A few weeks ago I thought I detected a new dawn of balanced comment and objectivity in the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday. I dismissed the sceptics on the nationalist side who questioned the durability of such a shift as ungenerous. If there are words to be eaten, I’m eating them over the last week in the press.
The panting eagerness with which the Scottish unionist print media – that is to say, all of them - seized upon what they saw as an opportunity to attack the man they fear will deliver Scotland’s independence was something to behold. A crumb of information from the Leveson Enquiry table was enough to set them scrabbling on the floor, ignoring the feast above them being consumed by the UK press and media – a scandal that struck at the very heart of the Cameron Coalition.
Kate Higgins has made trenchant comments on this, and her blog says it all -
I expected the unionist press pack and Johann Lamont to seize on this. What I did not expect was that respected, normally objective and in some cases independence-supporting commentators would also join the pack, in an attempt to take a high moral tone over the devil incarnate, Murdoch, while ignoring completely the realities of the present economic situation, the Scottish unemployment rate, the despair of the young unemployed, and the pragmatism required of senior politicians when faced with this most fundamental of problems.
In fairness, Gerry Hassan did address big economic questions the following day Beginnings of an alternative Scotland and Gerry is a big thinker and paints on a broad canvas.
But to make the big changes tomorrow, a country has to survive today, and Scotland is fortunate in having a First Minister who combines pragmatism on the demands of quotidian survival with a big vision for Scotland.
A look across the Atlantic shows that an intellectual like Obama, with the first real vision for America in a long time, had to come to terms with the realities of power, influence and the survival of the US economy.
I had planned a larger blog on ‘Scotland Rebuilt’, but it will have to wait till tomorrow – or later.