You’ll Have Had Your News

Because, of course, I always believe everything I read in the old media, bless ‘em, I take it the chances of the emergence of the whiskery plan for a Scottish Six is as dead as Kezia’s branch office. What appeared to be an olive branch held out in final recognition that Scotland probably did deserve to be served by its own grown-up news programme, has been snatched away in the BBC Charter renewal.

Twenty bloody years later after the establishment of our own legislature, a squeak of a win in a separation referendum, the wipe out of Scottish opposition at Westminster and a decade of nationalist self-government – and the arrogant, backward, dismissive bastards are still too scared to let journalists handle the news.

These, remember, are the libertarians who oppose the big state and detest government interference, the champions of individual rights and freedom of speech who fight political dogma. In the space of three days they have denied the people of Britain any oversight of their plan to remove us from treaties linking us to our friends in Europe and even any parliamentary say in the final deal. Now they have stamped their right-wing boot on the throat of Scots aspiring to watch news programmes shaped to their own life experience.

Some of us strive not to use liberally the language of colonialism. It is legitimate at times in order to make rhetorical points but it implies subjugation which can never be true in a democracy. But it is impossible to escape the sense of wilful containment as if tethered to a tree for the entertainment of some cruel master. What does any governing authority gain by suppressing such a small idea which is normal in every other country? A simple, do-able plan that hurts no one and costs them nothing in which some of us have invested hope for the revolutionary idea of better journalism and a better informed public…

Is there in this the twisted pleasure they seem to derive from denying access to sterling for example, or their glee at Scotland’s relative impoverishment when the oil price falls? What is wrong with these people? Just today the same Downing Street that is briefing the Scottish Six is finished has agreed a deal with a Chinese company with a history of industrial espionage. China, whose record on human rights we deplore and which has been rightly viewed as a security threat to the West for decades, now is a key part of the UK’s essential service infrastructure. We haven’t heard it yet but do you think the security services are sanguine right now?

Yet in Scotland – remember, dear Scotland – which they love so much and which should not leave but lead the UK, our longest, dearest friends in the greatest union in history, can’t be trusted to run their own television news programme. They can get Hew like every other bugger.

The answer of course lies within. The BBC should, we hear reflect the ‘national mood and national news across the UK’ says the minister while in briefings Downing Street says the Scottish Six is an entirely SNP initiative which is to be stopped. You’ll notice that the news made in London reflects ‘the nation’ – even when its about grammar schools, whereas the news where you are can only be parochial. This entirely misses the point that the Scottish version will include all international and UK news the journalists think appropriate, not exclude it. But they – and by implication, you – can’t be trusted to do that. London and Theresa know best.

Sorry but that is a fucking insult to everybody at BBC Scotland and by extension to every single Scot. (You’d get more news variety in China). The specific complaint, made by among others the BBC Audience Council is that the news failesto reflect properly peoples’ lives in Scotland. You won’t change that keeping the decision making in London.

The case against throughout the last 20 years has been that somehow the BBC news would be manipulated by Nationalists. It is the same line from Number 10 today. Yet what is this decision but direct political interference in BBC news? The hypocrisy of the Tory anti libertarians is blinding. And how exactly will the SNP run the news programme? Entryism? Brown envelopes? Clearly BBC staff are seen as corruptible as well as incompetent.

Meanwhile, if you missed it, there is now to be no automatic seat as of right for a Scottish representative on the main BBC board. They are actually reducing Scotland’s access to the big strategic decisions. There’s your respect agenda. What has Kenny McQuarrie been doing while this emasculation goes on? He and head of news Gary Smith gave a dispiritingly poor showing before MPs recently and the feeling that there is no champion of Scotland’s interests in broadcasting is now evident. Kenny was asked by the Director General to stay on until the renewal process was completed because of his experience. Well, that paid off handsomely. Can we get some guts in BBC managers any time soon or are we always to be served by puppets?

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53 thoughts on “You’ll Have Had Your News

  1. Bugger (the Panda)

    Demarcation Dispute here

    “The case against throughout the last 20 years has been that somehow the BBC news would be manipulated by Nationalists.”

    That is the BritNatz job

  2. Excellent. Your anger is shared by everyone who cares about Scotland and the future for our country. The right wing agenda in Westminster is getting palpably close to an Orwellian dystopia. A Scottish Six is no longer enough. Complete ownership of our broadcasting service is now the only goal worth pursuing – even if it takes Independence to achieve it.

