The true nature of the commentariat


Deserving of further consideration – Peter Bell‘s take in an exceptional BTL comment in response to an article by Kevin Mckenna in Sunday’s Guardian.

Peter A Bell 

McKenna gruniad Bell

“I was greatly cheered reading the headline over Kevin McKenna’s article. I saw the reference to Nicola Sturgeon astutely and gently guiding us to a second independence referendum as suggesting that McKenna had “got it”. The headline spoke of an understanding of Sturgeon’s rhetoric on the subject of that had so woefully eluded other commentators. What followed was a major disappointment.

Where the headline appeared to promise an informed, perceptive analysis, the article itself delivered little more than the shallow, impoverished account that forms the cosy consensus of the mainstream media. Albeit, thankfully, shorn of the more vivid and virulent language of British nationalism.

Where the headline at least hinted at a readiness to challenge that cosy consensus, what we got instead was an unquestioning acceptance of the malicious myths promulgated by the British media. McKenna had the opportunity to distinguish himself by questioning, for example, the calumny about “Scotland’s dysfunctional police force”. Whatever mistakes may have been made, there is absolutely no sense in which Police Scotland might reasonably be described as “dysfunctional”. The perception of failure and crisis in Scotland’s institutions and public services is a creation of the British establishment’s propaganda machine. It is part of the entirely predictable – and frequently predicted – onslaught ensuing from a No vote in the first referendum.

McKenna compounds his failure to scrutinise these assertions of failure and crisis by denying any role for the media in aiding the British establishment’s propaganda campaign. He instead deploys the facile straw man which holds that expressing even mild dubiety about the portrayal of Scotland as a “failed state” is tantamount to an assertion that everything in Scotland is perfect and the SNP beyond criticism.

One always hopes that Kevin McKenna will be above such idiocy. But there is no escaping the fact that the mainstream British media is part of the British establishment. It’s agenda is the British establishment’s agenda. It’s dissent is contrived and controlled.

The bubble in which the media operates is invisible from the inside. Kevin McKenna is, I am quite certain, unaware that he is reflecting a view of Scottish politics that is heavily mediated. And it must be allowed that he sees more of the reality than most journalists. (Or perhaps it’s that he is more prepared to acknowledge that reality.) He sees, for example, that “Sturgeon has, in a short space of time, manipulated her opponents into allowing a free vote for their members when the curtain rises on indyref2”. How many other commentators have seen fit to remark on that? Not many, I suspect. It is not a good fit with the “SNP BAD!” narrative.

But, for all this, McKenna still manages to miss the clear message that Nicola Sturgeon is sending to the entire independence movement in Scotland. He is as one with the majority of his colleagues in proclaiming that Sturgeon’s message was about “lowering the temperature on the prospect of an early referendum”. He fails to recognise that, far from seeking to put the issue of a second referendum on the “back burner”, Sturgeon has just issued a clarion call to independence supporters urging a redoubling of efforts to capture the soft No vote.

More importantly, McKenna is also deaf to Sturgeon’s call for a massive campaign demanding a second referendum. There was a single short sentence in Sturgeon’s speech at the opening of the SNP Conference whose import appears to have been lost on mainstream commentators.

No one has the right to stand in the way of democracy.

To those of us who are “tuned in” to the actuality of Scottish politics, as opposed to the distorting media narrative, This is a clear warning to the British establishment that any attempts to block a second referendum will be vigorously resisted. It is, furthermore, a call to the people of Scotland to begin the task of mounting that resistance.

The cosy consensus of the British media holds that Sturgeon has sidelined the dual issues of independence and a second referendum. On the contrary, she has confirmed that these are the defining issues of Scottish politics as we go into the Holyrood elections. She has not kicked the matter into the long grass, as less acute observers contend. She has deftly passed the ball to the people of Scotland.

Sturgeon has recognised that it is the people of Scotland who will be the driving force in the ongoing fight to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. She has acknowledged that the SNP will play a supporting role – albeit a crucial one as the de facto political arm of the independence movement.”

