When A Variety Of Voices Tell The Stories That Matter It Really Is A Cause For Celebration ( My Review Of The National On Its First Birthday )

  Hey everyone  I am sure you will not be too surprised to know that I spent much of  yesterday reading the first birthday edition of my favourite newspaper.  Yes I know it’s hard to believe but is really is a year since the first copies of a new newspaper went on sale to the people of Scotland.

It was a bold new venture which was mocked by many in the mainstream media who boldly forecast that this pro Independence paper would sink without trace as would support for what they scathingly called separation. It was in to this climate of hostility that the new paper to be named The National was born.

With trust in the printed media at an all time low due in no small part to their disastrous  one sided backing of the better together campaign a voice for those who supported  independence was badly needed as of all the 37 papers in Scotland only the Sunday Herald had supported a yes vote so there was no daily outlet where yes supporters could counteract the messages of impending doom coming from unionist headquarters This was needed for two important reasons

(1) To give a sense of balance to the debate
(2) To provide news to a generation of older and/or poorer Scots

This was important because many in these demographic groups may not have access to the internet and therefore were vulnerable to believing that if they had read something in the Daily Record, the Daily Mail or heard it reported on the BBC that it must in fact be true despite evidence to the contrary.

It was therefore critical that in the aftermath of the no vote which by the way was secured by a far smaller margin than many unionists had been predicting that those who voted yes would not have our opinions so easily dismissed and so The National hit the streets of Scotland. 

In the first few weeks there were and it has to said a few problems with distribution and some so-called big supermarkets refused to stock what they saw to be an anti establishment newspaper in the vain and deluded hope that if they didn’t sell it the demand for it would die out and we would go obediently back in the box marked colony and read those quality unionist tabloids that there ministry of truth had so kindly printed for us for so many years.

This and it has to be said was a grave tactical error on the part of the outlets concerned as some of them have went on to find out to their cost recording their lowest profits in decades. It was also the answer to The National’s prayers as simply made a ready and willing readership even more determined to get our hands on a copy of the paper that so proudly supported our cause. 

Right from the start the paper faced criticism that it would be no more than the printed mouthpiece of the Scottish National Party. This criticism which usually came from more unhinged sections of unionist society was both vicious and vacuous and most of all without foundation. If there is one thing The National has put to bed it is that favourite unionist myth that Independence is all about the SNP as no-one else wants it. 

This to be honest has always been contemptuous garbage. There are many people known to this blogger who voted yes last September and will do so again when the opportunity arises who have never and will never vote SNP and I am proud that The National reflects the full range of diverse opinions which made up our vibrant campaign in which I like so many others played my part.

It is this diversity which is the strength of The National. Indeed one only needs to look through its columnists to see the wide variety of views on offer. Contrast this with the Labour and Tory echo chambers that are the unionist  print media.  Yes folks it’s The National who offer the wide range of opinions you won’t find in the mainstream media. s  From SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheik to socialists such as Carolyn Leckie,  and the brilliantly talented Cat Boyd,  From the vision of a more economically and socially sustainable Scotland presented so eloquently articulated by  Green Party co convenor Patrick Harvie  to the practical business case for Independence from Business for Scotland’s Gordon MacIntyre Kemp The National doesn’t present one case for Independence it presents a variety of cases in support of why our country should govern itself. This is why the unionists were desperate to see it fail and why I knew it wouldn’t.

Another reason for its success is the fact that those involved in the yes campaign were only too aware of the importance of social media in gaining and maintaining support for independence. The new venture was quick to acknowledge this and employed the services albeit for a short time of the woman who inspired me to take up blogging the brilliant Kate Higgins of BurdzEyeView satirical cartoonist Greg Moodie and  the rising star of the Common Space digital media Michael Gray whose weekly columns have become a must read for me as have the weekly musings of the man who gave me my first ever guest post Paul Kavangh at the Wee Ginger Dug and the man who is arguably the most supportive parody account to be found anywhere I refer of course to Angry Salmond whose quest for sexy socialism gathers more fans by the week.

I am also proud to say that The National has right from the first edition been a strong and consistent campaigning voice for those  in support of gender equality,  and land reform, against issues which it and its readership believe would be detrimental to both the people and environment of our nation

This innovative newspaper is not only a voice for Scotland in Scotland it is also international in its outlook with regard to global affairs and over the course of the last year I have been very. Impressed by the coverage of issues such as the independence referendum in Catalonia, The recent tragedy of  the bombings in Paris,  The  Greek debt crisis and of course the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The mark of this coverage has been top quality journalism rather  than the cheap headlines of some of its so called rivals.

Of course me  being me I couldn’t and indeed wouldn’t end without saying something on sport. Just as in most areas The National does it differently. Though it does  report on football  it is not obsessed with what I call the old traditional rivalries and has actually given a greater degree of  coverage to the women’s game than any other paper in Britain. Also, as a lifelong Rugby fan I have to admit I was very impressed by the reporting on the recent world cup in New Zealand.

So there you have my take on the first year of what is now my favourite daily newspaper and I think it is fair to say that the paper they said would never last has cause for celebration as a variety of voices tell the stories that matter.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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