Here is the news:

I don’t like how the SNP has been cosying up to News International, nor how Alex Salmond is big chums with Rupert Murdoch these days.

And I don’t like how many SNP members/supporters appear to be falling into line and accepting this.  Either as an unalloyed good or as an inevitable necessity in the bid to win hearts and minds in the independence referendum.

For years, the mainstream media has bashed the Nats, pillorying the SNP, belittling its core belief, and on occasion, spreading a miasma of lies about the party’s motives and its policies.  Decades have seen the party under siege in a foxhole, being battered by the bazookas and artillery of the Unionist parties, their cheerleaders and a host of media outlets.  The venom deployed, on occasion, has been shocking.

Despite all this, by its own efforts, the SNP made inroads into the public consciousness.  It worked out how to circumvent the media, and to play it at its own game.  A motivated ground corps, some strong messaging and policy commitments, a decent campaigning tool, lots of heart, a ton of slog and the breakthrough was made.  Admittedly, the malaise in the Labour party and its incompetence and complacency contributed, but the SNP can rightly claim that its success is largely its own.

Even after 2007, it found few friends and could rely on even fewer favours.  Right up to the last gasp in the election campaign, newspapers across the land worked hard to give Labour the space to make its pitch.  Only when it was clear that the early polls had forecast a false return to form and that the SNP would hold on to power, did they come out in the party’s favour.  Some failed even to do that, maintaining a studious and dishonest neutrality.

Now the SNP is the only political show in town.  Consequently, institutions and establishment figures which previously crossed the street to avoid the party are queueing up to pay homage in the court of King Alex.  And with the prize of independence close at hand, it is understandable that the party and the leadership, in particular, might want to acquire all the levers it might need.  That includes a big newspaper with a big readership.  The end justifies the means, seems to be the mantra.

Sorry it doesn’t.

Today’s revelations at the Leveson inquiry about the scale and the extent of the rottenness at the heart of the Murdoch operation were eye-watering.  Bribery was a commonplace, if the Deputy Assistant Commissioner in charge of the phone-hacking investigations, is to be believed.  And why wouldn’t we?

Just as bad, if not worse, is the fact that illegal payments were being made to a range of corrupt public officials.  Not to lay bare appalling practice or criminality, but to provide tittle-tattle which breached – flagrantly – people’s private lives.  All for the delectation of the masses.  Joe Jackson never seemed so appropriate.

This used to be bread and butter to the SNP.  What better argument for independence and the opportunity to create a whiter, brighter Scotland, one that embraces a different culture and sets higher standards for public life, could there be than the graft currently being unmasked at the centre of institutional UK?  Who wants to remain part of a system which doesn’t just tolerate such activity but aids and abets it?

But the SNP and the Scottish Government cannot point the finger, not when it is cultivating a special arrangement with the Emperor’s Caledonian chattels.  Yesterday’s splash on the date of the referendum in the launch edition of the Scottish Sunday currant bun might have been an exclusive announcement or a leak or a speculative punt.  The First Minister might have attempted to downplay the announcement, to protest.  But not too much.

There is, after all, the whiff of an endorsement for a yes vote in the air.  All those come hither tweets from Rupert Murdoch suggest it.  Far be it for me to question the man’s motives, but could it be that he sees an opportunity to expand his global media empire in an open source Scotland?  If doors are slamming shut on him all around London, would independence enable him to suprise them through the back door?

I really hope not.

The last week has reminded me of the power inherent in good quality print journalism: death in the line of duty makes you consider why some are driven to deliver the news, to tell the untold stories, to give people a voice.  And what purpose it serves.

I’d like to think an independent Scotland could offer a blank page and a fresh start in media terms;  to create an environment that allows bona fide news gathering and story telling to flourish;  which encourages a wider view of the world and allows for the sort of writing that takes you to faraway places and gives you a better understanding of our sense of place in the global village.  Heck, there’s room too for the couthy, the gossipy, the frothy and the frivolous – so long as it’s squeaky clean.  It takes all sorts after all.

