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Stirring It

Did we miss some apologies?

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
4 mins

That's The Way To Do It

'Propaganda' has negative connotations in modern usage. The word itself comes from Latin and means "things that must be disseminated". In that sense, it was a neutral term for spreading information. Strictly speaking, advertising of any kind is a form of 'propaganda' but we more commonly associate the term with the kind of imagery used in our illustration.

Supporters of Scottish independence who digested much of the material being produced by the msm in the run-up to the 2014 referendum will have their own opinion on what it means and will be able to cite examples of just how negative propaganda can be when in the hands of experts.

Today we happened across an example of how propaganda can be dealt with and we're struggling to think of any better examples with the possible exception of Wings' The Wee Blue Book.

We were in a Wetherspoon pub earlier. On our table was a copy of a publication called 'Does Truth Matter?' (A Wetherspoon News 'special')

Does Truth Matter_.pdf

That PDF version doesn't do justice to the vibrancy of the red cover. We noticed the same red splash on almost every other table in view.

It was published almost 2.5 years ago, in August 2021. It addresses claims made by media outlets during the lockdown years (about Wetherspoon's activity and comments attributed to Tim Martin, Chairman) which then had to be withdrawn. Erroneous statements and subsequent retractions are all laid out in detail.

We don't go to pubs a lot so we've no idea how frequently this publication appears on Wetherspoon tables. It's hard to imagine a more effective means of countering reputational damage than to have lies exposed, acknowledged, apologised-for, then published in a hard form which can become a permanent part of the furniture.

So, what does all this have to do with us?

Well, just cast your mind back to the 2014 referendum, specifically the three years leading up to it.

How many lies were told about Scotland's economic prospects?

Who told those lies?

Who broadcast/published them?

Who repeated them?

Did any of the liars, or those responsible for disseminating their lies, ever apologise?

No-one has perfect recall. We could start a list, aye, but we could never hope to cover all the manipulation and 'spin' as well as the blatant falsehoods.

We do remember some oil 'expert' saying that there wasn't much of the stuff left anyway so we shouldn't get all excited about it. We remember another guy saying that people in Scotland wouldn't be able to get life-saving transplants.

But most of all we remember a front page of The Daily Record. The Vow.

How many people can even name the three characters who (allegedly) made that vow?

How many know who actually wrote it?

Whatever happened to the author? (We're only half-joking but some people don't know, or flatly refuse to believe it.)

Have any of them ever been pulled-up for that front-page promise?

We would happily stake every penny we have that, if asked tomorrow, neither Cameron, Miliband or Clegg would be able to recollect what they promised. It's possible that Murray Foote has more reason to remind himself of the content from time to time but the point applies to all of them - they lied because they knew they could get away with it and that no-one from the mainstream media would ever take them to task.

Tim Martin has his critics, aye, but this isn't about him. It's about someone refusing to accept lies and doing something positive about it.

For characters such as Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, the Scottish referendum was just a short chapter in what will no doubt be lengthy and distinguished careers as senior statesmen. Aside from whatever mention they deign to make of it all in their memoirs we will never hear an apology or explanation from any of them.

But what passes for the fourth estate in Scotland knows the names and addresses of each and every one of their own colleagues who conspired with politicians and Whitehall mandarins to 'save the union'. It's up to them to do their jobs and hold those people accountable. And if they won't? Then we hold them to account by giving them a hard time at each and every opportunity.

We're open to suggestions on how best to do that.

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