With the help of a familiar ‘associate professor’, Good Morning Scotland maligns the ‘most reliable’ trains in the UK


‘Keep up the good work chaps chapesses!’

On GMS, at 7.40am yesterday, associate professor, Dr Eamonn O’Neill, Napier University, reviewed the papers with all the critical analysis of…..eh….someone who is not an associate professor and who likes them and all his old pals a lot? He delights in a Herald (his old employer) piece on Scotrail beginning with:

‘Services in Scotrail are the worst since records began’

You can guess what follows. Less predictably, he sniggers strangely between dramatic catastrophic quotes.  He’s guffawing now. Why is he so delighted by this? Is he hoping that a posse of maddened-by-delay commuters will verbally attack Humza Yousef, thinking he’s still responsible and that Scottish Labour can then exploit the situation? They’d fuck it up of course.  Why does he think his suggestion of ‘a train of woe’ is clever and worth repeating? He finishes this piece, astonishingly, given his status, with:

‘And I know this because you see it in tweets all the time. People really do suffer because of the trouble with trains. Those figures this morning will really bear out people’s beliefs that things are not quite getting better.’

WTF!? An ‘associate professor’, working in a university, seems to think he can ‘know things’ because he ‘sees it in tweets all the time’ and that it will ‘bear out people’s beliefs.’ You need empirical evidence to say anything at all about anything like that and even then, it has to remain conditional on new evidence supporting or questioning it. He must know this to work in a university even if he didn’t have a doctorate or wasn’t an associate professor, both of which require or used to, considerable knowledge of research methods.

Eamonn is a former ‘international award-winning investigative journalist’ with Esquire, the Herald and the Scotsman. I guess that’s the kind of radical outsider academic that Good Morning Scotland needs to keep it on its toes.

Getting back on track (clever? Ho ho) with my train of thought (stop it my ribs hurt) to signal (STOP!) the fault in his line of thought (Aeeeee!!!!), as an investigative journalist even, never mind the academic bit for now, should he have questioned the Herald report in any way? It would only have taken a few minutes to find that Wings over Scotland had already demolished the story.  He’ll be fond of the Rev Stu and bloggers genrally, I feel sure. Anyhow, here it is:



Wings has actually researched the story properly. I award him a full-visiting-honorary professorship in ‘21st Century Investigative Journalism’ at the Chomsky University of Propaganda Studies in Ayr.

I was on GMS one morning in 2014. I was only a ‘Reader’ or ‘Associate Professor’ then. The next day, in the morning I got an invite to appear on Newsnight Scotland. At around 3 in the afternoon they withdrew the request. Now I’m retired and past it, I don’t suppose I’ll ever get to meet Gordon Brewer….sigh.



13 thoughts on “With the help of a familiar ‘associate professor’, Good Morning Scotland maligns the ‘most reliable’ trains in the UK

  1. Byan Weir September 23, 2018 / 10:15 am

    Love it John!


  2. gavin September 23, 2018 / 10:24 am

    Now why would the good ass Prof be on GMS? Could it be because his views are known?

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 September 23, 2018 / 11:02 am

      As Chomsky said to Marr, ‘if you thought something different you wouldn’t be here.’


      • gavin September 23, 2018 / 12:33 pm

        Haha–like it, John!

        The beautiful and simple truth.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thepnr September 23, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    I think you might like this from GMS on Hogmany 2014, Dr Eamonn O’Neill talks of the importance of fact checking and specifically the need for “new media” to do so as well. To be fair he is impartial in this discussion, it’s all worth listening too but specifically from 5:30 mins in with regard to new media.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Contrary September 23, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    Righty-o, so if the BBC don’t do this sort of misreporting consciously, then who is? Do politicians consciously do it and the Nomedia consciously only pursue the ‘uncontroversial’ view, the accepted doctrine. They never self-analyse, and we just have to put up with the bile they regurgitate in our direction, because they’ve squeezed anyone with a modicum of competence out of the business? Yes, I know I’m still banging on about how can they not know, consciously, what they are doing. I might not give it up until you get a professor of psychology to write an article and tell me how it is.

