‘Future-proofed against austerity: new Scottish social security system’
Can you imagine that headline in the Herrod or the Hootsman? Remember the speech marks are mine and were not in the original. The writer means it literally and they are right behind it. Positive and without a hint of an ‘ah but’ to come, this was the Observer’s headline yesterday for a report on the Scottish Government setting up an independent body that will check to make sure any changes preserve human rights before the Scottish Parliament gets a vote. This is, to my mind, another example of how the SNP administration has a real commitment to acting as if they ‘live in the early days of a better nation.’ It’s utterly divergent from current trends in England and makes me a bit more pleased to be living here.
Here’s part of what Libby Brooks, their Scotland Correspondent had to say:
‘Scotland’s new social security system will include an unprecedented degree of independent scrutiny – with the express intention of future-proofing the powers against the kinds of austerity measures that have devastated vulnerable groups in the rest of the UK. Scotland’s social security minister, Jeanne Freeman, announced on Sunday that there will be a Scottish Commission on Social Security, an independent body that will scrutinise any proposed changes to the new system – and give its view of their compliance with human rights protocols – before Holyrood can vote on them.’
There’s little point in me repeating the article. Go and read the whole thing yourself via the above url link. The point is, it’s not balanced. The writer is enthusiastic about the idea and sees no need to scrape up some opposition voice to find something, anything, to moan about. Notice, they are prepared to compare this favourably with the rest of the UK without a Brian Monteith figure calling it diversionary, ‘whitabootery’.
Now, some people, some journalism students, some journalists, seem to thing you always need to have balance, at least two differing views and certainly not enthusing about things. This a fallacy. Some topics have no reasonable alternative viewpoint. Equally, some developments are so humane, so morally correct, so just, it’s perfectly reasonable for the writer to join in. It would be hard to imagine a two-sided balanced debate on tobacco today thought we did have in the past. Would a writer enthusing about disability rights legislation feel the need to find some argument why the disabled should have less rights? There have been times in the past when that might have been argued but to do so would be to challenge an almost total support for equality of treatment, today in Scotland.
However, II can find no mention of this development in the Scotsman, BBC News or STV News and the Herald offers only a dry, grudging (?) acknowledgement that the SNP claim it will stop the Tories:
‘SNP minister Jeanne Freeman says commission would stop Tories bringing in benefit sanctions’
Why are the Scottish media not enthusing about a ‘new social security system [which] will include an unprecedented degree of independent scrutiny – with the express intention of future-proofing the powers against the kinds of austerity measures that have devastated vulnerable groups in the rest of the UK’?
Is it because it’s an SNP initiative? Is it because it makes Scotland seem better that the UK? Is it because the Unionist media are so bitter and full of hatred for the SNP, they cannot enthuse about anything they do, no matter how close to the values they at other times profess?
Finally, look at the photograph they used. Talk about making the SNP look positive, bright, optimistic.