UK media blacks out Scotland independence (Slide Show)

UK media blacks out Scotland independence (Slide Show)

Back to the future / Photo: Martàinn, used under Flickr Creative Commons license.
Back to the future / Photo: Martàinn, used under Flickr Creative Commons license.

WASHINGTON, September 17, 2014 — A bloodless revolution is taking place in Scotland.

According to reports posted by the Socialist Worker, approximately 10,000 protesters in favor of Scottish independence have gathered this evening in George Square in Glasgow, their faces painted blue and white, flags blazing. The air is electrified by the sound of bullhorns blasting “Alba gu Brath!”

“Alba gu Brath” is Gaelic for “Scotland until judgement.” Scottish independence activists use it to mean “Scotland forever.”

After 300 years of British rule, Scotland will take a historic vote to decide whether to end the union between the two countries and become independent. If the mobs in the streets of Glasgow are any indication, the time has come for Scotland to send proud Elizabeth’s army homeward.

So why won’t the British and U.S. media properly cover the story?

According to Glasgow residents Matt and Jackie McWilliams, the streets are full of “yes” protesters, and they hardly know anyone who intends to vote against Scottish independence in the referendum tomorrow. Matt McWilliams says that when he went to the polls yesterday, he was able to sneak a peak at an unofficial polling tally sheet which showed that out of perhaps 100 families living on his street, only two will vote “no” tomorrow.

“I saw it with my own eyes” says Matt. “The media isn’t reporting it now, but on Friday they will have no choice but to report what I think is going to be an overwhelming vote in favor of Scottish independence.”

According to independence campaign leader Alistair Darling, voters like the McWilliams family know what they are talking about.

“It is not the Battle of Britain — it is the battle for Scotland, for Scotland’s children and grandchildren and the generations to come,” said Darling last week. “This is a battle we will win.”

That’s not the story coming from the BBCThe Guardian, and the Telegraph, which have issued multiple reports claiming that the vote is split evenly between “yes” and “no.” They paint yes-voters as angry fringe activists. Yet last week both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II voiced their concerns after a poll showed that the vote was 51 percent in favor of Scottish independence.

Britain and the U.S. have historically been close allies, and the reporting in the media has been almost entirely against independence. U.S. coverage of former President Bill Clinton’s plea this week to the Scottish people to “inspire the world” with a “no” vote in favor of unity was sparse, but it was front page news in U.K. papers like the Telegraph and on the BBC.

“A month ago people were on the fence,” says Jackie McWilliams. “I think the BBC’s biased coverage has actually backfired against the ‘no’ voters because ‘yes’ voters are more involved, more vocal and taking to the streets to make sure their voices are heard.”

She is referring to recent mass protests in Scotland against BBC media outlets for biased coverage favoring a continued union between Scotland and England. Last weekend, hundreds of “yes” protesters marched through the streets of Glasgow to BBC Scotland headquarters to demand the firing of political editor Nick Robinson. They were angry about a BBC reporter’s alleged harassment of current First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, who has led the crusade for independence.

According to the National Union of Journalists, media coverage of the referendum has been heavily biased, and reporters seeking more balanced coverage have been threatened, bullied and intimidated by activists on both sides of the issue.

“Robust debate is fine. Pointing out when journalists get their facts wrong is expected and welcomed,” said NUJ’s Scottish Organizer Paul Holleran. “But NUJ members believe in a free press, a fair media, with journalists allowed to do their jobs free of intimidation.”

According to the Independent, the NUJ has asked the media to “refrain from publishing attacks on journalists at rival outlets.”

If the NUJ wants to sustain freedom of the press, it should continue to report in an even handed manner on the protests taking place. Even-handed reportage has been the issue at the heart of the protests. The BBC dominates the airwaves in Scotland to the point of exclusivity in some regions, and it seems appropriate that when offended by the government sanctioned bias of the BBC’s coverage, the people themselves would exercise their democratic right to protest against them.

Last month, I toured Scotland and viewed the economic devastation that has plagued my ancestral hometown of Paisley.

Paisley is a mill town where for centuries, the families of weavers have lived under the false promise that the union would bring peace and prosperity to a country historically plagued by bloodshed, poverty, and mass exodus. The people of Paisley have survived times when their heritage was taken from them, as the British passed laws in Parliament outlawing their clan’s leadership, their native tongue of Gaelic, and the wearing of the family tartan in the name of “unity.”

The mills of Paisley have been closed for 20 years, leaving the town badly in need of economic revitalization. Hard working families pay their fair share of taxes while working two or more low paying jobs, if they can find work at all.

“There’s no reason I can think of for wanting to stay as part of the United Kingdom, I don’t think we have much to lose but plenty to gain,” says Paisley historian Roddy Boyd, who runs a Facebook site called “Oor Wee Toon.”

“We very rarely get the Government we vote for and are consistently cheated and lied to by Westminster. We are a rich, intelligent and industrious nation who always have to play second fiddle to the wants of Southeast England, and there is no reason why we should have to.”

With all due respect to President Clinton, it seems hypocritical that an American president or member of the free press would advocate that Scottish independence be rejected because it is not planned well enough to meet American standards. Not too long ago, America was a British colony, and a rag tag army of minute men led a rebellion that led to our freedom as a nation.

Our ancestors gave up the orderly financial advantages of British rule and shed blood for American independence, and every 4th of July we celebrate the fact that we use the dollar and not the pound for our currency. Perhaps it is time for America’s partnership investment with Britain in Scottish oppression to end.

The following images are exclusive to Communities Digital News submitted from Paisley

Scotland Independence | Image Dale Thompson
Scotland Independence | Image Dale Thompson

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