The Rennie: The SI international unit measure of irrelevance


by Christian Wright (updated)

O.E.D2266 edition The Rennie: The SI international unit measure of irrelevance, named after an obscure, diminutive, 21st Century Scottish politician who became an object of ridicule for jumping up and down in frustration that no one took him seriously.

Example use of: George Foulkes, Baron Foulkes of Cumnock (who gave his name to the annual Guy Foulkes Day festivities when he is burned in effigy, was posthumously diagnosed as terminally irrelevant in 2152, with a score of 873.5 millirennies [873.5 mRen] – any dose above 500mRen on the Rennie Scale is politically fatal).


You’ve got to admire Willie’s chutzpah. rennie the irrelevantThis is the guy who presided over the LibDem’s effective extinction in Scotland. He and his hommies in Holyrood comprise less than 4% of the membership of that legislature. He is given an inordinate amount of ink and broadcast facetime by the MSM relative to his and his party’s political significance.

It’s all practiced bile and flimflam from oor Willie. Melt him down and you’d have 9 stone of brass neck and a half pint of nippy sweetie.


Serving Pablum


By Christian Wright

MacWhirter phones it in

The wizened hack, disillusioned and made cynical by decades in the oldest profession in the world, knocks out 778 words over a liquid lunch. Never mind the quality feel the width.

Today’s Sunday Herald carries an article by Iain MacWhirter, a talented journo who increasingly seems to be just phoning it in.

MacWhirter: ” Ms Sturgeon’s remarks on Twitter, suggesting that Corbyn would only make a Tory government more likely, struck the wrong note.”

Iain seems intent on misrepresenting the facts whenever they do not fit his thesis. What Sturgeon actually said was:

“If Lab can’t quickly show that they have credible chance of winning UK election, many will conclude that Indy only alternative to Tory gov”

That observation holds regardless of the outcome of the Labour Party leadership election.

MacWhirter: “Anecdotally, there is evidence that Labour is gaining members in Scotland from former Yes voters.”

Are you talking about the “study/investigation” by a rabidly anti-independence pro-Union journalist who wrote of three or four examples or something else, Iain? You don’t say.

MacWhirter: “Certainly, if Nicola Sturgeon were to call a snap referendum in the near future, it would be a risky business.”

If there is one thing above all else that Sturgeon seemed to rule-out in her speech last week, it was the possibility of a “snap referendum in the near future”.

MacWhirter: “Nicola Sturgeon isn’t panicking yet and anyway seems in no mood for an early referendum.”

Oh, you noticed.

MacWhirter: “And even if [Corbyn] survives until the 2020 general election, the chances are that he would lose by a huge margin. That would leave the Tories in charge in Westminster, which is generally good news for the SNP.”

But, but . . . You have just told us: “Ms Sturgeon’s remarks on Twitter, suggesting that Corbyn would only make a Tory government more likely, struck the wrong note.”

MacWhirter: “Of course, many people, myself included, feel some real sympathy for Jeremy Corbyn as he is rubbished by the press… Corbyn is simply not a natural leader – he is an accident. A little like Peter Sellers’s brilliant comic construct, Chauncey Gardner, in Being There, Corbyn was the hapless beneficiary of a revolt against establishment politics.”

Yes Iain, the genuine sympathy you feel for corbyn is evinced in your excoriation of him in the next few sentences.

MacWhirter: “Of course, he’s not dead yet. Corbyn’s best hope, looking forward, is that the intemperate criticism directed at him backfires. There has been a rush to judgement.”

Well, those dastardly journos and politicos who are rushing to judgement better have their running shoes on if they are to have a chance of beating you in that race, Iain.

MacWhirter: “Could you imagine any SNP MSPs attacking their leader in the press, refusing to serve in her cabinet, threatening to stage coups?”

