Artless dishonesty

Beware the single quote! It is a well-established journalistic device for disguising dishonesty. At first glance, the phrase ‘will not include independence vote pledge’ may look as if it has been sourced. It could be taken for a direct quote. It is a way of lending spurious authority to something that has been concocted. It is a deceit. A form of lying.

As such, it has no curiosity value whatever. Wearying experience bids us accept that we may hope for no better from corporate media obsessed with their power to manipulate – real or imagined. The thoughtful reader may, however, pause to wonder about the intended purpose of this clumsy misrepresentation of the facts. They might be tempted to ponder the objective of the distortion. They might be curious as to how it is hoped that this attempt to mislead could serve a hard-line unionist, virulently anti-SNP agenda.

Firstly, of course, the reader would have to be aware of the reality in order to recognise that it is being misrepresented. They would have to know that the SNP is, despite the effort to suggest otherwise, as completely and unequivocally committed as it ever was to the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. They would also have to be aware that, to the extent that a referendum is accepted as an essential part of the process of restoring Scotland’s independence, the SNP must necessarily be fully committed to holding another referendum.

The question then is, what does the British establishment’s propaganda machine hope to achieve by pretending that the SNP is not committed to holding another referendum – and/or, to independence? Do they actually suppose that they might convince independence supporters that the SNP isn’t really the party of independence? Is the “plan” to so undermine confidence in the SNP as the political arm of the independence movement that people will give up on the project altogether?

Is there some notion behind this deception that people will become so disillusioned with the SNP’s supposed ambivalence about a second referendum that they will turn to the British parties as a gesture of protest?

Is it possible that British nationalists could be so deluded as to suppose that independence supporters might be so easily lured into the electoral equivalent of self-harm?

It is said that one should never underestimate one’s opponent. By the same token, it can be a mistake to overestimate them. When confronted with what appears to be panicky flailing and blind stumbling, trying to discern the underlying deviousness may be a wasteful distraction. Sometimes, people are just as stupid as they seem. It is entirely possible that there is no cunning plan. To react as if one’s opponent is artful may be to imbue that flailing and stumbling with an artfulness that was never there in the first place.

An example! Take Kezia Dugdale’s recent declaration that a BLiS (British Labour in Scotland) government would “guarantee” a GP appointment within 48 hours. On the face of it, this looks like as fine a piece of political inanity as you’re likely to find. Look deeper, however, and you discover that it actually is as fine a piece of political inanity as you’re likely to find. My point is that, to address this “proposal” as if it were anything more than political inanity is to afford it a credibility that it does not deserve. It is idiocy. And it should be treated as such.

And so it is with the declaration that the SNP manifesto ‘will not include independence vote pledge’. It is a lie. We know it is a lie. We know that the SNP manifesto will include a second referendum “pledge” in the only form that such an undertaking can possibly have if it is to be honest and credible. The mistake would be to suppose that there is some deep and guileful purpose to the attempted deception. It ain’t necessarily so. The mainstream media really are obsessed with their power to manipulate. Sometimes, they lie just because they can.

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2 thoughts on “Artless dishonesty

  1. Ruth

    Yes. People have to remember that SNP have a job to focus on ie a country to look after as well as supporting Independence.

  2. Robin Stevenson

    Excellent piece [as ever] Peter, only one issue however, ‘BLiS’ [British Labour in Scotland] sounds FAR too nice.

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