Psychodramas keep the Right in power?

The facts don’t matter to our most prominent journalists. They’re interested in the personalities. I guess their market research tells them that enough of us are too. That the polls prove they have no significant impact on voting behaviour, in Scotland, doesn’t matter to them either, it seems.

It’s what they do. What they’ve always done in the tabloids:

Figure 8 from Margaret Thatcher's politics : the cultural and ideological  forces of domestic femininity | Semantic Scholar

But, the ‘serious’ media used to do issues more and personalities less, it seems to me.

Does this type of reporting help more the right or the left?

Unsurprisingly hard empirical evidence is almost non-existent. Demonstrating such an effect would require methods of such cost and sophistication, it’s hard to imagine who could undertake it.

However, one study, not yet published, does, with hesitation and qualifications claim:

By and large, the results support our expectations, corroborating the idea that media play a role in the rising support for right-wing populist parties.

Bos et al (2014) The impact of media coverage on right-wing populist parties: the role of issue ownership.
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam:

The continuing popularity of Johnson against the background of failed policies to protect the population, standards in public life, the economy or the peace in Northern Ireland might illustrate this.

Is the Scottish electorate, more than some, partially immune to bullshit?

10 thoughts on “Psychodramas keep the Right in power?

  1. Breaking News
    In order to boost morale of the Unionist
    Foot Soldiers and get them marching to tune in a proper fashion
    In tribute to their glorious leader the Great New Viceroy of Scotland
    Douglas Ross
    A re mix is to be released of the old Batchelors favourite
    Nobodies Child
    A large Champagne party it is rumoured
    Will held at London Tory H Q
    and the empties smashed over the poor boys head


  2. More people in Scotland read blogs than buy Newspapers.
    More people in Scotland trust bloggers than Newspapers
    The Newspapers never ask why.

    The dead tree press blame social medial, technology, in fact everything but the truth. The fact that they are the propaganda units of a handful of Billionaires who dictate the headlines (despite the denials of Editors)

    I would subscribe online tomorrow to a Newspaper that matched the bloggers standards.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Scots have slightly more experience than most, of being treated as second-class, being told what to think and who we are. By those who simply want to exploit and harm us. So perhaps we’re learning to disregard our abusers, and live-out our true inner selves. Only time and events will tell, as ideology is vulnerable to both.

    Truth, the Self, and Political Critique: Authenticity and Radical Politics in 1960s America


  4. Scots are not immune to bullshit any more than those in other countries, I guess.

    Personalities, particularly political personalities are important, especially when they can bring their followers behind them to support policies.

    The leaders of Alba and the SNP are interesting cases. All political parties are prone to factionalism. It can happen when a party has been too long in or out of power.

    The SNP MP, Brendan McNeil, recently tweeted that logic and sense said that the independence supporter should vote SNP 1 and Alba 2, but politics said he would be voting SNP 1 and 2.

    There are policy differences, too. Alba aspires to be a social democratic. The SNP, under its current leader, is undeniably neoliberal in politics. The Growth Commission Report and the “recovery report” of Benny Higgins testify to that.

    There are other likely differences. Alba and the SNP will campaign on different gender identity politics.

    A crucial difference is the emphasis the two parties put on the need for independence to be achieved quickly. Some suspect Ms Sturgeon of having little desire for independence in the short/ medium term. Her determination to serve a full five years indicates there will not be independence within that time. Ms Sturgeon can’t forecast what Scottish politics will look like in the immediate aftermath of independence. The SNP is a broad church. It is quite possible it will fragment, post independence.

    Another signal that independence is not a priority is the failure to do anything to prepare supporters or give any hint of how an independent Scotland might look other than pretty similar to the rest of the UK.

    The electorate does not usually like party splits. Ms Sturgeon’s antipathy to her former mentor makes it unlikely that, if Alba members are elected, there will be any common ground. At the same time, even one Alba MSP opens the door for disaffected SNP MSPs to move over.

    Alba is unlikely to fold. There are too many Yessers who see poor judgement in much that Ms Sturgeon touches and the clear reluctance to actually achieve independence. On balance, I am drawn to SNP 1 and Alba 2 but I am hardly optimistic.


    1. “Her determination to serve a full five years indicates there will not be independence within that time.”

