I believe that the referendum has also been the making of the political left in Scotland. It’s also given socialists in England and the rest of Britain the wake-up call they sorely needed. So, the process of the referendum has brought benefit all round then? Well, not quite. The one sector which has come out of this whole campaign deeply damaged (perhaps irrevocably) is the main stream media. The referendum was a golden opportunity for journalists, it should have been a time of renaissance for the industry.
That hasn’t happened and what we see is people refusing to pay their television licences and newspaper circulation plummeting. The notable exception has been the Sunday Herald which managed to increase it’s circulation by a paltry sum despite being tainted by the blatant propaganda emanating from it’s sister publication The Herald. The paper lost any shred of journalistic integrity it had left when it printed details of Alistair Darling’s fears about polling day.
The stuff of Darling’s nightmares is not the disintegration of his precious country, it is not the prospect of the dole queue where he best behave himself less he gets sanctioned, it is not even the fading prospect of being able to wrap himself in ermine. Oh no, Mr Darling is being kept awake by “fears of absolute carnage” at the polling stations. We were not enlightened as to the nature of this ‘carnage’ he predicts. Are we talking stabbings, shootings, beatings or just eggs? All this at a time when the disenfranchised are being urged to register to vote. It will be no small irony if the people who are put off from braving the dangers of the polling station are the middle class, over sixties who are most likely to vote No.
The Scottish Police Federation even felt the need to release a statement pleading for a more responsible attitude saying: “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.”
I shouldn’t complain I suppose, their loss is our gain for the citizen journalists who inhabit the world wide web.