  3. Way up there with EVEL did we expect anything else

  4. What’s to be done about it?

    I never listen to the Scottish news. It’s depressingly parochial. If I don’t watch it, who does? I think the answer to your question yesterday about the strength of the BritNat brand and the resilience of the faith in Blighty despite all the visible evidence of decay, lies in the fact that the only people who watch the shortbread news are the ones who don’t want Scotland to be independent, because the picture of Scotland that is reflected back at them from their TV screens is of a pathetic, parochial, non-entity.

    The BBC licence fee is £145 pa. I would happily pay this to support an independent TV channel broadcast only in Scotland that provided proper Scottish news. Why can’t we do this? I fully support all the indy websites financially, but surely the time has come to think on a bigger scale?

    • very much share the opinion, and indeed I was a bit suspicious the idea of Scottish 6 was trying to bring in from the cold some of the rest of us who have nothing to do with Kull Kaye, 6:30 Spinning Scotland, at present

  5. We see reports by ‘insiders’ with no official confirmation. Yet BBC Scotland is pressing on with pilots.
    I don’t know what is going on, but it’s clear that the charter wording is no excuse to prevent a Scottish Six that also reports UK and international news.
    Unless this requirement to ‘reflect the national mood’ effectively just means the English mood, with a ‘one size fits all’ UK news programme naturally focused towards the vast majority of the UK population in England.

    If BBC Scotland staff had any balls they would press ahead, and force the Tories to be seen to block it directly. But if the Tory Government is determined to veto it, we will no doubt see compliant BBC staff leaned on and making up some excuse about the pilots not working or something similar.

    It doesn’t help when people who would otherwise support a more relevant Six o’clock news say they are against it. Not on principle, but because they don’t trust BBC Scotland to do it right.
    They are just used as useful idiots for purpose of keeping things just as they are – at a time when we apparently have one of the ‘most powerful devolved parliaments in the world’

  6. If 100,000 Scots pledged £145 pa as shareholders in a new Scottish terrestial TV station, that would come to £14.5 million. And that’s without any big donors chipping in. Or advertising revenue.

    Do you think something could be organised for that?

    • Bugger (the Panda)

      Westminster still controls licencing and would not permit it to broadcast. Over Satellite is different but Murdoch controls that so same thing

      • It lets RT and Al Jazeera broadcast. Why not us!

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          Money talks and Murdoch always plays an each way bet when the other party might offer him more, later. Scotland would be too small to risk his UK tax breaks and powerbase

      • What about radio? Does anybody remember the pirate radio?

        Look, we all know and they know this is how they are controlling us.

        • Bugger (the Panda)

          There are a few web radios out there on the indie side but they would need to be able to broadcast in a way that would get into every house especially pensioners’

          • Exactly. Broadcast 24 hour Jimmy Shand plus Scottish news and current affairs covering all of Scotland! No, seriously, it would be a start!

            A fight back!

            And have another station for the youngsters in similar indy vein, but different music…

            Two age groups we need to work on. Young ones because they vote right but don’t vote enough. Oldies because the vote offside and in droves.

  7. I’d chip in for that in a heartbeat MBC.

    Ah feel yer pain Derek…it’s like they are playing wi us.

    • Looks more like a declaration of war – and not the first one either – and yet another one that nobody else but the Scots will notice. News from the rebellious provinces just does not make it to the capital. Time someone took real offense.

  8. “The case against throughout the last 20 years has been that somehow the BBC news would be manipulated by Nationalists”

    They are judging us by their own standards, its what they do, so it must be what the nasty nats are upto.

  9. I can understand your anger, Mr Bateman, but this is a moment to rejoice – it’s another nail in the Union coffin.

    A Tory government laying down the law to Scotland can only increase support for independence. In recent months, a friend of mine has went from staunch Unionist, to fence sitter, to independence sympathiser…

    The slow erosion of the Union, the drip drip drip effect towards independence, is only increasing…

  10. Sorry Derek but there is a typo in your article. I think the very last word should be muppet and not puppet.


  11. tut tut derek gee wizz the french indeed , ha ha , Anyway i am not sure whos winning on the piss take stakes looks like STV have just pulled ahead with their poll making i am not a Tory that poisoned baw faced trying to be a clone of Maggie individual , STV seem to believe their audience are as stupid as the people who commissioned the poll and by far the prize of the year must go to the ones who conducted the poll , how they conclude a party leader whose party have 20% of the vote that means 80% of the country told them to f/k off and have been doing so for years , Miraculously becomes miss world ha ha .
    A Miracle i never thought i would live to see a total about turn by a whole nation if this is true ha ha i am off even at my age if this is whats going on North Korea looks inviting ha ha well maybe not that much .maybe try south korea first

  12. The quicker we gain independence the quicker we can dump the bbc, why can people in Scotland not see the how badly those bastards in the bbc treat their own country.

