Tomorrow, Venus will cross the face of the Sun. No, it’s not a Page Three girl on the front page of a tabloid, it’s The Transit of Venus, an astronomical event which last occurred in 2004 but won’t occur again until 2117. It happens when Venus, the Earth and the Sun are in alignment.
The independence referendum in the autumn of 2014 will be the last for a long time, but no one can predict when, if ever, another such event will occur if Scotland votes NO. A large number of things will have to be in alignment if Scotland is to achieve its independence, and the Scotsman newspaper is doing its best to ensure that they are not, in fact, its aim is to ensure a total – and permanent – eclipse of the aspirations of Scots who want their country to be independent by permanently keeping a dead moon, the UK, between Scotland and the light of global freedom.
However, as is their way, they do occasionally give a place to a commentator who has something useful to say about the Great Debate. Today it is Lesley Riddoch on the BBC, specifically BBC Scotland. It is well worth a read, and you can read it here.
In her trenchant analysis, Lesley makes a point that has been close to my heart, one that I have made many times, about the narrow pool – and narrow geographical radius from Pacific Quay - from which BBC Scotland lazily draws its commentators.
“... the Beeb’s own narrow selection of TV guests reinforces the impression that intelligent opinion is held only by the hyper-opinionated metropolitan few.
“... current affairs relies on a small number of conveniently located commentators who hop nightly between the Pacific Quay studios of the BBC and STV. Does no-one outside the chattering classes or the Central Belt have a view on our constitutional future?”
The main reason I suspect is that BBC Scotland only makes up its mind very late in the day to invite a commentator or panellist - often at short notice on the day of transmission - and defaults to the easy option of drawing from the Glasgow media types’ dormitories, e.g. Glasgow central and the West End. Extreme parochialism and crony networks have always been a feature of BBC Scotland in my lifetime, although there are brave and hardy – some might say foolhardy – journalists and producers who try to break down this stultifying pattern.
A regular contributor to the independence debate in the Scotsman is Brian Monteith. His right to such a regular platform rests on the fact that he is ‘on message’ in totally opposing independence, and his democratic claim to this rests on the fact that he is policy director of a right-wing think tank funded by a rich individual, Robert Kilgour.
The Scotsman give the URL of ThinkScotland as ThinkScotland.com
I have news for them – this domain is for sale – I quote whois.com as follows -
This domain name (THINKSCOTLAND.COM) without content is available for sale by its owner through Sedo's Domain Marketplace.
Best get it right, guys – it’s thinkscotland.org
Here’s what I’ve said about them in the past The New Right in Scotland
Brian is full of advice for the NO Campaign today – read him here Unionists for Scotland not a contradiction
He at least gave me one laugh -
“Secondly, and most importantly of all, these are swing voters; they are currently counted in the unionists’ No pile but if they move to the Nationalists’ Yes pile, they have the effect of not just adding to the Yes vote but subtracting from the No.” BRIAN MONTEITH
Fancy that! If someone who planned to vote NO votes YES, it adds one vote to the YES’s and subtracts one vote from the NO’s. What an insight! I never thought of that! That level of deep psephological understanding warrants at least a CBE, maybe even a knighthood.
But Brian also made a kind of Freudian slip, and brightened my morning no end with this phrase -
“... the result would be the break-up of the United Kingdom and the birth of a new democratic, sovereign Scotland.” BRIAN MONTEITH
The birth of a new, democratic, sovereign Scotland
I like that, Brian!