IT came as no surprise that the Unionist media adopted a positive slant on Prime Minister Johnson’s recent brief and somewhat pointless visit to Scotland (“How the Unionist media reacted to Johnson’s visit” – The National, July 25).

It is an unfortunate but accurate fact that the majority of British national newspapers, and I include Scotland in this, consistently adopt an obsequious stance towards the Westminster Government and seldom attempt to scrutinise its disjointed policy implementation, ignoring their glaring obfuscation and increasingly desperate evasive and dishonest narrative.

The majority of our daily national newspapers are unapologetically right-wing and owned by billionaires such as the Barclay brothers, Rupert Murdoch and Viscount Rothermere. Their raison d’etre is to protect and defend the Conservative Government, and therefore the status quo, regardless of fairness or social justice.

Rather than hold the present government to account, they wilfully misreport policy failings and run banner headlines deifying the Prime Minister to appeal to the unquestioning reader, a naked and unashamed bread and circuses approach to journalism.

Many of these publications neither enhance nor encourage democratic thought or debate and make no effort to be objective or politically balanced. The headlines proclaiming Johnson’s foray into selected and safeguarded Tory-friendly places to be a raging success are not only deceptive and disingenuous but desperate.

We can expect an onslaught of blatant and cheap attempts to smear the independence movement in the days and months ahead as the polls widen and the impact of Brexit begins to hit home. The full weight of the UK established media will stand firmly behind the Union as their very existence is under threat. The gloves are well and truly off.

The National stands as a beacon of hope for those in Scotland who reject publications that exist to defend the UK state or to act as cheerleaders for the UK Government. It is clearly and unapologetically in favour of Scottish independence but also inclusive, introspective and progressive. I look forward to the day in Scotland when a free press reports the news to a free people.

Owen Kelly