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.


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