I was surprised, the other day, to be asked my views on the Independence issue; and my answer was not what was expected.
But I was quite taken aback to be told I was the very first person heard to have expressed a favourable view, indeed a passionate belief that it was a certainty.
Certainly we mix in different circles. I was after all in Edinburgh, the douce suburbs of Corstorphine no less; and my host was of a different generation. The table was ready for the evening bridge session. The Scotsman is still taken every day, and Scotland on Sunday was on the kitchen worktop, by the ashtray. The BBC News was on. And therein lies the problem.
This was a house yet to be exposed to the internet. Computers were alien, and absent. There was of course awareness, and wonder at what youngsters could do, how their lives were different, but it was not something to be embraced in the ninth decade of life. No discussion. Life is too short and has enough complications. But I’m thinking of my childrens’ future.
Now I take the view, a very sad one, that The Scotsman will not survive. Circulation is near a third of what it once was; readers have fled, advertisers follow and clicks on the website will not replace them. A factor, but by no means the only one, is a political stance hostile to our government of the past seven years and the hopes for our future. The publisher’s share price plummets to a couple of pence.
It will not survive; but it will still be hear to peddle bias and lies until October next year. There was a prime example on Sunday, with an article proclaiming the Scottish government to be the root of the current horse meat problem – it was so ludicrous it was removed from the website before the day was out, after the damage was done of course. As it happened I heard another journalist on the radio pouring scorn on the same article, and on the general outlook of said paper. He was a journalist with a long socialist record, contributor to The Guardian, as pro-union as they come. But Kevin McKenna has begun to find his voice, to buck the trend, to see the light.
But I do worry. There will be many people believing what they read, stuck in a rut of habit, unable to access what the rest of the world is waking from slumber to find. There is no Wings Over Scotland, no Newsnet Scotland in such households. There is work to be done.
And now we hear Mr Cameron telling us not to try and fix something that isn’t broken; after spending five years telling us how broken Britain was and how he was going to fix it. We need online resources to lay bare these ridiculous statements, and to that end I’m proud to support Rev Stu in his quest to turn his outrageously successful quest into a professional resource in the next vital 18 months. Time to start ‘paying for the papers’. Here’s a timely reminder that we cannot take for granted all that is reported.
But I don’t know how we spread the word into the homes that remain technology-free, other than by talking to them, an opportunity all too infrequent. It is possible though that discussions round the bridge table down Corstorphine way may have taken a new turn last weekend. Meanwhile start the day with a smile, if it wasn’t so damn serious and close to the bone – here’s Munguin.