Monday 9 April 2012

The Scotscum

The Scotscum
I kind of promised myself, and my precious handful of hopefully forgiving readers, that I would refrain, at least for a while, from commenting on the generally scurrilous conduct of what passes for the mainstream media in Scotland - particularly with regard to our democratically elected government and First Minister. But there's a piece of crude, unsophisticated propaganda in The Scotsman's online edition today (Monday 9 April) which simply cannot be allowed to pass unremarked.

The item in question concerns the MSP for Dunfermline West, Bill Walker, who has been expelled from the Scottish National Party for alleged irregularities in the selection procedure which saw him adopted as the party's candidate.

There are three clear issues with the item in question. Firstly, at the time of publication Mr Walker is no longer a member of the SNP. How then can this "newspaper" possibly justify the use of an SNP graphic. An image which is bigger than the article itself. An almost comically ridiculous size that has no editorial justification whatever. The sole purpose of this image is to associate Mr Walker's name with a party of which he is no longer a member - subject only to the appeal to which he is entitled under the party's constitution.

Secondly, the item seeks to imply that the SNP has a duty to remove Mr Walker from the Scottish Parliament and/or that it is responsible for the rules which enable him to continue to sit as the representative for his constituency notwithstanding his expulsion from the SNP. The newspaper must know that, under the terms of the parliament's founding legislation, neither the SNP as a party nor the SNP administration has either a duty or the power to remove a duly elected Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Thirdly, even if such a power and/or duty did exist then it would be contingent on the member in question being disqualified under the terms set out in that same legislation. Basically, a criminal offence attracting a custodial sentence of more than twelve months. As things stand, Mr Walker has not been investigated for or charged with any offence - far less been found guilty and sentenced. He continues to sit in the Scottish Parliament, not by any action or inaction on the part of the SNP, but because the law says he is entitled to do so. Indeed, the law says that he has a solemn obligation to continue to represent the interests of his constituents.

What we have here is nothing less than journalistic pornography. I will resist the temptation to say more.
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