I too believe 2018 “will be a year in which a new Scotland continues to emerge, an emboldened, more confident and assertive nation“. In fact, I am firmly persuaded that 2018 will be a decisive year in terms of securing Scotland’s future as a nation. Reading between the lines, I’m fairly sure Nicola Sturgeon recognises this. I am certain she is fully aware of the constitutional as well as the economic implications of Brexit – even if she appears to focus predominantly on the latter. It is simply not credible that a politician as experienced and astute as Nicola Sturgeon could be so distracted by the blundering economic vandalism of the Mad Brexiteers as to be oblivious to the more surreptitious machinations of the British political elite.
I recognise that it is not easy for the First Minister to even refer to the constitutional aspects of the Brexit process. The circus of UK/EU ‘negotiations’, with all the talk of ‘trade deals’ and ‘hard Brexit’ and ‘soft Brexit’ and ‘transition periods’ and all the bluster and posturing from the likes of David Davis; all of this serves to divert attention from the constitutional implications of Brexit. Implications which are every bit as disturbing as the economic impact. But we’re not supposed to talk about that. We’re not supposed to even notice these constitutional implications. That aspect of Brexit is so well buried under the avalanche of economic commentary that there’s nothing for Nicola Sturgeon to get to grips with. Nothing she can point to and warn about.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that the mainstream media have almost totally abandoned any effort to analyse, explain and inform. Politics can be complicated. Say the word ‘complicated’ to the bean-counters running the media and what they hear is ‘expensive’. Much easier (cheaper) to assume that the audience isn’t interested in the ‘complicated’ stuff and/or capable of understanding it. This provides the justification for ‘dumbing down’ as part of a cost-cutting exercise. The budget constraints then provide a rationalisation for ‘dumbing down’ on the grounds of resource deficiencies, as well as a convenient excuse for intellectual indolence as well as good old-fashioned laziness.
All of which leads to the kind of woeful situation, lately described in scathing terms by Derek Bateman, in which newspapers become mere conduits for the product of political and corporate media relations departments. A situation in which factual political reporting and thoughtful political commentary are abandoned in favour of Freedom of Information requests written up with the desired slant by party spin-quacks and mechanical churning of a vacuous consensus that reduces all politics to the level of a playground squabble.
Woe betide any politician who steps outside the lines defined by the mainstream media. If Nicola Sturgeon were to depart from a Brexit-related discourse limited to the simplistic dichotomy of economically ‘better off’ versus economically ‘worse off’, she would be immediately and mercilessly pilloried by the same traditional media bullies who respond with such bilious indignation to challenges from the democratised media.
Not the greatest, but certainly not the least, of Donald Trump’s crimes against reason has been to provide intellectually impoverished ‘journobots’ with a ready device by which they can deflect criticism of their output. Any challenge to the priesthood of professional journalism is now likely to be met with a barrage of snarled inanities such as ‘Trumpery’ or ‘Trumpism’ or ‘Trumpist’.
If the First Minister were to talk to us about the British state’s intentions for Scotland, and the threat posed by Brexit-related constitutional change being imposed on Scotland,. the media would be on her like sharks in a feeding frenzy. Not because there is no threat, or because the British state’s intentions are entirely benign, but because the traditional media are not equipped to deal with politics in such depth. They can’t cope. For the most part, they lack, not only the financial and physical resources, but also the will and the wit.
The British media are not going to change. They are part of the British establishment, They are embedded in the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. They depend on a passive, tractable audience. The print and broadcast media rely on readers, viewers and listeners being unaware of the methods by which they are being manipulated.
It up to us to become active consumers of media messages. It is we who must become more discerning and demanding. It is up to us to fill in the gaps in our political discourse. We must go to the places where our elected representatives are unable to go because they are effectively fenced off by the mainstream media. We have to initiate and maintain discussion around the topics our politicians are unable to broach without inviting an onslaught from the British establishment’s fearsome propaganda machine..
There are few things established power fears more than an engaged and informed populace. The mainstream media’s job is to ensure we are distracted and misled.The furious reaction to that Derek Bateman article mentioned earlier demonstrates how afraid the nominally Scottish media are that control of the information flow and the news agenda may be wrested from their jealous grasp.
The alternative media are getting better. Despite the efforts of establishment politicians and cliquish journalists to denigrate social media and demonise pro-independence bloggers, more and more people are turning to sources of information outside the mainstream. There is a powerful and pervasive feeling that 2018 will bring a series of economic, cultural and political tipping points, all tending towards a breakdown of the established order of the British state. One of those tipping points will bring about the collapse of public confidence in the mainstream media in Scotland. another will lead to the declaration by Nicola Sturgeon of a new independence referendum in or around September.
We see the signs. But only if we avoid observing our politics through the distorting lens of the British media. SNP politicians are getting more ‘assertive’. They are more ready to criticise the mainstream media and more forthright in denouncing the antics of the British parties. They are more forceful in defending the record and performance of the SNP administration. This is not mere happenstance. This is an evolutionary stage in the development of Scotland’s independence movement. The Yes movement has matured and its political arm can now be more assured of its support. There is a powerful sense of the pieces falling into place. The feeling that we are ready.
When Nicola Sturgeon speaks of independence being an ‘option’, this must be heard and interpreted in the context of a political direction of travel taking Scotland inexorably towards #Referendum2018.Views: 6397
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