You've probably heard by now about Nick Cohen's batty piece which depicts STV's Fox News-style columnist Stephen Daisley as a modern-day Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who has been "silenced" by the totalitarian SNP "state". Actually, Cohen tries terribly, terribly hard to avoid tripping off the familiar "one-party state" klaxon, probably because he's finally noticed how easy it is for people to respond with the simple but rather important observation that Scotland has lots of parties and isn't a state. Instead, he carefully brands our country a "one-party democracy" at the start of the article - but he just can't help himself. By the end, he's back to raging about the NUJ in Scotland taking the side of the "state" rather than Daisley - apparently oblivious to the fact that he's accusing them of taking the side of the Tories rather than the SNP. Yes, Nick, the state in Scotland is known as "the United Kingdom", and it's run by someone called Theresa May. None of us have ever had a chance to vote for or against her, but paradoxically yer man Daisley is a big, big fan of hers. He told us so in those fearsome, state-challenging STV articles of his.
I'm sure, by the way, that it's a total coincidence that the journalist we're invited to regard as a martyr just happens to share Cohen's own establishment worldview about absolutely everything - pro-Blairism, anti-Corbyn, pathologising every criticism of the Israeli government, etc, etc. It's also inspiring to see Cohen defend journalism from outside interference by denouncing STV's editors (who alone were responsible for the decision to change Daisley's role) as "unworthy of their senior position" - a pretty unambiguous call for them to be sacked. Self-awareness really isn't Nick's thing, is it?
There's just one other main point I want to make about the article, and it becomes fairly self-evident when you consider the following four indisputable facts -
1) The Twitter troll account "Brian Spanner" (championed by Daisley and strongly suspected by many to be the alter ego of one or more well-known unionist journalists) has been guilty of some of the most appalling misogynistic abuse directed against female politicians that you're ever likely to see. Arguably the worst example of all was when he said this of Labour's Margaret Curran : "Is she the victim of FGM? She is a torn faced C***".
2) The notoriously litigious Labour-supporting billionaire JK Rowling befriended "Spanner" and spoke of him in glowing terms.
3) Even when Spanner's track-record was pointed out to Rowling, she failed to disassociate herself from him. Instead, she doubled down by mocking his detractors and threatening one of them with her team of lawyers (much to the delight of Stephen Daisley).
4) This sequence of events reflects extremely badly on Rowling.
But not on Planet Cohen - oh no. Instead, Nick explains that Spanner cannot possibly be misogynistic or abusive in spite of the overwhelming evidence of our own eyes, simply because Rowling likes him, and she would never take a liking to anyone who is misogynistic or abusive. If Cohen's piece had been a scientific paper, someone would currently be taking him aside and gently reminding him of the concept of 'falsifiability'. It seems that it is literally impossible for JK Rowling to keep bad company, because her friendship is in itself sufficient to redeem anyone of their wrongdoing.
For example, if JK Rowling were to write a positive review of Mein Kampf on Amazon, would Nick Cohen say that was -
b) Away and don't be so daft. Of course Adolf wasn't a genocidal dictator. JK Rowling likes his book, for pity's sake.
Yup, you're getting the idea.