Bill Shankly, the famous Liverpool manager once said in an interview; “Someone said to me ‘To you football is a matter of life or death!’ and I said ‘Listen, it’s more important than that’.”
And certainly in the eyes of some people (predominately male) in Scotland, they seem to believe it! Much more so in the West of Scotland, concerning the Big Two, Rangers and Celtic. It is well documented the highs and lows and depths of despair that their respective followers can have. Much more has been said about that strange baggage some of them carry around with them, in terms of quasi religion and it’s disastrous impact and consequences. It has been at times a potent and poisonous mix, and it still has not fully been eradicated.
However discussing that is not the point of this article. I will be focussing on the political and media perspectives. I know amongst many of my good friends, supporters of both clubs, and mostly they are lovely well balanced individuals, until they start looking at things through blue or green coloured glasses.. They suddenly can start having attitudes which make absolutely no sense at all,and cease to engage brain and rational thought,in favour of group think.
An example would be a Rangers supporting friend of mine, who is so bitter about what happened to his beloved Gers, that instead of blaming their troubles on those within that club who brought the whole sorry mess on top of them all. Blames the traitorous SPL, and the SFA,and by extension of the fact that the SFA are responsible for the Scotland team, he refuses to support Scotland!
He wont entertain supporting Independence, and clings to the Union Jack like its a babies comfort blanket, proclaims to be British, and of course..God save the Queen!
The rest of the time he is normal, honestly he is! But he has the Hive/Tribe mentality, which nobody can shake. He is not alone in that, unfortunately!
In my next two articles I will be quoting directly from two other recent articles, by Stuart Cosgrove and C4’s Alex Thomson,and applying them to the political and media situation in Scotland with regards to the question of Scottish Independence.
first up Stuarts Article.
“Why the Beast of Armageddon Failed to Show?”
“At the height of summer of discontent I was asked to contribute to a BBC radio show with Jim Traynor and Jim Spence. ‘Armageddon’ had just been pronounced and if the media were to be believed Scotland was about to freeze over in a new ice-age: only a cold darkness lay ahead”
In the political sense, the Better Together bunch, and the British government,with and through the Media and Press, have for years been threatening Scotland and its peoples with national “Armageddon” should we be daft enough to actually think for ourselves,and actually go our own way. And much as Stuart has said, a new Ice age,and cold darkness lies ahead, lonely, alone,and friendless in the world without being tied to them.
“2012 had just witnessed an unprecedented summer of sport. The Olympics provided a snapshot of how sudden and pervasive the shift to social media has become. Over 40% of UK adults claim to have posted comments on websites, blogs or social networking about the Olympics ”
“The genie is out of the bottle and it will never be forced back. That is the main reason that Armageddon never happened: we no longer live in an age where the media can guarantee our compliance.”
Much as Stuart says in a sporting sense, the same applies in a political sense. Much as they bombard us with their jaundiced views through the BBC and the press,there is now an army of bloggers,social media users on Twitter and Facebook, with new groups springing up all the time,and the media can no longer depend on our dumb compliance. The SNP has in itself the best information gathering and slick new media operation of all the political parties in the UK, and the YES campaign now has access to these tools.
It is perhaps the main reason that the SNP came from way back in the polls in the lead up to the 2011 election,and stormed to unprecedented success in a matter of months.
In the recent presidential election in the States, Romney was leading, but suddenly in the home straight, Obama raced past him, by mobilising his army of supporters on the net, and on the ground.
“Social media has been widely misrepresented by old-style radio ‘phone-ins’ and by journalism’s ancient regime. The presumption is that people who are connected to the web are at home, in dingy rooms where they foam at the mouth frustrated by loneliness and mental illness. The term ‘internet bampots’ (coined by Hugh Keevins) and ‘keyboard warriors’ (Gordon Strachan) speaks to a world that is fearful of the web, irked by alternative opinions, and the threat that the new media poses to the traditional exchange of knowledge.”
Much the same has been said by BritNat politicians, and the political commentators of the press,when referring to these pesky Cyber Nats… Of which I am proud to be one, and we turned the attempted insulting put down on it’s head, and turned into a badge of honour.
And we irk them something rotten! And they fear us a lot. Because we are a threat, a very big threat to them.
As the late Clive Dunn in his Dads Army role used to say..”They Don’t Like it Up Em!”
“Social media is porous. By that I mean it has cracks, lacunae and fissures. This inevitably means that information leaks out. It can be shared, released and in some cases becomes so energetic it becomes a virus. It is no longer possible to ‘keep secrets’, to withhold information and to allow indiscretions to pass unnoticed.”
Indeed, contrary to what Stuart says here, politically…It is possible to keep secrets, and I am sure that there is more than the McCrone Report(TOP SECRET for 30 years) locked away. But it would be correct to say that as soon as it makes the public domain, even if hidden away in official government papers and reports, It gets out pretty damn quick!
