Back to the Eighties

Are we being informed by BBC Scotland now that it has moved into formal mode? The realisation has finally dawned on management at PQ that “something is happening in Scotland…what is it again?”

Tonight’s BBC 2 programme based on the opinion polling asking what are the main issues confirmed mostly that some of the answers are unknowable at least with any accuracy which is generally true, if you allow the British government off the hook by accepting their decision not to engage. What I wanted to hear throughout this programme were the words… “but the UK wont tell us because they prefer us to be ignorant and confused up to polling day in order to get a No vote”.

You can say of course I would say that, wouldn’t I, but is anyone outside the BT zombie zone suggesting otherwise? I don’t think so. So we had a section on currency which was fine except nowhere did I hear two key points. The first was that you can’t just join the Euro. You must have your own currency to start with – we don’t – and the pound doesn’t count if it’s ruled that it is the rUK’s currency. So we would need our own currency and then apply to join the exchange rate mechanism for at least two years before qualifying for entry – if we meet the convergence criteria. So at this stage the euro really ISN’T an option. But the most telling omission surely was the question of London’s view. We didn’t hear the critical point that on all known data Scotland’s oil and export muscle helps the power of the pound and without Scotland the currency looks vulnerable. And because of the sheer volume of cross-border trade, business will demand that the politicians keep Scotland in the pound. Therefore it is in England’s interests to retain Scotland in a currency union. That’s called perspective and I didn’t hear it. It seems to me that the main point here is that we could be negotiating, to get clarity or otherwise but London has set its face against it. Worth a mention?

I’m afraid I missed the section on the EU but then I’m not good at watching programmes which do lists and pretend it’s the hit parade. They’re striving to make it relevant and accessible but was it just a bit patronising in tone? John Gordon Sinclair’s voice-over was straight from Gregory’s Girl – he must have aged a wee bit by now? – and makes you think none of this is important  at all, it’s a bit of a laugh, like when his mate who’s a window cleaner says that you ask the lady of the house if she can fill up your bucket and Gregory asks: “Is that code for something…”

Didn’t they have Clare Grogan doing voice over in last week’s programme? Are they taking us back to the 80’s. Is that BBC Scotland’s comfort zone – the Thatcher years  before devolution? Will Mary Marquis present the next one?

I also thought it was ugly to look at…I’ve never liked those thin bars they put across the images which make you screw up your eyes. If it’s used briefly in flashback it works but throughout a whole programme it simply distorts the images and nothing should block your view. And fading in and out of negative is hackneyed too and is hard to look at. Good to see David Bell, Nicola McEwan and Jo Armstrong on camera although Jo fell into the trap I blame all economists of…failing to realise that the numbers you see today may change for the better. Scotland’s economy might actually improve, Jo and we might be energised and create new business, other new countries have. And her unqualified assumption that oil will deliver less revenue omits the age-old economic principle that a scarce commodity goes up in value. Also, did she miss the FT articles showing immediate enrichment for every Scot from independence? She went on about not knowing how long any improvement might take when the answer appears to be, from official stats – £100 a week for every family household, immediately.

But, hey, it’s early days and it’s good to see the BBC Scotland correspondents pretending to get on with each other round a table…

Was that the Cross of St George on Douglas Fraser’s tie and is it a subliminal message to the Undecided?



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0 thoughts on “Back to the Eighties

  1. Armstrong is not a neutral commentator, and she’s a neoliberal, privatising zealot. Was that pointed out at any stage? Did they have the Cuthberts on?

    This stuff is just shit.

  2. I too watched this awful programme. The brief glimmer of hope that was Allan Little extinguished as BBC Scotland descends yet again into its usual anti- independence dross.

  3. Armstrong worked for a Tory ‘think? tank’. A cold fish. Says it all really. Saved some time and stress, didn’t watch the programme. Could the Scottish gov not set up a radio/TV station with Derek in control. Are communications not devolved?

  4. Boy, your very quick off the mark Derek and so to the point, but methinks your still in ‘BBC think’ to be so accepting of the misinformation coming from Jo Armstrong and David Bell – of course they could have and should have, in any balanced production, cite other information, such as the FT opinion and oil forecasts that oppose their view, but, hey, there’s a BT song-sheet and briefing notes no doubt, to be followed up.