But we’ll get none of that if Murdoch is given free rein in return for favours owed.  Indeed, I see as many problems as potential benefits from being too tightly thirled to News International in the months ahead.  For every vote gained, how many might be lost?  I doubt I’m the only Scot with their stomach churned by the shenanigans unfolding.

I’m dismayed that not more SNP and independence-supporting voices are speaking out against this shotgun marriage, but I’m also fairly sure that I’m not the only one feeling uneasy and queasy about it all.

Could there be more news on this soon?  I’d like to think so.

 

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About burdzeyeview

A Scottish burd casting a beady eye over political, topical, economic and social issues that ruffle my feathers.

Posted on February 28, 2012, in Political witterings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. There is Lord Steel saying that the SNP, recently given leave by Chris Patten to put forward a dossier on bias in the BBC, are trying to “intimidate” the BBC.

    Again I have to state, how would a press investigation of the Leveson sort be portrayed by the other parties and the press.

    The SNP have enough aggravation without inviting more. I suspect that the silence on the matter is more to do with this rather than some evil scheme for which there is no proof

    • Again we see a Scottish Unionist politician in the shape of Lord Steel seeking to portray Scotland as a banana republic that hosts a servile dictatorship. It is this sort of rhetoric that turns people into nationalists and votes into SNP governments. If Sir David, his other title, has nothing to positive to say about his own country he should perhaps consider that others do.

  2. So where is the evidence that the SNP are cosying up to Murdoch?

    Where are the facts?

    Hearsay, guilt by association, smear and allegations are just that.

    Only a few weeks ago Alex Salmond was being accused of trying to cosy to the BBC only to be rebuffed. Similar accusations were lodged concerning Donald Trump.

  3. Excellent article which I agree with wholeheartedly.

    I’m fed up with apologists saying “oh well, the other parties did it as well.” Looked what happened to them.

    The SNP have the resources to get their message out without Murdoch’s empire dragging them down, and I think that is going to happen.

    (I’m halfway through a similar article, so apologies some parts looked lifted – they ain’t!)

    • Did what? What is it that the SNP is supposed to have done? And I’m talking about something they have really done. Not what the unionist propaganda says they have done.

      • The SNP have decided to team up with an organisation that is currently paying out millions of pounds of damages.

        Did you see Tommy Sheridan’s mother?

        I’m not against the SNP using national media to promote their cause. But of all the organisations they choose…….who’s using who?

      • Team up? What does that even mean? What have they ACTUALLY done? Not what gossip you’ve heard. Not the smears printed in the likes of The Scotsman. Something they have really done. Something you have evidence of. Evidence that other people can see.

  4. Laughing Spam Fritter

    He’s got a printing plant in Lanarkshire. For all concerned – this is “just business”.

  5. @loveandgarbage

    It’s a fair fact of life that the SNP have no friends in the press. The UK Nationals are hostile, the Scottish only slightly less so and the BBC is arguably partisan.

    If the SNP had tried such a thing the Unionist parties would have screamed to the heavens about press freedom. We’ve seen Labour, laughably, ‘warn’ the BBC about favouring the SNP, we saw the furore when the Scottish Government pulled adverts in favour of web publication.

    It is disingenuous of anyone, especially such a fierce critic as loveandgarbage, to suggest that the SNP could have tackled the press without being in a world of hurt.

    The SNP do not need to invite extra fights, they have enough already.

  6. I agree with burdzeeview. A Scottish Government Official hinting at a date for the referendum is enough for me to worry about the SNP being too close to Murdoch. I hope for a Scotland independent from Westminster, and from Murdoch. Independence will bring lots of changes and challenges and the SNP won’t be the only show in town for long, if they let it complacency will destroy them, just look at Scottish Labour.

    • What “Scottish Government Official” was that? Name?

      • I don’t have a name for you, I am commenting on a story that every political party and newspaper in Scotland (and the rest of the planet) has commented on and one that the Scottish Government has not denied. As you well know.

        I really don’t want to argue with you, happy to debate though. In my opinion debates and discussions like this one are best if everyone tries their best to be polite and well mannered.

