As the Sunday Herald appears to abandon any pretence of genuine support for independence, I say again: Are the SNP’s ‘Critical Friends’ really helping or just posturing?


It’s really difficult to see how a newspaper purporting to support independence for Scotland could headline a story like this wrongly characterising a leading figure in the movement as some kind of stooge for the Kremlin. The story would be at home in the Sunday Telegraph.

I wrote of my suspicions of the Sunday Herald and other ‘moderate’ (ie anti-SNP, Wings) ‘supporters’ of the Yes campaign back in September 2016. The full text is still at:

After it was published, I was cast, again, as ‘off the rails’. However, as the National continues to publish the unconvincing changelings, McKenna and Fry, as Common Space continues to find hard, disciplined, attack on the Union and all its hangers-on, just too coorse for its liberal-bourgeois-academic sensibilities and as they all despair over the successes of the Wings over Scotland blitzkrieg on their still-pals in the ‘mainstream media’, the Sunday Herald has come out, all pea-shooters popping, in ill-judged attacks on its own readers and on the SNP.

This front page, its choice of headline and image, triggered justifiably angry online responses. Failing to take pleasure in or to headline the massive march and, in the photograph,  choosing to foreground the handful of frankly abusive Unionists there, it seemed designed to offend all Yes supporters.



Getting the response they must have expected, the Sunday Herald was unrepentant, indignant, and chose instead to attack the whole movement by conflating it with a few abusive trolls and by a pompous over-reaction to any criticism:



Here’s the frankly ridiculous ‘must-read’ or self-important ‘Big Read’ promised for today.



Look at the words in red. They are ‘cut’ by the criticism and feel the need to remind us of their messianic role.  I stopped buying the Sunday Herald quite soon after its launch in 2014. It was always going to be a corporate project, staffed by journos who think they are somehow special and, crucially, embody values bigger than the Yes movement. I understand its sales are plummeting. Its days are numbered.



18 thoughts on “As the Sunday Herald appears to abandon any pretence of genuine support for independence, I say again: Are the SNP’s ‘Critical Friends’ really helping or just posturing?

  1. John May 13, 2018 / 10:12 am

    Love the new look pictures John , like you I have always been wary of these half hearted ” supporters ” . As far as the Herald goes they want the best of both worlds , the Herald being Unionist and the Sunday Herald being for Independence , that gets money in from both camps . The National is from the same stable , watch the headlines there being shifted away from SNP and Indy matters to mundane headlines , carefully selected snippets at the bottom of the page is all you will get . . Perhaps the owner has been told by the establishment to get his editors to change course on their editorials This perhaps is the start of the rhetoric we are going to be bombarded with as they see now from the march the Scots are still not quite back in their box !

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Alan Gordon May 13, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    As John states in his comment, the Glasgow march demonstrated that the Scots are not back in their box and your blog site highlights one of the strategies the unionists are using to win the soft yes, soft no and don’t knows. Everything will be done to deny us the vote of mainland europe people settled here. The indy groups have the upperhand in social media but can be a bit of an echo chamber, good for sharing data and info though. Need to see what the outcome will be to the new data protection regs, following the Cambridge Analytics hoo-ha, probably a kettleing effect. I can sometimes feel the onslaught of attacks to the indy campaign overwhelming, depressing. One big thing in our favour is that we have a mobilised “grass roots” force which doesn’t cost much. It contains a great many passionate, clever, administratively able people. We need to secure the vote of our EU/Scots, get out and meet, face to face, with the voters that need questions answered, truths explained and persuaded of the veracity within the Yes camp.

    Not even nearly a St Crispin Day rally call but I’m off down the village on my bike, next week the other side of the island.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. William Henderson May 13, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    Press, radio and TV “journalism” has truly become a disgrace to itself, the Country and to the rest of us.

    The psychology in play is reminiscent of a wounded, scared and cornered animal. Poor wretches!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Charles Maitland May 13, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    I have been trying to support pro-indy media because of the overwhelming anti-indy media, but I agree with you John, the Sunday Herald has just lost my support. As for RT, I find more even handed reporting on indy matters from them than I do from the BBC!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. carthannas May 13, 2018 / 5:04 pm

    From the previous article to which you provided a link:

    “In the later 1960s, as I was following the Small Faces and the Who, out of Modism and into Freakism (‘Hippies’ called themselves ‘Freaks’. Only ‘Straights’ or ‘Squares’ used the term ‘Hippie’), I began to read John Paul-Sartre. You may remember the Mods’ fondness for all things European such as scooters and Italian suits.”

    Really appreciate this article but … Mods! Me too – aaah! Thing is, we never died before we got old because we haven’t got old – despite our age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 May 13, 2018 / 7:55 pm

      Yes, think I’ve spent my life on a continuum from mod to freak/hippy as my circumstances required. As pensioner definitely drifting to mod neatness as better image for silver-haired older guy than Gandalf.


  6. BSA May 13, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    There is some disturbing paranoia on show over all this. Neil McKay says in the editorial that he does not want the Sunday Herald to be in an independence echo chamber. He is right. The Sunday Herald can support independence without reporting everything exactly on the terms that independence supporters find acceptable. It would be no better than the rest of the media if it behaved like that and the objective should be a responsible media which reflects the situation in the country – how else do you reach the soft No voters. I thought their coverage of the march was ill advised but the reaction is embarrassing and I can live with their piece on Salmond, which probably reflects the view of many independence supporters, though not my own.


    • carthannas May 13, 2018 / 6:16 pm

      “The Sunday Herald can support independence without reporting everything exactly on the terms that independence supporters find acceptable.”