A recent example was when I and others caught sight of Professor Averys written response to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee on the question of Scotlands standing in Europe. And between me blogging it, and the others tweeting it…We blew the scurrelous combined efforts of the LabToryDem lot in Holyrood,and the BBC,plus the compliant press to slander Alex Salmond to smithereens!
It was all over the internet…and eventually the Unionist supporting papers and the BBC had to acknowledge it. The cat was well and truly out of the bag.
Newspapers have been caught in a whirlwind of change where views can be instantly challenged, authority quickly questioned and pronouncements easily disproved. Many papers – almost all in decline – have been forced to close down their comments forums. Undoubtedly some of that is due to breaches of the rules, the cost of moderation, and the rise in awareness of hate crimes. But another significant factor is that ordinary fans were consistently challenging the opinions and ‘facts’ that newspapers published.”
And challenge them we do! So much so that the BBC have censored and barred all comments to their Scottish political blogs. It is the only part of their UK and World internet service that they do such a thing. We were hammering them, left right and centre, and they couldn’t allow themselves to be challenged in such a way,and to ruin their propaganda. Likewise…we challenge the Unionist press when we catch them out telling porkies in their online articles.
“Talking down to fans no longer works and we now have evidence – Armageddon did not happen. The beast that was supposed to devour us all was a toothless fantasy. In the more abrasive language of the terraces – Armageddon shat-it and didn’t turn up.
and Armageddon wont turn up when Scotland becomes Independent again either!
In one respect the myth of Armageddon was an entirely predictable one. Tabloid newspapers make money from scaring people – health scares, prisoners on the run, fear of terrorism, anxiety about young people, and most recently ‘fear’ of Scottish independence is their stock in trade. Almost every major subject is raised as a spectre to be fearful of. Most newspapers were desperate to ‘save Rangers’ since they themselves feared the consequences of losing even more readership. It was easier to argue that a hideous financial catastrophe would befall Scottish football unless Rangers were fast-tracked back into the SPL. Newspapers found common cause with frightened administrators who could not imagine a world without Rangers, either.”
Fear, Anxiety, Crisis,potential catastrophe,uncertainty,fear of change,Scary Stories,doubt, The Spectre of Independence, The Bogey Man! All the tools of the British State and Its minions in the press and media.
The British Broadcasting Propaganda Corporation, and the politicians and the British run Press, all in cahoots as they spread their constant negativity to an unparalleled duration and extent.
“Armageddon was a tissue of inaccuracies from the outset. It tried to script a disaster-movie of chaotic failure and financial disaster and at the very moment when senior administrators should have been fighting for the livelihood of the league, they were briefing against their own business.
Armageddon was a big inarticulate beast but it faced a mightier opponent – facts.”
Much as this all happened in a footballing sense, It is nowhere near the tissue of inaccuracies, the disastrous prophecies of chaotic failure,and the financial and national Armageddon they try to sell us on Scottish Independence. Nowhere close!
And what will bring all their houses down is Facts! We have been lied to for generations…we will be lied to no more by them!
“Far from the scorched earth failure that we were told was inevitable what has emerged is a more complex eco-system of financial management, in which local dynamics and a more mature cost-efficient reality was being put in place.
It may well be that Armageddon was the last desperate caricature of a form of media that was already in terminal decline. Flash back to 1967 when Scottish football had a so-called ‘golden age’. There was European success, we tamed England at Wembley and names like Law and Baxter brightened dark nights. Back then access to knowledge was a very narrow funnel. Only a small cadre of privileged journalists had access to the managers and players, and so fans waited dutifully for the Daily Record to arrive at their door to tell them what was happening. That system of ‘elite access to knowledge’ was in its last decadent throes nearly thirty years later, when David Murray would dispense wisdom to his favoured journalists. We now know they drank fine wine and ate succulent lamb in Jersey and the most loyal attended Murray’s 50th birthday party at Gleneagles. One journalist was so proud of his invite he danced round the editorial office mocking those who had not been invited. This was the early height of the Rangers EBT era but it is now clear that difficult questions went unasked by either journalists or by football administrators.”
“By the 1990s onwards, football journalism had ritualised and festered around the inner sanctums at Ibrox. This was an era where relevance meant being invited to a ‘presser’ at Murray Park, having Ally’s mobile or playing golf with ‘Juke Box,’ ‘Durranty’ or ‘Smudger’. Many journalists, showing a compliant lack of self-awareness, would use these nicknames as if conveyed closeness, familiarity or friendship. It is desperately sad that careers have been built on such paltry notions of access and such demeaning obsequiousness.”
“This was the main reason that Off the Ball branded itself as ‘petty and ill-informed.’ It was a self-mocking antidote to those journalists that could ‘exclusively reveal’ breaking stories from ‘impeccable sources,’ which usually meant they had heard it on the golf-course, from Walter, a man who needed no surname.
Many fans are astonished when I tell them how the journalism of this era actually functioned. On Champions League nights, journalists from opposing papers gathered together to agree what to write. Circulation was in decline, money was tight, agency copy was on the increase and foreign trips were under-scrutiny. No one dared miss the ‘big story’. So sports journalists who commonly boasted about their toughness and who ‘feared no one’ were often so fearful of returning home having missed an angle, that they agreed by consensus to run with variations of the same story. Celtic fans may wish to recoil at the image – but journalists would go into a ‘huddle’ at the end of a press-conference to agree the favoured line.”
