Family Man

I’ve stolen a moment to do a bit of blogging. I’ve been on family watch for part of the day. Instead of watching rugby I was eating popcorn and watching Lego the Movie at Cineworld…with somebody else’s kids!

Unknown

I just want to make a couple of points. First it’s thank you time to all those who add their ideas and thoughts to the blog. It is very supportive and there is a growing number who are becoming followers – over 700 now. I don’t think it’s the same as tweeting where you can mount them up quite quickly and I don’t tweet seriously as I cant think of anything to say in two sentences. But I see many of you are tweeting and re-tweeting my blog for which I’m really grateful.

SOME of you are getting the wrong idea about my questions about BBC output. I am a strident critic of the management and of some of the journalism but I don’t share the view that some of you have that this is organised and deliberate. I am a supporter of the BBC which is the main reason I have taken the route I have of challenging the management who I believe are doing a disservice to the Corporation and to Scotland. It is because I believe in the BBC that I have gone public in criticising the way it is being run. I do not want to destroy it. Nor does the SNP. I want it to reflect and represent Scotland as it is supposed to do in its charter.

I have stated in detail where the BBC went wrong and where I think they should have foreseen problems and acted. I have laid out how that could have been done.

But the idea that I would “admit” or “concede” something I believe not to be true are ridiculous. It is also insulting to me. When claims are made that I must admit a conspiracy when I have said there isn’t one, is to think I’m messing around with this. I have put myself beyond the safety net and future involvement with the BBC and earnings. To me that is a matter of integrity. If I say there is no conspiracy it is because I know that to be true. My knowledge is based on 25 years in current affairs and thousands of programmes I have made. What are the doubters basing their views on?  I accept and say so myself that the BBC has not matched up to the challenge and has no effective sanction given that the Trust is toothless and I respect anybody else having a counter view but there is nothing to be “conceded” here.  If I write it, it is because it is true as far as all my experience is concerned. I don’t write to fit somebody else’s prejudices or desires for justification.

There is no conspiracy. There is no organised anti-independence campaign inside the BBC. Journalists do not deliberately distort items to make them pro-Union. Ninety per cent of the output I consume is perfectly fair, if often uninspired, and I know the staff are doing their best. But at times the acts of omission and commission are so gross it is natural to think there must be something wilful behind it. But beware. By transposing your suspicions on to all output you make the mistake that you accuse the BBC of. In other words you make your bias the prism through which you see events. And when the BBC or Unionists see on the blog comments about Jackie Bird or other presenters letting “their bias” show, it allows them to brand us all as fruitcakes. That is precisely how such opinions are regarded inside the BBC, they would be laughed at by MSPs, examining the BBC this week, and provide ammunition for Unionist critics. And No, I wasn’t cut out of any anti-independence loop.

I am the only recent ex BBC person to go public and it isn’t just the management who don’t like it. Many of the staff don’t like it either so it’s a difficult route for me to take. Others who have left have deep resentments for the BBC but they are keeping their heads down. They have careers and lives to think about. I, on the other hand, am right out there and take the consequences. But just as I wouldn’t fabricate a story when inside the BBC, so I won’t fabricate allegations against it when I’m outside. You can take it or leave it. It makes no difference to me. I will deal with my own version of reality and the facts as I know them. I like to think it’s called honesty.

WE have an interesting and I think symptomatic contribution from Geoff over on the right today who doesn’t understand what Scotland has brought to the currency after 300 years. The irony here is that neatly destroys the entire case for Union which is based on mutual interest and proportionate contributions. If you read him a little further you’ll find he regards the UK to be England’s creation, dependent on England’s wealth and de facto, he destroys the case of the Union on our behalf. A helpful opponent indeed.

This type of comment is welcome because I think it is honest and typical of English sentiment – assuming that’s what Geoff is. It underlines why the prevalent view is that Scotland doesn’t count and its loss wont matter and illustrates why we should get out with our dignity intact before they leave the EU.

Having no knowledge of our actual contribution to the UK is all you need to know about the southern view. For example, if we have a population share of debt, why no share of currency, national deposits, gold reserves and QE debt bonds held by the Bank? The UK has the highest balance of payments deficit in the EU. Scotland is a net exporter and without those exports, the deficit doubles and becomes unsustainable. The British cost of borrowing will increase. The entire UK debt will be left with the UK to pay off – debt ballooning at £7000 a second – and will have to do so having lost 10 per cent of its economy.

Geoff doesn’t reference the official figures showing Scots paying £1700 more per head every year than he does to the Exchequer or Scotland having been a net contributor to the UK for the last 30 years.

An acknowledgment that they spent our £400 billion of oil tax revenues would be appreciated.

The big banks are only nominally Scottish in reality and RBS has such toxic debts it is best left where they failed to regulate it – in London.

Geoff I think regards the nationalist offer of sharing the debt and the currency to retain continuity, as a con to get charity from England, indicating a somewhat narrow view of how a Union is supposed to operate but again it is illustrative of why Scotland needs to get out and let them get on with running greater England. Many of us, myself included, want nothing to do with the British Treasury and would prefer no currency union since history shows they can’t be trusted and have never understood, as Geoff doesn’t, either the history, purpose or modus operandi of the Union. We should be grateful to him.

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107 thoughts on “Family Man

  1. The BBC 2’s program The Stewarts only started with James Vl. … He was the first English Stewart King so …

  2. I think, and always have thought throughout the thirty years I lived in Scotland and beyond that the BBC buys into stereotypes because, if it doesn’t believe in them itself (which I often doubt) it firmly believes that its audiences do – and that audiences beyond the borders of Alba wouldn’t be able to grasp any other concept.

  3. Derek, I agree with you about almost everything but not about the BBC. They are biased and their coverage of the IndyRef is abysmal. Never a chance is missed to run down the Yes side but No gets a free ride.

  4. bob mccracken

    how interesting….. you are right
    ,never thought of it that way. the bbc wasnt malicious but merely inept (not deliberately)
    with the income they get every year one would presume this brings professionalism,but this is not necessarily the case
    so i will now view them through a different prism.and hope you are right
    we will see as the debate gets fiercer

  5. webmasterhill

    I distrust conspiracy theories, myself. Except insofar as every political ideology is a conspiracy to adhere to a viewpoint and to some extent or other fit the world around it. I believe in cock-up since that’s where consipracy gets you at its most claustrophobic. It’s also where, what I think you’re getting at here arrives: mindset and myopia, not driven by deliberate attempts to conspire. Rather there’s a kind of blindness that makes what is reported on skewed and selective. It’s the inability to recognise this which is disturbing, lamentable. The BBC and the media seem to be rabbits in the headlights, dodging what’s coming as if it’s some illuminated predator, as if jinking the way they always did will have the desired effect. What’s coming is monumental change (even if the answer is NO) and for all their dodging, these poor, unconspiring rabbits can’t even cook up a story between them them and escape.

  6. Hi Derek

    You wrote:
    —————————————————————————————————-
    WE have an interesting and I think symptomatic contribution from Geoff over on the right today who doesn’t understand what Scotland has brought to the currency after 300 years.
    —————————————————————————————————-
    I understand very well what Scotland has brought to the currency during the past 300 years, I just believe it to be entirely irrelevant to the question of whether or not an independent Scotland should be granted a currency union. My point was that the past is actually irrelevant – it doesn’t matter what Scotland did while it was part of the union, because what is being asked for is for England (and the rest of the remaining UK) to continue acting as a backstop for Scottish banks and the Scottish government after independence when it is quite clearly not in our interest to do so. As pointed out be the Citigroup report released today (or was it yesterday), Scotland’s economy and tax-base is simply not big enough to backstop its banking sector. So what Scotland is asking for is to be able to take all of the profits (or rather the tax on the profits) from its oversized banking sector, but for English taxpayers to act as guarantors in the case of a default. This is unreasonable to the point that we’d have to be bonkers to accept it, and that is why all three rUK parties have ruled it out. It would be electoral suicide for them to accept it. It’s no use you telling us that for the last 300 years Scotland has helped to make sterling what it is today. It may well be true, but it doesn’t make it any less bonkers for English taxpayers to backstop Scottish banks after independence.

    As for the Scottish threat to walk away from the 9% of the UK national debt, there are several responses to this. Firstly this would invite retaliation in other parts of the negotiations – for example a refusal to allow Scotland any of the gold and other assets. Secondly it would mean Scotland, though starting with zero debts, would be treated on the international markets as a nation that had defaulted and its borrowing costs would reflect this. And thirdly, and probably most importantly, even if the rest of the UK were to take on the entire UK national debt rather than just 91% of it, this is *still* nothing like as bad as agreeing to act as a guarantor for future Scottish bank failures or lender of last resort to the Scottish government. That 9% of the debt is a one-off hit, but backstopping Scotland is the equivalent of writing a blank cheque. Which would you do, given the choice?

    I don’t see any point in responding to the other things you’ve said because I am making a very specific point here: why the rest of the UK is not bluffing when it says that Scotland will be denied a currency union point blank. If Scotland wants independence then it means walking away from the security of being part of an economy 9 times bigger than Scotland. What the nationalists want is to have their cake and eat it: they want the all of the benefits of independence, but they also want the security that comes with being part of the union. Sorry, but this is not on offer. I wish Scotland the very best whichever way the vote goes, but you have to understand that independence means INDEPENDENCE, not “the benefits of independence but none of the drawbacks.”

    Geoff

    • cynicalHighlander

      England (and the rest of the remaining UK) to continue acting as a backstop for Scottish banks

      They are Scottish because they refer to a country or region as the UK is split up. Where is Northern Rock as we know that Halifax which bought BoS to create HBoS and Halifax is in the region of NE England? Barclays was bailed out by the FED in America and by Qatar, strange how only banks that refer to Scotland are treated as pariahs by the British state very strange.

    • hi geoff
      derek is right you are one of the best reasons for us to be independent,personally i didnt think we had any gold left….ist rule of accounting………….. assets and liabilities

    • Geoff – you do know the total debt in money owed and money that needs to found is around 900% of the UK’s GDP according to ‘Money Week’ – a financial magazine which has a track record of reading the economic runes pretty accurately. For comparison Wiemar went tits up when their debt level passed 913% of GDP.

      So Geoff are you ready for England and Wales (with NI) to replace Ireland in the PIGS group of indebted countries in the EU and change it to PEGS?

