The Scottish Press


Playground politics

Scotland’s press is chronically unable to raise its intellectual capacity above click-bait politics. They are so bad, so blatantly clumsy at their job they classify whistle-blowers as conspiracy theorists to be ignored while warning us of Russian conspiracies all around us. Scotland must remain ‘owned’, politically immature, any movement to greater democracy belittled and undermined. And yet we need journalists. They expose corruption, liars and charlatans. The press can achieve a great deal more than any blogger’s site.

We need the best to follow our fine literary heritage, instead we get the dull, the lazy, the fat, the boozer and the guy who takes MI5’s shilling.

If the press was neutral and fair-minded it would exhort opposition parties to stop playing silly buggers, and join forces with the elected administration to create a just society. They won’t, of course, because anything that makes Scotland a better place puts another nail in the coffin of a mortally disunited United Kingdom and so many see London as the career prize. Scotland is a province, its mentality provincial.

Mark Twain said that “it is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.” That maxim sums up Scotland’s right-wing newspapers, with the exception of the small-circulation National, the only one to support self-governance thought not without caveat.

The price of integrity

Scotland’s journalists argue they are only doing their job. But whose job is it they are doing? Scotland’s press speaks on behalf of Westminster orthodoxy, invariably conformist, authoritarian, and neo-liberal.

Subordination to the prevailing orthodoxy has consequences. It means you turn a blind eye to injustice. For example, the press condones brutal changes in Britain’s “over-stressed” welfare system. Meanwhile, people are committing suicide, the basis of their support withdrawn.

Scotland’s NHS is in a decent state but the Scottish press won’t draw attention to it in case it is seen praising the SNP. Instead, it publishes Tory and Labour press releases full of phony wailing and gnashing of teeth over a phantom SHS ‘crisis’.

In spite of all their claims to the contrary, the Scottish press do not hold to account Westminster’s unacceptable interventionism in Scotland’s affairs. They encourage colonialism. They are quick to belittle SNP’s attempts to halt that interference, or alleviate excessive policies unwanted by the people of Scotland.

A free press

A free press is an independent press. Scotland’s press is not independent.

That alone determines how it can respond to rights and wrongs. A truly independent press isn’t subordinate to power and authority. And that includes BBC Scotland’s news department, filled with ex-Scottish newspaper journalists and governed by BBC London.

Commentators who think the BBC is a hotbed of radicals and anarchists are havering. The corporation is charged with serving the United Kingdom as a single entity. How sad to learn the BBC was shaped by a Scotsman on the make, John Reith, later Lord Reith, a man desperately keen to be invited to high office by Churchill. Like Gordon Brown also a son of the manse, Reith found it difficult to relate to people. He moulded the BBC in his own image, aloof, authoritarian and pro-establishment. It remains that way with only a shake up of its moral ethics in these last years.

The corporation decided in the late Eighties news was a bigger seller than drama and shifted its budgets to accommodate that policy. The BBC, the repository of ‘proven’ journalists, is obliged to serve the UK as a single entity. It says so in its Charter. You don’t have to read it, you need only read what John Reith said: “If the BBC is for the people, and the government is for the people, it follows that the BBC is for the government”.

BBC Scotland recruits its reporters and its daily news from UK-sympathetic newspapers.  Hard to see how the average Scot can get to the truth when so much is a hurdle to it.

Higher standards

If the Scottish press and its broadcasting outlets BBC and STV had any real integrity, any scruples, beyond keeping an eye on their contracts and salaries and advertisers happy, they would jettison Westminster power.

If Scotland’s press want to help create a free, democratic society it better begin participating now before their newspapers collapse for lack of readers, held in contempt, by the populace, and ultimately supplanted by the Internet.

Time and tolerance are running out.



NOTE                                                                                                                                                  This is a short companion piece to ‘The Shame of the Press’:

This entry was posted in Scottish Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to The Scottish Press

  1. daibhidhdeux says:

    For some “strange” reason, whenever I have thought of or think of Reith, the image of Hoover of the FBI springs to mind.

    Odd? Maybe not.

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    Don’t think Reith was a cross-dresser! Hoover was short and squat, Reith very tall and lanky. Reith demanded an unquestioned loyalty to his leadership same as Hoover, and a strict dress code for his staff. And in some regards Reith set up an internal surveillance system of is staff, a bit like Hoover.

  3. Hackalumpoff says:

    I would say it’s more of a vicious circle than “a neat family circle”. Excellent article nonetheless, thanks.

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    Nepotism? Incest?

  5. Probably your most powerful post yet, Grouse. Everyone in the land should have access to what you’ve just produced. Nailed it, all of it. Brilliant

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    I’m surprised to learn that – wrote it in an hour, and now worried it reads rushed. But thank you just the same. 🙂

  7. Hackalumpoff says:

    Nepotism? Incest? Aah, you’re too subtle for me !

  8. Excellent yet again Mr GB.I believe that the MSM in Scotland(as they are not Scottish) are being funded by the UKgov via dirty money.Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to survive financially.

  9. I agree with Deryck in both assertions , great article nail hit on heid , and it is unfathomable that these newspapers are not receiving some forms of financial ASSISTANCE , where from needs genuine INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS , but with the current crop of failures I won’t hold my breath . Come back Pilger

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    My sadness is nothing anybody says, including not buying newspapers, appears to make them understand the public want a society that isn’t a watered down version of English society and politics. Vive la difference! Once we regain nationhood our confidence and generosity will grow. If Westminster stops blocking our progress we will become better neighbours than we can afford to be now.

  11. Alan Gordon says:

    Good flow and covering the points without sounding like a rant. Thank you.