      • Debates are best if people stick to the facts and avoid making claims that they can’t back up with evidence. You made a claim about a “Scottish Government Official”. Where is the evidence that any such person was involved.

        You also claim that the Scottish Government “has not denied” the story. That is simply untrue. Even The Scotsman reported the Scottish government’s response. It seems that you are rather selective in your reading.

  7. I am really shocked to hear so many people come away with the “well he isn’t such a bad chap” guff. The guy owned two of the biggest red top tabloids in this country, newspapers that led the way to the bottom. Sure the Levenson Enquiry hasn’t turned up anything relating to Scotland… yet. But who’s to say that those tabloid practices were not adopted in the news rooms of effectively the Scottish half brothers.

    The other point to be made is that Murdoch does not go into anything without any Quid pro quo. He backed both Thatcher and Blair because they left him alone to do as he pleased and did not block any of his expansion plans – The Times was purchased 2 years into Thatcher’s first administration. He allowed himself to back Cameron because he promised a tighter reign on the BBC and the abbolition of OFCOM – funnily enough in a column in The S*n. That relationship is either close to breaking point or dead.

    So what quid pro quo could the Digger ask for? Salmond is already keen on low Corporation Tax rates for an Independent Scotland. Murdoch could push for Scotland to become a low tax, low regulation ecconomy (which if Salmond is not quite in agreement, there are people within the SNP who would be in agreement to this plan). Murdoch could concieviably offer more jobs (from BSkyB) or maybe offer to relocate his Wapping opperation in Scotland.

    With a low tax, low regulation and non EU member on the doorstep of the remaining rump of the UK – Murdoch could cash his chips in by moving his whole opperation north.

    • “I am really shocked to hear so many people come away with the “well he isn’t such a bad chap” guff.”

      Has somebody said that?

      • Gary from below – “You need to separate Rupert Murdoch from the nasty little people that he allowed to run parts of his business. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that he endorsed, encouraged or ordered the behaviour you fulminate against.”

        Er… you – “Why should they say anything? Aren’t there already more than enough Angry Villagers waving pitchforks at Rupert Murdoch?”

        Indy commenting on the post at Better Nation “It’s the Scottish S*n wot won it” – “If however the Sun can help to mobilise that group, encourage them to register and help provide them with the confidence to vote that will be an unmitigated Good Thing and we will all owe Mr Murdoch a wee debt of gratitude. Even the people who hate him.”

        The thought process is there, either that Murdoch is an innocent in all of this (which as the extremely hands on head of a large company i find hard to believe), or that the exposure his newspapers will bring to the SNP’s pro-independence argument is worth having to deal with someone with a reputation such as his.

      • Are you familiar with the term. “creative reading”?

    • Well you know we can say with some degree of – well in fact with total certainty that the relationship between the media and politicians in Scotland is not the same as the relationship between Westminster politicians and the media was. It’s pretty clear that the whole Westminster class were effectively being blackmailed by the tabloid press – and possibly not only the tabloid press – with the threat of revelations about their sex lives, financial affairs and other such matters. That is why they were afraid to take any steps against the press.

      That is just not the case here, I don’t know why but it isn’t. It’s not that people don’t have sex, sometimes even in the garden lobby, but such stories don’t make it into the press. Our scandals tend to involve stuff like constituency office rents, taxi fares, undeclared donations etc – none of which were exposed by dodgy methods but by FOI requests in the main. As I said earlier the journalists our politicians watch out for are people like Tom Gordon who get their stories not by hacking phones but by digging and digging and digging.

      That is not to say that there have been no dodgy goings on. I would think that some of the crime reporting could do with being looked at and I think it will be. But the basic argument being made here is that the SNP should not have a relationship with Murdch owned papers because the staff are guilty by association. It’s not being argued that they are guilty of anything themselves – but they are guilty by association because they work for a title owned by Murdoch. To me that is taking things too far, it would be cutting off our noses to spite our faces.