      Osbourne is playing Russian Roulette with Sterling except only one chamber is empty – it is the one which held the currency union bullet, unless he wants to reduce England and Wales to the level of Greece, it is the bullet he is going to have to bite.

      Without Scotland, England and Wales (with NI) has an established underlying debt to GDP ratio of 95% where as an independent Scotland’s debt to GDP ratio of 45% if we do not take on a share of UK debt or 50% of GDP if we do, according Standard and Poors. You then have to consider all the resources Sterling will no longer have behind it if there is no currency union. £2 Trillion of North Sea assets at today’s values, 25% of Sterling’s foreign exchange earnings, 10% of UK GDP, £10 billion Sterling surplus which Scotland contributes.

      So Geoff, when Osbourne cuts his nose off to spite his face and your Sterling investments and savings plunge to worthless Zimbabwe dollar levels, while Osbourne raids your pension funds and savings in an attempt to shore up a rapidly devaluing currency and reduce the rate of capital flight from London – maybe you will remember this conversation and realise the extent you have been taken for a plonker by the English Conservative/Labour/Dem Party.

      Tarff Advertiser currency union myth

    • Your comment about Scotland being treated by the markets as having “defaulted” is not correct.

      Default means failure to pay under a contract. Scotland is not party to the UK’s debt documents.

      The decision of the UK government to claim that the state formerly known as England is the UK as a matter of international law means that rUK(sic) must continue to take full responsibility for the contractual liabilities of the UK (and it has been forced to acknowledge that this will be the case).
      http://archive.is/k7x0s

      Transferring some debt to Scotland directly would have been a default by the UK (“reneging” on its obligations), which is why the Treasury had to make the statement.

      The definition of sovereign default relates to contractual obligations and is set out here on page 4:
      http://www.moodysanalytics.com/~/media/Microsites/CRRM/2012/Sovereign%20Research/2012-30-07-Sovereign-Default-and-Recovery-Rates.ashx
      and here in Appendix 1:
      http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/articles/en/us/?articleType=HTML&assetID=1245350156739

      The following points are key:
      “In general, Standard & Poor’s sovereign ratings apply only to debt that the present government acknowledges as its own.”

      “Standard & Poor’s takes no position on the propriety of government debt defaults, repudiations, and the like.”

      “Instead, Standard & Poor’s ratings are an opinion of the probability of default on a forward-looking basis. We analyze historical defaults to form our own view as to the extent that they could affect the likelihood of the sovereign defaulting in the future.”

      Investors and rating agencies are concerned with the risk of non-payment in the future:
      1. Entities that have defaulted in the past may be regarded as a higher risk in the future because having done it once they might do it again.
      2. Entities that take on debts that they are not obliged to contractually also damage their credit ratings – this is called “moral hazard”.
      3. Taking on less debt reduces the risk of future non-payment of Scotland’s own debt.

      From the perspective of investors and the rating agencies:
      1. Scotland has never and will never have defaulted on any debt obligations and its own debt will be governed by legal, valid, binding and enforceable documentation.
      2. They will regard the amount of debt to be assumed by Scotland as a purely commercial negotiation
      3. Scotland will have a solid fiscal position (AAA metrics – even assuming a population share of debt).

      The commercial negotiations between Scotland and rUK over the share of assets and liabilities should have not have any material effect on debt investors’ view of Scotland’s approach to contractual obligations in relation to debt that it acknowledges as its own.

    • Geoff wrote: Secondly it would mean Scotland, though starting with zero debts, would be treated on the international markets as a nation that had defaulted…

      No it wouldn’t. It would be treated the same as any other small country that didn’t allow itself to be bullied into submission by a larger neighbour.

  7. lastchancetoshine

    “There is no conspiracy. There is no organised anti-independence campaign inside the BBC. Journalists do not deliberately distort items to make them pro-Union.”

    Whether it’s orchestrated or not is irrelevant Derek, it’s happening. The failure to prevent it is tacit approval like turning a blind eye to the professional foul, whether that’s purely down to incompetence as you suggest we’ll never really know. It’s certainly not down to chance (otherwise there would be equal amounts of incompetence leading the other way).
    You are certainly agreeing the imbalance exists “But at times the acts of omission and commission are so gross it is natural to think there must be something wilful behind it.” but this is at odds with your ex collegues attitude which of course we must take your word for. – “That is precisely how such opinions are regarded inside the BBC” so a dismissal of accusations out of hand is the default reaction and an end to the matter, when instead the right and proper way to combat such accusations is to investigate them thoroughly and publish the findings.

    Let’s not forget the need to not only be fair but to be seen to be fair. While we might not agree absolutely on the first, the latter certainly isn’t happening.

  8. Derek – my wife and I used to enjoy your Saturday morning programme – hasn’t had the same depth since you left, but we’re enjoying your blogs. Keep going!

  9. The subject you raise would make a very good subject for a TV or radio programme – and one broadcast this year, not shelved safely as an idea till, say, 2114. But of course it will never be done this year. But why? Is it not in their remit? Is it simply incompetence? Is it fear? Career? Confusion?

  10. lastchancetoshine

    As one of the other posters pointed out earlier in the week, there doesn’t have to be an organised institutional bias campaign to be happening for the ‘manufactured consent’ effect to exist. there just has to be a lack of will to do anything about it, or, disbelief in the possibility that it may exist.

  11. I am a great admirer of what you write and have a gift in expressing your views but I think you are wrong about the BBC. They are very biased in my view and it is not because thy are inept, it is because they are, in the main, supporters of the establishment and in many cases, supporters of the Unionist part of the Labour Party.

  12. Like most mainstream media nowadays, BBC journalists regurgitate whatever is spun on PR/party political handouts. Few appear to query or research the facts of the matter. Overall there does seem to be a bias in terms of reporting on the referendum debate, with No always tending to get the first and last word in, and, frighteningly, sometimes the only word.

  13. Good to learn that Westminster still has a little gold left and didn’t manage to sell off the “family silver”. I thought Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown dealt with that problem years ago.

  14. katrina macgregor

    enjoyed the chat at the Smith the other night Derek. I was interested in your opinion that the BBC bias is not deliberate and you may be right. So why when friends of mine post comments that are pro Independence, on the BBC comment page, do their accounts suddenly get shut down? One woman used her mobile to post comments, account shut down. A while later she had to purchase a new mobile and found that she could again post pro Independence comments but only briefly until her mobile number was flagged up somewhere? Any ideas.

  15. Many years ago I was stopped in Sauchiehall St by a lady asking if I had a few moments to take part in a survey regarding my viewing and listening habits. This I did and it was no surprise to me that most of my time was spent watching and listening to the B.B.C. At that time, and, perhaps naively, I always thought that I was bring told the truth, in relation to the print news media which I realised had an “agenda”. But since the Independence Referendum date was announced, I’m afraid that belief has been shattered. I defer to your knowledge of the inner workings of the B.B.C, but as an once regular viewer, and listener, especially G.M.S, I just don’t believe that this attitude towards the reporting of the campaign is shoddy journalism. The B.B.C may be a public service broadcaster, but effectively it the organ of the state, in this case Westminster. As I believe Lord Reith once said, ” They, the Government, (when there was only Westminster) know we dont have to be impartial, really”,says it all, a comment reinforced by Lord Hall, the present D.G, in Edinburgh last year. As far as I am concerned B.B.C Scotland is a “busted flush” and I can only hope that the S.B.S is a big improvement especially in it’s news division, but if some of the present staff are to be retained as seems likely, I rather doubt it. And as for their careers are concerned, surely they should realise that the £320m presently collected in Scotland via the licence fee, would be spent mainly in this country, and the staff would not have to depend on the derisory sum spent at present, courtesy of London. No, Dr. John Robertson, and his team at the the U.W.S got it correct, bias does exist, it is institutionally endemic and unfortunately it will continue, even after the referendum, no matter the result.
    ,

  16. To be honest I am in no position to comment on the bias or otherwise of the BBC or indeed any other broadcaster as I have not had a television for many years now. However, I am aware that many people in the yes camp are disappointed to find that what is appearing on their screens is not of a standard or impartiality they would expect. I think there may be two reasons for this. In the first place, I suspect that the level of prior detailed knowledge about independence was extremely low outwith the media and not much higher within it. Imperfect knowledge and understanding leads irrevocably to unbalanced reporting, as only when one has a full command of the facts can one make a reasoned analysis. Even amongst , nay especially amongst politicians the facts are often left at the margins of a good controversy.

    There is however a core of thoroughly well informed observers described by some as cybernats who are constantly critiquing output from a standpoint of in many cases quite deep knowledge. . Inevitably their specialist knowledge of a certain part of the debate is more detailed than many of those called upon to comment on television, which can lead to accusations of selective reporting (otherwise known as bias).

    If your analysis is correct, in that any perceived bias is not intentional, then obviously the answer lies in information. Organisations like Business for Scotland have made it their business to get out and informaas many people as possible, and perhaps all that is necessary is a bit of education of editors and producers.

    The second trigger is perhaps expectations. And it is not unrelated to the first point. When a broadcaster or sets out to describe events in, for example, Afghanistan or Crimea something like 99% of the audience is starting from a virtually zero threshold. Accordingly any shortcomings or inaccuracies are masked by general ignorance of the subject matter and if the truth crawls out it will be years later when it is no longer news. . This is different. The population has a very high level of expectations because this is a subject not distant or only marginally relevant, but one which is central to the future of all of us. Our expectations of our broadcasters at sky-high, and we are profoundly frustrated when they are not met.

    Since the broadcasters are merely a reflection of society as a whole, especially as viewed by the establishment, they possibly believe that their portrayal of the yes brigade as a bit flakey and marginal is a realistic impartial view. The only solution, as with the first point, is education. The media have got to get themselves up to speed, and fast, in order to put their shop in order.

    Measured, considered analyses like your own should be taken on board by the media, and serious efforts made to produce the rigorous, forensic, questioning and challenging analysis that the debate deserves. And if that happens then the public at large will be better informed through the depth and breadth of coverage.

    Many stories in the media are good for entertainment. Put two politicians in a room with a couple of microphones and light the blue touchpaper. This debate may have occasions when this is necessary or desirable. But for the most part that will help nobody, least of all the general public. And since repeated surveys show that the public feels it has insufficient information, that is where the emphasis should be. First ensure that the media managers and editors are well informed (and consequently well balanced!) and then deliver that information and balance to the public. Simples!