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    Much obliged. I begin by asking myself what are people saying, and after writing and revising, hope I end up expressing what they are thinking.

  13. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant
    thankyou Grousebeater.

  14. saorsa2018 says:

    It’s a great article – better than anything you’ll read in a newspaper. Which is why I’m reading your blog, rather than newspapers.

  15. Grouse Beater says:

    🙂 I must be my worst critic thinking I should do better. Thanks, Saorsa.

  16. Alex Holmes says:

    Excellent sir – excellent! Nicely divided into sections that I can turn into memes – with this post link listed of course. Thank you GB!

  17. Grouse Beater says:

    I’ve find it comical our right-wing newspapers are so against independence of spirit and yet profess to be independent themselves – a total lie.

  18. The SNP should be knocking at your door. An extremely well written piece which everyone (not just Scotland) should read.

  19. Graham Harris Graham says:

    This is no rant, it is a sad summary of the media in Scotland/UK; servile & subservient to a perceived superior British State, absolutely determined to return Scotland to no more than a 3rd rate economic region while its vast natural & man made wealth continues to be used to realize policies that it never voted for. This is the perfect colonial dream.

    The most shocking aspect is that there is a hard core of Scots determined to make it happen because of their deep levels of cringe & devastating lack of self esteem.

    What other nation thinks itself so shite that it is desperate for a government of another country to decide how it is run & managed?

  20. Grouse Beater says:

    I remember bemused that newspapers were not outraged Tony Blair was moving Scotland’s maritime border to secure our oil to pay for England’s ambitions. Had the oil been discovered on dry land in Scotland all hell would have broken loose, but because it was out at sea this was accepted as UK politics at work, lawful, not grand theft.

  21. Macart says:

    That’s a keeper Grouse. A powerful piece.

    One other thing our media tend to forget in their rush to irrelevance. Speaking truth unto power isn’t the sole preserve of the media. It is also a basic right of the person in the street and the media themselves do represent power. They can stand to have some truth about their performance put their way.

    Both the political class and the media seem to believe that the general public should be on the receiving end of both political legislation and media pontification without right of reply or redress. NOTHING could or should be further from the truth and if they think that small factoid has escaped the notice of at least half the Scottish electorate, then they’re in for a rude shock.

    Today people have a platform to make their opinion and critique of both our politics and media (non) representation known. When we have been placed in harms way. When we have been on the receiving end of punitive or poor legislation. When we have been misled, misrepresented, alienated or disenfranchised. We can and will make our feelings known. When power/s won’t give people a voice? It’s been my experience that people will eventually find a way to make their voice heard regardless..And if they still won’t listen?

    As an end user of both media output and political practice, in what purports to be a democracy, people can and will use their ballots against those who cause them harm. Equally they can and will withhold financial support from a media which deserted them when they were needed most.

    Maybe they should really think about that in the coming months.

  22. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you. That expression ‘a keeper’ always makes me smile for I forget what I’ve written, though the political beliefs stay imbedded.

    Do have a read of Iain Macwhirter’s latest on the demise of neo-liberalism – a fine piece using RBS’s brazen thievery as a linchpin. I am still of the opinion the state should have allowed RBS to collapse but also kept the profitable sections and turned them into the basis of Scotland’s state bank. But we had Gordon Union Brown as ‘leader’ and bag man. All he saw was his glorious anointment as ‘saviour of capitalism’.

  23. Macart says:

    @Grouse Beater

    Thanks for the tip Grouse. Mr Macwhirter didn’t miss and hit the wall fer sure. I also suspect he’s onto something in his conclusions.

  24. Grouse Beater says:

    He has a way of surprising me; just as I think he’s reverting back to his British federalism nonsense he shows he’s spot on aware of what the big problem is that needs remedy.

  25. Bill Hunter says:

    Fantastic stuff. Love it.

  26. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you. 🙂 I hope you will encourage others to drop in for a read.

  27. Graham Niven says:

    It should be remembered that the BBC state propaganda machine funds provision of 20 “Local Democracy Reporters” at newspapers throughout Scotland.
    He who pays the piper…?

  28. g m says:

    I wouldn’t change anything in it if you are tempted to.

  29. Grouse Beater says:

    Graham: A timely reminder. The BBC appends ‘democracy’ to their local employees as if somehow the corporation exercises it as a matter of principle.

  30. Auld Bob says:

    I’m joining the queue here of people who claim this set of articles is your best yet. (note I say, “Best yet”, in hope and in anticipation that more will follow.

  31. Grouse Beater says:

    If only I wrote them for money! 🙂

  32. Franco Valente says:

    Yes GB. The Scots MSM (including the BBC) is under a higher control that is there to disrupt and provide a method of news subversion to the people of Scotland.

    For the above reasons I haven’t bought a newspaper for well on over 10 years. I no longer watch TV political news such as QT, Andrew Marr and Daily/Sunday politics as the message projected are neoliberal and against all what we (the majority) of Scots adhere to.

    Good posts this weekend and keep them coming. We need political dissertations that you so succinctly give us.

  33. Kangaroo says:

    This one’s a belter. Try your luck with the National and iScot.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    The word ‘belter’ always makes me smile. Strange how some words unconnected to a sentence can move you.

  35. TheItalianJob says:

    Yes Kangaroo the National and iScot are the ones to read.

  36. jacquescoleman says:

    Who needs the gutter press (and that nowadays includes the ‘qualities) when we have writers of your intelligence and nous in Scotland. Excellent piece.

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you. Keep the compliments flowing! 🙂 Actually, better to pass my research to people you think benefit or need ‘telt’.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s