sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

Karine Polwart statement

Posted on February 17, 2013 by

Karine Polwart is a Scottish folk singer and Green Party supporter. Earlier today we highlighted a curious editorial choice by Scotland On Sunday, which framed a column she’d written on independence as an attack on the SNP, despite Ms Polwart not mentioning the SNP anywhere in the text, either directly or indirectly.

Below is the text of a post on her Facebook page this morning, after SoS deputy editor Kenny Farquharson tried unsuccessfully to defend the use of the anti-SNP headline:

“Full text of my wee rant in favour of Yes Scotland in today’s Scotland on Sunday. For clarity, the title is not mine. If I’d wanted to frame my piece as an explicit go at the SNP then I would’ve done so.

YES Scotland is not a covert SNP operation. I believe the independents, Greens, socialists, and growing number of pro-Indy Labour and Liberal activists bless if there are any of the latter left) must shape that agenda too. Anyway, here’s to more voices being heard, and more proper heartfelt and visionary exchange between us about what’s WRONG, and why, and what might fix it (whether you think Independence is a possible answer or not).”

(Two small typos fixed for readability, otherwise unchanged. Original here.)




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24 to “Karine Polwart statement”

  1. Bill C says:

    Is it any wonder SoS and the Hootsman are going down the Suwannee?  This sort of distorted journailsm cannot be allowed to continue.  I applaud Karine’s actions in setting the record straight.


  2. muttley79 says:

    Kenny Farquarson trying his best there, but unfortunately for him when you are a deputy editor of a Sunday newspaper, and it carries a headline about a political party, and said party is not mentioned at all in the article, then it looks more than suspicious.  Particularly after last weeks fiasco about attempting to blame Lockhead.  Must do better Kenny F… 


  3. Vronsky says:

    O/T, but the Rev might want to investigate.  I paid a weekend visit to Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott.  The house is undergoing a major refurbishment, including a new visitor centre.  The audio feature at this centre seemed rather inappropriate – a dialogue between a sneering male voice imputing various low motives and mores to Scott, a female voice replying with a series of ‘oh no, not reallys’ . 
    The male voice also suggested that Scott would have had ‘a few choice words for the Scottish Nationalists of today’.  A wall panel claimed that Scott’s work contained a subtext in favour of the peaceful Union with England.  Scott certainly wanted an end to violence, but he vigourously opposed the Union (‘the odious surrender of independence’ as he called it) so this is either crass ignorance or deliberate misrepresentation.  Isn’t the Abbostford Trust a charity and as such, shouldn’t they refrain from political comment (especially a year ahead of a referendum)?  And oughtn’t  they to know something about Scott?
    Perhaps I’m too sensitive but if any reader lives near enough to Abbostford to drop by I’d be interested in their impressions.


  4. R Louis says:

    If matters are as you understand them at Abbotsford, then indeed, this is something which needs looked at, at the very least by the charities commission.  I am tired of frankly idiotic attempts to re-write Scottish history and culture through union jack tinted spectacles.  If the place has excerpts to push a particular pro unionist narrative, then it is at the very least disgraceful, but also absurd given Scott’s writings.
    No doubt by 2014, we will be told King Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace favoured the union as well, despite it coming several hundred years after the kings death and Wallace’s cold blooded brutal disemboweling at the hands of the English – but then again the truth doesn’t seem to matter when pushing a pro britannia agenda.
    As regards the ever declining standards at the laughingly titled ‘Scotsman’ publication, as evidenced through the crass headline manipulation of the above article, one can only wonder when it will truly reach the bottom.  For any ‘journalist’ to try to defend such a headline, given the theme and content of the article, is bizarre.  I mean seriously, the article doesn’t freaking well mention the SNP once, yet the chumps (‘professional Scottish mainstream journalists’) saw fit to write a headline about the SNP.  I must say, I think any right minded person might easily conclude, they are either remarkably stupid, or they have a very overt political agenda. 


