My Eyes Are Stinging….

I’d better add my opinion to everybody else’s after pointing you to last night’s first edition of Scotland 2014. What are they going to call it next year? (I know, I know the answer but it’s a stupid title because it tells you nothing except maybe that it’s supposed to start at nearly quarter past eight.)

Was the set designed by Andy Warhol? I wondered at first if it was a solidarity statement with Glasgow Art School as the colours blazed and flared around Sarah.

If I were her, I’d object. How the hell is she supposed to match her wardrobe with that pulsing behind her? I’ve been in more sedate discos in the seventies. When I heard the low level signature music I thought it would burst into Stayin’ Alive, thus bringing the first reference of the Bee Gees to the referendum. (BT tell me they would be voting No).

The opening story was strong. I like Sam Polling. She looks like one of those women who instinctively suit leather trousers and would melt you with a stare if you said No Comment. Scary but nice. I’d tell her anything…ANYTHING…if she came after me with a mike.

I did rather think though I’d have preferred a government minister to get a studio grilling rather than a copper in one of those tunics like the ones the waiters wear in the sushi bar – black turtleneck, no buttons. Still, good stuff and just a bit chilling even when our expectation of the outsourcing carpetbaggers is so low.

Good to see Ken on telly again. Somebody seemed to decide he shouldn’t be on screen much a while ago and missed a trick. Whatever he does is unmistakable and it’s clever. Irony in broadcasting sounds easy. It isn’t.

Danny Alexander was the political heart of the show and was asked good strong questions and was given time to answer. But he got away with a lot. When the government is caught out lying to us over the future of our country, there should be no escape, no talking over, no elongated answers, just a finger-jabbing interruption and a voice that says ‘Minister’ but sounds like ‘Bastard’. Whenever I heard one of them say Scotland would be worse off after independence, I didn’t always challenge the numbers but the implication. ‘Are you proud that after 300 years of Union, your own country is too poor to stand on its own feet? Can you explain how 20 per cent of our children living in poverty is Better Together?’ It is clear to everyone except the die hards that the British case is built on sand. They have exaggerated from the start and show nothing but contempt for us. We will never know until we try it if Salmond’s case is solid but at least it’s clear that we’ve been subsidising the rest of the country for 30 years and no one denies the basics are in place for a robust new country. Britain’s debt alone is grounds for questioning their argument.

So I was disappointed that a lightweight like Danny got away with it and the problem for them now is that if they go ahead with a Yes person tonight, they have to give a similar impression. Sarah can’t do a Naughtie and hurrumph and contradict after making it so easy for No.

I didn’t know what the end of the programme was about, I’m afraid. If they think a hip young audience is tuning in, I’ve got news for them. I’m the nearest thing to a hippy watching Scottish current affairs at 10.30. And I’ve got my pension.

(I did like the STV debate though. Good, meaty and telling. Simple, really).

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35 thoughts on “My Eyes Are Stinging….

  1. You’re wearing sparring gloves Derek. Out there it’s bare knuckle.

    Round 2 coming up.

    Must improve. Didn’t land a punch in round 1 – and Danny was a sitting target and in fact looked a little punch drunk before they even started.

    Not surprising really after the pummelling the LibDems took in the Euros. and todays ICM poll in DA’s constituency of Inverness & Nairn et al, which DA could reasonably have known about before 10.30 last night, must have left him with a sick feeling in his stomach.

    I think his number is up. He was there for the taking for Miss ‘Tough Questions’ but he sailed through his 8 minutes or so which tells me that there was no engagement. It was a fix.

    The ringside critics will again be there tonight.
    If Sarah Smith up’s her game, she just might have a chance to last out the Campaign season.

    Otherwise, she might still have a contract, but she won’t have a following. And no impact.

    Are you there, Gordon ?

    Gordon ?

  2. A car crash launch to their economic case against independence with Mr Dunleavy’s intervention ripping the carpet right out from under them and sticking that jabby finger right in Danny’s face in place of the BBC.

    Will the treasury and Danny hold their collective hands up and declare its a fair cop guv? I doubt it.

