This is the introduction to our series of articles "Debunking Separatist Myths", which examine the SNP and Scottish Nationalist Talking Points and Themes.
We answer their tricky questions and dubious claims – which can be found repeated daily in the comments and articles of its elected representatives and supporters. We show you how they deliberately use their rhetoric to try to dominate the debate; and most importantly we show you how to fight back.
Let's get to it!
A Talking Point is something that politicians, and/or the media, will promote and amplify (make louder) in order to lead the debate, with the intention of dominating the discussion and directing it along a preferred course.
It is a fact that the SNP's Talking Points lead the Scottish media, and national debate, by the nose.
Of course, such journalists will object to that, but we're about to demonstrate that they clearly are being led - because if they were not being led, then we would be hearing our Talking Points instead.
The Role of the Media
Politics is experienced by people largely through the consumption of mainstream media, and increasingly social media. It is the media which introduces ideas into popular consciousness, keeps them in our minds (if we let it) and amplifies certain messages over others.
However, traditional media – TV especially – has an authority that social media doesn't have. Scottish nationalist domination of that medium is hugely powerful.
For example, there is no TV media host based in Scotland who would dare give Sturgeon (or any SNP personalities) the pasting that Andrew Neil (based in London) gave her. It would be more than their job was worth! The best us unionists can hope for 'on the Telly' is the occasional audience member on Question Time speaking up for us.
That's a sad state of affairs!
HOW TALKING POINTS WORK and HOW TO TURN THEM AROUND
Example 1. They say: "Boris is imprisoning Scotland"
That's the SNP's Talking Point, intended to lead the debate with the intention of dominating the discussion. Switch on the radio and the first thing we'll hear will be about Sturgeon accusing Boris of "imprisoning" Scotland.
The media is now promoting and amplifying this particular message. By doing so, it is essentially acting as a mouthpiece for the SNP.
So, all day people are asking "Is Boris Johnson keeping the Scots in their place? Do you agree or not? Has he locked us up and thrown away the key? How do you feel about being a prisoner to the Tories?"
You know, we just made up those quotes as fast as it took to write them down, but you get the idea. The particular SNP view, leads the debate and thereby dominates everywhere, especially in our heads.
But as Graham Grant pointed out: "...for as long as he honours his promise not to countenance a replay of the poisonous independence vote in 2014, he is a liberator of ordinary Scots who long ago wearied of the SNP's constitutional games." (Graham Grant, Scottish Daily Mail, 17-12-19)
Therefore, we can just as easily argue that Boris is not "imprisoning" Scotland. It is Sturgeon who is holding the UK hostage!
We could just as easily say that Nicola Sturgeon – with 45% of the vote of those who voted in Scotland and 3.9% of the share throughout the UK – is holding the majority of people in Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom hostage.
Are we really to imagine the whole of the UK should be held hostage by less than 4% of the electorate?
Of course not, but we don't switch on the radio and hear: "Sturgeon is holding the UK hostage and pointing a gun at its head. How do you feel about being held hostage by Sturgeon? When will the SNP admit that they have no right to hold the United Kingdom hostage? When will they admit that they have no right to hold the people of Scotland hostage? Does she have a right to hold a gun at the head of the majority in Scotland? If Nicola Sturgeon was a kidnap gang, would she be Baader-Meinhof, or the Medellín Cartel?"
The SNP's perspective, its slant on things, which is tilted deliberately to give it the momentum, gets all the amplification.
Example 2. They say: "We are facing a constitutional crisis"
No we are not. The SNP crisis is not our crisis!
We've just had a very well-behaved Election with a good turnout. Indeed the turnout in Scotland was 68.1% which is way above the usual Holyrood turnout (demonstrating as we always point out that people in Scotland have more engagement with Westminster than Holyrood).
We have just elected a new Parliament. All the MPs (except Sinn Fein) are talking their seats. The constitution has worked very well, thank you. There is no crisis.
The crisis is all on the SNP's side.
This is because, despite getting 48 MPs, the SNP failed in its two major aims. It failed to "Stop Boris". He is the Prime Minister. It failed to "Stop Brexit". We will be leaving the EU on 31st January (at which point the SNP's goose could be cooked).
So the SNP needs a new "narrative". It needs a new story. It needs new Talking Points in order to lead and dominate the debate, and for its supporters to parrot.
So they, and their supporters in academia, such as Prof Tom Devine, announce that there is an "unprecedented constitutional crisis" (see his letter in The Times, 14-12-19); which then leads to an absurd editorial on the same day which parrots his phrase, and starts fretting about "civil unrest" in Scotland.
All that demonstrated was a Times leader writer who looks on Scotland as some sort of rebellious colony which may as well be on the other side of the world; which he hears about every few months via messages delivered via sailing ship, then homing pigeon; and which he fears needs to be treated with kid gloves lest it mutinies.
In other words, that's someone speaking who has no clue about Scotland, or indeed, the United Kingdom, at all. That's someone in the London Metropolitan Elite Bubble speaking.
Unfortunately, it is then these sorts of influential people who will go on to panic about the "crisis" and then make the claim – because they don't understand the nature of Scottish nationalism – that the answer is to give even more powers to this rebellious colony, and to the local Panjandrums who lead it, in a doomed attempt to appease them.
(As we know, Scottish nationalism will never be "appeased", not even with "independence". It will never be satisfied. That is not the nature of the beast. All you are doing is giving more powers to the Panjandrums to destroy the place prior to blaming it on you and making their ultimate goal easier.)
Anyway...back to the pretendy "crisis".
We say: The only "crisis" is the crisis among Scottish nationalists, who can see their cause disappearing over the horizon. So they have to make their crisis our "crisis".