Like most Scottish young people my journey into politics started with a simple question. Should Scotland be an independent nation? When presented with this at age 15, I said well of course it should. Sad irony however, dictated that I’d been born a few months late for voting age and be one of the only ones in my friend group to support independence. They spat out the classic unionist lines of how we are supposed to support ourselves economically. What about EU membership?
Fast forward to now and obviously a lot has changed since 2014; Brexit has an end date, Trump is about to end his first term in the Whitehouse and oh yeah, more Tory rule despite Scotland voting SNP – again. So, I do sometimes wonder how my high school pals are feeling about it all now? I also have noticed a big change in my personal values and political stance.
I have noticed myself becoming more open to the idea of decriminalising drugs, sex work etc. I also feel much more aware of how easily the Mainstream media is comfortable with feeding us “poverty porn”. Which makes it easier for the middle-class sheep to let Tories cut benefits to the disabled with scoffs of “well, not all of them deserve it”. The irony of saying this sitting on sofa worth £1000s under a ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ sign.
I also went to college to study journalism and I really felt the practical element of the lessons. I loved it. I really felt engaged with the subjects and learned a lot.
One thing that stuck with me was the market research tasks we’d have to do. Looking back, it seemed invasive sometimes. We would use Zoopla and you could use tools on their website to find out practically anything you’d want to know about the demographic in the area. Survey monkey and on foot questionnaires would tell me quite a bit about someone who I either never met or just met two minutes ago.
This wasn’t that bad though. We were students, and this was nothing compared to the Murdoch papers and ITN/BBC. A lecturer once told us, adverts could be bided on and sold all in a fraction of second. It was a lot to take in.
It was also around this time I discovered shows like Secular Talk, The Young Turks and the Humanist Report. This would push me to really analyse media bias more and more and see the difference between honestly held opinions, bad faith arguments and out right lies. Through these outlets I discovered figures like Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. I also discovered just how badly they were treated by corporate media like CNN and MSNBC.
They would insist on painting them as naïve, radical, fantasists etc, while they either conveniently ignore the benefits of socialist policies like we have in the UK or Scandinavian countries like Denmark or if your Fox News drag out the dead horse of Venezuela to beat like a piñata.
I became hungry for more shows like this but particularly focusing on British/Scottish issues not just American. At the end of the day I can’t influence anything in the US, but I can influence the course of UK/Scottish politics at the ballot box.
I am finally replacing my apathy and cynicism with empathy and optimism. I have begun regularly co – hosting on Indy Live radio and listening into Broadcasting Scotland every night at 7pm while working. I hope to find more channels like Maximilien Robespierre on You Tube, a man with intelligent and well thought out responses and commentary on current events that covers Scottish and UK news.
With Liverpool remaining red since banning the Sun and Bristol considering banning all Murdoch media, with a petition on 38 degrees already at 3,329 signatures at time of publishing. It seems to me people are starting to wake up and it is time to really push it. We have the means all we need to do now is make sure our voices are heard amongst the rabble of mainstream media.
Supporting independent media worked for American progressives and made a movement of political optimism in a world of neo – liberalist stagnation. As a matter of urgency, we need to do the same here. We need to spread our grassroots media until we are finally paid some much due attention.
If I can be convinced to fight harder and to engage with politics head on, so can others.
By Chloe Duffy