by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Is it any wonder some of us are feeling the need to make rants on social media? The relentless drivel that passes for news reporting continues unabated, with the politicians spouting lies and the media faithfully repeating them without challenge.

Deflection is all very well, but the torrent of misleading and contradictory statements emanating from Westminster seems to be growing by the day.

Ireland is the latest aspect of Brexit to attract the ire of the Brexiteers. Anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention knew months ago that the Irish Border and the Good Friday Agreement were highly contentious issues, yet it only seems to have come to the attention of the Anglo-centric Brexiteers in the past week or so. Their response? To blame the Irish, naturally. Nothing is the fault of the UK, and it is those nasty foreigners who are culpable. The Irish, safe in the knowledge that they have the backing of the EU, are digging in their heels, while UK politicians shout all sorts of nonsense which ranges from telling Ireland to quit the EU because it’s such a great idea, to making threats if the Irish don’t capitulate to Britain’s demands.

But the Blame Game doesn’t stop there. It seems the Scottish Government is to blame for the fact that some regions in the Highlands have the slowest broadband speeds in the UK. The fact that broadband is a matter reserved to Westminster simply doesn’t seem to feature in any news reporting of the accusations which are repeated unchallenged.

What I have never been able to get a satisfactory answer to is how, if broadband is reserved, the Scottish Government nevertheless managed to fund further rollouts which actually makes Scotland’s progress in broadband distribution better than anywhere else in the UK. I’m not objecting, simply curious. If it is not a devolved matter, how come the SG was able to up the rollout?

Whatever the answer, the fact that Scotland’s broadband is improving so rapidly is down to the Scottish Government, not to Westminster. 95% of homes and businesses should have access to super-fast broadband by the end of 2017, with 2021 being the target for 100% coverage. Given the difficulties of terrain in some areas of Scotland, that’s not a bad track record. Yet to listen to the media, you’d think Scotland was a digital backwater. That’s because the Tories say it is, so it must be true, mustn’t it?

Not that Labour are any better. After Jeremy Corbyn’s series of gaffes on Scotland earlier this year, new Scottish Branch Office manager, Richard Leonard (#Dick), went on BBC Radio to demand that Scottish Water be taken back into public ownership. The reasons for the BBC not pointing out to him that Scottish Water has always been in public ownership will no doubt remain one of those mysteries we can but wonder at.

It is always possible that Richard Leonard really is as inept as his first week’s statements suggest. He seems to have very little grasp of which matters are devolved, having criticised the Scottish Government for their lack of actions on Pensions, having asked who controls Scotland’s economy and then appearing not to know that Scottish Water is not a private Company.

The other alternative is that he knows all these things perfectly well and is simply adopting Colonel Davidson’s tactic of telling blatant lies because he knows the media will report his comments without alerting the public to the mistruths.

The trouble is that this combination of mendacious politicians and complicit media has worked so well so far that there is no reason to believe enough members of the public will realise the truth.