    I am up for a fully independent Scottish broadcaster, and perhaps its time our government took the bbc head on, and challenged every part of how they operate in Scotland. from their licence fee to so-called program making.

    Its time to stop making it easy for them to down our country, if their new charter does not have appropriate representation for Scotland as a separate country, then deny the bastards any access to any government resources or press privileges, decriminalise non payment of the licence fee.

    I’m like a lot of other people I’m sick of being treated like shite just to satisfy a bunch of earses in London, and have to pay for it as well.

    • Davy, just stop paying it? You’ll receive many letters and perhaps a visit. Say nothing (apart from “hello”), don’t agree to sign anything and thank him (it’s always a “him”) for his visit. Nothing more is necessary and it’s legal. You have to confess for a prosecution under the Licencing laws, or be caught red-handed. Don’t let them win, the legal way!

  13. I don’t share your belief that a Scottish Six would be “grown-up” Scottish News. i.e. that it would present Scottish affairs in an intelligent and impartial manner. As well as the evidence from John Robertson, GA Ponsonby and others, I have the evidence of my own ears. The newshounds at BBC Scotland are not impartial in their presentation, analysis or interrogation of Scottish politics and politicians and I don’t see how handing them an hour to do SNPBAAD is going to make them act any differently.

    In most organisations the ethos is set by those at the top. The workers may be competent on the whole but if the company song is Rule Britannia then individual integrity is corrupted in order to survive. A clear out at the top is urgently required, but will never happen.

    So, I would support any development of an independent broadcaster as has been suggested.

  14. Derek, with all due respect (which means of course that I am going to argue with you) I think you are wrong that it is an insult. It is merely an open admission of the real purpose of the BBC. Let me quote from the Herald: “the corporation must ‘contribute to the social cohesion and wellbeing of the United Kingdom'”. The purpose of the BBC is not news, either local or national, but promotion of the United Kingdom as an entity. You can’t get much plainer than that.

    • In much the same way as the UK treasury JR, they are obliged – and are duty bound – to remain impartial, UNLESS the UK – as an entity – is threatened…. In which case they can tell whatever whoppers needed to preserve the UK.

  15. My understanding of a Scottish Six was that it was to be a real news programme which would headline with matters of national and international importance. That, for example, if a bomb went off in Paris that would be covered as the main news item and that the proverbial cat stuck up the tree would be the 30 seconds at the end of the programme “light touch” moment. It has always struck me as perverse that a Scottish Six has been portrayed as an hour of a cat stuck up a tree. It demonstrates a remarkable lack of self belief by supposedly proud Scots in Scottish journalism.

    I suppose, on the plus side, the new charter sets in stone that which we have accused the BBC of for some time. It is the UK state propaganda tool and its job is to serve the UK state…not impartially provide news.

    That said, I was sceptical that a Scottish Six was going to be impartial. I guess I can carry on not watching the BBC news output for the foreseeable future.

    • “It has always struck me as perverse that a Scottish Six has been portrayed as an hour of a cat stuck up a tree.”

      That’s precisely it. I well remember Brillopad being terribly patronising about Scotland in some bizarre attempt to talk about Scotland in some seasonal attempt at BBC regionalism, and that mindset is what forms the basis of what the BBC feels is fit for Scottish viewers. Heaven forfend that the Scottish electorate could ever cope with full coverage of Scottish industry, finance, health, fishing, crofting, new business and whatever else most normal people expect to hear about on a daily basis, as well as news from overseas.

      Independence can’t come fast enough. I would very happily pay £145 and more for a good Scottish broadcaster that did the job professionally, impartially and respectfully, but the BBC can go sing if it expects me to cough up £145 to be patronised.

    • So it would be the lead story blaming the SNP for a bomb in Paris, with blaming the SNP for a cat being stuck up a tree just getting 30 seconds at the end, then?

      PS: I hope the cat is all right, he’s beens tuck up there for an hour. 😉

  16. The whole reason indy isn’t moving in the polls is that they control the airwaves. They are setting the agenda. GERS figures, bad. Fraser of Allander report, bad. Oil price collapse, bad. Ruthie, good. It’s all manipulation. We are not to the fore, they are.

    Support for indy rose 2012-2014 because there was a two year campaign in which they HAD to debate and cover it, because it was part of the SG legislative programme. Sturgeon is making a mistake if she thinks they will give any media coverage to a ‘conversation’.

    One thing I will say for Alex Salmond is that he was really good at getting his neb on the box. He courted the media, pursued the media, assiduously. He was witty and provocative and always worth a soundbite in an otherwise dull broadcast of Scottish crime figures. He got noticed, and always had a sharp aside at the conventional BritNat narrative. He was forever challinging it. Support for the SNP rose because he was more visible, unlike the dull but competant Swinney.

