We are learning that the ‘Better Together’ scaremongering playbook of 2014 is to be revisited on the people of Scotland. No surprise there!
We also have signs of the length that the corporate media in Scotland will go to make their distinctive (mission-driven?) contribution to these scares. This is to highlight one blatant example. It’s not even from the irredeemable Daily Express but, sadly, from the Daily Record. Fool me for hoping for better!
Within hours of the UK Prime Minister visiting Rosyth, the CEO of Babcock International is commenting on a threat to his company’s future at the dockyard if Scotland chooses independence. Again, anyone surprised? This is all so obviously contrived given the timing: candidly, the nature of the intervention paints this senior industrialist in a very poor light.
The Daily Record’s contribution
Online, dated 16 February 2022, we read this headline in the Record: ‘Rosyth dockyard owners threaten to take business to England if Scotland votes for independence’.
This is a straightforward statement: it is reporting a senior industrialist making an explicit, causal link between a vote for indy and a major business then leaving Scotland.
Unable to find a transcript of the CEO’s statement, we need to rely for the ‘record’ on what appears in the Record’s own article. But the article reveals that the headline is a distortion at best, deliberately duplicitous at worst. The impact of headlines on readers are well known. Does the Daily Record take no responsibility for fairly, accurately informing its readers – or does its Unionist mission trump everything?
Contradicting its own headline
What follows are extracts (with my emphasis) taken from the Record’s article: compare the words and phrases below with those in the headline. Then try to reconcile!
1) ’The owners of Rosyth dockyard have threatened to move their operations to England IF THEY WERE NOT MADE WELCOME in an independent Scotland.’
2) The CEO is quoted saying: “I think in reality there will be plenty of warning if the vote were in favour of independence” and “I don’t think there is anything that we can’t manage as a company.”
3) “If we had to replicate this (presumably the Rosyth facility) in England because we were told we weren’t welcome here – which I think would be a bad mistake for Scotland – but if that were the decision, we can replicate this in three years, and the time window of negotiations is longer than that.”
Probably none – except with me, perhaps with you! But then I don’t matter to Babcock. No doubt this CEO has burnished his reputation with the PM and done his duty by the Union! And as for the Daily Record – is this how the newspaper intends to conduct its journalism at such an important time for Scotland?
I find it wholly unacceptable that the Record judged this headline as justified when reporting Babcock’s intervention which, frankly, is based on a ridiculous straw man argument.