by Christian Wright
The Spectator’s Alex Massie offers a surprisingly decent appraisal of the character of the indyref campaign in this latest article in that far-right Unionist journal.
“The common thread, however, is what one might term the political establishment’s loss of control and evident bewilderment at these strange new happenings…
There are echoes of this in Scotland now… Big politics has returned at last…
No wonder it has been so energising. From Brora to Ecclefechan, Coupar Angus to Portree this is a time of great disputation. The referendum is inescapable. Something is happening and that something is important.
If people really think this campaign – even the No campaign – has been unpleasantly negative they should look at what happens elsewhere…
It is also a revolt against politics as usual. A cry – from the heart as much as from the head – for a different way of doing things. A thirst for a better country that enjoys a grander kind of politics.”
Alex Massie is, in the round, correct in his analysis – in so far as it goes. He does seem to attempt to astroturf a genuine grassroots movement for NO, a campaign that is of course, defined by its top-down approach, in management, funding, in its presence in new media, and in its alleged ground game, where it has had to import paid activists from England to give it even a semblance of credibility.
Compare that to the organic nature of YES, a campaign energised by the commitment and enthusiasm of its grassroots participants. Ordinary folk who, without anyone asking them or funding them, have recognised they have skin in the game, and feel it is incumbent upon them engage. They have done so in a way that is surely an object lesson in participatory democracy.
What Massie does not address in the corrosive and destructive role of the MSM in this campaign. The chattering class and the channels of distribution that comprise the Fourth Estate, are almost entirely rabidly pro-Union, to include, to its eternal shame, the state’s broadcaster, the BBC.
Those whose role should be that of watchdogs of democracy, have ruthlessly sought to undermine it whenever and wherever that democracy threatened Union power.
The ability of the BBC to corrupt the electoral process lies in its reach. It has a presence in the living rooms of each and every voter. It has abused their trust by feeding them a diet of Unionist propaganda presented as news and considered analyses.
The most insidious and effective propaganda is that not recognised as propaganda by its victims. That sort of messaging is worth its weight in gold and the BBC has this power because it is believed.
It is certain, that were it not for a compliant and complicit media keeping it afloat, the Union’s anti-independence campaign would now be dead in the water. The media’s corrosive role in this campaign is seldom seriously addressed IN the media, of course. It is the elephant in the room, and the BBC is the 800lbs gorilla riding atop it.
Neither Alex Massie nor any other palace-dweller of the Union’s chattering class is likely to tackle this thorny issue, for the eye sees not itself but by reflection, and not a one of them has the balls to look in the mirror.