2007 - 2022

Living in a Dictatorship

We’ve become so used to a sort of Jockalypse Now racism in the English press, the like of which would create a cascade of condemnation if anything remotely similar was published in a Scottish newspaper, that you now don’t expect anything other from the red tops. But yesterday a  ‘proper serious’ journalist, Nick Cohen, took political commentary to a new low. Cohen’s a renowned Iraq War apologist, but now he’s taking his ill-informed ramblings into new terrain, and the outcome is darkly comic.

imageWriting in the Spectator, a sort of fanzine for right-wing stenographers, Cohen announced that ‘Press Censorship as begun in Scotland’. It was the laziest piece of journalism we’ve seen in a while with all the familiar tropes of the one party state and dictator bingo, strewn with errors inaccuracies and bizarre claims.

Revisiting the Daisley discussion, Cohen announces that here in Scotland: “Everyone behaves as if they are living in a one-party state.”

BBC and the NUJ and STV are we’re told living in fear of the jackboot: “Not a dictatorship with men in uniforms marching down the street. But a democratic one-party state like Scotland has become and England and Wales will soon be: a state where it is simply impossible to imagine the ruling party losing power.”

“Not a dictatorship with men in uniforms marching down the street. But a democratic one-party state like Scotland has become and England and Wales will soon be: a state where it is simply impossible to imagine the ruling party losing power.”

There’s a clue to Cohen’s fury in this last sentence. As an unreconstructed Blairite he is incandescent that Labour has elected a leader he doesn’t agree with and is imagining perpetual Tory rule as a result.

1984 1956

The SNP conference 2016

In this miserable state we live in: “Opposition seems futile”.

In Cohen’s universe (one wonders if he has actually been to Scotland) Daisley “damned the SNP for its alliances with Islamists and anti-Semites”.

In Cohen’s world Stuart Cosgrove is a ‘Channel 4 hack’ and “Uniquely in the free world, Scottish artists and comics think they become true edgy radicals when they fawn before the state”.

This article represents a shift. Where the anti-Scottish imagery published in the tabloids has become routine this is a new outlet, a new anger, a new venting of rage against a democratically elected government. It’s not even worth mentioning that the state of the media in Scotland is massively ranged against independence, with only one small daily newspaper and a handful of alternative media outlets in favour.

You don’t live in a dictatorship, you live in a country where the democratic deficit has just got considerably more pronounced.

The case of Nick Cohen may seem a small affair, but it’s a signpost to our future.



Comments (43)

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  1. Bryan Weir says:

    “Living in a Dicatorship” sounds mildly obscene. ;o)

  2. Bugger le Panda says:

    Red Top or Glossy Mag, he is still a liar for hire; the modern day harlot available for the right money.

    Power with no responsibility, and in his case upside down glasses.

  3. david says:

    In an effort to remain sane and smiling, I try and categorise Zionist/racist/Britnat loonies like Cohen as comedy relief. Otherwise one could get as angry as they are, poor wee souls.

    1. Bugger le Panda says:

      Get a paper bin, scrunch up any paper you are going to throw our and any time you come across this keich, lob a job into bin. Repeat as necessary.

      surreally cathartic.

  4. Bugger le Panda says:

    I see Nick Cohen has read the article and left his opinion.

  5. Josef O Luain says:

    It’s only a “signpost to our future” if you continue to critically point to it and give Cohen the publicity he so desires.

    This only shows him to be, as we already knew, a hired-gun for the Establishment.

    In short: ignore the opportunist.

  6. c rober says:

    Aka “its not our fault we arent elected , even with proportional representation we are still rejected” , like some wean screaming its not fair to the tune of ” I wanna be elected”. But unsurprisingly the hidden finger on Corby , which is perhaps arguably change that some voters are responding to , is therefore the wrong kind of leaves on the tax payer subsidised track.