    Under any other political circumstance ministerial heads would roll and jotters would be handed out left, right and centre. In this instance all he’ll face is a mild and private reprimand and the facer of being a five minute wonder in today’s press.

    To cynical? Watch this space.

  3. I wonder when Danny goes to be at night does he lie there staring at the ceiling thinking “pool and share, deep pockets, union dividend, HELP!, risks and benefits, broad shoulders, HELP!, most successful union in history, PLEASE HELP!, 12 x 12 = 1,400 …”

  4. Derek – are you being hacked/DoS’d by MI5 at the moment – your site is struggling… on the plus side – you must be having an impact.

  5. A poor start. Improvement is possible – but with the BBCs track record – unlikely.

  6. You know what? I’m sick of the campaign, I’m sick of the lies shoved down yer throat everyday by the BBC, I’m sick of the front pages of newspapers spewing guff.

    I’m proud though at how our own voice is being heard and that we’re fighting. back. This must have come as a bit of a shock to the powers that be. No one was supposed to rock the boat never mind hole it below the waterline.

    Derek, keep on getting out there and firing they cannons.

    • I’m with you Thepnr. I’m thoroughly sickened and disgusted by the
      way this campaign is going.

      Uk Gov’t and BT lies, spin and misinformation debunked on a daily
      basis followed by a complete media blackout in Scotland.

      The damage being done in Scotland by this attempted subversion
      and manipulation of democracy is historic in its proportions.

      Regardless of the vote outcome I hope the truth will out and in
      years to come the people concerned are metaphorically hung
      out to dry.

      • Heartily agree with both of you. Been through all of this garbage before in 79’and 97′, but you know what, it’s just made me more determined than ever to leaflet, canvas or do anything legal, to get a Yes vote on the 18th.

        • May I add that it is a me too. Fed up but not a bit surprised at the way it is going. This was never going to be a walk in the park well not unless it is with my wee dug who is the terror of the town. We just need to remember what happened in 1997 and that is what is worrying our much beloved establishment. I heard on Wings that the programme was better last night, no idea, never got beyond Coast and I cannot even imagine why I watch it, only for the scenery as I want to wring that Neil Oliver’s neck most of the time.

          • Feel the same way about that annoying little tick, Neil Oliver. I see he is set to do a programme about the site of Bannockburn. Wonder how that will turn out?

  7. Life can be tough, get a helmet.

  8. Someone has pressed some wrong buttons, or Mystic Meg has been dug up and put to work. Somehow, the BBC are able to gather polling figure from the future. Can anyone explain the following? Derek, do you have knowledge of BBC supernatural abilities? Are you allowed to talk about it?

    Select TNS-BMRB and Last 12 Months

  9. I wouldn’t describe today’s events as a “complete media blackout.” Most people have mentioned the Dunleavy intervention (though not the BBC “national” news nor Reporting Scotland, that I noticed.) The message is out there though. STV covered it. A couple of the English papers did too. And Twitter has been pretty much nothing but since the story broke. As for Sarah’s Show, it was pretty weak. The first story was strong, but the interview with the polis was weird.

    “Why aren’t G4S banned from involvement in the Games?”
    “Well, they’re only doing stewarding at two venues where they already do the stewarding.”
    “Well, they didn’t bid…”

    I also felt there was an attempt to lead the polis into saying the Scottish Government was at fault for G4S being allowed to bid for any Games work, but he managed to avoid sounding political at all. Maybe I’m just paranoid. I can’t think why…

    The interview with Danny Alexander was pretty dreadful though. Admittedly, Smith wouldn’t have had the realistic estimate that Dunleavy has offered today, but he did say that the Treasury had overstated his figures by a factor of twelve. Even if it were true that they’d only used the Young figures (I’m not sure if that story was out by last night or not), she should have pressed HARD on that. His estimate of £250m is still only a sixth of the £1.5bn Prof. Young proposed as an upper limit. A senior government minister being told before even publishing his report that the original researcher says he’s talking pish is a God-send for an interviewer – where was the “why have you cited this research if you’ve ignored the findings?” or “are you accusing Prof. Dunleavy of lying about his own research?” or “what subsequent analysis did you do of the figures?” or even just “can you list some of the 180 government bodies that Scotland will have to establish from scratch?” It was a really weak interview. To follow it up by saying you’ll cover the same story tomorrow but with reps from both sides of the debate is pretty bizarre. That gives the No side two days to put their case (one unopposed) and the Yes side only one chance to rebut, no doubt with Ms. Smith and the No person both interrupting and challenging every word. Right out of the gate, there’s a clear imbalance there.

