Monday, 24 March 2014

A Parcel of Rogues : why Scotland has a right wing, London biased media

The Conservative Party and its misled, confused and sorry compatriot in the United Kingdom government, the Liberal Democratic Party, hold 12 of the 59 Scottish Westminster parliamentary seats. The Scottish National Party and the party formally known as  - but no longer representing -  Labour,  hold the remainder.  In the Scottish Parliament even with its proportional representation system the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats hold merely 20 of the total 128 seats. Known for never getting anything absolutely correct, I accept my figures may not be immaculately accurate at the time of posting but they do not misrepresent the general situation.  It is evident the majority of the Scottish electorate holds left of centre views and this, if I may be holier than thou for a moment, is to its credit, and leads to Scotland being a civilised country which wishes to care for those in its community who are vulnerable and integrates this tendency of concern for the less well off and the suffering into government policies much against the wishes of the government of the South East of England at Westminster in London and against the desires of the self-interested Scottish media.

 So given the clear political leaning of the Scottish electorate why does it  suffer from such an overwhelmingly right wing and London biased media ?

As if the Scots haven't suffered enough over these last three centuries when even the English (British?!) national anthem regales against the Scots with a stanza about an imperialistic road and bridge building member of the English military and prays to the Almighty,

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid 
Victory bring.
May he by sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the King ! 

Well forgive me for noticing that the BBC in Scotland is, like the writer of this abominable song, a Londonophiliac in nature, and intent on belittling what it is to be Scottish at the same time as being  determined to crush the Scottish spirit.  The BBC is inhabited by a significant number of people in awe of the "loadsa"  money, power and influence which they believe exists in London and though they don't like it as much, Manchester. The idea of a smaller SBC world holds no attraction for them.  Faithful to that "dross called gold" and not to the communities from which they came, as soon as the whiff  of golden life beside the Thames wends its way up their nostrils, they are lured south.

As for the printed press, with one or two exceptions such as The Daily Record and sometimes The Herald the  predominant left of centre view of the Scottish electorate is not well represented and  there certainly isn't any significant representation of the views of the many people in Scotland who favour independence. Newspapers in Scotland are it seems also in thrall of the "high road to England."* Their owners and editors fantasise that toadying to Westminster and to the wealth of the City of London will somehow save their failing publications.

A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation : the signing of the Act of  Union 1707

Three hundred years on it would seem important that Scots, at least this time, each with a vote to prevent it, should not be sold out by another parcel of self serving rogues.**

* "The noblest prospect a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!"
From James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, LLD.  Published 1791.

** Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation  Poem by Robert Burns
Published 1791

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Freedom of Speech : the views of the late John Tunnock

A few weeks ago I picked up a paperback in Blackwells, at the junction of  South Bridge and Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, in the same building where the late lamented James Thin Booksellers once traded. The book was a risky purchase. I was fearful it would be too esoteric because it was not on the "Buy two and get a third one free" table. My fears proved ill-founded. It turned out to be a "profound, funny and thundering good read" and offered what for me were a number of pearls of wisdom. The book contained the collected papers of one John Tunnock, a schoolmaster who bit the dust some years ago in Glasgow.

I thought Mr Tunnock's idea about freedom of speech was worth  - if I might be allowed a little indelicacy -  chewing the cud over.

In the following short excerpt from his memoirs Tunnock recollects his thoughts as he is about to join a demonstration in Glasgow to protest about the Anglo-American war with Iraq.

"I approve of people publicising their ideas in peaceful protest marches, whether they are workers who don't want their industries shut, or pacifists who want nuclear missiles banned, or even Orangemen who think the world's worst menace is the Catholic Church. Freedom of speech needs everyone to openly show what they believe, even if those views are stupid and wrong. Without public discussions and demonstrations the only alternative to being governed by millionaire politicians is terrorist bombings."*

I think Mr Tunnock was saying that differentiating the right of freedom of speech from the privilege of public action is significant. Freedom of action should require a genuine consensus of all the members of our community. Disagree with me if you will,  but please don't get out the water cannon.

*An excerpt from page 94 of the novel, Old Men in Love John Tunnock's Posthumous Papers by
Alisdair Gray.  Published in paperback by Bloomsbury in 2009.