Whose Side Do You Want To Be On? (The Infographic’s Tale)

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by Kevin Williamson

It wasn’t exactly worthy of the name “infographicgate” but when it appeared online the above picture sent the chieftains of the No campaign into purple apoplexy yesterday.

Heid Naysayer Blair McDougall led the stampede to condemn the official Yes Scotland account and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for appearing to endorse it:

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An ex News of the World hack, now working freelance for the NO camp, gleefully joined in, showing his superficial grasp of its implications:

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It got sillier by the minute.  Even Paul Hutcheon from the Sunday Herald, a normally serious news reporter, didn’t seem to understand the infographic was about the organisations who support either side:

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Some on the Yes side complained too, mainly that the Orange Order had been left on NO’s substitute bench.

If we scrape past the faux outrage, and the usual Punch & Judy show of online politicking, a number of serious points were being made by the infographic.

For the last 18 months social media has become the happy hunting ground for every lazy journalist who can’t be bothered getting out the office.  (For the purpose of this article, I’ll include myself among the number). They trawl timelines and feeds for anything that can be used to create the idea that an army of obedient dalek operatives controlled by Braveheart HQ are pouring poison on the body politic.  Here’s the sort of thing they use, something that was posted by a number of No supporters yesterday:

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Clearly this “John Andrew” fellow needs a nice big hug and a cup of tea.  If he exists.  Anyone who uses Twitter or Facebook knows there are thousands of spoof political accounts out there.  Some are satirical, others are just plain abusive or idiotic.  Anyone with a computer and a spare five minutes can set up an anonymous spoof account and vent their spleen accordingly.  Whether “John Andrew” is a spoof account is difficult to say.  NO tweeters have cut off his account name to prevent further investigation. But since no one in the mainstream media bothers to investigate whether these accounts are spoof or real we’ll never know.

The point here is that for the last 18 months smearing the Independence movement has been one of the key strategies of NO.  This isn’t the work of a few online nutters but begins from the top with the handiwork of Alistair Darling (who compared Alex Salmond to a murderous communist dictator, etc).  When the tone is set by the top the legions follow.  That’s why it has been so important that Salmond, Sturgeon, Jenkins, Canavan and all the leading YESsers have, by comparison, not resorted to insulting or abusing named individuals.

The latest NO smear against YES Scotland, and Nicola Sturgeon in particular, are that the above infographic equates all NO voters with fascists and racists. How they come to this conclusion isn’t explained.  The graphic rightly points out which organisations have declared support for both sides.  It makes no claim that ordinary NO voters would want anything to do with most of this unsavoury bunch.

What has turned the infographic into a political football, and got NO danders up, is that YES are hitting back at the “abusive cybernat” smears with factually correct information.  Where No uses spoof accounts and anonymous bampots to smear the whole Independence movement, Yes is making an entirely legitimate point that there are genuinely creepy organisations campaigning for NO:  fascist groupings like the BNP and Britain First, racist organisations like UKIP and Scottish Defence League, and sectarian bigots like the Orange Order.  Many of these are officially registered with the Electoral Commission to campaign for NO.

It also begs the question why fascists, racists and sectarian organisations are so keen to defend the UK when no such groupings are backing Independence.  What is it about the UK that attracts these people?  If the UK was an oasis of tolerance and understanding, a place which welcomed immigrants, and which defended minorities, would these lot be anywhere near NO?

While they have been happy to play along with the myth of an abusive “cybernat army” the last thing NO wants to see is the media spotlight shone into the dark regressive corners of its own support.  In this respect the mainstream media will no doubt grant them their privacy.

As 18 Sept approaches, and YES closes the gap on NO, the mainstream media, like the official NO campaign, seem to be going into some sort of collective psychosis.  For example here’s an article in today’s Daily Mirror where reality is tweaked to resemble a referendum version of Orwell’s 1984 meets Alice In Wonderland.  War is Peace. Up is Down.  You have to worry about the mental health of the people writing and publishing this stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Categories: Commentary

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29 replies

  1. I think it’s a specific Labour response rather than a general Better Together one.

    Labour believe themselves to be the good guys. For them the SNP is a quasi-fascist organisation, the “Tartan Tories”, who are anti-English and therefore racist and fair game for Dictator of your choice/Nazi/North Korea comparisons. The Yes campaign being just a front for the SNP.

    When they see Labour correctly lined up with other British nationalist parties such as UKIP, the Tories, the LibDems, the Britannica Party and so on they suffer from cognitive dissonance as reality is at odds with what they believe.

    Unfortunately instead of trying to resolve the problem they just start shouting in the hope reality will go away and leave them with their belief in Labour as the good guys.

    • You’re on the nail Doug. Most of the personalised abuse and dishonesty thrown around online comes via Scottish Labour Party activists. A lot of them need a long lie down in a darkened room. Going nuts is not going to do them any good after a YES vote.

    • Agree completely. Well, apart from one detail. I can’t imagine Labour having a problem (privately at least) with any organisation that’s anti-English, not that the SNP is at all anti-English. Anglophobia runs through the Labour party, apart from Frank Field and one or two others, like writing in a stick of rock.

  2. Where did it appear and how can we get it? The info in the image from Bella isn’t readable.

  3. If you pardon me quoting from a 1977 episode of Doctor Who:

    “You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

  4. Nice to know I’m still on the side of hope. Vote YES

    • To hell with Alistair Darling. A failed ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer dragged from the mouldy shadows he was banished to after the 2010 General Election in order to con the Scots. Vote Yes to Scottish independence.

  5. I have politely pointed out on several Labour Party blogs and sites Labours alignment with the organisations in BT, including a reference to the financial funding.

