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Siol nan Gaidheal
Writing the Cringe

There can be few sectors of Scottish public life today which so urgently require sustained Nationalist scrutiny as that ivory tower of socio-political comment and would-be fountain of revealed truth—the Scottish print media.

The inescapable conclusion of any lucid analysis of contemporary opinion-forming in Scotland is that the main titles of the Scottish press have over the decades been prime movers in—or more accurately underwriters of—a Unionist orthodoxy which day by day loses all intellectual credibility, if indeed one assumes that it ever had any.

Scottish Unionism has derived considerable succour from the press over the years and today at the onset of minimal, if strategically welcome, constitutional change, we are witnessing the rallying of British loyalism in all its journalistic forms—the warped reporting, partial analysis, patronising “critiques” and hectoring editorials. “This far and no further” seem to be the watchwords of the Unionist hacks. The “sufficient measure of self government” is the mantra not only of devolutionist apologists in the political classes but, crucially, of the vast majority of journalists engaged in reporting and commenting on current political developments “North of the Border” as they revealingly put it.

Feigned equality of treatment for all the main constitutional creeds has been elevated to an art form by the luminaries of the Scottish press, whether they write for the tabloid rags of foreign media barons or the purportedly mature broadsheets read by the “great and the good”. Journalistic impartiality however, would appear not to extend as far as considering the nationalist option of full national sovereignty and independence in a reasoned and dispassionate fashion. The agenda is clearly one of marginalising, trivialising, ridiculing, scaremongering and not to put too fine a point on it, lying about the full implications of Scotland regaining its legitimate seat among the community of nations. That there should have evolved a journalistic consensus of, at best, superficial ticking off of the Labour Party in Scotland and at the same time hysterical and implacable condemnation of the “separatist bogey man” should come as no surprise to anyone remotely acquainted with the cringe-laden anglomaniac posturing of careerist scribblers fearful of any change to their precious status of North British sycophants. Tony Blair need not worry too much about the threat to the integrity of his beloved UK from the “unreconstructed wankers” as he calls them, of the Scottish press corps. These self-inflated little tyrants—a motley hodge-podge of failed writers, university dropouts, maverick socialite busy-bodies, recycled political eccentrics and trumped-up teaboys—are merely going through the motions in their contrived constitutional tiffs with Tony Dahling.

Their criticisms of the Old Fettesian are little more than transparent exhortations to his government to get a move on and give those damned bloody separatists a jolly good thrashing by bedtime. A certain Andrew Neil springs lugubriously to mind. No, the pretence that the Scottish press are anything other than the fully-endorsed propaganda wing of the Great British Labour Party simply won't wash. Tories and Liberals need not be considered, such is their basic ideological oneness with Blairite devolutionism.

Whilst biased and partial propaganda—a self-evident tautology—is and always has been part of political practice and discourse, the bottom line is that reasonably sceptical people smell bullshit a long way off, and any readership with a modicum of intelligence will recognise the not-so-subtle lengths to which North British scribes in awe of Blairism will go to discredit any initiative or aspiration towards Scotland resuming its legitimate status as an independent Nation-State. All the cliché-ridden and tired old claptrap about the dangers of “narrow nationalism”, the evils of “blood and identity politics”, the folly of “separatist economics” and so on should be exposed as the despairing scare-mongering of the losers of History. Rats clinging to a sinking ship come to mind when one considers the eleventh hour eulogies of Britannia and the Scotch contribution to her self-styled greatness.

So what informs such unbridled loathing of all those in Scotland who have the maturity, self- confidence and identity-based motivation to move forward from the illogicality of Union with a country whose almost total lack of regard for our own circumstances and priorities has, characteristically, never changed since 1707? The answer is revealing in its pathetic mixture of fear, self-interest, abject historical ignorance and puerile emotionalism for an English matron whose beatings, with time, and in the wet dreams of little Unionist day boys, come to mean love.

Let us be brutally honest about Unionist apologists and the cringe-soaked drivel they have the audacity to call independent and objective journalism. Whether it be in semi-literate tabloidese, couthy, fluent Presbyterian or Edinburgh New Town ad-speak, the message is always the same: “much of our business is linked to England” (presumably the rest of the world is a vast illusion), “British nationalism is natural, wholesome, inclusive” (that's why everybody else despises it, the world over), “Scottish nationalists are selling us down the road to Europe” (Yeah, wogs begin at Calais and don't drink the water) and other such bilge bemoaning a future bereft of Brookside (if only) and far more worryingly, the threat that North Sea Oil and Strategic Nuclear deployment on our territory might constitute an immovable obstacle to our country moving to negotiated independence. As inherent bulwarks of the British establishment in Scotland, the Scottish press corps betray all the signs of the belittling tendency so endemic in our society. “Oh no, we can't do this”. “No, that would be too costly”. “Do you think that's a good idea ?” Such typical Presbyterian God-fearing inadequacy which masquerades as circumspection must no longer hold our country back. The press in its ostensible role as reporters of how our Nation is developing must learn that its current and dishonest stifling of our native ambition constitutes nothing short of betrayal, and if truth (not journalistic) be told, treasonous malpractice.

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