If I want to see sarcastic references to “Saint Nicola Sturgeon” I can choose from pretty much the whole of the mainstream British media. I go to alternative media precisely because I’m seeking something more than the vacuous anti-SNP sniping that passes for political commentary in most newspapers.
I expect alternative media to challenge the British establishment’s propaganda machine – not parrot its grindingly negative rhetoric.
Angela Haggerty has either totally failed to comprehend the rising criticism of sites such as Bella Caledonia and Common Space from Scotland’s independence movement, or she is wilfully misrepresenting it. The self-righteously defensive tone suggests the former. What Haggerty mistakes for, or maliciously portrays as, demands to “put all of your faith in the SNP” are actually urgings to put the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status before the narrow partisan interests that these sites are increasing perceived as favouring.
Which should not be a problem. We are, after all, talking about other pro-independence parties (OPIP). Parties which are, at least nominally, committed to the cause of bringing Scotland’s government home. Promoting these parties on the basis of their proposals for advancing this cause, as well as their policy platform, would offend no-one. But the sad reality is that Bella Caledonia and Common Space are increasingly seen to be resorting to the very dubious, devious and downright dishonest strategies that have driven people away from the mainstream media in droves.
Puerile jibes such as the “Saint Nicola Sturgeon” may seem trivial, but they are indicative of an attitude to the SNP which, in terms of the very project that these sites claim to support, is at least unhelpful; and arguably unhealthy. In a profoundly regrettable echo of the very organs that they are supposed to differ from, Bella Caledonia and Common Space have adopted a stance which holds that any attack on the SNP is justified, however questionable the grounds, while any attempt to rebut or refute or even to scrutinise these attacks is shouted down with accusations of “blind party allegiance”, rather than being dealt with by reasoned counter-argument.
From personal experience I can testify that comments disputing assertions or pointing out errors or flaws in articles are likely to be censored in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of the way critical comments were commonly deleted from anti-independence sites during the first referendum campaign.
Angela Haggerty and her ilk need to immediately disabuse themselves of the idiot notion that anybody is claiming the SNP is perfect. If that’s what you’re hearing, then you need to howk some of the prejudice out of your ears. What I and others are striving to point out is the glaringly obvious fact that, whatever its faults, the SNP remains the crucial political arm of the independence movement. An SNP majority government in the next parliament is absolutely essential. Not because the party is endowed with divine infallibility, but because the alternative is just so horrifyingly unthinkable.
Because of this, anything which undermines the SNP in such a way as to put that majority in jeopardy had better be very thoroughly and comprehensively justified. If you’re going to criticise the SNP administration, do so constructively and from the perspective of a pro-independence philosophy, rather than unthinkingly adopting the cosy “SNP BAD!” consensus of the British media.
The whole point of “alternative media” is to offer an alternative. Bella Caledonia and Common Space seem to have lost sight of this.