What ‘Chinagate’ tells us about Scottish Unionism and its media

herald_china2Did the Chinese really pull out of a trade agreement with the Scottish Government because of the political furore whipped up by Unionist politicians and the media?  I don’t know.  We’ll never know if the much touted £10 billion of investment would have come to pass.

What we do know is that where there was once the possibility of lucrative trade deals, there is now nothing, if The Sunday Times newspaper is to be believed.  We know that the Chinese have officially blamed the political narking for their decision to withdraw from the memorandum of understanding.

The ‘Chinagate’ episode has shone a light on a dark corner of Scottish Unionism rarely acknowledged.  It has brought to the fore one of the most uncomfortable topics for defenders of the Union.  Do they put the interests of the Union before the interests of Scotland?  Chinagate provided the answer.


When the agreement between the Scottish Government and a Chinese consortium was first reported in April this year it was headlined as a good news story.  Few will know that the Scotsman newspaper broke the story with a positive headline ‘Scotland and China agree £10 billion investment deal’.

The newspaper altered its headline some time later after obtaining critical quotes from the Scottish Labour party.  The Scotsman also published another separate article on receipt of the Labour comments.  Labour inspired innuendo was to become the essence of Chinagate.


It was Saturday April 2nd and the Holyrood election campaign was entering its second week.  Scottish Labour was already in complete disarray.  Kezia Dugdale’s key campaign weapon of income tax had backfired spectacularly when she U-turned on the tax rebate element.  Her naivety in an interview in which she signalled possible future support for independence compounded her woes.

Unionists needed something to divert from the catastrophe that was Kezia Dugdale.  When Scottish Labour issued its innuendo laden statements targeting the Chinese agreement, it gave the Scottish media the ammunation it needed.  Chinagate was born.

The story initially centred around the failure of the Scottish Government to announce the agreement.  This was used in order to imply secrecy, which in turn allowed Unionists to paint the SNP as having something to hide.

Unionist innuendo made it onto TV and radio news bulletins on Sunday and Monday by dint of there being an election campaign where all parties are given equal air time.

Newspapers headlining Chinagate were rewarded with ‘reviews’ of their front pages by the Good Morning Scotland team.


However BBC Scotland gave the attacks on Nicola Sturgeon a massive boost when it decided to run the story for a third consecutive day.  The broadcaster prioritised a blatant smear against a member of the Chinese consortium.

This kept the story at the front of the news agenda for an additional day.  More importantly it turned the attack onto the Chinese themselves.  The potential investor was now being smeared.

bbc_chinaThis was the point at which the interests of Scotland were displaced by the interests of Unionism.  There was now no thought for what was best for Scotland.  The solitary reason for Chinagate was to undermine Nicola Sturgeon.

The Chinese observed Scotland’s national broadcaster, our national newspapers and a host of apparently senior Scottish politicians going out of there way to smear a business group that was implicitly representing the Chinese government.  Is it any wonder they viewed the coverage as a shambles and, having seen their own reputation slighted, tore up the agreement?

A £10bn investment may be significant to Scotland but to the Chinese it is but a tiny fraction of their international portfolio.  It wouldn’t have registered.

Such a negative reaction by the Chinese to the attacks must have been considered by these reporters and politicians.  It’s inconceivable that they didn’t realise that there could be a backlash from the Chinese that would place the agreement in jeopardy.  Thus, the only conclusion to be drawn is that Scotland’s economic interests were considered acceptable collateral damage in an electoral war against the SNP.

Chinagate has parallels with the event that I consider to be the moment the media in Scotland decided anything was acceptable so long as it damaged the nationalists.  That event was the release of the dying Libyan from a Greenock prison.

Al-Megrahi’s release on compassionate grounds witnessed a media turn against its own democratically elected government and against its own country.  The BBC promoted each and every attack on the Scottish government during this period.  The broadcaster openly promoted a little known internet campaign urging a boycott of Scottish goods.

BBC Scotland reporter Glenn Campbell was sent on an excursion to the US in order to find any anti-Scottish sentiment.  Unionist politicians urged American Senators to attack the decision, promoting outrageous fasehoods in the process.  Indeed Scottish Labour MSPs welcomed a delegation from the US and encouraged poorly informed criticism of the release.

