On ‘Othering’ and the Unionist Media
On a day when the rule of law has effectively been abandoned by the British Prime Minister and the former Home Secretary made a speech in the House of Commons that would leave Enoch Powell’s (rivers of) blood run cold, the Times columnist Kenny Farquharson posted this tweet below (after previously trying to compare Stephen Flynn MP with Suella Braverman).
It’s important to put this in some context …
Kenny Farquharson, and a number of other journalists and editors who are all friends and acquaintances have all taken the same line for a number of years now. They hold positions of power and gatekeeping across the British media, and their position is broadly this:
“We are progressive liberal types committed to social equality and culturally broad-minded. We stand against narrow nationalism, are virulently opposed to Scottish independence (which we collectively argued against) and instead long for the return of a Labour government in Westminster (and Holyrood). We sort of back devolution – or we did before parties we can’t stand were elected.”
The assumptions behind this thinking are convoluted, but two stand out. The first is that Britain is (somehow) an innately progressive place. It just is. We don’t even need to examine that or defend it, cos it just is. The second is that (despite the first claim) it needs some modernising, and as soon as the Labour party return to power, many of these journalists friends and peers will get to work updating the constitution. Chief among these tasks will be things like strengthening devolution (even though they attack it relentlessly as it is); reforming the House of Lords; creating Federalism; and so on (and on).
The problem for Kenny Farquharson (and his friends and peers in The Times, the BBC, the New Statesman, the Spectator, the Daily Telegraph, Unherd, etc etc) is that none of this is true, and none of this is happening. We know this because they’ve told us.
As I explained here: “The Scottish Labour party seems likely to inherit the fortunes of the UK party, born into government on the back of Tory collapse and huge disenchantment with the failed Conservative regime, which staggers on. But Scottish Labour suffers from very low influence within the UK party, gone are the days when Jeremy Paxman would complain of the ‘Scottish Raj’ when individuals like Tony Blair, Robin Cook, Gordon Brown, John Reid and Alasdair Darling formed a Cabinet. If it does as well as expected it will be from a baseline of two MPs. If it makes large gains it will be on the basis of a manifesto to which it will have contributed very little if anything. It has little to say about the direction Scotland should travel other than what it should not do. The fantasy that a Starmer victory would usher in the next round of constitutional reforms — including strengthening Holyrood and abolishing the House of Lords — all masterminded by Gordon Brown, has all been abandoned.”
Given that Farquharson and his colleagues have spent years anticipating the return of their friends to office, the sinking in of the reality that NONE of the constitutional changes they imagined are happening has left them desolate, if silent on the topics they used to empty Ink-Trucks over.
In addition to this they have to watch as the covid inquiry exposes the Johnson government as being a regime based on eugenics and the Sunak regime being one that happily, gleefully abandons the rule of law.
Under the rule of law parliament writes laws and the courts interpret them to deliver justice – separation of powers is at the heart of the constitution – this is a full-throated assault on liberty https://t.co/J1IyXL6k2R
— Gordon Guthrie (@gordonguthrie) December 7, 2023
Among all the breakdown and churn of total chaos under the Tories, this is a new low.
The pliant journalists and media people know this.
So it’s with some desperation, and it cannot be in real ignorance, that people like Farquharson are turned to comparing Stephen Flynn with Suella Braverman. This does not mean that there isn’t racism in Scotland, there is. It does not mean that there aren’t problems of ‘othering’ in Scotland, there clearly are. But what it does mean is that people in positions of media power need to have a think to themselves. Here is the British Govt abandoning the rule of law and engaging in unparalleled levels of racism. But that’s not the real point. Pointing out the Tories dire behaviour should be the basics of any decent British journalist. The real point is that these journalists demand that we be forever tied to this.