Nation Shall Speak Pish Unto Nation


Another bad week for BBC Scotland. The four-day wringer which the ludicrous Salmond/Putin ‘story’ was forced through was followed by the silly overplaying of the Vote No Borders Tory-supporting, millionaire-backed, non-Scottish mini-campaign. And rather that following what many will see as a pro-Union narrative –that is undoubtedly now the commonly-held opinion– they were in fact manipulated by PR hogwash more than conspiring in bias.

The real embarrassment for BBC standards here is that PR marketing people based in London sold them a line and the BBC journalists picked them up without challenge and turned them into ‘news’. They did the PRs’ job for them.

The Putin spin wasn’t down to Alistair Campbell although he would be delighted to create such controversy so early in his GQ career. The marketing people simply poured over the copy to see what they could highlight in advance to generate publicity for the magazine, punted it to the Scottish media, let them give it oxygen and watch the sales go up as soon as the mag actually hits the shelves days later. Somewhere in London there will be an office table with a happy team, feet on desk, chortling at the success of their circulation offensive.


The same goes for VNB, a shell organisation which sold the London newsroom a line about invigorating the No campaign with a grassroots programme to match Yes. Evidence? None. Rudimentary checks, some reporter’s nous and a pinch of cynicism and/or comprehension of reality on the ground in Scotland would have warned them to be careful.

Two points. They are gasping for anything that sounds like a break in the referendum story, something new, and I suspect, if it slaps Salmond round the chops it would suit the English audience just fine (remember the glee when the pound was ‘denied’ to Scotland?) Also, when you have cut so many staff that decent stories are thin on the ground, there is no time for resistance to an item which sounds like news especially when it’s laid on a plate for you with a recording studio set up with singers and band, the main player can be in Glasgow when the camera is there and, hey, so can an ‘ordinary’ Glasgow woman who is voting No. Get on that plane!

Journalistic standards have declined at the BBC as the budgets have reduced. There used to be editors whose function was to monitor output, assess if too much airtime was going to a story, or not enough, which voices might be good to hear, what to take seriously, what not. Almost all of that layer has been cut out and on programme teams it’s every man for himself. There is no coordination.

Now, you can’t ignore the Putin issue but the starting point is to ask who wants us to follow this agenda? If you do so, you immediately have perspective and realise it is being sold to you as commercial publicity. The next question is what did he really say – in the context of the whole interview and when did he say it. Again, it gives perspective. And then, what did he mean? If we’re saying Salmond was praising Putin, why would he do that? Is Salmond anti-gay? Does he manipulate the courts and jail opponents? Has he an army at his disposal? Has he invaded another country?

Assuming no, then it becomes potentially a gaffe of wording on which it’s fair to question him. It happens all the time. When Johann Lamont talked about Scots not being genetically programmed to make decisions, it wasn’t meant as an insult. She was, I think, trying to say you don’t have to have all your decisions made by Scots in Scotland to get them right. We don’t make the right decisions just because we’re Scots. She was unfairly derided because her phrasing was wrong.

BBC Scotland was still rehearsing this questionable Putin stuff on the phone-in this morning when it sounded stale and derivative. The programme never creates an issue, does it? It doesn’t imagine what might be and then produce a packaged report and interviews to set it up and let the public respond. (That needs staff and costs money). It’s just the easy, cheap ‘story of the week’ they go for before the Where are you are you going on your holidays type question.

The wilful ignoring by the BBC of the grassroots transformation of Scotland which may in time push them out of PQ, has been petty and lamentable. It now stands in sharp contrast with its speedy and ingratiating treatment of a fly-by-night No campaign neither based nor funded in Scotland. There is no excuse for this and saying, as they will, that it doesn’t mean they are against Yes, is irrelevant now. Their actions speak louder than their PR department. They deserve the contempt of the nation…hoodwinked and hung out to dry by London marketing spivs – the new motto to replace Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation.


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103 thoughts on “Nation Shall Speak Pish Unto Nation

  1. You still don’t get it Derek. The BBC IS the No campaign. And it’s “pored” btw.

  2. I’m struggling to believe that your former colleagues are genuinely that naive and unprofessional. The man or woman in the street could have spent 2 minutes on-line to discover the true nature of the “grass-roots no campaign” – and many of them did. Are you really saying that these professional journalists lack the skills to investigate or even qualify their story?

    • Ron Dickinson

      Major problem here is that a large number of the still majority N voters take these sound-bites as verbatim and add them to the list of scary things about independence.
      The Vote No Borders story broke (again no coincidence?) right on top of ‘concerns that proliferation of Yes affiliated bodies would circumvent funding constraints’. Aye right – add a chunk of the BBC budget plus VNB astroturf and once again Yes is seriously outnumbered.
      Biggest positive is the genuine nature of Yes grass roots.

  3. The fact the BBC ALLOWED itself to be fooled by a blatantly act of astro-turfing (Vote No Borders) simply highlights once more how hollow are their claims over impartiality and being neutral.

    It took only minutes for a posse of citizen journalists to expose Vote No Borders as being a fake grassroots organisation. What an embarrassment for the once mighty Beeb.