  5. BeamMeUpScotty says:

    I think the owners of these Media titles will keep them until the anti Scottish propaganda is no longer required (post 2014) and then dump them.Hopefully,cost them a pretty penny for no return.


  6. CameronB says:

    Just read Kenny’s tweet getting shot down in flames. And his response, “exactly”, was that of a six year old.  How much does that numpty get paid?
    @ Vronsky
    Well spotted. Below is a list of the Abbotsford Trust Trustees. Does anyone have an idea as to their political leaning?
    Lord Sanderson of Bowden (Chairman)
    Sir Eric Anderson
    George Dalgleish
    Andrew Douglas-Home
    James Holloway
    Richard Keen Q.C.
    Lucy Maxwell-Scott
    Liz McIntyre
    Joe Scott Plummer
    John Scott
    Tony Taylor
    John Wright


  7. thejourneyman says:

    How ironic that when you read this piece you could replace SNP in the headline with either UKIP or “The no campaign” and it would make a modicum of sense. It goes someway to reassuring me what a good decision I made some time ago to stop buying this poor excuse for part of the free, fair and balanced press!!


  8. I worked at the SoS, on and off, for many years and still have friends there. That its policies have sunk to such depths as turning Sarwar’s latest ramble into a tax-hammer to beat the SNP with is very sad, so to is this deliberate misrepresentation. I worked with Kenny Farquharson for much of the time I was there and he was always reasonable and friendly. I can’t condone in any way his work today, however perhaps we ought to be attacking that work and the stance of the paper, not him personally. The ball and not the man, so to speak. I’m happy to be corrected.


  9. Andrew Parrott says:

    Is not Lord Sanderson the gentleman who was entrusted with making proposals to re-invigorate the Tory party in Scotland? I would have thought Andrew Douglas-Home might be related to the Tory Prime Minister of that name who in his autobiography (The Way The Wind Blows 1976) talks of making recommendations on Scottish devolution for Mr Heath and says “All our proposals were subject to the overriding economic and political interest of Scotland that the United Kingdom should remain intact. That is the sine qua non of any sensible plan of devolved powers; and any Scotsman who ignores that has forgotten which way his bread is buttered.”
    I think we’ve moved on somewhat!


  10. Boorach says:

    Methinks I like this young lady’s attitude, more strength to her elbow. Think I’ll have. A look in iTunes as a quid pro quo!


  11. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Apart from being a bunch of deceiptful wankers, they’re no’ very bright.
    One of the messages it relays is you don’t have to be an SNP supporter to support Independence.    


  12. Macsenex says:

    I would have thought this would have been right up Joan Macalpine’s street as a Borders’ MSP.


  13. Seanair says:

    Re declining Scotsman circulation, I note that Wikipedia claims “November 2012 audited print circulation of 28,500 (this includes approx. the 10 per cent that are free copies provided to hotels etc.), down from 35,949 in 2012 (Jan. to August average) and 42,581 in AUgust 2011”.
    If correct these figures are horrendous for JP—you would think they would take the hint!


  14. Jiggsbro says:

    I can’t condone in any way his work today, however perhaps we ought to be attacking that work and the stance of the paper, not him personally. The ball and not the man, so to speak.
    If the issue is that the man has chosen to switch balls to gain a better lie, then perhaps the man needs to have his card marked.


  15. JLT says:

    A wall panel claimed that Scott’s work contained a subtext in favour of the peaceful Union with England. 
    In Scott’s time, Scotland did want to harbour closer ties with England, the two nations were probably never closer in history at any time.
    However …that was 200 years ago. This is Scotland now, and there has not been such a groundswell of national feeling since the Wars of Independence. The two nations have never been so divided, probably since the 1600’s.
    And who knows…as to what Scotland will be like again in 200 years time. Maybe, we will have created a Union with Norway, while England may have grown closer to her old nemesis, France.
    The borders of Europe have always shifted; politically as well as geographically. The only surprising things is that the borders have remained fixed in Western Europe for over 70 years now. And when things jam for that long, in such a shifting area, well …the seismic earthquake may not be far away as we see the beginnings of the smaller nations to appear as soverign states; Scotland, Catalonia, Wallonia, Flanders, Basque Country, Corsica, Venice.
    Who knows….


