The problem with articles such as this written by hard-line unionists is, not so much spotting the dishonesty and distortion, as deciding which bits of dishonesty and distortion to deal with. Unless one has unlimited time, it is rarely feasible to deal with all the lies and misrepresentation. Often, it is a matter of choosing things at random.
So it is that I find myself responding to this gobbet of dishonesty,
What they don’t want you to know is that it’s £3bn (and probably actually less than that) over ten years.
We should probably make allowances here. The pedant would doubtless point out that it’s not actually a lie unless the person saying it knows it to be untrue and is wilfully seeking to mislead. It is entirely possible – even probable – that Alex Massie has genuinely convinced himself that the SNP has sought to conceal the fact that the £3bn in question is (a) an estimate; and (b) a reduction in Scotland’s budget spread over ten years. Only a little experience of the British nationalist mindset is enough to be aware it is quite possible for such ideologues to be blind and deaf to what has actually been said if this conflicts with the reality constructed by their dumb prejudice.
Thus, Mr Massie could well have had right in front of his nose a direct quote from John Swinney or Nicola Sturgeon which gives the lie to his assertion, but it would be invisible to him. A quote such as the following from the First Minister (http://bit.ly/1WoRWnL),
The current proposal on the table from the Treasury, which has been described by them as a concession, would, by our estimation, and all else being equal, reduce the Scottish budget by almost £3 billion over the next ten years.
Pardon me labouring the point here. Bear in mind that the purpose is to overcome stubbornly selective blindness/deafness and a pathological urge to deny reality. That is why it is necessary to point out as pedantically as I do that the words “by our estimation” wholly contradict the first part of Massie’s claim, while the phrase “over the next ten years” totally demolishes the second.
These are the facts. Those who, unlike Alex Massie, deal in observable reality rather than fantasy and fabrication, must decide for themselves whether the man is a liar. And whether it is advisable to give any credence to the remainder of his scribbling.
Should we, for example, take him at all seriously when he claims to have found a “splendid irony” in an SNP perspective that is entirely a product of his own imagination? Especially when he boldly declares his bias with the assumption that the British Treasury has “fairness and logic on its side” in its dispute with the Scottish Government over a fiscal framework for the latest round of inept constitutional tinkering.
In a very real sense, it doesn’t matter whether political propagandists such as Alex Massie are liars, according to any strict definition of that term, or merely the purveyors of untruths that large numbers of people see when they look at journalists. It is of no consequence because British nationalists do not regard it as wrong to lie in the name of defending the ruling elites of the British state. Indeed, if the first independence referendum campaign taught us anything, it is that British nationalists take considerable pride in being effective liars.
This, as much as all the considerable and conclusive evidence of dishonesty, is why we should never trust a unionist.