Editorial: Our News, the Referendum, our Future and Crossroads

Sunday Supplement

Our detailed look back on the stories that we have been talking about in Moray…..

insideMoray were streaming the Moray count for Sky TV

A lot to get through in my weekly editorial and I make no apology for dedicating much of it to the subject that has dominated Moray as it has the entire nation.

insideMoray – what exactly are we?

Throughout the seven months since I decided to quit my full time job and lift insideMoray to being a full-time task as a community news website, we have seen a massive readership growth.

Thousands have been attracted to us – I hope by the fact that from the first day I decided that, despite my own immediate past as an employee of our local SNP MP and MSP, the site should not take sides on any single political party, and certainly not take sides in Scotland’s referendum.

That is not to say we could ever ignore the referendum – but when we did report events it was in a fair and even-handed manner with no bias towards either side. I firmly believe I kept my side of that bargain with our readers.

When I worked in this same capacity on the STV Local websites I was, of course, doing so under the same conditions – political neutrality was vital. Despite that I was at times accused of being biased by members of every political group in Moray towards their opponents!

That simply indicated to me that I was doing my job.

So when I was being accused during our live feed-in from the Moray referendum count in the early hours of Friday morning of being biased towards the No campaign it did raise a smile or two.

Clearly, I was still doing my job well enough to be thought of as both a No and a Yes supporter.

For the record, I voted Yes and was absolutely devastated that was not the result on Thursday – but going forward, I will this week no longer be a member of any political party and I will continue operating insideMoray in a fair and unbiased manner on behalf of our communities.

I should also point out that insideMoray is a one-man operation but writing volunteers are always welcome on the basis that they will be paid the same salary as myself – being nothing.

After the result

I have to say I was stunned by the scenes from Glasgow on Friday evening, but more stunned by the fact that people seemed to bill the troubles experienced there as being ‘pitched battles between Yes and No campaigners’.

Was I really the only person in the media world who did not recognise the ugly fact of Scotland’s sectarian troubles raise its head again?

Were the chants of ‘No Surrender’, ‘Rangers Til’ I Die’ and several verses of popular sectarian songs truly not recognised by the gathered media as just a little bit familiar?

Apparently not, as I certainly could not find a single report that described the loutish behaviour as anything other than a clash between Yes and No supporters – which, in my view, it most certainly was not.

The Future

I was personally delighted to post a story today in which Moray opponents in the referendum called for exactly the same thing.

In the closing days of the campaign, at a time when the UK’s senior political leaders of every party was convinced they were about to lose, promises – no, more than that, a cast-iron pledge was made to the Scottish People. Vote No and you will have greater powers – they did not say ‘Federal’ exactly but everyone knows this is what they meant.

We have come to expect our politicians to tell lies. OK, I’ll be kinder, to twist the truth a little.

This is not a time for them to be demonstrating that trend – this was not a pledge in a pre-election party manifesto that could be discarded at will when power was achieved.

This was a solemn pledge to the Scottish people – stick to it, or be prepared to go through the entire referendum process again.

Crossroads Care Charity – North

There was one story I published this week that almost went unnoticed amongst the hustle and bustle of the referendum vote.

I wrote of an adverse report by the Care Inspectorate on the work of the Crossroads Caring Scotland – North charity, pointing out that they had an office in Elgin.

This report was ran by me because the implications of that report covered the entire area of the charity. It did not name the precise offices where the adverse service it related to took place.

The Charity’s Chief Executive is quoted in our story as accepting the findings of the report and pledging to work to rectify the issue.

I’m more than happy here to point out that there was never any intention to imply that the Elgin office were at the heart of the troubles faced by Crossroads.

Indeed I don’t believe the report did imply such a thing, but having taken on board the comments made by a Moray employee at the Charity I’m delighted to clarify that the Inspectorate did not speak to anyone from Elgin during their investigations.

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