I think the elephant in the room is the media.  That’s the “x” factor in why spin wins out over substance and integrity. We, the electorate, aren’t respected as people, (nevermind sovereign people), we are the “consumers” to be offered product we’ve been indoctrinated and hoodwinked into wanting. And yes, we get fleeced when weContinue reading "BREEKS AND THE MEDIA"

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I think the elephant in the room is the media. 

That’s the “x” factor in why spin wins out over substance and integrity.

We, the electorate, aren’t respected as people, (nevermind sovereign people), we are the “consumers” to be offered product we’ve been indoctrinated and hoodwinked into wanting. And yes, we get fleeced when we succumb and make the purchase.

You doubt that? Look at the media, subtly sowing the desire, indeed the imperative, for people to be “on the property” ladder. 

Count the number of property related programs on TV; whether it’s tarting a place up with the trash from the DIY superstores, looking for the “des-res” all over the country, abroad or in the sun, doing up the old castle, or green field new builds for their cringeworthy architectural “merit”. Property, property, property…

Even the programs like Bargain Hunt, or Cash in the Attic, or whathisface, Drew Pritchard; it all “feeds” on people downsizing, moving to new places, and the old “stuff” not suiting the new house. And of course, “everybody” has an attic to rummage through, or at least the “successful” people do.

So yeah, people are “groomed” to have a deeply embedded lust to own property; any property. It doesn’t matter if it’s built out of paper and matchsticks, or you can’t open the car doors inside the garage. It’s all about the gimmick; that instant impression. 

I’m not talking about subliminal images, but next time any of these property “shows” are on the TV, showing you around this lovely property, try count how many seconds the pretty image is actually on the screen. You don’t get time to “really” look, all that your brain has time to compile is a superficial first impression. The rest is left to your imagination.

It doesn’t need to be like that. The media companies could make any number of fascinating programs on property and decor, getting beneath the skin of a property and educating people about style, craftsmanship and good practice. The UK, including Scotland has some of the finest stone property on the planet, but “quality” is the heresy of Neoliberalism. The powers that be don’t want the people knowledgeable about property, they just need us drooling at the prospect of owning some. And if we’re too dumb to know the good from the bad, so much the better.

Creating that insatiable desire to be a property owner, is only part of the equation however; because the other factor is starving the market of available property to drive up prices to ludicrous excess. When we are conditioned by aspiration to want what we cannot get, we are literally primed and ready to be fleeced, harvested like sheep, bred and domesticated to be docile and drained of curiosity and ambition as all the money which should properly be lubricating local commerce in our communities is syphoned out our communities by mortgages, taxes, interest and commission. And we’re talking billions.

Thatcher’s “worst” was what she did to Scotland’s heavy industry and manufacturing, but a close contender for worst, was the right to buy, and turning social housing into a commodity people thought they had to “own”. The UK property market is now a Ponzi scheme with grossly, grossly inflated property values totally divorced from the property’s fabric and substance. 

People “darn sarf “ became millionaires because they bought property in the 50’s and 60’s and then did nothing with nor to the property, except live in them. And that rags to riches tale is the illusion people are sold; but the illusion that doesn’t mention how much money the mortgage company makes from your desire. 

Our Nation, indeed most of our planet is infected with a Neoliberal greed which mutates value into cost, dispenses with quality and workmanship as design criteria, and often manipulates supply and marketing to drive up demand artificially, and the Media is an essential component of the “heist”.

That reassuring “built to last” robustness and quality you learned to trust as a child? Clyde built? Sheffield Steel? Scotland’s stone tenements? That’s what Neoliberal values have taken from us, especially in our property and heavy industries. Now you’re given the “choice” of banal, homogenous crap with a ludicrous price tag yet no “intrinsic” value, and a dread in your soul if you’re doomed to being left behind and stigmatised if you don’t have a foot on the property ladder. 

I don’t know how to make it happen, but in my bones, I believe “perhaps” Scotland can resolve it’s rural housing problems, shore up what’s left of it’s rural communities, and opt out of the UK Property Ponzi scheme by standing up for “traditional” merits of durability, quality and craftsmanship in truly social housing for the people to live in, in comfort and security, without paying a kings ransom to some Corporate Mortgage broker. 

And if we can do it with our housing, we can do it with our industry. 

Neoliberalism would not have thrived in Scotland had it not been for the Union. Scotland had the “common good” philosophy as a defining feature of it’s Constitution, and I believe it was Scotland’s philosophy which saw the Scottish Enlightenment recognised. That is the Scotland we need to resurrect. 

I must confess, I’m not sure we are ready. Ready for Independence,? Yes, yes, dear God yes, I’d seize it in a heartbeat, but ready to refurbish our Nation into the Nation it might have become if never caged in Union? Not sure. A hae ma doots.

An that, leads me to my last wee point. I’m not condemning Richard Murphy or Tim Rideout’s strategy for a Scottish Currency, it certainly makes a lot more sense to me that the Growth Commission, but I have a gnawing doubt about Scotland “seceding” from the UK and a Union Scotland “leaves” rather than ends. 

I have a dread in me that warns me Scotland’s “secession” from the UK is not correct in terms of Constitutional procedure. The correct procedure will require the Union dissolved into the two, constitutional equals which created the Union. I’m not say Messers Murphy and Rideout are wrong, but I would like to see them address the issue of Scotland inheriting a per capita share of UK debt.

Yes, a debt free Scotland sounds great, but I worry that “secession” will not return to us the Auld Scotland that was built upon the solid foundations of popular sovereignty and common good, “fundamentals” that pre-date Neoliberal beliefs. That’s the Scotland I want, a resurrection, continuity, not an ersatz copy version which makes expedient accommodations with modernity. I’m not sure that Scottish philosophy of Common Good make it into the final draft of our Constitution if that’s the path we choose.

I want to see Scotland “different”, as it was different in the 14th Century, and having a second Scottish Enlightenment which is putting the skids under the cultural dead end of global Neoliberalism. I want Scotland to be the pioneer of something better, with a thousand years of resonance and a tradition of breaking the mould… 

Scotland’s “Golden Age” is not behind us, it has yet to come. The 1707 Union tragically altered Scotland’s trajectory, but that pre-Union trajectory was a good and wholesome thing… for the Common Good.


One of the things I like about Breeks writing is the realisation that he is not a disciple of conformity but is happy to take a subject from another angle and then back it up with some cogent argument. He does that here for all our benefit.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland


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