  17. I admire your work Derek and agree that people shouldn’t just churn out jibes at individuals at the BBC. I also have admiration for some BBC folk on both sides of the border, but very few.

    I recently complained about a two-hour long prog on 5Live regarding the independence debate. A half-dozen Unionists got to comment (politicians and experts) but not one Yes person. That was throughout the entire two hours (12 noon to 2pm).

    We were informed by the presenter on several occasions that the Yes campaign would have their say in a programme later that day commencing at 4pm. The programme at 4pm again gave a half-dozen clips of Unionists remarking that no-one from the Yes side was available. We eventually heard from a Yes camp spokesperson at 6.15pm.

    It was disgraceful.

    Their response to me is unacceptable too. Apparently the BBC can group successive programmes together in order to be fair and impartial over a period (which it still wasn’t).. Constant No people for 6 hours 15 minutes and not one Yes person on a referendum issue involving only two sides!

    My complaint is ongoing…

  18. Garry Henderson

    For me it’s about trust, I no longer trust what I am being told by the BBC, I no longer trust the BBC to ask the questions I would ask, I no longer trust that I am being told both sides of a story or the full story. I guess the gross acts of omission would do that to trust in any relationship.
    If I had paid a labourer for work to be done and he’d left a part out, I would expect him to come back and fix it and I would think twice about using him again. Unfortunately all I can do is refuse to pay my TV licence and stop watching or listening to the BBC. I cannot see them thus regaining my trust any time soon.

  19. Derek, are you now saying that West of a Scotland University study is flawed and Dr Robertson is delusional?

    • No, that’s not what he’s saying. Nobody is arguing against the fact that there has been a gross imbalance in the BBC’s reporting of the referendum and Derek has highlighted that previously, in the specific context of Dr Robertson’s study, All that Derek is saying is that, in his opinion, the cause is a deficiency in management at the BBC, rather than specific and willful bias of the staff.

      I am no lover of the BBC, but I’m willing to give Derek’s views the benefit of doubt, given that he knows all of the people concerned personally and professionally. The BBC has become one of the establishment figureheads for us to rally against during the debate and, for that reason, it’s difficult to see them in any light other than one of the evil bad guys.

      • “All that Derek is saying is that, in his opinion, the cause is a deficiency in management at the BBC, rather than specific and willful bias of the staff.”

        He’s only saying that because he doesn’t want to upset his former journalist colleagues too much. Much easier to blame “Management”. How many times do I read that “it is all the fault of the management” when people on the “shop floor” make a cock up.

        “I am no lover of the BBC, but I’m willing to give Derek’s views the benefit of doubt, given that he knows all of the people concerned personally and professionally. ”

        You’ve got that the wrong way round. And his views are wrong. The fact he knows them so well is why he won’t criticise them.

      • The real problem with what Derek says here (and repeats every time BBC bias is pointed out by non media connected folk) is that he continually relies on a straw man argument. The one that claims we, as critics, are somehow advancing a conspiracy theory in which every presenter, manager and researcher is acting out some inner hatred of Scottish self determination to desperately influence the political output of every broadcast made by the BBC. This is none sense and easily disproved. So Derek we agree.

        Now could you please address the real reason for the obvious and blatant bias continually shown in the BBC output (and set to get much worse I believe)?

        That is the theory of ‘Manufacturing consent’ by Noam Chomsky. It has been paraphrased by many of the posters BTL on your blogs dealing with this subject and specifically referenced directly on a regular basis without you even acknowledging it as the real criticism of the Corporation and how its output is being produced.

        Please deal with the nuanced critic being put forward by your readership and stop palming us off with your regular ‘demolition’ of your favoured depiction of our supposed criticisms.

        This is my only criticism of what is otherwise one of the best indy sites on the web! That is probably why I and many others find this particular foible so infuriating 8 – )

        Please keep up the good work Derek, it’s much appreciated!

    • On the first point, when people on the “shop floor” cock up it’s very often down to a failure of management, for many reasons – inadequate training, ineffective supervision and support, unclear or possibly conflicting goals…the list is endless. Truly effective managers will accept this, without question, and work towards ensuring that those they are responsible for have the tools and the guidance they need in order to successfully execute their own specific responsibilities. Unfortunately this is the UK, which is not historically known for the progressiveness of it’s management, particularly within state-owned institutions. As a long standing state institution, why should the BBC be any different?

      As to the second point, Derek has indeed been highly critical of how the BBC have handled the referendum coverage thus far. He has also been highly critical of their handling of Dr Robertson’s report. He has given us his views on the reasons behind the imbalances on several occasions, effectively burning his BBC bridges. BBC career-wise, he has nothing left to lose so if he is of the opinion that there is no big institutional conspiracy behind it all then that should be good enough for us. We trust and value his views and judgement in all of his other blogs so why not in this case?

      Who knows…it MIGHT even help us to rise above the intense frustration we constantly feel with the BBC’s coverage and understand them a little better. It never hurts to understand the other side’s point of view.

  20. I’m not really sure that to the vast majority of the population, the BBC is relevant anymore, particularly the under 30’s. Instead, reality(whose)? tv has replaced all the good we used to love. The political progs. are only watched by us anoraks.

    I can see that cost-cutting and bad management has made a massive difference to quality. It’s been obvious for a while. Problem is that folk are turning off and I’m not sure if they will ever be back, and that is criminal.

    But, if radical change happens…well who knows!

    • You’re right mogabee

      The BBC is losing young viewers and listeners at a fast rate. Even most viewers of the probably soon to be axed BBC Three are over 35 and not in fact teenagers and young twenties that they originally thought!

  21. I agree Derek that the management is poor, but I have been waiting for too long to hear a BBC journalist challenge the Darlings and Alexanders of this world regards the misinformation on oil and gas reserves, bank bailouts, Scotlands tax contribution according to GERS, the lie that we can be refused the use of the pound, the mechanism there is to remove Scots citizenship of the EU. Its all basic stuff that I, a minimum wage scudgie, who is following the debate, would expect as a minimum from a professional.
    The Marr/Barroso interview cemented my view of the BBC, as does Naughtie. These people are the BBC and I like it no more.
    Yesterday the BBC ignored the AVIVA statement. How embarrassing would that have been for Standard Life if it was to get the same wall to wall coverage. One a can do, the other a cant do .Hard to explain eh?

    Oh well keep it up Derek, yer blogs the best!

  22. Charles Kearney

    Derek, I was quite unable to continue reading what your Correspondent, Geof, has to say after the first few sentences, his words are laden with racism and unworthy of consideration, in fact, I’m surprised you referred to him.
    I follow your Blog regularly, and to some extent I can understand even your misplaced Loyalty, But, I have only one question to ask. You, no doubt know all of the Broadcasting Staff in the Politics Department, and here is my question, do you have knowledge of any one of them who is sympathetic to Scottish Independence?

  23. Hi Derek. I think your blog is brilliant and important, and I respect your knowledge of the BBC, but I find it hard to agree with much of this post. I’ll try to keep and open mind and take my obvious bias into account. However the Upcoming interview with Mr Darling will be very telling, see – http://wingsoverscotland.com/an-open-letter-to-james-naughtie/

  24. Two questions, Derek: 1) Have the BBC ever truly recovered from their role in WWII when they really were the ‘state broadcaster’ – does not part of their role, as they see it, continue to include working as a factor in uniting the nation?
    2) Since its unjustified humiliation at the time of the Andrew Gilligan affair, has the BBC ever stood by an evidence-based rebuttal of fundamental (not fringe) government policies?

    My point being that when it comes down to it, the BBC may be accused of preferring the easy life, justifying itself to itself by thinking it is performing a unifying role. And that, of course, leads to bias.

  25. ‘My knowledge is based on 25 years in current affairs and thousands of programmes I have made. What are the doubters basing their views on? ‘

    My knowledge. A degree in journalism, three years at Filmschool, an MFA in documentary photography and 15 years working for all departments of the BBC, from the Natural History Unit to Science and other factual departments and many newsrooms across the country.
    I’ve also worked for Sky, Channel Four, Nat Geographic and many other international broadcasters. I’ve filmed political, scientific and cultural programming in some 50 or so countries worldwide.

    But you know what Derek, it doesn’t matter a toss what I’ve done. Impartiality and bias are very easy things to spot, and generally, people are good readers of a situation. More often than not, if your instinct tells you somethings a bit off, it usually is. You don’t need training for that.

    The whole point of the UWS report was to examine programming over the space of a year, the main BBC news programme, Reporting Scotland, had a consistent policy of favouring one political side over another, and this is a document you yourself have publicly backed.

    What that document shows, without a shadow of doubt (and peer reviewed by Edinburgh University, therefore gaining Academic Publication approval) is that certainly within that particular programme there is an institutional bias at work.

    It is not hard therefore, nor unreasonable, for people to think that, in a such a reasonably small department as that there may be something bigger at play here.

    Finally, what you must remember Derek, and I’ll be blunt here, is that you’re late to the party.

    Many of us have been are now into our third year of complaining – we were there when the blogs went down months after the 2011 election and the announcement of a independence referendum. Scotland lost it’s comment facilities on the political and economic blogs while the rest of the country, including all the regions, kept theirs open. Hell, at the time we even had a BBC ‘Silicon Valley’ blog that we could comment on.

    At that time I spent a few hours one afternoon counting all the BBC news blogs we could comment on, there were over 50.

    We all complained like stink, and we were fobbed off with the line ‘we’re closing the comments so we can open up comments on other Scottish news stories’. Prior to their closing, we would have an average of 10-12 blogs from Brian Taylor or Douglas Fraser that we could comment on every month.

    In the year after the closure, we had 10 stories open to comments. Thats it. 10 in a year.

    There are two options here. Either that was a political move by BBC Scotland or it was a cut in services to Scottish licence fee payers, and only us as the rest of the world seemed to have comment facilities. Which was it ?

    This was the first of countless encounters we’ve had with the BBC.

    Since then we’ve complained like stink, about this, that and the other. We’ve written countless letters, sent e-mails and even stood outside demonstrating. Every single time we’ve been fobbed off, ignored and called ‘nutters’ .

    But hey, what do we expect, the BBC in Scotland are so full of themselves that they think that as a public body taking tax payers money they aren’t accountable and when asked to appear in front of our democratically elected politicians in our country’s parliament they can refuse.

