Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman today:
It must have been a short breath, because just six paragraphs later:
“Bill Munro, the head of Barrhead Travel, one of our most successful Scottish companies, was subjected to a volley of threats and abuse after he advised staff in a letter to vote No.
A line has been crossed here between fair rebuttal and menacing nastiness. More of this and we could be on the way towards a Caledonian Kristallnacht.”
Because a surefire way to calm debate is to liken one side to the Nazis, right?
Bill Munro’s letter was a demented outpouring of ridiculous lies designed not to “advise” anyone on anything, but to frighten hundreds of people into voting No for fear of losing their livelihoods. Anger is a perfectly rational, legitimate reaction to it. We saw no “threats” at all, and certainly no action, not even in the form of a vicious sticker.
To cite the murderous organised rioting of Kristallnacht in the context of a few people shouting a bit on the internet isn’t only hysterical, it’s wildly irresponsible. The article offers up the usual figleaf handful of weasel words about both sides being responsible, but focuses almost entirely on the alleged misdeeds of those favouring a Yes vote.
It comes just hours after a UKIP candidate called Yes supporters “CyberNazis” on a Scotland Tonight special, mere days after a ludicrous lead article in Standpoint magazine comparing Alex Salmond and the SNP to fascists (filleted admirably by Alex Massie in the Spectator), and the constant low-level jibes on the same subject that constantly seep out from the No camp and the media.
Just in case some standard-issue Nazi smears aren’t doing the job, for good measure Jamieson goes on to poke the bear a little bit further, asserting:
“A key reason the debate has become so heated is frustration over the lack of answers on major issues. These include what currency we might have”
Dear God above. If there’s a passage which might yet one day, in real life, lead to someone getting a referendum-related smack in the mouth, it’s that. The answer on an independent Scotland’s currency has been given approximately ten thousand times. If you’re reading, Bill, it’s “Sterling”. An independent Scotland will use STERLING.
Most sane observers, whether Yes or No or neither, agree that that will be in the form of a currency union. But if in some extraordinary fit of pique the rUK is mad enough to refuse, no force on Earth can prevent Scotland from using Sterling anyway. The question has been answered, endlessly and comprehensively. Bill Jamieson is a liar.
If you want to create anger, if you’re actually trying to provoke violence, the best way to do it is to keep telling reasonable people a crude, blatant lie over and over again. So in the strongest possible terms, we urge readers NOT to lamp Bill Jamieson (or any other cloth-witted, tin-eared idiot honking such drivel) right in the teeth the next time they utter this moronic falsehood. It’s what they want. It’d never be off the front pages.
The media’s main role in the independence debate is that of the school bully. It wants to keep punching the Yes campaign every day, driving it to the edge of tolerance with remorseless torment and outrageous injustice, pushing it beyond reason. But all bullies are cowards, and the minute the victim fights back the bully will run squealing to teacher and it’s the Yes camp that’ll find itself in detention.
So don’t play into their hands. Don’t smash any windows. Don’t punch anyone. Just bite your lip, carry on working, and keep doing what we’re doing, because that’s the thing that’s scaring the living hell out of them.