‘The age of two-party politics is over. These televised debates should be a true reflection of the choice facing people.’

‘Broadcasters have shown themselves to be out of touch by clinging to notion that there is no alternative to a Westminster elite’


The quotes are from Leanne Wood, the impressive leader of Plaid, and I agree with both. The closeness between the executive level of journalism and the British state is incestuous and dangerous and don’t think the on-screen lot are any better.

Just because someone appears to be a fearless reporter, doesn’t mean they aren’t fully corporate-compliant when it comes to dealing with the powerful. The launch event for Andrew Marr’s latest book was held in Number 10. Now to Poppy and Venetia in Marketing that’s a bit of media luvvie flummery to buff his political credentials. But to the viewing public who pay Marr’s exorbitant wages it looks very different. It looks as if he’s close to the Prime Minister if not actually in his pocket. And the very fact that Number 10 agreed suggests a mantel of acceptability was thrown over the Marr project.

Incidentally, Marr, like many of the trusted faces and voices who bring us the News From London – as opposed to the parish pump drivel that passes for news Where You Are – is coining in thousands in extra earnings sucking up to any organisation with cash. He’ll come and speak to your local SNP branch for £10,000. Or go one better and ask for Jeremy Paxman and you’ll get a bill for £25,000.

The second Leanne quote reveals the real problem because the culture of both government and media is overwhelmingly metropolitan and simply fails to grasp that life and experience outside the M25 is so completely different. (Well, I suppose they do actually know that because most of the London-centric crowd are themselves from the regions of the UK, it’s just that once they walk through the doors at Millbank or Westminster, they are seduced into forsaking their background).


The broadcasters have done more than any voter to get UKIP elected. They have given exposure out of all proportion to Farage and presented his party as a threat to the main parties because they liked the story, but without ever analyzing the policies or the motivations. I have no doubt the BBC was principally responsible for the election in Scotland of the UKIP MEP. Their exclusion of news about the Greens in the election was striking and contrasts with the relentless UK news coverage of UKIP which gives Scottish voters a double dose of exposure.

The BBC has a problem when it comes to a UK election and televised leaders’ debates. The debates in other countries are essentially used in presidential systems where there are usually two contenders. In a non-presidential system with multi parties, this becomes problematic. The reason why the SNP is excluded in this case is that they don’t stand in the whole country, only in one part. They are therefore deemed not to be representative of the whole UK and not relevant to a large section, no matter how big they are in Scotland.

But with the SNP actually in power in Edinburgh and with a massive mass membership (and six MPs) it looks perverse to allow UKIP into a debate based on one (defector) MP and opinion polls. Also, what does it say that in part of the United Kingdom, Labour, Tory and Lib Dems don’t stand candidates at all. If the whole representation argument is to be consistent, why doesn’t it apply to Northern Ireland?

There is a rush in the broadcasters boardrooms for audience and for that they need Farage. He is box office so representative democracy can go hang. They have collectively turned the format of using potential Prime Ministers into a Channel Five ratings joke where Dave fights Ed and then Nick joins in. But in next week’s episode they’re joined by Nigel…

It becomes impossible to argue they aren’t doing a disservice to the Greens and to the SNP whose voices will go unheard in what is becoming a replacement for real politics. And here’s a thought. It is possible the SNP will have more MPs that UKIP and could hold the balance of power.

This latest tableau shows how little Scotland matters again and how the casual insult to the Scots comes so easily to them. But then, this is what we voted for. We said by majority we preferred London to look after our interests and here we are, being shown the contempt we deserve.

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82 thoughts on “Carve-up

  1. Couldn’t agree more Derek.
    A No vote was a vote for No say.
    Who needs democracy anyway?

  2. Thomas William Dunlop

    In Manufacturing consent………………………
    they only show the whole sytem to be bent.

  3. Roibert a Briuis

    YEP but don’t blame me I voted YES


    • Hell mend them doesn’t work. What you wish for others is what you must be prepared to accept for yourself. Much better to forgive them! Because: 1- You declare that they were in the wrong (there is no sense in forgiving good things)
      2- Forgiveness sets you free and heals any damage to you caused by their wrong.
      3- If they refuse to accept the truth of their wrong then the forgiveness has no effect.
      4. But you are still free!

  5. Actually his acceptance by the PM in 10 Downing Street to launch his book calls into question his neutrality and how unbiased he is on his Sunday morning TV programme “The Andrew Marr Show”. His bias/lack of neutrality were evident in one of his interviews with The First Minister, Alex Salmond.

  6. Oops meant to say how biased he is………

  7. Would Ken MacQuarrie have had any say in the formulation of this carve-up, Derek? Or are the views of BBC Scotland simply not taken into account in deciding such matters?

  8. Ken MacQuarrie has apparently offered a separate debate for Scotland but of course without the ability to offer national and international news from a Scottish perspective, it essentially means that we are demoted from the premier league to the championship.

