WHEN word got out late last year that a “Unionist cabal” of newspaper letter-writers were co-ordinating their efforts to spread anti-indy sentiment, there was plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth. “Conspiracy!” called some. “Outrage!” howled others.
Many marvelled at the amount of work these keyboard warriors were putting in – not just churning out letters but also creating spreadsheets to keep track of how many had been published – while mocking their cack-handed attempts to stay under the radar.
But was there any need for such a cloak-and-dagger approach to begin with? Was it really necessary for these scribblers to formally co-ordinate their efforts, or are most newspapers only too delighted to print anti-SNP or anti-independence missives?
Amidst all of the sound and fury, one important point seemed to be overlooked: letters editors can only publish letters they receive. If Unionist-leaning papers publish more letters from Unionists, it might just be the case that independence supporters aren’t writing to them in anything like the same numbers, or indeed have been boycotting them altogether for years.
Thus begins a vicious cycle, where it is assumed different views won’t be welcome…
Read the rest of this column at thenational.scot…
Published in The National on February 2 2018.