, the support for independence grows. People have realised they were sold a kipper when they were expecting salmon. The last vague flicker of hope of the UK keeping Scotland in the long run in the shape of Jeremy Corbyn has vanished thanks to the events of the last couple of days. A year on and all parties are either looking forward or resigned to a second referendum but next time people are going to smarter, and wiser. Documentaries like this will be a great help and I look forward to the second part eagerly.
It’s been a really, really, really crap day. I was trying to chill out after hearing some shite news and was going to just lay off updating this blog apart from my comic reviews for a few weeks. Then I saw this from the Daily Telegraph and I just got so fucking angry that I have to vent a tad. The crucial part is this…
Mr Salmond sees himself as a modern version of Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish nationalist leader who caused parliamentary mayhem in an attempt to break the Union at the end of the 19th century, bringing down two governments in the process. He is relying on the 45 per cent who voted Yes last September to stick with the SNP, while the majority who voted No to split three ways among the Union parties.
The best way of stopping him, therefore, is to use tactical voting to defeat the SNP candidates wherever they stand. Understandably, the leaders of the three other parties are reluctant to recommend such a move to their supporters and Labour is especially tribal in Scotland, where its complacency has played into the SNP’s hands. In normal times, expecting a Conservative to vote Labour or vice versa would be unreasonable; but these aren’t normal times. To avert a crisis that will once again threaten the Union, a new and bold approach is needed to stop Mr Salmond in his tracks.
It’s completely remarkable that a British national paper could print this completely undemocratic idea that barely treats the people of Scotland as sane people. It’s frankly, fucking mental but is tinged with the ‘Jockophobia’ we’ve seen over the last few months that’s now become the norm not only in Tory mouthpieces like the Telegraph, but in the Guardian and other supposed leftish outposts. Every day sees the establishment become more and more frantic to the point that democracy itself goes out the window as they decry the SNP and Salmond as everything just short of a terrorist, yet even that is in itself hinted at strongly as the panic sets in.
So there you have it. Fuck democracy, vote to keep people down. Eat your cereal. Shut up. Fuck off. Do as you’re told. Nah, fuck the Telegraph, and fuck those that think this is a good idea that isn’t do anything but end very, very badly for the Unionist parties.
On this morning Andrew Marr programme there was this conversation between former SNP leader Alex Salmond and Tory MP Anna Soubry. A few months back it’d have been extraordinary but in the here and now it’s actually quite restrained compared to the shrill insanity thrown at the people of Scotland because they’re not going to get back to normal after the independence referendum.
The telling thing is that Sourby thinks it’s Labour’s fault and by implication Scotland should vote Labour that this ‘undemocratic’ possibility of the SNP being powerbrokers in the election in May has arisen. There’s not an ounce of realisation that people are voting not just for the people they think may represent them better (surely the very essence of democracy) but against a system in Westminster that’s broken (illegal wars, covering up paedophiles, austerity, expenses scandal, corruption, cronyism, and on and on) by voting for people representing a party that eventually wants to remove Scotland from that system
So there’s two attitudes on display. One is the Othering and demonisation of voters in Scotland and the other is the attitude on display here that voting for a party not supporting the Union is a threat to democracy itself and Labour should be the party people vote for, even though as a Tory she’d never fully say it yet the inference is there. It displays a massive contempt for people and for the concept of democracy in a country that is itself a constitutional monarchy, not a full democracy. There’s a confusion from these sort of Unionists and defenders of the establishment that people aren’t ‘behaving’, and that people voting for the party that they want is a threat worse than Putin!!!!!
Meanwhile in Scotland, SNP membership is past the 100k markand is still growing. Nicola Sturgeon has embarked on a series of talks and speeches to the media and economists in London that have on the whole been very well accepted as she seeks to reassure the people of England that her party aren’t baby-eating trolls (that’d be other parties MP’s that threaten children) and thanks to the No vote last year, are trying to participate in UK democracy. Yet the message is barely getting through thanks to hatchet jobs like this yet as a Scot living in England when I discuss the SNP, Sturgeon, etc, the venom that was once on display is slipping to be replaced by a longing that many in England can’t vote for a party like the SNP. People want to vote for a party that no longer supports austerity, talks about growing the economy, doesn’t demonise immigrants, the sick, the unemployed, the disabled and wants the very wealthy to put their hands in their pockets.
The next month or so is going to be tough for SNP campaigners as the establishment goes full pelt on them, but there’s a real urge in the UK for something to break the back of the establishment and if the SNP do that so that it helps not only the people of Scotland, but the UK, then the establishment parties have to do some serious explaining to people as to how they didn’t do that themselves.