Yes we can, if their leader bottled it and failed to enact a winnable referendum out of an overabundance of caution, then lost power in a subsequent Holyrood election to the parties of Union (who would block any referendum regardless of a majority of the electorate favouring independence).

MacWhirter: “Yes, if only Labour could arrange a free transfer, then the Blairites would truly be back in their box, and Labour could look at giving the Tories a serious challenge in 2020. But this is the real world, and unfortunately that just ain’t gonna happen.”

No, it ain’t, and like the rest of this stream of consciousness riff, it is pablum masquerading as dispassionate analysis and acute insight. Readers deserve better.


Boss Kelly’s diagnosis


By Christian Wright

Stuart Campbell over at wings showcases Labourite former Glasgow Lord Provost Boss Kelly’s enormous self-regard, in diagnosing the Scottish electorate’s failure to vote Red Tory in recent elections to be presenting symptoms of underlying mental morbidity.

Of course, as we have documented here, and here, the Union’s men find this diagnosis of a national psychiatric illness comforting in the extreme. The alternative would be to confront their own vacuity on matters politic and Scottish, and we couldn’t have that, could we? [Sometimes the relentless pressure of this cognitive dissonance causes one among their number to snap and enter a dissociative state – a fugue, with the most embarrassing results.]

We need more Labour Party apparatchiks and former apparatchiks to come forward to trumpet this message. It has worked so well to date.

Exquisitely textured hubris of this quality should not be hidden away. Deny Boss Kelly no platform to display it so that he might demonstrate to 60% of the Scottish electorate that he has the requisite vision, and that they are at once delusional and as thick.

michael kelly

Michael Kelly, dispositive evidence that absence of a cerebral cortex is no barrier to advancement in the Labour Party.

Alex Massie still on a jihad


by Christian Wright

Alex Massie, writing in the Spectator, puts much of the SNP’s rise to 62% in the latest TNS Holyrood election poll down to a bandwagon effect.

“People like to support successful teams. That’s why there are far more Chelsea fans now than there were 20 years ago. It’s why, in Scotland, Celtic and (until recently) Rangers carved up the country between them.”

And on the electorate’s view of the SNP government’s performance

“Consider these findings: just 25 percent of voters think the SNP is doing a good job on the economy while 24 percent are disappointed by the party’s economic record (45 percent say its neither good nor bad).

As for the NHS, well, 34 percent of voters are happy with the government’s record, 29 percent are unhappy and 33 percent are neither gruntled nor disgruntles[sic].

Education? Shamefully, 30 percent think the government is doing well while just 19 percent disagree and 40 percent are in the neither well nor poor camp.

On crime and justice the numbers are even less flattering to the nationalists. Just 23 percent of respondents are happy with the government’s performance, 29 percent say the SNP are doing badly in these areas and 40 percent dinnae ken.”

Massie spectator 62 percent

Massie argues that such overwhelming support despite this “awful” performance, demonstrates that the SNP is being given a pass by a befuddled electorate.

Alex is on a Unionist jihad and is blind to the truth as all McHadis are.

You see, according to Alex it’s not he who has it wrong – it’s them! You know the voters. They’re not thinking with their heads, you see. They don’t understand.

With respect to the SNP government’s performance data in key areas, here’s what the voters are saying

Scottish GOVERNMENT is DOING well or not doing badly

Econ – 69%
NHS –   67%
Educ – 70%
Just –  63%

Now that’s the reality and is the main reason for the SNP’s ever rising popularity.

Massie really jumps the shark with the claim that much of the rise can be put down to a bandwagon effect. There is no evidence to support this but then, evidence is not what Massie’s about.

He is a believer in the Union and Conservatism. He’s a fundamentalist. For him Tory Unionism is a religion. His politics are faith based and he exhibits magical thinking seldom encountered outside a clinical setting.

Despite all the evidence that support for the SNP by those who voted NO, stems from the reality that the SNP are extremely competent at governing, the Spectator’s resident McHadi through willful ignorance, remains clueless.