Myth and deception

Those press reports suggesting Ruth Davidson would “use the clout of her 13 parliamentarians to influence the weakened Prime Minister” were, of course, lies. They were a con. They were part of yet another major deceit perpetrated against the people of Scotland by the British establishment.

What we should be talking about is the role of the British media in all of this. Because deception on such a scale is not possible without the collusion of the media.

This collusion need not take the form of an outright lie. Although the British print and broadcast media have little compunction about peddling outright falsehoods, their preference is for marginally more subtle forms of dishonesty. It’s all to do with power. The media like to think their manipulation of public perception is clever and covert. They like to imagine themselves working as an unseen influence. They see themselves as puppet-masters, deftly toying with people so much their intellectual inferiors as to be totally unaware of the tugging strings.

Often, it is not necessary to lie in order to deceive. There are lies of omission. There are lies of exaggeration. There is the selectivity rationalised by the concept of ‘news values’ which can at times be indistinguishable from censorship. There is the choice to avoid asking the truly pertinent questions. The media have many tools at their disposal. And, regrettably, they can generally rely on large swathes of their audience being passive and uncritical consumers of media messages.

So it was that Ruth Davidson was able to sell herself as the ‘winner’ of the 2016 Holyrood election. So it was that she was able to claim a status that was in no way justified by her performance or that of her ‘party’. She is neither intelligent enough nor influential enough to achieve this on her own. In order portray herself as a real leader of a real party and to anoint herself Queen of the British Nationalists and to sell herself as pretender to the role of spokesperson for Scotland, Davidson required the active cooperation of the media. She needed accomplices who were well aware that all of this was false. But who were prepared to go along with it regardless.

The totally ludicrous notion of Davidson holding the balance of power at Westminster through a group of MPs answerable to her was just an extension of the media-generated myth. A myth that nobody is more persuaded by than Davidson herself.

For those prepared to see, the signs of this deception were quite apparent in the course of the UK general election campaign. In early May, Ian Duncan – the failed contender for the Perth & North Perthshire seat subsequently elevated to the House of Lords in order to thwart the democratic will of the electorate – appeared at one of those tightly controlled Tory ‘public meetings’ in Alyth. As reported by The Courier, he did a gruesome double-act with Ruth Davidson in which he pretended he was some kind of ‘rebel’ who would defend Scotland’s interests by defying party discipline while Ruth played along by assuring the invited audience of Tory faithful that she knew Ian to be a “pain in the backside”. Oh how they all laughed! I guess you had to be there. And a sycophantic member of Ruth’s fan club.

For those of us not equipped with regulation-issue rose-tinted glasses, this horribly contrived episode was quite evidently the groundwork being laid for further enhancing the myth of Ruth Davidson by presenting her and ‘her’ Tory MPs – and, crucially, NOT Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP – as the force standing up for Scotland at Westminster.

And the media went along with the pretence. They told the story precisely the way Davidson’s minders wanted it told. Nobody in the media asked the obvious questions about how any of this would actually work in practice. Nobody in the media asked which parts of the Tory manifesto Ian Duncan was intending to rebel against. Nobody in the media queried the fact that he was standing on a manifesto that he acknowledged to be, at least in part, against Scotland’s interests.

Nobody in the media challenged his claim to be a ‘rebel’ who had gone against his own party in the European Parliament. Had they done so, they would have found that this amounted to failing to support the party line less than 2% of the time – including occasions when he simply didn’t show up to vote.

Nobody in the media interrogated Duncan about the fact that, by accepting the nomination as the party’s candidate, he had effectively given the Tory manifesto his personal endorsement as well as giving an undertaking that, if elected, he would work as part of the British Conservative group at Westminster. Nobody in the media pointed out that he was now reneging on both the endorsement and the undertaking.

Nobody in the media examined the claim that Duncan was intending to be a serving Conservative MP, but refuse to accept the party whip as and when it suited him. Nobody in the media asked how this would be possible. Nobody in the media felt the slightest urging of professional curiosity when Ruth Davidson told them that Ian Duncan was a “pain in the backside”.

The British media went along with the deception. They enabled the deception. They were part of the deception. They always were. They still are.

