A new paper for more neutrality?

Tomorrow morning, a new newspaper will wait in the display cases for buyers. It’s named The National and launched by the Herald & Times Group obviously, the Herald writes on it here. The National is supposed to be a pro-independence paper which is a bit strange considering the fact that Scotland said No to independence on the past September 18th. But, and that’s not new to my readers, the Yes-movement has survived the No and seems to be growing; it’s quite loud anyway, I cannot tell whether or not the total number is increasing in fact; polls say so, anyway.

And since then, the Yes-movement insists that biased media coverage – the accusations were directed particularly against the BBC, let’s remember the protests in front of the headquarters – of the previously available papers and broadcasters essentially led to fact that the No could prevail at all. This is not quite as far-fetched as it does seem at first glance. For, as I repeatedly wrote myself on sir2014.wordpress.com, fear played a major role in the decision. Fear of financial ruin primarily. However, it is important to keep in mind that this fear was fueled not only by information that spoke for a No and were supposedly communicated on media with a particular emphasis, but also by the Yes-camp that didn’t deliver satisfying responses in controversial discussions. Let’s think of Alex Salmond whose only answer to the question after a plan B for a possible fail of a currency union between iScotland and rest of UK was that a currency union would be the only logical solution. So, in my honest opinion, it’s not right to blame the media and the No camp only.

Anyway. Tomorrow, a new paper will be born. And bought, I bet. Being a journalist, I observe that with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other. New papers with unusual perspectives – if they have and not only promise them, of course – are an asset of the press segment. They mean competition, and competition is good for the standards of quality and breadth of topics. And if this newspaper should prevail – initially it has five days to prove itself and it’s profitability on the market, if I’ve understood correctly – then it means hopefully new jobs for well-trained journalists. This is good, no question.

But the neutrality that would be healthy for Scotland which, from my view, already is torn between “the dream will never die” and “finally accept the democratic outcome and let us build a better Britain rather than promoting nationalism ” is at least debatable when The Nationalist is created with a pro-independence twist from the outset. It’s not a good development that the press market now seemingly carries on the rupture that already happens in neighbourhoods and circle of friends and divides Scotland into a blind Yes and a blind No without openness for the other side’s views and arguments. And honestly, I do not believe in altruistic reasons for this newspaper. Someone has recognized that the enthusiasm of the Yes-movement can potentially be a source of money.

How good or bad the quality and the neutrality of the newspaper will ultimately be, can not be judged until the first few editions were published and a certain routine was set. Should The Nationalist turn out to be the voice of the Yes-movement, publishing unfiltered views, I would be quite critical of it. Journalists should it be there to ask questions, ask for clear answers and put all information into question again. From both sides and all possible alternatives, without giving preference to one side. Also not to nationalism. That’s what I wish for Scotland’s sake.

©Maria Pakura


All these good news

Burst devomax promises? Evil accusations and defamatory comparisons? A mudslinging between so-called winners, indicating with a raised index finger that so-called losers have to accept their defeat and to shut up in particular, and the so-called losers who do not abandon their dream and run one of the biggest movements in modern Scotland? Ha, what a humbug, who’s a pessimist and conciders Scotland’s mood being entirely negative, just because there are a few tiny differences and some neighbours do not even say Hello to each other any more? Wearing rose-coloured glasses, I hopped tap-dancers-like through gorgeous Alba and gained good news, more good news and nothing but good news. Scotland is so beautiful these days, you just have to put things right…

Nicola Sturgeon is going to be next SNP leader and Scotland’s First Lady, erm, First Minister I mean. Brilliant.  What I’ve seen, read, heard of her during the three busy pre-referendum months indicates that she’s a person who’s committed to what she says and does with all her sense and soul, no matter what others may think of it. I do appreciate consistency and determination, so I give Sturgeon a pre-bonus of sympathy. And Scotland’s bright future is going to be even more amazing if news like that will not cause headlines in the style of “a woman takes the power” or “she will rule even though she wears a skirt“. Huh? So I probably have misread, right? Talking of people who offer the same expertise and competence as others, modern people totally don’t care if someone has balls or not. There! Not referring to courage btw. Alas, feminism is damn sexy when it’s so obviously wiped off the table: damsel in distress. Eventually we (we as in “we women” although that’s usually not the way I think) must be glad that Middle Ages are past, even though it could provoke a smile if fictional Middle Ages papers headlined “the shrew will speak in front of noble men, tighten her chastity belt’s screws“. But hey, a smile is positive. Good news!

Scottish customers have to pay for their grocery bags, starting today. 5p each at least. Amazing. When I think of the masses of ultra-thin plastic bags that pile up in my room every time I’m over, and if I gross up these masses to all wonderful citizens of Scotland, I think that the price still is not high enough to preserve oceans against this flood of waste. Environmental protection is also sexy, oh yes. This sensual experience, fumbling a wishy-washy canvas bag from the pocket, dewrinkling the toe-curling imprint and determining that the purchases won’t fit: indescribable. How many times has this dilemma led to lovely new acquaintances when I fluttered my eyelashes helplessly asking the handsome gentleman behind me to carry the water bottles which are too heavy for my delicate hands anyway to the car. To which I usually get the reply: “You’re emancipated, you’ll get on with this all by yourself.” Fxxx feminism. But seriously: Avoiding plastic is good, and creating own reusable bags is even better. Creativity keeps the mind fit. Good news.

According to BBC News, “Aberdeen is among the nominees for the Carbuncle Award, given to the most dismal town in Scotland”. How gratifying! It draws attention to the city which otherwise occurs in the news solely when oil reserves multiply themselves within a few days or a pal’s favourite club plays a match. By the way: Isn’t it wonderfully meaningless when twenty guys run after a ball, two more protect a net and all of them earn outrageously much money? Anyway. Aberdeen is certainly in the spotlight. And this fact perhaps might even involve a nice makeover of the urban architecture in one way or another. Everyone knows that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder though, and apples shall not be compared to oranges. Let’s imagine Edinburgh’s attractivity is an analogy to Missy Malone or – more international like Edinburgh itself – Dita von Teese, all three enchant with style and grace and a wee hint of savageness. And Aberdeen is, hm, no idea – maybe Susan Boyle? Her appearance is hardly comparable to her burlesque colleagues’ ones, but she rakes in money, she has a voice and people love her. Each has advantages. Good news.

Speaking of BBC, there are quite some people who not only ignore this broadcaster and everything concerned since referendum day accusing it of bias, but now also actively boycott it . “I do not pay my license any longer, I feel such a rebel”, I’ve heard more than once. Excellent! Indeed, there are exactly two ways in which a media empire might adjust to dwindling sources of money: It could struggle to regain them, with quality. And quality is always good without the slightest doubt. Or else, it accepts the situation with a shrug and helps itself to new sources of money by commercializing the programs. If I may play a fortune teller, the latter is likely to lead to even more people boycotting the BBC, which would guide the broadcaster to the financial scaffold sooner or later. By what the thorn would pull itself out of the flesh of those who consider it being a thorn. I’d prefer the quality way, but the alternative would also be a kind of solution. Good news therefore.

And more good news to come, I’m sure…

©Maria Pakura