We must also commend Alex Salmond on the grace with which he resigned. He appealed to the membership not to follow him, saying that he would – at the soonest opportunity after he has cleared his name – reapply for membership. In doing this he has put the cause of independence and the unity of the party and movement before his own personal feelings of anger and humiliation – which he must no doubt be feeling. In expressing his love for the SNP and the independence movement he said that they have been the defining commitment of his life...
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.
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.
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...
All we have to combat this insidious beast are the tools at our own disposal. We have the internet; blogs and vlogs, social media platforms, video hosting sites, and so on. Behind these we have a small and growing army of dedicated writers, artists, content creators, and social media wizards. These are people with skills who are learning on their feet the tools needed to address the incessant propaganda of the unionist media and deliver effective and timely counterpunches.
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.