  8. When you see a party remain resolutely silent for years on the issue of press regulation (not even a parliamentary written question over the years from the ICO reports until the Leveson inquiry was announced), and then belatedly bemoan the UK government inaction on the Information Commissioner Motorman report – while throughout its own time in government in Scotland remaining silent and failing to act (despite the topic of press regulation being devolved to Holyrood), you can forgive a degree of cynicism on the part of those of us that view this as a serious issue that should be addressed.

    Why has a Scottish government agreed without a whimper to an English judge operating under English law with English law trained barristers looking into the Scottish media and intrusions into the privacy of Scottish citizens? Will there be discussion of relations between the press and the police in Scotland? Will there be discussions of the relations between press and politicians in Scotland? Why is there is no Scottish legal representation there? Or has the Scottish government submitted evidence to Leveson on the differences between Scots and English law in the area? Does the silence indicate that they are prepared to pretend that all of these issues are just London based problems?

    Some of us have banged on about this issue of press regulation for a while – Iain Hepburn in particular, long before the furore blew up with the Millie Dowler case. I, for one, look on the inaction (and subsequent deflelctions of blame when the SNP government is equally complicit and blameworthy) over the years, the gushing tribute in the Sun on Sunday, and the reported telephone calls between Salmond and Murdoch (coming so soon after the Trump business when planning law was thrown up in the air based on a quick call from Salmond to the chief planner – the first time ever in the history of town and country planning in Scotland where a case was called in after a decision even though the developer had a right to appeal) and find such conduct distasteful. If Salmond wants to get into bed with the organisation that hacked (or paid for the hacking of) a missing schoolgirl’s telephone, an organisation that is alleged to have interfered in murder investigations (if today’s Leveson evidence is correct) then hell mend him.

  9. Hi Kate,

    I totally agree with you, I could not believe it when I saw my time stream on Sunday and then Peter Murrell RT’d it at least twice to my knowledge.

    We cannot stop Murdoch supporting independence but that does not mean we have to give him the time of day. Jamie Glackin sent me a pic of the “letter” (No sunday papers up here) and all I could say to Jamie was something about cringing, And I was cringing.

    Most people online know me as Scouriebeast and I do accept I have somewhat of a reputation, Some even think I toe the party line but thats not the case.

    The SNP have seriously screwed up on this matter and need to be held accountable. I have 2 major problems 1) cosying up to Murdoch and thats what has been done, let there be no mistake 2) Doing something that stupid when we are doing well in polls both for locals and indy. All we have done is give our opponents ammunition which is credible

    When something is wrong people need to speak up, Just as you have done politely and correctly.

    As a SNP member I feel we cannot just stick our head in the sand over this and its a very slippery slope that the SNP has stepped upon with the Sun on Sunday.

    The SNP need to back right off in this matter and instead of people thinking that becuase your disagreeing your attacking the SNP I would suggest to them they re read your blog and see what you actually said.

    Gillon

  10. Who says the SNP are cosying up to Murdoch?

    Why it is the very same mainstream media that for years “has bashed the Nats, pillorying the SNP, belittling its core belief, and on occasion, spreading a miasma of lies about the party’s motives and its policies.”

    The gutter press will always be the gutter press. Scum journalism, be it print or broadcast is still scum journalism. Anyone who believes a word printed in these rags and broadcast by the BBC ought to have their heads looked at.

    I am surprised that the ‘burd’ fell for this one.

    As I questioned – Who says the SNP are cosying up to Murdoch?

  11. Doug There is a brutal calculation to be made here. Will a suspicion that the SNP is cosying up to Murdoch, however that is envisaged, lead to people becoming so annoyed that they will vote no in referendum? Not likely.. On the other hand, is there a chance that the 300,000 Scottish Sun readers – who, however much people here may despise their choice of newspaper, still have a vote – could help tip the referendum outcome towards a yes? Yes.

    Does that mean the SNP has shown itself to be like any other political party in making such considerations? Yes and no. Yes, the SNP has learned a lot from New Labour in terms of how it operates. But no, that does not make the SNP the same as New Labour because it is not power for power’s sake that we seek. We only need to win once, as they say.

