Banner Alex Porter

A controversial Labour Party plan to pay for a year’s free newspaper subscription for every 18 year old raises very serious concerns over Scottish democracy.

Sales of Scottish newspapers have plummeted in the last year by almost 100,000 readers. The hardest hit newspaper is Scotland on Sunday whose circulation now stands at 50,897 compared to 56,308 last year – a fall of 5,411 or 9.6 per cent.

This drop in circulation across all newspapers means a fall in advertising revenues and so even more staff will likely be lost across all titles. In 2008, the Scottish Daily Mirror reduced its staff to ONE, for example.

Scotland’s newspapers tend to support Labour, with an occassional nod to Tory and LibDem parties and are almost universally anti-SNP. The news of a decline in readership across the board, in a political sense, then is good for the SNP and bad for its arch-rival Labour.

An indication of how some newspapers may benefit from a Labour victory was apparent in 2006, when the then Labour-led Scottish Government decided to spend £900,000 utilising the Daily Record’s services in communicating ministerial messages on health, anti-racism, and bullying.  The next-highest sum given was £40,000 to the Scottish Sun, which had a similar national daily circulation but not quite the same political leanings.

One year later the Scottish press suffered a blow when the SNP government came to power and ordered all public sector jobs advertising to be done online. The resultant budget savings are estimated to run to £2.5 million per year. The drop in circulation combined with a loss of income from public bodies have hit the sector hard.

Critics have levelled criticism at the media in Scotland accusing it of showing bias in favour of unionist parties, of being London-centric and anti-SNP. There is of course no problem with newspapers having their own perspective but allegations of collusion and suppression of information between parties and editors abound. The public sector broadcaster BBC Scotland has been especially singled out for criticism.

Recently, campaigners pointed to the recent BBC Question Time programme where David Dimbleby refused to let the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon speak about specifically Scottish matters, pointing out that the TV audience was a “UK audience” despite the programme being filmed in Glasgow in front of a Scottish audience. Dimbleby went on to invite the other panelists to criticise the SNP government’s decision to free the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi whilst refusing Sturgeon the right to defend the Scottish government’s position. After that the programme went on to discuss issues which were only relevant to London.

Last month BBC Scotland commissioned a survey (1) which asked Scots what their preferred option was to deal with cuts to the Scottish budget. The options were spending cuts or tax rises but no option on economic independence. As Scotland’s accounts show a surplus there is no need to do either should Scotland take back control over its economic powers – a point which is crucial given the proximity of the Scottish elections.

Campaigners argue that this national media bias is the underlying cause for the decline in circulation across the print sector. The argument is that as newspapers increasingly contort their political reports, to bolster the Labour Party and undermine the SNP, the electorate increasingly feel deceived and so look to alternative media sources, particularly online.

Given that Labour has such an advantage in terms of its media coverage in Scotland it would undoubtedly be an unwelcome development for Labour to see these newspapers lose income. This would be especially so if the owners of these newspapers identified support for Labour’s political narrative as the primary cause for that decline. In this context Iain Gray’s Holyrood manifesto pledge to have the taxpayer foot the bill, estimated at £15 million, to pay for free newspaper subscriptions for all 18 year olds in Scotland will be rightfully viewed by many with deep suspicion.

The ramifications of this policy are obvious and dangerous. Such a formal relationship between the state and newspapers will alert civil rights activists evoking images of state-controlled outlets like Pravda for example and will do Scotland's international reputation no good at all.



# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 08:09
Dear Voterr ;

Vote for Labour, and every 18 year old will be given a free years subscription of a Labour supporting nespaper. You, dear voter will pay for it. Over 200 pounds per subscription.

Dear Newspaper owner;

Support Labour and get them elected, and we, Labour, will give you a free cash bonanza from tax payers money. We know all you privately owned newspapers are short of money, so let your shareholders know, there will be big dividends if you use your newspaper to get Labour elected.

CORRUPT, as only Labour know how.
# Alathia 2010-11-16 08:10
Labour would be better off giving away free copies of The Beano. It would, after all, form the perfect setting for most of their proposed policies.