    It says to us only London can run these things.

  9. And the whole show will focus on immigration & how England wants (needs?) less whereas Scotland could do with more…

    ‘Ignored’ doesn’t cover it.

  10. Politicians and media are both ecstatically happy with the present cosy relationship, and SNP exclusion from pre election leader debate merely helps them underline what an unimportant, looney fringe dictatorship-led handful of nutters we are in this far-flung, remote corner of England. Another barrier to us achieving a greater number of seats in May.

    Incidentally, does anyone have a handle on the the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill that appears aimed at gagging free, democratic speech and campaigning by organisations to influence the outcome of general elections? It sounds very ominous.

  11. You are right Derek, most people I spoke to did not fully understand what voting no would really mean .
    But I think there is now a fair number are going to wish they had voted YES

  12. When I was in Norway for work once, I was browsing through the channels (remarkably similar programming to what we have here on the whole…), and happened to come across a debate between their party leaders. They had six or seven folk, each putting their hand up if they wanted to speak – pretty much as happens on Borgen, in fact. It was calm, it was respectful, and if I could understand Norwegian, it was probably informative.

    There is absolutely nothing to stop the same format being used here. I remember the last time many people used the excuse that you couldn’t have more than three or four folk, otherwise it would take too long. Absolute rubbish. All you need is a moderator who knows how to do their job properly. Question Time often manages as many as six panellists, and it’s essentially the same concept – politicians being asked questions on certain topics.

    This has got to be stamped out now before “but this is how we’ve always done it” starts getting used as an excuse for excluding party leaders.

  13. Back in the box Scotland goes. If everyone in Scotland knew what people thought of them in SE England powered by the commentary of their newspapers then things may have changed. Imgaine if Scotland got English editions of newspapers instead of the let’s pretend ‘Scottish’ editions. As someone who lives in London it was breathtaking to see the English press change overnight after the referendum result. From weeks of bile and vitriol hitting out at everythng and anything Scottish to now virtually nothing since the resignation of Alex Salmond. In their eyes the Jocks are back in the box so normal transmission resumes.

    There is no devolution discussion down here, no aftermath, the referendum almost never existed. What we have here is mild relief, nothing more. Many still don’t understand the ‘democracy’ they have, it’s dumbed down, us and them, because that is comfortable, devolution is sill an alien concept. There was no celebration in maintaining the union just a feeling of a stay of execution. What Farage and the anti-EU brigade are is a distraction from a Britain that is shafted, broken, kaput, finished. The only reason Britain didn’t become Greece is through quantitve easing, or printing money by the truck load and giving it to the bankrupt banks, that is it nothing else. The trick for the politicians of all blue shades is to keep up the smoke and mirrors act towards the electorate, for a couple of decades at least.

    Farage is there as part of the illusion, if they get a handful of MPs out of it then so be it, as for breaking the Tory/Labour hegemony then forget it, UKIP are the SDP (not politcally of course) of our time, they burned brightly for a short time, promised little and delivered nothing. For UKIP they will get their EU referendum, then they’ll get put in their box too as the other UK parties swallow them up and Farage shuffled into the House of Lords.

    But things are different in Scotland, the UK media ignore us at their peril, Britain is fragmented, and the chasm will widen with each election whether UK or Scottish. The referendum didn’t split the UK but it cracked it, and the crack is too big to fix at Westminster.

  14. the UK establishment sat on a wall
    the no vote they wanted is now their downfall
    all the arselicking hacks, the mps and placemen
    can’t put the uk together again

  15. the UK establishment sat on a wall, the no vote they wanted is now their downfall, all the arselicking hacks, the mps and placemen, can’t put the uk together again

  16. I’m not so sure about UKIP being put back in the box. I’ve been beaning up on Douglas Carswell. Who is now properly elected as a UKIP MP, not a ‘defector’ like Finnie. He did not need to resign, but felt he owed it to his constituents to be properly re-elected now that he had switched to another party. Apparently UKIP are also het up about TTIP, whilst Cameron apparently thinks it’s a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ but we can’t have TTIP and not be in the EU, can we? The US is desperate for UK to remain in EU for a variety of other reasons, besides TTIP. Defence, for instance. The Special Relationship would be a tad less special without UK being in EU. According to Antony Barnett (Open Democracy editor) what prompted Carswell to resign was that he went to a meeting with some officials and got wind of the fact that Cameron had no intention of leaving the EU. He would hold a referendum, but they would fix it so that the result was to remain. Barnett says Carswell is basically honourable, we have noted already that he has challenged Farage over HIV. He’s not an arse like Coburn, but a Tory radical, a staunch critic of Westminster politics which he claims is corrupt and self serving.

    • “He would hold a referendum, but they would fix it so that the result was to remain.”
      Well, Cameron has experience of that sort of thing, after all.