    So Derek, i would ask you to give us a little slack, we’ve been at this a while and got absolutely nowhere it seems. Your blog has become very important to the indy scene. Wings, Newsnet and other brave souls do a grand job, but you offer something that no-one else does, you were an ‘insider’.

    It’s only natural that you get bombarded with allegations and questions because you’ve broken silence. I bet at every meeting ‘Yes’ meeting you attend the first question asked is about BBC bias, and if it was me facing that question, I’d get sick of it.

    Remember, we’re not judging you, we don’t see you as ex-BBC in that respect – your weekend show was the only one that got any recognition from us, ‘hey did you listen to Derek Bateman today ? that was surprisingly impartial ‘, ‘ see when he asked that really awkward question, that unionist politician did not have an answer’ were the comments you would most often read being made about you on Wings or Newsnet.

    You are the exception to the rule Derek and therefore it’s only natural that people expect or hope you have some big expose for us.

    So maybe there’s a little mutual understanding we can all come to. I think most readers understand the sacrifice you’ve personally made and we’re are more than appreciative of your work and efforts. I’m sure we can tone down our nuttery just a tad, but please understand, we’ve been banging our heads against the brick wall of the BBC for years now – there’s bound to be resentment on our part.

  26. Maybe there is less bias than we think there is, but there’s certainly more than Derek thinks there is. The question is, though, is this a conscious decision to influence the referendum, or not? I could see that it might not be.

    It comes down to a sense of entitlement, similar to that experienced by Scottish Labour. Labour are so absolutely rock-certain that they are right, deep in their souls, that it doesn’t even occur to them that they are behaving badly. The current row in Aberdeen is a great example. The Labour councillors are so certain they are in the right and the SNP have no right to be in government and when he does his job as FM Salmond is “bullying”, that they see nothing wrong in both banning him from council premises and writing to all council tax payers telling them to vote No.

    I think it may be the same in the BBC. These people are utterly immovably certain that the Union is the right and proper thing, that Westminster politicians are the heavyweights who have to be deferred to, that Scottish politicians are provincial know-nothings, and that the entire independence movement is a bunch of rebels with absolutely no right to be questioning the status quo. That’s the baggage they bring to work with them, and that’s what colours their attitudes. They’re on the right side, and if any of these separatist loonies complains, we’ll just treat them like the no-account loonies they are.

    • Morag,the Young protocol will live in infamy in Scottish history.
      You are absolutely correct about the devine right of Labour rule in Scotland,as they see it and by extension Westmister control of Scottish affairs.
      Arrogance,complacency and dishonesty,aided and abetted by the London media whose only interest is in ensuring that Westminster remains in control of our assets.
      Derek,I am certain that we all (at least mostly) view you as a person of honesty and integrity and would hope that you continue blogging for our good if not your own.
      I want to see a state broadcaster in Scotland after independence but it must be one that we can have trust in and at present,I am not sure that is the case.
      It seems to me that the BBC management in Scotland need to revisit their ethical training which they may have done many moons ago.
      Keep on blogging.
      Thanks as always.

    • Exactly.

    • I think you hit it on the head Morag. Whilst as Derek states there is no ‘conspiracy’ it would be a foolish person who underestimates the great power of the unconscious in shaping our thoughts, words and actions. Decades if conditioning takes it’s toll.

  27. One of my BBC complaints if I remember, was that how can the BBCs coverage of the referendum be fair and balanced when its Scottish news is driven by the stories in the current front pages of the 100% pro union UK media. The newspapers have no obligation to be fair and balanced so by regurgitating such stuff, without question, they must be tarnished.

    I look forward to the BBC’s in depth coverage of what a NO vote means, or even an interest as to how the greatest union ever, has managed to get to this situation, but alas, I fear the best they can do is regurgitate, mainly from the Unionists, though not exclusively so.

  28. Cag-does-thinking

    In another life I was involved in media and I can see how people who are in the bubble of a radio or TV station get used to their chain of command and what is expected of them. That level of expectation is different on the inside from how for instance a political party might see their message being received.

    However something happened to the BBC and largely it happened after the Gilligan and Dyke incident. It lost it’s courage to challenge and changes at the top both in the trust and management drove a policy that has if you like edged out those who ask the awkward questions or aren’t just “the right stuff”. It’s something of a cultural change which has made it harder to be truly investigative. It has been reflected by an inability/unwillingness to spot the story and certainly appears from the outside that it has been scared to ask the right people the right questions. I don’t know how this plays out in the newsrooms but the sheer animosity to the FM since the SNP came to power is in direct contrast wih the deference given to Jack MacConnell in the same role.

    I can’t say it is incompetance so there has to be some other reason for it. It has to be guided from somewhere and the perception of bias being built in is one that is hard to ignore when you don’t hear the Aviva story but the Standard Life one is still prominant on the BBC website. Either the journalists don’t notice or the management are squashing their output to fit the message.

    One gets the impression that the management are hoping to admit they got it wrong when there’s an enquiry into it after September which will of course be after the damage is done. The worst aspect is that the BBC really don’t have a good reaction to complaints which is typical of organisations who don’t want to hear criticism in the first place.

  29. The more you defend the BBC, the less credibility you have.

    The bias at the BBC IS organised and deliberate, FULL STOP, no ifs no buts.

    You are taking us for idiots by trying to make us believe otherwise.

    I am now not even sure you will be supporting YES until 18th September. Your BBC pals will probably convince you that you are ‘Better Off’ with them and their masters.

    • William.

      Derek is not taking us for idiots and of course he will be supporting Yes. His credibility is also very high for me and most contributors. Apart from anything else, he puts his views on the line by attending Yes meetings despite not being accustomed to public speaking. That isn’t easy! Presenting a radio or TV programme is very different from speaking to an audience when they are all looking back at you.

      It can be a knee-trembling experience the first time at least. I have experienced it and I felt like Olive Oyl walking across a freezing river.

      Your criticism is unfair although I actually don’t agree with Derek that the BBC is not institutionally biased against Scottish self-determination. I think it is extremely so. It’s in the mind-set almost = the big bad SNP will put you out of a job and eat your babies type thing, Meanwhile it’s okay for Jack McConnel to holiday at Kirsty Wark’s holiday hoose in Majorca!!.

      Hopefully you will continue to vote Yes anyway.

    • William, that comment is highly unworthy. Derek’s commitment to, and belief in, an independent Scotland goes back further than probably that of the majority of us who take part in the debate. He chose to leave a secure, and presumably well paid, job so that he could participate in the debate without the constraints that the job put on him. We should all be eternally grateful that someone with his experience and dedication was willing to make such a sacrifice. What have most of the rest of us done?

  30. Sorry Derek up until recently I would have agreed that BBC Scotland are not deliberately biased.However recent interviews and presenters have openly shown their bias.It sounds like paranoia but its actually obvious in their tone.Alexander was not challenged by Naughtie at all with some of his assertions.Naughtie is up here to fight for the Union and he detests Salmond.…really detests him!

  31. ” It is because I believe in the BBC that I have gone public in criticising the way it is being run. I do not want to destroy it. Nor does the SNP. I want it to reflect and represent Scotland as it is supposed to do in its charter. ”

    Derek I accept and respect your beliefs regarding the BBC even though I personally don’t agree with you. The good old establishment, including the BBC are destroying themselves from within and don’t seem to have noticed or care. It has been going on for to long and with to much venom consistently to be a mistake. Someone or something is directing this policy and maybe the presenters and foot soldiers are being dragooned or conned into their current positions, I don’t know! What I do know is that the BBC news and current affairs service in Scotland has shot itself in the head, it is finished. That goes for other broadcasters and MSM also. Which brings me back to go ” conspiracy theory” HMG EMPLOYEES INVOLVED!

  32. Brian Macfarlane

    Well said Morag and Tartanfever Excellent contributions. Whether the bias is organised I don’t know but as Tartanfever says we’ve been watching it unfold for a while. Not trying to be cheeky but just as you hinted the other day Derek I, like others had never listened to your show although I did as was mentioned, remember people on FB talking about your radio programme as fair. That in itself was noteworthy as far as I was concerned about the BBC. I watched Gordon Brewer totally bully a Scottish government rep on Newsnight. At the same time treating the No representative with Kid gloves it wasn’t my imagination. I recorded it and watched it over and over. The contrast was quite scary really. The usual fare was destructive, asked a question then talked over the guy then ridiculed his victim( cos that’s what he was) Went to the No rep asked the question politely waited ’til he was completely finished was friendly and sociable. Then turned back to the Nat and same again interrupting constantly, badgering and ridiculing again. He was simply abusive. Then back to his opponent and nice as ninepence again. Outrageous! This is undeniable. I was so enraged I found out how to complain and did, VERY specifically. After about two three weeks back came the reply. I got a load of BS for want of a better term and one particular line stuck in my mind. “We are sorry you were disappointed in Gordon’s performance 🙂 I’ll say I was but i was more disappointed in there stonewalling reply. Since that day I have watched Brewer many times and he has frequently been similar but I don’t think ever as obvious again. Other presenters have been almost as bad with the exception of Isabel Fraser who hasn’t featured on Newsnight since she was attacked by that idiot MP Davidson for being biased, a very Labourite trait. Thus he got rid of the only fair minded journalist on the programme. So much as I respect and enjoy what your doing Derek I beg to differ on the bias for those NOT involved it really is that bad.

  33. It is sometimes useful to look at things for your opponent’s point of view. I do not agree with Geoff and he is mighty selective in his choice of argument. Two ‘Scottish’ banks were bailed out so from south of the Border a demand for the BoE to be lender of last resort for an independent Scotland could well be seen as a bit provocative. This issue will continue to generate much heat for months to come. The people of Scotland and our devolved government were not responsible for the failure of these banks. The Halifax ‘merger’ with the Bank of Scotland was a panic reaction to losing out to RBS in the bidding war for Nat West. The brass plate stayed on the Mound but control moved to Yorkshire and an inexperienced management destroyed a bank with the best cost ratio of any UK bank.
    Thanks to soft, light touch, missing regulation, call it what you will, HBoS and RBS became trapped in a world wide system of parceling debt of questionable value. This worked as long as there was enough ‘trust’ for others to buy these parcels of securitised debt. When other banks would not buy this debt the game was up. They knew the stuff was no better than their own securitised debt.