  4. I enjoy your blogs, but I think you’re being too kind here. This isn’t a one off. We have the whole CBI issue, with the BBC effectively being the mouthpiece of the CBI and the No campaign. When the CBI joined the No campaign, the BBC didn’t consider it to be worth pointing out they were also members when others were resigning. When the academic report of bias was published, the BBC had a news blackout and went after the author. When the BBC trust found them guilty of misconduct over the referendum (after a YEAR of obfuscation), BBC Scotland didn’t think this was worth reporting.

    When the Irish foreign minister was misrepresented on the BBC, and released statements to clarify her position, the BBC did not consider it to be newsworthy. Do you see a pattern emerging here yet? When Wings smashed fund raising records. Nothing. The rise of National Collective (who are very much available for comment)? Nothing. Yestival? Nothing. I’m sure any of these things would have been easy to make a story about.

    “No borders”? Two days of wall to wall coverage! Alex Salmond made some unwise remarks about Putin? A full week!

    There comes a point surely when you have to stop portraying the BBC as these hard working professionals trying to make their best of a bad job, and just admit to institutional bias at work. It STILL seems to be the case that all other BBC political blogs are open for comment…except for those in Scotland. If the journalists are unhappy about how their output is being distorted, then maybe they should say so? You said yourself that there isn’t the same layer of editorial analysis, should that not make it easier to get actual news out there?

    I do enjoy your work, but this one comes across to me as you trying your best to defend your (friends?) in the media, when this is becoming indefensible.

  5. Oh, Derek, Derek. Yes they swallowed a marketing line, this is true. However you merely touch on the real problem at the end. They only ever swallow such a marketing line when it favours the No campaign. The country is crawling with Yes initiatives that are genuinely grass-roots, and even if these people have given up on telling the BBC about them, does it never even occur to anyone in the BBC that they have never featured any of them?

    This isn’t laziness or lack of training or lack of management. This is a deliberate policy to highlight only No-friendly events. Indeed No are handing them a nicely-wrapped package, but do you seriously think that if National Collective did exactly the same thing, they would get a minute of airtime?

    Also, the Putin stuff. You think that was just GQ trying to get publicity? You think it was pure coincidence it showed up at the very moment Salmond was delivering an absolutely inspirational speech in Bruges? Now maybe Alistair Campbell was behind the timing, but it was no coincidence, it was a deliberate spoiler for the speech. And the BBC lapped it up, just like all the No-friendly newspapers.

    I’m sorry, but at some point disbelief refuses to be suspended. There is no shortage of positive, inspirational stories about the referendum. They’re all about Yes, that’s true, and if they were actually featuring these and then scraping around for some No material to balance it that would be understandable, however dire the No material was. But they have never yet, not once, not ever, broadcast a positive, inspirational item about Yes. It’s as if they assume that Yes has to be “balanced” against, without actually showing any Yes material!

    And remember the day of the march in September, and how that was nastily spun by including that silly footage of a few people handing out leaflets outside a Co-op for “balance”, and presenting the march in contrast as 8,000 people just “talking to themselves”. And never correcting the 8,000 figure even when the police agreed it was more like 30,000.

    This is beyond stupidity into malice. Hanlon said so.

  6. Really, Derek, ‘manipulated … by PR hogwash more than conspiring in bias’. I know you still have loyalty to your fellow journalists but this seems to most of yes voters as outright bias.

    I never ever thought that I,a fairly mild mannered, considerate, highly educated 60 yr old would start acting as a twitter troll but I have been reduced to it by the BBC’s coverage.

    When will any of them stand up and be counted. In fact when will any journalist stand up and be counted. James Cook did a good job with the CBI story but if the BBC think they can fob us off with a quick look at a pro yes blog on Newsnicht, they are wrong.

    As far as I’m concerned every BBC Scotland journalist bar one or two can add with pride to their CVs the fact that they are well versed in writing, reporting and delivering state propaganda.

    I know you still have many colleagues in the BBC, please speak to them before they completely cross the line to the other side.

    By the way when is your radio station starting. We need it desperately.

  7. And yet you make the excuse on their behalf by claiming that limits on time & resources causes this cheap propaganda. Rubbish. It took me a couple of hours cross checking some copy & then going to the sources to discover that Vote No Borders is funded by a wealthy Scot, living & working in London with a history of making substantial donations to the Conservative Party.

    He even advises Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank. He has two colleagues, also based in London where the VNB’s website & company filings are also recorded. Laughably, the Scottish address used to register with the Election Commission is on one of the most expensive city streets in Edinburgh, Charlotte Square.

    A half arsed journalist student could have pieced that together in between wanking under the desk & playing solitaire. There are no excuses for the BBC because this type of unchecked propaganda is deliberate & fits their agenda & modus operandi perfectly.

  8. I am not convinced by the explanation that it is all down to budget cuts. The BBC have persistently portrayed the Yes campaign as being driven solely by Alex Salmond. They did it again on the clip of the No Borders story. The Guardian ran with it as well. They never even bothered to check who was behind this group. Conversely, when have the BBC in Scotland given more than cursory coverage to the Radical Independence Campaign, National Collective, Wings over Scotland, Women for Independence, Bella Caledonia, and other pro-independence groups?