      • Katrine Paterson

        Cameron has been saying that all along. He intends only to re negotiate Britain’s terms and get rid of what he doesn’t like. He hasn’t even considered losing the May election. He’s a fool.

    • It’s not only the TTIP we have to watch out for, rumours are circulating that there may be changes to our trespass laws over fracking. Have a look here I’m posting this just in case anyone needed more proof that Cameron is indeed the worst most self serving PM ever! (And Thatcher was really hard to beat) But also in case you live in an area earmarked for fracking. Greenpeace have maps of the areas Cameron has agreed fracking can go ahead.

  17. Derek,
    (new name) I’ve been struck by the lack of cover in the British media, about crucial things that are happening, not just in Europe, but in the UK, that we don’t seem to be told about. Two nights ago, RT was showing the Europe wide demonstrations by Kurds demanding intervention by the West and support for themselves, in Syria/Iraq. There was a big demo in London and, although I may have missed it, I never saw a mention of it on our stations. Media Blackout springs to mind.
    John Stewart, the John Stewart, called Andy Marr the most trusted man on British TV or something similar, in his Sunday morning interview.
    The London-centric crowd. Well that’s a big crowd, Derek. Not all of them fall for the hype. Bus drivers and Tube employees can see through it all. The ones that forsake their background are under pain of expulsion if they don’t. As you know, it’s a great big racket, and all must have an RP English accent, or they can forget it.
    Yes, Farage is box office. The way he stands smoking where no-one else would be allowed to, the pub visits, and all those women that adore him. The media can’t pass that up. It’s all just News as entertainment.

  18. Whilst Rome feasts the provinces plot is how I see it.

    Westminster is in a fix. Anything less than 5 star DevoMax won’t do for most of we Scots. Anything approaching DevoMax will infuriate “the Shires”. And then you have the Scots who want independence and so be rid of Trident and involvement in illegal wars.

    And I’ve met my first regretful No voter, a friend of many years.I had explained to him at length the political and economic reasons for Yes but he now admits he was worried about his pension. Now he knows he swallowed the No lies and was duped.I wonder what %age of No voters feel like him now.

    • Those in receipt of the basic pension who voted No chose to forego £936 per annum – the difference between Cameron’s offer of £142 per week and SNP’s £160 per week. Did they make an informed decision? We were told earlier that Scots would vote Yes if they believed that they would be £500 better off!

      • And should their bus passes and winter fuel allowance be removed by the tories or even red tory liebour, it will be a lot more lost than they bargained for, there must be an Aesops fable in there somewhere…

  19. “Channel Five ratings joke where Dave fights Ed and then Nick joins in.” Pity it isn’t a real fight in a boxing ring. My money would be on Sturgeon.

  20. # Dcanmore

    I can square with you on that thought of the unimportance of Scotland to the London set. In fact, I remember many years ago taking part in a vox pop radio show on Radio Scotland when it was a decent listen. Russell Johnson, Donald Dewar and Alex Salmond were on the panel and I phoned in from Lancashire bemoaning the fact that Scotland really didn’t matter to the English despite being supposedly in an equal union with England.

    Russell Johnson the ‘federalist’ took exception to my point and more or less said “so what!” My point is that the unionists in Westminster are to the fore when it comes to putting Scotland ‘back in its box’. They would rather all this talk about Scotland’s constitutional future was quietly forgotten about so that they can get on with their lives keeping quiet and just picking up expenses.

  21. Yep, easily the largest party membership in Scotland and I’d heard the third in the UK?

    Zero representation in the debates where they could hold the other three to account publicly on their ‘vow’. They don’t have to wear their independence cap for these debates, but as a significant UK party wear the SG/FFA cap. Not even a nod in their direction.

    So much for Westminster/BTs respect agenda. Are people getting the picture yet as to Scotland’s place as part of the UK, or do they require pictures in primary colours? We can still change this and it needn’t take twenty years. The ballot can still deliver a parliament that puts the Scottish electorate’s needs first. If the WM leaders won’t honour the vow either in deed or spirit, then I see no reason to send representatives back to Westminster in May of these parties only for them to continue to ignore the wishes of their Scottish constituencies.

    • Tomorrow there is to be an all day debate in the Commons about the aftermath of the Scottish Referendum.

      I believe however it will not be Cameron in the despatch box, but Hague.

      It also looks set to be high jacked by John Redmond to be a debate about English votes for English laws.

      So, not only will Cameron not have the decency to be there to answer questions, but the whole day will be about England.

      That is the entire outcome of two and a half years of the most intense civic debate and political engagement in Scotland or anywhere in western Europe in the last fifty years – a one day debate about England’s anxieties about Scottish devolution.

      And they claim they need an English Parliament?

      Why don’t thet set up an English Grand Committee as they once did for Scotland?

      • The whole thing is a farce MBC. They know fine well that they have no intention of creating an English parliament because they are also well aware they don’t need one. The whole bloody exercise is about taking Scottish votes out of the commons. What, five hundred and thirty odd English constituency MPs and the feeble forty make a jot of difference to any vote on major issues? They are using the West Lothian question not to settle a constitutional problem of imbalance or injustice, but to silence any Scottish partnership voice in big government.

