The National

I remember the excitement of the first issue of The National when it came out:

It was thin but it was a start. I put aside my knowledge that it was owned by the same people who owned The Herald, a paper that along with the Dundee Courier, and the BBC, broke me of my paper buying habit during the referendum due to their bias coverage and outright lies. WoS had shown me the light and my days of buying a paper had stopped, but along came The National.

I bought it everyday and was delighted when it got through its first so many weeks to demonstrate it had a future. It was a breath of fresh air, it represented something more in line with my views and was something for the YES side to hold on to. It wasn't perfect but it was something.

But like all papers, they are often behind the news, I found I was getting my news via the blogs and twitter and The National was playing catch up. I found that I didn't really enjoy many of the writers, I felt their was a holier than thou attitude in some and at times an idealism that was more of the posh left than of the people I spoke to around me, there was realism within yes supporters but not represented by the people writing the articles. The sport section was also pretty crap.

However, Lesley Riddoch was enlightening and explained things simply and well, I didn't feel I was being patronised by not knowing big words like I used to feel when reading anything by Brian Taylor. I liked Wee Ginger Dug, George Kenevan, but not so much the others.

But over time I stopped buying it everyday, I dropped to a couple of times a week and more often than not it sat in my bag unread. I felt that I still wanted to support it, it's all we have and better than nothing, but it all feels safe. It still leaves a bad taste that it's owned by the people who own The Herald, I still think some of the writers are full of their own importance and I never buy it when it has the Bella mag as I just don't like it at all. But as I said it is all we have.

However, I didn't buy one today, I had my newly subscribed iScot magazine to read, I was going to go get one but then went to the movies to see War of the Planet of the Apes and would read iScot when I got home.

This got me thinking, should I buy a paper that I rarely read, do I by purchasing one lend my support to people I don't agree with and whose views and opinions for me are professing support for Indy but trying to be so politically correct they might as well not be supporting yes at all as by being so nice, polite and politically correct they are playing the unionists game in that they are afraid to get down and dirty, unlike the unionists. The message they are trying to get across gets lost in all the politically correct language and niceties of not wanting to upset anyone. We want Independence but we shouldn't upset anyone, not say any harsh words, show respect to people who have none for us because we are better than them.

I'm not saying I want lies and abuse, I don't want The National to be the Mail, Herald, Express, Mirror or Sun. I do though want a bit of realism, yes we don't want to turn people away from yes by being as bad as the unionist but by being afraid to upset anyone we are playing the game they want us to play and we will achieve little.

I think The National is needed, I will buy it a couple of times a week even if I don't read anything other than the letters page. But for me to buy it everyday it needs to find its edge, it needs to move away from the middle and settle on a path, maybe too much to hope for. What do others think.



  1. weesandysays

    You think the National doesn’t tell Lies ? Are you serious ? Are you on medication ?
    WoS showed you the light ? Really ? You are aware that his Wee Blue Book of Lies was published in 2014 but used out of date 2012 Scot Gov financial data to con tens of thousands of Scots ? Are you even aware that when Financial data that’s 2 years out of date is totally irrelevant at the present time ? Clearly Deluded. No wonder Scotland is in such a mess.

    • Angry Weegie

      Are you serious? Are you on medication? Referencing a raving lunatic unionist blog as proof of anything puts you on the same level as those who believe the Express or the Mail print only the truth. Clearly deluded.

      • Anonymous


        There are good blogs out there but some are a bit weird on the unionist side. Scotland in Union is one, but there are others. Some folk though on both sides will never ever consider the others view, it’s a pity but it is what it is. My biggest gripe is that yes supporting media and blogs appear to have to prove everything where unionist media blogs appear to have to prove nothing. Britain in all its glory. If you like Twitter one to follow is Crimes of Britain. Well worth it.

        Thanks for commenting.


    • Anonymous


      Hi, where to start. The Wee Blue Book is fully referenced as far as I know but if you could tell me what figures you are referring to I will certainly have a wee skiffy. The National, so far, hasn’t been shown to print outright lies unlike the ones I have listed which have been subject to some study and have been found lying about a variety of things.

      WoS is a very important site, it points out the crap that unionist spout, is fully referenced and has never been successfully reputed. Wether you like or loath the editor is by the by, if you don’t agree with him then challenge him, prove where he is wrong. Many have tried and none have succeeded, you might not like him but I would argue that there are many on the unionist side that I personally can’t stand.

      You call me deluded but you have presented nothing by way of fact to point out where, rant and fact are two very different things. My blog is my opinion, I always do research on most of my blogs if using facts from other sources I keep the links.

      Thanks for commenting though even if your assertions appear misguided.


  2. Angry Weegie

    I think the paper originally had at least some of the “edge” but there seemed to be a change when Richard Walker stepped down as editor and Callum Baird took over. From that point, some of the columns slowly changed from thought-provoking to mindlessly critical. I don’t know if that came from direction from above or just acceptance of what they got, but I wasn’t impressed. I can already get mindless criticism in plenty of places, so it means I skip a fair number of of the columns and even don’t read every day.