    The fact is that the BBC is an integral part of the British state, is hostile to independence, and has no intention of giving pro-independence groups the oxygen of publicity. Why did BBC Scotland not mention the hypocrisy of BT when they were attacking Salmond’s comments on Putin, given that Lord Robertson said Putin’s Russia should be allowed entry into Nato? It has been obvious for years that BBC Scotland are only interested in reporting accusations against Salmond.

    I understand Derek you have an emotional attachment to BBC Scotland. However, they simply ignore or marginalise anything that is unfavourable to the No campaign. They did not even look into Taylor’s Vitol donation to BT! It was left to pro-independence groups, such as National Collective, Wings, to do their job for them. This is the most basic of tasks in political journalism, to examine who is contributing to the campaigns. If you listen to the BBC Scotland political journalists interviewing the Yes campaign politicians, they constantly interrupt them. By contrast, they almost never interrupt Unionists in interviews. Why is this? How can this have anything to do with budget cuts?

  9. Chris Cairns

    Sorry, Derek – your ‘cock up not conspiracy’ theory is just wearing a little thin now. OK, so some PR types handed them a story on a plate – but they still had to WANT to run it in such a gushing and uncritical fashion. You don’t think National Collective’s run-in with Vitoil last year was equally put on a plate for Pacific Quay? Wings’ astonishing crowd-funding exercise? The explosion of real grassroots politics from Common Weal to Radical Independence and all the rest? Where were the London-based correspondents doing three-minute puffs on all of that?

  10. Sick of reading about poor old BBC, not their fault, blah de blah… They are actually playing a very nasty and dangerous game.

  11. If it was just the BBC in Scotland I might buy the ‘can’t get the staff nowadays’ line but the same message gets recycled in almost all of the British media which makes them either lazy or somehow in collusion.
    Which ever it is,they all favour and peddle the anti independence line which in my book makes them part of the No campaign.
    Just because the EC let the CBI/BBC off the hook doesn’t mean that they have suddenly become neutral again in their stance.
    The journalists may be trying to be neutral but the management certainly are not.
    Thanks Derek.

  12. Esler is a spook. I don’t believe he’s the only one. This is a set-up.

    Remember; this is the British Establishment, North and South of the border, fighting for its privilege and its very existence. The greatest threat to it since the Second World War (and some of them would have collaborated even then).

    They will scratch, bite, pull hair and rig ballots. We will have to have an overwhelming advantage to win.

    That is all.

  13. Derek – I am also a professional journalist. The way the Vote No Borders was carried by the BBC was definitely incompetent. But it was so wildly incompetent and one-sided that I can only assume it is part of a wider agenda to apply more aggressive coverage to Yes and more lenient, unquestioning coverage to ‘no’. Someone took the story and ran with it. That must have been done in the full knowledge of the PR machine behind it. So – while I agree with much of what you say. I don’t think we are just dealing with incompetence here.

  14. The BBC hoodwinked? Surely not.

    My take?

    ” Hi Gavin. Malcolm here.”

    ” Hi Malcolm. How are you old boy?”

    ” Tickety boo. Couldn’t be better. Look Gavin, everyone knows the Union is going to hell in a handcart & something needs to be done. I’ve got deep pockets, I’ve got chums with deep pockets & I thought the CBI, sorry, Auntie Beeb, might be able to help.”

    ” Sure chum, what do you need?”

  15. The problem is that the BBC were hardly or indeed ever, really found out before. This is no longer the case, every thing they say and do is dissected. They do not know how to combat that, so they put their heads down and get on with their “agenda”, in the hope mud sticks and it will be worth it in the long run.
    I feel many of the reporters, CLEARLY not all, are somewhat disturbed by the line they are instructed to play, day in and day out.

    They will not speak out though, as their jobs/ mortgages etc are on the line, a kind of blackmail to toe the line. Unless, like Derek, they are BBC free, then I am sure beans will be spilled, unless of course it is a hard part of their leaving package that they sign a confidentiality clause. Which is now probable.

    I also disagree with letting Lamont of the hook for he ” Not genetically programmed ” comment. She got this from somewhere I doubt she came up with it herself. So it would have been written by a Labour spin doctor, she is culpable and complicit with what she said, she knew what it meant.
    It was part of the ” too wee, too small, too stupid ” school of thought, which is in it’s self the ideology of the Unionist campaign.

    • You’re dead right Les.

      • At least they promised us to be the only country in the world that wouldn’t have to put up with greetin’ faced Eastenders. They are far too good to us.

        Like the rest of the anti Scotch meejah the EBC journalists and historians can never learn the difference between English and British. Not that it isnae a’ the same to me onyways. I’ve never been other than a Sweaty Sock, never a Pom Frit.

  16. This stuff from the BBC will continue even within the official campaign period, when it’s likely to intensify; the BBC can only realistically be punished by Westminster.

  17. We should start a new group. Fairly mild mannered, considerate, highly educated 60 yr old Borders ladies for independence. I too am developing a rather sharp way with uppity journos on Twitter.

    • I’m with you there. Only mentioned highly educated because I was spoken to as a fool by Gerry Braiden today for raising the question of an exposé of Vote no borders by journalists who have got some smeddum.

      what shall we call ourselves? Border Ladies for Independence.

      • Universal Hiss

        Brains without Borders?

