You’re Derek Bateman!

Campaigns aren’t supposed to contemplate defeat in advance and I know people – like Pat Kane in Stirling last night – who refuse to go there. It’s never been my view though because as a journalist as opposed to a participant, it has always been my job to look at both sides and all outcomes. I am deadpan about opinion polls in that I read them and refuse to go up or down. They are what they are according to what question was asked and when. They tell us what people said at a moment in time and not what they will do on September 18. I hear from people all the time saying openly and confidently that we will win. They have no doubt. I heard the same again last night from people who are out every week canvassing. I can’t disagree with them and am taken aback at their conviction. You’ll never get me to that stage. If I’m confident, I’ll go quiet. So if I ever write a line about victory being in sight, you’ll know it’s the wine working on the medication.

Pat Kane

These Yes meetings are cathartic for me. It is quite scary going from journalist to public participant – a totally different and unnerving transfer of attitude and skills which I would never have contemplated if it were not for what I regard as the national cause of independence. I am completely, perhaps madly, committed. It is gradually changing my life. I have forsaken an embarrassingly large amount of income, despite having wife and family; I have  put myself out here on a front line with opinions I didn’t know I had; I have jeopardised and, in some cases, severed associations I valued; I have fought an aversion to public speaking and learned to have no fear. I am for the first time in my life exposed – to ridicule, hostility and to recognition and respect.

I spent 25 years at BBC Scotland yet I am now better known than I ever was. I am recognised on the street. Improbably, people shake my hand. Love your blog, I get often. People tell me who I am…you know – You’re Derek Bateman!

I never was one of the select few who qualified for star treatment at BBC Scotland, not after the arrival of Jeff Zycinski as Head of Radio – he had other favourites to promote. Nor did I actively seek it, to be fair. But it is notable that six months blogging has done more for my public profile than 25 years as a BBC presenter. I also feel good about myself as in sure of what I’m doing, mostly because of the overwhelming response of Scottish people to what I write. I was always proud and a bit honoured to talk to Scotland via radio – that connection was something I really valued, more than the ego trip of being on air. But now, in a more grassroots sense, I feel part of the Scottish community, not set apart behind a mike and the welcome has been warm.

I mention this and what happens if there is a No because it came up last night – again – that this is a real movement. It is cross-cultural, it is classless, party-less and it is creative and innovative. It is self-perpetuating and it is become clear that there is no reason for it to quietly turn away if the referendum is lost. It extends beyond, far beyond, constitutional change. It is discussing how to do things differently, how to take control, how to make change rather than wait for it. It is developing a life stream that may not be stoppable, that can carry on into community action, breaking down the doors that prevent us taking part, deter us from voting, keep us from demanding and leave us at the mercy of a political machine. It needs a little co-ordination and could retain the name Yes because that sums up the attitude that defines it. Something powerful and inspiring has been born and it won’t lie down on September 19.

Meanwhile*, I’ve been wailing at the moon. Having spent part of last night at the Yes meeting in Stirling defending BBC journalism against claims of bias, I made the mistake of tuning in this morning to my old programme Good Morning Scotland. I shuddered at what has happened to it.

If you are going to preview your big story – Danny Alexander live! – followed by John Swinney – as live as he gets – you really need to have some ammunition. You need a case to make, a challenge to throw, a worked-out response for their totally predictable line of propaganda. I listened in horror to Alexander running rings around the studio for part of the interview, repeating ad nauseum his mantra of better together, too risky, no currency union. He hopped from point to point, assertion to assertion with barely a challenge. If you’d pulled back a curtain to reveal Blair McDougall and Paul Sinclair with headphones on producing the programme, it wouldn’t have surprised me. For much of the time it was the politician’s dream. He must have thought he got away with a free hit, getting a pop at his opponent while hammering home his own propaganda. And yet, when he was challenged he was laughably inept. It didn’t sound as if the pre-programme planning had been done to work out an interview strategy. For example…

What does the refusal to consider a currency agreement imply? Clearly Alexander believes Scotland has made no contribution to sterling over 300 years and has no rights to it as an asset under the Treaty of Union, otherwise he couldn’t deny Scotland. How does he justify that belief that the Scots played no role in building up a successful currency – that’s a denial of the Union itself – and how does it fit with his party policy of federalism that Scotland is a non-contributor to sterling’s value? And if Scotland’s contribution is non-existent, which UK nation has created a strong currency – is it perhaps only England?

This is a game of bluff – that’s why Danny is pressing the button again today – and your opinion depends on who you believe. Wasn’t Danny in the Lib Dem team who gave personal assurances to students there would be no tuition fees? Does that make him a man to trust? And since the whole British government is behind the currency blockage, is it a sign of how much we can trust them that it takes two years to admit a radiation leak at Dounreay? The newspapers are asking today what happened to the Respect Agenda? The Scots are learning they can’t believe what London tells them – they lied about the value of oil forty years ago as Denis Healy admits and kept secret the McCrone Report and some of us remember being lied to over Iraq by a Cabinet including Ed Balls and Alistair Darling. The track record is one of mendacity. Why should it change now over currency?

This is the job of the programme team collectively to build a case to present since Alexander isn’t on to inform or enlighten, he is on air to preach and make a nakedly political point. It is the BBC’s duty to counter. It is not an optional extra. And whatever is going on behind the scenes, whatever staff cuts and budget reductions, there is a standard of professionalism expected by the listener – and frequently trumpeted by the BBC itself.

What was revealing was just how tongue-tied Alexander gets when a proper question is asked. He really isn’t a smart operator, he is essentially a message boy. He can repeat – and repeat – the message but drag him off topic and he flounders. He was reduced, pathetically, to implying there is no plan for the EU In/Out referendum – British industry’s real fear and the reason bosses are happy to play along now on the Scottish question, in the expectation they will get the result they want on Europe. He may have no plan, but his boss, the man he answers to and with whom he sits in the Quad planning the Scottish campaign, definitely and explicitly does want a Euro referendum. That means Danny is a junior part of a government planning a referendum. Isn’t it safer for business to exist in pro-European Scotland as their European base than risk what could well be a vote in the UK to come out of the EU? You just have to press him on the point and he falls apart.

And when it was put to him what his role would be if there is a Yes, he was reduced to rubble. Even Michael Moore could answer that one! Danny’s job as we all know, will be to change sides and work his wee socks off for Scotland and his constituents. Since he fumbled it, he should have been asked: Are you really unsure where your duty lies after a Yes vote? Isn’t that more telling than any argument over currency, Minister? Your loyalties lie with the British side and with the Tories you now work with and for you Scotland and the Highlands come second – that’s the Union in a nutshell. Still, we all have off-days…had them myself.

But of course no referendum item is complete nowadays, it seems, on Radio Scotland or Radio Four, without the cross-border airwaves hopper that is Mr Naughtie, popping up at every turn of the dial like one of those nincompoops in a Whitehall farce, trousers round ankles. Here he comes again…ha ha! Jim’s mad scurry from Scotland to London and back has been a masterstroke for the British, cementing the concept of Union more firmly than oor Danny will ever manage. He’s like an advert: Look, I work exactly the same in both places at once – same words, same attitudes, same outlook. Glasgow? London? Makes no difference to me. Same Jim. Same country. It’s called Britain, Jock. Got it?!

Thus in interview with Swinney, Britain’s overtly political stance on currency – rubbished by experts like the Fiscal Commission – is, to Jim, “a fact”. Immutable. Permanent. Indisputable. Any suggestion it is a political threat is laughed out of court. Yet the response that the debt will indeed remain – as Britain insists it will – as Britain’s debt, is a “clear threat” by the Nats. This is following the Better Together narrative as if they were writing his script. Now I know they aren’t, so I think we can safely say we getting the benefit of Mr Naughtie’s personal reading of the situation here. He might as well ask: Why aren’t you playing the Unionists’ game? Why won’t you do what we all expect you to do? You really don’t understand the power structure do you, Mr Swinney? London runs the country and when they speak, you jump. So jump.

