There can be little doubt that STV are delighted to have Stephen Daisley as an online correspondent, and in some ways that's perfectly understandable. Few would deny that he's a finer prose stylist than most journalists twice his age. His opinion pieces are so provocative that they function brilliantly as clickbait, driving lots of juicy traffic to the STV website. No broadcasting regulations on impartiality are being breached, because (to the best of my knowledge) the regulations don't apply to websites.
And yet, and yet. There comes a point where some of the things said by Daisley are so totally bloody outrageous that they must start to affect his employer's reputation for balance and fairness, particularly given that his political commentary is not clearly separated out from the "news" section of the STV website, and is labelled as "analysis" rather than "opinion". ("Analysis" is the word the BBC website uses for commentary by the likes of Laura Kuenssberg, so the reader's expectation is that insight will be offered in a politically neutral way.) Visitors to the STV website could be forgiven for thinking that this is a broadcaster with an official editorial view that the man elected as Labour leader only three months ago should be deposed as soon as possible by an elitist coup, that extra-judicial killings are commendable and should be carried out more often, that torture is a good thing as long as it's branded as enhanced interrogation, that Israel has the right to claim sovereignty over land seized by brute force, that Scottish nationalists don't care about foreigners, and that the way "internationalist socialists" should show they care about foreigners is by dropping bombs on them. Even a small-print disclaimer at the bottom of each article that "this is a personal view and does not necessarily reflect the views of Scottish Television" would, I suspect, be a great comfort to concerned and often offended STV viewers who simply don't share Mr Daisley's simplistic "centre-right, Zionist" worldview (that's his own description), with its good guys who you must only ever speak of with "songful joy" in your heart (Blair), and bad guys who you must torture and kill (or at the very least expel from the Labour party). In fact, the most accurate disclaimer would be "please note that this article forms part of an extended audition for Fox News".
The 2% of the Scottish population who are card-carrying members of the SNP, and indeed the 50% of the Scottish electorate that voted SNP in May, have a particular right to feel deeply hurt at Daisley's suggestion in his latest article (his maddest to date) that "Scottish Nationalists need not concern themselves with the troubles of foreigners". In true Hothersallite fashion, he contrasts our insularity with the much-vaunted "internationalism" of Labour. But just hang on a minute here. Which party was it that put its total faith in the international system and the United Nations to certify Iraq as free of weapons of mass destruction in 2003? And which party was it that turned its back on both the international system and international law to invade that long-suffering country in pursuit of weapons that didn't even exist?
It shouldn't be any surprise to anyone that the SNP have proved time and again to be the true internationalists. They were co-founded by R. B. Cunninghame Graham, Britain's first socialist member of parliament, and a man who shrewdly noted that nationalism (by which he meant civic nationalism) was a necessary prerequisite for internationalism. To be fair, there are plenty of people within Labour who share the SNP's vision of genuine internationalism rooted in democracy and the rule of law, but they're not to be found in what you might call the "Ernest Bevin tendency", which Daisley zealously professes to be the one true faith. Bevin's idea of internationalism was nuclear blackmail by the strong against the weak, the neo-colonial system of veto-wielding powers on the Security Council, and industrial-scale violation of the sovereignty of others when it suited our own selfish interests.
By the way, the funniest line in Daisley's new article is this -
"When I talk to sensible Labour people, they despair but assure me things will be better when Corbyn is replaced by Dan Jarvis or Yvette Cooper or Chuka Umunna. I don’t have the heart to tell them they’re wrong."
I'm sure Labour right-wingers are suitably grateful for the kindness of an omniscient 29-year-old journalist who has elected to spare them the burden of too much knowledge.