  12. With independence so tantalisingly close, there is a need to maintain a pragmatic approach, which I suspect is why there is little dissent amongst the SNP faithful about this. I would dearly love it if the independence debate could exist in a bubble, free from media bias. Unfortunately, it can’t, and a quick look at the Guardian’s series of “reality checks” on independence this week shows a perfect example of the innate bias of even journalists who reckon they are balanced and above the sort of machinations prevalent in rags like the Mail and the Express.

    With this in mind, I just don’t think the SNP – and the independence movement in general – can afford to be so complacent as to enter martyrdom wilfully at this surprising turn of events, and we certainly can’t afford to turn such events into black-or-white issues. Up until now, the pro-independence voice in the media has consisted entirely of a handful of journalists spread around various papers, occasionally getting to make their voices heard amongst the vast sea of anti-independence opinion. Suddenly, there is a chance that we’ll see an entire media empire throw its weight behind independence, or at the very least stop being hostile to it. If Murdoch really does dictate the opinion of his media outlets in the way you, I and many others believe, then we’re going into the referendum debate with one of the key unionist attack dogs effectively neutered.

    This is complicated. On the one hand, I have always despised his tabloid smut because I consider it to misinform the public. But on the other hand, if Salmond was “cosying up” to the BBC, people wouldn’t give it a second thought, and yet they are quite possibly the biggest perpetrators of misinformation in the whole independence debate. I would not say “any enemy of the union is a friend of mine”, but battles are far easier won when you’re only fighting one enemy at a time.

    I’ve always considered Murdoch to be an enemy of public debate, and as such I’m not going to pretend I’m doing somersaults at these revelations. Then again, I’m not particularly pleased he even has a voice in the debate, and he’s not going anywhere any time soon, so I would far rather he wasn’t speaking against independence. Once independence is achieved, we can stick two fingers up at him – after all, the Scottish electorate owe him nothing. As others have mentioned, the Trump scenario shows that Salmond is quite capable of rejecting rich men when they try to dictate Scottish policy, and this is why his dalliance with Murdoch worries me far less than when any unionist politician has done so – he remains committed to the cause that first compelled him to enter politics.

    Incidentally, “I’d like to think an independent Scotland could offer a blank page and a fresh start in media terms; to create an environment that allows bona fide news gathering and story telling to flourish; which encourages a wider view of the world and allows for the sort of writing that takes you to faraway places and gives you a better understanding of our sense of place in the global village. Heck, there’s room too for the couthy, the gossipy, the frothy and the frivolous – so long as it’s squeaky clean. It takes all sorts after all.”

    I don’t see how rejecting Murdoch would take this dream any closer to reality. He may own the Sun and the Times, but he does not own any of the other English-based publications with Scottish editions, nor the Record, Scotsman or Herald. From a more personal point of view, rejecting Murdoch will do nothing to correct the incredible bias of the Press & Journal and the Evening Express, both of whom are completely in the pocket of local millionaires like Stewart Milne and Ian Wood, which their relentlessly anti-UTG bias has highlighted all too clearly for anyone in Aberdeen who hadn’t previously realised it.

    • I wish people would stop talking as though Rupert Murdoch personally writes the editorials or decides what will be published in the Scottish Sun. I just don’t think that is credible. Andy Harries is the curent editor of the Scottish Sun and Andrew Nicol is the political editor and writes most of the pro-indy, pro-SNP stuff. I don’t think that causes him any problems because I am pretty sure he is a nationalist – even supposing the SNP was to say no, sorry, we really don’t want you to write stuff that goes to 300,000 Scots every day that is positive about Scotland’s chances as an independent country it is by no means certain that they could stop him!

      • Good point, which would make it an even more pointless exercise to grandstand about not wanting to be associated with Murdoch’s papers – if it was really as damaging to the cause as people suggest, there’s nothing we could do about it anyway!