And, if I was a producer, I would asking myself why the programme didn’t focus on pensions as that is what Alexander is up in Edinburgh to propagandise about. This is rich pickings for both the Yes side and a BBC interviewer as there is no national pension pot, just a circulation of tax and national insurance funding the old age pension every month, utterly dependent on today’s taxpayers. And we still have one of the lowest pensions in the developed world and we can look over to Norway to see how Britain – broad shoulders and deep pockets – did what Britain failed to by investing the oil money.

I told the disbelieving people of Stirling last night that there was no deliberate or organised bias at BBC Scotland but I’m starting to run on empty. All I admit to is my belief that the BBC is failing – generally speaking as there are exceptions – to match up to the challenge thrown up by the referendum.  People don’t believe me though and I notice the RAJARS for Radio Scotland were down at a time when there is heightened interest in current affairs and there isn’t – or rather there shouldn’t – be any competition for speech-based radio in our country.  I fear what the next round of audience appreciation will reveal about the publics’ views on the national broadcaster.

Easy for me to say though. I’m just an ordinary licence-fee payer.

And thanks, Stirling…

PS I was leaving Stirling in the dark through the mist and rain when I became aware of a dim light outside high up to my right. I put down the window and there, towering above me, was the black mass of the castle, spotlights struggling to pierce the shroud of mist, casting an eerie glow. It was an awesome sight. I wonder if that’s how Proud Cressingham and his knights saw it before Stirling Brig…

* Anybody else notice that on Radio Four news tonight they told us about Alliance, the Dundee-based investment company, setting up shadow companies in England but didn’t mention Aviva, a much bigger outfit, saying it wasn’t a problem for them? Maybe they did Aviva  last night and I missed it but all the output I’ve heard has missed the Aviva story out, exactly as the Daily Telegraph did which covered Alliance  and then segued into the currency/Barroso fiasco. I used to argue that BBC Scotland should have a unit that had oversight of all BBC output on the referendum to check accuracy and balance to avoid that kind of London-centric reporting, but really, what’s the point? We will have to do this ourselves.

 

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117 thoughts on “You’re Derek Bateman!

  1. I can understand why people out canvassing are sure we’re going to win – it’s rare to meet anyone who supports the British state, and the overwhelming number of people who express a view say they are going to vote Yes.

    However, in the event of a No vote, I hope this movement doesn’t go away. I would guess that the mass registration is the most powerful tool we have. If we are unsuccessful, our next target will be the 2015 election.

    I would guess there are many seats where the majority of the sitting MP is lower than the number of people who don’t vote at all.

    I would like to think a coalition of parties who care about Scotland, the SNP, Greens and SSP, primarily, could agree which seats to target, and then we go and work them. (I’ve already said I’ll work for the SSP in Easterhouse, cos their sitting MP characterises so much that’s wrong with the modern Labour Party. Although, in that regard, there’s an embarrassment of riches!)

    We could really put the wind up the Labour placemen and women who rely on apathy to keep their snouts in the trough, and we could change the political landscape.

    We would also provide a model for the Peoples Assembly in England. Their greatest danger, as I see it, is the old “vote Labour, don’t split the left” narrative when a General Election comes around. If they actually provided a leftwing alternative, we could see the pressure that UKIP provide to the right being applied to the left.

    However, let’s hope (and work) for the best!

    • Vincent McDee

      Speaking of labour placements, if Derek is surprised about how different atitudes become moving from journalist to Independence supporter, try to imagine his shock when he gets offered the Head of News position at the Scottish Broadcasting Corporation.

  2. You have described Jim Naughtie’s role at the BBC exactly. In fact, he was fairly explicit on the subject in the interview he gave to Alan Taylor for The Herald last weekend:

    “When the BBC talked to me about this last summer, it wasn’t, you know, ‘Go up to Scotland and join Good Morning Scotland’, which of course I’m ‘thrilled’ to be doing,” he says, raising his eyebrows. “It was do that, but also increasingly, over 2014, do stuff across Radio 4, making sure people who’re listening in flood-wracked Surrey are understanding that there’s a different view at two ends of Britain.”

    It’s those Radio 4 listeners in Surrey he’s doing the scurrying for.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/books-poetry/interviews/james-naughtie-on-his-debut-novel-the-1978-world-cup-and-good-morning-scotla.23541113

  3. Brian Macfarlane

    Very Good Derek I enjoy your articles more and more each day as you evolve from BBC man to Human being. Keep going. I just read Ruth Wishart’s coming out for Independence speech and was struck how similar it was too yours.

  4. Just a thought about Danny Alexander. He is my MP and I have met him several times in both social and political capacities. Danny is vacuous. He has no knowledge of anything beyond his civil servants’ briefing. That is why he gets into deep water when the interview goes off-piste. I am amazed at his run of luck in getting to this stage. He will be out on his ear in 2015 and will have to find a safe LibDem seat in the West Country or more likely join the Tories.
    The other matter of BBC bias is there for all to see in the Shell statement. Van Beuren did not refer to Scotland before he referred to Europe. Scotland was the afterthought. His main concern is that the UK will leave Europe in 2017. But BBC Scotland, no doubt justifying it on the basis of the Scotland only interest, chose to change the meaning of the statement. Absolutely despicable!

    • Graham Hughes

      But aren’t Shell going to drill for all their oil in London if we get Independence and not get any from Scotland? Still it would be understandable as Scottish oil will run out/become worthless the day after a Yes vote. (Or have I been listening to too much BBC/BT propaganda?)

    • Well spotted- BBC bias is a travesty of journalism and freedom of press

  5. Keep the blogs coming, it’s not just the YES theme it’s also that they are food for thought and often very entertaining. Thanks.

  6. You’re right, Derek Bateman!

    I’ve always thought that whatever else it does this debate would show up the social and political realities of Britain and Scotland’s ‘place’ in it. And yes, it is very hard to imagine that the movement for change that is now so firmly established in Scotland will simply disappear, whatever the outcome of the referendum – and I fervently hope it is a resounding vote for self-determination. Apart from anything else, what does this movement for change show but that we are an independent country, in the making, if not yet in fact?

    Ordinarily one would have hoped that the traditional media would have participated in this popular surge of self-belief, but instead it seems they take every opportunity to put a brake on aspiration. As regards the BBC, it is one of the most profound disappointments imaginable that the BBC has failed so badly to measure up to the terms of this debate. (Do they have no antennae? Or are they all pointed the wrong way?) On the other hand their behaviour simply exposes the way in which the organisation functions. The gap between its ‘reputation’ and the tawdry reality means that it really deserves all the obloquy now being thrown its way.

    As for GMS this morning, I listened for a while to Highland Danny in simple disbelief. Then switched it off, heatedly. Later on when J Naughtie was replaying parts of the J Swinney interview, I kept hearing these wee (preumably truncated) wee vocal No-no-naughtieburps, where I presume in the original JN was interrupting him. In sum, I just don’t believe the BBC any more, and I can’t imagine anything other than a very large percentage of other people here are likewise utterly scunnert with them.

    Yes. A great article.

  7. bigbuachaille

    Your commitment to the movement which envisions a better country is widely shared. As is your reflection that YES might not be achieved as early as September 2014.
    I am glad you had a further analysis of the interview (uninterrupted free run) with Danny. It was all too clear, from the outset, that there was to be no interruption of Danny’s reiterating the currency message.
    To an extent, this might have been described as balanced, if John Swinney had also been accorded untrammeled opportunity to spout away. However, John was landed with Jim, not Hailey, and the familiar Naughtie interview ensued, peppered with interruptions.
    The contrast was plain. You have to wonder if this was by design.
    If not design, which implies compliance, the only other possibility is incompetence.