  16. Vronksy says:

    “In Scott’s time, Scotland did want to harbour closer ties with England, the two nations were probably never closer in history at any time.”
    Ah – then that would explain the rioting in the streets when the Treaty was signed, and other incidents like the burning of the Articles of Union at the Midsteeple in Dumfries.  Be that as it may, the issue is not public opinion in general but specifically Scott’s opinion.  Read the Letters of Malachi Malagrowther, where his detestation and indeed fear of the Union could not be more trenchantly stated.  It’s quite fair to say that he was tired of cross-border violence and hoped the Union would see an end to it, but that was just weary pragmatism – it’s clear where his heart lay.


  17. Vronsky says:

    Hmmm – thought you didn’t moderate? 


  18. the rough bounds says:

    The Rev. is looking for £30,000 to get this show on the road.
    Coincidentally, the Scotsman’s sales figure is, we are told, of approximately the same number.
    Wouldn’t it be great if we could reach the Rev.’s £30,000 just as the Scotsman’s readership shrinks away to zero?
    The people that work for the Scotsman may not ultimately really mind getting the heave ho. Walking out of that place for the last time may just be the sort of thing to help get their minds clear and their consciences clean.
    ‘Fly with the crows; get shot with the crows.’


  19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Hmmm – thought you didn’t moderate?”

    I don’t. No idea why Akismet took exception to that.


  20. clochoderic says:

     Got a leaflet through the door from Labour for Independence today. It would seem that some in SLAB have realised that this is an existential event and they have got one final chance to get it right.
     As my constituency is SLAB heartland – they keep voting for the odious blairite expenses thief Wee Doogie Alexander – i regard this as pretty significant. So when will the press in Scotland start to show some interest in this growing trend?


  21. kininvie says:

    On the SoS: That’s very sloppy. From the person who initially wrote the headline to the final signing off of the page, at least three people ought to have checked through that article. It’s a first lesson in any subbing course that the headline  tells you what the piece is about – not what it is not about. I think this says something depressing about the SoS – that they don’t give a stuff about keeping to professional standards.
    On Sir Walter: He’s a great novelist IMO, precisely because of the conflict between head and heart. Better than any writer since, he dug into the mind of the fanatical adherent to the lost cause. In his head, he was a unionist because he thought that the best way forward. But he could never have written Waverely, Redgauntlet or Old Mortality without a deep sympathy for those who were never prepared to give up. If he were alive today, I think he would support Better Together in public – but in the ballot he would vote Yes, and curse himself for a fool in doing so….


  22. Barontorc says:

    C’mon Kininvie, if Scott had a modicum of sense and grasp of equality in terms of Scotland within this blighted Union, which I have no doubt he had in spades, there’s simply no way he would further endorse it by regretting a YES vote.
    I am dumbfounded that there are apparently thinking voters, still clinging to a UK idealism via the totally rubbished Labour movement, or the monstrously insensitive Tories. The UK is a well spent and broken force. It’s economic capability is a festering sore that will never be in the black ever again. It has a dynamic of self-seeking people running it into the ground and no guys in white hats are coming to the rescue.
    Scotland and the people who live and work here have a once in a lifetime opportunity of reaching beyond the lunacy that is infesting the UK establishment circus by declaring for Scotland’s independent future. They must, simply must grab it with both hands.


  23. Craig P says:

    Walter Scott was a unionist. He loved Scotland, but the British establishment was too powerful. It had put down the Jacobites, defeated Napoleon, swallowed Ireland, and was busy exploiting a quarter of the globe. Scott thought his country should ride the tiger, not confront it. And who is to say, 200 years ago, he was wrong?
    The British establishment today though has nothing of advantage for the Scot, and has been weakening ever since 1945. We do not need today someone of Scott’s genius to reconcile Scotland to the empire, because there no longer is an empire. 


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