Going Live…

Is tonight the night? Is it true that this evening BBC Scotland’s new, classy and (allegedly) controversial replacement for Newsnicht will air for the first time and change the political landscape? Well, let’s hope so.

It isn’t just the BBC that needs a good show, it’s Scotland. We have been dismally served by the national broadcaster in our hour of referendum need and this is the last hope that something can be saved from the wreckage of Kenny McQuarrie and John Boothman’s uninspired handling of this key role in our society.


I’m optimistic, although I said that about the £500,000 of extra money forced into McQuarrie’s pocket by a new Director General desperate to save the corporation’s reputation and look what that gave us…Sanjeev ‘blethering’ and dated bollocks about how today’s players are connected through personal links – I kent his faither for the digital age.

In all this time the only shows that impressed me on television and met what to my eye is an appropriate professional standard in content and style were Allan Little’s exploration of Scandinavia and the James Cook presented Question Time format touring the country – neither made by the referendum unit. Nothing in all this time has been unmissable. No programme on BBC or Scottish has lit a fire and become the talk of the steamie, a sad reflection on complacent and tired broadcasting in Scotland.

And, as we prepare to wave off Paxo from big Newsnight, it is a startling fact that not one of our front line of interviewers has come close to ripping up the politicians and exposing them. No one has earned the crown of King, or Queen, Tormentor. Even Andrew Neil did a job on Salmond and lately, on Douglas Alexander, in a way we rarely see here. The closest we have come is the now-disappeared Gordon Brewer playing innocent daft laddie and letting Johann Lamont blast craters in both feet with a toe-curling explanation of her devolution plans, and the general performance of Bernard Ponsonby whose thundering theatricality always threatens to explode if he gets a wrong answer. I suffer from interaction reflex which means I know exactly where the interviewer should intervene to challenge and shout at the screen to tell them – the practical application of airwave transmission technology not being my strong point.

Everywhere I go in this debate, the same questions come up…what’s wrong with the BBC? Why aren’t the interviewers any good? They’re not informing us…


Well tonight is the BBC’s last chance and there are sound reasons to think it may work. The first is simple: It has to. The coverage has been so peely wally and the Beeb’s journalistic reputation so shredded, that it is imperative that it ends this campaign on a high. I truly hope so. The criticism is not going away after the vote in September – dissatisfaction is high and change demanded. I think Yes will carry on and there could well be a coordinated campaign of non-payment of the licence fee. 100,000 should do it.

Then there is the key person – the presenter. From what I know Sarah Smith is a real pro. She exudes the charisma of a media heavyweight, seems at ease with the exposure and remains grounded. She is a publicity trigger – note the space devoted to her so far in the Press saying absolutely nothing but it’s nice to be back in Scotland! How the managers at PQ love all that stuff. To them, if she appears in the Scotsman mag, their job is done. The people like her, so that’ll do. Sadly the management forget that what counts isn’t appearances but content, a lesson they forgot many years ago.

I don’t buy all this Daughter of John stuff either. It’s insulting to any intelligent person to suggest they will think or vote like daddy. I didn’t. I don’t think I agreed with a single political point my dad every made. The trick in broadcasting is to make sure the audience doesn’t know your own view however they like to think they do. I have letters of complaint from Lib Dems, Tories, Nats and Labour and got a reputation for being pro independence because I understood the subject and asked the questions that blew away or challenged the Unionist orthodoxy- that’s all. But in tribal Scotland, you’re either in our gang or you’re in somebody else’s and frankly, Labour couldn’t operate any other way. When I came out for Yes all the clever dicks said: Told you so. Then a few weeks later a senior Labour person told me he’d had a conversation with a BBC executive and told him he was convinced from listening to me that I was a Tory!

I don’t fear for her impartiality for a moment and it’s important she doesn’t let that get to her either. She must be herself and allow her own style and approach to come out. I have one concern though and it’s beyond her ability to change it. I know from experience how important it is to have enough background knowledge and detail to pick up the contradictions and hypocrisies as they spew out live before you and judge which is worth pursuing and which isn’t. A generalised understanding of modern Scottish politics may not be enough to achieve this and the fact is that Sarah has lived outside Scotland throughout the devolution years leaves her at a disadvantage. Be sure – her politician adversaries will know that.