  10. Welcome back Derek after the problems we’ve been having accessing your blog over the past week!

    Having been unfortunate enough to watch the first episode of the Sarah Smith show I can tell you I won’t be bothering to watch again for it is using the same tired formula as many of the failed breakfast TV shows and has completely failed to address the real need for a BBC Radio 4 current affairs and news show such as the one at 5 pm and I’m sure that Eddie Mair would have been a far better anchorperson and wouldn’t have let Danny Alexander off the hook as happened on the Sarah show.

  11. I see that despite social media and some English papers running all day about Prof Dunleavy’s accusation that his work was misrepresented, BBC Scotland’s new flagship lead presenter still managed to suggest that it was the FM who accused the UK treasury of misleading voters, the FM having to correct the BBC again!

    Then it was a discussion with some new face, an expert on what? who then took the BBC line that both sides claims were equally valid, or not, and oh! so confusing and who to believe.

    Well you don’t believe the one whos author says his figures have been multiplied by a factor of 12!

    Welcome back Derek, missed my daily moan!

  12. According to Alexander & Co we’re too stupid, too poor and too old to stand on our own feet without the crutch of our neighbour’s largesse. After 300 years we’re still in a state of dependency. So, why has he never been asked for his plan to get us out of this morass?

  13. day 2 – much improved, so we’ll wait and see.

  14. What is happening to your blog Derek? Most of the time it is unaccessible, or the blog can be read but not the comments. But good to see it back today for your take on the BBC. I read on Newsnet that Gary Robertson’s contract will not be renewed. Has anyone seen or heard Isabel Fraser lately? It’s hard to keep up with the weird and wonderful tales from a state broadcaster.

  15. Cag-does-thinking

    Ahh good to see you back Derek. I’d thought that some men had abducted you into a black car while you were on Skye in the manner of the 39 steps, in fact Danny Alexander does a good impression of a memory man from the music hall. “1400 yes I’m sure that’s it…. The number of times I’ve said Better Together”

    I think you ought to cultivate a DerekBateman3 log in case none of us can get back here. Just watched programme 2 of 2014 and that weird smirk is going to drive me mad by the end of the week but to be fair a broadcaster that doesn’t cut off every sentence is welcome. I did spot the guy they had on to explain Yes and No was an ex BBC broadcaster though something they didn’t make apparant, their use of “experts” has been just a bit selective that way. Over on STV Blair Jenkins held his own well against Jim “but people in Helensburgh LIKE nuclear weapons” Murphy in what seemed a good debate well hosted by John McKay. That said I can’t believe that having led with figures for some four days about the Treasury analysis nobody in the media questioned how the thrust of it had changed away from the ludicrous start up costs especially when the LSE prof pretty much came up with the same figure as AS. I’d have thought not only a major embarrassment for the treasury but a vindication that the SNP projections are in the ball park while those of the treasury are not.

  16. But we need to know the important answers, if Brian Taylor came after you, wearing tight leather trousers and a rather large mike in his sweaty little hand,would you give him the same consideration as Sam Polling?

  17. I’ll post this again.
    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.

  18. In the trailer for this new and exciting cutting edge programme Ms.Smith (for ’tis she) says ” thing are about to get interesting” Well after two shows they are so interesting I’m away to watch the second coat dry.

    We inhabit different worlds Derek as all I could see is more of the same old Lillian Gish served in a different tankard.

  19. I thought the second program was better than the first. I thought Danny got off lightly but my son thought he got a grilling, so fair enough.

    Morning Call this morning’s theme was: The Referendum – Aren’tchasickofit?!??!

    I wonder if the Beeb’s line that folks are now fed up talking about the referendum only coincidentally coincides with the controlled period we are now entering.

    Nothing more to see here folks. They’re all as bad as each other and it’s got boring. Move along now.