        They and their pet media have spent two and a half years turning Scotland into the joke of the UK. They terrified a significant section of our electorate into voting no and counted on self interest and blind blinkered loyalty to secure the balance of the vote they required. Cameron now has carte blanche to polish off the weak and hapless Miliband at his leisure electorally with Scotland, he thinks, put back in its box.

        Miliband and Labour of course were no different. For their own reasons they wanted to retain the feeble forty though not for reasons of partnership or friendship with Scotland, simply for reasons of a controllable majority in possible future WM governments to effect their own barking policies in England. Let’s face it, decades of voting Labour has shown no benefit whatsoever for the people of Scotland only a slow, painful decline and decay. We’ve been used by one as a resource pool or piggy bank and as a means to an electoral end by the other. Neither gives a flying **** about the people of Scotland as anything but a bank or electoral cannon fodder. WORSE, we let them.

        No more! After the farce of the vow and Brown’s petition, and the subsequent pledges to exclude Scottish MPs, slash the block grant, introduce further austerity measures and welfare reforms, its time to get shot. Let’s send a message in May. Its not over till we say it is and we’re NOT getting back in any bloody box.

        Let’s send down forty, not so feeble, indy minded MPs, because I have a feeling we’re going to badly need them fighting our corner.

        • I know it’s a farce. I’m just suggesting we take them at their word and call their bluff. My suggestion of an English Grand Committee is meant as irony – it was good enough for us, so let it be good enough for them!

          But seriously, as long as the cursed Union lasts, we can’t have diminished authority for Scottish MPs. So let them have their ‘English parliament’ in the form of an advisory committee which feeds through to Westminster votes and advises – but let Westminster MPs all be equal.

          • You realise of course you are encouraging splitist behaviour in the mother of parliaments, which may lead to the odd rammy between Labour and Tory and the right and further right of both parties? 😀

            I’d get the popcorn out for those debates. 🙂

  22. I often wonder how Scots react when living in London, especially when, either in social occasions or in the workplace when adverse comments regarding Scots are made?

    Especially after the referendum.

    Do they just “sing dumb” as I suspect most do? Or do they laugh along with them, effectively endorsing their remarks?

    I’m glad I don’t ever go down there.

    Strange people, the Scots…………

    • I lived in London for three years in the late ’80s- early ’90s. I always put the locals right. They didn’t say anything really unpleasant it was mostly just lack of knowledge.

    • Katrine Paterson

      Having lived in Berkshire, W. Sussex, Middlesex, and Kent for far too long, putting up with endless steriotypical jokes, I’m very glad to be ‘Home’ wi ma ain folk!

      The southern English never give a thought to Scotland. It’s just not on their radar.
      ‘oh, isn’t it very cold up there?’ They have no intention of ever venturing north of London, never mind Watford!

  23. “He would hold a referendum, but they would fix it so that the result was to remain”

    And why isn’t this being made more of? Why isn’t Carswell singing this from the rooftops? Or is he and I haven’t seen it?

    • Yes Sooz, I was shocked by that revelation also. The Westminster democracy exists no more. Perhaps it never did. It certainly is time we were clear of their underhand and fraudulent rule.

      Thanks, Derek. There seems to be no end to the dishonesty wrapped around WM plus cohorts.


    He sets out his ideas here. He thinks Westminster is totally phoney and that civil servants control everything. He wants more local democracy, local taxes, local control over decisions. He thinks Whitehall is even worse than Brussels.

  25. What referendum showed was that we do not live in a ‘free’ democracy like we probably thought we did 5 years ago but one where the media control the agenda and influence how people vote. Kind of like a bad James Bond movie but sadly reality.

    Biggest realisation was the BBC which I assumed was balanced based simply on the fact that I pay £150 out of my own pocket (without any real choice in the matter )for its services. Now Marr launches book at No 10 and I want to be sick.

    Unfortunately I do not know any no voters showing regret. They just don’t care, did not care and will probably never care. Actually heard someone say ‘hope they just go away now and give us all some peace’.

    If there are any can they please stand up and shout it. I forgive you just please make your voices heard.

  26. Derek, just wait until you see Adam Boulton’s interview on Sky News (just been on) with our First Minister.

    My blood is boiling at the disrespect shown with his badgering of Alex Salmond and his ‘you shouldn’t be in a leadership debate because you can’t be Prime Minister’ line.

    It was an absolute disgrace!

    • I read something in the Times on Friday that made my blood boil too. Apparently Cameron had said to somebody at the Tory party conference last week that Salmond was ‘bagged, stuffed, and mounted on my wall’. It was the casual racism of this comment, not only by Cameron but by the writer repeating this who didn’t even stop to reflect on the unacceptability of such expression or the metaphor used of animals, vermin, hunting, imperial triumphalism and abject domination. We hear too of ‘shooting the SNP fox’. I find this sort of discourse of hunting, domination, vermin and animals totally unacceptable in a civilised society and I wish somebody would complain.