  8. Love your stuff Derek and usually agree with the broad gist of most of what you say but, on the issue of the BBC I just can’t agree. The level of bias is incredible. It’s not just the amount of negative propaganda they push out without any attempt at reasonable mitigation it is also the hard time they give any pro Yes commentator, the interruptions, some of them quite rude and the attempt to spin positive stories into negative ones, etc,. They are almost Pravda like in their slavish Royalist, Unionist output. I for one have stopped now, enough is enough, I don’t watch any BBC channel or listen to BBC radio at all now. They’ve always been a propaganda outfit, the English Broadcasting Corporation it should be called and the last few moths have proved that beyond all doubt.

    • Graham Hughes

      The Coverage of the Cowdenbeath by-election results was a cracking example. Having discussed at length with the three unionist party representatives what the No campaign needed to do to get the message across the presenter finally invited the SNP representative to speak, only to cut her off as soon as she started to speak as they ‘had’ to go live to the count where the reporter there told us that the result was expected in 10 minutes and then proceeded to interview the UKIP candidate.On returning to the studio the SNP rep was not invited to resume but the discussion again turned to the other three. Then when finally the SNP person was again invited to speak she was again almost immediately cut off to go live for the result.

  9. Derek,you always make my day and with all the negative propaganda generated by the British state and its sychophantic press some days may seem as if a No outcome is possible.
    But chin up and keep right on,we shall prevail.
    Alexander should be asked how his federal system is going to work without a currency zone.
    The only logical explanantion is that they propose a “federal” system which excludes fiscal autonomy i.e. DevoNothingMoreofImportance.
    This goes for any proposals produced by the Lamontable one as well.
    The No side couldn’t make the situation clearer,it is either independence or what we have with nothing in between which might satisfy Scots aspirations.
    Thanks Derek

  10. bob mccracken

    if bbc radio scotland is not biased why did they report on the news about another insurance company making plans to leave and no word of aviva the 6th largest insurance company in the world who said they have no problems with independence
    i believe, talking to local people the no campaign is making inroads to scare people who dont study the facts,but listen to alexander unfettered,run amok
    personally i have been a fervent independent supporter for many years,but the scare campaign is getting to the ordinary man on the street
    regards bob mccracken

  11. Sadly it appears that the BBC interviewers in Scotland have only two settings available. It’s either “what would you like to tell us today Minister” or the full “Gordon Brewer”, incredulous disbelief that anyone could say something so idiotic (regardless of the content or quality of any answer). Combined on Radio Scotland with what appear to be embarrassingly under-prepared interviewers who struggle to find a penetrating question and refuse to depart from the script it can make tortuous and unenlightening listening. That’s all before factoring in that most reports have a starting point which could have been copied from a Better Together press release. Very depressing and incredibly challenging for people who don’t want to believe that there is an inherent bias at work.

    • Vincent McDee

      I just couldn’t believe it yesterday when Brewer confronted the chair of the Economic Commission with the opinion they are not real people, but a bunch of theoricists with no inkling on people’s everyday life, that will not have to “endure” the Commission recomendations.

  12. I’m out canvassing for labour every weekend and sometimes mid-week phone canvassing.

    We are not targetting Labour voters but knocking on every door in every street.

    We are not introducing ourselves as Better Together but are asking about voting intention in indyref.

    Responses are running at around 75:25 in favour of union.

    I haven’t come across any huge swell in support of separation.

    The Scottish people are kidding somebody….

    • James Coleman

      “The Scottish people are kidding somebody….”

      And they fair kidded you lot in 2011. Maybe they’re doing the same to you now?

    • That reminds me of an equally silly comment in the Guardian last week when someone claimed that there had been 500 BT activists out canvassing and it was 80% No. You do make me laugh Grahamski! Saor Alba 🙂

    • You said exactly that in April/May 2011, on the Scotsman site. Before that, in 2008, you were boasting about the fantastic reception you were getting on the doorsteps in Glasgow East.

      Do you think our heads button up the back?

    • Any creditability you ever had vanished in the run up to the 2011 election when you said in all your canvassing in Falkirk and district that you had never met an SNP supporter. I wonder how the SNP managed to win the two Falkirk seats since they had, according to an expert like you, no supporters.

      You have even less credibility than Danny Alexander and that is saying something.

    • He’s back. The one who trumpeted loudly in 2011 almost precisely the same message, about the superb response he and his hard working imaginary team were getting on Falkirks doorsteps. And then KAABOOM. Alex Salmond wrecked the joint with his landslide and everyone resigned. Please please Grahamski, I beg you whoever you are, keep this coming up to September 17th, this country so needs comedy acts at such a time, fraught as we are with constituitional tensions. You just have to be a Cybernat. Humour like yours is not evident anywhere in the UKOKs.

    • Grahamski, what on Earth are you talking about? The big event in September is a referendum, not an election, so why are you CANVASSING for labour? Also, “asking about voting intentions” suggests that you’re carrying out an impartial survey. Make up your mind. Are you canvassing for labour, thereby misleading the public into thinking that there will be a triple choice on the referendum voting paper, i.e. “yes,” “no” or labour? Or are you asking about voting intentions?

      Incidentally, are you secretly dating Johann Lamont? It’s just that I came across this guy in Maryhill with GF tattooed on his forehead, and he was attempting to snog her under a street lamp. The guy kept saying “YES,” but she kept saying “NO.” She was speaking more quickly than the guy and was better at interrupting than he was, so I suppose her words outnumbered his by about 75:25. Some unions are just not meant to be.

    • I tell you anything you want to hear as well if it made you bugger off..

  13. Derek, your blog is great, and i have posted it on many occasions on YES sites, however, how much will it take you to stop defending the BBC? You have a lot invested in your career at the BBC, however that is over now and the scales are dropping from your eyes. You say there is no deliberate bias (something I for one do not believe based on their output). If you have not already done so, please refer to Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” to see how “journalists” working in the media are captured by the establishment viewpoint.

    Your work on this blog is essential to provide YES activists on the ground with further material to counter the relentless barrage of misinformation and scare stories promoted by the media, led by the BBC. This is the most important issue ever in my lifetime, and I am in my late sixties. I do not want to see a subservient, poorer Scotland for my grandchildren so please keep up the good work.

  14. James Coleman

    I do like your analyses of BBC Scotland’s (and why not STV’s?) output. As a man who has done it all before they are very enlightening. I would like to see you write more of that and more of what happens behind the scene before during and after the programmes. Until this Referendum debate began, I had no idea about the tricks that the media use, especially the Broadcasting media, to spin ideas their way. My eyes have been opened. It is just too bad the bulk of the population’s eyes haven’t been opened as well.

    Turning to you and the BBC. Surely you must be finally convinced that it is biased against Independence? You are half off the fence already. Time to make a big jump and declare openly and clearly that the BBC is biased.

  15. Derek, very interesting as usual. On WoS someone was complaining the other day about Angus McLeod still appearing on the Saturday a.m, programme. It was obvious that you and he were of differing views about independence, although you were much more polite. Why was he allowed to have this perk every week? Was he foisted onto you? Is he one of the friends you’ve had to give up? He always seemed to me to ridiculously biased to be a proper journalist, especially on an impartial broadcasting station like BBC Scotland. (not).
    Needless to say I gave up listening to the programme when you left, and won’t be back.
    Re Naughtie, he seems to be appearing in numerous papers/magazines for which he is presumably paid. I hope he’s not on one of these dodgy BBC contracts that we sometimes hear about.

  16. Great read Derek and I can see that you are slowly getting there, if you know what I mean lol. It was the DG who, some months ago, declared himself that the BBC would find it very difficult to be impartial, or words to that effect. I was astonished to hear that at the time, and as the debate has gone on, it seems to me that they are not even bothering to try.

    Cheers again!