    I took out an electronic subscription when it launched and still have one, though I did let it lapse for a few months last year, party because i was unconvinced by the paper’s direction, but partly because I didn’t get a reminder. Bad National? In the end, I decided that even with the current, fairly weak (I think), support for independence, we are better with it than without it, so I renewed.

  3. ic1809

    Bruce, you’re moving up in the blogging world. You’ve acquired your own unionist troll/ranter/cringer/whatever keen to get the first comment in. Congratulations!

    • Anonymous

      Badge of honour maybe. I don’t mind any comments as long as people don’t get abusive to each other.

      Thanks for commenting.


  4. Anonymous

    Angry Weegie

    Similar journey to my own. I agree it feels a lot softer on independence now than it did. It actually feels posh left and more Scottish Labour to myself these days but it is all we have so I will pick up a copy when in the mood but it’s not a must like it was at the start.

    A lot of the writers I just don’t read anymore as their agenda feels more about them than what is important and that being the yes vote. We have allowed the unionists to get us to the point where we have to explain everything, we are too afraid to be brutal in our assertions without being accused of being abusive even when we are not. The yes movement on the whole is an example to be followed but we are the devil incarnate according to the unionists who sell arms to states that kill people for loving someone from the same gender, and we are the ones on medication. You can’t write it.

    The National though needs to change or it may run out of steam.

    Thanks for commenting.


  5. Ian MacDonald

    I remember those early days fondly – I’ve kept the first 5 editions. I still buy it every day, though sometimes I don’t read much (in part because all the attention-grabbing pieces seem to be posted paywall-free via twitter).

    It’s a decent wee paper, in my view. Keeps itself to facts not spin and reports important statements when there is substance behind them. As for opinion, like you, I now simply skip most of the columnists who are fairly predictable in angle on any topic, whether I agree with them or not. I do read the writers you like, and Greg Moodie’s strip makes me laugh. Neil Slorance’s only take a microsecond to look at, but some time really nails something others have missed.

    I’d say there are many more commentators and guest writers I will always read – to see what they have to say, such as Gordon Macintyre-Kemp, Patrick Harvie and Richard Murphy.

    The Scottish cultural, sports, historical and environmental content is refreshingly Scottish, without a hint of cringe. You won’t get in-depth coverage of the English premiership, or even than much Scottish men’s football, but for me that’s a plus. I like that there is a shinty column written by someone who gets the competitive shinty scene, and I love the weekly Gaelic and Scots columns which aren’t stuffy like in most other papers that have them. Also, I have learnt a great deal about Scottish history and heritage in some depth, most of which I was amazed I didn’t know.

    And I like that the National presents the European picture up front and in a normal way as if people might be interested in the view from the EU. I’d still like to see more world news than the vignettes that appear, but there’s always twitter for that.

    In short, I’ll keep buying it because I enjoy reading it.

    However, a bigger point than any of that is that I’d continue to support it with my cash even if I didn’t read it any more. Why? Because the *only* honest headlines that you will see on the news stands every day are those on the National’s front page. They are almost always visually striking, and must annoy the unionists no end, as it breaks their monopoly stranglehold on this important potted medium.

  6. Lanark

    I still buy it two or three times a week. We need all the pro indy voices we can. Lesley Riddoch, WGD and Greg Moodie are always worth reading.

    I haven’t read it yet, but I will be subscribing to iScot.

    I followed the link above, if you haven’t already then don’t, Willie Rennie makes more sense.

    • Anonymous

      A very fair review overall. It’s probably the columnists that disappoint the most for me as I am not always sure of the agenda and sometimes it feels soft indy and posh left to me. I appreciate that some people feel that we have to be nice and polite all the time to convince soft no’s but to be honest if that is all that is stopping them voting yes then they never will, all they have to do is look around them at the state of the UK and how Scotland, it’s last colony, has been treated over the years and continues to be treated today. I think I would like to see more writers who are very pro yes and unapologetic about it, a harder line on calling people out and a clearer yes position in some ways, but I would like to see that of the SNP also. The SNP play the centre too much and sit on the fence too often. Nicola Sturgeon is amazing at times, but the National is like Nicola, playing it safe too often when we need a bit more Alex Salmond and a huge part of me wishes he was still leader as his style is more suited to the fight in my opinion.

      Thanks for commenting.


    • Anonymous


      Lesley Riddoch would be my choice to lead the next campaign as she is excellent and explains things very simply and to the point. I will keep getting the paper a couple of times a week but it would need to get a harder line for me to get back to the daily purchase. The iScot is an excellent magazine, I have been getting it for a while but it was always a chore to try and find one in the shops in Dundee, I had to drive around so bit the bullet and subscribed as I enjoy it a lot and will just have to pay for postage which I wanted to avoid, I try to not use mail at all now. I prefer the hard copy rather than digital though as I can take it around with me and also give it away to try and encourage others to buy it. Yeah I had a look at the link, even worse than my blog and just clutching at straws, but most unionist blogs do, like the unionist media.

      Thanks for commenting.


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