la grande illusion

What will it take for Nicola Sturgeon to realise the SNP’s media paranoia is damaging her movement?

The early dawn light filters in through a narrow slither of a window. Inside the smoky room gathers senior BBC officials. They work through the days news headlines, plotting how to turn them into headaches for the SNP. Dispersing soon after, ready to manipulate the poor unthinking masses.

If that sounds remotely plausible to you, you are part of the SNP’s broader problem.

The Nationalist movement has always had its more colourful wing of supporters, and a tendency toward conspiracy theories inside political parties isn’t a revelation . But the indyref, and the subsequent fallout has revealed a damaging paranoia writ-large inside the SNP rank and file. The belief that  the BBC; and ‘the mainstream media’ more broadly; are somehow out to destroy the SNP is la grand illusion of our time.

Does this really happen? No, of course it doesn’t. But there are a considerable number of people in the SNP and the wider Indyref2 movement who seem to believe it’s exactly the sort of thing that does go on. – Andrew Collier, former SNP spin doctor

Any notion that the Telegraph, BBC, Daily Record & Herald are all in cahoots to plot a media agenda to damage the SNP is for the birds. And only a cask-strength Nat would subscribe to it.

Demonstrating how the media is actually not anti-SNP…

Damaging fallout

The impact of such delusion damages the SNP, but also wider Scotland.

If you do subscribe to the Nat view of the world, then surely you’d be furious at such cybernat conspiracy theorising. SNP media spinners like Andrew Collier write often about how much damage is reeked by such antics. There he is, building up valuable support and sympathy for the SNP government with, say, The Herald – only for cybernats and their ilk to pour as much vitriol on them as they’d reserve for the Mail.

Who does it hurt? Why it hurts their own cause. Behaviour like that alienates the media, and reduces the available pool of sympathetic editors and journalists. Spend enough time shouting at newspapers and broadcasters that they’re biased scum and they will soon stop listening to anyone associated with you.

Not a great tactic for getting your narrative across to the wider public.

However, because of its high profile and penetration into households, the BBC was — and indeed remains — the cybernats’ main target. Peak Anger arrived days before the 2014 vote in a series of demonstrations outside Pacific Quay, intimidating staff and forcing the presence of the police. -Andrew Collier

Does anyone in the ‘YES movement’ actually think that open intimidation of BBC staff helped their cause prior the the indyref vote?

Cybernat cohorts bullying BBC staff before the indyref

It isn’t what Scotland needs either.

Scotland needs less of the polarising ‘yes vs no’ ‘separatist vs unionist’ narratives. We need public trust in our broadcasting institutions, we need mutual respect.

The grand delusions of the SNP rank and file is damaging both them, their cause, and the civility of the wider civic sphere. They have to stop.



  1. It’s not conspiracy knowing that all daily “newspapers” except the national, aren’t exactly SNP friendly.
    I am under no grand illusion, and I believe in the freedom of the press; though the press must be truly investigative and not mere trash peddlers.

    Having a peaceful demonstration is bullying? I suppose in your world view, the Jarrow marchers were terrorising the “home counties” , by marching south.

    Don’t believe all you read or perceive that fits your own pregidous.


    • The Herald, The Sunday Herald, the Daily Record and The Sun have all shown they are sympathetic to the SNP. They are hardly either hostile or unsympathetic to the SNP government.

      The Sun officially backed the SNP for reelection. The Herald group actually owns The National, so they are hardly hostile or unfriendly to the Nat cause.

      I honestly do not see the mainstream media outlets lining up en-mass against the SNP.


  2. The Herald is consistently and at times shamefully biased in its political reporting. The fact that the same (American) group owns the National only shows their smart approach to selling stuff to everybody.
    The Daily Rangers has been rabidly pro unionist for years, and only breaks it now and again because their circulation has fallen again.
    If you are suggesting that the vast majority of print media in Scotland is NOT anti independence, the evidence is comprehensively against you. The examples abound.
    Were you at the Pacific Quay demonstration? I suspect not. Whose version did you believe? Even the police statements about complete peacefulness were brushed aside by most of the media.
    You are just another apologist for a thoroughly bent and corrupt mainstream media. I had hoped for better from you when you first appeared on my horizon.
    I am not a member of the SNP, but a tired old socialist. I had hoped you might be more interesting, an intelligent analytic center right addition to discussion, but alas not. Nye Bevan was right.


    • I did not claim the majority of the Scottish or British media were pro-indy. But I did claim they are not wholly biased, and the BBC does not operate on a secret plan to ‘do down’ the SNP government. Nor indeed does the Herald (I note the Sunday Herald supported indy btw)


  3. Both sides of the debate have pointed out the newspaper bias on the matter of Scottish independence. (Stuart Campbell and Tim Luckhurst are two that spring to mind). Most of us realise and accept that a certain paper will support Labour or the Conservatives and buy or don’t buy accordingly.

    However it is widely accepted that the BBC displays a clear bias towards the Labour Party. I remember William Hague calling it the Blair Broadcasting Corporation. The Daily Mail still accuses it of this in England at least. In Scotland this Labour bias translates as a Unionist stance and is more tolerated in our present political climate.

    The BBC is paid for by people with varied political views. It has failed in its duty to be impartial. On the subject of the protest at Pacific Quay, I attended along with my children and it was in no way threatening.


    • Is that why the police were called to the Quay? I suppose experienced journalists working there just made up all the ‘threatening’ and ‘intimidation’ stuff then?

      And on a related note, I suppose the hounding of Farage with yells of ‘go home’ was in keeping with the yes movements ‘in no way threatening’ antics as well?

      Face the facts, whether it’s the orange order loons, or some of these extreme yes movements, there is a horrible polarisation going on now. And intimidation, brutish politics has become more acceptable. And it was unleashed by the YES campaign, and their drive for separation.


      • Yes, they did make it up. I don’t know who called the police, but they just stood quietly in the background and in some cases chatted to protesters. There was absolutely no threats or intimidation, as the Police themselves were happy to report. This is exactly what we are discussing here- misreporting and misinformation.
        Your agenda is pretty clear!


      • Now I agree that the hounding of Farage was out of order. It damaged the Yes cause and although I disagree with the man’s politics, he has a right to speak. Let your opponents be heard and question them and pick apart their arguments.

        I don’t accept that it was the Yes movement that unleashed all the bile. Why didn’t similar things happen in 1974? It is only now that independence is a realistic prospect that it has stirred up unpleasant unionism. It takes two sides. Tam Dalyell, a long time opponent of devolution/independence said that Scottish independence was something he was totally against but it was a laudable aim.

        Maybe both sides should take that view..


  4. Police? Police always show up whenever a large mass of people gather. Sports matches, Orange Order marches, political conferences, protests, festivals, royal weddings, etc..

    Heck, I saw a bunch of cops around at Pride yesterday. If that’s indicative of ill-doings… Yeah, that’s a very facile argument you made.

    Fair enough, I can appreciate these journalists felt intimidated. If hundreds or thousands of people showed up to hold me to account for being a lying bastard, I’d feel intimidated too. But the reality is, it wasn’t a slavering mob worthy of the French or Russian Revolutions. All of those journalists went home with their heads still attached – none of them shot, poisoned and then drowned them in the Clyde either!

    Also, the biggest act of violent intimidation against a newspaper was the fire-setting at the Sunday Herald office on 19th September 2014.

    As for the BBC – information in the public domain: BBC Scottish licence fees – £300m a year; BBC Scotland 2016/7 budget – £86m a year. Follow the money. No organisation can be unbiased when £200m of annual income is at stake.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s