Every confidence trick has its mark, and every mark has to be reeled in with a story – this is the prose or the narrative of union. Over time the prose of the union has changed but the purpose has always been the same, to keep us in the game. It was once about benefiting from England’s other colonies. Yes, we benefitted alright. We got progress: The Clearances, emigration, industrialised poverty, a metropolis in London that soaked up our best and brightest. If being bled dry was our objective, we did alright out of the union.
Taking the fight to the Scottish National Party with the spectre of dead babies is the nuclear option of scare tactics. No fear will strike parents so close to the bone as this threat will. Every parent – every decent human being – who reads it will get it. They will understand the warning: That they will be complicit in the deaths of defenceless little babies if they lend their support, their votes, to the SNP and to the independence movement. Like the dull ring of a funeral bell, the message is unmistakable.
But this new antisemitism – the use of “antisemitism” to silence dissent, by calling everything anti-Semitic, weakens our ability to combat real anti-Semitic racism. When everyone is an anti-Semite no one is an anti-Semite. Reasonable people who can see through the political weaponisation of this language begin to dismiss – as I have been guilty of doing – almost every claim of antisemitism. We become deaf to a terminology that, ever since Auschwitz, should ring immediate alarm bells the moment we hear it. “Antisemitism,” thanks to pro-government media outlets...
The headline, given that most people seeing it don’t read further, has already misguided the public. Fraser will no doubt say he wasn’t responsible for it, but its use of a headcount of “5,000” more seeking work in Scotland inaccurately describes the reality of the figures. In fairness, Fraser does explain that “the rise appeared to be due to more women seeking work, while male unemployment remained the same,” but the damage has been done. Readers have already been misled into believing that the economy is worsening – which is not true.
Coming from the position that claims women are uniquely delicate and female politicians incapable of engaging with male members of the general public, we can accept this criticism. Yeah, we may think it a complete load of tosh, but this is where Woman for Independence – at least on Twitter – is coming from, and they are fairly consistent. Fair enough. What had me banging my head on the wall like a demented polar bear at the zoo in a heatwave were the hashtags that followed.
David Leask’s job isn’t to spot lies. He may want to convince himself that this is what he does for a living, but he’s deluding himself. Mr Leask can’t even spot the lies in his own paper. He hasn’t commented on the astronomical number of retractions The Herald has had to publish in relation to its coverage of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish government (see the pattern?). Retractions on page 12 a week later, as The Herald knows, don’t correct the damage done by a lie published in bold on the front page – and that’s how it works.
It was as clear as day why the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the youngest Westminster MP Mhairi Black were on the list. As prominent female members of the Scottish National Party – the party that threatens to tear Britain asunder – their intended function was to lose and so furnish the media with yet another handy stick with which to beat Scotland and the SNP.
Lying – or pure and unadulterated political “bullshit” as Harry Frankfurt would call it – has become the norm in how the right wing Brexiteer British government does business. It has realised that just enough of the population is gullible enough to swallow whatever it is told and that the rest are too docile and controlled to do anything real about it. This puts us all in an incredibly dangerous position, one that cannot be overstated.