      • If we widen the age bracket just a tad, I could get a quorum!

        I know what you mean. I’ve got a substantial chunk of the alphabet after my name, as a result of 10 years at Glasgow Uni, and I’ve been talked down to by everyone from Magnus Linklater to Kevin McKenna. Not to mention politicos from Ming Campbell to Eric Joyce.

  18. For God’s sake Derek, the bastards are out to get us. THIS IS WAR Derek. We are fighting for our Nation’s soul, why else would an elderly gentleman in his 70’s go out delivering newspapers in the snow?

    This is for our COUNTRY. Stop the apologetics on their behalf They may be your friends but they are intent on destroying Scotland..

    • I wonder if Derek is testing the temperature of opinion concerning the Beeb. The considerate almost apologetic voice in a sea of knee twitching anger.

      Could so many be misplaced , has the frustation overtaken the rationale, then as others have argued and argued well that if the case was incompetence then you would be statistically similar positive stories for Yes. Would there not be more of an imbalance to the multitude of organisations being formed and cascading that message but no and if the criticism is lack of debate then surely some of that must fall on the doorstep of the media for their failure to cover those organisations.
      We are not dealing with some isolated incident thats been seized by the outraged bandwagon but a group who can spot a concerted effort to obstruct then you have to appraise the situation differently.

      The NUJ did they not speak out in favour of the Beeb to withdraw from the CBI that refusal highlights where the Cooperations intent is, all complaints take so long to be processed it renders any complaint useless in affecting any real change , sure they express their regret but that is all.

      We are highlighting a catalogue an all too familiar pattern, perhaps we have been oblivious to the duplicity as we have not galvanised against the states existence and others have had a similar campaign.
      So do we ignore Prof John Robertson’s report and appearance in front of MSP’s or the subsequant appearance of BBC head honcho’s and their admission they have never had any occasion to act in this way , so why ? Personally I think the CBI membership thing is a greater display of duplicity as they have utilised the CBI long before and have never stated self interest. The Salmond/Putin thing was classic smear, Derek you have been in the game long enough to understand this.

      Now the No Borders that seems to be the catalyst to the level of public scepticism a final indignation but it has been noticible for months it was just they were able to laugh it off but as support for Yes has grown so has the realisation of the level of obsfucation by the broadcaster.The problem with the BBC’s involvement are we at the point of that relationship and trust beyond repair.

  19. I don’t think you are stupid Derek, so ……

  20. Sorry Derek, it’s you who’s talking pish here. The No Borders thing was pure propaganda, and the BBC was fully complicit in it’s reporting.

  21. Nations shall be spoken down to by their superior Nation and spy centre in Holy Citadel.

  22. Morag…..

    go for it!

  23. It must be difficult to be a professional journalist – 90% of jobs in print are similar to zero contracts so that must influence your views and copy. TV journalists have possibly more security but because of that they have mortgages and other commitments and it would be a disaster to be out of favour- so the best thing to do is don’t buy newspapers don’t listen to BBC/STV news use the internet and other than UK media.

  24. If it were simply the case that poor old Auntie was duped, surely she would have pulled the item when it became apparent that Vote No Borders was a flimsy shell organisation? She continued to run with it long after that was clear.

  25. And Kaye Adams on Morning Call exceeded her usual bias in favour of the NO campaign in virtually jumping up and down with glee when a caller seemingly nailed Salmond on his qualification of his remarks about Putin. Caller said that Putin had a record of menace going back years. However, Kaye strangely forgot that other more prominent political leaders, Cameron, Obama etc. also praised Yutin a few months ago or last year. So would Kaye jump up and down if this was pointed out.

  26. I think Derek is one of the few commentators who is actually fair to the poor journalists at Pacific Quay. They’re not trying to be awful. It takes a long time to write a piece, check it, maybe get a quote for balance, get it subbed and either posted on the website or made into a package for TV, which is a whole extra set of work. There’s only so much they can do and when given stories that create conflict and drama and “he said/she said” talking heads on Newsnicht, they seize them and wring a few days out of them. Complain about managers and editors, not journalists. They’re doing their best but are working in an awful environment.


    the feeling in these replies are typical of how people feel about the bbc being blatant in their bias
    i would be interested to know if we can stop them legally or somehow to burst their balloon personally i have started to wtch al jazeer as i have decided to stop paying any licence fee,and found ways to combat them,any ideas gratefully accepted ,i watch streaming tv now

  28. James Coleman

    All I read in your piece is an apologia for the BBC. Are you really so naive? Most of the criticisms I was going to make have already been written above so I will confine myself to a couple of salient points which neither you nor anyone else has raised.

    Who at the BBC would have been responsible for editing Wednesday’s TV broadcast of FMQs vav the Putin debacle such that the disgraceful Questions from the Opposition smearing the FM are still being shown but the FM’s replies pointing out that Lord Robertson and David Cameron had made even worse overtures to Putin and Russia have been deleted? Would that have been a ‘management’ or a journalistic decision. We really need to know.

  29. Alas, Derek, your former colleagues are either fools or knaves, and neither is a recommendation for a professional journalist like Gavin Esler.

