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London media figures can’t stop talking rubbish about Scottish politics

DESPITE the inevitable drama of an election weekend, the events of the past few days haven’t really told us much we didn’t already know.

Scotland has a democratic mandate for indyref2; Neither Douglas Ross nor Anas Sarwar will be first minister any time soon; and Scotland is a very, very different country to England.

One thing that was revealed, however, was just how little London media figures know about Scottish politics.

Time and time again over the weekend, the Westminster commentariat lined up to give us their hot takes on the Holyrood election.

Time and time again they’ve been told to keep their half-baked opinions to themselves, but they just don’t learn.

READ MORE: Six terrible London media takes on the Scottish election – and three that are spot on

Two shining examples were provided by Times columnist Iain Martin and Independent chief political commentator John Rentoul.

Martin claimed that a second referendum would be impossible without an SNP majority, even if Scots elected a pro-Yes majority in the form of the SNP and Greens.

Previewing the vote, he tweeted: “Huge day – if the SNP gets an overall majority, hard to resist referendum call post-pandemic. If they fail and fall short there won’t be one.” Wrong.

As predicted, the SNP and Greens comfortably won a combined majority, the former party just one seat short of an overall majority in a system designed to prevent such results. Not half bad.

But Martin was far from impressed and resorted to denying the simple fact that the SNP won the election.

He added: “Beeb (that the Nats want to shut) at 10pm opens with Nat ‘triumph’. They didn’t get an overall majority. They haven’t made any progress. Why on earth does the BBC management allow this rubbish?”

Rubbish indeed.

SNP president Michael Russell replied: “Tension is showing amongst the ultra unionists. First casualty is truth…”

MSP Kevin Stewart put it more succinctly: “Weesht min!”

READ MORE: Gerry Hassan: How UK media’s failure to reflect on nature of Union endangers it

Rentoul, meanwhile, managed to piss off Scotland’s other major pro-independence party.

Posting the results of the Holyrood election, showing the Greens gaining two seats, he wrote: “Scottish Greens have defied the law that junior partners in government lose out.”

Fascinating analysis. There’s just one hitch.

Political academic and writer Rory Scothorne replied: “They’ve never been in government! Stop posting about Scotland!”

Journalist Peter Geoghegan added: “I don’t understand why people don’t delete erroneous tweets, especially people with lots of followers. Yesterday, I pretty egregiously misinterpreted a tweet, then when I realised I deleted it and apologised. It’s really not that hard to do.”

But alas the tweet is still there, a seemingly permanent reminder that Westminster and Holyrood are truly different worlds.



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