    Fortunately for the party members , and its increased new membership , it is in a state of flux , but not perhaps advantageous to the former and current members that held on to positions with the list system – or for kneeling in front of the Nulabour altar awaiting the returning messiah of Blair. One day they will perhaps be stuffed , mounted , and plinthed next to the dodo.

  7. Maria F says:

    The caricature above is missing the most relevant losers of all: Cameron and Osborne. Where are they? Inside Salmond’s collection bag? Hidden somewhere in Miliband’s kitchens?

    “But a democratic one-party state like Scotland has become and England and Wales will soon be: a state where it is simply impossible to imagine the ruling party losing power”

    And in the comment above lies the deception. England (and by default the UK) was before the SNP a one-party state. The Blairites made sure of that. In fact, the last shambles we all saw with the warmongers revolt and the chicken coup were clear demonstrations of that.

    It can only be justified in a one-party-state that at a time when Labour could have kicked the Tories hard where it hurts, they decided that it would be more productive to send their own party into meltdown so the Tories could continue unchallenged. If that is not an impressive performance of a one-party state, Mr Cohen could tell us what it is.

    I guess that the problem that Mr Cohen really has is that the SNP, by showing to the electorate of the whole UK what opposition actually means, has become a bit of a bother.

    To be honest, Mr Cohen has a point when he says that Scotland is a one-party state. SLab, Slibdems and SCons are not parties, are they? They are just branches run by puppets whose threads are being pulled from the HQ in England. He has forgotten the green party though. I have the feeling that in not very long the Green party will be surpassing SLab and SLibdems in support within Scotland.

    1. Neil Anderson says:

      Em, that’s Cameron and Osborne to the right. Appropriately enough..

  8. peter reid says:

    It would seem that the hatred of the SNP, and loathing of the Scottish people for daring to put an end to Labour knows no bounds. The fact that S/lab MPs were just voting fodder,
    and made sure Scotland suffered under investment for decades and that Westminster reaped the benefits of Scottish oil. After indyref, the people realised they had been BETRAYED by those that should have been looking after their best interests.
    This ended labour’s Scottish gravy train. Hence the vitriol from unionists and Redtops
    Also it is not in the best interests for ANY unionist party to allow Scotland to flourish within the UK.

    1. c rober says:

      The other week I seen a news politics piece on SBBC , where one of the auld slabbers stated categorically that those that elect them dont matter – only that being part of the large Uk Labour supplies change…. the hidden subtext to me is where he meant therfore jobs for politicians like him.

      Where this to me mattered is that even after two years , two elections , they still do not see they are irrelevant , still do not see they are elected to represent local not national interest first – not that of the party , regardless of branch office or not. They are now behind in seats and poles of the auld enemy , no not the English , but Scottish Conservative and Unionist party. They simply copied the enemy so much – they suffered their fate , and with the list system they introduced it backfired and thus empowered them.

      And as I often mention therefore the only solution for the party to be elected once again , and of course nowhere near the hey days , is to DEMAND that Local in the case of Scotland is national. Only then , by rebuilding like English Labour is doing , can they move on – like the electorate has. But I fear the wont , and under the current leadership it never will do.

  9. Craig Miller says:

    This is the real stuff…. I am sure I am not alone in finding it passing strange that otherwise sensible english folk lose all capacity for forensic thought whenever Scotland is mentioned.. I don’t include poor Nik…. He has avoided being sensible his entire career… The anti semitimism canard is merely a reaction to the success of BDS… and the even more the illuminating artistic and academic boycott of the apaartheid entity that has burgeoned in the last two years…. They feel snubbed that we Scots don’t really like them…. the Guardian is the house journal of N London…

  10. Craig Miller says:

    No great fan of the SNP myself but the idea that 47% of the vote in a PR system represents a ” dictatorship” is risible…. since their ostensible raison d’etre is independence if they were dictatorial they could declare UDI without effective opposition….instead of being devolutionist patsies and NATO stooges

  11. Redgauntlet says:

    Nick is just another Oxbridge Blairite who has been so utterly discredited by events and fallen into such abject disrepute that he has to go and write for that bathroom luxury item / toilet roll known as “The Spectator”, which is where all those tenement born Scottish journalists John Cleese was banging on about ply their trade apparently…

    …Scotland: the only One Party State in the world without an actual State…

    Subtle it is not… more white noise from the capital of Brexit.