  13. Hi Kate

    At present, there is no proof with which to back up your assertion. What you have is a negative “The SNP aren’t condemning Murdoch, therefore it follows this is for reason that the SNP are in his pocket”

    The more likely reason is that Murdoch doesn’t feature that strongly in Scottish politics unless there is a Westminster dimension. What else did Murdoch tweet about apart from Alex Salmond, Las Malvinas

    He is not that concerned with Scotland, he is concerned with wreaking his vengeance on Westminster

    Before I buy into your theory, I think I’d need positive evidence, that is actual evidence of something untoward, rather than an absence of activity.

  14. Again, it’s about what kind of Scotland do we want? And that does matter otherwise why bother? Talking about pouring poison, that’s what tabloids do. The freedom of the press should not include the freedom to print what they know to be lies, the freedom to break the law for stories of prurient interest to some members of the public but of no public interest, the freedom to actively corrupt public officials and invade the privacy of anyone they chose looking for a vulnerability to exploit. They kill people, literally. ‘Newspapers’ which appeal to the basest of human failings actively damage society, both their victims and those who become inured to a daily diet of sickness, not everyone being able to discriminate and realise it might not be good for them. They’re like poisonous fast food deep-fried in hydrogenated palm oil, sell them cheap, stack them high and if people die they don’t care because they’ve made a ton of profit on those babies. If we’re taking Scotland into our own hands we have to take control of this kind of stuff not just leave it to Leveson. I hope the tabloid culture dies a swift firey death. Burn them all, and salt the earth.

  15. Kate,

    This post seems to have an air of trying to convince yourself of your own arguement. It doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.

    There is a fact of life involved here. Leaving the interweb aside, News International is one of 2 major communication channels in this country – the other being the BBC. Both have been historically hostile to our objective as nationalists.

    Alex Salmond’s job description as First Minister is ‘to present and communicate Government policy’. In order to do so, he has no option but to work with the channels that can deliver this. To do anything else would be a deriliction of his duty to our Government and by implication our movement.

    It is quite clear that Alex Salmond has spent as much, if not much more, time in trying to get the BBC on side (which in reality means neutral) than he has with News International. Did he really think that Murdoch would come out in favour? I don’t know but I suspect the primary objective – as it is with the BBC – was to put him into neutral on the national question. I certainly get the feeling from what I have heard that the ‘endorsement’ was a bit of a surprise to everyone.

    You need to separate Rupert Murdoch from the nasty little people that he allowed to run parts of his business. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that he endorsed, encouraged or ordered the behaviour you fulminate against. As far as I can see, now he is aware of it, he is sorting it and has been prepared to make extraordinarily bold decisions in doing so.

    I have never really got why this man is made out to be such a pariah. He is nothing more than a supremely successful and focussed businessman. Sure we may not agree with all his views but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work with him when our interests co-incide. That is what grown up people do (and probably why Murdoch is unable to work with Labour any more).

    If anything, News International has simply become too big to be managed properly. The same could have been said of RBS. In such organisations, a single poor appointment somewhere down the chain can lead to disaster. Those running businesses make mistakes but that is no reason to hold them responsible for the criminality of those who work for them.(There is clearly a tipping point where a corporation just becomes too big for its own long-term good but that is a topic for another day.)

    All we can ask is that senior management and owners take responsiblity for correcting what has happened and in Rupert Murdoch’s case I would say he has done so and then some.

    If there has been any ‘deal’ cut between Salmond and Murdoch it will likely be an understanding that Corporation Tax will be lower in an Independent Scotland rather than a promise to maintain the atrociously inadequate regulation of the press and broadcasting we put up with in the UK today.

  16. I am with you on this Burd. Knowing what we know about the goings on of News International and especially one or two of its most popular newspapers should make anyone who values openness and honesty and truth question any sort of hint of association between this organisation and the leadership of the SNP.

    The SNP and its support from outwith the Party have been very careful to maintain incredible unity over recent years but one or two cracks have been appearing mainly through misreading of the public mood by the SNP’s leadership.

    Associating closely with Murdoch comes across as opportunistic rather than sensible.The more we hear about the kind of morality which has underpinned the Murdoch empire the more incredible it seems that any politician would want to be associated with it and for people like me, who have never bought a copy of The Sun/News of the World and are not members of the SNP but who support independence, then this latest incident creates doubts about the Party’s integrity.

