I should probably give up on responding to Kevin McKenna’s occasional stuff on the SNP. We’ve seen for years now, since his unconvincing damascene conversion to independence, regular attacks on the SNP, regardless of or perhaps because of, the contribution to weakening the only group that can take us over the line.
In October 2016, he wrote:
‘There is a curiously illiberal and reactionary strain running through its (SNP) core which seems to belie its socialist credentials’
Here were his claims:
- Named Person Scheme was soundly trashed
- A Party whose language is a Caledonian version of Orwellian double-speak
- Army of superannuated advisors
- Critics howled down and accused of pandering to paedophiles
- Christian groups jeered and intimidated
- Encouraged by a bunch of indolent academics
Here are SNP actions he clearly didn’t like:
- Named Person Scheme
- Prisoners’ Voting Rights
- New Women’s Prison
- Minimum Alcohol Pricing
- Police Scotland
- Offensive behaviour at Football Act
I don’t know if the many recent repeated child abuse scandals in the, mostly, RC ‘care’ homes or in the, mostly, Celtic boy’s clubs, have moderated his opposition to the Named Person Scheme or if he now wishes we had kept the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, in the wake of last season’s events.
McKenna has considerable previous as an SNP-basher since his supposed and suspicious conversion from a rabid Unionist. Here’s what Bella Caledonia wrote of him before he converted:
‘It’s a piece so loaded with self-loathing, barely recognised inferiorism and desperate, desperate, political emptiness it’s hard to approach, but we really do need to talk about Kevin.’
McKenna regularly returns to that popular myth that the SNP are, as they were before Salmond, a tad reactionary, suggesting they hate faith groups and the working-class despite their high level of electoral support from both.
Today, the SNP hate strikers?
Well, these Labour Party-managed strikers maybe? This one union? Justifiably?
In 2004, the Glasgow University Media Group revealed the power of media to distort, even reverse reality, in a study, Bad News from Israel, of TV coverage of Israel/Palestine. Most striking was the fact that after watching BBC TV broadcasts covering Palestinian protests against Israel, only 8% of 300 young people sampled, thought that the Palestinians were the original inhabitants of the land, that they had been expelled from their homes in a civil war and that most of the Israeli population were migrants who had arrived from Europe, in the second half of the 20th Century. 92% thought that the Palestinians were recent immigrants. The coverage had effectively reversed reality. It’s one of the sharpest examples of media power.
More directly relevant for us today, the group had earlier exposed TV news bias against and neglect of, the views of trade unions, in the reporting of industrial disputes, in the 1970s, always implying worker agitation with a political agenda had triggered the dispute and rarely if ever questioning the intentions of owners or the competence of management.
Influenced by them and, of course, Noam Chomsky, I found similar biases persisting into the 21st Century. In a 2008 study of how the UK media covered economic issues, around the budget, I found an unquestioning acceptance of a free-market ideology and an almost complete neglect of the viewpoints of workers’ groups.
Fast forward only 10 to 12 years and into the years just before and after Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum and the relationship between Scotland’s MSM and the trade unions is transformed. From the RMT to the BMA, these groups feed headline news, are not criticised, and the dispute which only a decade or so before might have been blamed on them is now used to question the competence of the SNP Government.
One union, however, stands out above the others in the frequency of its appearances and in the strength of its accusations – the GMB.
The GMB supports fracking, nuclear power and Trident. It is affiliated to the Labour Party, supported the leadership candidacy of the millionaire Anas Sarwar over the leftist and referendum-friendly Monica Lennon and its Scotland Organiser is the wife of former Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard.
Today, the GMB has restarted a refuse worker strike in Glasgow, which it cancelled last Friday, as COP26 began, without consulting its members and after appearances by Sarwar with bin collection teams.
In April 2021, the GMB, told its health service workers to reject a pay settlement after misleading them on the details of it.
In January 2021, it made a fuss about the colour of vaccine letter envelopes.
In August 2020, it fed BBC Scotland a lie about the closure of the clearly unsafe Hunterston B nuclear power station suggesting that to do so would make Scotland more dependent on fossil fuels.
In June 2020, Karen Leonard used a dodgy survey to suggest anxiety about the return to schools of cleaners and janitors and in April 2020, their leader Gary Smith sided with the private care home owners against the SNP Government, over PPE supplies.
The GMB? I could go on.