Cumbernauld News 'biased' say 'Yes' campaigners after Facebook Question of the Week row

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 19:01 on 21 November 2014.
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Facebook was the scene of the row, after a "biased" question caused offence to some 'Yes' campaigners.

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A POST on the Facebook page of Cumbernauld's weekly tabloid, the Cumbernauld News, has led to calls of bias and patronisation by pro-independence campaigns.

At 11:28am yesterday morning (20th November), the paper's social media account was inundated with upset 'Yes' campaigners - who believed the post (which asked whether those arguing for Scottish independence should "move on") was an indication that the publication was biased in favour of the pro-Union campaign.

The Facebook spat came after the Cumbernauld News and Kilsyth Chronicle posted to their Facebook page that "Some breaking news has sparked our Question of the Week", adding: "We've just heard however that Women For Independence has reformed in Cumbernauld."

The paper's post to the page then goes on to ask fans, "Should the group move on after 55 percent of the population voted 'No'? Or are they right to continue their fight?"

In concluding, the post adds: "We'd love to hear your views."

Within minutes of posting, the newspaper's question had some pro-independence campaigners spitting feathers - with one answer describing the post as a "stupid question".

Other comments were just as critical of the question - and the way which it was worded.

One person wrote: "The meeting was about fracking across central Scotland. Should we lie down and allow Westminster to destroy our environment, give up on our hopes of social justice and democracy because it didn't happen this time? We only needed a swing of 191k and it would have been Yes, not exactly a resounding vote of confidence in the union and certainly not permission to do as they like to Scotland regardless of our concerns", adding: "You seem to have your own agenda and beliefs about the WFI group otherwise you wouldn't be pursuing that line of questioning. Why wouldnt it be a force for good? Keeping people informed and active against fracking, austerity, inequality, poverty etc."

A second comment labels the question "stupid", adding: "As long as they do whatever they do without breaking the law, it's up to them."

Other readers, however, jumped in to defend the newspaper title.

One such comment attacks those blasting the paper's question, asserting that: "Typical deluded nats who are hell bent on bullying the electorate into independence by hook or crook." 

A second comment in defensive of the paper claims:"The silent majority won....then it's a we have an unelected 1st minister... What snp and the yessers have against actual democracy?.. Just because they continue to shout the loudest doesn't matter a jot. The power of the ballot box showed only 36% of registered voters wanted independence. This says it all."

The paper's 'Question of the Week' has been a popular feature of the newly designed print edition. The feature seeks the views of local people on impertinent issues pertaining to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth. However, the latest question appears to have been the most controversial yet - with some arguing that it shows the paper's bias against those seeking Scottish separation.

Scots went to the polls on Thursday 18th September, 2014; and, in answering the question, "Should Scotland be an independent country?", 45 per cent of votes were for 'Yes', and 55% were for 'No' - with just 383,937 separating the two campaigns.

The Cumbernauld News and Kilsyth Chronicle post came after the local 'Women for Independence' group announced a special meeting to discuss the issue of hydraulic fracturing, referred to as 'fracking'.

The meeting was held at the Link Community Centre yesterday evening (20th November), and is expected to be the first in a series of future meetings to discuss both local and national issues that dominate the political agenda.

The heavy criticism faced by the newspaper only increased after a member of the title's social media team appeared to reject opposition, and reiterate the original question, posting: "We would really like to find out what you think about the fact that this group has reconvened locally guys. We know feelings are still running high on this issue. Do you think that this group will be a force for good? Or otherwise?"

In a short statement earlier today (21st November), posted on the comment thread, the title said: "...there are a lot of people out there who say that the result of the referendum should just be accepted and that Yes campaigners should move on", adding: We have never taken a position on the referendum as a newspaper but we want to hear opinions from across the political spectrum and clearly some people do not think that there is any point fighting for something that wasn't voted in just two months ago."
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