  17. I attended the Yes Stirling meeting and enjoyed your contribution. Yes, it was a very positive meeting. I still struggle with the BBC coverage of the Referendum as well as your assertion that individual presenters/interviewers and not biased and that the in professionalism is at least partly due to budget and staff cuts.

    I listened in to the GMS interviews with Alexander and Swinney this morning. As you suggest there was obviously no pre-plannimg for the interviews. I would contend that anyone could have gone on and probed the interviewees in more depth than was done. The young 16 year old from last nights meeting would have done a much more searching interview. That same 16 year old, who got the loudest round of applause, is the future of Scotland. What makes me believe in BBC bias is the hectoring and interruption of prop independence guests compared with the easy ride that is always given to supporters of the Union. This is not a one off but happens in virtually every interview.

    If was somewhat heartening to hear that perhaps as polls start to move more decisively to Yes that the MSM and broadcasters will change tack -even suggesting that because they always like/prefer to back winners that the No side will get a test of their own medicine. I sincerely hope so.

    Please Derek keep your excellent blog going. As I told you after the meeting, I have a set up which automatically tweets all you blogs and I have to say that they are up there with the best responses of any of my tweets.

  18. Oh just a thought, if there are indeed any disgruntled journalists at BBC Scotland, who are unhappy, and would like ”to come out”, I am sure there would be plenty of us willing to crowdfund them for as long as it takes, cover any financial hit that may ensue for them.

    Too late for you though Derek lol.

  19. We are going to win though.

    September 18th, 2014 or some other September a generation hence, maybe sooner. The genie is out of the bottle and won’t be put back. We quite like this having our own parliament and responsible government stuff. We might like to explore it even further and see if we can make it even better.

    The only difference will be in how much pain we are willing to take from the Westminster establishment in the interim? If nothing else comes out of this referendum for us, certainly the media will be done telling us what to think. They’ve burnt far too many bridges on this one to be trusted in the same way ever again. Pretty much everyone knows that Westminster is full of liars and gangsters, but they are powerful, wilful and harmful gangsters. Its what we’re fighting to change after all, their hegemony, their arrogance and misuse of the posts they inhabit in our name.

    The only way to lose them is to lose our fear of them and the threats they pose. From politician, civil service mandarin or corporate head, expose as much of their mendacity as we can and propose a different path for our future. Hell I hardly bother dealing with their guff in the press now. The only way to handle the big lie is laugh your ass off at it. Put out there what we offer and refuse to play their game of whataboutery.

    Fuck em and the horse they rode in on. We don’t dance to their tune anymore. We’ve got a fine beat of our own.

    (‘scuse the French Derek). 🙂

  20. Every time Alexander, Darling, etc. come out with “we are better together” the interviewer should immediately get them to acknowledge that the 670,000 adults and 210,000 children who are living in relative poverty in Scotland owe their “better” situation to this.

    The 880,000 individual people trapped in poverty should be made to personally thank Danny Alexander for being “better together”. Alternatively, Danny could go to each of their households and get this praise.

  21. Like almost everyone else, Derek, I just love your blog. It’s informative, stimulating, humorous, and acts as an antidote to the pro- unionist drivel in most of the newspapers. However, I just don’t get your reluctance to call the BBC Scotland spade, a spade.

    Maybe it’s because I’m just an ordinary listener and viewer but as far as I can tell, BBC Scotland has been pursuing a deliberate, sustained and blatant role in support of the No campaign for months. I won’t list the numerous examples because we’re all familiar with them, other than than to give James Naughtie a particular mention. I had a particular loathing for his performances on GMS because of his obsequious approach when interviewing his unionist fellow-travellers compared to his aggressive attitude to Yes speakers who aren’t allowed to finish a sentence. I say ‘had’ rather than ‘have’ a particular loathing because eventually I was so sickened by his bias that I stopped listening. From what you say, it seems that he’s now using the technique in tandem with another presenter.

    It’s obvious that nothing anyone says is going to change anything because what they’re doing is sanctioned, or directed, at the highest level – otherwise they wouldn’t get away with it. BBC Scotland’s journalism is corrupt, and James Naughtie is just another unionist stooge like most of its other presenters.

    • I should remind people here that James Naughtie, as a successful London Scot, was interviewed by a Scottish newspaper some years ago. This gave him an opportunity to rant against the SNP who, he asserted would make his English family foreigners. He made plain his hatred of the independence cause at that juncture and I made a mental note not to forget that episode because my own brother, who has lived in SE England for most of his life, threw the same rant at me about 18 months ago. What Naughtie and my brother have in common is that they’re both successful Anglo-Scots who have no intention of ever returning to live in Scotland. I think they fear an English backlash against their families if there is a Yes vote. So this is very personal for them.

      • When in Australia visiting my stepson, he threw a rant at me saying that if Scotland voted Yes, he’d never come home again. This badly upset his mother. As a result I never mention the subject at home or at family gatherings. There appears to be hysteria setting in amongst certain ex pats and they are lost to reason. As for the BBC, I can’t really comment as I’ve stopped both listening to Radio Scotland and reading BBC Online.

    • This is more in reply to andygm1 but I couldn’t see a reply button.

      That response from Australia certainly seems to make no sense – you wonder how it’s been spun over there.

      But also it goes without saying that Australia is an independent country and lots of folk had to leave these shores to go abroad to make a living -strange.

  22. It’s not just Radio Scotland who are noticing a drop. The debate should be selling newspapers like hot cakes but their circulation seem to be in terminal decline. Unless the great bulk of the population prefers not to be informed it would suggest that they are getting better quality information and debate elsewhere. Attendance at meetings must be higher for this year that for all the last ten years together, so the public is evidently engaged. The only possible conclusion, therefore, is that the traditional media is failing and people are seeking information elsewhere.

  23. I’m sure Derek has many friends in the BBC and it is not easy to be disloyal to friends. And not many people have his courage. How many, simply to immerse themselves in the push for a political end in which they fervently believe, would walk away from well-paid employment? Dashed few. But I’m glad he listened to GMS this morning and heard Danny Alexander gabble on at will………behaving in fact, just as A Darling does. Learned, high-speed, party political words without thought or consideration. In other words, a desperate, last-ditch attempt to save their extremely well-paid……..can I call it “employment” ?

  24. Distance is lending clarity, I believe. You’re starting to see it the way the rest of us, outside the bubble, see it. British. Biased. Contemptible.

  25. ……….. but surely we want the BBC to continue in the way it is doing. There is no more persuasive argument than realising you are being deliberately fed lies.

    As for the referendum vote:
    .
    Do Scots want to ruefully reflect on what-might-have-been in years to come if the YES campaign fails?

    Do Scots want to be remembered by others as a country scared of its own shadow?

    How many Scots will offer up beside confessions in an attempt to gain ever lasting forgiveness for voting NO?

    The hand of history is bearing down on Scottish shoulders. Will we brave or will be feart?

  26. Hi Derek, there was a time when you would have got the standard cringe put-down – ‘….Ah kent his faither…” and funny enough, it always came from the sour faced moaner types – you know the the type, the kind we now see stuck in a status-quo time warp. The kind of Scots who ‘know their place’, grateful for the meager crumbs tossed their way from the big table and giving woe and more woe to any who think beyond their ‘proper’ limits.

    How times have changed. We’re now starting to act like self-responsible people and woe betide anybody who says different. The Danny Alexanders, Carmichaels, Grays and Lamonts and all the other pipsqueaks who’ll try and dunt us are in for a terrific shock come 18 Sept. but you’ll also have noticed that the real big boys are standing in the wings as these numpties take all the flak and that discomfits me for one reason only – what’s coming up?

  27. Glad you got along to Stirling last night and met some like minded folk. I was getting worried about you sitting in your cave getting angrier and angrier as each new wave of negativity hit. You seem more relaxed today. We need you at the top of your game for the onslaught to come!