    Quite a few of us could see that problems were around the corner and that the expansion of private debt would spell trouble ahead. But we could not see just how bad things really were and those that should have been looking out for stress signs and intervening knew little more than the rest of us thanks to Gordon ‘Prudence I saved the World’ Brown – not forgetting his tory predecessors whose deregulation agenda he continued.

    RBS, once briefly the largest bank in the world still operates in 38 countries. It operates in England as Nat West. Banks need to be registered in the countries in which they operate. Often that will be a subsidiary like Nat West in England, Citizen’s bank in the US. Problems arise when operations in other countries are carried out by as branches as was the case with Icebank. Whether or not we have a currency union banks need to be registered in the countries in which they operate and we must ensure investment bank operations are also separate identities. if they get into trouble they go down. It is the people, customers and citizens of each country whose money is protected in the event of a retail banking operation going down. With proper regulation that should not arise.

    The reality is that it is England and the City of London that is over dependent on the banking sector.

    But all of this does not get to the heart of the matter. Geoff has a touching faith in the strength of the rUK economy. Perhaps that is understandable. He is told the deficit is coming down when the annual spend although reducing is still adding to the debt. He is told the UK enjoys favourable interest rates on its debt when it is paying well above rates in Scandinavian countries and elsewhere. Austria with around 75% debt to GDP pays 1.98%, Germany with 80% debt to GDP pays 1.65% European Central Banks 10 year bonds pay 1.1% the UK with at present 88.7% debt to GDP has to pay 2.77%

    NIESR calculate that by the time Scotland becomes independent its debt to GDP ratio would be 81%, assuming Scotland took a share of the debt. RUK’s debt to GDP ration would then have risen to 104%. On top of this is the UK has the highest level of private debt per capita in the world plus unfunded future liabilities for both private and state pensions – no wonder they are desperate to hang on to us.

    Osborne does not expect the deficit, and therefore the debt to stop growing until 2020. The OBR has just calculated that he is £20 billion out on his sums.

    Sorry for length really should start my own blog

    Russell

  34. I salute your being charitable to the non-management BBC, but have we really seen any volte face since publication of Prof Robertson’s objective measures over ” the first year ” ?

  35. I understand why you would be reluctant to criticize former colleagues. Bias doesn’t have to be directed to ‘Manufacture Consent’.

    But, personally, I’m finished with the BBC. I don’t watch it. I don’t listen to it. It is utterly irrelevant to me. When Russian, and Iranian, broadcasters give a more accurate representation of the situation, then the institution is finished. I’m done with it.

    As a result I am now scunnered to the extent of thinking Scotland should not have a state broadcaster, ever. Why would we?

    The referendum coverage has completed a process that, for me, started with the coverage of the Iraq debacle. At the battle of Umm Qsar I distinctly remember the BBC presenter intoning with full Home Counties gravitas that Umm Qsar had been captured with little resistance. Meanwhile, online, Al Jazeera was showing LIVE pictures of a vicious and ongoing battle, which continued for several days thereafter. Then there was the weird orange guy, some sort of Military spokesman, who was allowed to spout the most outrageous tosh without being challenged in any way shape or form. All of a sudden it was 1942. An analogue broadcaster in a digital age. Pathetic.

    Trust is a funny thing. Slow and long to build. Strong, and almost infinitely powerful. Easily lost. Once lost, gone for good

  36. I used to tune in to BBC Scotland to hear you, Derek, and Isobel Frazer sometimes, on a Saturday morning, long after I had stopped watching BBC news. Now that you have left, I only occasionally tune in but usually end up switching off after about 10 mins or so. I no longer watch tv and don’t pay my license fee for that reason. I miss it, but get my news on the internet, from blogs including your excellent blog.

    I believe MORAG (above) has it right. The people who are employed by the BBC are loyal unionists by nature, many are perhaps Labour party members, and as a result they are totally tuned into the mindset of the British Establishment. This distorts everything that they do, possibly without them even being aware of it. So, you may be correct in that there is no deliberate bias, but instead, there is an establishment bias. There is no doubt that thousands of us feel it, and we are all very aware of those odd occasions when the BBC does produce balanced commentary which is sadly not often enough.

  37. I’m sorry Derek but I’m afraid you are wrong. Just wrt radio I have heard announcers reading Project Fear scare stories deliberately emphasise things such as the supposed number of jobs related to Faslane. Emphasis that was not warranted in a news headline roundup. I have heard things like that any number of times.

    Now I’m sure you are right and the management are at fault, but when newsreaders behave like that and are not brought to book by the management what am I as a listener supposed to think? Conspiracies can be unwitting and be silent and result from management giving tacit license and making it overt by the lack of sanction. That is the sort of conspiracy I think there is at the BBC and not just PQ but at Broadcasting House as well.

    Now all this may well be some sort of reflex, but nearly 40% of people by the polls want independence and the national broadcaster is treating us as a fringe minority. That is not a reflex it is deliberate institutional blindness.

    If the study on bias has not alerted them. If the finding on the bias in the Irish minister’s comments did not alert them, what the hell will? At some point you have to decide that they are not listening because they do not want or intend to do so. That is a conspiracy of deafness.

    • Hi The BBC got rid of its professional news readers years ago after Zycinski became head of radio. As far as I know they use sub editors who write the news to read it…without one moments training. I even did it before I left. If they don’t even train them to do the job do you think they would nevertheless teach them how and when to apply some sinister emphasis on a word or phrase? It doesn’t stack up. You’d need a very subtle and clever news reader to do that. I suggest you’re reacting to the news item itself which is quite different. The bias comes in following an establishment narrative which is that those seeking change – the SNP etc- are the ones disrupting the world they know. Derek

      Sent from my iPad

      >

      • I know what I heard Derek and I could read something like that in that way easy-peasy and I’m only a mere scientist who only occasionally has to speak publicly. So I’m sorry I don’t buy your ‘too subtle for such plebs’ claim.

  38. Anne J Butler

    Dear Derek – expats surely have no rights, other wise we over turn one of the most democratic fundamental principles- ” no taxation without representation” – if the expats want the representation then they must pay the taxation

    I hope you can express this sentiment in a more elegant and erudite way. Keep up the good work

    Anne J Butler

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  39. Derek, (and others)
    can i refer you to this you tube clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKRPIiMhqV4
    (not very clear and with an over dramatic edit to show Marr’s jaw dropping)

    my, bad, transcript below

    Marr – “how can you know that I am self censoring”

    Chomsky – “i am sure you believe everything you say but what I am saying is that if you believed something different you wouldn’t be sitting where you are sitting”

    I read that to be saying that ‘you would not be in the role that you have if you did not think the way that you do’

    and that, in my view, is a product of Marr’s upbringing, education and training.

    The BBC is well stocked with people that have very similar histories to Marr, and those that do the hiring and firing think is a broadly similar ways. i.e. only hire those that think and present in a manner they see as ‘normal’, right minded people.

    so it is not surprising that the BBC ‘sees’ things the way it does as its staff are selected on those basis.
    that is to say its not a conspiratorial bias but a selection and promotional bias.

    what is surprising, and refreshing, is that you (Derek) managed to work within the BBC for so long yet are still able to hold the views you do, and express them so well.

    again, in my view, this type of thinking and selection bias permeates the whole ‘establishment’ whether that be the BBC. Westminster, newspapers, churches or indeed banks, etc.

    anyway great blog and great writing, so very refreshing.

    c

    the rest of the interview is also worth a watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu1ONVg362o

  40. I know where Derek and the SNP are coming from. They believe the BBC is saveable – and there is plenty worth saving. Who knows, in 20 years time, it might even be a propaganda arm of the Scottish government and people will be complaining of pro-Scottish bias in the news… However in the short term, I fear we will have to win this referendum despite them.

  41. Yes and the other important thing to remember.What other country in the world has native journalist.Who continually back the country who are trying to denigrate the nation they reside in.I can only think that these people don’t view their nation as Scotland.They consider Britain and British as their nation.Why are the politicians wheeled up from London with frothing teeth a allowed to dismiss and debase Scotland when they don’t live here.Surely that would anger any Scottish journalist.Or is Stockholm syndrome alive and well in BBC Scotchland.The example of open bias I remember is.There was a really damaging story for the No side in November.I can’t remember the story.However I tuned into Newsnight Scot expecting it to be the lead story.However not only was it not the lead story it wasn’t even mentioned.They spent the whole programme talking about a national tree!On a politics programme!It was worthy of the best communist state broadcaster…I still expect Monty Python to come out and say it was their idea.

  42. “I don’t share the view that some of you have that this is organised and deliberate”

    It’s biased, but it’s accidental? This is at best a quibble. If it’s biased then the BBC is in breach of its charter and whether it is deliberate or not is an interesting, but secondary, question.

    There is also the problem of the smokescreen raised by tactical accusations of bias: to mask pro-Israel propaganda, the Zionists accuse the BBC of pro-Palestine bias; to mask pro-industry bias, industry accuses the BBC of pro-climate change bias. The BBC can then say – ”Hey, we must be well balanced if both sides accuse us of bias!”

    However there is a great deal of evidence that the BBC is not a disinterested observer of world events and never has been. Some of your readers may be discovering the propaganda role of the BBC for the first time, since through the referendum campaign it is now striking close to home. But it has been hard at work elsewhere for a long time. I could multiply instances but anyone can Google ‘BBC bias’. Of particular concern is their role as apologists for US/UK aggression in the Middle East and its likely extension to Syria and Iran.

    Scientists say that the proof of understanding is the ability to predict. Here’s an excerpt from a Craig Murray blog, commenting on a BBC interview (my emphasis):

    The question any decent journalist should be asking him is “Sir Desmond De Silva, how much did the government of Qatar pay you for your part in preparing this report? How much did it pay the other experts? Does your fee from the Government of Qatar include this TV interview, or are you charging separately for your time in giving this interview? In short how much are you being paid to say this?”
    That is what any decent journalist would ask. Which is why you will never hear those questions on the BBC.

    Mr Murray predicts a certain sort of question will never be asked, and he’s right. Over at Wings, Rev Stu Campbell proposes a simple and obvious question to be asked by Jim Naughtie in his interview with Alastair Darling. Darling is lying on currency, and could easily be taken to task. That is what any ‘decent journalist’ would do. But this is the BBC, and the question will not be asked.