      • You wish someone would complain, who would anyone complain to, we have a compliant media and broadcaster. If you complain they fob you off with some silly remark. The electoral commission are stuffed with Labour Apparatchiks, I read they plan that nobody will be able to legally do what Radical .Campaign for Indie did and get people to register.
        I despair of this country.

  27. smiling vulture

    command paper

    I’ve sectioned it under,horrible histories of devolution

  28. Alan Taylor addressed the merits of Andrew Marr’s novel in The Sunday Herald yesterday:

    “Talking of books and prizes, the Saltire has announced its very long longlist, which is full of books only someone with an interest in Terrifficollosus spiders would want to read. One offering is by renaissance woman Kirsty Wark, the latest television person to commit a crime against fiction. For inexplicable reasons, however, Andrew Marr is conspicuous by his absence. His debut novel, Head of State, which has been judged “rather feeble”, “highly improbable” and “a tsunami of preposterous tosh”, would appear to be just what appeals to the space cadets on the Saltire panel.”

  29. When EVEL is the coming state of the nation – is it any surprise they will not have a peripheral political party at their staged bun-fight.

    The BBC and the UK establishment media know full well the applicable rules – after all, they wrote the bloody things.

    But then that’s what we ‘vewwy, vewwy, pwoud Scots’ voted for 55% to 45% – OR, DID WE? DID WE BLOODY WELL ASK FOR THIS, DID WE, REALLY?

    It’s becoming a gigantic farce.

  30. Steve Asaneilean

    Excellent piece Derek. If ever we needed proof that the UK is a profoundly undemocratic place here it is. In the run up to a general election the party with the 3rd highest membership in the UK is to be excluded from public debates.
    By anyone’s reckoning that is an appalling indictment for what passes for democracy.
    But, as you also point out, this is what 55% of our fellow Scots voted for. The trouble is we ALL get what THEY deserve.

  31. So the only criteria deemed necessary to get into the leaders debate is that you stand candidates nationwide. Party membership, number of MP’s etc do not count otherwise Farage would be out on his arse and the SNP would be in.

    In that case, why aren’t the BNP invited ? They stand candidates in hundreds of nationwide constituencies.

  32. Scotland voted to be a 2nd class region
    What did we expect ?
    Where is the outrage from the Media that the promiced “devo max” the “home rule” is no such thing
    We deserve what is happening

    • It used to be the case pre-devolution that the Scottish Secretary combined two roles: the primary one of being Scotland’s chief advocate in the Cabinet; the secondary one of being Westminster’s man in the Scottish Office. The post itself evolved from the position occupied by the Lord Advocates in the 18th and 19th centuries. They would advise governments on legal aspects of Scots law and institutions as they might be interfaced with new Westminster legislation, but increasingly Lord Advocates became the chief lobbyists for Scottish Affairs: the all-round go-to man for Scotland. When the Scottish Office was set up in the 1880s the position of Scottish Secretary as a Cabinet member was also established.

      Scottish Secretaries combined both roles with equal balance, winning valuable concessions for Scotland in London whilst ensuring that UK objectives worked harmoniously in Scotland. It was a trade off that generally worked well, but it did not keep pace with rising Scottish expectations for greater autonomy. The post of Scottish Secretary was essentially a welfarist/caretaker role.

      But with the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and its devolved powers, questions have been asked about what the role of the Scottish Secretary now is, with some calling for the post to be abolished. We could say that the various commissions like the Calman commission or the Strathclyde commission now take the place of the advocacy role that the Scottish Secretary once had. Now it seems as though the role of the Scottish Secretary is in conflict with devolution’s objectives and acts as a brake on rising Scottish expectations of self-government.

      Clearly Carmichael has not got that balance right; he is an obstacle to Scotland.

  33. As matters currently stand, as an expat SNP member, despite holding my local Labour MP in quite high regard, I’ll be voting for the Greens at the next UK election after being thoroughly disillusioned with the unethical behaviour of the main UK parties prior to the referendum. However, here’s a thought: with its increased income from 55,000 plus new members, why doesn’t the SNP contest all of the English constituencies, or at least London and the South East? This would give it UK legitimacy (?), there would be no context about TV debates (or else a very clear indication of bias), and also allow Scots such as myself with a preference for Yes who were ‘disenfranchised’ to offer our votes to a party that represents our values. Candidates standing for election would also be able to correct many of the misunderstandings promoted by the MSM (if they got a fair hearing).

