Talking Point with Gazette chief reporter Ron Harris

Recovery? Ron needs a recovery remedy amidst all the London Meedja talk about the economy!
Recovery? Ron needs a recovery remedy amidst all the London Meedja talk about the economy!

Oor Ron gives the London Meedja both barrels

A FEW years back ah saw a cartoon in a magazine which, at the time, made me laugh oot loud but which is getting less and less funny as time goes oan.

It depicted an auld man wae his granddaughter, strolling through the open grassy fields o’ the countryside wae him commenting tae her: “I remember this when it was all still High Street shops...”

As they say, mony a true word is said in jest and whit was wance a joke might soon become a reality.

Ah see that Scottish high street shops enjoyed four per cent less o’ oor custom in February this year than they did in the same month o’ 2013 and this at a time we’re being telt daily that, not only is Britain oan the road tae recovery, we’ve already entered a new Golden Age o’ mass prosperity.

Oh aye, there’s noo jobs for all and wage pokes that wid gie ye a hernia should you try tae carry them hame withoot the aid o’ a wheelbarrow.

Efter all, is there no’ the evidence o’ rocketing hoose prices and the fact that the luxury car makers like Rolls Royce are churnin’ oot and flogging their motors as quickly as they can fit the champagne chillers and solid-gold ashtrays fur the Havana cigars tae them?

Yes, it’s official: Happy Days Are Here Again. Mince.

Noo, dinnae take this as yet another wan o’ mah whingeing Jock statements because just aboot everywan north o’ the Watford Gap will tell ye the same: this is largely a London recovery, NOT a British wan.

Ah betcha there are mony a neglected corner o’ even yon great capital city oan the Thames where the ‘recovery’ has passed ower the heids o’ the poor sowls existing there oan the minimum wage in a place whaur the price o’ a single cup o’ coffee was probably the equal o’ a whole week’s takings at Joe’s auld cafe at Lanark Cross twenty years back.

So, let’s look at WHO’S telling us that everything is hunky-dory again.

No’ somewan who’s recently daunnered doon Lanark or Carluke High Streets and seen the vacant or soon-tae-be vacant shops.

No’ somewan who has had tae grasp the lifeline held oot by the likes o’ yon wonderfu’ New Beginnings crew who run oor food banks.

Naw; it’s primarily the London Meedja – the Beeb in particular – who have willingly fallen for the National Recovery myth, based simply oan the fact they live and work in yon wee bubble o’ weelbeing, a land o’ sae much milk and honey, they’re in danger o’ droonin’ in it.

Ah’m sorry tae be greetin’-faced aboot all this but as a local, non-London hack, ah’ve got tae tell it like ah see it.

In mah game, ah’ve foond there’s a fine line between ‘positive’ reporting and telling d..n lies for the benefit o’ politicians and only last month a local wan seriously suggested tae me that the Gazzy should concentrate oan “good news stories”.

Ah now apologise for mah hot-heided reply that the last time newspapers followed yon kinda sage advice frae polticians was in Germany between 1933 and 1945.

Onyway, there have been less sinister and weel-meaning attempts before tae inflict a ‘positive spin’ oan the press; this threw up a memorable heidline in wan Yank newspaper which decided tae adopt a policy o’ putting the best gloss oan everything it reported: ‘Ferry Sinks; Not Many Drowned.’

Now, that’s just weird.

And while we’re oan the subject o’ mah American colleagues, ah was taught journalism at an Edinburgh college by a political refugee frae Across the Pond, a man who had so staunchly refused tae report the ‘party line’ that he had tae come tae Bonnie Scotland tae find work.

Ah’ll never forget his parting words tae us mob o’ newly-qualified hacks: “Remember folks: the greatest achievement of any journalist is to be put up against a wall and shot. By his OWN government.”