Alphabet Soup with Glenn Campbell
It’s so predictable. Every time someone at BBC Scotland – Glenn Campbell for example – writes about Scottish independence on the BBC Scotland news website, someone comes along and objects that the account isn’t impartial.
This is all the more likely, of course, when the account doesn’t even get close.
Glenn Campbell (Why is Scottish independence back in the spotlight?) notes that the independence question will persist until ‘a) independence actually happens or b) the public tire of the political parties that promote it’.
Between Glenn’s ‘a’ and ‘b’, there seems to be an awful lot of space.
Actually you would have thought the topic of Scottish independence merited a few more letters.
The Conservatives should come in somewhere, and as we can all agree, there can’t be a clearer case of ‘c’ than the Conservatives.
Even there, talk of independence (of the Scottish Tories from the other Tories) is back on the agenda.
How about ‘the public tiring’ of the parties which promote Better Togetherness with Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg? Can it just be ‘parties promoting independence’ which tire us out?
Which leads us to ‘d’ for democracy. Scotland hasn’t voted Tory since 1955, and all that Tory rule we didn’t want wrecked the infrastructure of our public life, and much of what we used to call the social fabric.
And (‘e’), also large parts of our economy. Democracy also failed in 2016 when we didn’t vote to leave the EU, so that’s another obvious ‘e’. In fact it’s several (Europe, exit, exile) but also England, which should’ve really got a mention by Glenn.
Not least because presently the most visible and obtrusive form of nationalism in the British Isles is English nationalism, fronted by a Tory government simultaneously breaking the NI protocol to start a row with the EU while trying to fly migrants to Rwanda – all the while dreaming of a currency in crowns and groats to go with the crowns on pint glasses. And flaunting ‘Britain’s’ independence from Europe.
(And even when we get the groat back, we’ll need to defend Scottish groats against English groats.)
Between ‘e’ and ‘g’ is of course ‘f’: but that’s a good place to stop with the letters, not least since ‘f’ is such dangerous territory.
Though while we’re on ‘g’, one more.
In Glenn’s formulation ‘the public’ doesn’t itself directly process all those factors – Boris Johnson, the worst Westminster cabinet in history, English nationalism, economic ruin, deep rooted corruption, routine lying by Tory government politicians.
It just reacts to ‘political parties which promote independence’, as though independence is a specific policy like opposition to gene-edited food (a ‘g’ we may need to swallow north of the border): not a defining theme in Scottish life since the Middle Ages.
Most strikingly, the title of Glenn’s piece Why is Scottish independence back in the spotlight? invites a question about when BBC Scotland’s political editor thought it went away, given that half the population regularly polls in favour and the SNP broke further records for support in its most recent electoral test.
For an explanation, and of the rest of Glenn’s piece (which majors on the ‘distraction’ theory of independence) we need to return to near the start of the alphabet. We all know which letter in BBC explains its line on UK constitutional questions, it’s just remarkable that it remains so blatant (not to say brazen, bare-faced and brass-necked).
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