  43. I used to be very proud to work for the BBC, initially in Bristol, and then in Glasgow. Still proud of many programmes I worked on at my time there, and in the work of colleagues with whom I collaborated in the documentary unit there, prior to leaving voluntarily in 2006. But the BBC in Scotland IS undergoing a major dereliction of duty to the license fee payer in the current independence campaign. We all want to believe in a properly run, impartial broadcaster – but we simply don’t have it. It is not impartial, and by default, not fit for purpose.

  44. “There is no conspiracy. There is no organised anti-independence campaign inside the BBC. Journalists do not deliberately distort items to make them pro-Union.”

    I actually agree with you Derek, but that doesn’t make the BBC’s output any less biased.

    There is no need for a conspiracy against Scottish independence nor a conscious decision to distort news items relating to independence because it can all be explained by an institutional bias which permeates the BBC from top to bottom.

    The BBC is the British state broadcaster funded by a TV tax and where appointments to the BBC Trust are made by Queen in Council on the recommendation of UK government ministers. The BBC is an integral and important part of the British Establishment and its output is from the viewpoint of that establishment. It may attack or investigate both the Labour party, the Tory party or the Lib-Dems but it is loyal to the nation, establishment and to the institutions of state in which these political parties operate.

    It has always been hostile to any political party or group operating outside the British establishment because by definition as they are outside the establishment they are a threat to it. Not only are the SNP and the Yes campaign outside the British establishment they are also actively hostile to it. To treat them with disdain and to mount hostile questioning of their politics, strategy and operational aims is automatic within the BBC.

    The treatment of the Scottish independence campaign by the BBC isn’t one of a neutral observer but an inquisition by the Establishment via its media arm. Once you think of the BBC in those terms you don’t need a conspiracy to reach the level of bias we’ve reached now.

    I don’t want to destroy the BBC either but the continuation of the BBC in an independent Scotland as a news source won’t work because the BBC is never going to change.

  45. Hi Derek – I need to stick my oar in and agree here with Tartanfever and Morag. Perhaps you are suffering forest/trees syndrome? In any case while I highly respect what you believe and are doing for the Yes cause, I must also respectfully disagree with you on bias at the BBC, particularly BBC Scotland. I too have a degree in journalism, albeit from the US. When I moved here almost 9 years ago I was fairly happy with the quality of what was coming out of the telly and radio wrt Scotland. But that was soon to change, and I think the 2007 SNP result had a lot do do with it. I also agree with the point that the removal of comments on the politics blog was a telling moment. People were still going over to the BBC Wales politics blog to ‘have their say’ since they could no longer say it on their own country’s website! There was no vile ‘cybernat’ abuse going on, the discourse was simply shut down for Scotland. How can you possibly explain this if not bias? Who could possibly defend it? It stinks to high heaven and it will turn out to be the lesion that became a full grown inoperable tumour that will kill the BBC in Scotland.

    I have long been shocked at the quality of the print media in the UK, that’s another story for another time. I long defended the BBC for its entertainment/education output but even these are becoming tarnished in my eyes. I’ve crossed the Rubicon and now I simply make another choice when I want current news – often choosing Al Jezeera or until recently RT. I rarely watch BBC programmes at other times. BBC ALba is the last bastion of my support, with programmes especially Eorpa that are of the highest quality and deserve our license fee. The rest of the output does not in my view. I am particularly incensed that I am paying for the privilege of being lied to by BBC Scotland on almost a daily basis and branded a criminal if I stop paying but still want to support advertiser funded television where I make my other viewing choices. Where is the democracy in that? Its as wrong and stupid as the window tax.

    Btw, the only reason I found you Derek was through social media when you were still on the air. It was said there was at least one reporter that was willing to be fair and balanced when it came to politics and related issues in Scotland. The fact alone that you were practically a lone voice in the wilderness – along with Isobel Fraser – should tell you a lot. And now look where you both are.

    Anyway, i’d like to quote someone I respect a lot: “I told the people of Stirling last night that there was no deliberate or organised bias at BBC Scotland but I’m starting to run on empty.” I think you know its staring you in the face and need to work around the blind spot. It’s there, it’s real, and UWS has documented it, albeit a fraction of the bias that is happening daily on TV, radio and the BBC Scotland website. As someone above said, trust is almost impossible to regain once lost and the BBC lost mine a long time ago.

  46. One last thought and then I’ll shut up (for now!)

    It doesn’t really matter if there is institutional bias going on (though I believe there is). What matters is that is the perception of thousands of ordinary license fee payers in Scotland. And rather than address it, the BBC (and your good self Derek) seem to want to stick your heads in the sand.

  47. Instead of endlessly debating the reasons for the undoubted BBC bias, let’s just get on with countering the propaganda. As we were handing out YES leaflets yesterday, one of our group was told by a lady “My daughter works in a bank, and all the banks are moving South if there is a YES vote so I’m voting NO” There is no doubt that the BBC propaganda is having an effect, even if we can see through it. Don’t waste time discussing the BBC, get out there and talk to people.

  48. I’m with Derek when he insist there is no conspiracy if we take it’s true meaning into account:
    “A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an illegal or harmful event or situation” says wiki.

    I don’t think there has been “planning”, “secrecy”, nor “deliberation”, just an attitude in favour of the British State to which free rein has been given. Lets not forget how many placements labour has made at BBC Scotland. The Greg Campbells, Kirsty Warks, and Sally Magnussons didn’t need encouragement, just laissez faire and cuts made “pour encourager les otres” (I hope you all will excuse my french) which have caused in many cases the easy way of repeating verbatim politically partizan statements.

    Is the famous labour influence you speak about Derek, where a party aparatchick has the Head of News on #1 fast dial.

    Conspiracy? mebbe aye or mebbe nae, but BIASS…by the truck load.

  49. It’s perception that counts. You might say that there is no organised bias at the beeb, but I’m with (as you are) the UWS on this one. Listening to BBC Scotland and the BBC in general you can’t help but think there’s a bias or a campaign to support the NO campaign and the status quo (omg, that’s the same thing!). Others here and before have listed the namby-pamby, simpering questioning of the status quo supporters and UK ministers while going for the jugulars of Yes interviewees, while Kirsty Wark’s treatment of the First Minister during her interviews with him is a disgrace.

    However, I’d argue what can you expect? The beeb IS the state broadcaster and, however unconsciously, it’s doing its duty for the state. So we have to win in spite of it (and the rest of the MSM) because it’s a war we’re fighting (without the nasty bits) so, really, we shouldn’t expect anything else.

    But what it’s done to me is made me question other BBC reporting of nothing to do with the referendum and made me wonder what I’m being told. Can’t help it, and it’s probably irrational, but I’m now questioning anything I’m being told by the beeb.

    To my mind, come independence, we should question whether we need a state broadcaster. What’s that all about anyway? Monarchy? Don’t need one. Established church? Mmmm, maybe not either. Independence gives us the authority to review the institutions of our state and that review should definitely include whether we need or want a state broadcaster.

    Rant over, but you started it. But jings Derek, keep on blogging. Please. Your writings are a breath of fresh air in the toxic swamps created by the MSM!

  50. Nice one Derek, you have really set the cat amongst the pigeons! I think we can all agree, not least from the input above, that there is a clear bias. Every single interview is handled in a clearly unbalanced way. This cannot be down to training of “news readers”.
    So, it seems the recruitment process within the BBC is the key? The southern based people have their owns reasons for seeing things differently. BBC political journalism leaves a lot to be desired.

  51. The article has laid out clearly Mr Bateman’s views on the BBC and at the same time created the platform for airing views on the BBC in Scotland. Intentionally or not it is a great approach.
    Over the last two years I have been getting information from many sources, most usefully from web news sites, but also from other TV channels and newspapers outwith Britain; particularly concerning Catalonia and the EU. .
    One thing that became apparent was how the BBC and Britain had become less relevant. It was listening to an interview between William Hague and James Naughtie over Russia and the Ukraine. They were talking in weighty tones about what the UK would do. I just suddenly thought that Russia doesn’t really care what the UK thinks, and the interview was 20-30years behind reality.
    The days of the UK on the big world stage and that everything happened elsewhere was over.
    The problems that happened ‘in other countries’ are here, but the Establishment of Westminster and the BBC hadn’t caught up.
    Real poverty is here, real corruption in the City is here, real inequality on a massive scale is here.
    The political events and aspirations around Independence is real. These are no longer topics to be discussed and pronounced on in cosy studios.
    I believe the inability of the BBC and Westminster to understand their establishment power has faded has created a biased view. People like Naughtie want the Establishment order and they accord it an authority that they should really challenged, but it is ‘their’ establishment and they support it without self-awareness.

    • Hear hear. Russia barely cares what the West thinks let alone the delusional Britnats in London who just pantomime walk ons. Still they colonised us. Derek

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  52. Some great comments. I’m left wondering If Derek wrote the article to prompt comments critical of the BBC. AND WHY NOT!
    Ian Bell (Herald) wrote just after the 2011 Holyrood election that the BBC would be destroyed (in Scotland) by the time of the referendum. I’m sure it’s Westminister masters will think a price worth paying to keep Scotland in the Union.
    Derek keep on blogging, your country needs you!

  53. “There is no conspiracy. There is no organised anti-independence campaign inside the BBC. Journalists do not deliberately distort items to make them pro-Union.”

    Oh yeah!? Well, you believe what you want to believe and I will believe the evidence of my own eyes and ears. There may not be an ORGANISED conspiracy at the BBC against Independence (that would be impossible to sustain) but there sure as hell is bias against it in the presentation of news and comment programmes. Have you forgotten already about the study by the University of the West of Scotland and your blog at that time?

    And their name calling of viewers as ‘fruitcakes’ as a response to legitimate concerns is just another part of the smear, sneer campaign.

  54. Firstly Derek, thank you for blogs and also for now stepping into public debate. A valuable addition to the cause, please keep going!

    About the BBC there are plenty journos I respect, Ken MacDonald, Izzy Fraser, Bill Whiteford just some. If there is a conspiracy then some Beeb folk are very subtle! But it is the editors setting the news agenda where there is the problem. UWS demonstrated this with Reporting Scotland. The London-based Beeb staff are mostly poor on #indyref, not helped by their ignorance, fuelled by likes of Guardian (also mostly poor, to say the least).

    As another said above, it will be word of mouth and face to face that will win it for us. Social media and websites will help and we can point people to them. But we all need to speak to our friends, neighbours, family, workmates and those we bump into. Be patient and nice to the don’t knows and the nos. that’s how we’ll win.