We see more than plenty examples of such behaviour from the Unionist media today. The BBC reporting as news what some compliant newspapers have been saying, as fact..when then the stories as more often neither fact, nor even news!
We see out of date articles in the Guardian,dug up, and re.presented as news, when they ran the same rubbish weeks before,and then it being picked up and run with by the Scotsman.
We see dreadful news for and relating to the Unionists, suppressed and not reported at all, by the BBC.
We see them all reporting Labour press releases as Fact, and the stories never doubted or questioned.
We see BBC newscasters interviewing BBC political and economic commentators and presenting their Opinions as News!
The list runs on indefinitely.
“So the summer of 2012 witnessed an ‘epistemological break’ in how knowledge and information was exchanged. But let me go further and taunt Jim Spence one more time. It was the summer we also witnessed an ‘amygdala-crisis’ exposing the way the media works in Scotland. Amygdala is the nuclei in the brain that manages our tolerance for risk and is the key that often unlocks creative thinking. Many people in relatively high places in the media – a creative industry – demonstrated that they could not conceive of change, nor could they imagine what football would look like if Rangers were not playing in the SPL. They not only resisted change but lacked the imagination to think beyond it. A common language began to emerge that tried to ward off risk and an almost a childlike fear of the dark. ‘Scottish football needs a strong Rangers,’ ‘But there will no competition’; ‘other clubs will suffer’; ‘Draw a line in the sand’; ‘It was one man – Craig Whyte’, ‘They’ve been punished enough’ and of course, the daddy of them all – ‘Armageddon.’”
“The biggest single barrier to change was the lingering and outmoded notion that Rangers subsidised Scottish football. As a supporter of a club that had spent seven economically stable years in a league that Rangers have never played in made me deeply suspicious and I was in the words of the we-forums ‘seething’ that St Johnstone were portrayed as somehow ‘dependent’ on a club that was already fatefully insolvent. Because so little is known about the experience of the fans of smaller clubs, they are often misrepresented. For seven years my friends and I, travelled home and away in the First Division, often narrowly missing out on promotion as rival clubs like Gretna, Dundee and Livingston all used money they did not have to ‘buy’ success. It remains an incontrovertible fact that St Johnstone FC has been among the most consistent victims of fiscal misdemeanour in Scottish football. That is the irreducible issue. Several clubs have very real reasons to loathe financial mismanagement, rogue-trading and those that gain unfair advantage on the back of unserviceable debt.
Much like politically, these same sycophants of the British State, are too cosy and dependent on each other. As we saw in the Levison enquiry..The British Politicians, and their Scottish minions have a nice cosy relationship with the British Press and Media, and it cuts both ways! They are in each others pockets, and they have a lifestyle that they are accustomed to, and any threat to that cosy club, will be fiercely and decisively fought against,and put down.
Like Stuarts beloved Saint Johnston or my Partick Thistle, and the majority of Scottish Clubs, Scotland may never be in the very top elite of World Nations, we wont sup at their top table. But we sure as hell can manage our finances and economy and society better than the fraudulent, corrupt, perverted and Broke, British State does.
And we are well capable of giving the Big Boys a good lesson from time to time…Like Celtic did to Barcelona the other night.
Working as a Country with its people being Sovereign and exercising our Sovereignty in a democratic and fair fashion, with the abundant talents, resources, and gifts we naturally possess.. We will do just fine!
Social media has allowed these smaller incremental versions of history to be told when the established media had no interest in telling them. Blogs can dig deeper than the back pages ever can and fans are now more likely to meet on Facebook than on a supporter’s bus. Many players now bypass the press completely and tweet directly with fans. Rio Ferdinand’s recent attack on racism in English football has been conducted entirely via social media, over the heads of the press. In the Rangers Tax Case context, restricted documents are regularly shared online, where they can be analysed and torn apart. Those with specialist skills such as insolvency, tax expertise or accountancy can lend their skills to a web forum and can therefore dispute official versions of events.
Not all social media is good. Open-access has meant a disproportionate rise in victim culture. The ‘easily-offended’ prowl every corner of the web desperate to find a morsel that will upset them but that is a small price to pay for greater transparency and even the most ardent bore is no excuse for limiting the free exchange of information.
We have witnessed a summer of seismic change. A discredited era that largely relied on ‘elite access to knowledge’ has all but passed away and information, however complex or seemingly unpalatable, can no longer be withheld from fans. The days of being ‘dooped’ are over.
It has been a privilege to participate in the summer of discontent and I yearn for even greater change to come. Bring it on.
Yes indeed Stuart…The Days of being Dooped are Over! But not just in a footballing sense, far more importantly in a National sense.
We have the knowledge, we have the ability, and we have the Belief, Scotland will be its own Nation again! We will win, Oh YES!
Stuarts Full Article