The Daily Mail and Scottish independence

My Dad was down south for a bit, and got his usual paper: the Daily Mail (we have very different tastes in media, I must stress).  But it wasn’t his usual paper, because at home he gets the Scottish edition. Down south, he got – of course – the English one. Some of it was the same, so you got the usual “did fish gods build the pyramids?*” features and the incomprehensibly popular “Women! You’re fat and ugly unless you buy this expensive quackery!” sections, but the one big difference between our edition and the national one was the anti-Scottish anger.

(Incidentally my dad’s basically apolitical and couldn’t care less either way, so we’re not talking about a rabid Scotsman looking for bias in the sassenach press. Particularly as he’s an Englishman. He was quite taken aback by the tone of the coverage.)

It’s something some of you have commented on here before, but from what I’ve seen online – as far as I can tell newspaper sites don’t differentiate between Scots and English visitors, so the versions I see are, I assume, the English versions rather than the localised ones – it’s getting increasingly serious. It may have started as an attempt to get Labour, but it does look like it’s gathering a momentum of its own.

The majority of Scots may be against independence, but if the Mail’s correctly judged the national mood then it may not be a case of Scots demanding a separate country; it’ll be the rest of the UK telling us to piss off. And you can be sure that’s something the new SNP administration will be doing their damndest to encourage.

* I’ve nicked that from somewhere. Jeremy Hardy, maybe?

8 thoughts on “The Daily Mail and Scottish independence

  1. Squander Two says:

    > it may not be a case of Scots demanding a separate country; it’ll be the rest of the UK telling us to piss off.

    Yup, I’m pretty sure that’s going to happen. The West Lothian question has a lot to do with it. Whether Labour engineered that resentment deliberately or incompetently, we may never know. But I reckon the Web may have played a part too: slagging off the English and blaming them for everything has always been a popular Scottish hobby, but the English get to hear so much more of that now than they used to.

  2. Gary says:

    Whether Labour engineered that resentment deliberately or incompetently, we may never know.

    When we’re talking about governments and the choice is between deliberation and incompetence, incompetence is the winner every time.

  3. Tony Kiernan says:

    I’ve always thought that the West Lothian question is a bit of a non-sequitor.

    Westminster is the UK parliament. If you want laws passed there, then the members of that parliament get to vote on it. Simple.

    Scots always whinged about ‘English’ MPs inflicting their will upon us. For better or worse, there’s now been something done about that. Now, it’s their turn if that’s what they want.

    Or, was it fine and dandy when English MPs were getting to shaft us too?

    I do find it reprehensible that the Government have to rely on Scots MPs to enforce laws on England (and Wales). but, then I found it just as bad the other way around.

  4. Squander Two says:

    But, Tony, English MPs didn’t foist laws on Scotland or Wales; they foisted laws on the UK: their decisions affected, among other people, their own constituents. The difference now is that Scots MPs can foist decisions on the English that have no effect whatsoever on their own constituents.

    > Westminster is the UK parliament. If you want laws passed there, then the members of that parliament get to vote on it. Simple.

    Since Devolution, it’s not that simple, though. If you want certain types of law passed in the UK, you get MPs to vote on it in Westminster. For certain other types of law, a vote in Westminster will not affect Scotland or Wales. This was never the case the other way around.

    Take the smoking ban. When Westminster MPs voted on whether to ban smoking in England, it was already banned in Scotland. Scottish MPs were voting on a matter that had zero effect on their constituents or in their country. And it could have gone the other way: they could, had they wished, have voted not to ban smoking in England, having already banned it in Scotland.

    As for English anti-Scottism… well, thanks to the West Lothian question, Gordon Brown’s Scottishness is an issue for the English, but that’s for political reasons, not racial ones. Before Devolution, was there ever any suggestion that John Reid was unfit to be Prime Minister because he was Scottish? No: the very thought would have been absurd to the English. Now, can anyone imagine any Scottish political party choosing an English leader, even one who’s lived in Scotland for decades? No: that would make them completely unelectable in Scotland, and everyone in Scotland knows it.

  5. Squander Two says:

    > Scots law and institutions were always separate from England & Wales.

    Well, yes and no. On the one hand, sure, Scots law remained separate from English law. On the other, what that usually meant in practice was that each act passed by Westminster came in two flavours: the plain vanilla one and the one with “Scotland” in brackets after its name. New laws passed were simply passed on both sides of the border separately, but they matched. The areas in which Scots law and English law differ are for the most part bits that haven’t changed a lot in centuries. Like you said, the UK’s parliament passed UK law.

  6. Gary says:

    It does seem to be getting worse – the uni fees thing now appears to be specifically anti-english, with Salmond keen to help students from Northern Ireland. Oh dear.

  7. scotnat2007 says:

    >The areas in which Scots Law and English Law differ are for the most part bits that haven’t changed a lot in centuries. Like you said, the UK’s parliament passed UK law.

    The application of Articles 18 and 19 of the Treaty of Union of 1707 makes it absolutely clear what the standing of Scots Law in relation to any laws passed by the British Parliament is –

    XVII. …But that no alteration be made in Laws which concern private right…

    XIX. …And that no Causes in Scotland be Cognisable by the Courts of Chancery, Queen’s Bench, Common Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster Hall; and that the said Courts, or any other of the like nature, after the Union, shall have no power to cognosce, review, or alter the Acts or Sentences of the Judicatures within Scotland or to stop the execution of the same…

    As far as UK law is concerned there is no such thing. There are three judicatures in the UK – Scots Law, English Law and European Law.

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