Where’s the alternative?

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.


About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. No attitude immutable. No conclusion final. No opinion humble. Lifelong campaigner for the restoration of Scotland's independence.
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5 Responses to Where’s the alternative?

  1. It’s dispiriting that there never seems to have been that discussion that goes , wait guys, that’s the language and MO of the Unionist press, let’s not go there. It’s why folk like me, are really put off by the veiled insults, and groundless a accusations.
    Never mind, plenty of good writers that believe in putting in some intellect.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sooz says:

    It’s a real pity that this is happening. I had been hoping some time back to enjoy discussions across the political board, but the more I saw this happen the less I felt like adding in my tuppenceworth to the Indy debate. Not only is it unnecessarily confrontational but it stops adult debate stone dead.

    I “get” that some might be peeved that the SNP come across as a juggernaut right now, but heck, the SNP has the clout, the support, the numbers at Westminster and at Holyrood, and they have the practical and political experience to rattle Cameron’s teeth, which is what needs to happen if we’re going to win our independence as soon as we have the majority of our country on board.

    I wish they’d let go of whatever it is that makes them see the SNP as the enemy. They’re falling into the same trap that Labour is in: it’s not the SNP who are the enemy, it’s Westminster and those brutal Tories. That’s where the invective needs to land and that’s where our virtual guns should be pointing.


    • Peter A Bell says:

      You get to the nub of the matter. Under normal circumstances a party “juggernaut” such as the SNP is now would almost certainly be something we would wish to avoid. But circumstances are not normal. Our present circumstances are characterised by both threat and promise. The threat of the British parties retaking control of our parliament and government. And the promise of ensuring that they can never do so again by fully empowering our parliament and bringing our government home. Only the SNP is in a position to counter the threat and help us realise the promise.

      As I have said before, the SNP is our big stick. It has taken us decades to fashion a political force powerful enough to challenge the ruling elites of British state. We would be fools to throw that stick away now.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Joe says:

    I would agree with all of that, I used to read Bella and common space everyday and now they’re lucky if I visit them once a month. There’s only so much of being talked down to I can take from people before going cold on whatever message they are trying to sell. I voted Yes during Indyref and I voted for the SNP during the GE for the first time ever and I’ll be voting SNP from now until we get Independence. After that I couldn’t make any promises apparently according to Rise and common space that makes me a zealot or a follower of Nicola the Baptist. Rather than make me want to vote for Rise they’ve made me want to ignore everything they have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It took the SNP decades to reach this position. Those who wanted independence worked tirelessly through all the lean years, knowing disappointment and frustration were their only rewards. Then things changed and we had an SNP government who took us to a referendum which we almost won and are placing themselves ready for indyref2. Some of those new folk on the block need to put in some time and gain much needed experience.

    Without votes for SNP 1 and 2 at the last Scottish elections the SNP would not be in government and there would have been no referendum. The future under that scenario would have looked much bleaker than it does today. If we really want independence we have to use the advantages we have to the maximum i.e. voting SNP 1 and 2. All else is just too risky.

    Liked by 2 people

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