    We have seen something similar in Aberdeen with Alex Salmond coming out so bullishly on the side of pushy business interests in the divisive scheme to demolish Union Terrace Gardens. He has lost support within the area for this and will doubtless lose support for his Party in Scotland for rushing into the arms of Murdoch.

  17. Have to admit I thought that a response would come after the Leveson enquiry had reported. If nothing happens after that then I would be suspicious and would question the reasons.

    Read through some of the comments and agree that a future independent Scottish government should look to finding a way to reduce the impact that the media has (aware of something that happened locally that highlighted the arrogance and power of the people who work within the industry).

    However I don’t see how the SNP are cosying up to the papers apart from the odd article (could be that I don’t read them and therefore missing the links) although I agree that they should be cautious of being seen to favour any organisation.

    Also agree that just because the others have and are still doing it is not an excuse to lower ourselves to the same level we do really need to be seen to be a change not more of the same.

  18. I’m not so naive to think that politicians and journalists move in separate circles and never brief back and forth. However, the SNP and independence are the story here and as you have so eloquently said, they are the bandwagon.

    Funnily enough I was thinking similar thoughts while listening to Humza Yousaf on the radio yesterday, being hounded by Gary Robertson (and doing a great job in fending him off).

    What would happen if one of the main media organisations came out in favour of independence? Would some journalists in other spheres suddenly moderate their tone and become more sympathetic when tackling the day’s big stories? Would it be worth cosying up to Murdoch, if that proved to be the case?

    The conclusion that I came to was no, it would not, for many of the same reasons that you have expounded. If Murdoch chooses to support independence that is his choice, but in no way should the SNP support him.

  19. what gives you(or anyone) the impression that Alex Salmond is cosying up to Rupert Murdoch?
    Falling for the Unionist propaganda are you?
    Some people need to get a perspective on life and politics!

  20. I’m sure Donald Trump thought he had Alex in his back pocket at one time as well.

    If Rupert does want to support the independence campaign we would be crazy not work with him but I think he’s in for a shock if he’s expecting to treat the Alex government the way he used to treat successive Labour & Tory English ones.

  21. I am wondering if this is a ploy by Murdoch, seem to be backing independence now, and then when everyone is believing his “paper”, then switching views at most inopportune time?

    • I think the idea that Rupert Murdoch interests himself greatly in Scottish politics is really quite unlikely to be honest.

      Basically Rupert Murdoch seems to be a lot more important to many Scottish politicians and commentators than Scottish politicians and commentators are to Rupert Murdoch!

  22. The SNP doesn’t owe Murdoch a single thing.

    This whole line of argument is reminiscent of the people who were jumping up and down saying the SNP were cosying up to Donald Trump because he was getting to build his golf course. The theory was that because Donald Trump said nice things about Alex Salmond it meant that the SNP owed Trump and would therefore have to do his bidding.

    That is patently not true however. Is it?

    So let’s put that line of argument to one side and essentially you are saying we should boycott the Scottish Sun because of the revelations about the antics of Sun/NoW journaliists down south. Well OK let’s look at that – what exactly would happen if the SNP did that? ( I leave to one side the fact that you have not a single shred of proof that journalisst like Andrew Nicol have been involved in tapping phones and other illegal acts – if they are all to be tarred with the same brush then let’s tar them all irrespective of guilt or innocence).

    If the SNP boycotted the Sun do you seriously think Labour would join them?.

    .

    • If behaving to Labour standards is the bar we have set ourselves then things are worse than I thought.

      I am not suggesting boycotting, it is about standing apart and saying this is the kind of sleaze and corruption in the public arena is the kind of thing the SNP wants no part of and which we can change with independence.

      It is not about casting aspersions about any individual journalist here or there – most of them are great, honourable people – indeed, I reckon some of the ones engaged in nefarious practices were doing so because leaned on from above. If they can threaten Charlotte Church’s family and privacy if her mum doesn’t do a schlock exclusive about her health problems, do you not think they were doing such things to their own staff.

