In an announcement by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, yesterday (21st February 2017), business rates reprieves for around 100 000 small businesses will see ‘seven out of ten premises better or no worse off – and in most cases, paying nothing at all.’
This is the result of the Small Businesses Bonus, first introduced in 2008, being extended to 100 000 businesses. Those valued at up to £15 000 will pay nothing at all. So far the scheme has saved small businesses £1.2 billion. This is now clearly the best business package available anywhere in the UK. Only the very largest businesses will pay more. For 8 500 hotels pubs, cafes and restaurants, rate increases will be capped at 12.5%.The same cap will be applied to office space in Aberdeen to further assist the oil industry.
District heating schemes such as the Broomhill and Maryhill schemes will get a 50% rates reprieve. This is on top of the £10.6 million already invested by the Scottish Government in schemes, in Glasgow, involving 700 homes.
Across the renewables sector a package of support will be available to compensate for UK (Conservative) government cuts to subsidies which have put the development of renewable schemes in Scotland at risk. These include:
‘Rates relief up to 100 per cent for qualifying community renewable and new build schemes, and a lower payment threshold for community schemes from 1 megawatt to 0.5 megawatt.
Bills capped at 12.5 per cent for small-scale hydro schemes producing up to 1 megawatt.
A new 50 per cent relief for stand-alone district heating schemes.’
Finally extra funding will be provided to local authorities to ‘address individual or highly localised impacts of the revaluation process.’
I’ve taken these facts from the SNP site:
How it is reported there contrasts somewhat markedly with that elsewhere in the media. You might ‘like’ to read the Tory comment-saturated version of this news at for an object lesson in how to write propaganda:
See the ‘bowed to pressure’ phrase? In how many ways could that have been worded to reflect the fact that governments should listen to criticism, reflect and act where they can? Does Tory MSP Murdo Fraser imagine Theresa May listening to criticism and acting on it? As for ‘bowing to pressure’, wouldn’t his leader be more likely to blame someone else as she tried to blame patients for overcrowding A&E wards? There’s one puzzling difference. – is it just 10 000 small businesses, as iNEWS claims, or 100 000, as the SNP announced? Most galling though is the staggering hypocrisy of Murdo Fraser in accusing the SNP of being too slow to react to his own party’s economic crimes.
Right at the end, iNEWS does allow the minister to get his oar in:
‘With the further measures we are now taking, combined with the powers and investment we have provided to local councils, that is a good deal for businesses, a good deal for public services, and a good deal for the Scottish economy.’
The iNews piece uses the figure ‘More than 8,500 hotels, restaurants, cafés and pubs’ to create their headline of ‘Almost 10000’, they fail to mention the overall number of businesses benefitting (the 100 000 according to the SNP). I read it carefully to pick up any hot tips for writing propaganda.
So, for writing propaganda, do I have this right:
1) start off by obscuring the figures that are cribbed straight from a political website without investigating if there is any truth in them, making the numbers too low or too high, depending on preference, by reporting on only a small select group while not seeming to do so.
2) portray the political party, the one from which you took figures from without checking them, as somewhat untrustworthy by mentioning they only made a good decision because of anyone else’s influence. Use words like ‘pushed’, ‘forced’, ‘pressurised’.
3) find random quotes from a reasonably well-known person, whether they are relevant or not, to justify your unjustified writing of 2) above.
4) show some concession to the polical party, to demonstrate your own kindness and reasonableness, using phrases like ‘at least’, ‘eventually’, ‘this is good but’. Make sure there are a few particularly boring paragraphs where you repeat yourself, in preparation for 5) below.
5) crib a couple of fairly bland quotes from the politicians of said political party, making sure you cut them off at key points before the few readers that have made it this far suspect the figures you presented in 1) are not quite the whole story.
Does that cover it? Have I missed anything? I am sure there must be a great number of subtleties I haven’t picked up on.
I award you BA (Hons) Propaganda Studies
YAYYYYY!!! I have never had a BA before, so I am extremely pleased. If I figure out how to actually write an article that looks like propaganda for one side but is, in fact, just that for the other side, can I get a masters? Can I get some hints to get me started?
Some of your responses are as big as a Masters
Hah, yes, true 🙂 . I have really just been using comments as an avoidance strategy, makes me feel like I am doing something while actually just procrastinating on a multitude of tasks. Tasks which, unfortunately, I now have to focus on, so you will get some peace for a while!
You are doing something worthwhile. Sharing.