A more serious point would be to find out how many 18-year olds actually read newspapers as I suspect this electoral bribe to a subservient Unionist press would all end up in landfill.
# sid 2010-11-16 09:05
good morning,I think you miss the point Alathia. you are right in that you ask how many 18 year olds read a paper probably not a lot would be the answer and with labours core vote getting older and older they require to replace the pensioners with young people but they need them to vote labour and the easiest way to ensure that is pump them full of propaganda via the MSM before they find out the truth!! Sid
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 08:28
What will it cost - we'll do it for 2 years haha.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 08:30
Give them all a free copy of "FHM" or "Hello" that is..
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 10:13
Ironically, you can get a 'free' subscription to FHM, if you subscribe to a certain well known anti Scotland, pro Labour propaganda sheet.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 08:32
We don't wan't their young minds corrupted with page three from the Daily Rubbish do we.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 08:38
Please ask Mr Salmond to give us a real good belly laugh by tearing Mr Gray apart over this one. I can hear "catchagrip" already. It is the most overt love song to the newspapers that I have ever heard of. This one needs to be laughed at loudly so that everyone can hear. Especially the 18 year olds and their Mams and Dads.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 08:44
If london labour are resorting to this, I think they're in trouble. Don't get complacent though - we need every single vote to push SNP beyond the need to do deals all the time - good at it as they are. The other man is trying to run and so we must step up a gear. Talk to everyone - even if they seem anti-independence. They may find another reason for voting SNP when they approach the ballot box.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 08:46
Good article Mr Porter - I'm becoming a fan.
# J Wil 2010-11-16 08:52
Is Brown fullfilling his promise to help his puppet Iain Gray get into power, after he himself was rejected by the electorate in England.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 09:02
Seriously, could such a bribe, not be interpreted as an attempt to skew the electoral process??

Are there no rules governing this kind of electoral corruption??
# Vincent McDee 2010-11-16 09:06
18 YOs are too busy with their mobiles gadgets to have the inclination or will to read newspapers. In the 21th Century that's just not the way young people get their information.

In theory the plan is comendable, while better than offering pieces of dead trees online suscriptions would make more sense, in a Society where the whole spectrum of ideas and political stands have their dedicated media and the suscribers are given a choice.

But that's not the case in Scotland, therefore if the only option is which kind of unionist reporting to you want seems pretty obvious labour got an "EVERYBODY WINS" (as they would call it) situation. You see? for labour THEY=EVERYBODY.

It could be laughable if it wasn't so sad and so despicable. Sad because only them can think it fair and that means delusion. Despicable because only them can think it "the right thing to do", to squander our money for their own benefit.

As if we are not going to even pip.

How mistaken they are.

Let me remind all of you there is an Organizer at your local SNP branch with lots and lots ofsuggestion where to go canvassing. What are you waiting for? Go, NOW!
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 09:22
I agree with what you say.

In particular, the point you make about young people getting their info from the internet, instead of news print.

Labour is likely already aware young people will use a variety of alternative sources for their news.

No, the simple fact is this; This manifesto pledge by Labour in Scotland is nothing short of a financial bribe to the Newspaper owners of Scotland - in a nutshell, 'Dear Scotsman and Herald, help Labour get elected and you will get a free handout of millions of Scottish taxpayers cash'

It is a promised financial bribe to newspaper owners in Scotland. It is as corrupt as corrupt can be in any electoral process.

This needs raised in the Scottish Parliament. It is the very worst kind of electoral corruption.

I have to ask, as I often genuinely ask (somewhat in despair), Labour what on earth are you thinking???

It seems the corruption and corrupt thinking within Labour is endemic.
# Vronsky 2010-11-16 09:42
2 a.m.
in a territory without a valid state

where the journalists validate the politicians
and the politicians valildate the journalists

(Tom Leonard, the enemy without)
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 09:44
Quoting Vronsky:
2 a.m.
in a territory without a valid state

where the journalists validate the politicians
and the politicians valildate the journalists

(Tom Leonard, the enemy without)

So very, very true.
# ubinworryinmasheep 2010-11-16 10:03
The whole policy just says it all about Labour today. Of course the policy would not get through Holyrood as if they do get in its likely to be a coalition or minority (no scratch the minority Labour havent got the balls or savvy to make that work) . But of course the damage is done just by announcing the idea. I hope the newpaper editors realize its all a con to win their favour but the debt would nt be repaid ...unless Gray reverses the Public sector jobs advertised in newspapers ban. This certainly needs to be addressed.
# Training Day 2010-11-16 10:06
If you asked someone what they thought about the reliability of information coming from a state broadcaster, let's say in North Korea, that state broadcaster having levied a tax on its citizens for the purposes of disseminating that information, virtually 100% of people would think there was something flawed about this process. Thank goodness we've got the BBC then.
# john__ 2010-11-16 10:16
I think many people are missing the point. It has nothing to do with whether the 18 year olds will actualkly read the papers. It is all to do with putting public money into the pockets of their supporters in the MSM.

