Why I will never buy the Herald again

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  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
I broke my self-imposed vow not to buy hard copy newspapers when the Sunday Herald came out in support of Yes.  Recent figures show that alone amongst a sea of pro-Union slippage, its sales have increased.
 
However that short excursion into the newsagents stopped abruptly today when I read the headline of a newspaper I purchased religiously every day for years.

  By G.A.Ponsonby
 
I broke my self-imposed vow not to buy hard copy newspapers when the Sunday Herald came out in support of Yes.  Recent figures show that alone amongst a sea of pro-Union slippage, its sales have increased.
 
However that short excursion into the newsagents stopped abruptly today when I read the headline of a newspaper I purchased religiously every day for years.

Warning of polling station clashes as tensions rise‘ screamed the headline in the Herald this morning.

The article beneath was worse, ‘FEARS of “absolute carnage” outside polling stations on Referendum Day amid a growing atmosphere of intimidation have been raised by the No camp.’ it began.

It added: Better Together leader Alistair Darling will talk to Police Scotland this week about the force’s plans for September 18 and his “increasing concerns about the temperature of the debate”.

The article included the following section:

Yesterday, a 55-year-old man was charged over an alleged assault on a woman after a disturbance between Yes and No campaigners in Glasgow.  The incident involved about 30 people in Argyle Street on Saturday afternoon.  The man has been released and a report will be sent to the procurator-fiscal.

What the paper didn’t tell readers was that the alleged attack had been carried by someone campaigning on behalf of Better Together.

According to eyewitnesses, a member of the Britannica Party (BNP), who was campaigning on behalf of Better Together and handing out official Better Together flyers, kicked a woman in the stomach in broad daylight on Argyle Street. 

She can be seen in the image to the right lying on the ground.

Police gathered CCTV footage from the nearby shops and took the alleged attacker away in a squad car.

I set off to work vowing never to buy the Herald again, and believe me I won’t – ever.  Nor will I indirectly subsidise it by buying its Sunday sister paper either.  I’m no longer prepared to subsidise six days of mind-numbing anti-independence headlines for a single pro-Yes front page.

Destroyed by Magnus ‘Gump’ Gardham, the Herald’s front page was a slap in the face to everyone who is currently engaged in Scotland’s greatest ever political debate.  Not since the Scotland on Sunday slapped a Nazi Swastika on a St Andrews flag have I been so incensed.

On the day the disenfranchised were being urged to register so that they could take part in the most important democratic ballot Scotland has ever seen, this so-called newspaper was telling them they could be in danger if they sought to exercise that right.

“absolute carnage” … the phase still angers me as I write this.  What precisely is the nature of this carnage? Is it stabbings, beatings, shootings … what?

Accompanying the obnoxious article was an image of an equally obnoxious individual.  Labour MP Jim Murphy, surely one of the most insidious and unpleasant MPs ever to come out of Scotland.

Murphy of course has recently levelled false accusations against the official Yes Scotland campaign, accusing it of sending out mobs in order to intimidate undecided voters and attack him.  The Labour MP had been touring towns and, standing atop upturned crates, had been berating independence supporters.

Faced with increased vocal opposition, Murphy upped the volume of his public rants.  Both sides ranting against one another, some goon then slapped an egg on the Labour MP’s back.  “I will not be silenced” bellowed Murphy before shooting off to a BBC Scotland studio to announce he had decided to … silence himself.

It’s a sad indictment of the state of journalism in Scotland that a proven liar who was forced to pay back public cash at the height of the expenses scandal, can so readily command the airwaves and headlines with more false claims.  Murphy is like the entire Better Together campaign rolled up into one person.

Many will recall Murphy when as Scottish Secretary he allowed a Scottish Building Society to be swallowed up by an English rival.  Murphy’s claim that the Dunfermline had been brought down by US Sub Prime mortages was later proven false by accounting firm KPMG which found no such liabilities on its books.

Of course Jim Murphy has much to lose if Scots vote No and his career as an MP comes to an end:

  • Murphy once claimed almost £2000 of public cash in order to pay private accountants to handle his tax returns.
  • Expenses documents made available show that the East Renfrewshire Labour MP has claimed over £1 million since 2001/2.  Murphy’s claims in 2007/8 included food (£3900) and petty cash (£2284.15), claims for which no receipts were required.
  • He also claimed £249 for a TV set and a further £99 for a TV stand; £1762.50 of taxpayers money paid for Murphy’s website whilst further claims included Labour party adverts in the local press and a new bathroom costing £4884.
  • So great were Murphy’s expenses in 2007/8 that he was forced to pay back £3499 of the bathroom costs.
  • Labour’s former Secretary of State for Scotland also designated his constituency home in Glasgow as his second home, for which he claimed £780 per month in mortgage interest payments in 2007-08.  His total claims under the additional costs allowance between 2004 and 2008 came to £87,086.

You won’t have read that in any Scottish newspaper at the height of the expense scandal because they didn’t report it.

The Better Together campaign has been kept alive by media lackeys in Scotland.  Newspapers are being used to promote lies and half-truths in the name of the Union to such a degree that journalists are now trusted even less than some politicians.

However, partisan as some are, to actively promote the idea that people who do not support independence will be in danger of being attacked at voting booths by an angry Yes mob is going too far.

The Herald owes half the Scottish population an immediate apology … but don’t hold your breath.

 
Here is the Scottish Police Federation’s response to the No campaign’s claims:

“The independence debate has been robust but overwhelmingly good-natured and it would prove a disservice to those who have participated in it thus far to suggest that with 17 days to go, Scotland is about to disintegrate into absolute carnage on the back of making the most important decision in the country’s history.

“Politicians and supporters of whichever point of view need to be mindful of the potential impact of intemperate, inflammatory and exaggerated language, lest they be seen to seek to create a self fulfilling prophecy.”