Therefore what she needs is informed back-up at the pre-programme briefing stage and in her ear while on air and that will be up to the output producer. I don’t know who that will be but I understand the two key producers from Newsnight, both political experts, are reassigned to Reporting Scotland instead.

The bigger issue with this programme is its leadership. Marcus Ryder is the editor and that should send shockwaves through the team as to my knowledge he has no interest in Scottish politics and has never expressed any. He was editor of the investigations section where a major role was to sell programmes to the network so his focus was always on what London wanted. His understanding of Scotland is, by repute, scant. One producer tells of him watching a clip of Nicola Sturgeon circa 2008 and saying: If that’s what the SNP are claiming, we’d better get a reaction from the Scottish government – only to be quietly told the SNP WERE the government…

There is also a big difference between looking after a programme which transmits weekly, or only sporadically and handling the pressure of nightly transmission. Even four nights a week generates a relentless weight of effort to get the story, keep it fresh and make it controversial – which seems to be one of the aims. With a reporter as good as Lucy Adams they may be expecting to break news not just follow up the morning papers…we’ll see. That needs proper production back up, planning and prep time as well as camera crews available and editing access. It is also many times harder to generate controversy when you are tied to the strict rules on balance which apply from Sunday.


Any new show is exciting but I do question why they are only starting a new format less than four moths from voting. All programmes need time to establish and bed down, win over an audience, earn trust and become authoritative. I argued that this is what should have been done soon after the SNP won in 2011 and it would have been the broadcasting focus of the whole debate. And, glad as I am about both Smith and Adams, was there really nobody already in the BBC who had earned the right to join a new programme? One of the great strengths of the BBC was that it trained the broadcasters of the future. That a new show at a vital time is dependent on hiring in new staff is hardly an advert for the nurturing of talent at PQ, just as the hiring of Jim Naughtie gave a message that London was sending someone north to help the Scots cope with a tricky story. Anyway, good luck to them all.

By the way, who’s replacing Gary Robertson, unceremoniously banjoed from GMS?

(You may have noticed the conventional media is beavering away for someone to ‘blame’ for the UKIP election. Call me old fashioned but I blame the voters – the ones who voted UKIP, no? That’s how it works. Who knows why a few thousand more went for them and a few thousand didn’t back the SNP but it’s a bit contrived to blame Salmond for someone else getting elected. It may have been the wrong thing to make the sixth seat a Them or Us choice but that’s only in retrospect. Like most of the mainstream commentators, they’re smart after the event. I think only Macwhirter got close to calling that in advance. It’s as likely that Tasmina’s Tory past turned off enough, that the collapse of the Lib Dems diverted a few to UKIP, that the Tory and Labour appeasement of anti immigrant sentiment pushed some over or that the effect of a small turn out was all that was needed. The triumphalism of Adam Tomkins, Margaret Curran and sundry others pretending to be progressives will be remembered as one of the nauseating highlights of what for them has been a despicable campaign.

How the Times today in a leader could suggest that momentum behind Yes had stalled because the SNP didn’t add to their total compared to last time looks like a search for another twig to flay the dug. Is there a paper or a commentator who has recently pointed out the extraordinary achievement of the SNP in remaining not only in power but ahead of their rivals in every measure of opinion seven years after entering power?  Has Cameron done that? The pro Union bias is to assert that the Euro elections backfired on Yes because they relied on UKIP being shut out. I would have deeply preferred that. But surely they miss the obvious – that the odious Coburn, a man who doesn’t fit the stereotype of UKIP nasty because he’s gay, according to David Torrance in this week’s  twisted logic category, is now an outspoken and about-to-be frequent interviewee on behalf of Better Together. Johann Lamont is now holding hands with the Tories on one side and the UKIP on the other. How is this a win for No? Or is just the case that they are, as usual, utterly devoid of political instinct and manically self-congratulatory in their ignorance?

The same media – hello BBC –  which projected UKIP as the election story and helped get them elected will now regularly seek out a willing Mr Coburn for his delicious capacity to produce droplets of Unionist balm which turn into suicide pills.)


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57 thoughts on “Going Live…

  1. We wait with bated breath. Will we get an impartial programme with positive, factual debate or will it be the BBC!. Call me cynical if you will but the BBC have a mountain to climb to restore their shredded reputation. I do wish it will happen, but we will all have to just wait and see.

