Hitting back

I was tempted to just ignore this article after reading the drivel about the SNP wanting to “distance themselves from independence just now on the back of Brexit”. The writer is evidently ignorant of the party’s constitution, which states:

The aims of the Party shall be:

(a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.

(b) the furtherance of all Scottish interests.

This commitment to independence is only the second article of the constitution because the first article is given over to defining the name of the party. The commitment is unconditional and unequivocal. It is quite impossible for the SNP to “distance” itself from independence.

Neither does the writer seem to realise that Brexit is so intimately linked to the matter of Scotland’s independence that there is no distance at all between the two issues. They aren’t really separate issues at all. Both are concerned with the fundamental question of who decides. Of who speaks for Scotland. Brexit is merely the centuries old constitutional issue brought into focus. It exemplifies the democratic deficit inherent in such a grotesquely asymmetric political union and casts in sharp relief the irreconcilable conflict between the concepts of popular and parliamentary sovereignty.

The constitutional anomalies and democratic deficiencies which have been the fatal flaws at the heart of the union since its inception, as well as the more recent divergence between Scotland’s political culture and that which characterises the British state, are encapsulated in the Brexit situation. Brexit isn’t the reason we are going to have a new referendum. It is merely the current context in which we are carrying forward the fight to defend Scotland’s right of self-determination and restore our independence.

Having dealt with that fallacy, we move on to the next – the supposed silence of the SNP/Scottish Government in the face of the ongoing campaign of disinformation and denigration being conducted by the British state’s propaganda apparatus. I should hope it would be unnecessary to establish the reality of this campaign by means of examples. Surely everybody reading this will be aware of the British media’s recent brazen dishonesty on the matter of train punctuality, even if they have managed to remain oblivious to the incessant attacks on NHS Scotland, Police Scotland and every other public service identified with Scotland. Not to mention the effort to delegitimise Scotland’s democratic institutions.

What we are being asked to believe is that the SNP, as a party and/or as an administration, has failed to rebut the calumnies heaped upon Scotland by the British establishment. Or that it has done so only inadequately. What is the reality?

The reality is that the SNP is constantly responding to the propaganda peddled by the British media. Through the Scottish Government’s news pages and the SNP’s website as well as in various blogs and on social media, Scottish Government and SNP spokespersons maintain a continuous flow of information countering the distortions and dishonesty. It is difficult for this flow of reasoned explanation and factual information to compete with the cacophonous sensationalism of the mainstream media. But that is all the more reason to promote it to the public, rather than discount it as completely as some are wont to do.

Whether this effort can be said to be adequate is a matter of subjective judgement. It is always possible to claim that the SNP should be more forthright.in its own defence and more aggressive in exposing the unprincipled behaviour of its opponents. But there’s a delicate balance to be achieved here. It is unwise to get into fights that you cannot possibly win. Or that you can only win at considerable cost. The mainstream media is the weapon, not the enemy. The SNP’s role is to fight for independence from within the British political system. This imposes constraints on how it conducts itself. In many ways, it has to ‘fit in’.

It is simply false to claim that the SNP is doing nothing to counter the British state’s propaganda. It may be argued that the party could do more. But why should it do so when its efforts are already being augmented by a massive and increasingly sophisticated social media campaign as well as alternative media which daily grows its authority relative to a tradition sector in terminal decline.

Instead of carping about imagined inaction, it would be rather more useful if we all devoted ourselves to increasing public awareness of, and confidence in, media which offer a different perspective on Scottish politics and life.

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6 thoughts on “Hitting back

  1. bringiton

    Yes Peter,
    Perhaps we should start an online media campaign,attacking the Westminster establisment at every opportunity.
    British government accused….
    Disastrous results for healthcare in England……
    Police in England accused….
    Tory MP accused of ……
    Scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money….
    And all of that without the mess they have created with Brexit.
    Any English newspaper/TV broadcaster which consistently did this would find itself being shutdown by the establishment.
    Democracy on their terms.

  2. Clydebuilt

    Good article Peter!
    “The SNP’s role is to fight for independence from within the British political system. This imposes constraints on how it conducts its self. In many ways it has to ‘fit in’

    That cleared up things. Well put.

  3. Dougie Lockhart

    “It is always possible to claim that the SNP should be more forthright.in its own defence and more aggressive in exposing the unprincipled behaviour of its opponents. But there’s a delicate balance to be achieved here. It is unwise to get into fights that you cannot possibly win. Or that you can only win at considerable cost. ”

    Did you *really* write that Peter? The only thing I ever liked about you was your Maori Sidestep approach to things. Please don’t go all Ross Greer on me now!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glaB80i9kcM

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      I was referring to the SNP and the Scottish Government. The rest of us can be as aggressive as we like. As a senior SNP politician once said to me, “What I like about folk such as yourself and Stu Campbell and others is that you say the things we’re not allowed to say.”

      The SNP does its job. We do ours. It’s not an either/or thing. We augment one another. Or, as I have said so often – Many voices! One message!

  4. Fionnaidh Halloran

    Again, Peter you hit the nail on the head. Many of our SNP MSP’S/MP’S/COUNCILLORS have to watch their p’s&q’s, we don’t, and we should always try to countermand and give facts and figures to back up our arguments. Which, thanks to you and Stu, we have in abundance, plus the info we have straight from Scot gov also.

  5. Robert Graham

    Despite having control of all the MSM print and broadcast they have not silenced the call for independence , it has had the entirely opposite effect .

    Now that must really trouble the defenders of the union , they haven’t won , and despite their constant lies that pronounce support for independence is falling , it is not , they can only wish it had , the wide ranging indy movement is their worst nightmare , and they dare not admit it .

    Once people see through the lies they never return to supporting the union that troubles them .

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