  20. I wonder if this will be given coverage, Concerning a Vote No Borders ad about the NHS, reply from the Great Ormond Street Hospital. An article on Wings over Scotland.

    “Thank you very much for your email and please accept my apologies for not responding sooner.
    Unfortunately Great Ormond Street Hospital was not consulted about the Vote No Borders advertising, and we in no way endorse its messages, or that of any other political campaign group. We have contacted the Vote No Borders group to request that the advert is removed from the cinemas as soon as possible, and we have been assured that this will happen by tomorrow (Thursday) at the latest.
    As you stated below, the advertisement is very misleading and we are working to assure any Scottish families who contacted us about continued specialist healthcare for their children. GOSH already has reciprocal healthcare agreements with numerous countries, and we regularly treat patients from across Europe because of our very specialist expertise.
    If you have any further concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.’

  21. For a very very long time now I haven’t felt it necessary to suffer the pain of watching BBC Scotland “News” at 6.30pm.

    That is until today when I saw the BBC, true to form, trying to deflect the issue of Danny Alexander and the Treasury’s barefaced lying to the people of Scotland, on to the First Minister no less by accusing him of not coming clean about the costs of setting up after independence – yes they really did!!!!!

    Now if they had even a gramme of brain cells they would have gone even handed and come out with some credibility.

    But nope, because the BBC has stupidly opted for the cover up and the diversion as its response.

    Its not working as I met several people I know today who were previously NO’s and DON’T KNOWS, and to my pleasant surprise have now changed their tune and are voting YES in September come what may.

    Take that BBC.

    • I think that start up costs are a very modest proportion of total revenues could have been made more effectively. The Better Together BBC likes nothing better than big scary numbers quoted out of context.

  22. Unionism NI – with a dash of racism and the threat of violence.

    Have a listen to Anna Lo.

    This is both distressing and disturbing.

    This is the United Kingdom.

  23. Roll on independence and the SBC! One thing, as there are so many people interested in the output, lazy and unprofessional journalism will not be tolerated.

  24. The establishment want to shut down any debate to turn people away from the ballot boxes allowing a greater opportunity for fraud, we have never lived in a proper democracy at best it is an Elective Dictatorship.


    A delegation of Northern Ireland’s Muslim leaders has accepted an apology from Peter Robinson over comments he made about followers of the religion.

    Happily, an apolgy.

  26. Might be a good tactic by the Scot Gov to be coy on the start up costs, as every time it is raised by BBC Better Together, and it will be, the YES side gets to raise the subject of the UK treasury figures being disowned by the authors. A nice running sore for the naws, and no big deal for YES as any one off start up costs would be offset by the billions of assets coming our way.

  27. It’s surely a completely unsafe system that requires the standing UK government to request external observers to oversee the conduct of the referendum.

    We have every arm of the UK establishment/UK government working together to thwart the democratic process in Scotland. The Treasury is at it, chopping up academic studies which they have commissioned to present grossly false pictures The BBC is at it, misreporting and blanking out news which doesn’t suit the unionist cause. The Electoral Commission is at it, colluding with the CBI to ‘get out of jail’ after it registered to similarly support the unionist cause. OFCOM cannot investigate, less censure the BBC for overt bias and propaganda, because it is prohibited from doing so by the UK Government. In effect we have a propaganda machine clunking away with absolutely no regulator to stop it and now we have a sham purdah period leading up to the referendum, which has no teeth.

    We Scots are being hung out to dry and the international community cannot get engaged because the main perpetrator will not ask them to do so.

    How can this add up to protecting our human and civil rights? It’s simply crazy and something has to be done about it, tout suite!

  28. For…..
    informative….(am I the only one that didn’t know that Norway now owns 25% of Regent St.?) ,…..
    and unbiased coverage of the “Oil Fund” debate go to the iplayer and catch ….. “Ola is Gas” part of “Rathad an Referendum” series on BBC ALBA.. (Worth it just for Gavin McCrone alone)

    Caution: may contain some Gàidhlig and Norwegian words but has excellent subtitles . Also only available for the next 5 days.

    Does beg the question…”Why can’t BBC Scotland make this kind of programme….?”

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