  2. Who do I need to inform that I will no longer be paying the license fee ?

    • You can do it on line Deewal. I cancelled my licence after the BBC informed me that 8500 people attended the Independence march in Edinburgh last year, followed up by a tweet from Police Scotland praising the ease of stewarding ‘around 22,000 friendly yes marchers’. My complaint was ignored and the lie never rectified, so I cancelled my licence. So far I’ve had one phone call that ended with me getting a £48.00 refund and two threatening letters which I’ve ignored – after all they told me I wouldn’t be contacted for two years.
      You can still watch DVDs etc on the TV, just don’t have it connected to an ariel. As well, If you really want to, you can watch anything you want on catch-up on a PC or laptop completely legally. If someone comes to your house claimimg to work for TV Licencing don’t believe them, they’re more likely bailiffs who have no power at all. NEVER let them in your house, they have no right at all to enter your property. Send them away telling them you no longer need a licence. Easy. Hope this helps…

  3. After the BBC propaganda job on UKIP there can be no way back for them. Given the total imbalance in favour of NO that there has been, only a total commitment to exposing the lies in the NO campaign could begin to repair the damage that the BBC has already done to democracy in Scotland.

    I’m afraid that I do not wait with batemanded breath for this type of “programme”. I no longer watch BBC News or Current Affairs, nor listen to BBC Radio Scotland or Radio 4.

    Spend your time campaigning folks, get the message out there. Do not rely on anyone else to do it. We need to counter the propaganda with clear, evidence based points and an enthusiasm for the potential of an independent Scotland.

  4. James naughty has turned out to be same old same old; too deferential to ‘big beasts’.
    If she is staying in Scotland then presumably she will be hanging out with the media clique.
    What Sarah Smith should is a tour of real events with Derek Bateman, that would be useful and at least have authenticity.
    I get the feeling most of the BBC news staff never really meet real people. They go out with a plan and get the needed faces to fit that.

    I watched a newscast from the European Parliament (big BBC) where the reporter asked an expert on the EP what effect the new right wing UKIP type members would have. He said, the Parliament is too big for this new grouping to have an influence, but they would without doubt influence their home national politics.
    The reporter said, slightly surprised, “Oh?’ then turned to camera and said something like, “There you have it, they will have an influence here and at home’.

  5. Outwardly Hibs had good players, a good manager and good facilities but they got relegated. Why, because despite having good players, a good manager and good facilities the club were rotten to the core.

    What chance that Sarah Smith will succeed when we all know that BBC Scotland too is rotten to the core.

    The very second that Sarah Smith interrupts a pro-independence interviewee , skews a comment in favour of Better Together, or invites another unionist commentator to opine on the referendum or Alex Salmond the game will be up and everyone will turn over or turn off.

    Smith needs to challenge her environment to succeed. If she does not then she will be judged a failure, no different from James Naughtie hosting GMS.

    PS I do like the idea of a mass boycott in paying the licence fee. You can sign me up for that.

  6. It will be interesting to see how the new team can maintain ‘balance’ when the No side hold no actual events in public, nor will they engage in debate with Yes when invited to do so.
    And given this scenario, can the BBC attend and report on the almost nightly (and generally packed) meetings, organised by the Yes side?
    If the No campaign will not engage with the public, why should the BBC not report this obvious fact?

  7. Bit of good news, as a result of UKIP’s sensational result in England, my Undecided friend is definitely going to vote YES. And she liked to think of herself as British. What a great start to my week.

  8. Findlay Farquaharson

    Prepare to be disapointed. I would love to know how many Dimblebys and magnussons and Labour party officials family members work for the BBC?

  9. Trust once lost can never be regained remember Ratner.

    This what the BBC should of been doing but wont because it is out of their editorial control.

    Al Jazeera to film Yes Kirkcaldy referendum talk

    info: Comments still come up with an error message, only way in is clicking recent post link.

  10. Mr Bateman,
    As I said before, I always knew you were a Tory. I think. Oh no, I said I knew you were a Fifth Columnist. That’s a journalistic term.
    The BBC has shot itself in the foot as far as I am concerned. I wouldn’t care if they
    brought back Robert Burns to appear on their new programme. I predict it will be an attempt to brainwash the public and stifle any further burgeoning of the ‘Yes’ camp. I might watch it, but with cynicism in my heart. Better news on RT.

  11. To be fair folks Derek has a point , albeit a small on, and he’s at least optimistic in the hope that the BBC do turn for the better. A refreshing change to all the negativity. But i have to say that it might be too late for most of us. Me most certainly.