Chinagate is a reminder, perhaps even a wake-up call, to those in the Yes movement who believe that placating the corporate media, especially the BBC, will somehow lead to more mature and balanced coverage of Scotland’s constitutional debate.  It won’t.  The corporate media is a Unionist beast and will react instinctively whenever Unionism is threatened.

The Chinese agreement was jeopardised because it offered an opportunity to undermine the SNP during an election campaign.  Unionism is not anti-Scottish per-se, but it does encourage anti-Scottish behaviour if it helps the cause of Unionism.

And that’s the rub.  Unionists and their media allies will act in a manner that would damage their own nation.  We would do well not to forget that.

As I complete this article I have learned that the agreement may not be as dead as was initially believed.  An article in the Chinese Global Times suggests rather than cancelled, the agreement may just have been stalled.

Interestingly a spokesman for the consortium says: “The opposition parties may simply aim to frustrate the deal which would allow the Scottish National Party-led government to seek less economic support from the UK government,”

Perhaps the Chinese understand more about Scottish Unionism than we give them credit for.

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33 thoughts on “What ‘Chinagate’ tells us about Scottish Unionism and its media

  1. fair scunnered

    Nationalist wishful thinking claptrap. Blame the messenger never the message. Snp is amateurish and blinkered as you would expect from rancid nationalism which equates with racism and fascism

    Bring back Wendy wood. At least you knew where you stood with the Tartan Tories. Nat’s are now like Christian Fundamentalists who cannot face the truth
    Only the ancient canards can be true. Hail to the Govan gas bag and the Buchan bawheid not to mention oil boom Hosie.

    1. John Whiskyman

      “Snp is amateurish and blinkered ”
      In what way? Please show how “Chinagate” suggests this. Was it “amateurish” for the Scottish Government to negotiate a deal? Are they blinkered because they were dealing with the Chinese? Do please explain.

      ” rancid nationalism which equates with racism and fascism ”
      Perhaps you are unaware of the policies of the SNP regarding racism. Perhaps you are unaware of the position of the SNP on equality, fairness and inclusiveness. The SNP, being slightly to the left of the Scottish Labour Party, seeks a fairer Scotland for all the people living here regardless of their origin, gender or sexual orientation. It seeks a more democratic society where the policies of an independent Scotland better reflect the wishes and aspirations of the inhabitants of Scotland than those forced upon us by Westminster and its focus on the needs of the South-East of England.

      ” Nat’s are now like Christian Fundamentalists who cannot face the truth”
      Please explain what you mean by this or is it just random drivel?

      “Only the ancient canards can be true.” Which ancient canards? Tell the truth now, you don’t actually know what you are saying.

      “Hail to the Govan gas bag and the Buchan bawheid not to mention oil boom Hosie.”
      Ah! The most convincing of arguments – childish name calling. Ad hominem arguments are not well regarded.

      1. fair miffed

        Oh dear oh dear.

        Cannot learn the lessons of world history.

        All nationalist movements make their case on the basis that someone else is to blame for their travails.
        Trump anyone?

        We are all brothers and sisters.
        Unite with them and throw away the flags.

        I stopped listening to Bbc during the referendum as all questions to the above mentioned worthies was mer by the reply-scare mongering.
        But they were never challenged on this. Infuriating. Now we know what the reality is.

        Chinagate – secrecy by government
        Surely not -we are Scottish and get a free pass. How dare they be criticised. SNP are above all that.
        Nationalism creates it’s own boundaries and makes unreliable followers. Fairness knows no boundaries or ring fencing.
        Incidentally on name calling. A few of your fellow travellers have called me a clown- but that is only a part time job when listening to self righteous Nats.


      2. fair miffed

        Incidentally way back when Scotland voted mainly Tory the SNP
        Was more right wing than them .
        Political opportunism writ large.
        Power to the non-aligned masses.

  2. fair scunnered

    Stalinist claptrap. SNP cannot face any criticism They are monolithic and intolerant. Any flaws in their beliefs are dismissed as false reporting or misunderstandings.