    The total presentation was simply an affront to the charter and policy of our public broadcaster.

    The BBC is totally biased and is actively against independence as the UWS academic report, over a full year’s broadcasting showed to be true.

    Hens and eggs come to kind. In the full knowledge that this monster propaganda program was ready to launch. is it now little wonder that Ian Small, BBC Head of Policy, reacted in such a stoopid way. Unbelievably crass!

  5. I found the tone of the first docu extremely patronising and very dumbed-down, a sort of compressed version of STV’s Road to Referendum. It was dire and riddled with historical inaccuracies. Indeed, where were the historians? Last week Stuart Cosgrove did his usual impression of trying to sound like just your average working class sort of Joe, you could almost be forgiven for forgetting that he has a Ph.D. from Columbia University. It wasn’t that bad actually I suppose. National identity is an extremely complex phenomenon, but it certainly appeared that the ethos of the series seems to be not to over-intellectualise things, that it needs to be kept at a digestible level for the masses. It is inevitable that this does not sit well with the intelligentsia who would prefer something a little more thought-provoking. I haven’t seen this weeks yet, but from Derek’s reaction, and some of the initial comments here and elsewhere, I am not filled with optimism.

    But the BBC is still running with a YES story as its lead on BBC Scotland online, so perhaps there is the odd glimmer of hope. And anyway we have been moaning about bias since the campaign began and far from being beaten we still have a chance and believe we will win. Mind you, I still yearn to wake up one morning and find that one of the papers has went over to YES, or that one of the big trade unions breaks ranks and back us. It is going to happen you would think. Or am I dreaming?

    Next month’s Labour conference should be very interesting indeed!

    Are they having a debate on independence? Aren’t there enough Labour members now in favour to force such a thing. That could be embarrassing. Not to mention that any devo-max/more/whatever will not get through, and even if it does it won’t be backed by Labour HQ.

  6. I had the impression that the panel were obliged to follow a script in their responses, and seemed embarrassed to have to do this so blatantly.

    And yes, Derek, Fraser’s tie was carefully chosen.

  7. I wonder if STV’s anti-independence leanings will turn to non-bias now that they have been granted another 10 year licence? See

  8. I found the commentary from John Gordon Sinclair to be juvenile and patronising, “our wee pound” was only one example!
    Reevel Alderson obviously found it embarrassing to be on the same panel as the sharp faced woman from the tabloid radio phone in, can’t remember her name, as well he might.
    The journalists were introduced as “trusted voices”, that’s a matter of opinion.
    The whole presentation of unnamed voices from faces that dissolved into pencil sketches saying silly things about having irn bru on tap, trivialised the whole programme.
    Then Jackie Baillie on Newsnight Scotland, talking about people looking for “certainty”, dear me, is there to be no improvement here?
    Is this all we’re worth? Shocking.

  9. Crass nonesense, can only think “wee” Brian in run up to his pension!

  10. It’s really not hard to get up to speed on why the Euro isn’t an option available to Scotland – you’ve pretty much summed it up right there, Derek – so either BBC journalists are not very good, or they’re wilfully misleading people when they talk it up as a possibility.

    As for Jo Armstrong, I thought it was quite amusing when she said “as an economist, it’s very hard to argue that Scotland couldn’t be an independent country” – aye, but you always give it a good shot though, don’t you, Jo?

  11. I’ve calmed down a bit now that I know others were angry with this programme. I also felt that Jo Armstrong was saying “it’s difficult to argue against but I will”. How can Derek Bateman find out things that the whole BBC can’t? Of course they can but don’t want to tell us.

  12. There’s an article over on Bella Caledonia about Jo Armstrong and the CPPR. It was written some time ago but is worth a look. Interestingly it doesn’t say anything about Ms Armstrongs time at RBS.

  13. BBC London correspondent at it again on Morning Call misquoting and misinterpreting the BoE Chairman’s statement of last week. Fortunately Mary from Perth was on the phone line and made clear he was lying! Kayes clone Ms White was her usual biased self – don’t know why I listen to this rubbish! Cheers

  14. I was unfortunate enough to have watched the program. It left me thinking a few things.
    How stupid do they think we are? Is their reputation really not worth saving? Do they honestly think they have a right to behave like this? Their wee unionist clique makes me sick, they can`t see past it.

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