    The BBC has been the biggest single factor in the BT campaign. From day one it’s bias has shocked so many but they have pumped out the drivel with out let up. Their coverage of the Nob Orders “grass roots ” movement was a disgrace that will shame them for years to come and the CBI scandal ??? still running .

    And THEY more than anyone helped UKIP do so well. Giving coverage to those racist thugs that the YES campaigners could only dream of. UKIp quotes and pic were everywhere .

    Your a tolerant man Mr Bateman. Honesty and balance are hard to find even on YES sites but your blogs have all the always been very well put. A voice of reason .You have a soft spot for the Beeb and that’s ok , I doubt many of your strongest supporters feel the same sir. I for one watched each day in utter horror and was not surprised when others showed their feelings , The BBC will never have my trust again. I stopped paying my license and never watch tv anymore . It was hardly worth a a watch before anyway. But i take a little comfort in the fact that they may re-address the balance and if it gives the YES campaign a boost then great, every little bit helps.

  12. You might want to investigate the BBC’s reaction when it inadvertently gave some air time to the musicologist John Purser on the topic of Robert Burns. The fire in the Art School had nothing on that.

  13. “Johann Lamont is now holding hands with the Tories on one side and the UKIP on the other”.

    Sarah should get that scene on her opening show. It would give the better together comrades a chance to back each other up. Their overlapping visions of no Scottish Parliament, no maternity pay, privatised NHS, a flat rate of tax, student tuition fees, “end of something for nothing”, …

    The Union needs this solidarity to prevent the half-baked notion of Scotland running its own affairs.

  14. Scenario IF she shows balance more than once then Labour will swamp the complants of her obvious bias towards the Nats so IMO the BBC have already been their own destroyer by not addressing this years ago.

  15. If Sarah Smith proves to be her own person in all of this then I for one will commend her. It will be very difficult, I would have thought, to plough her own furrow in the situation at the BBC where there is evident bias in attitudes. And that is assuming that she comes to this debate with a completely open mind herself.

    I don’t watch TV news any more so can’t really comment on the whole of Sarah Smith’s tenure at Channel4, but many years ago after the terrible events of the Madrid bombing I remember watching her in an interview with some Spanish people following the election which took place soon after. In the aftermath of the bombing the then Spanish government had used the outrage to use their embassies abroad to brief foreign journalists and governments that the Basques were main suspects, which was the opposite of the truth since police by then had discarded this line of enquiry and were clear that the bombing was not ETA related.

    In the election which came after, Spaniards who were horrified by a government that would cynically use a situation of carnage and horror to exploit it for political purposes, turned against the governing party and threw them out. Now the line in our media was that this inexplicable turning against a sitting government was giving into terrorism, despite the fact that one or two newspaper reports tried to explain the Spanish reaction.

    When Miss Smith took the interview she was very much on message and took the line of “giving in to terrorism”. The reason I remember it so well is the vehemence with which she conducted a supposed interview, lambasting the puzzled Spaniards for what she regarded as a cowardly giving into terrorists.

    However, she is now an experienced interviewer and has probably learned more distance in her interviewing nowadays and more grace in dealing with ordinary members of the public. It was after all one interview but it did stick in my mind as someone who was being less than impartial and let it show.

  16. I now have so little trust in the BBC that I go round checking other sources. I won’t stop that process ever again.

    Trust is a fragile thing. Once lost it is unbelievably difficult to regain.

  17. Bet Labour & Tory/Liberal (UK-wide) regret failing to direct the amount of bias against ‘Yes Scotland’ in the same measure against the UKIP……it is surely a pyrrhic victory if they’re taking any pleasure in the effect against Alex Salmond & the SNP, eh?

  18. I’ll probably watch the first one just to see but without high expectation. What really disappoints me is the lack of major news and current affairs coverage from a Scottish perspective. So much news generation is centred in London and networked out to the likes of GMS and Reporting Scotland and it inevitably has a London-centric viewpoint.

    Without setting up completely separate Scotland-based news teams the BBC is never going to provide the coverage we need. We need reporters covering international stories in a way that reflects Scottish interest. The BBC London coverage is so cliched in its imperialist mindset that it is not worth watching most of the time. Don’t they realise most of us actually know and work with people in / from other countries and get irritated by their tired stereotypes of “the French” or “the Germans” etc.?