  28. Derek, it’s the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation., the clue is in the title.

  29. I visit your blog every day.You have a unique perspective and your writing always makes me smile.

  30. Am I the only one who has noticed some small nuanced changes in the way that some BBC correspondents and reporters construct their pieces to camera since the big (Prof) John Robertson bias report was publicised ? The jury’s still out but I have definitely detected a subtle tendency to finish a piece on a more positive pro-indy outlook . I’ve noticed it with one or two including Douglas Fraser. Reaction to an internal memo perhaps ? Or is it in my imagination ? Don’t think much has changed in terms of choice of stories to highlight though – that is still flawed in my view.

  31. I really enjoyed listening to what you had to say last night. Thank you for coming to Stirling, and thank you for this blog!

  32. I agree, I doubt that Yes will go back in its box after a No vote. Over the last few weeks, Yes West Lothian has seen 26 new volunteers, most of them never politically active before. Meanwhile, as you see on platforms throughout the country, old barriers are breaking down and people are working together in a way I’ve certainly never seen before. The pro-indy parties cannot afford to drop back into old habits. If there’s a No vote, there must be a Yes coalition to take us into 2015 and, more important, 2016.

    There are new elections in Quebec, and the PQ may win. They’ve said neither Yes nor No to a third referendum. They’ll no doubt decide, if and when the time is ripe. We could do the same.

    Our opportunity could come as early as 2017 if the UK votes to leave the EU. But a Yes coalition would need to be dominating the Scottish parliament. For that to happen, the working together must continue.

    But this is speculation. Working for Yes in September is the priority.

  33. I was actually embarrassed for BBC Scotland this morning. The distinct impression in the first interview was of obsequiousness with Danny boy from near BBC Headquarters in London more or less given a clear run ( but agree on his inability to field the offline question ). Then we had Naughtie who is clearly aware of the importance of his position – much as Paxman, Wark etc – which exudes ” I’ve interviewed people like Condie Rice at the time of Iraq and Afghanistan and by comparison you’re small fry, Swinney “. Oh I hope the UWS team were comparing interviewer / interviewee times in the two efforts. Naughtie must have spoken for at least a third of the time, Alexander 95%.

    They’re like a long playing record, braying on about Plan B and these companies opening up offices in potentially a different country. Of course a proper business needs a foreign base – imagine that an insurance company opened up in the USA, would it underwrite policies in such a foreign jurisdiction. I’m a shareholder in Dundee’s Alliance Trust and would have been appalled if it wasn’t making plans for English branch offices to cover clients in that jurisdiction. We need to move on.

    Problem is Westminster simply can’t get its head round the idea of being a foreign country to Scotland.

  34. I was a wee bit surprised, Derek, to hear you maintain at the YES Edinburgh East meeting that there was no organised anti-YES line at the BBC. Glad that as an ordinary punter on the outside looking in you are starting to see that if it isn’t coordinated then by some incredible coincidence BBC Scotland presenters just happen, almost to a man and woman, to be on the NO side and let their views influence their work. Easier I think to admit that yes indeed BBC London is calling the shots on the journalistic line and, sadly, no BBC Scotland journalist has the balls to fight back (apart perhaps for Gary Robertson).

  35. Love your blog, Derek! It’s keeping me sane. I have come to rely on you having written a powerful and eloquent rebuttal to the daily lies of the No-Campaign, expressing exactly what I am feeling, and allowing me to calm down a wee bit, before promptly emailing your blog on to everyone else to read as well! Keep it up! When we win in September, you are going to have played a huge role in achieving it. Your nation values and respects you.

  36. Cag-does-thinking

    I do wonder when anybody is going to spot the link between UK government ministerial visits and public statements from firms in support of the union. I’m sure I saw a wee visit to Agrekko featured recently and of course tea and buns at Shell for the UK cabinet a firm who seemed to be wisely keeping out of the propaganda. Then there was Dave high up on a BP platform wearing all their logos with pride.

    There couldn’t possibly be any relationship between these public shows of support and the patronage of government?

    Incidentally Derek, don’t take it personally but I never noticed you on the BBC but however the referendum goes I think you have entered the Scottish consciousness at a much higher level than you could have hoped to there where the RAJARs tell their own story.

  37. After the launch of the Yes campaign, A New Hope, this whole phase now feels like The Empire Strikes Back – Westminster just getting down and dirty on a daily basis, and being allowed to get away with it by the MSM. It’s been depressingly relentless the last couple of weeks. Here’s hoping soon for something akin to the Return of the Jedi (but without ewoks!).

  38. I’ll bet there’s a different tone of voice when people stop him and say ‘You’re Jim Naughtie!!!’

    But I wouldn’t like to guess what it’s like on the doorsteps of Falkirk when the redoubtable Grahamski comes calling – I’m sure I hope he gets asked in for a nice cup of tea…

  39. Colin Cameron

    Thank you Derek – you’re doing a terrific job, and are, and always have been, a HUGE loss to BBC Scotland. Between GMS and Today, finding a balanced morning listen is nigh on impossible.

  40. The role of the BBC is shown here as is everything else that is put against us, a must read.
    Scroll down you will be amazed at how accurate this is.
    http://www.psywarrior.com/Goebbels.html

  41. I’m glad you wrote this Derek because when my wife pulled me up for shouting at the radio this morning (apparently they can’t hear me) I thought I might be losing it.
    It was the uninterrupted flow from Alexander that got my goat. He stated that he would be against a currency union EVEN IF he was arguing the Scots case post Yes, then a few minutes later was intoning what a disaster no currency union would be for the Scottish finance industry. WTF?!?!? You can’t, simply can’t, hold both those opinions. He should have been filleted alive and the best he got was a weak “so how much will this cost an independent Scotland?”, another cue to say how disastrously expensive the whole thing would be and he even fluffed that because he doesn’t have or can’t remember any detailed figures the Treasury may or may not have briefed him with.
    He should have been torn apart – and the comparison with Naughtie’s interview of Swinney shows the bias of the whole approach.
    Funnily enough, your own conversion to seeing BBC bias since leaving leads me to understand your original thesis of cock-up rather than conspiracy. The BBC is simply incapable of seeing or understanding form the inside just what a piss-poor standard of news broadcasting they now have.

    • G. P. Walrus, how right you are about James Naughtie – this is a further example of what he’s been doing since, I think, last September, with Alastair Darling and Nicola Sturgeon. He can’t have an ounce of integrity left, and anyone who’s heard his performances on GMS won’t be able to believe a word he says about anything.

      Anglo-Scots like him don’t actually want to live here but bitterly resent the fact that we may do something over which they have no influence, let alone control. So they try to destroy our aspirations instead. He’s burning his Scottish bridges fast. London’s welcome to him.

      On a lighter note, did anyone hear Naughtie’s simpering when a reporter tried to get Bono to speak to him at the Oscars? Particularly as the reporter thought he was John Humphries!

  42. My impression is that, some time ago and probably to prepare for this campaign, the output on Radio Scotland has slowly been reduced to no better than a small provincial station. The ‘serious’ channels, five live and four, have been allowed to carry all national news and messages.
    This allows Radio Scotland to broadcast the terminally tedious and teeth gratingly simple Fred McAuley banter, while five live gets to broadcast a major speech by our First Minister on our future, with all the BBC London biased commentary to follow.
    Radio Scotland is pursuing a ‘nothing to see here’ policy bolstered by the odd Kay Adams British National propoganda.

    • I agree with you entirely Neil. It has occurred to me that if you want anything serious on radio you now have to tune in to the ‘English’ BBC channels. Gave up on BBC Scotland because 9 times out of 10 when I turn it on I hear an English accent and turn it straight back off again. Not that I’ve anything against English accents but I want to hear SCOTTISH public opinion, especially this year. Looks like the BBC is deliberately denying us the chance of this.

  43. He did the same in regards to the EU G.P.First it was ‘the only way for Scotland to leave the EU is to vote Yes’ then 2 sentences later he’s talking about us having to join the Euro.