    “Nation shall speak unto Nation” has, IMO, long since been replaced at the BBC by “North London professionals shall lecture the rest of the country”

  30. Project Fear has no alternative to the scaremongering they’ve indulged in for months. As the referendum approaches more and more people are taking notice of the unionist prejudice espoused by the British media. What will another four months of pure negativity do to the people of Scotland? Piss them off, that’s what. Vote thrawn, vote Yes.

  31. kishorncommando

    C’mon Derek you’re among friends, honest ;-).

  32. Charles Kearney

    I have finally despaired Derek, Cameron tries to suborn Putin into an alliance against Scottish Independence and all references to it are ‘wiped’ by the BBC, Lord Robertson of ‘Cataclysm,’ declares Putin must be invited to Join NATO and it is barely Mentioned, The ‘Scottish’ Secretary tells one of his Officials to ‘Shut Up’ when he is about to blow the Gaff on Cameron etc., etc. Despite this you still make excuses for BBC Scotland. Have you heard of the expression ‘Cognitive Dissonance?’ It is usually used to describe people with such entrenched beliefs, that even in the face of proven fact that challenges and disproves these beliefs, they experience such discomfort, they ignore they evidence and carry on as they were. Usually they are ‘no too bright,’ but you don’t have that excuse Derek!

  33. Did the PR guys edit FMQs Derek.

  34. Who wrote this recently. “from my own knowledge of the internal workings of the BBC in Scotland I can state pretty clearly that there is no conscious political agenda at work”. And this “Partly because of a charter obligation to be impartial, BBC editors are very reluctant to go beyond the consensus”
    Not Derek!

  35. Oh Derek shame on you ….. This is just the start of mis-leading, twisted and vile campaign and your struggling to think you buddies would ever do such a thing. I believe we are war now until sept . The state against the people of Scotland…… Come on Derek we need guys like you to shout louder and get onside.

    The BBC are a sham.

  36. I still enjoy listening to Radio Scotland’s fair-minded Ken MacDonald on a Sunday morning. However, for quite some time now, he has repeatedly closed the programme virtually questioning whether he’ll be allowed to return the following week.
    It will be the end of Radio Scotland for me if they axe Ken’s excellent hour of fun and politics minus bias.

  37. Really, Derek. Everyone above has already said what I would have commented but I’m adding my tuppence worth just to add to the count. You aren’t convincing anyone here. If mild-mannered 60 somethings not given to wild imaginings, among others, can see considerable bias and obvious collusion with one side of the campaign, then it must tell you something.

    You are not winning this particular argument. You can’t keep maintaining like a blindly loyal friend that the arsonist just happens to be seen standing next to each burning building with match and petrol can but he doesn’t set any fires.

    Sorry, Derek, I like your output, but on this……

  38. kishorncommando

    It’s bad enough to burn yer comfort blankie withoot the ither bairns pinnin on ye.

  39. Bugger (the Panda)

    If the T Union called their members out on strike,( 5 days say) aided by way of a crowdfunding effort, based on the demand that the BBC Trust takes action to force the Scottish News Management to conform to the their Charter, that would have a pretty serious effect?

    • Bet you it wouldn’t be reported.

      • It would never happen. The Tame Unions are more Unionist than socialist and will do what their “handlers” tell them.

        Derek may be correct in his analysis of the EBC, which does not contradict the fact that it is a British Nationalist institution and like the Lumpen Pairty, irreformable..

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          the BBC and Westminster are mirror images of each other.

          Both consider themselves above the rules of the game;

          one by exemption from FOI or the necessity to follow their Royal Charter conditions of impartiality and are not responsible to their owners, those who who pay the television tax.

          and the other, the one who wrote it the Charter and consider themselves, by assumed right of Royal Privilege, to be above all laws, as they alone write them.

          A truly festering boil which need lancing.

  40. Sandra McDerment

    Derek, I heard you speak in Stirling a while ago and at that time I was prepared to believe your, “if there is bias in the BBC it’s not intentional” line at that time. Not any more. I knew more about No borders by reading a few tweets this morning than I learned on the BBC. ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE, this is No campaigning in its rawest form.

    I used to love reading your blogs, now I don’t.

  41. Ditto.

    Your insight is valuable and your commitment to the cause is inspiring but your, perhaps, wilful blindness regarding BBC bias is puzzling. You are risking your own credibility by pinning it to a vision of public service broadcasting that has palpably no basis in reality.

    You deserve better than to be remembered as Auntie’s Comical Ali

  42. Free Scotland

    On the subject of “Vote no borders,” the ineptitude of those behind this misfiring propaganda machine is compounded by the fact that they registered the domain, but were just too dumb to register the .com domain. No need to worry about interrupting the enemy while he’s making a mistake: they’re only one day in, and they’ve been exposed as utter buffoons. is frankly a waste of time, but is definitely worth a look.

    • Taking Back Our Independence

      Thank you for this, Free Scotland. Made my day. Anytime VNB comes up in conversation, I’ll be directing people to the .com version. Outsmarting the opposition is what YES should be about.

    • Drew Broadley

      It looks as if the “Vote no borders” website ( has disintegrated after just 2 days. Comments have been wiped, registered users get a message that their email and password do not match, hit the “Have Your Say” button and, as you would expect from a website run by propaganda-mongers, you are not allowed to have your say. Result. Another one bites the dust. However, as you say, is definitely worth a look.