    An even larger problem is the almost total lack of coverage of real Scottish political issues. Health, education other policy areas scantily covered, almost no coverage of parliamentary committees. Most BBC news focusses on domestic policy and is irrelevant to Scotland. This gap should be filled by content on our domestic policy generated in Scotland. Why with 2 million licence payers can we not have that?

    I wish Sarah Smith and the other guy well with the new programme but, however good they turn out to be it will almost inevitably, be too little too late.

  19. “By the way, who’s replacing Gary Robertson, unceremoniously banjoed from GMS?”

    Oh I think he said he was fed up being ordered to spew out constant bias, so he declared for


    got so sick of it cancelled my licence,
    got an e mail saying they would check with me again in 2 years,they know they are losing,i just dont think they care about 5 million, when they have 55 million in south

  21. I don’t watch nor listen to BBC Scotland live anymore. I’ll pick up on a story from the blogs and then watch it on iPlayer and then I cherry pick. I have lost interest in the BBC, it does not inform me. I suspect that the new presenter will follow the well trodden path of keeping on message; the unionist message.

    As far as UKIP is concerned, the Unionist parties have to get into bed with UKIP. Unionists have to be better together after all. They simply cannot be seen to disagree. In effect Scottish Labour, Scottish LibDems and Scottish Tories have overnight been turned (willingly) into apologists for Crypto Fascists. Nice place, this Great Britain. If there is one gram (I’m using metric to wind up the Ukippers :)) of decency left in Scottish Labour (there must be some decency somewhere for goodness sake!) then now is the time to step into the light.

    Think of the legacy that the Scottish left has and within living memory. In the 1930s the Scottish Left was sending people to Spain to fight Fascism, now, 70 odd years later the Scottish Labour Party is actively welcoming if not supporting the election of an UKIP MEP. What the hell happened to Labour?

  22. |My expectations? For what it’s worth (about thruppence) another labour acolyte BBC placeperson spouting the party (London LabourBBC) line

  23. Margaret Brogan

    Just tried to post a comment, now lost to ‘Internal Server error’!

  24. Gavin C Barrie

    Some really finely crafted phrases there Derek, a pleasure to read. As I’m no longer a BBC customer Ms Smith is of no interest.

  25. Stopped watching tv years ago, and recently gave both radios away. Sad because bbc radio used to be good, with world music and the odd decent play, that was dumbed down pretty swiftly after 2010 election and cut backs. RT news ok, poss France24, and there is a ‘euronews’ site, Of some sort.
    Other than that, websites and blogs. Would never trust the bbc again and only look at their online news to see what biased and twisted story they are expecting people to take as gospel re the referendum.
    Time for a change and ditching bbc en masse would be cathartic!

  26. Well on the basis of that pathetic interview with Alexander it’s over. Forget it. Lassie couldnae grill cheese.

    • Derek, sorry, but your comments now read like hopeful optimism… wishful thinking even.

      That was utter drivvel last night. Huge build up from the BBC and it failed to deliver at every level conceivable. You would have thought that there would have been so much Referendum material to work with, that the BBC would have been torn between what to leave out. A dire interview with an MP of a deceaced political parrot of a party didn’t even come close to cutting it. Big Yawn!

    • David Hay, “Lassie couldnae grill cheese.”

      Have to agree with you there. Embarrassing to watch.

  27. Went to bed early and by the tone of comments so far, I didn’t miss much. I wish I could have been proven wrong, but on the strength of the Beeb’s performance to date in this debate I’m afraid I didn’t really have the strength to give it even a second thought last night.

    Of course the real benchmark will be the first guest interview with anyone from the SG or YES camp. Alexander by all accounts had an easy ride. Do we really think the SG or YES campaign guest will be treated with kid gloves?

  28. Watched and was disappointed by Smith’s questioning of Alexander. He came out with the usual soundbites and no details and she didn’t even pick up on this. I can only think that her knowledge of Scottish politics is very very limited which is very poor for our so called BBC.

  29. Didn’t watch it but then again I gave up on the BBC years ago.

    I wouldn’t open the curtains if they were broadcasting from my garden.