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7 thoughts on “Myth and deception

  1. bringiton

    Fortunately Peter we now have the internet which allows us to by-pass the merchants of doom.
    It used to be that a lie got half way round the world before the truth got it’s boots on but those days are gone..
    Donald Tusk responded to May’s claims of the UK being a bridge to the USA by saying,’We don’t need that thanks,we have Twitter’ which shows how matters have changed.
    Unfortunately,this is having an effect on the printed media with falling circulation and loss of jobs.
    However,in the case of the “Scottish” press,mostly no great loss.
    With digital media recognising no boundaries and for now,no allegiance to any particular state or organisation,people have a real choice in who to believe and who not.
    The only way Westminster can continue with their culture of trying to fool all of the people for as long as possible,is to ensure that certain information is never released.
    They are pretty good at that having much experience but their other options are now severely limited.

  2. Dan Huil

    I’m always happy to see the britnat press in Scotland losing readers. Thank god for sites like this one.

  3. David MacGille-Mhuire

    Thrice seconded: PB’s forensic analysis plus the twa chaps above on the thread – bringiton and Dan Huil.

    Good stuff!

  4. Robert Graham

    I doubt if there is another country on the Planet where the Media including the State broadcaster ,wholly controlled by another country, activly contrives to harm and undermine on a daily basis the freely elected Government of the citizens of that country , I believe there is a term used to describe this .

  5. Stuart

    What paranoid rubbish this ‘article’ is, at least in other political parties you are allowed to ‘rebel’, compare and contrast that with the ‘Stepford wives’ of the SNP, compliant, submissive, and who never dare to challenge their leadership publically.

    No ‘article’ written about that by the ‘Thinker, Listener, Talker, Reader, Writer, is there?

    I wonder why?

    But then if you are a lapdog, then it’s no surprise that Mr Bell, will never write that article.

    1. brian mcardle

      Aye and when these 13 Tory MPs said they would stand up for Scotland ,they missed a meeting in Westminster to discuss farming after brexit ,it was easier to find Lord Lucan riding Shergar ,Tory MPs in Scotland ,about as welcome as an Orange Walk through the Vatican ,but hey most unionist voters are not the sharpest objects,in a box of sponges,but still ,as long as they keep flapping their lips,they will never ever suffer constipation

  6. Bibbit

    The election of the 13 Tory MPs is a necessary evil. Previously, the one tory puppet, David Mundell (Fluffy), did not ignite too much wrath from his fellow Scots. He was after all a lone panda. The name ‘Fluffy’ alone, demonstrates his almost good-natured, unthreatened thole-ing by fellow Scots. Fluffy was harmless enough, wasn’t he?

    Well, the election of 13 new Tories, in this hung UK Parliament, ensures there is no room under Fluffy’s stone for them to hide under.

    In a hung Parliament there will be no free rein from London Tory HQ. Every vote will be whipped to save May’s skelped face. The 13 Tories shortfallings and betrayals of their constituents will be self-evident and the backlash against the 13 will be inevitable and from which not even England’s rightwing, tax-exiled, pressbarons can save them. Appropriately enough, it was the number13 elected; this parliament term will prove to be the Last Supper for the Tories in Scotland.

    Independent minded Scots need these 13 Tory servility to hasten our independence.The 13 MPs voting records alone will damn them and open the public’s eyes to the reality that the Tories are a ‘clear and present danger’ to Scotland’s interests and expose Davidson as the 3rd rater we all know her to be.

    How lacking in political nous was an overawed, sycophantic Davidson, when she declared, fawningly, at Tory Conference, her delight to be in such grand surroundings, ‘as we Scots don’t normally get to see such splendour, being a bunch of thieves and vandals, who must be kept from such civilised surroundings’. Scottish Cringe Factor warp 10.

    Compare the toe curlingly embarrassing Davidson to Ms Nicola Sturgeon. They are just not in the same league! Sturgeon can meet on equal terms with any statesman or head of state, the world over, on equal terms. Davidson is May & the Yoon press’s court jester. Just jump up on that coo, Ruthie…… ‘ That’s how the Tories see Scots, as useful idiots. Useful to park the subs and nukes, and that oil & gas, water, whisky, food, tourism etc.etc. has come in damned handy too, old thing!

    Aye there will be no new general election if May can avoid it. Give the 13 tory fools enough rope and they will all hang themselves.

    Delighted to sit back, buy the popcorn, and watch the fools self-combust, as their true nature of being against Scotland and only for the Tories’ interests is exposed.

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