  44. Whatever the current situation rgearding broadcasters at the moment, it’ll be squeeky bum time when the enforced impartiality period starts and they now know they are being watched – not only by a significant portion of the population but by professionals like Professor Robertson. Interesting thought is – did they anticipate the public’s reaction or that of the UWS reprt or did they assume we are all just ciphers who would accept the great and the good’s view? I certainly got the impression early on that when (especially London based) an interviewer asked an inane question like “but what about the subsidies you get” they genuinely expected the pro indie interviewee to slap their forehead and say “Bu**er we hadn’t thought of that!” and crumple. Perhaps Derek can give us an insight to the thinking (sic) at PQ on the depth of public response?
    However at the risk of taking a couple of brickbats (hunkers down behind dustbin lid and adjusts saucepan helmet an inch) I get the impression that although the Beeb’s stories still lead with BT pro spiel we are getting a balancing fact (s) at the end?

    On the big business issue 1) they have to take into account SWOT as part of their company reports – it’s the spin that the media is putting on to them that’s the issue. 2) Also I’m getting the impression that the problem with Scotland being independent is the increased likelihood of England voting to come out of the EU and that’s something we should be countering with – Move to Scotland and keep your HQ in the EU

    Thanks for your blog Derek – I thought you’d retired, however now I know you gave up the day job much rspect not just as a writer but as a patriot

  45. Hi Riever, I detected a subtle change as well in the BBC Scotland journalists take on the Referendum storied. Also I thought Haley Miller did a good job on GMS at throwing some pointed questions at Danny Alexander and keeping him to the point. I would criticise her on her inability to interrupt his monologues but the questions did leave him sounding like a jibbering idiot.

    • Glad its not just me then ! Even on the pension story tonight on Reporting Scotland the story about Towers-Watson and their news about the EU wanting to encourage cross-border pension schemes was used almost as a spoiler for Danny Alexander’s pension scares. That wouldn’t have happened 3 months ago. Some slightly encouraging signs there I think. And by my reckoning we largely have Derek to thank if this continues – the publicity given to Dr Robertson’s study has obviously been key in this apparent development.

      • Yes there is a slight movement in emphasis, can only be due to professor Robertson and his colleagues, and an ongoing “spat” by the B.B.C.,against their findings.

  46. Lydia Kielbasiewicz

    You are doing a great job Derek. Keep giving us the benefit of your insight into how GOOD journalism should look and sound ,combined with your passion for independence. I agree. After Sept 18th the links forged will not wither and die. People have been energised by this coming together.

  47. These energy, finance companies have, of course, all got links back to Tory High Command. G. Osborne’s father in law for instance was M. Thatchers Energy Sec. And is now Chair of the Energy Industry Committee? A majority of finance and energy CEO’s have schooling, university, clubs and marriages that link them together as well as making decisions on company policy to support the Tories through donations and sponsorships and the financing of lobbyists.

    How many of them get invites to garden parties, holiday visits and kitchen suppers?

    The establishment are quietly interconnected through country estate weekends and would never countenance allowing the network decisions in their favour to be questioned, analysed or altered.

    Why would any of these announcements be a surprise?

  48. Something has changed Derek, in me and more importantly in Scotland. Win or loose there is no going back, so what they are going to do to us or with us is the elephant in their living room. They are so concentrated on winning a no vote they haven’t realised they may be fighting tooth and nail for the booby prize, a time bomb, a booby trap or a poison chalice.

    Do they really want to introduce Osborne/balls/ austerity package (tougher than Maggie’s) while trying to emasculate and dismantle Scotland’s political revival, are they that short sighted, I think they are and vindictive with it. All that’s on their minds is to put those pesky jocks in their place and teach them a lesson they will never forget, ok BASS MASSA.

    I am now 100% behind my country and it sure as hell ain’t GB. No going back!

    • Excellent stuff and why is no-one mentioning the FT headline on Thursday about there being a massive £20bn hole in UK finances which will lead to even more cuts and austerity. Dom’t hold your breath expecting the rich to contribute. The UK balance of payments figures are.dire at the moment (not helped by imports of caviar and champagne etc for the well-heeled) and will be a lot worse with the loss of revenue from Scottish oil, whisky, quality food and so on.

  49. lastchancetoshine

    Am I right in assuming that you’ve been avoiding the output of your former employer to some extent since you left?

    Keep looking and listening Derek, for a while at least, it’s not all subtle.

  50. Wonderful, thanks for the respite from the full on BBC propaganda machine …we need a new broadcaster and soon

  51. This may be an old Royalist motto, and that of many a famous Scottish regiment, but it does seem rather apt for the current mood among people that I know.

    Nemo me impune lacessit.

  52. It was a real pleasure to listen to you and Pat last night. I enjoyed the energy that was clearly evident from the audience interactions.

    Two thing came out of this for me:

    1. YES campaigners must stay focused unrelentingly on the positive aspects (while not trying to hide the fact that there will be some risks, disappointments and unexpected consequences). If we fail, then then we just end up in the same negative, dark place where BT currently resides.

    2. My wife, who is neither Labour or YES, identified a huge difficulty which I had not seen before, but Pat Kane did allude to in one answer. She challenged me after to articulate what Scottish Labour was offering their voters in the event of YES. I was clear: they are offering absolutely nothing! She pointed out how big a problem that is, because those voters will need a viable vision of the future shortly after a YES vote aligned with their aspirations and hopes. Without that, it is unlikely that many of that group can ever be convinced to vote YES, and at best they may become NOT voters. If they can see nothing but a YES resulting in a further SNP Government, with Scottish Labour decimated, then that will never be attractive. Even if the SNP were to split into factions they still would be seen by Labour voters as groups of “SNP people” rather than a true “Scottish Labour Party” with the ideas and ideals that they had previously voted for.

    LfI may be the only real way to address this gap, but to make that harder it must come almost solely from within the current Labour Party. Anything else will be seen as a group promoted by YES and SNP (as the smears already show) – and is less likely to be trusted and supported.

    Thanks to both of you for your time and effort you put into the meeting, and for the work still to come.

  53. Love the blog … What can I say it Entertains, Educates and Informs…what more could you want …

  54. Derek,
    “I have fought an aversion to public speaking” – No sign of any lingering aversion to public speaking during your masterful presentation at last night’s packed public meeting in Stirling. Instead, a powerful speech straight from the heart which dovetailed beautifully with the contrasting style of Pat Kane. Amongst questions and suggestions from the floor was the level of concern from YES supporters about the level of bias emanating from the BBC and the print media with a positive suggestion that the only way to counter that is to persuade more of our fellow Scots to engage with on-line blogs like yours and the others which promote a positive message and counter the fears and smears.
    Derek, be assured that your contribution from this site will deliver more impact in helping to deliver a convincing YES vote in 194 days that your many years behind the news desk at BBC Scotland.

  55. Jock Erskine Dun Eden

    It may be my age, but the chat is a little hollow at the moment. I “fish” quietly, and it does not take long to get a bite, then I tend to become more passionate at that point, which has turned out to be mostly good and productive YES engagements. The trouble is that a lot of the people I talk to are rooted in with the concept of the establishment. Immovable. Once you accept them as being NO engagements you can move on. Where we can all jibber japper to our hearts content and praise our endeavours, I ain’t sure? Lets all agree that we are wonderful, but lets just get out there and increment conversions.

  56. Derek, I could have listened to you all night last night and your blogs resonate with my own thinking and reinforce my belief in what we are doing. I’ve never been that interested in politics but am passionately involved in this “debate” and nowhere near ready to think about what will happen with a No vote. So please, it’s not lost yet, folks – chat to your neighbours, friends, workmates etc about your passion and see what happens. I was moved yesterday by an 80 year old friend I spoke to who was a no voter but having heard my belief that we could have a fairer society without trident said he might just reconsider – currency, standard life and banks fade into insignificance when faced with the possibilities that are available to us simply by putting a cross in a box.