    • Absolutely scotsgeoff. The whole edifice, the B.B.C, is institutionally rotten from top to bottom, that being P.Q. Like you, I never watch any of their news/current affairs programmes nowadays, as with every supposed given opportunity, real or imagined, they will spin it to attack the Yes campaign, along with the S.G. And just think, even after independence, this mob will still be in place, at least until the expiry of their contracts, running a S.B.S. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

  30. There`s already a mass boycott of the license fee. It`s just not an organized boycott. I`d be surprised if it wasn`t already 100,000 people already. I think the next 4 months will see an organized boycott though, a very public one. I`m ready to hit the streets and get the word out when the time comes anyway. Without a balanced BBC we don`t live in a democracy here in Scotland due to most other MSM being so pro Westminster rule. They know if the truth comes out to the masses it`s game over for the UK.

  31. Free Scotland

    Was there a subliminal message being broadcast by using a hugely magnified Tunnock’s Tea Cake wrapper as a background for Danny Alexander’s head? (Quick sugar fix, low nutritional value, perhaps?)

  32. Please don’t discourage the MSM from interviewing Coburn. A suicide pill is exactly what we want!

  33. Sarah Smith on Scotland 2014 – a promotion to the level of incompetence.

    Ken McQuarrie (Director BBC Scotland) & John Boothman (Head of news & Current Affairs),

    should transfer her to Loose Women.

    They themselves looking a bit shoogley.

    As for Danny Alexander – the man’s in shock.

    He knows his world is coming to an end and he can’t focus as a consequence.

    He’ll be on automatic from now on.

    We’ll be hearing a lot of ‘ the dividend’ and ‘pooling and sharing’

    and all the other sound bites that he doesn’t need his brain for.

  34. Wee Ginger Dug puts it best, “It was a bit like the bastard offspring of the Alan Titchmarsh Show and Loose Women, but without gardening tips, cookery segments, celebrities, or any of Alan’s insight into Scottish politics and current affairs. It’s daytime TV at night, so you don’t have to miss it even if you’re so depressed by the asinine intelligence insulting offerings of the BBC that you can’t crawl out from under your duvet until past 8pm.”


  35. smiling vulture

    did sarah watch john snow all these years?

  36. Well, I’m not going to rub it in. I expect you saw the whole dismal thing yourself.

  37. Watched the first two minutes, and gave up – looked like Newsnight in pink without any rigour, sponsored by Tunnocks. Switched over to STV Scotland Tonight, watched Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon discussing UKIP and the Treasury ‘report’. They’d obviously learned their lesson from their last STV encounter, it was actually quite civilised.

  38. Have to admit I was disappointed – was hoping for much better – by what appeared to be a very nervous S Smith who may be in the situation proffered by Derek ie she’s been out of Scottish politics and entering at a late Inde stage. The last bit with the eye – fluttering luvvies was cringing.

    Have they missed the news that out there are magnificent new grassroots opinions ( possibly for NO too ) ? Will hope for a rapid maturation and watch again tonight.

  39. So you had high hopes for John Smiths wee lassie?

    A classic case of hope over experience there Derek.

    As for how she got the job well on last nights performance it wisnae for her interviewing skills or her journalistic expertise. Wonder what it could have been?

  40. Ah Derek , last night didn’t work.

    Poor interview with Dougie the LIAR , a wee comment about his stats and she allows him to twaddle on , spouting even more drivel. This was a cheap , tacky and I could have done more in my living room with a phone camera. It felt like i was watching some breakfast show, till the interview with a puppet.

    That was a piece of utter drivel and i doubt anyone on earth learned any thing other than the BBC are a sham and a disgrace. I have to watch tonight’s episode just to compare the interview for the YES side but i don’t hold any real hope. And the MSM as well over looking the FACT that the Treasury are liars and have tried to dupe the people of Scotland . Hardly a peep.

    Conspiracy theories aside this is blatant propaganda for a BT side with nothing to offer.

    I no longer pay my license and refuse to ever pay to those corrupt organizations who have lied and mis-informed the people of Scotland since day one.

    Tonight will be the last time i watch BBBc ever again,

  41. Danny A. made a thing today about Scotland’s declining North Sea oil reserves.

    While I remember, From The Shetland Times

    ” I have just listened to Jim Sillars and George Galloway, along with all the others who bang on about the oil running out.
    Let’s dispel once and for all the myth that the oil is running out.

    This might be true for the North Sea but it’s certainly not true for the Atlantic margin.

    In fact there is a field off Campbeltown that as some like to say is “shovel ready” and the only thing blocking it going into a production phase is the Ministry Of Defence, because it will interfere with them playing with their nuclear submarines.