  34. I’ve an idea for a programme that I think could fly. Let’s punt a title like “The Women Leaders” (yes, I know…..) All the “national” broadcasters run a 1 hour programme each on Natalie Bennett, Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon. Each programme examines their beliefs and principles, their lives in politics and what they are looking for from the Westminster election. The last 20 minutes of each programme would be a Q & A session with journalists/members of the public/whatever. This series of programmes would be broadcast in the run-up to the May Westminster election. Big previews, front cover photo of all three on Radio Times, TV Times etc. Massive public interest in 3 female leaders, viewers able to hear views from Greens, Plaid and SNP they mightn’t otherwise appreciate etc etc etc. Obviously the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Parties couldn’t be represented here as their leaders are men (and CERTAINLY not UKIP!). Also, no Johann, Ruthie et al, as this is a Westminster election and they only lead their parties for Holyrood. I’m sure all the other parties will respect the fairness and integrity of this suggestion. Thoughts?

  35. “The broadcasters have done more than any voter to get UKIP elected. They have given exposure out of all proportion to Farage and presented his party as a threat to the main parties because they liked the story, but without ever analyzing the policies or the motivations.”

    Spot on, Derek. Let’s not pretend that TV debates have anything to do with fundamental civil, electoral rights and principles. They are simply increasingly-grotesque TV entertainment, a kind of Hiss-and-Boo onscreen vaudeville, stage-managed to promote “drama” and no more informative than the old Saturday afternoon Wrestling on ITV. To mix the sporting metaphor, we are encouraged to watch in the hope that, as in F1, we’ll see an exciting pile-up between the contestants. Car-crash politics, because it avoids the issues. It’s about ratings and the quaint sense of broadcaster kudos within the meeja trade. Enlightenment? Fairness? I don’t think so.

    • Sadly, that’s entirely right: political reporting has become part of the media’s entertainment remit.

      In a bizarre confusion of the roles of entertainment and information, public affairs of major interest are now (occasionally) exposed in drama. They’re obviously not short enough for the timespan allowed to news reports.

    • Whilst agreeing with you you must remember that Nick Clegg made a speech at one of the last Debates which assisted him in becoming a partner in this Coalition. I doubt many would have actually voted Lib Dem if it had not been that speech.
      I could not tell you what he said, just that since then I was regaled by people on the National (that is in England) papers on how they were misled. I refused to watch the last lot because Alex Salmond was omitted. I do recognise though that you may dislike reality television but too many people equate it with real life. This crosses all ages, with the elderly having their heads turned by “important” people telling them things they believe. That is how we lost the referendum. We have to be careful that we do not lose the Election.

  36. It’s patently obvious that from any angle, this circle cannot be squared. To attempt to do so will inevitably end in failure.

    They best of both worlds isn’t (as the more astute Yessers understood) possible and to pretend otherwise is an exercise in self delusion, ignorance, sectarianism or blind allegiance.

    The choice is bipolar. The people of Scotland either retain power over themselves or they devolve it to Westminster in its entirety.

  37. Oh, what webs we spin to deceive – by excluding the SNP from the UK public via these exclusive ‘leaders’ debates, do the broadcasters not realise that the SNP is looking likely to be a much more pivotal force at Westminster than the Lib Dems or UKIP could ever be?

    When the Scots vote to send many more SNP MPs to Westminster at the expense of current unionist MPs, they will certainly not now be sending them to avoid voting on EVEL issues and to prevent them doing so simply terminates the 1706 Act of Union, and that’s that.

    Since its made crystal clear that the UK government see Scotland as a region of ‘its UK’ and fully considers Scotland as fit to share the burdens of the UK, Scotland’s MPs will need to participate fully in every aspect of Westminster business and hell mend them for so sparking the ire of Scots.

    No longer will SNP MPs refrain from voting on English only matters to sit back and watch English/Unionist MPs march all over Scotland’s aspirations without come-backs.

    Westminster is going to be hung again. UKIP will take Labour and Tory votes.

    The Tories will win but not by enough to form a government.

    The LibDems will be consigned forever to the dustbin where they belong and UKIP with the Tories will form the most disgraceful coalition the UK has ever experienced.

    The balance of Westminster power will lie with Scots SNP MPs.

    Westminster will be treated with opprobrium by every Scot and independence will be the result.

  38. I see on the BBC Scotland news website, that it has “invited the Scottish party leaders (wee photie of the 3 Jellybeans) to a general election debate”, which will “involve the leaders of the 4 major parties”.

    How exactly the Conservatives are a major party in Scotland, with 1 MP is well beyond my ken, but that’s BBC semantics for you. The Independents also have 1 MP, in the unfortunate shape of Eric Joyce. Is he also going to get a wee seat on the panel? Ukip is also demanding a place in the debate for it’s MEP, David whatisname, because it’s…not a European election?

    In my own view, the SNP should not enter into negotiations with the BBC over their wee regionalised broadcast, unless it is included in the national broadcasts. Let the 3 Jellybeans chow into one another, without any rational debater from the Yes side giving credence to the exercise.