  57. lastchancetoshine

    Gordon I
    Your wife really should ask labour ” to articulate what Scottish Labour was offering their voters in the event of YES” because really, no-one else can do that.

    Further the only way to get an answer out of them is to go and sit in your msp/mp’s surgery face to face.
    It’s a “have you stopped beating your wife” question though, as if it’s answered positively it’s a tacit admission indi can work, any other answer is saying “we can’t be trusted to work in the interests of the electorate regardless of the situation we find ourselves in”

  58. Duncan Mitchell

    Reiver,
    You are not the only one who has noticed some small nuanced changes in the way that some BBC correspondents and reporters construct their pieces to camera. I have definitely detected a subtle tendency to finish a piece on a more positive pro-indy outlook . I’ve noticed it with one or two especially Douglas Fraser but, the choice of stories to highlight is still flawed in my view too.
    The two interviews this morning should be replayed over and over as they dispelled any lingering doubt about BBC fairness having been ditched.

    • I think they’re trying to avoid too great a contrast when they are forced to provide a degree of balance 6 weeks before the vote. If a huge change was obvious at that changeover point a lot of people would understand that the BBC had been delivering months of anti-Scottish propaganda.

  59. Derek
    I spoke to you on Calton Hill ‘You’re Derek, I’m Derick too.
    Once my daily routine was BBC, BBC, BBC. TV News, Newsnight, Reporting Scotland, GMS, Traveltime. Radio Orkney.
    Then it became BBC, Scotsman Online
    Then it got too much and I cancelled my TV licence. Online and radio only from here on.
    Then BBC online, Scotsman online (Van MacHelsing, Unionist Troll Hunter(, Caledonian Mercury
    Then BBC, Wings over Scotland, Newsnet, I actually first heard of your existence at RS via Go Lassie Go and a link to your interviews with Andrew Hughes Hallet.

    Then BBC, Wings, Newsnet, Wee Ginger Dug (and who can resist the strapline ‘Biting the hand of Project Fear!), Munguin, Lallands etc etc. Not forgetting Derek Bateman. Comment is Free, The Staggers, the Spectator – all mostly for the crack btl

    Now my routine is
    Facebook, Wings over Scotland, Newsnet, BBC very briefly (mostly for the weather forecast and to check how the Treasury Gilts are doing, for sake of how the wind blows). Radio Scotland almost never. Once a month I tune in while driving and it is generally some crap about fitba, or a lead in to Talk Shite With Kaye or whatever her replacement BBCDrone is called. I turn off.

    The UK is finished.

  60. great Blog Derek, thoroughly enjoyed your Danny Alexander “messenger boy” synopsis. I just hope the population sees through the popular media pro-independence propaganda which is basically a self preservation exercise. The next 6 months is going to be very interesting. c’mon the Yes’rs.

  61. I enjoy the blunt and combative tone of your blog, Derek, and very much agree that Yes is a rolling rock that won’t be stopped by anything that happens on September 18th. I’m moved by the commitment of my own children, only one of whom is a (not very active) member of the SNP. My youngest daughter is arranging a party for September 19th. It will be, she says, an independence celebration – or a council of war. No stopping there.

    I’m a wee bit saddened by your clinging to the idea that the BBC has just lost it’s way a little, like a man who can’t believe the rumours that his girlfriend is cheating on him. The BBC’s function as state propagandist long antedates the referendum campaign and embroils them in much more serious matters – crimes, even – such as the illegal attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing genocide in Palestine. There is plenty of documentation at Craig Murray’s site, or MediaLens, or the Glasgow University Media Group. You’d be shocked to know how many of us watch the BBC news only to get an indication of what isn’t true.

  62. cynicalHighlander

    Trust in any BBC news reporting is a slow burn which started for me last century where today I question anything that they report on anywhere in the world with a large pinch of salt. Even if they started to be balanced now their end is nigh no matter the result of the referendum.

    • Very well said. It’s good to know other people can see this subtle but evidently effective overuse of the union jack symbol. One of many limbs attached to this monstrous propaganda machine that has been force fed into the minds of the British public for generations now. It’s hardly suprising that the oldest of these generations are less keen on change and more under the impression that Scotland would struggle with independence. Having spent the last three years immersed in data and comparisons with dozens of other countries worldwide, I can safely say that nothing could be further from the truth. Of all the 140 countries from 220 on Earth who have gained independence in the last 70 years, Scotland is in as good a position as any, infact it would be fair to say in a stronger position than every single one of them. Not one country has wished for this to be reversed but for some reason apparently nearly half of Scotland are against it, even though every economical, social and political fact points towards yes as being the right and fair decision. I say ‘for some reason’ but nothing could be more obvious what that three lettered reason is. BBC.
      The question is ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ but the real question is ‘Will Scotland win the battle against a huge wave of biased, fear mongoring one sided broadcasting?’ I like to think most people can see it for what it is now, I hope I’m right.

  63. I don’t think a single reader of your’s agrees with you that the BBC is unbiased.

    If there is one, please come out and state explicitly that you agree with Derek that the BBC is unbiased.

  64. You may well be defending the BBC in Scotland but the plain fact is that BBC Londoncentric is totally opposed to any recognition of a meaningful dialogue on independence for Scotland. You have given us many jewels of insight and intrigue on this journey towards our inevitable destiny. Please keep pursuing the facts and reporting with the razor sharp observations we have come to expect from you.
    The pollsters and opinionators need to be stopped by those with the hard facts and you’ve proved to many of us that you’re up to speed with the debate. Thank you for the light you shed where doom and gloom are wont to tread.

  65. I too, feel that negative opinions surrounding the independence debate receive far more coverage by the BBC than anything positive. There is a general bias towards Britain (England and Wales) in news coverage as a whole by the BBC with Scottish stories, unless negative, relegated to regional news. I am tired of being made to feel that I live in a Region of the UK. Bring on the SBC I say.

  66. Seeing a catharsis displayed so publicly and so honestly is a rare and cherished privilege for that I thank you Derek,
    I’ll never forget my Damascene moment ,
    it was in 1974 and reading my parents ( old Labour ) paper of choice “the Daily Express” found myself ill at ease with the general tone of the paper and not entirely sure why it was but looking at the header on the front page it proudly proclaimed “THE VOICE OF SCOTLAND” and immediately thought you don’t speak for me,
    then looking closer at the source of said rubbish found it was “printed in Manchester” days later I signed up to the SNP a nationalist was born.

  67. ,
    ” you’ll know it’s the wine working on the medication” It is different in the real world!

  68. I wonder how much the licence fee income has dropped. Just heard that a 1% drop is £35 mil (I presume for UK). Does the BBC or the collection company give any figures. I presume FOI does not work because it is not a public company?

  69. Interesting read Derek, I have noticed over the recent months with growing awareness how biased the reporting on the BBC is, I thought first it was me being paranoid as I care deeply about the referendum, but in the end had to admit to myself that not only is the Independence reporting shamefully biased in favour of the Union the interviewers constantly appear to lack knowledge and be either unprepared or unwilling to challenge blatant untruths. I now question all topics they report on as I an annoyed with myself for being so naive and lazy in the past to have believed their impartiality. I now read info on social media and check in with foreign news channels to get a variety of views before I decide on my response.

  70. Have to say the level of bias on BBC now is unbelievable. I tend to listen to any other news nowadays or if it is BBC I assume its likely to be the opposite of what they are stating.

  71. Something that only recently crossed my mind, does the BBC reporting on the referrendum automatically represent a conflict of interest? The first B in the BBC is ‘British’ with a licence fee extracted from every British household and should Scotland vote yes then there’s going to be a whole lot less of them?