  43. hi,
    i’ve just discovered this site (i usually visit craig murray’s excellent site and someone mentioned derek bateman so i thought i’d come for a look).

    anyway, for derek, there’s no need for me to add to the many replies explaining that black is black and white is white wrt the bbc. you only have to open your eyes.

    but, and still for derek, wrt his comment “Does he manipulate the courts and jail opponents?”, have you ever heard of ROBERT GREEN?

    google robertgreensblog

    i’m not saying that mr salmond manipulates the courts or jails opponents but a visit to mr green’s website certainly makes you think of the realities of being an activist.

  44. The trouble with security service led propaganda is that it work wonderfully. Until people notice. Then it becomes glaring, gauche and counterproductive.

    Bring it on!

  45. Derek

    I think you wrote this not believing any of it, intending to provoke a reaction.

    tut tut

    • I am absolutely confident that Derek knows exactly what the BBC is up to and that they are very conciously up to their corporate necks in this vile propaganda. I believe that Derek is trying not to engage in telling his own readers what to think or say but rather provide the catalyst for you all to speak truth unto power. And that, comrades, is exactly what you are doing for the most part in sharing your comments. I have no doubt that PQ will feel the heat generated here and on a hundred other blogs in due course and we will have justice.

  46. I am neither a jounalist nor a politician. I live in Australia. I am, though, a born and bred Scot interested in the referendum. On hearing of the ‘Vote No Borders’ outfit, i googled. Within 3 minutes, I discovered who was behind it, how much money they have and how much they intend to raise, where their registered offices are and who hosts their website, and the fact they were recording a campaign song. How hard can it be to get a job at the BBC ?

  47. Derek, they do say that the steepest part of any learning curve
    is the point of our mistakes.
    I look forward to your next piece
    knowing that you are already a wiser man.

    Have a good night and sleep well.

  48. Scotland is England’s vassal State, a submerged Nation within the Union….we are being treated as such.
    Should we not have PR? Masters of the dark arts, spinning our way to Freedom? Nor reacting…but being proactive….quite the challenge given the grip the English Aristocracy….the hidden forces of Scotland’s Secret Service must begin their work….Tally Ho chaps !!

  49. Your right, this was a really bad week for the BBC where impartiality was concerned. I don’t share the same view regarding the Putin/Salmond story as yourself that it was all down to “PR marketing people” doing a smart job. It was an attempted stitch up.

    This interview has been around for a while but has been held back from public consumption until the “right moment” That is the moment the compliant establishment are supplied with it.

    Naive to think otherwise.

    Then we have the VNB, the BBC’s coverage of this “momentous” event had nothing whatsoever to do with cuts in the number of journalists but was clearly a case of the BBC broadcasting that which they are TOLD to broadcast. The poor journalist just has to do the job.

    How is it possible that an unheard of website with no comments or content is deserving of two days coverage on TV and radio. Simply propaganda at its most blatant.

    I can’t imagine a more demoralising job right now than working for the BBC. Derek you may have been surprised and possibly depressed today by the number of supporters of this blog that disagree with you on this particular article.

    I really hope you shrug it off and come out fighting. Not for me or other critics but for Scotlands future. I for one care about what you have to say.

  50. If you don’t like the E.B.C. don’t watch TV, don’t listen to their radio output, don’t pay the license fee, simples.

  51. Nah, not buying ANY of that.

  52. In the event of a NO vote, there should be non payment of the TV tax and every YES voter should be mobilised to demand that this broadcaster be reformed, reconstituted or even better removed from any position of influence from the daily lives of Scots.

  53. I’m wondering if some of the BBC staff who are trapped by mortgages and the like are deliberately making the bias so blatant and in your face that anyone with a grain sense will smell the odour and see it for what it is. After all, if they show any fairness at all, they get shown the door.

    • Nah. They just want to keep their jobs and get on. It’s a rotten culture. They are also telling some fowk just what they want to hear. There are lot of them out there. That’s how colonialism works and that’s how Labour functions.

      The Anglo Indians were worse than the Pukka Sahibs, just like the North Brits, or Vichy Scots.

  54. Went to bed early-ish last night but if anyone’s interested the answer to my question was —Iain Macwhirter.
    Published in his little book about the Scottish media, which is a good read apart from the bits I quoted.

  55. Derek so the coverage of FMQs where the rabid accusations were shown but Salmond’s calm but cutting rebuttal was edited out was just ‘lazy journalism’ was it?

    Sorry but by their words and actions shall we know them. It has become deliberate. Add in the training videos now on YouTube for the all the new temporary recruits and you can see that things have clearly changed since you were eased out of the way.

    They don’t want experienced old heads holding up the message. They are on a war-like propaganda footing now. It must be hard for you to acknowledge this but the evidence is now too stark to conclude anything else.

    If a BBC crew stopped me in the street I would tell them where to go and why, politely but firmly.

  56. Of course all of these apologies on your behalf Derek completely ignores the statement made from on high by the BBC trust, that the BBC does not require to be balanced as ‘we are not yet in the official referendum campaign’……a statement that would seem to hole all of your paper boats below the waterline.

