You may have noticed that Brexit has entirely replaced terrorism – the staple of British news between 2001 and 2016 – in the British broadcast and print media. Not even the suicide bombing of the Manchester Arena in May 2017 was able to unseat the Brexit agenda from our television screens for more than a month, which is interesting considering the British media’s prior behaviour in response to non-fatal terrorism stories and acts of terrorism in other western countries.
Billy Mitchell is anything but your average member of the public. Certainly, from the look of things, he appears to be doing well from his shady links to the British government, and he always seems to turn up right at the wrong part of the world – that is: Wherever the UK government or elements of it are up to dodgy dealings. His four performances on Question Time tell us one thing for sure, that there are hidden forces at work using him as a tool to make the SNP and the Scottish government look bad. It doesn’t matter that his facts are all to pot.
Papers have standards. Yes, we can all see the humour in this statement when we are talking about The Herald. It employs David – you’re all “bots” – Leask! But even in comparison to this low-level “journalism,” Angela Haggerty has always somehow managed to lower those already bargain-basement standards. No one seriously rates Ms Haggarty as a writer. As has been discussed before on this site, her analysis and style are wanting, and I would not be the first to suggest she was taken on by The Herald as an easily controlled pro-independence voice.
Who exactly gives Mark Zuckerberg the right to say what we can and cannot express online? Sure, clear cases of hate speech and incitement to violence should – by law – be removed and offenders brought to book, but we already have laws for that. It’s upsetting that Facebook can remove content it arbitrarily finds unpleasant or distasteful. But it is a private company; it’s Facebook’s platform and Facebook’s rules. But what’s really concerning – even worrying – is that governments appear to have a say in what and what can’t be shared on the site.
The counter-voice – such as the political voice of the SNP, Sinn Féin, or Plaid Cymru – is the modern equivalent of the pillory or the stocks. This is where the enemy is presented, carefully framed and expertly mitigated, so as to make it serve the purposes of the state. We may hear the voice and see the face of Nicola Sturgeon, for example, but the narrative – the most important element of “the news” – is always that of the British state. No BBC broadcast featuring a counter-voice will leave the audience in any doubt as to dangerous nature of that voice.
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...
Yesterday, at long last, the directors at the BBC caved in to public pressure and called David Duguid – the Scottish Conservative and Unionist MP for Banff & Buchan – onto the show to answer some not-so tough questions. Considering the charges currently being laid against his party; that he and others received potentially illegal donations from a network of political associations set up and used so as to obfuscate the sources of the money, this was a brilliant opportunity for Gary Robertson to grill Mr Duguid and shed some much-needed light on this growing political scandal.
If the details of the Brexit dark money story are proven, the outlook for the British government is dire – if not terminal. It will prove beyond doubt what an increasing number have come to suspect; that Brexit was never about returning sovereignty to the UK, but that senior members of the Conservative Party – including members of the government – have collaborated with a foreign power – Russia – to destabilise the United States and the European Union and assisted in a project of recalibrating the international geopolitical balance of power in Russia’s favour.