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By Jason Michael
Britain’s media machine is constructing a narrative for public consumption that presents Scotland’s independence movement as fascistic and racist while claiming the only interference is from the Kremlin.
Russia has invaded the Scottish twittersphere, or so we are being told by the British media. According to The Scotsman “experts” linked almost 400,000 tweets on independence during the 2014 campaign to Russian bots bent on disrupting democracy in Western Europe. Perhaps I am unusual, but those accounts I interacted with most through 2014 I am still interacting with and I know a good many of the people behind those accounts. What I have discovered, to my shock, is how well these people pull off their Scottish accents and manage to live so well – as Scots – in the dreech.
What we haven’t heard a great deal about is how much the BBC and the rest of the British media establishment disrupted democracy in Scotland. It was certainly not a Russian “fake news” bot that plastered the image of a swastika superimposed on a Scottish saltire on its front page. That was the Scottish unionist media – the British media. There wasn’t a hint of snow or a sign of Cyrillic script on the countless news items in the British press framing nationalism in Scotland as Nazism or presenting its leaders and ideas people as “vile cyber-Nats[-is].
Democracy in Scotland was most definitely disrupted during the indyref campaign, but the only real evidence of this happening (we note The Scotsman and others reporting Russian involvement are providing no evidence) points to it being done by the British government and its friends in the unionist establishment media. But that’s alright; it is only to be considered “interference” when other governments take to social media to manipulate public opinion and political behaviour.
MichaelWhite (@michaelwhite) November 18, 2017
Now that that referendum campaign is three years behind us we would imagine the efforts of the British media to distort the narrative here in Scotland would be over. Surely with all these Russians now helping Theresa May and her Brexiteers to make Brexit “a success” the media would have bigger fish to fry? Apparently not! The ghost of the Scottish independence movement as Nazism reborn has not gone away, and it is the British and not the Russians who are keeping this fire burning.
Former political editor of The Guardian, Michael White; the paper’s former political editor, took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to state that what Scots in favour of independence really want is “ethnic cleansing.” He has not as yet deleted this from his page, presumably because he stands by his words. His purpose in this noxious comment was to perpetuate the narrative carefully constructed by the British media over the past half-decade that the independence movement is Anglophobic and seeks the murderous removal of ethnic Anglo-Saxons from our country. Interestingly, it is only in the unionist media that we hear this. Yet, at the very least we can commend Mr White for recognising the ethnic difference between the majorities of England and Scotland; a difference well-ignored in Scotland (and rightly so) and strenuously denied by the British establishment.
Times columnist Alex Massie, writing for the newspaper that brought us Melanie Phillips’ fascistic and racist opinions on Scottish and Irish nationhood, does almost the exact same thing. Apparently by hosting a political talk show on the Russian news channel Russia Today, Alex Salmond – after being denied a voice in the British media – has defected to the “alt-Nat Community.” There’s no mystery in what he’s tell us: Alex Salmond, the former First Minister of Scotland, and those who support him are the Alt-Right, the same people who would parade with Confederate battle flags and swastikas around Charlottesville. It’s as subtle as a swinging brick.
You have the mainstream SNP and you have the alt-Nat community. Alex Salmond has crossed the floor from the officia… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
(@alexmassie) November 21, 2017
This reminder from the unionist press that we are all race-obsessed white supremacists comes at exactly the same time as a successor movement to Scottish Dawn – a racist ethno-nationalist group recently banned under anti-terror legislation – emerged, The Scottish Nationalist Society. Oddly enough for a “nationalist” organisation it is conspicuous for its complete lack of pro-independence followers on social media. The man (probably a boy) – whatever, it’s always going to be a guy – behind it, the Edinburgh based “Scottish Nationalist” – @ScottishNation1 on Twitter, is followed by “nationalists” – white nationalists.
Looking over his followers we find British and American, pro-Brexit and pro-Trump, white supremacists. Yes, he calls himself a nationalist, but his nationalism has nothing whatsoever to do with the independence of Scotland. The British media knows this, but – as was the case when it described Scottish Dawn as a “Scottish nationalist group” – is willing to use this confusion as a weapon against the independence movement. This account adamantly denies being racist while writing people off as “Jews” and sharing “patriotic” photoshopped Hitler Youth posters promoting an ethnically pure Scotland – all being shared by its supporters in England.
So the Russians – yes, we must get back to the Russians – are creating fake Scottish nationalist social media accounts to disrupt Western European democracy? Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. There’s absolutely no evidence one way or the other. But we do have seriously harmful and disruptive “Scottish nationalist” accounts of a vile racist, pro-Brexit (id est pro-British) nature popping up and being used as convenient ammunition supporting the claims of influential people in the British media like Michael White and Alex Massie. If these disruptive fake accounts are indeed Russian, and Russian interference is so dangerous to our democracy, and Messrs White and Massie are so keen to warn us of the danger they pose, then why do they always seem to prove the case these unionists are trying so hard to make? Go figure!
Butterfly Rebellion (@Butterfly_Reb) November 21, 2017
Democracy in Scotland is being distorted by the Russians – Russians who are actually British. The media in the UK is keen to propagate the idea that Vladimir Putin has “troll farms” in St Petersburg suburbs dedicated to a subversive project of undermining the west – which no doubt he does, but it’s saying nothing of the troll farms dotted all over the UK doing exactly the same in Scotland. Somehow we are meant to believe the military grade software the British government develops and sells abroad – designed for the sole purpose of using social media to “inform” citizens – is not being deployed in the UK against those who right now pose the greatest threat to the unity – and therefore the security – of the state? Pull the other one.
We’re Drowning in Millions of Twitter Bots