  72. Derek, Although there may not be deliberate bias there is institutional default Scottish cringe-ism within the BBC. I have been noting over the past year not just the content of interviews, their structure, but the choice of words, the emotive and simplistic ‘headlining’ of stories, (eg shifting ‘may’ to ‘will’) the tone and even facial expressions of presenters and interviewers, their incredulous inflections responding to any positive ‘yes’ views. Sally Magnusson and Kaye Adams come to mind as two who are particularly transparent and unable to mask the ‘leakage’ of their inner views as they broadcast. I have complained to the BBC about this but got the pat response da-di-da of their investigations showing no bias – I just dont think they have the skill to understand what is patently pouring out like a great waterfall of propaganda over the airwaves. The analysis by future generations of this will be interesting much as the WW1 propaganda of 1914 is seen as crass and simplistic nowadays.
    I listened to the Danny Alexander interview and agree – once he was challenged he fell apart. I suspect like many big organisations the ‘ingroup’ pressure applies – if there is a (written or unwritten) default ‘position’ that everyone tacitly upholds, going hard in an interview against the corporate mantra will leave that particular interviewer vulnerable to becoming ostracised.by the ‘ingourp (usually the powerful for promotion etc) and all that that entails in terms of careers.
    My other little hobby horse is the product placement strategy of the BBC in sticking union jacks in every programme they can -(mugs cushion covers, t shirts, posters etc etc) I should have been counting all this time, but would love to know if there is in fact a policy to establish the union jack visually in as many situations as possible in order to consolidate the unionist message.
    Well done you ditching all of that!

  73. I would like to believe that there is no organised bias in the BBC but if that is the case then it seems a remarkable co-incidence that everyone on TV or radio has decided to follow the no campaign agenda individually. We constantly hear BBC people asking about plan B but we never hear anyone from the yes campaign asked about the effect on the value of the pound or rUK economy of not having a currency union.

    Every company that has a contigency plan is reported as saying they will leave Scotland and those that say independence is a benefit or they see it as neutral is either unreported or like Willie Walsh the interview is terminated immediately.

    I have yet to hear anyone from the BBC challenge the yes campaign on the number of civil service posts that will lost in London and re-created in Scotland after independence not the effect on both economies. It also appears that BBC has no knowledge of the oil reserves in the Clyde basin or west of Shetland and the potential effect they would have on our economy.

    Maybe there is no organised bias in the BBC. Maybe it is just that 100% of their output is biased for some other reason.

  74. Great piece as usual Derek, although I must disagree with any suggestion that the BBC is not biased against Scottish self-determination. The bias is omnipresent in the corporation and I have a complaint against it ongoing at present, as will many, many other individuals.

    Yes. Of course, not everyone at the BBC is biased on the issue. I admire some of them. However, generally speaking it is rotten to the core on the matter.

    If there is a No vote there will be a mass campaign of non-payment of the Licence Fee and it doesn’t surprise me that the UK government is currently considering re-classifying non-payment as a civil matter rather than a criminal matter. They can’t be seen imprisoning Scots for opposing the BBC.

  75. Alan Whitelaw

    Derek I see the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Cultural Committee will meet this coming Tuesday 11th March , on the agenda is the U.W.S Report and they will be questioning B.B.C. Managers and the Author of the Report re. the future coverage of the Independence Debate. Will you be there to give some pointer?

  76. Good blog again derek,but sadly you still seem to be in denial about your biased former employer.

  77. It’s a good job the yes campaign is going to lose, because Alex Salmond and his cronies would look very silly indeed when it turned out that they’d called somebody’s bluff which quite obviously isn’t a bluff. Why on Earth the rUK would bluff about this, or why on Earth we would accept a currency union has not been explained. All we’ve been offered instead, again, is whining about how unfair it is that the rUK isn’t going to offer Scotland a deal which would benefit Scotland greatly and provide nothing but risks for the rest of the UK. This argument that “Scotland has helped to build up the currency” is believed only by deluded yes supporters. The strength of a currency has little or nothing to do with history and everything to do with the present. In other words, Sterling is strong because it is backed by ENGLISH TAXPAYERS and the ENGLISH ECONOMY. If Scotland wants to go on benefiting from this then it had better vote no to independence, because hell will freeze over before rUK politicians are dumb enough to backstop an independent Scottish government and banking system.

    Why the **** should English taxpayers backstop Scottish banks???? Do you think we are completely stupid? Privatisation of profits in Scotland. Socialisation of losses in England. Oh yeah, why on Earth would we say no to that!

    • On behalf of the English, Geoff Dann asks: “Do you think we are completely stupid?” Well, actually, YES, we do.

    • Geoff – I meet up with an old English friend in Greece every Autumn. He is a professor at the Royal Military Academy, Shrivetham. An English person brought up the independence question. He said “I. like most English people, know very little or nothing about Scotland, and think given those circumstances I will not comment and so make a fool of myself”. I suggest you take his advice!

    • Geoff, every late summer in Greece I meet up with an English Professor from the Royal Military Academy, Shrivenham, Wiltshire – no doubt you have heard of it. When a mutual English friend raised the independence issue the professor said “Like most English people I know little to nothing about Scotland I will therefore not venture an opinion and possibly make a fool of myself”! I suggest you heed his advice. The assumption that because you read the English media and listen to the BBC is a guarantee of omniscience is your first mistake!

      • Apologies for double post – management reminded me of the Prof’s exact words and who am I to dispute what she says!

  78. cynicalHighlander

    Make of this response what you will but the brainwashing by our state broadcaster is coming into question by an ever increasing number of people and we can’t all be wrong.

    The whole debate is on you tube in sections.

  79. An example of negotiation to us all; the contrast of Danny Alexander on GMS many mornings since the Osbourne Currency Sermon, “It ain’t gonna happen”, with his teaching to us on Any Questions 7th and 8th March at about 33:45 minutes into the programme, in response to a question about UKIP and the EU:

    “I just think the the idea that you can advance the reform agenda by sitting down with people and saying, ‘If you don’t agree with me we are going to walk away from the club.’ is just completely wrong. You get the best out of any alliance or any attempt to work together with other people by working positively with them, not continually threatening you will throw your toys out of the pram and walk away.”

  80. […] up from London to head BBC Scotland’s referendum coverage last year, has been frequently criticised by a former presenter of the same programme, Derek Bateman, for a failure to display an even-handed […]

  81. Far away in Australia I’ve noticed and commented upon the change in BBC shows, mainly documentaries such as Coast, and on BBC newscasts, the terminology change that is, from England to The United KIngdom and recently when reporting on the storm tossed south east of England words I never thought to hear – southern Britain.
    THE ABC acknowledges its close ties with its ‘ sister’ BBC, even to an ABC announcer quoting the Spanish President of the EU saying an independent Scotland’ s chances of joining the EU were practically nil. The 30 second news bite accompanied by laughter at the very thought of an independent Scotland..

  82. This is the reply I received to a complaint made to the BBC over the Standard Life reporting…

    However, we believe we reported on the Standard Life story in an accurate and impartial manner.
    We reported exactly what the investment firm has said which is that they are “drawing up contingency plans to move the company out of the country unless a formal currency agreement can be agreed”.
    Standard Life is the first big Scottish company to warn this which is why its story, we believe, is of interest to the majority of our audience.

    We are determined to be impartial and fair in our coverage and to bring a range of views to our audiences. The up and coming referendum is a long campaign and there have been, and will be, many opportunities across all of our platforms for coverage of the issues.

    Only the company does NOT at any time say it IS moving out! and it stated “to move parts of the company”
    Don’t expect any good news for the YES campaign to be highlighted…hence AVIVA. Sorry but they could not be more biased if they tried.

  83. Derek,
    I must admit that I have been concerned about the role of the mainstream media and I have written about it in my recent blog, http://bit.ly/MYLl5m I have taken the liberty of including a couple of quotes from your article which I thought were very appropriate.

  84. A conspiracy is something you usually find out about when it is too late.

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