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By Jason Michael
EARLIER I WAS CHECKED by my friend Paul Kavanagh for some harsh words I penned about Mr Murray Foote, the former editor of the Daily Record responsible for the publication of ‘the Vow’ on 16 September 2014. Forty-eight hours before the people of Scotland went to the polls to vote on their independence Foote’s newspaper ‘mocked up’ a solemn promise from the leaders of the three British unionist political parties stating that if Scotland voted to remain in the union its parliament in Edinburgh would be made a permanent democratic institution and would be given ‘extensive new powers’ amounting to federalism or Home Rule. The words of this ‘document’ – which had a tremendous impact on the referendum – were ‘composed on behalf of the politicians and provided to the Record by a trusted source within the Better Together campaign.’ It was Mr Foote’s decision to publish this lie in his paper, and he defended that decision after the fact.
Foote has since had a Road to Damascus experience and now claims to support Scottish independence – good for him. And, of course, as a prominent figure of the unionist cause in 2014, his defection to the Yes camp has been rewarded generously by the Scottish National Party … you see (and call me cynical) guys like Murray Foote don’t get out of bed in the morning unless someone is crossing their palms with silver. The mastermind of ‘the Vow’ has been hired by the SNP as its top spin doctor, and we are meant to shut our faces and be happy and welcoming because someone impressive has made the journey from No to Yes. Well, not me. I am not happy about this and I am not feeling particularly welcoming. This is foolishness and, worse, it is the road to defeat.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am delighted Scots who voted against Scotland in 2014 are coming round to the good sense of independence. Paul is dead right; we will never win our independence unless we win over to Yes those who voted No in the last referendum. We have to covert hearts and minds to independence and we have to welcome these converts, but this does not mean we should be naïve and uncritical. There is a categorical difference between ordinary people, misguided and duped by the propaganda in the British press that dominates the Scottish media landscape, who voted No and the architects of the unionist anti-Scottish campaign who told them those lies. Mr Foote, as the editor of the unionist tabloid responsible for ‘the Vow,’ belongs to the latter category, and so to celebrate his defection and financial reward as yet another Journey from No to Yes story is naïve and foolish to the point of utter stupidity. Beware of Greeks baring gifts!
Anyone familiar with the history British imperialism and the independence struggles of other countries which won their freedom from Britain will be well acquainted with London’s Trojan horses, its gifts, and its bribes. Now this is not me saying Murray Foote is an enemy within. I don’t know – and that’s my problem here. I don’t know. For all I do know, Foote might be the Bobby Sands or the Mahatma Gandhi of Scottish independence, but, and until there is something to convince me otherwise, I simply do not trust him. We have no reason to trust him. It was Paul Kavanagh himself who wrote that if the British government wasn’t up to dirty tricks it wasn’t doing its job right. Britain is always up to dirty tricks – it’s what Britain does.
Sure, we don’t know if Murray Foote is a hirling. He could well be sincere, but we cannot afford to take his word for it – look who he is and what he did! Considering we can’t read people’s minds or see their inner motivations, all we have to predict future behaviour is past actions, and in Murray’s case this is pretty clear cut. As the editor of a national newspaper, he took directions from ‘a trusted source within the Better Together campaign.’ We don’t know who that ‘trusted source’ was. What we do know is that the editor of the Daily Record published this highly partisan and manipulative garbage in his paper, knowing perfectly well whose interests it served. Then we’re aware of the Integrity Initiative at the British government’s Institute for Statecraft, the nefarious interference of the British state in the media and the manipulation of news reporting and journalism in Scotland … and then we think of this ‘trusted source’ again. Sure, I don’t know. But it doesn’t take a bloody genius to get a little suspicious.
The fact is that Mr Foote was paid handsomely to publish lies in the Daily Record to undermine support for independence; leading to us being trapped under London Rule, being dragged out of the European Union against our will, and having the powers of our parliament greatly reduced. Now Murray is being handsomely paid by the Scottish National Party to … erm, …does anyone actually know what it is he does? There is a pattern here – money. It needn’t be the case that Foote is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He might just be one of those characters Britain has always relied on to keep small nations under its yoke; the kind of person – a ‘professional’ – who is always eager and willing to be sold to the highest bidder. Certainly, as a scion of that class that never loses, whatever happens – independence or no independence – Mr Foote will land on his feet.
