Below: Murray Foote, Daily Record Editor in velveteen jacket, getting a prize for some old crap from two other comedy-trousered boys-club members.
The Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour are saying that their first priority at the local authority elections is the union. This makes nonsense of their claim that it is the SNP which obsesses about the constitution, of course. But this latter fact will be ignored by most media outlets in Scotland.
And so it is with the language of debate across the board. Aggressive and rather bonkers unionist messages on social media and articles in the papers will continue to be ignored by most media outlets in favour of those which maintain the old unionist narrative of ‘cybernats’ poisoning debate and thereby ‘justifying’ opposition to a ‘divisive’ referendum.
There’s a pivotal group of regular folk in Scotland who were not quite persuaded to vote Yes last time but could be next time. And another group of people who voted Yes but right now think they might not again. Both accept the primacy of Scots deciding honestly for themselves and many such folk also believe that independence might be the less risky option that going it alone under the nuttier fringe of the English right wing. However, they will simply not vote for an argument tainted by abuse.
That cuts both ways, of cours
Because while most media outlets are quick to find fault with independence supporters’ language, their own often betrays the instincts of the low-grade boys club they are.
Yesterday, The Sunday Mail published an article of shocking misogyny. Since this blog has a few thousand readers, compared to their (admittedly sharply declining) hundreds of thousands, and most readers here will have seen it already anyway, it’s here so those few readers here who haven’t seen it can understand the depths the boys club has sunk to.
The article describes professional women in serious jobs as sex workers. The Scottish First minister is the main target and the UK prime minister is included in the article’s ambit.
The description of women politicians (never men) as strippers and prostitutes is the reason the article is there. Its theoretical conceit – that Scotland should go independent without a referendum – is a now-preposterous notion from an era where independence seemed no more than a distant hope. The hopelessness of the argument is evidence that it’s just an excuse to run a derogatory article about women in power. No doubt having a former Alex Salmond researcher to write the piece made it all the funnier to the editors.
The Daily Record and Sunday Mail editor’s boys club (only men are allowed such jobs in Scotland), after years of cuts now the scrapings at the bottom of the barrel, think it’s fine to have a laugh by denigrating women. And no doubt some folk will laugh with them.
But in the quieter moments, people will wonder what kind of people organise workplaces where such attitudes are allowed to fester. Where the boys who are the bosses think it’s hilarious to describe people’s wives and daughters going about their daily lives in terms of sexual derogation.
Perhaps these editors don’t have wives and daughters to be described in these terms. Perhaps to work in their offices women have to fake the laughs and reflect the culture set by their bosses. Who knows? But one thing is certain: unintentionally, they do the argument for independence a great service.
The Daily Record’s message seems to be this:
Keep the old ways, us boys-clubs which rely on unionist patronage and all that goes with it; or get us nasties off the soles of Scots’ feet and do things better?
So be it, then, lads.
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Brendan McGinty, Sunday Mail editor, getting a prize from other boys-club members for more old crap.