We posted here about how a Daily Mail mindset at the Scottish Labour Party has led it to invent a crisis in Scottish schools. The was done in order to attack the Scottish government’s pursuit of an independence referendum by claiming it was ignoring all manner of serious policy issues in the meantime.

Today we provide a postscript.

The former Daily Mail journalist at the centre of the piece responded not by denying the charge (because of course it is so obviously true), but by pointing out that a former Daily Mail journalist works for the First Minister too.

“You forgot to mention that Nicola Sturgeon’s head of comms came straight from the Daily Mail as well”, he tweeted. 

This puerile finger pointing was designed to misdirect people who saw his tweet away from the lack of a denial, and also from what our piece actually said.  Because misdirection is what the Daily Mail, and now apparently the Scottish Labour Party, does.

Our piece said not that journalists don’t work for all parties – everyone knows they do – but that The Scottish Labour Party has uniquely handed personal control of its style and expressed values to a single Daily Mail journalist in such a way as to merge the values and style of the Daily Mail and The Scottish Labour Party. This style is underlined by that journalist using his leading role with Scottish Labour to boost his own public profile; obviously for use in future employment and that quite possibly back with the Daily Mail. On social media, there’s little doubt that the journalist in question is Scottish Labour’s most prolific, openly-identified, official spokesperson. This means that he has replaced elected politicians in the role of leadership – that is unique and it seems odd that Scottish Labour politicians are prepared to go along with it.

The trouble for Scottish Labour being so closely associated with the style and content produced by one Daily Mail journalist working to his own personal agenda, and that of the Daily Mail’s, is twofold.

First, it means that the views and values of a strong Tory newspaper are infecting Scottish Labour. It is ‘The Union First’, above all other aspects of social policy. We have already seen how Scottish Labour has made up an educational crisis to justify this ultra-unionist line. The obvious trend is that as Scottish Labour is thrown a bone or two by the Tory Daily Mail and similarly-minded newspapers via its own former (and perhaps future) staffer, it is being led up the garden path by Tories who wish to use the party as a proxy for its own unionist cause.

Those Tory newspapers will of course savage Scottish Labour at a later date and make the fair point that Scottish Labour was never truly an obsessive party of the union. Scottish Labour simply can’t ‘out-union’ the Scottish Tories. This will help the Tories at the right time before the each set of elections – watch this space. With supreme irony, it’s perfectly possible that the person inflicting the Daily Mail’s harm on Labour then will be Labour’s own spokesperson today, having simply gone back to his old job!

Second, though, the Daily Mail is a great success because it understands hypocrisy and deploys it skilfully. Its editor-in-chief is in many ways a legend within the newspaper industry and the newspaper has many first-grade folk in its staff – not least because it recognises how unattractive it is to work there by paying people higher salaries. When you work at the Daily Mail, more than any other newspaper, you must be prepared to play strongly to middle England’s hypocrisy. At the Scottish Daily Mail, you must be prepared to reflect that English Tory perspective too.

An important truth recognised by the Daily Mail is that hypocrisy is far from the worst human characteristic. Most people are guilty of it in one way or another. So the Daily Mail sells millions of newspapers across the UK by putting a value at its core – hypocrisy – which is not the most attractive human trait but in most contexts is relatively benign.

Except politics. Open hypocrisy – of the kind which makes the Daily Mail a great commercial success – is fatal in politics. However much people may joke about politicians and hypocrisy, where a leading politician can be shown to be a hypocrite on a matter related to his or her responsibilities then it destroys their credibility. Parties always excise politicians caught out as hypocrites, because otherwise they are infected too.

Scottish Labour, in making up public policy crises and following the Daily Mail’s agenda, is being infected by the hand of its own spokesperson. To get a sense of the scale of the hypocrisy he is inseminating into Labour, readers can scan his own recent Daily Mail stories.  And with Scottish Labour’s Education spokesman, Iain Gray, claiming empathy with Scottish teachers while falsely also claiming a crisis exists in their output, the rot is setting in with the political leadership too. People should watch for similar values infecting their statements over Health and other ‘priorities’.

It will soon be too late for any antidote. Perhaps one will arrive at the last moment? For now, the odds seem against it and the Daily Mailification of Scottish Labour continues apace.

 

(Hat tip to Steven Anderson for RTs below)

 

 

 

10 Responses to How The Daily Mail is infecting Scottish Labour
  1. Labour abused the trust we placed in them and took Scottish voters for granted for so long that they are totally unfit for any role in governing a nation.

    If the Tory’s and their media hacks are the mouthpiece of the right wing establishment, Labour are the hole at the other end.

    We deserve better.

  2. Excellent analysis. What their objective is nobody knows. They are doing harm to Scotland at a momentous time in history.

  3. To me Labour have done very little for Scotland in the last fifty years. I could never vote for them.
    The SNP is the voice of Scotland along with the SSP, Rise and others. To me Labour can only recover if a group of people that support the branch office break away and become a true Scottish party with no links to England.
    Good article Eric.

  4. The decision for working class people who continue to support Labour in Scotland is which party has policies more likely to improve their circumstances.
    Labour with their joined at the hip relationship with the Tories or the SNP with a few reasonable proposals to improve life for all in Scotland?
    Labour have clearly become a pretendy socialist party when they are prepared to throw in their lot with one of the most right wing reactionary governments in Europe.
    They are a disgrace to their founding principles and have become just the same as their new chums,the Tories,a bunch of unprincipled chancers.

  5. Great piece Eric , keep the truth coming .

  6. It’s funny, because I have just had a flurry of posts on Labour Hame asking actvists, if they feel comfortable with the direction Slab have recently taken, without considering that it may be down to my namesakes (but thankfully no relation) Alan Roden.

    Duncan Hothersall has been getting more and more desperate to keep a lid on things, but one slab activist on there has admitted that he has went from a definite No to a Don’t know, because of Brexit.

    What I have been pointing out is the hypocrisy of Slab, who have went from Pro-Eu, because that is in Scotland,s best interests, to now seeming to be willing to support the Tories who have become anti-EU, because… well…erm… just because! However everyone and their granny knows that Slab have done this stupid u-turn, because they don’t want to support anything the SNP are in favour of.

    What a massive own goal!

    • Thanks, Patrick. I think quite a lot of folk are appalled at the way the Daily Mail is dictating the lines of the Scottish Labour Party. Once he’s had enough, the press guy will just go back to the Mail, have a laugh about it all, and carry on sticking the boot into Labour. The worst thing, though, is that he’ll have turned a remnant of a potential decent opposition party it into a cynical little version of the Mail.

  7. scottish labour where are you? you desert the working people when they need you most then you make up all this pish when will you realise you need to change your policies and come back to your roots supporting the poor and working classes.
    i was like evreyone else in scotland vote snp in local elections and labour in the general elections but now snp in both labour get rid of your current msps before they drag a once proud party into oblivion

  8. Labour in Scotland are being played by the Tories and exposed by the SNP. Their lies on Education is the tip of the iceberg. I am sure, given judicial digging by decent journalists, more could be found. The Daily Mail is toxic. An enterprise solely purposed for fascism and extreme right wing rhetoric, yet Labour in Scotland don’t keep safeguards from it. They also pay no taxes in the UK yet get away with it because they favour the right wing, who are the power source for them. Scottish Labour were sent a message in 2015 yet they still have not paid attention to that message. Tories overtook their downward fall and now are opposition. Labour in Scotland are fast becoming an irrelevance, simply because they don’t listen to their own voters and what they want. Hence the exodus of members. Being better Together, and now, Stronger Together, or even Altogether, Labour will continue to fall from grace, disgracefully.


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