  12. Brian Mulrine says:

    I do find it somewhat ironic that an arch Zionist, who screams “anti-semite!!” whenever Israel is criticised, tries to complain about censorship.

  13. Kevin Steele says:

    So, following the same logic – when New Labour was in such a dominant position between 1997 and 2005 with a crushing 170 seat majority in Westminster and the Tories in an unelectable wilderness, that was a “dictatorship” as well in Nick Cohen’s eyes too??? As a Blairite, I suspect not.

    1. Frank says:

      It was a former Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, who called Britain an “elected dictatorship,” and it is, because the Party that can “command” (note that word) a majority in the commons forms the government and can do as it pleases – that is a dictatorship, as Thatcher demonstrated. Something to think about?

  14. bringiton says:

    It’s been said before but there was none of this hysteria when a unionist party was running the show in Scotland with a virtual monopoly on power.
    No screaming from them about the Tories in England completely dominating affairs south of the border.
    Complete hypocrisy.

  15. Finlay MacLeoid says:

    Welcome to our world in Scotland when anything connected to the Gaelic language comes up be it on Facebook or in the media.

    Strange how so many people in Scotland never ever see the anti-Gaelic and hatred that hits us all the time.

    1. Craig Miller says:

      Hmmmmn… We hear ya buddy….

    2. Trickster says:

      Curious – would you say hostility has got worse since the referendum or was it always there?

    3. Bugger le Panda says:

      I don’t do Facebook anymore so I have experience of what say.

      Is it coming from our side (Indie), their side (yoons) or outsiders masquerading as either ?

      I have no gaelic, despite my Highland ancestry, and have no animosity to it. I cannot understand why anyone would, except they are are not at home in their own skin, which pretty much describes the frothing yoons.

      Interested to hear your comments.

    4. Willie says:

      It suits the Britney agenda to disparage Gaidhlig. The destruction of Gaidhlig, was a policy objective every bit as much as the disparagement of Scots.

      Indeed, there are many who remember the culture of inferiority that was inculcated into Scots who spoke their mother tongue. Classes were even held to assist eradicate it and yes, in the Highlands there was many a school kid belted foe being heard speaking Gaidhlig in the playground. Destroy the language, destroy the culture and you destroy the people . The plantation of Scotland has been alive and kicking for centuries and with our new found enthusiasms for things Scottish, it’s no surprise that Gaidhlig is getting another kick.

  16. Robert Graham says:

    Press censorship oh Christ we are having a laugh, When 99.99 % of the media, are, have been, and for the foreseeable future be , totally dismissive of anything to do with any kind of home rule or Independence expressed by what is increasingly becoming a majority and this unpalatable fact as usual totally ignored by this media .

    1. c rober says:

      But still they at least try to be balanced…

      Yep , im having a laff.

  17. Craig Miller says:

    The vile, if that’s not too neutral a word for it, Torquil MacRecord..ballgagged by the Tartanclad Stormtroopers…. Ah alas…. It can only ever be a guilty fantasy…. We’ve all had them

  18. handofkwll says:

    I begin to worry about this country, be that country Scotland or the UK as a whole.

    In politics, most of us used to think of ourselves as reasonable and pragmatic. We might have disagreed strongly with what other people were saying but would usually believe that their intentions were good, if misguided. I might add that we also tended to distrust people who offered simplistic solutions to complicated problems, or who saw a conspiracy behind every event they didn’t like.

