As far as I can ascertain, Bella Caledonia, is an on-line journal that promotes Scottish independence. The leaked ‘Top Secret’ document, that was written by John Swinney for the SNP hierarchy, lifted the lid on the economic case behind independence. It was obvious that the capital flight would have led to the demise of the financial services sectors in Edinburgh and Glasgow with the permanent loss of up to 200,000 jobs. Oil, which Mr Swinney proposed would offset this PAYE, NI and Corporation Tax deficit, was pegged at north of $113 per barrel. It’s now less than $30. North Sea Oil and Gas are not booming, they are in decline. The proposed Expro activity of a shelf west of The Shetlands is no longer commercially viable. With a deficit of £7b and less individuals to tax, the end result would have been a catastrophe. Those who voted for independence were primarily drawn from the sinecures of public service. Scotland would have had to go cap in hand to The World Bank to educate our children. Very few things leave a more bitter taste in my mouth than the bully boys of the SNP. Their stupidity took my breath away.
James Doleman has been published on Bella Caledonia. His tweets from courts in London and Edinburgh have kept readers of this site abreast of developments. I commend those who crowd funded Mr Doleman. His politics and the football team he supports are of no relevance to me. He is one of the finest journalists we have in Scotland. He is independent. He does not have to bend to the will of the current incumbents of the Rangers boardroom.
Miss Haggerty was sacked less than a week after penning a column about the abuse she has experienced as a journalist, much of which has come from fans of Rangers Football Club following her work editing a book about the financial collapse at Ibrox. In that column, she detailed how groups connected to Rangers had tried to get her sacked from positions she has held since editing Downfall. One of her persecutors was imprisoned for six months.
Within days of Miss Haggerty’s aricle being published in The Sunday Herald, she was fired. She was also informed that she was prohibited from writing for any Newsquest title. This edict precludes Miss Haggerty from being commissioned by, or working for, 300 titles in the UK. Newsquest is the third largest UK publisher of regional and national newspapers.
Her tweet of solidarity with Graham Spiers, who was under a deluge of on-line abuse, was a response to a colleague in her trade being subjected to the hatred that she has experienced first hand. Magnus Llewellin informed her by telephone of his rationale for her dismissal. He stated that “representatives of Rangers Football Club” had brought her tweets to the attention of the Herald. The paper was under so much legal pressure that he felt he had no option but to let her go. He also informed her that Neil MacKay, editor of the Sunday Herald, had fought her corner to stop it happening, but in the end he was overruled. Mr Llewellin is the editor-in-chief of a group of titles getting set to make yet another round of editorial cuts amid an increasingly difficult financial environment for newspapers.
Who were these representatives of Rangers Football Club? We are aware that one of them is a director at the club. Is it possible that Je Suis Graham, the notorious Islamaphobe, ‘redeemed’ himself with a successful petition to The Herald Group after his spectacular failure at The Belfast Telegraph? This would not surprise readers of this site. In The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, the two ‘angels’ that were reputed to be envoys of God to Muhammad, are cast as venal stowaways on a British Airways flight to Heathrow Airport. The offence is obvious. The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr is a quote attributed to Muhammad. There is nothing sacred about the ink at The Herald Group.
Mr Llewellin’s decision was significant. The notion that the Herald can provide coverage “without fear or favour” has been called into question. The Herald threw two journalists under the bus and that decision will have consequences both in terms of reader trust and what vested interests now think they may be able to get away with.
Will anyone read the copy of Jack, Lindsay and Williams and accept it as objective reportage, or will their journalism be dismissed as a sop to the vested interests of Rangers Football Club? Chris Union Jack will not be affected by Mr Llewellin’s decision. He is effectively running a Rangers fanzine at The Evening Times. Most fanzines include editorials that question the ambition of the board at the club they follow. Mr Jack’s fanzine does not ask questions. He slavishly reproduces the positive spin of Je Suis Graham and Level 5. We expect more of the same from Mr Jack. He is a shoe-in for the ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ award for pro King copy
However Mr Lindsay and Mr Williams consider themselves as serious journalists, despite the “Engine-room Subsidiary” gaffe of the latter. Will either criticize the dearth of signings by Mark Warburton, and his failure to buy Allan, Diagouraga and O’Halloran? Or will they rhapsodise on the loan signing of King, whose last minute goal effectively secured automatic promotion for Rangers? I anticipate the latter.
Those who criticize the ruling junta at Rangers will be gagged more effectively than Ashley’s interdicts. We have now reverted to the era where James Traynor sent his copy to SDM and Craig Whyte for approval. We can but hope that Bella Caledonia, one of the standard bearers of the fifth estate, continues to flourish as Mr Llewellin expedites the demise of the fourth estate.