    Last Saturday’s Althing debated Scottish independence and I raised the question: “How many of those present were aware that last year the Westminster government sneaked out an invitation to oil companies to bid for 2,500+ exploration blocks between the Scottish/Faroese boundary and the Scottish/Irish boundary?”

    I asked this directly to the “incredible ‘no’ men” on the panel, namely Alistair Carmichael and Ian Duncan, and quelle surprise, they ducked the question and did not answer.

    Over the last 40 years preliminary surveys have shown that there are huge reserves of oil/gas to be recovered; in fact one of the largest oil/gas basins in the world lies off Lewis.

    Some oil men conservatively predict that in these western fields there are greater reserves of oil/gas than the whole of the North Sea, including the Norwegian sector and the gas fields of the southern North Sea put together.

    If we are not careful we will be done out of our natural resources in exactly the same way as happened after the McCrone report in the 1970s. A report that Denis Healey quite recently freely admitted that both Labour and Tories had misled the people of Scotland.

    So let’s cut out the crap and the sophistry that the oil is declining and make it quite clear that once again Westminster has its greedy eyes on these vast untapped resources to dig them out of another hole just as Thatcher did in the 1980s.”

    Charlie Gallagher
    Tigh Na Mara,

  42. And while we’re at it,


    First, some of the Irish finds go back decades. Have similar large finds been made off the west coast of Scotland in the North Atlantic sector, but put “on hold” for now? We know the oil majors have been sniffing around for oil and gas in the Atlantic, off Scotland’s west coast, for decades, and that significant finds of oil and gas were made and put under wraps until it was economic to extract this vast Scottish wealth.

    Secondly, the Scottish North Atlantic sector is part of this rich Atlantic Margin.

    Thirdly, why the publicity splurge about Ireland’s Atlantic Margin oil and gas reserves but near-total silence about the oil and gas reserves in the Scottish North Atlantic sector?

    Fourthly, Ireland is independent and will benefit financially from every drop of oil that flows from its massive reserves. Compare that with Scotland, where every penny of Scottish oil and gas revenues goes straight to London. The Irish have control over tax on their oil exploration and development. The Scots do not.

    Irish eyes are smiling all the way to the bank. Scottish eyes are blinkered while they lose the benefits of all their oil and gas revenues to London and are told blatant lies about their oil and gas resources declining.

  43. Note Derek,

    Are you thinking of dropping in on the Counting House on Friday Night?

    I am told there may be someone from the Sunday Herald there.

    There will be a bottle of red from my wine cellar for you, and no it is not Burgundy. It is a very good Corbieres, a d I mean very good.

    No need to reply.

    If you dont turn up, it goes into the draw.

    I am bringing it up personally, so may need a few days to rebalance.


  44. You could always send a friend instead but not Blair MacDougall.

  45. smiling vulture

    best comments-1.-loose woman
    , 2,she canae grill a cheese toastie

    rating will plummet

    why are women not given the same script as men,hard hitting question,an replys?

  46. The new programme had a nice graphic at the beggining: frae the Broch ‘o Mousa to

    the land of the Selgovae in one fell swoop.
    It went on to be rather anodyne: Danny Alexander reiterating the propaganda about

    how lucky we are to be able to depend on ‘the deep pockets of the UK.’ He forgot

    to mention the £1.3 billion deficit.
    GMS, I think Brian Taylor spoke of the assertion in the report that oil reserves are

    declining. The report will say that: it diminishes the importance of oil. They have to

    do that to help them keep it. They never mention the oil reserves we haven’t tapped

    into, in the Clyde Estuary for example, and our continental shelf.

  47. Viking Girl,

    Are you posting by way of smoke signals in a braw Islay light breeze?


  48. Couldn’t get in yesterday but thoroughly enjoyed BtP’s fun this morning. That’s what I love about Derek’s site……..informed,intelligent comments along with a bit of banter. Good for the soul.

  49. The meaning of No in the Independence Referendum

    The UK Government specifically excluded a second question in the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum. The option was Independence – Yes or No. A second question about Devo Max was not on offer to us.

    With Ruth Davidson’s recent move we now have the three Unionist Parties moving towards schemes for more devolution. This means that “no change” to the status quo would no longer be on offer to the referendum electorate.

    In this case No does not seem to mean No any more – those who really want no change to the status quo are in danger of being disenfranchised.

    P Newman 4/6/14

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