    The party will adopt any stance for success-right wing in the 50’s to moderate centre left stance now.

    Paranoia and dismissiveness are it’s watchword. Argue fro principle not a nationalist standpoint- it would open your mind if you did. I will not hold my breath- how many military bases are closing in England? In the Nation -hardly.

      1. fair miffed

        Your comments would make anyone cringe. Supercilious Nat!

        Go read a nook without moving your lips. Perhaps you can stop pointing at cars soon.

        Just tio intellectual for me.

  3. Andy McKirdy

    Ah, fair scunnered.
    “Proud Scot but” out and about without your escort I see!!!
    Wrong flag on this site for you me thinks!!!
    Most competent government this colony has ever had bar none!!

  4. Lochside

    Fair Scunnered…government troll GTF.
    Mr G absolutely correct again. The SNP should challenge the BBC in the courts. The evidence is there of their collusion to destroy Scottish economic growth at all costs.

  5. Bill McLean

    “fair-scunnered” is surely the clown who postures as Glasgow Working Class on another blog. Ignore him!

    1. fair miffed

      Incorrect.. Are you the clown wearing the mask in the picture?

      How superior you separatists are. I bet you have been complimented on your invective by your Nat chums.
      A sinister cabal of pains in the neck.

      This is my first time of posting anywhere-just could not believe the craven guff here.
      Go read a book.

  6. bringiton

    The purpose of the “unionist” political parties is to represent the London establishment’s interests in Scotland.
    It was not in London’s interests for Scotland to pursue an economic policy independent of them.
    We have to be kept dependent on London at all costs.

  7. millie

    UK/China Trade – UK Gov press release today .

    Infrastructure announcements aplenty, including a project to double the size of Media city Salford which houses BBC (the irony).


    Many journalist in Scotland really need to start looking in the mirror and stop playing parochial games. Are they happy and willing for Scotland and our economy to sink like a stone…. just to harm Sturgeon?

  8. Dan Huil

    The SG should pass a law saying that people in Scotland will not be prosecuted for refusing to pay the bbc tax.

  9. fair miffed

    Bill Mclean is coco the clown. Cannot make an argument. Just spurious insults. Brain transplants may be available soon. Get a tartan one. Then you can drive about in the circus with the Indy camp comics.

    No flags only internationalism please.

    1. Peter A Bell

      Internationalism is a political principle which advocates greater political or economic cooperation among nations. There is no more internationalist party than the SNP.

      You could, of course, offer some evidence or reasoned argument in an attempt to refute this statement of fact. But I suspect that isn’t going to happen.

  10. millie

    I think people should ‘keep their eye’ on Ken Macintosh’s ‘Commission on Parliamentary Reform’.

    Members are as follows-

    ‘How we work’-

    Thus far, the establishment has done everything in its power to draw power away from the ‘Scottish Government’ since the SNP took over at Holyrood.

    I imagine it will continue to strive to curb the power of the Scottish Government for as long as the ‘SNP’ is in charge?

    One to watch……..

  11. fair miffed

    Lochside-what’s shores? Government SNP puppet is your real moniker
    Conspiracy theories about ringing surely went out yesterday when your partner over the ocean (sick) won.

    Other side if a tarnished coin.

  12. Andy McKirdy

    Answer to that question is absolutely yes. They seem to live for any sort of bad news story about our country.
    I wonder what goes through their minds when they look in the mirror???
    What kind of person wants the worst for their country and its people??

  13. Anne Grant

    O.M.G….fair miffed….how much hatred can one person lug around? Get outside away from your screen you sad sorry brainwashed HATER

  14. Anne Grant

    You say it’s your first time of posting anywhere…..you should stick to making people wonder why you don’t speak….instead of letting them know why you shouldn’t!!

  15. Keith Farrell

    It seems as though this was deliberately done in order to move the deal down south. I believe there needs to. E an investigation of this whole matter with unionist politician being held liable and subject to a bi election. Let’s face it Roth did not win her seat she only got there on a list vote as did labour leader

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