    Lately, with yoon versus yesser in Scotland, Brexiteer versus Remainer in the UK, and the demonisation of the Tory party by right thinking people everywhere, we seem to have lost that mutual respect. Which is a pity, as in my view it’s part of the glue that held the countries together.

    The silencing of Stephen Daisley illustrates the problem on a small scale. I used to enjoy reading his articles and opinions. I didn’t always agree with him but he often had an interesting take on affairs. And it was always clear, to me at least, that some of what he wrote was his opinion and not fact.

    I read Nick Cohen’s article and I think he has a point, there is something disturbing about government pressure being applied to shut a journalist up. Perhaps he does go a bit far in talking about ‘a one party state’ and so on but his piece is nowhere near as unhinged as this rebuttal makes out.

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      If you or Nick Cohen have any evidence at all that government or any other pressure was applied to “silence” Stephen Daisley, it might be a sensible idea to produce it. Do you? If so, what is it? If you don’t, you are making an unsubstantiated allegation.

      1. Monty says:

        Nicholson and Wishart knew exactly what they were doing though I suspect they did not expect stv to roll over quite so easily. Journalists arguably take this sort of thing a bit too seriously hence the tone of Cohen’s piece but perhaps the rest of us don’t take it seriously enough.

        1. Graeme Purves says:

          What was it they did, again? Oh yes! They criticised the content of some of Stephen Daisley’s tweets. What dastardly oppression!

  19. Truculent Sheep says:

    I knew and ‘worked’ (or rather, ‘interned’) with Nick Cohen for a while; a corrosively arrogant and self-regarding man, full of his own pomposity and verging on the delusional. This and his screw-the-pooch gambit in regards to Iraq does not and did not surprise me.

  20. Trickster says:

    I think what bugs me more about it is the subtext that while the Daisley thing was put to bed ages ago in Scotland, now we need to talk about it again, because someone who matters (i.e. not a Scottish journalist) has picked up on it.

  21. Scott Cameron says:

    “Democratic one party state” – oxymoron surely? It didn’t take long for some of his acolytes to circle the wagons in his defense. However, it’s noticeable that even some of the usual suspects have had the good sense to leave this one well alone, since they realise what garbage this is. This is just the start!

  22. Robby Burnz says:

    You say that Cohen says that Daisley “damned the SNP for its alliances with Islamists and anti-Semites.”

    That is not what he said.

    He said: “He damned the right for its dislike of immigrants and refugees and the left (including the SNP left) for its alliances with Islamists and anti-Semites.”

    There is a difference.

    You should edit your post to reflect the actual wording. You are putting words into Cohen’s mouth and damaging the authority of your own argument by so doing.

    1. Tired says:

      Don’t hold your breath. This site is propaganda. It is the Daily mail of the ‘New’ – and yes the irony is dripping’ – ‘media’. Different intolerance, different bias.

      Isn’t Mike Small privately educated? He doesn’t sound very working class. Was it Cults or Robert Gordons? or was it Glen Almond? Or really edgy and Hazelhead?

  23. Tired says:

    Hi Mike,

    One Million pounds for a pet project? Was thinking of applying myself. Looked on the Fife Diet site, but no breakdown as promised? Why not? Would love to see the final report and accounts.

  24. Tired says:

    And Mike, can you please stop censoring legitimate posts? There are a few of us getting fed up with it. Or at least be honest about your selectivity.

  25. Tired says:

    Does a freedom of information request cover the Fife diet report? We will consult our lawyers.

    1. Craig Miller says:


    2. Bugger le Panda says:

      Now, who is bullying whom?

    3. Pilrig says:

      Tired = yawns

  26. Marcia Blaine says:

    Strange to see such thoughtful and intellectual responses when the nation’s ‘newspaper of record’ The Scotsman has the most awful fanatics commenting ‘below the line’. Does the Hootsmon employ moderators?

    1. Bugger le Panda says:

      Who knows

      It is all clickbait to raise advertising based on clicks where adverts are placed beside or around the article


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