Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s too easy to believe The Labour Party’s claim that it is the best party for representing working interests in Scotland, until you actually pay attention to the names on your ballot paper and then do a wee bit of reading. You will have to read and most likely online, picking up scraps from comments like this one because you won’t find much mention of these parties outside of election time. For the BBC and almost every other news media outlet, that in the referendum debate at least, the choice is Unionist vs SNP.
This is plain daft. Just as there are multiple parties supporting Unionisim, there is more than one political party espousing independence. The Scottish Greens have 2 MSPs and therefore take part in our national politics on an elected basis.
As John Macallion writes in this article, the struggle for a fair wage and good working conditions – the class struggle – has always been one of socialism and nationalism. he writes: “The 1787 massacre of striking Calton weavers by British soldiers near what was then Glasgow is generally recognised as marking the beginning of an organised, effective Scottish labour movement.”
How did The Labour Party get it so wrong in Scotland that they have ended up on the side of the millowners? After all, the general strike of 1820 was united behind the slogan “Scotland Free or a Desert”.
Those who get most of their news online will have been surprised that on the evening of 14th March, the BBC Scotland team failed to report what was on the BBCnews website, namely that The Labour Party had officially lost its majority for the first time in over forty years. Surprised? The last time they visited, I made my parents watch the BBC news and then Channel 4’s news back-to-back. The difference surprised them. Channel 4 was showing news items that were genuinely ‘new’.
Does The Labour Party/ BBC really think it is fooling anyone? Further instances of the BBC failing in its public duties such as this, this and this appear to be hardening voter’s intentions in favour of independence if recent polling figures are in any way accurate. In short, of those polled with definite voting intentions, support for independence is up by 6% since May 2011.
In short, the long association between The Labour Party and the BBC – though undeclared – is actually starting to look like it is hobbling the Unionist cause. A report on a recent poll by Age Scotland revealed that older people have lost trust not only with politicians but with the traditional print media they should be able to trust to conduct the referendum debate in an informative manner.
In reporting aspects of the referendum debate, the default mode of the BBC is to question SNP politicians and then cut back to studio for unedited comment from either a Labour politician or a journalist espousing the official Labour Party stance as with Newsnight Scotland last night. In failing to seek the informed opinions of other pro-independence political parties, the BBC appears to be continuing to frame the SNP as a single-issue party which can be dismissed at the time of referendum and failing to report that there is a growing consensus within Scotland of the need for political change.
Fotunately, some voters in Scotland are already aware that they can vote for independence in 2014 without having to support the SNP, let alone be a party member. Even if you’re a Labour/ LibDem/ Tory voter who cannot stand Alex Salmond – and a few have made their views known at my workplace – you can still vote for independence in the referendum. Again, as a few at work intend to do.
Beyond the refendum and back in the land of ordinary elections, both the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party (2 MSPs) both support independence and a greater say for the Scottish people in Scottish affairs. Did I mention The First Lady of Scottish politics, Margo Macdonald? A former member of the SNP, she now sits in our parliament as an Independent (but remains pro-independence and despite the assumption that an SNP majority would stifle debate, has still been able to wring concessions from the Scottish government).
Next time you’re watching the news then, ask yourself this: where are the other voices of the modern Scotland in Scotland’s debate?