It is a bribe, pure and simple. I suspect that in many countries it would be interpreted as illegal use of public funds.

It is exactly the same tactic that they use with local papers in areas where they control the council: Place expensive ads in these papers to prop up their revenue, and make the papers reliant on their continued support.

A nice little stitch up if noone complains.

The other point is that this really shows that there is noone to complain about this as in every other country (with the possible exception of North Korea), there would be rival media groups complaining about this largesse to a single media outlet, but in Scotland, the media is controlled by so few hands that they are all going to benefit from this bribe, so noone complains.

# Whatsinaname 2010-11-16 10:31
Labour supporting papers in Scotland/England will not complain as they need Labour to have a strong presence in Scotland to give them any chance of sitting at what for them is the top table in Westminster.

The Tory papers in England (are there any in Scotland) are happy for Labour to hold sway as they know that Labour can't let go of Scotland and they have enough support in the south of England to control Westminster. Either way the Tories and Labour can continue to bleed us dry.

As for the BBC, STV, Channel 5 and Channel 4 well shame on them, they can be put in the same box as Fox news in the US, a joke amongst real journalists who promote democracy rather than stifle it.

It is sad that there is no neutral organisation that can investigate this or campaign on our behalf.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-16 10:39
The only flaw in the bribe argument is that these newspapers couldn't be any further up Labour's *rse.

The promise of a hefty cash injection while no doubt very welcome for these papers is hardly going to cause a seismic shift in their political allegiance. I'd view it more as a reward for services rendered and a sweetener to keep them on board when it comes to probing Labour corruption.

When these newspapers turn on individuals in Labour it's usually to do with party in fighting and score settling and never to do with disillusionment with Labour itself.

As their political slant won't change if they're promised a wad of cash perhaps their tendency to keep the big clothespegs handy when there's yet another whiff around is all that's expected in return.

Labour hardly need to pay the North British media to stay on side, their Britnat cringing is so well embedded now, it's instinctive.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 10:50
I had a look at the poll that you set a link to and I am still chuckling over SNP being responsible for the cuts (recession). They may be responsible for dealing with a budget that has been cut by Wastemonster but they weren't responsible for any part of the recession.

Is it possible that the people used in the poll didn't quite understand the question as it was put to them? Possibly. Any thoughts?
# kofk 2010-11-16 10:52
remember , we need to explain why there is so much media bias against the s.n.p, and why they forever keep backing fudds duds, the unionists will stop at nothing to put us(the scottish general public) off the idea of independence, look no further than Newsnets previous story on (Low carbon economy strategy) a never ending source of energy, which i usually quote as being worth trillions,its probably more, and also remember what big hitter joe stiglitz has already stated why we should still start an oil fund (possibly 50 more years worth). I suppose we´re really up against it here but at least Newsnet dosent have to supress the truth. one great advantage that they dont have
# Jimbo 2010-11-16 10:58
The offer of the bribe has already been made - 'Get us elected and we will give you a £15 million pay off'. The cynical ploy by Labour to subvert democracy in Scotland is now underway.

Will the Taxpayer's Alliance be up in arms over this misuse of public money?

Will Shami Chakrabarti have anything to say about this subversion of democracy?

Will The National Council for Civil Liberties see this as Labour buying votes?

Idea - Why don't you all Email them with a complaint?
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-16 12:15
Looks like the National Council for Civil Liberties is for England and Wales. At least when I googled it it came up with

"An independent campaigning organisation which works to protect civil liberties and promote human rights in England and Wales."
# Jimbo 2010-11-16 12:59
Liberty give this link for people in Scotland
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-16 12:16
Scottish Council for Civil Liberties might be the one I need to contact.
# GavB 2010-11-16 12:56
I couldn't find a site for Scottish Council for Civil Liberties. I did find this link:

And in the bio on that page, for John Scott it says Quote:
Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Centre (formerly the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties) from 1997 until it closed in 2005
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-16 11:04
A truly independent broadcasting body licenced by the Scottish Government would be the way. But it's not going to happen, is it?

A ship with a TV studio and a radio station, broadcasting outside UK territorial waters and feeding to the the www would be the answer. It would gain instant kudos in the world and raise the issue to another level that couldn't be "kept quiet" by the Wastemonster establishmentar ians.

It would lift the "veil" and blanket of secrecy placed upon those who would seek to stiffle the growing throng of voices who wish justice for Scotland and her people.