    I don’t understand your motivation for maintaining this particular argument, and nor do I want to, but feel it necessary to point out that by doing so, you are quite probably alienating yourself from many on the Yes side, and that is crying shame as you bring so much energy and life to the debate.

  57. “The wilful ignoring by the BBC of the grassroots transformation of Scotland which may in time push them out of PQ”

    I think we should arrange some sort of ceremony when that happens. It would be a symbolic act on a par with the toppling of the statues of Stalin.

  58. I am not sure I agree that Alastair Campbell was not persuaded by the British Establishment to bounce Salmon’s into answering controversial questions.One of the things Salmond said when being pushed about Farage was :”Where are you going with this”.Salmond sensed something sinister.Given Campbell chose to ask Salmond about Farage.The also interviewed Farage. Then Farage was slated by the BBC in a similar way.The jigsaw and not conspiracy theory starts to become a clear picture of deliberate smearing.I don’t think the BBC are lazy I think they hate Salmond and are doing everything to defame him.This is the British state at work.

  59. Bugger (the Panda)

    Derek, I think it is fair that you are in a minority of one regarding the opinion of skullduggery versus incompetence and poverty of resources.

    I don’t blame the PBI, especially the ones who stuck their heads over the parapet and demanded the BBC should withdraw from the CBI. I don’t blame you Derek either or the other news professionals who have to pay a mortgage and feed their families. I blame the politicised nature and culture of the BBC which has turned it, wasn’t it always, to be the handmaiden of the Establishment. We never challenged the received wisdom.

    It took me a near lifetime to look objectively into religion and eventually see though the smoke and mirrors it is, to realise it was just a multicoloured coat of nothing. I used to believe the BBC was fair and truthful, too. Silly me.

    Anyway, I suspect you more than halfway there now.

    If you were given a verbal barging and pushing on this thread, it hurt us more than it hurt you.

    We need you, more than ever.

  60. Derek, like others above, i’m sorry to say, but at the same time the BBC were making the Salmond/Putin remarks, they were also airbrushing Lord George Robertsons’ “Russia in NATO” statement from their output and wiping out Salmonds slapping down of Ruth Davidson at FMQ’s over Camerons “Support the Union” lobbying expedition to Russia in January. Ruth Davidson throwing a wobbly after being confronted on Camerons antics (see Brian Taylors FMQs review for the noticeable exclusion of the #1 highlight of the FMQs Session). These very deliberate editorial decisions when looked at wholistically, can not be simply written off as ‘BBC incompetence’… that argument has long become ridiculous.

    I suspect you say what you say a lot of the time Derek, because you feel you are protecting yourself in case there is a No vote. On the other hand, regarding BBC bias, if you generally believe yourself in your opinion of cockup rather than conspiracy, then you are in the minority.

    Since the clear BBC bias is now at an almost daily rate, I would like to ask where your threshold is? How frequent and undeniable does the bias have to be, before you would finally come out and say it?

  61. Yes and Newsnight Scot Thursday.When the SNP mp tried to mention Robertsons remarks.He was first talked over.Then at the end he tried again and Brewer called time and his point wasn’t heard.Go and watch Derek its there to be seen. I agree with the previous comment about religion its a load of manmade laws to try and control the local population.Religion is just state control without the legislature. Always say I believe in God or something ethereal but I don’t believe in religion.Divide and rule as far as I am concerned.

  62. Robert Peffers

    Loyalty is to be admired, Derek. However it can be overdone and thus prove the truth of the old Scottish saying, “If ye flee wi craws ye micht weel bi taen fir a craw an shot iz a craw”.

    Sae, Derek, ir ye a craw or ir ye no a craw?

  63. The BBC is still a member of the CBI. Even though the Electoral Commission said that the CBI registration had not been properly signed, the CBI is still lobbying for a NO vote. It will have to register. The BBC will also have to register with the EC or else resign from the CBI. In fact, given it is blatant lobbying for a NO vote, it should register in its own right. It is, as far as I know, breaching the terms of its Royal Charter. Should we not be thinking about getting external observers, perhaps from the EU, involved in monitoring this fiasco?

  64. BBC Scotland is burnt toast.

  65. Meanwhile, over on Michael Greenwell’s site, the Indyfer podcasts continue with the last one being the Wee Ginger Dug and this latest one is an excellent interview with Craig Murray. This is as close to real Scottish radio as we can get at the moment until Derek gets up and running!

  66. The antics of the BBC are a deliberate ploy to undermine the democratic process.

    The instances of selective reporting, selective editing and apportioning quotes
    favourable to ‘No’ where there were none (i.e. lying) are too numerous to be the
    result of underfunding or genuine mistakes.

    Interviewing a black dude (Guy Kewney) 8 years ago as an expert on a subject
    when he was only in for an interview for a job was a mistake…albeit a very funny one.

    Otherwise, I see no other mistakes.

  67. I don’t necessarily postulate an overt conspiracy, as in actual meetings where the participants discuss what they’re going to do today to spin things for No. (Sort of what John Robertson said.) I imagine it’s more subtle than that, and so more deniable.

    I think there is a large cabal in BBC Scotland with ties of one sort or another to the Labour party. They work together, they socialise together, they holiday in each others’ villas in Tuscany and so on. And they recognise when someone is or isn’t part of this clique.

