Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Media’
A Memo to James Naughtie on his Return to Scotland
Scottish Review, October 10th 2013
It has come to my attention that you planning to move north to cover the independence referendum, admittedly for only two days a week.
Since you last worked in Scotland in 1977 a lot has altered that you might find at first a bit bewildering. Scotland has changed, not entirely in ways immediately apparent or straightforward. Some institutions which have the same names as 36 years ago have changed, nearly totally out of recognition. New bodies and different ways of things of doing things have emerged.
To save you time and reading, considering that you are only here two days a week, here is a short guide to what’s changed and what’s not changed, and how to make some sense of the public life of Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »
The Independence Debate is not a Non-Event but Changing Scotland
The Scotsman, September 28th 2013
How often have you heard it said: the independence referendum is a non-event and as boring as paint drying?
This has become the uncontested view of part of mainstream Scotland and many in public life and the media. Last week ‘Newsnight Scotland’ anchor Gordon Brewer stated as fact that the whole thing was ‘dull as dishwater’, while others regularly pronounce that it is ‘turning off voters’, ‘deadening’ and ‘never-ending’.
It is a cliché, caricature and articulating a world-weary, cynical, Paxmanesque attitude of condescension. It also just happens to be deeply and utterly wrong.
Interestingly, this ‘its all boring’ perspective hasn’t learned from the recent past. Two years ago in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election campaign a chorus of the mainstream media, often the same people as today, called the whole thing predicable and dull with Alf Young dismissing it as ‘the biggest yawn in living memory’ and ‘depressing’. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland’s comforting stories and the missing voices of public life
Scottish Review, September 24th 2013
Scotland in its politics, culture and sense of its identity likes to tell itself a comforting story.
There was once a Labour Scotland optimistic story of lifting working people up, and now there is a Nationalist account about the possibilities of independence. There is even a positive pro-union version that has not been fully articulated in public for many years.
All of these are partial accounts, and one of the many challenges they face is the continued existence of negative stories which emphasise that we are too small, too poor, too divided, and above all, just too Scottish, to do anything about changing our country.
One of the positive accounts of modern Scotland which has risen in recent years has been the richness of artistic and cultural Scotland. This was witnessed in the recent Creative Scotland stramash which saw its Chief Executive Andrew Dixon shown the door. An organised group of artists and cultural figures saw themselves as defending the interests of a community and a set of inclusive, enlightened values. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes to a Different Scotland
Open Democracy, September 18th 2013
One year to the Scottish independence referendum.
A historic milestone. A host of mainstream media programmes, discussions and items yesterday and today are marking it.
One of the most important was ‘Newsnight’s’ Berwick upon Tweed programme on Tuesday broadcast to a British wide audience which looked as though it was filmed in the ‘Great British Bake Off’ tent!
The programme was revealing and fascinating, from Kirsty Wark’s conspicuous slips showing her bias, to Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State’s constant reciting of the word ‘separation’ in her opening remarks. But at significant points the discussion pointed towards a tone and content which is seldom present in most mainstream media discussions – namely, the opening up of a space exploring the notion of a different Scotland and how this could manifest itself. Read the rest of this entry »
Minority Report Scotland: Politics and Ideas in a Substance Free World
National Collective, September 6th 2013
A week in Scottish politics. Two discussions and two long-term, deep challenges in the independence referendum debate showcased. These are how we address social justice, poverty and exclusion, and the way the mainstream media and broadcasters in particular are portraying this debate.
The two examples I wish to draw from are a ‘Newsnight Scotland’ ‘special’ on Monday (September 2nd) and a ‘Scotland Tonight’ ‘special’ on Thursday (September 5th). Both addressed, if that is the right word, the subject of welfare and pensions; the former having Jackie Baillie, Jamie Hepburn and Alex Johnstone, and the latter, Nicola Sturgeon and Anas Sarwar in some strange kind of face-off.
The ‘Newsnight Scotland’ discussion illustrated the paucity of what passes for a welfare debate. No politician of any persuasion seems to have a single major idea of what to do apart from abolishing the bedroom tax, or fighting over who is best placed to oppose the bedroom tax. Or in Tory MSP Alex Johnstone’s different take, giving us the option of defending the bedroom tax. Of course, I am being unfair; SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn came up with the idea of bringing back Direct Payments of housing benefits which is another policy of returning us to that golden era of welfare of pre-April 2013. Ah, yes, that was a time when it was wonderful to be alive, er, five months ago! Read the rest of this entry »