      No one would argue with that. However, the way the front page photograph was cropped – either in the camera, or on the picture desk – was done deliberately to convey the incorrect meaning of what was actually happening. It could not have happened by accident. It was a deliberate decision to corrupt a fair representation of what was actually going on. A picture editor/editor who didn’t know that would not be working on a national newspaper. The use of that photograph, in that way, was a gross distortion worthy of the BBC and unionist newspapers. I think Neil Mackay and David Leask protest too much.

      I’m another one who does not buy/download it anymore.

      Liked by 3 people

    • johnrobertson834 May 13, 2018 / 8:10 pm

      In these times, the supporters of independence need a co-ordinated and disciplined strategy whereby they devote all energies to attacking the forces of unionism and waste none on internal divisions. Reaching soft No voters by betraying core principles is a mistake. The combined forces of the Union will easily destroy a movement based on liberal, questioning, undisciplined narratives. Only the SNP has the energy, the resources, the skills, the muscle to push us over the line. On the great day, I will be among the first to require a new party reflecting my more leftist values but until then…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. gavin May 13, 2018 / 7:14 pm

    Does anyone remember when weel kent Anglo-Scot journalist James Cameron came to Scotland (somewhere in the 70’s perhaps?), to run his experienced eye over the rise of the SNP. He got air time on BBC Scotland ( Unionist, but not as sleekit back then) to give his views on how things would pan out.
    His conclusion was predictable—the SNP would crash and burn, as “nationalism” wouldn’t work in modern times (tell that to the Anglo-Brit Brexiteers).
    But he stated one thing which has remained with me, and is as close to truth as any Unionist has come.
    He asserted that the independence movement could not succeed because THE OPINION FORMERS IN THE MEDIA were unanimously against it.
    That we have come so close would be a major surprise to Cameron. I suspect we would be a self governing country right now, if we had an even handed press and broadcasters.
    But remember—Edinburgh Uni did a survey after the 2014 which showed a majority of Scots who voted, voted for independence!
    We are almost there.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. bedelsten May 13, 2018 / 7:17 pm

    Elsewhere on the Internet this week I read that… “The instinctive drowning response is a climbing response. What you see are twin splashes as the person’s arms flail wide looking for something to grab on to.” What we see from the Herald in the literary equivalent; flailing about looking for someone / something to blame or something to grab on to. The Herald has the choice of either sinking in a sea of hubris of swimming with the tide seen flowing through Glasgow recently.

    Just when one may have thought the bottom of the barrel had been reached with the ill-judged report about the march in Glasgow, further detritus was scraped up with an advertisement for Alex Salmond’s RT program. Any readers of the Herald not aware of the show will be now and the viewing figures will probably have increased. Apparently, the paper also contained a long whinge about nasty cybernats, or so Twitter tells me. If so, it is somewhat hypocritical to make rash comments about the independence movement and then complain about the feedback.

    But, hey, I don’t subscribe, so why should I complain when the last bubble of ink floats to the surface from the hulk stuck in the mud below.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. purple thistle May 14, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    The wording in red is a disgrace and clearly this is the new tactic, or part of it. These Britnat rags have an agenda, or several in fact. Mainly it’s to undermine the SNP, silence the independence movement and supporters, stoke up actual hatred against anyone who is not a British nationalist especially in Scotland, but not exclusively, and of course, to instil great fear and doubt in the minds of those who are from other EU countries and elsewhere, about Scotland’s capacity to succeed, about Scotland’s inclusivity, about Scotland’s civic and internationalism, and to create a sense of suspicion about the SNP and the Scottish parliament.

    It’s actually very sinister and has been ramped up because the march last week showed that support for independence is huge and thriving. For every person on that march, there was at least one who could not attend, for whatever reason.

    Last independence referendum, the whole fear factor aimed at EU citizens and others living and working in Scotland who could vote but were not Scottish, was full on and it worked. Next time it won’t, mainly due to Brexit, and the fact that people see the difference for themselves, between the progressive, forward looking, inclusive Scottish government with the SNP at Holyrood, and the narrow, backward small minded, self serving, bullying and last but not least cruel UK government, in London, England. There is a contrast there. Polar opposites in fact, and many younger people, including from England are coming to make their lives in Scotland.

    Who wants a government that treats many of it’s own citizens with utter contempt, Ie, the Tories at Westminster, and who work for their own interests, when you can have one that works for the people, and in fact who work for the interests of thepeople and country in which they live.

    The Herald and their masters have never been for independence, but they and their Britnat pals and their dodgy pals around the globe, have money, tons of it. They have the levers to attempt to control people, and the narrative. They can false flag, must be the easiest tactic in the book! That can work to create divide, a desired and essential tactic in achieving their goal of total control when people are not convinced by their printed lies day in, day out.

    We have a huge hill to climb, but are half way up, at least. Let’s keep going, share articles everywhere that are informative like this one and help out where possible to ensure that independence is not demonised or the people silenced.

    In fact I watched Alex Salmond’s 26th show last night, it is excellent. He was in the US, interviewing various wonderful young people on gun control, and the amazing Medea Benjamin, who speaks about her work in tackling the very negative, dangerous capitalism which we are all so much at the mercy of, like it or not. Have a watch, youtube, if you can’t see that episode, click on various numbers on the side bar and it should eventually show up. The shows come up with random numbers on youtube a bit frustrating.

    Saor Alba.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ludo Thierry May 15, 2018 / 4:06 pm

    Hi Purple Thistle – Thanks for the review of Alex Salmond Show No. 26 – Haven’t had a chance to see it yet – so will look forward to that – sounds interesting. Just for info – if you go to the RT webpage and click on UK news section – then put ‘Alex Salmond’ in search box – you will usually be offered the links to the most recent half dozen or so episodes. Hopefully saves a wee bit of youtube searching time.


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