I get seasick on a rowing boat but I would be first in line to get on this vessel. Sealegs anyone?
# Vronsky 2010-11-16 11:07
"Is it possible that the people used in the poll didn't quite understand the question as it was put to them? "

It's 'push-polling' - using the question to plant the idea.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-16 11:13

Do you think an independent Scotland would be,

a) a bit poorer

b) considerably poorer

c) very poor indeed
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-16 11:13
If you live in Falkirk, vote and consider yourself middle class then your MP appears to be branding you a liar, racist, drunkard or even worse, a paedophile.

Middle class voters are liars and hypocrites says top Labour MP in astonishing rant

A Labour frontbencher has launched an astonishing attack on middle-class voters, branding them liars, racists, drunkards and even paedophiles.

Eric Joyce, the party’s Northern Ireland spokesman, condemned the public for attacking lying politicians when they themselves may be ‘living lies’ at home.

Sources close to the Opposition leader revealed that Mr Joyce will be disciplined by party whips.

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Our top priority is to look out for the people of Britain. We have the highest respect for every voter – no matter who they support.’

A chastened Mr Joyce sought to backtrack last night. He said: ‘I was simply saying that issues are not always as straightforward as they seem. I have the highest respect for the public and I would never insult voters.’

Mr Joyce was elected to Parliament in 2005 and achieved notoriety as the MP with the largest expenses.
# Alx1 2010-11-16 12:05

I read this earlier about Eric Joyce’s comments and I will be making this point over and over again to all in Falkirk who care to listen.
On another note, but not to far off this subject, I have said before on newsnet that the Falkirk is a prime area, that I feel the SNP could make strong inroads into.
It’s an ideal position, centrally located, for a foothold into Labour’s central Scotland stronghold.
The SNP have a healthy support in Falkirk and in my opinion they should do a lot more high profile canvassing, out with election time, like in the local shopping centres, outside supermarkets etc.
I even wish they would open up a SNP office again in Falkirk?
IMO they (SNP) are missing a golden opportunity here.
I may also add here that Michael Connarty (Falkirk east) is no stranger to exuberant expenses claims!
As for Eric Joyce it seems he made this claim in a website called Labour uncut! might be a good source for future scandals/quotes?
# brusque 2010-11-16 11:35
I like Eric Joyce's style of fact I like it so much I hope the entire Labour Party (North British Branch) start using it.

How to win friends and influence people; Labour stylee:-)
# Marian 2010-11-16 11:39
I strongly suspect that if elected Labour will do this by simply giving their favourite newspapers a lump sum to produce X amount of newspapers annually for the 18 year olds and that there will be no checks and balances on behalf of the taxpayer to see if the 18 year olds actually want or actually receive the newspapers.

This will allow Labour to to fulfil their real objective which is to give a subsidy to their favourite newspapers with no strings attached.

Labour already tried something like this with their dodgy plans for local TV news before the election.
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-16 11:43
Voters to be asked to provide signatures at polling stations as Government moves to crack down on electoral fraud

Voters will have to give their date of birth, supply a signature and national insurance number at polling stations by the time of the next election in a clamp down on widespread electoral fraud.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, will set out tough new measures for voter identification in a keynote speech today.

He will warn that the political system has fallen ‘dangerously out of step’ with life in Britain and that politics remains ‘closed, remote, elite’.

Mr Clegg will announce a new bill on constitutional reform to sort out the chaotic electoral register.

That’s politicians for you, ‘closed, remote, elite’, but why use three words, when one word ‘bent’ will suffice.
# Old Smokey 2010-11-16 12:02
Unfortunately not in time for the 2011 Scottish Elections
also from the same article 'Labour supporters were accused of packing the electoral roll with relatives living overseas or inventing phantom voters'
Of course that doesnt happen in Scotland, does it
# Alx1 2010-11-16 12:27

It seems that it doesn't rain, but pour on poor old Labour (haha)
Long may it continue.

Can you take a photo of a grave stone as proof of being able to vote to the polling station?
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 11:53
Many may disagree, but I've been telling people for around the last year, that the royal wedding of william Windsor, son of Elizabeth will be timed to coincide with the next Scottish elections.

It has been announced today that William Windsor and Kate Middleton will be married in Spring/Summer 2011.

Makes you proud to be British (or at least that's the intention).
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-16 12:03
Gawd's truth, I can see it now "Selfish Salmond in Royal Wedding spoiler"
# Holebender 2010-11-16 14:49
He's the son of Diana, if truth be told.

Libby's his granny.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 16:52

Yes, I got carried away.

