So shortly after this:
A casual observer might perhaps wonder if JK Rowling, no longer writing books about wizards for children, simply wants to be noticed.
Twice in the space of a few weeks she’s appeared on newspaper front pages bleating piously about the terrible hordes of cyber- and other-nats. Yesterday the Independent, Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record and more all ran dismal, whiny pieces about her (entirely evidence-free) claims that the SNP was infested with mad, bitter Anglophobes just waiting for a signal to invade Derby again or something.
No particular barrage of abuse appears to have been unleashed upon the former author to provoke the outburst, but seemingly for a lack of anything better to do with her time she had a good old moan anyway and the press lapped it up.
And the reason it’s all so very tedious is that the papers might as well run stories claiming that there’s a chance of rain tomorrow.
“Better Together” chairman Alistair Darling is in today’s Telegraph, yet again demanding that people should be prevented from expressing opinions on the internet, unless those opinions are supportive of the Union. In Mr Darling’s world, businessmen should be permitted to try to frighten their employees into voting No with mad, untrue rants and veiled threats that they’d be voting themselves onto the dole, but anyone responding to the threat with “Shut up, grandad” must be censored and silenced.
So far, so ho hum – if Unionist politicians are whining about “cybernats”, there must be a Y in the day, is the general rule. But as we can see above, the former Chancellor wasn’t the only Labour MP bleating about terrible Nat bully boys today.
The Daily Mail is proving an even more consistent source of comedy than usual of late, nowhere more so than its superb “Cybernat Watch” column (which we were delighted to find ourselves in this morning, on only its second day). Today the collection of partial, out-of-context quotes from random tweets was nestled into a bizarre piece about Labour’s shadow something, Jim Murphy.
As with most articles from the Mail’s Scottish edition it isn’t available online, but we’ve attached the text below so you can digest the full disturbing madness.
Step 1: Write an offensive, provocative piece of trollbait for the Daily Mail, describing your opponents as “kilted bum-barers who bellow ‘freedom’ whenever an English person hoves into view” and suggesting that a Yes vote is an abdication of morality.
(If you can then somehow get the Guardian to reprint it, bonus!)
Step 2: Whine like a baby when you get the response you wanted all along.
It’s a fortunate thing, viewers, that we have a strong will, hardened by years of dreich, endless 1970s Sundays in Scotland with only three channels on the telly (each of them showing programmes entirely about farming and God), everything outside shut except the rainclouds, and nothing to look forward to but school in the morning.
Because otherwise the frustrations of yesterday’s site problems, followed by waking up this morning to be faced with papers stuffed to the brim with miserable, bleating old Scottish Labour dinosaurs with torn coupons and long catalogues of whinges about you-know-who and you-know-what might just have pushed us over the edge.
Here’s the Secretary Of State For Portsmouth, legendary bruiser Alistair “Crybaby” Carmichael, in this morning’s Herald on the subject of the dastardly SNP Scottish Government intimidating businesses out of speaking up for the Union:
“Asked if there was a fear factor, Mr Carmichael replied: ‘There is very much. This is what business people tell me; they are scared of the consequences for their business of getting on the wrong side of the Scottish Government.’
A random sample from the front page of our “PressReader” newspaper app, there, covering just a single month (March 2013). Heaven help us all if the media suddenly breaks free of these draconian constraints and tells us what it REALLY thinks.
Because it’s extra-specially dismal to see grown adults whimpering and whining like primary-school children in a playground when the Scottish press has spent most of the preceding weeks excitably hyping them as belligerent, aggressive “bruisers”.
Because in what appears to be part of a co-ordinated campaign of petted-lip clyping to teacher from the No camp, the latest middle-aged professional politician boo-hooing about “bullies” all over our newspapers and screens about people being mean to him is the new Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael.
When UKIP’s Nigel Farage was recently made rather unwelcome in Edinburgh, a whole slew of Unionist politicians and commentators – most notably Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie – took to the nation’s airwaves and newspaper columns to piously condemn the protestors who peacefully but loudly voiced their disapproval of Farage’s policies. Angry online No supporters, as is their wont, were less measured in their fury at the “suppression” of Farage’s free speech.
Today, the subject of the media’s blanket outrage – there are sizeable stories in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record, The Times, Express and many more – is the saintly British Olympic cyclist, Sir Chris Hoy. The unfortunate sportsman has been the subject of what the Mail calls “vile abuse” for some comments in yesterday’s papers in which he ostensibly refused to take sides in the independence debate (but in reality could barely have made his position any clearer).
But another similar (and rather more serious) story, about online abuse directed at a Scottish public figure every bit as well known as Hoy, inexplicably gets only a microscopic fraction of the coverage.
Much of the Scottish media today is full of (mostly right-wing) commentators bleating piteously about the dreadful carnage in Edinburgh yesterday in which, um, a couple of dozen scruffy student types shouted at a silly man for a bit. Here, for example, is the usually-sane Alex Massie wringing his hands about the horror of it all in the Spectator:
“The hounding of Farage is a reminder that Scotland – or at least Scottish politics – is not quite as generous, open-minded and tolerant a place as it likes to fancy itself. There is, it seems, a narrow spectrum of views deemed acceptable or legitimate. Anyone who falls outside that range can be ignored or, better still, suppressed.”
Suppressed? Are we talking about the same Nigel Farage?
THAT Nigel Farage, up there?