The cornered beast

back_in_boxAbout a month ago I warned that the British political establishment was in the process of ramping up its propaganda campaign against the SNP administration (see below). This wasn’t exactly a bold prediction. As all but the most passive consumers of British media output in Scotland will be aware, Project Fear did not stop after the 2014 referendum. The British state’s campaign of lies, distortion, smears and denigration has become an incessant, ubiquitous background hum to Scottish politics. But it became apparent some weeks ago that the effort to weaken the Scottish Government, delegitimise the Scottish Parliament and undermine confidence in Scotland’s public services was being intensified.

I do not intend to discuss what many will regard as the most obvious evidence of the renewed vigour with which the British political elite is now pursuing those regarded as a threat to the integrity of the British state. The allegations against Alex Salmond are extremely serious, suspiciously timely and dubious for a number of reasons. Suffice it to say that this may be one occasion when the supposed offences turn out to be the least of the story once the whole of that story is told. I would add only that the gluttonous glee with which British politicians and commentators have descended on the affair (see Alex Massie* for a sickening example) betokens their frenzied eagerness to find – or fashion – any stick with which to beat the hated SNP.

Signs of this frenzy are all around us. Just the other day, once respected newspaper The Scotsman carried a story under the headline Call for SNP to investigate Yes groups on Facebook. The piece was a transparently obvious attempt to exploit the ongoing controversy over social media content and to contrive a link between the SNP and current candidate for demonisation, Iran, by way of some questionable Facebook page purporting to support the Yes campaign.

The article is instantly recognisable as a rather clumsy bit of propaganda. Although the fact that the ‘source’ is Murdo Fraser suggests that the failure to distinguish between the SNP and the Yes movement may be a matter of genuine ignorance. It is surpassing easy to believe that Mr Fraser might be dumbly unaware that the SNP has absolutely no authority to “investigate” the Yes movement.

Whether born of knowing malice or just plain stupidity, this is a smear story. It should be treated with appropriate contempt.

As should the latest bit of madness from The Herald‘s David Leask. The gloriously demented headline invites us to Meet the McBots: how Scottish cyber activists try to game Twitter. We are then taken on a mercifully short meander through the garishly surreal fun-house of David Leask’s imagination.

The story revolves around a conspiracy theory conjured by some ‘expert’ with links to some Nato think-tank. According to his ‘research’, the “cyber activists” of the headline – pro-independence Twitter users to the rest of us – have been creating “McBots”, or artificial automated accounts, in order to “game” social media algorithms and get a particular hashtag trending.

attacks_on_snpThe hashtag in question is #DissolveTheUnion. I am familiar with it because, to the best of my knowledge, I am its author. I started using the hashtag some time ago to signify support for the idea of a more assertive approach to the process of restoring Scotland’s independence. Obviously, it has nothing whatever to do with the allegations against Alex Salmond. Although it will be unsurprising to anybody who is even vaguely aware of what is going on in Scottish politics that there is a considerable overlap between the people seeking a sense of urgency in the independence campaign and those commenting on a story involving the man who is regarded as a leading figure in that campaign.

Along come’s Mr Occam with his razor and poor Leasky’s latest bit of daftness is left in shreds on the floor of his comfortably upholstered accommodations. To whatever extent the hashtag #DissolveTheUnion may have trended on Twitter, this can most readily – not to mention rationally – be explained by the sheer number of Yes supporters using it in their perfectly legitimate Twitter accounts.

Expect more such nonsense. And much worse. The British state is a cornered beast. It is very much more dangerous than might be supposed from looking at the puny efforts of David Leask and Murdo Fraser.

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4 thoughts on “The cornered beast

  1. Great blog again. WoS debunked Leaskys story😂 earlier best bit is anyone with non human face on Twitter is a bot. So im a Cybernat Bot Nazi Commie @15jonrell

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have a theory on the Salmond nonsense. The yoons have been after him since 2007 when he gazumped them and won at Holyrood. When it was supposed to be Labour’s pretendy Scottish parliament forever.

    Salmond secretly terrifies the establishment. He is a real threat. His RT show and his outing of the BBC over their bias was another target on his chest. His intervention meant they had to listen and their attack on Wings was proven to be deliberate.

    They want him out of the picture in Indy ref 2. They also want to divide our movement and create the idea that the SNP are as sleazy as the Tories.

    Personally I don’t believe any of the accusations are true. I also believe that the case will be dropped just before the truth is exposed. The intention is to smear and ruin Salmond and split the yes movement. The fact it has taken them 11 years to find anything on Salmond ,tells me the stories are not true.

    I trust my instincts. I smell a rat . But this is only the start. They will now target Sturgeon, Humza, Blackford. We are not going to have a clean fight. I hope the SNP have the ammunition to fight back.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Peter

    I am so happy #DissolveTheUnion is becoming more wide spread in common parlance. Finally Scotland is crafting a language that puts it at the centre of discussions.

    Linguistic Trojan horses that do Westminster’s work for them need to be consigned to the dustbin. Why is “Britain” still an expression for the UK. It is almost an Orwellian slight of hand….excluding the “UNION” from the term and conceptually expunging Celtic identity.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In a line from an Eagles song “They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast”


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