    If you are a major party for the purposes of BBC Scotland, why are you not a major party (with 6 MPs to Ukip’s 1 MP) for BBC national broadcasting?

  39. If the Yes Campaign parties were to submit candidates in consituencies just over the border e.g. Berwick-upon-Tweed or Carlisle, would this defeat the argument that they were not a UK national party?

  40. With so many cancelling their TV Licence any possibility of a Freedom of Information request to see how many folk are still paying it in Scotland?

  41. Today’s so called “Scottish Devolution debate” is farcical. Angus Robertson & Peter Wishart’s faces were a picture. Could hardly stop themselves laughing out loud at the hijacking or proceedings so that English MPs could talk about poor old England being not getting their fare share of things. The only thing Gordon Brown objected to was the proposals Scottish Labour MPs would lose out in voting on English matter for further Devolved powers. Well what happened to the powers which were to be as near damn it to Home Rule. Eh! Gordon??

  42. Sorry about the mistakes folks. Should have read it over.

    • I thought Brown was off his head today, grimacing, shouting, pointing, arguing against his own country getting too many powers.
      I’m fairly sure that he was saying last week that that Scotland should only be able to raise 54% of Income Tax, whereas today he’d raised this to 75%, but it couldn’t be 100% because that would cause the Union to collapse.
      Of course he didn’t stay to listen to the “debate”, I think he has a posterior problem which prevents him from occupying the benches only rarely.

  43. Brown is an embarrassment to Scotland. I too would be laughing at him if it wasn’t for the treachery he showed towards Scotland and its people during the referendum. I hope the good people of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath vote him out in May.

    • They won’t. The party put him there because it’s a safe seat, the type of place where the locals will vote for a bucket of horse manure if it has a Labour rosette.

  44. For anyone who had hoped for some change in the attitude of the BBC in Scotland, post referendum, their response is encapsulated in the headline and associated picture in this story. As you were folks!

  45. OK so surprise, surprise the media and individuals within it are biased. It’s almost laughable that the general public still listen and believe what they are “fed” through either the tv screen or in the newspapers. I have never been able to understand why the average person doesn’t understand that the BBC have always been a mouthpiece for the Tories and the privileged since it’s inception. Pay tv in the form of Sky/Foxtel and many of the worlds leading newspapers have been changed and infiltrated far more sinisterly by the likes of Rupert Murdoch who, it is quite blatantly obvious, is yet again a supporter of the elite few, not surprising as he is one of them!
    I must admit I was relieved that Scotland did not “break” apart from the UK, for quite selfish reasons in that we as an English Brit, need them to balance out the unbelievable inbalance in the system which allows the Tories to goven this UK when they represent so few. Seriously though there is the need for a concerted effort from the Labour Party to unite and be strong again, with real socialist members & leadership (not the fakes that were Tony Blair and Gordon Brown). In these times where the UK has become a state ruled by those in privileged positions and those with wealth, with the biased media supporting them to belt out anti social, anti-democratic propaganda, we need a strong socialist government with the mandate to restructure Britain, by using the power to Nationalise major industries thus taking away the power of big business to run the country. Similarly no one owner or group should be allowed to monopolise the TV and newspapers, therefore immediate steps to break these ownerships apart would need to be taken. Water and Power must also be Nationalised and return the control back to the people, with pricing structured so that the essentials to life are non-profit making, just self sustainable. Major financial coporations like the banks and investments companies would have their wage and bonus structures controlled by the government together with the appointments of company directors & executives. A law will immediately be passed to ensure that MP’s are no longer influenced by big business, by which no funds can be given for political campaigns instead a levy will be made on all businesses to go into a central fund equally shared out amongst Parties based on the number of candidates that are put forward by that party.
    These are just a few things that I see as necessary but truly the Uk is in dire need of reform and restructure to overturn this elitist system which is dangerously close to being so deeply entrenched by so many minor tweaks and changes to laws, that it will become unchangeable, in fact I would say that within 10 years there will be changes made to the electoral system to prevent any chance of it via the ballot box.
    It’s strange we all read and thought that George Orwell’s novel 1984 was just a quirky story that could never happen, however in reality it could be that just the date was wrong! I can expect these comments to be rubbished by a huge amount of people for I know that there are groups that are in place to make sure that ideas such as mine are marginalised and ridiculed, and no I am not being paranoid, they actually do exist…. fact!!!

    • Sorry Kevin, while I have every sympathy with you in your desire to change the Labour party, I am afraid that it is a lost cause. I am guessing that I’m a lot older than you and have observed the Labour party and its steady decline for at least three decades, first as a voter and then as one completely disenchanted, who could not conceive of ever voting for them again.

      I became more and more disaffected from the Labour party during the miners’ strike of the 80s at the same time as witnessing the way the miners and their cause were traduced by a complicit media. I was unhappy about the trimmers as entryists to the Labour party during that time and the obvious signs of drifting away from Labour’s original ideals, but following the election of Blair as leader, the Gadarene rush to the right of the Labour party was disgusting to behold. It would be a herculean task to clean out their Augean stable now. (Or should that be pigsty?) They are too entrenched at their troughs.