    Aaaaanyway, ***Brain-Spew Warning***.

    So, some things John has written has got me thinking about words such as ‘controversial’ and how surprised I am to see anything nice said about Wings, and how we all tend to still be caught in the Nomedia trap of thinking what they want us to think, alongside some Twitter stuff being said, I went along to Wings and made this comment, but being a big fearty put it at the end of a post, in case they thought I was criticising, so it may not be seen:

    Comment on wings (yesterday’s cartoon article):
    “O/T but inspired by wings Twitter feed on the subject of the defamation case against Kezia being reported in the papers and her tragic loss of Labour funding. Labour appear to be taking sides on something that wouldn’t have needed funding if she’d just written an apology – but I guess ‘principles’ abound.

    The strange thing is, they are reporting that only Wings followers – the extremist elements (yeah yeah) – funded Rev Stu – well, I put in my tuppence worth on principle – on the principle that politicians appear to think they can get away with telling unrelenting lies (believing the rules of parliaments where you can’t use the word ‘lie’ apply in the real world?) with no come-back, and that applying the same rules that seem to be acceptable – even required – in the political word (slagging off your opponents) are acceptable in the real world to be used against private citizens. Well, no, you cannot just say anything you want publicly against private citizens, and certainly not something that causes harm and is only an opinion (not real). They are in an alternate universe bubble, and they need to get real. I’m hoping that Rev Stu ‘s bravery on taking on this case will help them along that path.

    I am, of course, an extremist fan of John (prof, leading academic). And he, bizarrely, has been saying nice things about Wings and its author. This: “outspoken, spirited, lively and sweet-toothed, pro-independence blogger, the Reverend Stuart Campbell ” sent me into shock, how often do you hear pleasantries (can’t remember which article this was in, it was recent, you’ll have to search to find it) said about Rev Stu? Refreshing, and uplifting to hear, and no ‘but’ at the end of it.

    Then John has just awarded wings a professorship:
    “Wings has actually researched the story properly. I award him a full-visiting-honorary professorship in ‘21st Century Investigative Journalism’ at the Chomsky University of Propaganda Studies in Ayr.”

    Anyway, got me thinking; the negative spin from unionists decrying this [Wings] site and Rev Stu himself as some kind of objectionable extremist trough, does need to be countered – This [Wings] blog is an extremely useful resource, well written, and articles well researched (mostly 😉 ) – no one is going to agree with every single opinion of another person so that is irrelevant – and no one should be concerned about accessing it. I believed the Nomedia (see John’s blog) hype re this [Wings] blog before 2014, and I’m sure others still do. The perpetuating myth that somehow Rev Stu is brainwashing thousands might put people off reading this [Wings] blog, and then allowing their brain to start functioning again.

    So words we use do matter, and ‘spirited’ and ‘outspoken’ are good words. I’m not really aiming this at the commenters here, but maybe more to SNP politicians and other independence supporting institutions – I have been gratified to see some articles [on Wings]here by SNP (members) and Alex Salmond support for the YouTube incident – but we, all of us, need to stop buying into the Nomedia brainwash-idea that this blog and its author are somehow ‘controversial’ – it isn’t true (unless you subscribe to the opinion that Scottish independence is a controversial idea,,, hmm). It is a platform, and one that could be used to benefit the SNP, they should use it instead of believing they’ll get a break from any of the mainstream ones one day. Why should the Herald (for example) be any less controversial – just because they have been spewing out the same opinion for more years? Just because,,,? Is it okay to twist a story and lie about it, to miss context, just to fit in with your own opinion, affecting millions of lives (‘controversial P1 assessments’ – when did that become controversial? When the BBC told us it was?) – that is what should be controversial. All authors should be declaring which stance they are writing from. Why are there not more quotes from [the Wings] blog on the BBC? What makes a labour politician’s tweet of more value? Etc. If the BBC version of balance was applied (‘here are two extremist views’) surely we should be hearing about wings all the time?

