Scotland’s paper

the_nationalThere is an increasing sense that The National is, not just the only newspaper in Scotland to reflect that half of the population which aspires to independence, but also that it is the only part of the media which is actively engaging with Scotland’s politics.

I have long maintained that The National’s real value lay, not in its support for independence, but in the way it demonstrates that a different perspective is possible. There is an alternative to the cosy consensus of the British establishment media. The National has proved that. The National provides it.

The launch of YES DIY is a further step in this process. With its Roadshow events, The National has already established a reputation for reaching out to the public in a manner and to an extent which is, I think, unique in our time. The paper has also gone further than most to allow access to its pages. It devotes an exceptional amount of space to readers letters and comments reprinted from its website. There is already a ‘what’s On’ feature for Yes  events in the print version as well as a very useful online calendar that can be used to create personalised reminders of upcoming events.

This remarkable two-way engagement is now to be enhanced with a twice-weekly feature about Yes groups throughout Scotland. And that is a damned fine thing!

One of the things that inevitably comes up in every discussion of independence campaign strategy is the problem of media access. Well, here it is! Not everything we might wish for. But wishes rarely come true. Not in the way we hope. It’s a start. It’s a foot in the door. The National is a small wedge inserted in a tiny crack in the British establishment’s media armour. It is up to us to drive that wedge home. It is we who must open up that crack until the armour is broken.

I hear criticism of The Nation. Most of it ill-informed. Much of it petty and prejudiced. All of this criticism misses the point that, whatever the paper’s provenance, it is what we make it. Some say The National was only launched to cash in on the demand for a pro-independence newspaper. Well, duh! If the Yes movement has the power to bring about the launch of a new newspaper in a time when the traditional print media is in serious decline, then it has the power to shape that newspaper. Especially when Callum Baird and his team are so evidently amenable.

The National is by no means safe. We cannot afford to take it for granted. There are a lot of very influential people who would like to see it fail. If we make it viable, we make it more secure. If we make it profitable, we effectively own it. It seems obvious to me that the entire Yes movement must get behind The National. Why would we not? Why would we decline this opportunity? That would be madness.

But it’s not only the Yes movement that stands to gain from making The National a success. The National should be respected by all who value media diversity. It should be embraced for the contribution it makes to creating media which serve society and democracy rather than established power and corporate interests.

Buy it! Read it! Share it! Promote it! Make The National work for the Yes movement, for Scotland and for democracy.


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6 thoughts on “Scotland’s paper

  1. Hi Peter, “that it is the only part of the media which is actively engaging with Scotland’s politics”

    We started ‘road shows’ before the National, we’ve supported hubs and other grass roots indy ventures in word and deed all without the support of corporate backing or teams of paid staff, and we continue to do so, with Aberdeen’s SNP group being the most recent benefitting from auctioning our Ciara print for £750 at their Burn’s Fundraiser. Every success to our colleagues at the National, but dinnae forget wur ain folk 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes Yes Yes! Tempting as it may be to go to your local M&S one-solitary-National outlet every morning and put the single National on top of the Daily Mail pile of festering shite they call “news”, it’s far easier, more reliable — and cheaper — and less annoying — to just pay for a yearly subscription (I think a standing order is possible) for a newspaper that is reliably going to
    1 confirm your existing beliefs
    2 extend them
    3 give you hope that you’re not alone in holding them

    Support The National!

    Like

    1. Whisper it! I’ve found my local M&S to be my most reliable source for copies of The National. I always buy two, and leave at least one of them in a pub. The checkout operators used to point out that I had two copies, thinking I may have picked up an extra one unintentionally. Now, they seldom say anything. I’m told it’s because buying two copies is now quite usual.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I still have my first two whole copies of the ‘National’ and, most weeks, find something to save for any future reference, or, just because I liked the article(s). On the rare occasion I too get a letter published, much to my delight and in the knowledge that I have contributed something useful. Recently, I have made a new friend in the US via Facebook. She is of Scottish descendancy and so takes a real interest in what we have to say on Facebook. The National’s report concerning the American couple who are having trouble staying in our country due to changed immigration rules, which was copied to Facebook, caught her eye and made the appropropriate comment. I asked to feel free to share the article with her friends as information such as this is only brought to our attention via the ‘National’. And not for the first time as many of us will appreciate. Carry on the ‘National’ bringing Scottish news to the Scottish people and others that we would not read about or hear about anywhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

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