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Democracy should define mandates, not the media – Towards Indyref2…

Democracy should define mandates, not the media

Who won the Holyrood election last year?  The result said the SNP but the media presented Ruth Davidson as the winner by dint of the Scottish Conservatives having replaced Scottish Labour as the main challenger to the SNP.

Davidson turned the 2016 Scottish election into a mini-referendum.  She didn’t have much by way of policies, but you don’t need them when you’re standing on the single issue of the constitution.

Scottish Labour’s hard-core Unionist bloc of voters deserted the once dominant party.  They always voted for the Union but just hid it behind the social democratic values of Labour.

In 2016, with Kezia Dugdale sending out confused messages, they abandoned Labour’s foggy Unionism in favour of Ruth’s clear red, white and blue water.

Scotland is now facing a re-run of the 2014 independence referendum at every election – Holyrood, Westminster, Europe [If we’re still there in 2019] and Council.  Ruth Davidson has ensured independence will define every ballot … until we vote Yes in the next authentic one.

When will the second referendum be held?  Nobody knows.  The Scottish Government has a mandate to hold one but the UK Government is denying it the right.

“Now is not the time” according to Theresa May.  The Section 30 request will now not be answered until after the UK general election.

This is where we need to be watchful.  So phenomenal was the 2015 general election for the SNP that the party will find it all but impossible to replicate its 56 seat haul.  Unionists and their media allies are already promoting Ruth Davidson’s line that a handful of Scottish gains for the Conservatives will somehow weaken the indyref2 mandate the SNP won in the 2016 Holyrood election.

Expectation defines success or failure if you live in media land, and the Scottish public is already being conditioned for a Tory ‘success’.  The message being drummed into the minds of voters is that more seats for the Tories means a weakened mandate for the SNP.

As you would imagine, the state broadcaster is playing its part.  There’s nary a bulletin or interview that doesn’t mention it.



It’s a false narrative of course.  Ruth’s case can be taken apart with ease if reporters wished.

How so?  Well first off, elections are won by the party that wins the most seats, not the party that makes the most gains.  You don’t win a football match by clawing back two late goals after going seven behind.  If, as expected, the SNP win most Westminster seats then it will consolidate Nicola Sturgeon’s existing mandate.

Secondly, any seats the SNP lose won’t constitute a weakening of Nicola Sturgeon’s indyref2 mandate because they weren’t won on an indyref2 ticket in the firt place.  The SNP did not fight the 2015 UK general election on a platform of a second independence referendum.  Indeed the First Minister, during the campaign, made it explicitly clear that voting SNP would not be seen as a vote for a second indyref.

Thus, the 56 MPs are not representative of backing for a second independence referendum.  If anything they represented the SNP’s decision to park the constitution.  The EU referendum changed all that.

June’s general election will the first genuine contest between Ruth’s British Nationalism and Nicola’s Scottish Nationalism.  It’s a straight Union versus Indy match-up.

Having built her campaign on opposing a second referendum, Ruth Davidson has ensured the SNP’s mandate will be strengthened not weakened.  Any and all seats won by the SNP will be seen as an endorsement of the party’s plans for a second independence referendum.

That’s why the day after Theresa May announced her plan to hold a snap general election, Nicola Sturgeon proclaimed a defeat in Scotland for the Tories would see the PM’s indyref2 opposition crumble to dust.

Ruth will of course continue to punt the nonsense that the Scottish Conservatives, having gained a handful seats, have won the right to block a second referendum.  This though will have no more credibility than a defeated Tim Farron claiming the Lib Dems have won the right to hold a second EU referendum on the back of a few seat gains south of the border.

Democracy should define election mandates, not the media.  The party with the most seats gets to call the shots.  That’s how it will work in England.  The media should apply the same rules in Scotland.


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9 thoughts on “Democracy should define mandates, not the media

  1. commonoldworkinchap

    There is only one way to rein in this rabid, out of control media and that is through regulation.
    It will not happen while we are a part of this UK. Simples

  2. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    Years ago I had a brief conversation with an ex-editor of the Scotsman. It was during the Falklands War. He was defending self-censorship by news-media regarding British losses etc (I think the Thatcher Government had requested such). I muttered the opinion that the media should be impartial.

    “And who is impartial about the Falklands?” he asked, eyebrows raised.
    “Well, *I’m* trying to be”, I said.
    “Good for *youououou*…”, came the supercilious put-down.

    The point of this reminiscence is the realisation that when the British State is “at war”, neutrality becomes tantamount to treason. The British State is of course in a very real sense “at war” (over its very survival) with the SNP. Given that premise we should appreciate that “impartiality” regarding the SNP becomes a betrayal of Britain in its hour of need. Lies on behalf of the United Kingdom become in this context entirely “honourable”, officially sanctioned, and rewarded.

    During the 2014 referendum we saw this principle operative at the highest levels in the guise of Sir Nicholas Macpherson and the Civil Service (with an emotional mutual-congratulation medal ceremony following eventual “success”).

    So also the flagrant ongoing media determination to hermetically enclose Scotland within a distorting “Truman Show” Bubble of Britishness.

    And why we need not expect BBC Scotland to ever concede GA Ponsonby’s well-evidenced critiques – in fact one begins to suspect that the more flimsy the BBC spokesperson’s self-justifying pretext in answer to a complaint, the bigger the insider smirk.

    It is in this unflattering light, I suggest, that our expectations of BBC and other establishment media news must be calibrated.

    Yet the din of hammering fists against Scotland’s stultifying, media-generated, pseudo-horizon increases daily, thanks in no small measure to GA Ponsonby’s cumulative case-studies of news-editorial duplicity.

    1. ScotsCanuck

      an excellent critique of :- (a) the BBC (b) the British Establishment (c) the print media in general ….. enjoyed reading that.

  3. bringiton

    Thanks to Brexit,the whole world can now see that the British state and it’s press pack are simply representing the views of Little England.
    The pretence that we are one nation under God has been blown apart and all that remains is to formalise their isolation within the British Isles and beyond.
    How will the Tories fare without an empire to exploit?

  4. David MacGille-Mhuire

    With you all above including Mr Ponsonby and his, yet another piece of forensic analysis, witheringly to the point – how do you British MSM chaps and chapettes sleep easily at night with your repudiation of the core reporting dictum of “without fear nor favour”?

    A thirty pieces of silver Judas snooze paid for your complicit propaganda?

    Let it be noted that the Scots citizenry, for the most part – I would posit – seeks only balanced reporting of the issues, regardless. So and to deploy a rhetorical question: Why your collective appetite for whoring (with due respect to the professionals who offer succor to us when life seems too awful to care)?

    Trashcan hacks the lot of ye, with honorable exceptions, who History beckons to bin for your dissolute behaviour.

    However and given the reality you are almost all core parts to the fabric of the British state, it is imperative on Scots, of whatever hue and source, to not further fund your British shillings and to begin to consider other democratic options in the face of your contumacy and that of the Unionist elements in Holyrood.

    Perhaps our Scottish representatives in Holyrood, Westminster, and Brussels may yet have to combine in a National Assembly to repudiate you all via the solemn abrogation of the Union Treaty which sustains your maws and your fellow travellers’s?

    Intriguing times.

  5. Brian Powell

    ” The SNP did not fight the 2015 UK general election on a platform of a second independence referendum. Indeed the First Minister, during the campaign, made it explicitly clear that voting SNP would not be seen as a vote for a second indyref.”

    We get the measure of what a smart, smart lady Nicola Sturgeon is.

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