Iain Macwhirter in “Disunited Kingdom” (Cargo Publishing, 8 December 2014):
Look at any of the internet sites related to the Yes campaign and you will now find, not just criticism of mainstream media but a complete rejection of it, as if it were the propaganda arm of a foreign power.
This degree of alienation from the press, shared by hundreds of thousands of Scottish voters, is unprecedented and should be causing alarm, not just in editorial offices, but in the political parties which are also losing their ability to communicate. “
It’s a difficult assessment to dispute.
We sped through “Disunited Kingdom” in a couple of hours last night. At just 151 pages of main text it’s a lean and punchy read, and we’d highly commend the e-book edition in particular at just £3.59 (at time of writing). While it covers familiar ground there’s stuff in there even we didn’t know, but mainly it serves as a very good concise summary of the referendum campaign, the immediate aftermath and the near future, seen chiefly but not solely through a media perspective.
We suspect that newspapers like the Daily Record with its already-infamous “Vow”, and the Sunday Telegraph with its appalling and hypocritical “dead soldiers” front page days before the vote, feel that the end justified the means, and that all that ultimately mattered was saving their precious Union. (Indeed, the Telegraph’s Scottish editor Alan Cochrane has already said so in almost those words).
But what Macwhirter identifies (and supports in the book with a considerable weight of documentary evidence) is that the long-term damage done to the mainstream Scottish media – and in the end, the Union itself – may be incalculable and irreparable. And what his book demonstrates is that if that turns out to be the case, that damage will be self-inflicted and richly deserved.