  55. It doesn’t need a conspiracy to change an organization like the BBC . It just needs the steady erosion of ethics and of the people with integrity. This works fastest when the impetus comes from the top.
    Can you think of a single person at Pacific Quay whom you admire for their integrity? I cannot.

    They are clearly biassed against the YES campaign. They are very stupid. If we get Independence, there will be a clean sweep and new teams brought in. If the Union remains, Westminster will privatize the BBC, and the media barons like Murdoch et al will bring in their own lackeys.

  56. I came across this while reading a Tarff Advertiser blog

    “The total debt of the UK is 900% of its GDP – just think about this carefully and what it means.

    It is not surprising that Alex Salmond is calm about the present ‘no currency union’ claim from Westminster because for Westminster to actually follow this path is economic suicide for England and Wales. The relative total debt of England and Wales (with NI) would quickly rise above the 913% of GDP which brought the Wiemar Republic crashing to the ground. This has a direct impact on Scotland as it would effect 70% of our immediate export market, made worse by a £Scots which will strengthen, backed – as it is – by substantial physical resources, products and modern transferable skills that the rest of the world will still require. This scenario will be our ‘New Zealand’ moment, comparable to the New Zealand agricultural industry being shut out of the UK over night on EU accession. It will not be easy, there will be short term losses, company failures while new markets are established but an independent Scotland’s more balanced economy will be better placed to survive and then prosper, than England and Wales, as a result of a Sterling crash the ‘no currency union’ scenario inevitably creates.

    The reality is the World Money Markets have made very clear to Osbourne and Alexander (x2) they want a ‘currency union’. As all the recent reports on an independent Scotland’s fiscal position make clear, Scotland is a good and safe place to invest, Money Week is suggesting the same is not necessarily so, with regards the City of London in a post independence England and Wales and a no currency union scenario. Money Week has a track record of reading the economic runes pretty well over the last decade so they are worth taking note of.

    Can Osbourne ignore the markets continuing concerns about the actual state of the UK’s Government’s current and future England and Wales indebtedness and cut off his nose to spite his face by refusing a currency union on a Yes vote in Scotland? ”

    This is the website for the whole piece http://tarffadvertiser.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-alexander-brothers-and-currency.html
    This is vital information which needs to get the attention of the Scottish public as whole, but how. I have posted on Facebook. Any other suggestions folks?

    • You’ve come to the right place Anne

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

    • As someone who was raised in NZ as the shock of Britain’s entry to the EEC hit and saw how the country reacted to that, we had a Chinese gooseberry vine climbing up our garage wall in Dunedin planted by the previous owners. Before long it ‘mutated’ into a kiwifruit vine and an industry was born. I saw the butter for Ladas deal with the Russians, the selling of sheepmeat, butter and agritech to the Middle East, especially Iran. The realisation there were rich people in Hong Kong and Tokyo who would pay big prices for ‘perfect’ peaches and fresh live koura and kina, the whole works.

      Yes, it was hard but it was also the making of the country. If post Independence we just settle down to trading with fUK then we will deserve economic stagnation. There’s a world out there to trade with. All we need is a proper Scottish diplomatic service and government getting properly behind export support, and I don’t just mean credit guarantees but help for new entrants to markets.

    • Anne I would put it up on Wings Over Scotland as well. I’ll share onTwitter.

    • Thanks Anne – will certainly get it out to my contacts
      Brian

  57. I suspect the problem is twofold- the threshold level of information is very low in the general population and not much higher in much of the media, which will lead to inadvertent bias. And in this debate above all our expectations and scrutiny are set to maximum.

    Media need to get better informed, which should lead to balance. This is not just any old controversy- we are fighting for our future.

  58. I woke in the early hours of the morning worrying, would you believe, about my pension if we became Independent. Thankfully I have access to information which give an unbiased and balanced view instead of the propaganda from the Fear Project. However, my worry is about those who don’t, such as Scottish Sun/Record readers. A friend of mine, a Yes supporter, and another DK are not sure about voting Yes. I have copied an Iain MacWhirter column from last Sunday Herald for them to read which gives a counterbalance to Project Fear. Anyway, I’m off to canvass for the Yes Campaign soon.

  59. In Friday’s blog named “You’re Derek Bateman!” there was a great overarching sense of a new and unstoppable rock [someone commented] of self realisation rolling steadily and increasingly through the spirit of the Scottish populace. The genie that can never be put back in the bottle, others said. We are creating our own positive and all-pervasive “spirit of the age” by the energy we now pour into places like this blog of Derek’s, WoS etc.

    It’s like we are each almost telepathically throwing out the great vibes from the depths of our souls and this is collectively building to an unstoppable critical mass in the form of a fight for the soul/spirit of our nation. By God it is exhilarating – and great to be alive to see, and feel, especially fur an aul bugger like me who has always believed both in individual independence of spirit and also in the need to hold collectively onto our unique and precious Scottish cultural idenity, which I have always found people from other lands very willing to embrace favourably both here in Scotland and in the several countries I have visited. We reach out to the world and they reach out to us in my experience – with goodwill on both sides. We are no separatist isolationists.

    Against us is stacked the dead hand of social control from what seems to someone at my stage of life to be like trumped-up, self-important, arrogant adolescents who have never aspired to reach out and touch anything creative in life. They are pygmies of the spirit the whole damn crew of them. How could anyone take puffed up wind bags like the main figures in the “No” campaign seriously? They are like characters out of panto for a man of independent mind to look and laugh at.

    It is the classic elemental conflict we are presented with – between light and darkness, truth and lies, hope/belief and fear, live aspirational forward drive into the future against a dead repressive clinging to the vainglories of our all-crushing imperialist past. We are like the flowers which are breaking through the soil right now into the coming Spring light – a natural force that will not be denied. Our collective energy is much bigger and ultimately more powerful (no matter how seemingly delicate) than the bleak structure of cynical negativity that is polluting our social environment as best it can and is a real corrupting man-made viral culture that has been designed to poison the minds and spirit of the body politic in our country.

    We are the white cells that ultimately always win through while there is still life worth fighting for.

  60. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Regarding the BBC issue who was the respected BBC reporter that was on Newsnight about a month ago who said that Darling was hopeless and was likely to be replaced soon. He was generally very positive about the Yes campaign and the closing difference of the polls.

    I nearly fell,off my seat as it was so unusual.
    He has not been the TV since – I wonder why?

  61. There are many excellent posts today countering your claim, Derek, that there is no institutional bias in BBC reporting. I agree with them and can’t really add to the many apt contributions except to say that they don’t really appear to be fruitcakes do they? If so many reasonable and sane people feel that there is considerable bias in the output of the BBC, does that not give you pause for thought?

    Conspiracy comes naturally to human beings. I am not talking about shadowy groups consorting in secret and sending cryptic directives but the kind of natural consensus which arises in like-minded groups. Those within it might well be the last to be able to perceive their own bias because it is constantly reinforced by the validation of the others. That is why there is often institutional bias. Add to that the probability that people from similar backgrounds will have similar perceptions.

    Many people will have experienced the subtle influence which can be exerted on any individual by the group ethos, sometimes only perceived when the individual finds themselves on the opposite side of that ethos and then feels the pressure to conform bearing down on them. Those who happily conform won’t notice the pressure.

    I don’t mean this as a criticism of you because quite obviously you didn’t conform, but a group ethos can operate smoothly without the co-operation of every single member as long as the dissenters are in a minority. Noam Chomsky referred to this in his critique of the US media and how they manufacture consensus while satisfying themselves of their democratic tolerance by allowing the occasional dissenting voice.

    Anyway, we all value your blog because you do provide a platform for the independent voice countering the overwhelming predominance of the No message. More power to you and I think we can agree to disagree over this one.

  62. Dr JM Mackintosh

    On the currency issue relating to Geoff’s comments. I think we should just use the pound and walk away from the 9% of the UK debt. At last John Swinney is actively talking about this approach now.

    I think it would be a lot easier raising money on the money markets without this millstone of ~£120 billion round our neck. Talk of us not being able to raise funds due to “defaulting” it just nonsense. The money markets would fund us no problem as we would be in a much better financial situation than the rUK.

    We could buy quite a lot with £120,000,000,000 !

    I tend to think of this sum as a part compensation to Scotland for all the Oil revenues Westminster has squandered over the last 40 years.

  63. http://www.scottishreviewofbooks.org/index.php/back-issues/2013-03-27-15-25-26/volume-nine-issue-three/569-nationalism-and-the-bbc-george-mckechnie

    In this article is a telling passage:

    ‘It would be a mistake to believe that any unease within the BBC towards the Yes Scotland campaign and Scottish nationalism itself is a modern manifestation of the political landscape of the early twenty-first century, motivated only by the current threat to the union. The BBC is the definitive British national organisation – one of the few remaining pillars of the British establishment and, arguably, of the very concept of Britishness itself. It is inconceivable that it would be other than a standard bearer of the status quo, in essence a unionist body. When the former Director General John Birt resisted Scottish demands for a ‘Scottish Six’, to opt out of the Six O’Clock News, he merely reinforced this reality. He said later, ‘Opting out of the Six would be a powerful symbol of Scotland moving away from UK-wide institutions. It could encourage separate tendencies’. The BBC’s position was backed by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who, wrote Birt in his memoir The Harder Path, was “quick, as ever, to grasp the case”. “Let’s fight”, Blair told Birt. Alasdair Milne recalled in DG Memoirs of a British Broadcaster that when he was appointed Controller of BBC Scotland in 1968 he was given a “polite wigging” from Tory politicians like George Younger and also “jittery” Labour MPs who believed that there was a “strong SNP cell in Queen Margaret Drive”. The emergence of the nationalists as a political force in the late 1960s unnerved the unionist parties and they naturally assumed that the BBC would be anti-nationalism.

    The BBC as a beacon of unionism is deeply ingrained and stretches back through the decades to the period between the two world wars when the Scottish National Party was created from the merger between the left-leaning National Party of Scotland and the right-wing Scottish Party. In 1935 the BBC refused the SNP‘s application for pre-election broadcasts, and it was not until 1965 that the SNP had its first party political broadcast.’

  64. Bearing in mind my last post, why are we dismissed as nutters if we think the BBC is biased against Scottish independence?