The media hysteria has begun. Sky have had their chopper over London all day, showing 'action' shots 'live' of buildings in W1.
# Old Smokey 2010-11-16 12:11
Meanwhile, as expected, Prince William has announced his engagement to Kate Middleton and the wedding is to 2011
Call me a cynic, but wouldnt it be amazing if it just coincided with the Scottish Elections
# Fungus 2010-11-16 12:29
Cynic? Nah first thing I thought of too. They must be running scared though if they are wheeling out a backup for the PR vote.
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-16 12:12
Give 18 year olds a free subscription to a print version of Newsnet Scotland?
# Seagetagrip 2010-11-16 12:17
Doubtless they will pay for the wedding with the 15% they are raking in from Crown Estates loot.
# Legerwood 2010-11-16 12:45
Thank you Mr Porter.
# Donald Adamson 2010-11-16 13:06
Couldn't the SNP counter Labour's policy by offering to pay all adults in Scotland NOT to read newspapers?
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 13:19
At what point will the owners/ editors of Scottish Newspapers wake up.

There are many reasons why readership is declining, but one of those, is that people no longer trust the political coverage.

It is easy to be critical of Labour voters, but the fact is, that more of them are starting to realise that the Labour Party is a big self interest group, that no longer stands up for the 'working man'. It has not escaped peoples notice, the number of Labour greasy pole climbers who have become unelected Lords.

Those same Labour voters are starting to realise the media in Scotland, including the BBC are feeding them Labour spin and lies.

It is up to us to make Newsnet Scotland a success, so we can be rid of the downright lying currently undertaken in Scotland, disguised as 'journalism'.

Reading the spin in some of our Scottish Newspapers, makes me wonder how some of those responsible can live with themselves, as they lie day in, day out, in order to deceive the voters of Scotland.

They know what they are doing. They are not innocent.
# EdinScot 2010-11-16 13:39
Robert Louis says:
Reading the spin in some of our Scottish Newspapers, makes me wonder how some of those responsible can live with themselves, as they lie day in, day out, in order to deceive the voters of Scotland.
_______________ _______________ ___________

Seconded Robert. The 'Scottish' journalists have aligned themselves as British like their English counterparts. One thing though, You'd have to Scour ten times over for a journalist in England that would sell his Country down the river. Yes, wha's like them!(Scottish journalists), a breed apart it would seem. Personally, i think some of the papers will fight to the bitter end and when their Union falls so will they.
# EdinScot 2010-11-16 13:22
This Labour pledge to give a free one year's subscription to 18 year olds costing the taxpayer 15 million smacks of desperation. It reminds me of them giving out free daily record newspapers in various city centre locations in Scotland not so long ago.

The Unionist papers know that their circulation figures are falling and are having to think of all kinds of ways to get their propaganda out to the people. To put it crudely, Labour's loyal elderly vote is dying off and they need to shore this up, hence they are going for the young to see if they can brainwash this generation into voting for Labour and help save their union. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I agree with a poster further up that this should be pounced on by Salmond and co to expose Labour as the anti-democrats they are, we should all be laughing at them.

It is extraordinary that with Labour bankrupting the UK and causing this recession that all they have in mind if elected next may is brainwashing/forcing a new generation of Scots into being British and so maintaining another generation of Labour mp's adorning the ermine in London to get their hands on their very own Westminster gravy train. Sums them up.

The SNP should be mocking Labour over this every opportunity they get.

Thanks to Alex Porter for highlighting this article and doing what no other so called 'Scottish' journalist in Scotland has the balls to do.
# rodmac 2010-11-16 23:24
I would agree with your statement apart from the part which says
"Thanks to Alex Porter for highlighting this article and doing what no other so called 'Scottish' journalist in Scotland has the balls to do."
On the whole that is true, but you do a disservice to the the likes of Joan McAlpine.
There are a selected few, but unfortunately, they are few and far between.
# Whatsinaname 2010-11-16 13:27
All academic now looks like the royal wedding will be in the spring next year so any real news will be hidden with a swell of good old pomp the union will be on a high not looking good
# enneffess 2010-11-16 13:39
How about a compromise?

Labour pay for a year's subscription to Newsnet Scotland?

