Professor Jim Gallagher was all over the news on Monday. The ‘respected’ academic confessed to knowing the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa, the American union chief who vanished in late July 1975 amid rumours of links to the mafia.
OK, Gallagher said no such thing. He has an alibi I’m told. But seriously, given the amount of media coverage enjoyed by Gallagher on Monday, one would have been forgiven for believing the academic had indeed confessed to burying the notorious former Teamsters boss.
So what made Jim Gallagher newsworthy? He issued a press statement saying independence is bad and that Brexit should be seen as an opportunity. Gallagher also warned against holding a second independence referendum because of the uncertainty it would cause.
Professor Jim Gallagher is a Unionist. He was a leading member of the pro-Union Better Together campaign during the independence referendum.
Gallagher attacking independence is as newsworthy as rain in Greenock. We know he opposes independence.
We know he opposes a second independence referendum. There is absolutely no news merit in his repeating his opposition.
Gallagher of course was also trying to play down the disaster that is Brexit. And that was the real reason for his appearing across the media.
This wasn’t news. It was an attempt to set the agenda ahead of the SNP conference this weekend.
Brexit strikes fear into the heart of Scottish Unionists. The issue is dominating UK news as is the rampant xenophobia that has followed the EU referendum. The North British media machine is desperately trying to create a narrative that will serve to place Nicola Sturgeon on the back foot.
Gallagher’s non-news coincided with an equally non-newsworthy piece of nonsense courtesy of Labour controlled Glasgow Council. Failed Labour MSP Frank McAveety enjoyed a similar exaggerated profile to that of his pro-Union brother-in-arms courtesy of the same outlets.
McAveety’s vehicle was a so-called report published by what BBC Scotland describes as ‘Scotland’s largest council’.
Scotland’s largest council has said the greater Glasgow area will suffer unless there is specific government action to mitigate the effects of Brexit.
Whenever you see that sobriquet being used by the state broadcaster to describe the Labour run local authority you can bet that a politically loaded news item is in the offing.
The report apparently spelled out how Glasgow could avoid the Brexit fallout, if – and this is the key point – the Scottish government and its UK counterpart agreed to make up any EU funding losses.
I had a look at the said report and found it to be a thirty two page, over-verbose collection of quotes, statements and requests that added little to the Brexit issue within the context of Glasgow. Indeed much of what was contained within the report was already known and appeared to relate to the wider Scottish and UK economies and not Scotland’s largest city.
One demand caught my eye, which was that the Scottish government implement its commitment to reduce Air Passenger Duty by 50% in order to boost the economy.
I wonder if Kezia Dugdale will be quizzed on this given her party’s stated opposition to it?
Frank McAveety appeared on Good Morning Scotland and Reporting Scotland and said … absolutely nothing of worth. What his appearances did do was allow a failed Labour MSP to utter banal and predictable sound-bites aimed at downplaying the damaging effects of Brexit and attacking independence.
There will be more of this kind of non-news provided by Unionists like McAveety and Gallagher this week. The forthcoming SNP conference requires it. The guff will be picked by the kind of lazy journalism MP John Nicolson recently drew attention to.
Meanwhile, the search goes on for the last resting place of Jimmy Hoffa. Where was Frank McAveety on the night in question?
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