    So if you are ever describing this [wings] blog, or Rev Stu, and find yourself needing to use the word ‘but’, try again. There are no buts. Re-word it. Positively. The message can be the same, just framed differently. In this way it is this [Wings] blog (and others that are doing proper investigative journalism) that becomes mainstream. Small steps.” (By me, 2018)

    My first drafts are never very smooth eh, hopefully you catch the drift. Hmm, or even read it and have an opinion? Or have more ideas? It is important we show that independence supporting is just as, or more, normal and uncontroversial, of legitimate value, as other constitutional views. My opinion is that supporting independence is the most normal, most self-esteem boosting, view to have. I say it is the Nomedia that are controversial. And divisive.

    And why shouldn’t our SNP representatives be separating out their governmental duties from their independence seeking duties? If they made that a clearer division, I think it would be easier to understand that attacking ScotGov on social policies is not actually an attack independence, those parties claiming the policies are wrong just because they disagree with SNP constitutional ideology will be shown in a (very slightly) harsher light. If MPs and MSPs are allowed to write articles in Nomedia papers, why aren’t they doing so on Wings, or here (strict tests first on John’s blog though)? It gives the blogs wider credibility, and actually allows us to read about their opinions and thoughts, and they might actually get some positive feedback. Arguments of ‘caught in a bubble’ and ‘wider audience’ don’t wash – we all choose our own bubbles accordingly (and why should it be hate-filled Nomedia?), and there will be a wider audience once the politicians have accepted that their ideas and these blogs are not the controversial ones. So the BBC criticises that an MSP has written articles on a pro-independence blog? (Chances are they won’t) – Advertising, new readers, quotes. MSP says that there is nothing controversial – leads to ball in their court to prove controversy ,,, nothing new.

    This comment caught my attention while browsing wings:

    Dr Jim at 12.07 (partial)

    Remember folks every country in the world has around 10% of it’s population who are complete and total idiots which means that England has 5.5 million of them that’s more than the entire population of Scotland and they get to outvote Scotland as often as they want because our 10% of idiots don’t even make a dent let alone every single voter in Scotland

    Nicola Sturgeon is 100% right the only way to upset England plans is to vote SNP because if you don’t then England immediatly states that you agree with every single thing they decide to do, so there’s no point complaining to them after they do it

    That’s why Scotland must be Independent so that no matter who you vote for, your voice and vote to run your country is a real and meaningful vote and not a vote lost in a pointless political England system where the system is designed for Scotland always to lose by weight of numbers”


    (Not a very thorough article, despite my earlier glowing report, but sometimes it’s good to get in a short snappy piece and run with it)

    Not sure where the figure of ‘10% of the population are … idiots’ come from (totally made up I suspect, but it’s a nice round number), but that first paragraph there puts things in perspective on how much of a voice Scotland has, on any normal day (without Labour trying to actually deny Scotland any democratic say), within the UK.

    ***Brain Spew (maybe) Over***

    P.s. I want a prize for using the word Nomedia elsewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

    • johnrobertson834 September 23, 2018 / 4:31 pm

      Your prize is an MA in Critical Journalism Studies with Merit in Extended Writing from the Chomsky Faculty of Critical Studies on the Pacific Key (Secret Basement) Campus. Please design and print your own certificate.

      Also, your thesis will be published by Talking-Up Scotland.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Contrary September 23, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      Ha ha! What HAVE you done?! Publishing my brain spew! People will wonder what’s wrong with the site. But, seeing as how I get a prize, you are forgiven (by me anyway 😀 ). That’s quite a generous prize too, I think (still trying to work out what it means), for fitting in a few Nomedias elsewhere – and it might encourage others to spread the word?

      I’ll get to work on the certificate.

      Liked by 2 people

      • johnrobertson834 September 24, 2018 / 6:27 am

        Sending big comments is high risk here. I’ve done the same to Ludo before. Length doesn’t guarantee I’ll do it. A whim does.

        Liked by 2 people

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