  65. Derek,
    I agree about the currency. We need our own. I think the view held by pro-unionists north and south of the border is based on an assumption that the British State is beyond reproach, and that we Scots, the merry peasants in our colourful custumes throwing our hats in the air when we catch sight of the monarch, should be grateful to be in it, and are showing our ingratitude wanting out of it! It’s a sad view to hold, but I’m afraid a lot of folk, who can’t or won’t think about what is actually happening in the world, hold it. I’ve heard more than one person in the last week say that we should ‘go in’ to the Crimea, which indicates how deluded they are, believing that Brittania still rules the waves. As I said, it’s sad. We need to get our own government and run our own affairs.
    Incidentally, why is there also an assumption that our banks would default?

  66. Regardless of the referendum result the BBC in Scotland will never be trusted again. They’ve blown it for the short-term advantage of a No vote; they only have themselves to blame.
    If legislation goes through making non-payment of the license fee a matter solely for the civil courts I expect a great many people in Scotland will chose non-payment and to hell with the consequences.

  67. Aileen Currie

    Two different wavelengths:

    Geoff’s comments epitomise the underlying lack of understanding between the Westminster mindset and the extent of informed Scottish opinion remaining from our suppressed history.

    It is quite remarkable how many people with the Westminster mindset refer to the key event of 1707 as “The Act of Union” rather than as the Treaty of Union, an international agreement between two independent, sovereign states, which happened to share a queen at the time. The text of the Treaty, negotiated by the two sets of Commissioners representing Scotland and England (including its conquered Welsh province) was subsequently ratified by the English and Scottish parliaments in an English Act of Union in the English Parliament and a Scottish Act of Union in the Scottish Parliament which also adjourned these two parliaments.

    The text of the Treaty is often described as having made careful provision for Scottish needs, despite the “Scottish” Commissioners having been appointed by Queen Anne (after a bit of skulduggery by the Duke of Hamilton) unlike the English Commissioners who were appointed by the English Parliament. However, although the text of the Treaty appeared to protect Scots Law, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish education system, the integrity of the Royal Burghs, etc. no provision was made for mechanisms to enforce these restrictions on the powers of the new Parliament.

    It quickly became apparent that English members of the new Parliament saw it as the English Parliament continuing to which they had magnanimously permitted a minority of Scottish members to join by the Act of Union. From the outset the new parliament operated as a sovereign body, despite the specific restrictions on its powers contained in the Treaty of Union and a few years later the Scottish Mint was closed contrary to the Treaty thus abolishing an early institution which had previously operated as a sort of primitive central bank managing the currency.

    Over the last 300 years, Westminster has repeatedly overturned the specific terms of the Treaty particularly during the last 40 years when the Royal Burghs were stripped of their powers, the Poll Tax was imposed on Scotland, before a corresponding tax had even been proposed for the remainder of Great Britain, and the Supreme Court was superimposed on the Scottish legal system, to list but three.

    Westminster’s assumption in an affirmative post-referendum situation that the rUK is the continuator state is typical of the same thinking as in terms of constitutional law it has no special powers superior to those of the other party to the Treaty. Nor can it claim that Scotland’s equal status in an affirmative post-referendum situation is undermined by being the partner withdrawing from the Treaty. There is no term of the Treaty denying either partner the right to withdraw from the Treaty; why do the Acts of Union adjourn the pre-existing Parliament in each case rather than abolish it?
    The increasing involvement of Government during the twentieth century in many areas of national life and the use of these extended powers to address the interests of the south east of England provides ample justification for Scotland to decide that the Treaty is no longer of overall advantage and to take appropriate democratic and constitutionally appropriate steps to bring it to an end. The United Kingdom possesses many assets, and liabilities, which jointly belong to the two independent sovereign partner states. If the rUK continues to refuse to accept that it is an equal partner in an amicable set of negotiations to share these assets and liabilities and insists on claiming all of the shared assets it wishes, the other party need not accept any of the liabilities.

    The United Kingdom also has membership, with rights and responsibilities; of the European Union with which both partners have corresponding needs to adjust the present terms of membership, at least until the rUK decides whether it wishes to continue in membership. The United Kingdom is probably unique in being, in constitutional terms, a Treaty partnership of two independent sovereign states which collectively sought and obtained membership.

    Geoff doesn’t appear to envisage a situation in which both Scotland and rUK have to seek agreement after a positive decision on September 18th. He seems far from unique in this.

  68. I don’t know how the bias occurs at the BBC (I favour the unconscious mindset theory) but I do know that most people I know and interact with are doing a lot of shouting at their radios and TVs when the news is on – if they bother turning on at all which is increasingly rare.
    It should bother the BBC that they are actively disliked and distrusted by a significant proportion of the population, especially when evidence is emerging from the likes of John Robertson that the nutters may have a point after all.
    I take on the point that Derek makes that newsreaders are given insufficient training. but really what was stopping Haley from having a go at Danny Alexander this week? She allowed him to go on and on and on and on and on without challenge despite being ridiculously self-contradictory. What happened to the Gary “three-second-interrupt” Robertson approach? Immediately following that, Swinney was consistently (though not unreasonably) interrupted and talked over by Naughtie. With such obvious juxtapositions of unequal treatment, and it always seems to be the Yes side that get the rough end of the unequal treatment, the listener naturally concludes that the BBC is biased against Yes.

    … and Angus MacLeod … come ON!!! Does he ever refer to our First Minister as anything other than “SSSSSSSSSSalmond!!!” I’ve had to clean his spittle of the back of the radio speaker grille too many times to count.

  69. The BBC doesn’t have to be specifically biased against independence. It will always support the status quo, and anything that threatens that will be exposed to far more scrutiny than that which upholds it. We saw it during the 80s, and we’re seeing it again now.

  70. I only listen to Radio Scotland for either 2 mins per week or 10, depending on how long Stewart Cosgrove and Aidan are given. Bizarrely they may both be Unionbettertogetherers for all I know but you would never know, because they actually go behind the headlines bringing their knowledge to the subject. At the same time John Beattie who is not a journalist as far as I know, does sometimes find it difficult to not adhere to BBC policy.Maybe because they are not solely dependant on BBC Scotland for their income?
    Is Geoff the ‘Family man’ you are referring to in your title Derek ? “While your living under my roof you’ll live by rules” kind of blah blah blah except we em we don’t.Circa 1950 ish

  71. The whole propaganda war against ALEX SALMOND, THE SNP, SCOTLAND AND ITS PEOPLE, is not a mistake or accident, it is directed and co ordinated from high up in the ESTABLISHMENT which gives it it’s direction tone and area of misinformation for the relevant days objective. Each individual arm BROADCASTING, MSM, is responsible for putting this strategy into local operation. I don’t think there is an office in BBC London or PQ which has a sign on the door saying PROPAGANDA OFFICER, but I’m certain there is a person who has that as one of his unpublished responsibilities, and pretty senior they must be.

    To denigrate Scotland and it’s people is a pretty big error of judgement more akin to putting the natives in their place. The executive appear to be using an old colonial plan which would explain some of the strange sneering reports and school kid laughing and belittling from BBC 24 news and a lot of its ignorant guests. The powers that are in charge are so ignorant of the situation themselves that they are unable to see how counter productive this childish attitude is and permanently damaging to Anglo Scottish relations for the future. This attitude has hollowed out the BBC in Scotland and terminally damaged its reputation, big time.

    • It’s inconceivable that the UK Government doesn’t have a very high-powered unit of the state coordinating and directing its attacks on Scotland: there’s too much at stake for this not to be the case. My view is that the BBC is a key element of their propaganda strategy. This is quite apart from the thousands of Brit placemen operating without prompting and at high level in Scotland on the UK government’s behalf. The BBC’s ruined reputation in Scotland will just be seen as collateral damage, and anyway, many Tories detest the Beeb and couldn’t care less if it screws up with its audience.

  72. By the looks of it the passion for debate amongst independence support is alive and kicking Derek. We’ve all got our views on the Beeb ranging from outright institutional bias to name specific mixed with a huge dose of corporate arrogance and incompetence. I think what we all agree on regardless of degree is that the current beastie isn’t fit for purpose and won’t be right up to and through the referendum.

    Moving on – Currency and corporate interest? Not a worry in the world either way. I see some kind soul (Anne) has already mentioned the Tarff advertiser blog piece. But regardless of even those facts, Scotland would be just peachy fine whether it be through Sterlingisation (short term) with a view to floating our own currency a few years hence or indeed moving to our own central bank right away. The only differences being the challenges and time periods variance. All can be met and surmounted, we have the know how, the resource and asset base, a successful prudent government, a fully functioning educated and peaceful democracy and we’d at long last have the fiscal levers to plan long term strategy. SCOTLAND WOULD BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS. All they have to do is remember the governance of the people is for the people to decide, not the board members.

    First come first served.

  73. Derek, there’s something I’ve been noticing about BBC political reporting and it is the almost totally briefed reporting content from the likes of Brian Taylor, Nick Robinson and Norman Smith on UK Gov matters or, as in Brian Taylor’s case on the Better Together mind-set and utterances stemming from it.

    It’s almost as if they have written the items themselves, which are then be headlined by the UK gov or in a BT (Labour) statement, that then needs fleshed out by the real author, either that, or they are being so comprehensively briefed, when it comes to presentation, it looks and sounds like 100% their own pieces.

    That then tends to look like they are all very nicely acquainted with the anti-independence lobby and ergo – people think they are bloody well biased. The UWS studies only quantified that and you don’t need to be a fruitcake to tend to believe it is a problem.

    • Hi, I think Brian Taylor has been exemplary in in anything I have seen or read in what is a difficult balancing act. I am absolutely not impressed by the London based people at all and think Norman smith, so good on radio I thought, out of his depth on telly talking about Scotland. He has no idea. I would actually like them to communicate more with Brian Taylor to learn how to pitch their material to make it sound as if they know something about the subject. I also want Brian to deliver briefings for the rest of the Scotland staff on what is going on and the pitfalls to be avoided.
      Derek

  74. Dear god, a man on your side tells you honestly what’s happening inside the BC and he gets a ton of responses from people who haven’t set foot in PQ, or have a degree from another country entirely a million years ago, all of whom feel better qualified to disagree.
    You are nutters. You collect fruitcakes by the tray. The idea of an independent Scotland stuffed with Stalinists like you frightens me. I was a Yes voter. Now I’m not so sure

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