As to the Royal Wedding deliberately timed to clash with the Scottish Elections, that is really stretching the conspiracy theories. True, the media will be blanketed, but you are not seriously saying that Prince William is following unionist direction.
# Exile 2010-11-16 13:51

You don't seriously imagine the royal couple (or family) are free to set their own wedding date, do you? The government decides such matters, and for them anything goes. There are too many coincidences, what with their pointless referendum next May, their Westminster election set for May 2015, the media eclipse of the SNP at the recent Westminster election etc. It strikes me it is more likely than not that the wedding date will be conveniently set to overshadow the Scottish elections. These people are not naive. They ruled a quarter of the globe for centuries, and they didn't do it by being naive, or by being nice for that matter.
# Jimbo 2010-11-16 14:11

You can pass on newsworthy stories (such as this) by Email to

Iain Dale: in the hope that they put up a link.
# Whatsinaname 2010-11-16 14:25
Conspiracy, no just bad luck or good fortune depending on your view point, everyone likes a spring wedding. More a comment on the fact that the news and papers will be full of every detail of the wedding which will make it easier to hide any bad news and that royal events do seem to make everyone “proud to be British” nothing like a good parade to help the plebs forget their problems (been done since Roman times).
# Gill 2010-11-17 00:01
following unionist direction?? they are the unionists!!!!
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-16 13:45
Can someone drop a link to this story to Guido Fawkes and Ian Dale sites?
# Old Smokey 2010-11-16 13:55
# Jimbo 2010-11-16 14:15
Replied to wrong post. Above was meant to be here. :)


You can pass on newsworthy stories (such as this) by Email to

Iain Dale: in the hope that they put up a link.
# Dowanhill 2010-11-16 14:16
This is desperate from Labour in Scotland. First the confusion over the Council Tax freeze. Then, jackie baillies' abdication of responsibility in that the drinking scurge so inherent in Scottish society should be resolved by Westminister. And now, mass media delivery free of charge.
Isn't it about time that Ian Gray and Andy Kerr did something more productive for their 80K salaries and took their representative roles for the electorate that they represent more seriously.
# Jimbo 2010-11-16 14:33
I wonder if Labour's offer of a free subscription is to the newspaper of one's choice - or do they have a specific newspaper/s in mind.

Would the Scottish Independent be on their list?
# rgweir 2010-11-16 14:51
I learned some years ago when i first became interested in politics that to get the answer you want you need to ask the right question,i learned that you can lead a voter into giving you the answer you want.
as for the free newspaper idea from labour,i hope salmond brings this up at FMQs,if he does i wonder if brian taylor will mention it at the end when he tells us that ian gray did rather well today.
As for the big story today,watch for the date of the wedding,is there any bookies offering odds on it being on the same day as the holyrood elections.
# john__ 2010-11-16 15:39
I predict the 8th of May. The first of may has too much baggage already.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 16:28
Yes, as others point out, Brian's opening Line will be;

'well, another strong performance from Iain Gray today..don't you think Hamish...?'
# fay fae fife 2010-11-16 15:19
I agree that this manifesto pledge is a complete waste of money and could, by us cynics, be viewed as a way of buying media coverage. But it doesn't seem like the Labour party really has to do that with the likes of the Daily Record.

I am starting to object though to the constant tarring of all journalists with the same unionist brush. I am a reporter (local newspaper, not national) and I have always tried to be impartial and objective in my writing. I think criticism of the BBC is fair enough and I am the first to complain about how its Scottish news is (misre)presente d. But the constant slating of 'the media' and apparent glee that journalists are going to be out of work because of a decline in newspaper sales and advertising makes me sad. There are many pro-independence and pro-SNP reporters out there too and we are all faced with the same struggle to work and pay the bills - Joan McAlpine was laid off from the Sunday Times along with everyone else and was lucky enough to get a job with the Scotsman which everyone is quick to brand a Labour mouthpiece. Remember also that journalists write pieces for this very site. We're not all evil Labour or unionist plants!
I can absolutely guarantee that it does not matter one little bit how much, or little, my local council pays for adverts, it does not make any difference to the type of stories I write or how I write them nor to the stories my editor deems worthy of publication. One of the local SNP councillors recently accused my newspaper of bias towards Labour and I had to laugh because, while I can see it plainly in some publications and am the first to condemn them, sometimes these conspirisies are just that. I have been a paid-up member of the SNP for a number of years (recently increased my monthly payment to contribute more ahead of the election), have been active in my local constituency (different area from where I work) and have even been asked to consider standing for election.
Sorry for the rant, but I get annoyed at people seeming to want the industry in which I work to collapse and leave me unable to feed my family.
# john__ 2010-11-16 15:37
It is not the journalists that are at fault, but the editors and editorial policy.

What we are seeing now is just an update of the strategy that the establishhment used in the '70s and '80s when several prominent nationalists were hired by the BBC, then never heard of again (or made to report cats that are stuck up trees).

# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 16:21
I understand what you say. Not all journalists are unionist or biased.

So if there are all these reasonable journalists in Scotland, where are they?? Why do they not highlight the bias? Why do they not use their union to take action against partisan reporting?

So yes, I will rejoice when I start to see the so called political journalists, who in reality are nothing short of lazy, slovenly, self-serving, Labour press release copywriters, lose their jobs.

It will be a good thing all round.
# Alx1 2010-11-16 23:18
Hi fay fae fife,

Sympathise with your point no one likes to see anyone being made unemployed and I'm sure there is a few journo's out there who are not unionists, but look at it another way these journalists have been complacent, some IMO actively helped, in the demise of Scotland over the last 40 years with their negative or spun stories. Thus Scotland doesn’t get its true share of our resources through Independence.
While they were doing this many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Scots have had no chance of work in their own land or had to emigrate to find work overseas.
If these journalists are unhappy about the untruths, cover ups and spin they have to produce for their editors/proprietors they could easily write some ‘whistle blowing’ articles for other news outlets like newsnet?
Why have I not heard any articles on this?
Sorry in my book they (the usual suspects) stand guilty as charged.

Off Topic;
Just watching newsnight Scotland and it seems that Brewer is giving Andy Kerr the floor to get his message over all to easily, while at the same time interupting Alex Neil.
# Quinie frae Angus 2010-11-16 15:49
Fair comment, Fay. I agree that not all journalists are unionist lackeys - far from it. Many of them strive to report the truth and have a lot of integrity, despite the lack of it in their greedy proprietors, and some of the local papers are to be commended in this. I certainly don't want the industry to collapse. I too was made redundant from a certain organisation and it is no fun trying to make ends meet as a freelance sometimes!

But wouldn't it be great if we actually had a national newspaper or broadcasting channel whose proprietors would happily allow comprehensive, honest and ongoing debate about the independence issues to appear regularly within its pages or on its airwaves?

Guess for now we just have to seek out those remaining within the MSM who DO endeavour to engage impartially with the facts behind the spin, rather than churn out the smoothly-drafted press releases.

In the meantime, of course, this site (and others in a similar vein) seem to be going from strength to strength, and the word is definitely getting out there. This gives me hope and encouragement, and the feeling that we are on the brink of big changes.

The blogosphere is where "it" is at, for now, in terms of revolutionary dialogue and whistle-blowing stories, and hopefully this too will form part of the mainstream media in due course. "La Cinquieme Etat", as Lallands Peat Worrier so aptly describes it.

Let's accelerate its advance!
# loveme2times 2010-11-16 16:39
Hi Fay,

There are certain journalists out there that if they lost there jobs quite a few people would be very happy, that doesn't mean we want all journalists to loose there job.

If there are so many (what should we call them) UN-Unionist reporters out there can you please start posting links to there stories I wouldn't mind reading them?

Also if you have time maybe you could write an article for Newsnet Scotland.
# Seagetagrip 2010-11-16 16:43
Joan MacAlpine has flagged up a Fiscal Powers Conference on 14th December with some big hitters in attendance including John Swinney and Jim McColl. Could be VERY interesting. Details on Go Lassie Go.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 16:57
My word, that conference could be good. They've got Tavish, a tory, and the man himself, John Swinney.

Very, very interesting.

Mind you, the venue is "the hootsmon head office.

As they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer......
# Jimbo 2010-11-16 16:45
I see Guido has a link to this story in his 'Seen Elsewhere' column.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-16 17:03
Online Ed

I don't know what others feel but I wish you would reinstate the button allowing the automatic link to comments on a particular thread.

I for one find it annoying to have to trawl through posts made further up the thread, which I often miss as well as posts following upon mine.

I am sure your traffic figures will suffer for this change of policy.
# Online Editor 2010-11-16 17:25
Do you mean the subscribe button?
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-16 17:46
Yes, but I do not see the subscribe button any more.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-16 17:50
Yep, I do not have the option of subscribing to replies and further comments any more. The last article I had this facility was on the thread heath; The Glasgow Effect. After that zippo
# rgweir 2010-11-16 17:40
I am having the same problem panda,if you dont want a constand feed,dont tick the box.
# west_lothian_questioner 2010-11-16 22:01
The twisting of the news is something we have had to deal with for a long time. The internet is gradually giving us the sources we need to find other points of view and interpretations , but, can small sites and blogs ever replace the mass media? Hard question to answer, as most small sites and bloggers dont have the resources which the MSM regularly have at their disposal and which they use to push their version of events. Labour's plan to give teenagers free newspapers is little better than a bribe in advance to keep the print media onside for the election next year. Hopefully this ruse will be brought to people's attention.. but.. how to achieve this with the MSM already being bought off?