      And I despair somewhat when everything appears to have come down to being in power and the tactics required to maintain that.

      As many folk in Scotland loathe the negative influence Murdoch has had in many ways on our culture and media. They would welcome a stand being taken.

      I am allowed – in a free country, where Murdoch and his minions are not yet hacking my phone – to express my opinion. I do not like this. I do not like Alex Salmond cosying up to such craiturs. He is a bigger, better man than that (or at least I thought he was). And I do not have to like it just because you would rather I would.

      • What do you mean “London” standards? The Guardian is as much a London centric paper as the Sun, so is the Independent. I wouldn’t tar either with the same brush as the News of the World, nor indeed would I tar the Times or Sunday Times with that brush because they are part of the Murdoch empire. But there is an issue which you identify, saying every journalist and editor who works for the Murdoch press is automatically suspect. Yet that is the very point which people who attack the SNP are trying to drive home – see for example all the coments asking why no SNP elected member has complained about their phone being tapped. The rather obvious explanation – because none of their phones were tapped – is overlooked in the rush to try and associate Scottish politicians and journalists with a particular culture which which there is quite simply no evidence has ever pertained here. The House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament are very different places and so are the press packs. The journalists most feared by Scottish politicians would be folk like Tom Gordon, not tabloid writers at all.

        Incidentally of course you are allowed to express your opinion, whoever suggested otherwise? And so am I.

  23. Seem to remember some mutterings at the height of the of the phone hacking stramash as is always the case something else comes along and shifts everyone attention, including the SG.

    Perhaps one benefit of this is that it’ll highlight the mistrust people have for the papers, news international in particular, and they’ll realise that getting the industry to clean up would be a popular policy, although prepare for cries of gagging the press from opposition parties of all colours.

    Always try to look on the brighter side although difficult at times, good tunes help :-)

    • There were significant breaches highlighted by the Information Commissioner’s report in Scotland, by Scottish newspapers, yet no one anywhere has bothered to deal with that, even though press regulation is devolved. Doesn’t that make you suspicious?

      • The SNP did put forward the idea of a Scottish Press Complaints Commission last year. But, to date, nothing has come of it. I guess the Scottish government has a few other matters to deal with at present.

        But so long as there is no separate regulatory body it makes perfect sense to let the Leveson Inquiry deal with the matter. And so long as the matter is being dealt with, there is no reason for the First Minister to demean himself by joining in the spittle-flecked “Two Minute Hate” against Murdoch.

  24. I don’t believe in the vast majority of the stuff printed in the papers and would be a little surprised and very peed off if this was anything more than an educated punt or free publicity for his new paper. My concern is that the opposition and Murdoch have never let the truth stand in the way of a story. Even though both Labour and Tory parties have bent their knee to Murdoch they will try and make as much of this as possible hoping to damage the SNP and the Yes campaign.

    Unfortunately I can’t see anything that the SNP can do about it apart from ride it out or openly attack the newspaper, one more enemy wouldn’t make much of a difference. I can only imagine that they are taking a more thoughtful approach and that their actions will prove the accusations/fears wrong, perhaps something regarding regulation of news gathering and story telling will come out of the referendum consultation.

    As a final point I don’t believe that the end justifies the means and I’m don’t agree in shotgun marriages

    • I wish I shared your optimism. What has our government said about phone hacking, Leveson etc? Diddly squat.

      • Why should they say anything? Aren’t there already more than enough Angry Villagers waving pitchforks at Rupert Murdoch?

        Personally, I’d much prefer that our government totally eschewed the cult of the demonisation of the individual.

  25. One might hope that supporters of Scotland’s independence campaign would put a bit more effort into resisting the blandishments of British nationalist propaganda. Were they just a bit more resistant to the poison being poured in their ears they might be able to see that Salmond has done absolutely nothing wrong. If more thoughtful nationalists are not rushing to join in the unionist media’s condemnation of him, that may be the reason.

  1. Pingback: Paranoid SNP should welcome scrutiny « Better Nation

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