    People who aren’t, and that would include Derek and also Ruthie, won’t be aware of what’s happening and how it’s done, not because they don’t get the memos (there aren’t any), but because they aren’t in the culture. They’re recognised as “not one of us” in that intangible way, so the conversations where it’s implied that all right-thinking people support Labour and the union don’t happen in their presence.

    In the end it’s probably not wholly conscious. Just about everyone has the same outlook and the same prejudices, so it seems normal. Everyone regards Salmond as a jumped-up illegitimate oik who has no right to be in the FM’s role never mind prancing around pretending to be an international statesman, so that’s how he’s treated. Everyone knows that Scotland is better off in the union and couldn’t survive on its own and would be thrown out of the EU and so on, so these points of view are treated as mainstream and alternative points of view challenged as being clearly bonkers.

    If there’s nobody in charge with a remit to stop this, and I mean someone who isn’t part of it himself but can see objectively what’s going on, it doesn’t necessarily need an explicit conspiracy. It just happens, because it’s normal, because all right-thinking people know that nationalism is for fruitcakes.

    But the editing of FMQs, and the airbrushing out of Robertson’s call for Putin to be in NATO and Cameron’s approach to Putin to get him to help attack Scotland, aren’t legitimate editorialising or mistakes. The elephant in the room is turning into a great woolly mammoth in front of our eyes, and even if we don’t subscribe to the explicit conspiracy model, really the half-unconscious culture of bias has to be acknowledged.

    • I suspect you are right in describing the situation there Morag. When you hear BBC Scotland presenters and journalists interviewing Yes politicians they invariably interrupt the independence speakers. By contrast, when they interview Unionist politicians they very rarely interrupt or speak over them. Is this deliberate or is it an unconscious thing? I would say it is probably unconscious. If I recall correctly, Iain McWhirter has said in the past that a BBC Scotland political journalist is looked on with suspicion if they are even balanced towards the SNP and Scottish nationalism in particular. Lets be honest, some BBC Scotland journalists do not really try hard to disguise their antipathy to the SNP, or independence in general. Glenn Campbell is one such example, Jim Naughtie is another.

      • Bugger (the Panda)

        and Kaye (with and E)?

        Maybe she is technically not a journalist, kust a shit stirring agent provocateur.

        Incidentally, I thought she disappeared down sarf?

        • @Bugger

          There is a range of names that we could cite. I don’t think there can be much doubt now that there are a number of journalists at BBC Scotland who are essentially not examining or properly scrutinising the No campaign, and in fact they have no intention of doing so because of their own opinions and prejudices. I also do not see anyone even attempting to reign them in terms of the BBC Scotland management.

          The revelation that BBC Scotland has been a part of the CBI for nearly 30 years, a strongly Conservative organisation, shows that the BBC has problems internally, as I cannot believe that some of the staff at PQ are happy about this. They have been lied to basically. It is also under external pressure from independence supporters, who perceive BBC Scotland to have a decidedly pro-Union bias.

  68. …. and then we have the BBC deliberately misrepresenting Lord Trimble’s comments on the referendum to infer that a YES vote would lead to violence in N Ireland.

    This is a very dangerous game for the BBC to play with the democratic process in Scotland and the peace process in N Ireland.

    We must congratulate Lord Trimble in taking the BBC to task and making it clear that a YES vote would strengthen the peace process in N Ireland, and not weaken it.

  69. Gavin Barrie

    Maybe we can just agree that a “not one of us” culture exists at the BBC, or something less than wholesome.

    If you don’t like the product don’t buy it. I cancelled my license payment and explained why to my BBC – representing visitors.

  70. Dr JM Mackintosh

    Derek – Yes Pish indeed.

    I think you are a bit too protective of your former colleagues.

    The BBC appears to be the leading organiser in the NO campaign.

    It is supposed to report the news – not manufacture it.

  71. Bad as the EBC always was, it went really haywire with unbridled infuriating jingoism during the Millennium; London Olympics, Jelly Bean’s Jubilee, Royal weddings, births, etc. Hopefully, there will be no royal funerals before September to get the undecided wimmen’s vote.

    The legacy has left the EBC with Union Jacks and even more Team GB jingoism as a permanent structure in all programmes from news to soaps, games shows, chat shows and even documentaries.

    The Hootsmon is also as bad but the online comments get into them with the usual illogical venomous attacks by the loyalists.

  72. Joseph O Luain

    The BBC is the mouthpiece of the British establishment. That in effect means YES was never going to get an even-break; YES being considered as (for obvious reasons) an enemy of said establishment. The hard mechanics of the establishment’s campaign of black propaganda will probably never become known, but who’ll give a damn anyway when Yes wins the day.
    I found myself most intrigued by the late Margo’s request that the British security services keep their people out of the business of the referendum. What could she have meant? Expect more of the same.


  74. The VNB story is more than sloppy journalism – it’s positively sinister. BBC Scot ran the story about a ‘grassroots’ campaign ‘gaining momentum’ on the day its website was being launched. This story must have been proposed and planned and filmed before VNB had any public profile whatsoever? And how does the ‘lack of resources’ excuse explain the upgrading of the story the next day to a Gavin Essler feature running every 30mins on national news?

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