      In the context of asserting such a linkage, we should at least acknowledge two unavoidable uncertainties on timing – even with the fairest of fair winds. Firstly is when our actual, legal Independence Day would fall. Secondly, we cannot yet say when a general election result would identify the first FM of the re-constituted state.

      Moreover, you are surely not suggesting that Ms Sturgeon could have stated anything other than her ‘determination to serve a full term’? As someone on here commenting in a considered way on politics, you must know the unhelpful, distracting feeding frenzy any other position would have catalysed in the media.

      For me, any chink of doubt about her intentions plus the media coverage that would inevitably follow would have been unhelpful in the context of the SNP’s performance in the May election.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would have been easy for Ms Sturgeon to offer the caveat, “The full term unless we get independence first.” She says an independence referendum should not happen before 2023 to allow recovery form the pandemic. She can’t really have any idea about how long the recovery might take. (Have you seen George Kerevan’s take on Higgins’ recovery strategy?)

        Ms Sturgeon also declines to accept any co-operation with AS even if the arithmetic for independence demanded it.

        So, will you vote politically, SNP 1 and 2, or with logic and sense?

        Have you read the Committee report into the handling of harassment complaints?


      2. To your question: “So, will you vote politically, SNP 1 and 2, or with logic and sense?” Why make the distinction? My own political decisions have always been and always will be made with ‘logic and sense’ as best as and for as long as I can!

        All in the mix – in my pro-indy politics with (my) logic and (my) sense! – will go past constituency results in the region; past List votes in the region; evolving opinion polling evidence for seats and List in the region as Election Day approaches – then I’ll run the numbers on a d’Hondt spreadsheet – alongside a review of party manifestos and track record/experience/expressed views of candidates and Listed names.

        You then ask: “Have you read the Committee report into the handling of harassment complaints?”

        Not sure why this non-sequitur! But for information, I’ve read it from cover to cover plus the Laura Dunlop report similarly and the James Hamilton report similarly. Still looking for proof beyond reasonable doubt of conspiracy I have to say!

        But hey that might just be down to (my) ‘logic and sense’. I’m still attracted by Occam’s Razor whilst also aware of the hazard of unintended consequences in any action.


  5. The £thousand leather trousers were quite insulting. The hedge fund husband. May was worried about Trump holding her hand in case the husband found out. Lack of confidence. Or weird.

    Some of the Westminsters personalities are totally out of touch. Ian Duncan Smith. Rees Mog starving people to death when they have £Millions. What kind of people would behave like that. Yet they all say they are Christians. What kind of faith or conviction behaves that way. They are so out of place and out of touch with reality. Their conceit of self expectation. Promoted beyond their capabilities. Just out for for what they can get.


  6. Sense and logic should have had apostrophes around to show I was quoting McNeil, MP, who will be voting SNP 1 and 2, the “political” choice not Alba 2 the “sense and logic” vote.

    The reference to the Committee report is not, imho, a non sequitur since I have been writing about personalities and their abilities to take their followers with them. One relevant aspect of the Committee’s report is that Ms Sturgeon rubbished the opposition members of the Committee before the report was published, saying they had prejudged her at the outset.Also, her repeated endorsement of the actions of the Perm Sec make it likely that Ms Sturgeon will decline to accept any responsibility for the mess by the SG that was uncovered by the JR.

    In addition, the continual obstruction of the Committee’s work by the SG and the views of the complainant about the absence of support from the SG at the end of the process are aspects of the report that may be noticed.

    This is a paragraph from Mr Kerevan’s assessment of Higgin’s recovery plan.

    “More likely Higgins and Co. are offering the SNP leadership an excuse quietly to abandon independence and seek a new devolution settlement with the Tory Government. Holyrood would get increased capital borrowing powers in return for calling off a second independence referendum. Result: the Scottish owning class can have its cake and eat it. There would be extra public investment and cheap labour without incurring the cost of building a new state or unleashing a confrontation with an anti-austerity working class.”

    There may be no substance to this claim by Mr Kerevan that the SG leadership favours devolution over independence but the Higgins’ recovery plan is not one to commend itself to many independence supporters.

    The absence of control of the self id part of the party, including those who pour abuse on Joanna Cherry and the questions arising out of financial control within the party are other aspects to which attention is likely to be paid.

    The split in the party looks deep and irrevocable to me, an outsider.


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