On a sad day when the political charades of Chilcot will be gone through with rigorous predictability and we mourn the loss of Jerome David Salinger, a great writer from an era where you could distinguish great literary work and great PR, this from Joan McAlpine at Go Lassie Go!:
“In any other country in the world there would be a passionate discussion about how best to move ahead and put our own best interests first. The centre ground would be occupied by gradualist nationalists v more fundamentalism nationalists, as it is in Catalonia. No other national press would campaign against a government offering its people a choice in a referendum. That’s not even in the interests of the press itself, which sees sales rise when the public is engaged politically. Even the new online paper, The Caledonian Mercury, which I recently welcomed, sticks with the same old paradigm. It’s too preoccupied with process. The passion and diversity of Scottish opinion is reflected better on the blogosphere. On Facebook this week I posted a link to The Caledonian Mercury. On the same day I also posted a link to Power and its Minions which has a splendidly uncompromising and detailed polemic on why Scotland continues to display all the traits of a colonised country. Guess which link got more clicks and generated the most lively debate? Not everybody agreed with Powers Minions. It was startling to see such views expressed, without apology, in writing and with considerable lucidity. Yet the Powers Minions analysis of our constitutional position is not an extremist view. You will hear it with regularity in pubs, at dinner parties, in school debating halls and of course online forums. The vast majority of Scots want the Edinburgh parliament to have more power in order to progress our country. They are not taking to the streets and the internet to demand aka Calman that we “make the union work better” When did you hear a real person – as opposed to Labour/LibDem/Tory politician – raise that as a real concern?”
Part of the reason – though we know you are right about the self-serving Unionist press (including the Sunday Times?!) is that whilst we know this to be true, ‘the richest 10% of the population are more than 100 times as wealthy as the poorest 10% of society’ – yet we are routinely peddled this disinformation: ‘Scotland’s £76 billion dividend.’
There are specific reasons why we are collectively disillusioned with the political process, setting aside moats and duckhouses and the troughery of Westminster, when a leader of a political party states openly she doesn’t need your votes, its hardly an invitation to active citizenship is it? The message is loud and clear, whether it be from Calman grandees or the Tory matrons: “we don’t care what you think, your views and your votes are meaningless.”
I couldn’t agree more with Joan McAlpine about the Caledonia Mercury, a paper launched at a time of ongoing constitutional upheaval in the midst of two impending elections critical for Scotland’s future, which has no editorial views. Surely this is as much the result of the sort of erosion of political understanding and belief in the wake of the commodification of the social and cultural realm, as much as Cal Merc is the outcome of liberating media technologies. It’s great that you have a twitter stream and a tag cloud, but do you have anything to say? A media venture driven by technical savvy and business know-how will surely be anodyne enough to survive, but for what purpose nobody seems entirely clear.
The task – and it’s not one that the schizoid SNP has been able to master yet – is to marry the social justice agenda with the national question. We should also be remembering – on Blair’s Judgement Day, that the promise of independence isn’t an ethereal one: our young men would not be dying on foreign soil for a discredited British State if we were in charge of our own affairs. This is the reality. Blair’s judgement day is not about one man. Politics cannot be reduced to individual actions despite the centralised structure of Westminister rule. It is Judgement Day on the UK Parliament and the British Labour Party for failing utterly failing to call to account Blair’s cabal, and that includes Straw, Hoon, Foulkes, Gray and every member.
by Mike Small