      This was the reason why people like me at that time turned to the idea of Scottish independence as the only way to accomplish – perhaps – the just society we wanted. The referendum result did show that the Scottish electorate is actually more like the the UK than we wanted to believe and many are not really interested in social justice. We are experiencing a collapse of empathy, I’m afraid, induced by the media at large who wish to keep us compliant and satisfied with the little we have. Most people have no real connection with their society but only have the illusory connections of the media world with their reality TV shows and showbiz ‘ talent ‘ shows.

      I met too many people, while out canvassing, whose eyes became hard when I mentioned that independence was a chance for social justice. It was extremely daunting to find this apathy in the very areas which would have gained by building a more caring society. There are people who would want something better – they voted Yes, but there weren’t enough of them.

      • Steve Asaneilean

        JGedd – I am with you. I spent months campaigning for Yes as a means to achieving better social justice and equality for Scotland . But even some of those who stood to gain most from such change could not be persuaded that voting Yes was the only real option now available for achieving change.
        As for Labour I lost faith with their mishandling and effective whitewashing of the outrageous behaviour of Monklands District Council in the late 80s. This culminated in the local MP saying, in his role as leader of the party, that it was a local matter and nothing to do with him (even though it was his own constituents who were the victims).

        • That would be the great lost leader, John Smith, I suppose? I have to grit my teeth when I hear people refer to him with reverence. He paved the way for Tony Blair. Under Smith’s leadership, the Labour party was already travelling rightwards, it was just that Blair accelerated that trajectory.

          • Good to see you posting again JGedd, I thought you had decided to stop? Anyway, I think that we need to have a sustained, simple, grass roots campaign to educate people on a face to face basis.

            By analogy with guerrilla warfare, where each combatant is also an educator and helper of villagers, each of us in YES needs to help everyone we meet understand the reality of Scotland’s wealth and where it has gone. With a few straightforward A5 cards we can make a significant difference if we start now.

  46. The TTIP is only the tip of the iceberg, look what the US corporations are doing in Ghana,

    If we carry on, Derek, copying the politicians, slagging this one and that one, all we get is annoyed at the politicians and we should be. However we need to use this energy to move forward with action. The sham of a vote needs to be left behind and we should walk away wiser. But all we can do it seems, is to carry on lamenting what might have been….
    The ‘carve up’ is not just happening here it is a world wide carve up with our politicians playing second fiddle to the huge corporations that are already suing countries that don’t toe the line. Our Scottish businesses need to bolster up and realise the threat was not from an iScotland, but for US corporations like Monsanto and Chevron to name only two. If we don’t start getting organised (and NOT behind the SNP or any political party)as a nation of people, who will not allow trading with these multi-nationals, then we will be in the same position as many of these third world countries. The urgency of the need to pull out of Europe is now paramount given we lost our ivote and Cameron’s idiotic reasoning behind his support of the TTIP. If we can’t organise at least we can support the organisations that are opposing TTIP and the march of corporation control that has long passed mere profit as its goal.
    I guess what I’m saying is, stop lamenting iScotland, we’re better than that! Lets rise and take action!

    • Jack – have you posted this on Business for Scotland?

      I agree we who are not politically motivated to see our Country free and accountable to its people need to endeavour to be involved 110%to make it happen

    • cynical lowlander

      can’t get that link to work.

      • Sorry, Cynical Lowlander if you highlight then copy to google it will take you to the relevant WDM pages. Please sign the letter after your personal changes, it will be sent to your local MSP, who should do something about it.

  47. If I pull dear Andrew’s arms and legs of,would anyone notice?.

  48. The drivel we heard from Osborne in 2013 over capping bankers bonus’ has reared its ugly head again. The EU has warned they will sue the UK government if it tries cap bankers bonus’ which should pay 200% of their wage! Well that should pay for private health care for the poor bankers and their families, while this government are dismantling the NHS and all welfare for our nation. These changes affect us badly as we already suffer from our distance and irrelevance to the march of corporate rule. iScotland is not just a dream, but it will be if we don’t take action now. The pace of these changes is quickening and it won’t be long before we pass the point of no return. Where’s the Scottish government when we need them? If they are unable to effect change or resist or even state our case then what good are they?
    I have been to see John Swinney just before our referendum, I went to see him twelve years ago over the same issue and there is no change. In twelve years the SNP could not ask one question in parliament on my issue! I will never vote for them again over any issue, they have proved their worth to me. It’s the Greens for me they are the only Scottish party that are asking questions about the TTIP and they hav

  49. I don’t think the broadcasters are out of touch at all. I reckon they’re very much in touch. They know precisely what they’re doing. It’s just that they are not on the side of the public interest. They’ve been bought and sold for neo-liberal gold.

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