So no, I am not happy and I am not quite ready to extend the hand of friendship to Murray Foote. This is not about ‘forgiveness.’ This is about the future of our country, a country and a nation which is right now locked in a zero-sum battle with the British state – an imperial power which time and again has shown its hand when it comes to using assets, agents, and useful idiots to achieve its objectives. Foote’s actions in 2014 placed him firmly on the side of the union, and in his role as editor of the Daily Record he was a powerful asset to the British state. Assuming he is not a stupid man, I’m not prepared to buy the excuse that he did not know what he was doing. He knew fine well what he was doing and what was at stake. His actions played a significant part in the outcome of that referendum and have brought all of us to where we are now – bound and gagged in the boot of London’s car as it races over the cliff-edge into oblivion. This is not a failure of forgiveness. It is common sense.
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I’m with you on your suspicions. I find it’s an essential tool in our current position.
Why didn’t he stay at the record and turn it’s editorial stance to independence? Why not use that to shout about his conversion? Trust? Not a fucking jot.
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Always a pleasure to see your writing. jp
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…and it’s always great to hear from you. How are things? Happy New Year!
what would he have to do, say or write to prove he’s bone fide ?
I don’t know, but something.
As far as I’m aware Murray Foote has shown no remorse for publishing that garbage and as far as I understand still believes he was right to do so, I don’t trust him one little bit.
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female.
I am with you on being suspicious of someone who country out for money, now being employed by the Government of this country. MONEY!MONEY!MONEY! Is a rich mans world..
Unfortunately I have to agree with you on the Jason. He was in part the architect of the mess that we are now in. He may indeed have had some kind of Damascene conversion, my instincts tell me not to trust him, and till there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary I’m sticking to that.
Anyone know what Foote has done in his role with the SNP to advance the cause of independence. The appointment of Foote was just another reason why I decided to stop giving any money to the SNP.
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I’m no happier than you are. Or more trusting.
Happy New Year, Jason! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts in 2021. (Yes, that was a hint to write more! Pretty please.)
Indeed I will be, Hugh. Have a great new year – and don’t over do it.
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He maintains he voted YES himself and the excuse for the Vow was that it was a coup for his employer. His arguments for not turning the newspaper into a pro indy paper was that it didn’t make sense. it had a unionist audience and he would lose more then he gained by it in terms of readers. His argument for promoting the Vow was that He wanted to ensure Scotland got something out of the campaign.
I recall the Vow. it didn’t happen in a vaccuum. 2 years of stress we were put through by the press in Scotland who were paid to promote NO and undermine YES. Despite this we conyinued to make progress, gaining ground on the British state and winning converts to Scotland’s cause to the point where we were ahead and had momentum going into the final two weeks of campainging. The state decided to make a new offer to the public at this point. Call it what you like – putting a third option on the ballot paper, breaking the Edinburgh agreement, a colonial device to rob a people of their national and civil rights – it was effective. It was certainly always part of the backup plan to make a new offer if NO looked like loosing the vote. Stall momentum, shave off a few percentage points, put home rule on the ballot paper. It was a lie of course. 40% rules and Vows. What I am getting at is that when the British state, which had no intention on following through on any of its promises, needed someone to go to to make their pitch they choose Murray Foote and the Daily Record. You can point to the fact that every news outlook in Scotland promoted the Vow thereafter but they used Murray Foote and the Daily record. It would be interesting to know the mechanics and who was involved in making the approach but there is little doubt they were approached to launch last ditch effort to save the union and Murray Foote didexactly that and did it straight away.
It was a criminal act on a huge scale. Committed against us and our country and MFand the Record had a leading role in it.
I gave the thing a bit of thought, considered what he had to say in the contexts of the time and my conclusion is that I have him down as an arsehole of the first rank. A rat against his country. For money. For what its worth I think he probably did vote Yes. Arseholes can vote yes too I suppose
I’m not sure if he did vote YES actually. Not that it matters but It could just as easily be a trick. After The Vow, a wee lie like that would not take much at all.