    Sites such as left foot forward delete my comments within minutes.

    So much for democracy. They are happy to be aligned with right wing parties as long as it is not highlighted on sites were Labour voters may see it.

  6. So you want to be in good company do you? Is it right that you pick a side because you agree with all those others in that side? or do you not think about who you are sharing tomorrow with? Just a wee thought that occurred to me as I read the blog,which is as usual excellent.

  7. How would FIFA view a ‘No’ vote?

    • The result would be rigged if FIFA were involved. It may be rigged anyway!

      • A couple of weeks ago, somebody said in a post (can’t remember where) that the UN should be called in to oversee the vote. I agree with them. You just can’t trust the Brits.

  8. Is this image making the No supporters realise they’re the ones wearing Skulls cap badges? 🙂
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEJ7zMNXVjM

  9. If you look at those two ‘teams’, you’ll see that the Yes team is a forward-thinking, ambitious and positive team, like one coached by Joachim Loew, for instance, while the No team is like one coached by someone like George Graham, a real yesterday’s man, a team with no ambition other than to get the result it wants, no matter how dull and negative they have to be. Anybody who saw Arsenal (excuse my French) during the Graham years will know what I mean. Here’s to the positive team winning on September 18.

  10. This is a bit like the time when the Rev Stu of WoS “outraged” Labour when he used adverts in the Glasgow Subway system to point out quite rightly that out of all of the newspapers in Scotland only one supported independence.

    Labour clearly cannot tolerate the truth no matter what shape or form it takes.

  11. Any others teams playing in this referendum as neither of the above exactly gets the heart singing

  12. Yay! That’s (kinda) my idea from the “Our Movement” post, although admittedly much clearer graphically than I envisaged.

    Glad to see it got up their noses. Hopefully something similar will end up on billboards soon so it can reach people without access to social media too. Labour voters especially need to be clear about who they’re in bed with. I too would like to see the Orange Order on the side of the forces of darkness.

    This empowerment thing is pretty exhilarating!

    Pwoud, very pwoud.

  13. In 1709 Daniel Defoe expressed his horror at the alliance of old enemies in their opposition to a union with England. “Twas the most monstrous Sight in the World, to see the Jacobite and the Presbyterian, . . . the Papist and the Protestant, Parle together, Joyn interest and Concert Measures together.” Ironically now, it seems that it is the defence of the Union which has brought together a bunch of unlikely partners. Jim Murphy and co. can splutter their outraged abhorrence at some of their fellow “No thankers” (which does not only rhyme with bankers) but the fact remains they’re still on the same team.

    One can only hope that as the previously mismatched assortment of enemies failed in their opposition to the union, this lot will fail in their opposition to self determination.

  14. Great stuff. I notice the Sunday Mirror nonsense doesn’t have a comments section, more’s the pity.

  15. Kevin – you had a line in there about lazy journalists who cannot be bothered getting out of the office. As an old hack from the hot metal days, can I pull you up on this.

    Sure, some of the time-honoured skills of journalism are either out-dated or not being taught today: if you can teach someone how to get a “collect” for instance. But, one of the things which drove me out of staff journalism was the way, suddenly about 15 to 20 years ago, desk pilots suddenly began to keep their underlings around them.

    Old-stagers such as my mate and I,known in the office as Statler and Waldorf, used to report in in the morning, then get out and about, making contacts, picking-up and following-up leads, before, returning around lunch time with our stories, good to go.

    No more, suddenly we were expected to telephone our contacts, research from the internet, don’t do face-to-face. Things have got worse – the job is ruined.

    Hell, even the time-honoured skill of expense claim writing, the training-ground for some of this country’s best fiction, is a dying one.

    Thjis referendum campaign ought to be a gold-mine for journalists who are out there, on the ground, finding leads and writing on various aspects of a complex campaign. Sadly, it has now become a game of internet whitabootery – and, that’s the way Better Together wants it.

    If the MSM in Scotland would get off their fat erses and speak to the people, we just might get the new, independent Scotland we need.

    • Would that please their proprietors, sadly I think not. Investigative journalism is dead, died with the Labour Party, you would have thought it would have been the Tories, but when it comes to dirty tricks the Labour win hands down.

    • My OH doing work experience at The Scotsman in the early 90s. He said it was remarkable for “presenteeism”. Journalists would sit at their desks all day, just to be seen to be there.

      Then they stopped allowing the sub-editors to talk to each other!

      I think the subs were replaced by “spellchecker” shortly afterwards, judging by some of the howlers they started allowing into the published paper.

  16. You could have the SNLA on the subs bench for No as well…

  17. Seem we are wrong in the Labour World for telling the Truth, whilst they get away with lie upon lie upon lie.

  18. I have been making a similar point for months now, no doubt much to the chagrin of family and friends. I think this speaks to the soul of the No side in this argument, particularly Scottish Labour. Whilst despite my personal dislike of union and all its works, even I must concede that it is morally and ethically justifiable to argue in its defence. However to the Nay-sayers, to be in favour of independence is to immediately place oneself beyond the pale of normal political discourse’ In the eyes in particular of Scottish Labour, those of us who genuinely believe in an independent Scotland are no longer to be tolerated as political opponents, no instead we are to be revilled as seperatists whose only aim is the overturning of everything that is decent and respectable in the world. Unlike, say UKIP. the Scottish Consevative and Unionist Party,the Scottish Defence League or even those stalwart defenders of decency the Orange Order. In other words every orgonisation I would consider the enemy of fairness, justice and peace.

  19. Ralph Waldo Emerson: Show me who a man’s friends are and I will tell you who he is.

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