Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Second Not in the News for April

So much has happened in the last few days that we had to make an extra entry into our monthly 'not in the news' series. In this edition, we are only looking at the stories which have taken place from Saturday, the 26th of April to Tuesday, 29th.

Bum notes?
A prime example of why Scotland needs to represent itself internationally came on Sunday, the 27th of April. Despite assurances from UK environment secretary Owen Paterson MP to highlight concerns held by the Scottish Parliament regarding Genetically Modified crops at a European Union meeting on the topic, the minister failed to do so.

Mr Paterson said: "...we [self and Scottish Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse] agreed the speaking note and I have to confess I think I read the preceding one."

More bum note incompetency from people who don't want us representing ourselves. [As a side note, the position of the UK Government over GM Crops is different from that of the Scottish Government, making this 'error' even more significant].

Don't watch that, watch this!
First Minister Alex Salmond made a speech in Bruges, Belgium on Monday, the 28th of April. He spoke of the historic connections between the city and Scotland, of duel nationalities and the positive contribution that new Scots have made to our nation, the democratic deficit that we face and the desire to make a positive contribution to Europe and the world at large.
"Scotland will ask for continued membership on the basis of “continuity of effect”, and at no detriment to other members.

So there need be no reopening of the EU budget agreed last year to 2020. Scotland would take responsibility for its share of UK contributions and receipts – which means that we would still be a net contributor to the EU. We would remain within the Common Travel Area of the British Isles, as we are at present. And as a senior UK Government minister acknowledged to the Guardian newspaper last month, “of course” we will continue to share a currency with the rest of the UK.
We propose a practical, common sense approach to membership, which means that there is no detriment – none whatsoever – to any other member of the European Union as a result of Scotland’s continuing membership." First Minister Alex Salmond, 28th of April

Most people will not have come across this speach because another story 'broke' at the same time. "Fury as 'insensitive' Salmond praises Putin for restoring Russian pride in itself" was the headline in the Mail online. This came from an interview by GQ Magazine from the 14th of March (over six weeks earlier and before the situation in Crimea - or put another way before we wrote the Not in the News - March edition). But let's see the vile, insensitive quote:
"Obviously, I don't approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin's more effective than the press he gets, I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia.

He's restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing.  There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the intermesh with business and politics that are obviously difficult to admire.  Russians are fantastic people, incidentally; they are lovely people." Alex Salmond, 14th of March
The story seems even stranger when you consider that this is the same Vladimir Putin who Prime Minister David Cameron was appealing for support from back in January (see: "Cameron's plea to Putin: help me stop Salmond" and "Putin's strange intervention over Scottish independence" and "David Cameron accused of trying to recruit Vladimir Putin's support in the fight against Scottish independence"). And other prominent 'no' campaigners have recently been speaking of looking at closer military ties with Russia (a month later than Alex Salmond's interview and in the middle of the Ukraine crisis).
Even some of the newspapers hold Vladimir Putin in great esteem (well, he was announced as the Times newspaper's International Man of the Year on the 30th of December 2013 - yes, the same Times newspaper that used the headline 'Scottish Ukrainians hit out at Salmond over praise for Putin' - we're certain that their apology is in the post!).
Of course, we're talking about the Scottish Media, so these facts aren't in the news now.

Another secret radiation leak story came to light, this time in Aberdeen harbour.
"An investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) found one “gross” breach and several “major” breaches of the firm’s operating conditions.

However, the public was never told about the leak, which continued unchecked from November 2011 until April 2012, and it also appears that the Scottish Government was not informed either." Scottish Express, 26th of April
The resultant 10 fold increase in emissions was kept secret from the public and the Scottish Parliament and comes shortly after the discovery of a cover-up over a radiation leak at Dounreay power station.

BBC and Big Business Chums!
On Tuesday, the BBC announced that they had been members of anti-independence group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for 'at least 10 years'. But investigative work from BBC reporter James Cook found that 'at least 10 years' was is reality at least 34.

Perhaps this long standing relationship explains headlines such as "Scottish Independence: CBI U-turn 'not due to pressure'"

The BBC hand over £22,191.94 of our money per year for membership of the officially anti-independence CBI however no reason has been forthcoming as to why the UK state broadcaster is a member at all. The National Union of Journalists expressed their concerns by stating that their impartiality "is entirely undermined by the BBC retaining a link with an organisation allied to one side of the independence debate." Even when the CBI announced that their members were backing a no vote, the British Broadcasting Corporation stood side by side with their Big Business Chums. We can only speculate as to why.
(A little side note: although £22,191.94 looks like a lot of money, it is small change compared to the £193 million per year the BBC stands to lose with a Yes vote!).

Debating courage
Another day, another debate that the 'no' campaign doesn't want to take part in. The Electoral Reform Society Scotland were asked to chair an event between representatives of Yes Scotland and Better Together at a public meeting in Glasgow. A neutral mediator and a public forum is surely fair, right?
Well no, the no campaign didn't want to take part. They stated that because Yes Scotland had made the arrangements that they wouldn't be involved. We're certain that this is a sincere excuse and that an event that was mutually organised by both sides would meet their approval...right...right?
"Questions from the public? And we have to answer them? That's not fair!" No campaign objection (probably)
Join us again for a full 'not in the paper' review in May!
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