# Robert Louis 2010-11-16 23:58
The article you have linked to, is very interesting, clear and to the point.

A key factor raised is that whilst we might expect the individuals newspapers to have their own biased editorials, what we are finding is that the actual reportage of news has become biased or distorted to suit the political agenda of the newspaper. It is this distorting of actual factual news that is a major part of the problem.

I think there is another more serious problem however, that has not been mentioned, and that is the fact that very important political stories are simple not being reported. A classic example would be the case highlighted here;

Where we have a member of the public being deliberately and wilfully smeared by the political aide of a very senior Scottish politician, who also happens to be a member of the shadow cabinet in London. It was reported by Newsnet Scotland. I have yet to see it reported elsewhere in the mainstream media in Scotland.

This complicit cover up of news which is effectively bad for one specific political party is what we would expect to see in a dictatorship. Iit is simply not acceptable in a democracy.

People are rightly angry, and they are also angry at the state broadcaster, the BBC, which has singularly and quite spectacularly failed to even attempt to provide fair and even handed political coverage for the last three years in Scotland - since the SNP came to power in fact.

This new offer by Scottish Labour to effectively bribe Scottish newspapers prior to the elections in May is undemocratic, unwarranted, and really quite disgraceful.

If I were a rich man, I would happily invest a lot of money in Newsnet. Part of a country 'growing up' is the re- awakening, and re moulding of the way in which that country functions. Part of that process, surely needs to be the media. Reforming and re shaping, to meet the needs and demands of the new politics. At the front of this change, should have been the BBC - they had a chance to lead the way, to help shape new broadcasting in Scotland, but they chose instead to bury their heads in the sand. So, instead we have Newsnet Scotland leading the way.

Make no mistake, in years to come, this period right now, will be looked back on as the time when the NEW media grew up in a more mature Scotland, ready to lead the way, where the old, traditional media had failed.

If I were a writer, I'd be writing for Newsnet Scotland. This site IS the future.

The media FOR Scotland, BY Scotland.
# west_lothian_questioner 2010-11-17 00:23
Thanks for your kind words re: the article i linked in my post above. The point you mention about newsnet covering stories nobody else is looking at was one of the main points I was trying to make, although it maybe got a wee bit lost as I think i was perhaps trying to make too many points for one article.

I very much share your hope for this being the time when a new media evolves in Scotland with its focus being the provision of fair and balanced information to our people. I also agree that newsnet is making inroads into making that happen.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 00:38
I thought your article covered all the points very well - much better than I could.
# km 2010-11-16 22:16
Ex-BBC chief Greg Dyke calls for more Scottish Broadcasting powers...

Mr Dyke said: "I think it's all part of the process of devolution and therefore I do think a Scottish channel that reflects Scotland and what life is like up here is of value."

Also, according to the BBC article, "The aim of the new channel would be to complement the existing Scottish broadcasters - BBC Scotland and STV. It would seek to provide public service competition for the BBC and would not attempt to undermine STV's commercial viability".

Reading between the lines a bit, sounds as if Greg Dyke may be a good subject for a Newsnetscotland interview??? Certainly worth putting some relevant questions to him?
# Crazyhill 2010-11-16 22:25
MP Willas is chucked out the Commons and barred from politics for 3 years for telling porkies about his political opponent. Every bl**dy Labour MP/MSP has been doing that to the SNP for years: why aren't they all doing community service or on the dole?
Free propaganda for 18 year olds? They're getting that on the telly for free already!!
# Albamac 2010-11-16 22:48
And Another Thing bites the dust!
# Robert Louis 2010-11-17 00:08
post deleted by author.
# kofk 2010-11-17 02:46
I may lack the eloquent journalistic skills needed to write well meaningful articles,but i can certainly do my best to promote Newsnet Scotland...But, the problem lies with our well uninformed public... we must get Newsnet Scotland to as many as possible as soon as possible
# kofk 2010-11-17 02:52
Can you believe one of the unionist p--h perpotraitors reporteted fudd as saying he was going to turn Glasgow into an economic powerhouse.. i mean c,mon please Glasgow
# DonaldMhor 2010-11-17 10:16
There is a link to this article on Guidos Order Order now, keep the fire burning well done Alex.

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