    Sturgeon doesn’t seem to be as good at courting the media, she handles them well, but is essentially reactive, not proactive, like Salmond was. He managed to get round the problem that we face here, byt sheer cheek, wit, charm, and provocation. They couldn’t ignore him. Margo was another face that the media loved and who succeeded in conveying something of Scotland back to the Scots.

    None of this would matter if we had some media presence. It’s ridiculous that a government should control broadcasting like that.

  17. Might be daft, but just thinking of options. How did CNN start? Is doing something using cable an option? What would it cost to set up a basic studio which takes feeds from Reuters and other such news agencies. Daft?

  18. Isn’t it interesting that the reason the SNP needed to be formed was the impact on Scottish life of BBC radio and its British outlook. That was only one lifetime ago.

  19. Every one of Nigeria’s 36 federal states has its own TV station.

  20. There’s no such thing as ex-BBC it’s a cult thing, even escapees sadly never fully recover their senses and touch with reality.

    I find it wearisome you keep defending these people at BBC Scotland, as if something could be salvaged from the whole twisted ruin, as if they deserve a modicum of respect, even support. They simply and inarguably don’t, they’re thoroughly rotten right through, too far gone, incorrigible reprobates, without a single redeeming human quality, to a man and woman, the choice was there, again and again, their autonomy from London was theirs to take. Instead they deferred again ours, and let theft from Scotland’s people, ransack and looting and calculated decrepitude of Scotland’s infrastrucuture continue, it will never be forgiven, never forgotten. Their staggering betrayal and craven duplicity and whopping outrageous lies in recent times, though such are historically their modus operandi since forever, was taken to such extremes that their credibility was shattered into atoms, irreparably, and strewn far and wide. Public anger at the BBC has changed to deep loathing and a desire to tear the place down brick by brick and run the bastards of of town and country. We’ve had hundreds of years of us playing nice, expecting, assuming we’re dealing with decent reasonable persons. This ‘kingdom’ is the most despicable murderous and evil empire that ever existed, without compare, that thinks, that plans, casually over drinks, the killing of millions and displacing of millions more, to gnaw away at and burn the very Earth itself, for the power and profit and pleasure, of a depraved and parasitic hereditary elite.

    Screw them (with a red hot poker up their fundiment). We’ll put on our own show, in the barn, if necessary -is the only answer. Though TV and radio, like the printed press, have had their day and they simply don’t matter any more, will never again have the power, ill-used, over people’s minds as they’ve had for the last eighty or so years. They’d have to pay US, to suffer it any longer.

  21. John Whittingdale [then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport] in Hansard 12May2016
    “…. the BBC is a UK national broadcaster, and it is there to unite the nation . .”

    Karen Bradley, current UK Culture Secretary, announcing the corporation’s new charter in the House of Commons today.
    “I want to be clear, the BBC is the nation’s broadcaster and I expect the BBC to reflect the national mood and the national news, that is important across the whole nation. . . .”. She adds “it is for the BBC, who have operational independence in this matter, to determine how exactly they make that happen.”; good of her to allow them to work out how to follow her wishes.

    What is the meaning of these injunctions to “unite the nation” and “reflect the national mood”? Obviously the above references to nation mean the UK. And with 85% of the population the UK’s “national mood” will nearly always be determined by the views of the English population.

    I think that the BBC actually have good Editorial Guidelines ( – if only their political journalists would be more attentive to them.

    I cannot see these statements from Whittingdale and Bradley as being compatible with the fine expressions in the BBC’s Editorial Values. The values – on Trust, Truth, Accuracy, Impartiality, Editorial Integrity and Independence – need to be paramount. If they are to be subordinate to a need to maintain any ethos (whether for unionism, or some concept of national mood) that is not supported by impartial analysis and evidence, then any residual trust in the corporation is further damaged.

    Now, it’s not as if BBC news and politics is not already considerably biased in the direction desired by these Conservatives. But if they want this formalised, I’d like to see the BBC update their Editorial Values. If Impartiality is to be universal – except in relation to Scotland’s place in the UK state – then let’s see this in print (unlike the principles of Civil Service impartiality, which we found could be suddenly dismissed to allow the Treasury to participate in political campaigning).

  22. screenshot of tomorrow’s national on wings pronounces BBC six to go ahead despite todays announcement that it was dead anyone have any idea whats going on or off or on off off its like the bloody hoki coki not sure about the spelling dosnt look right any way in out in out you get the drift

  23. We have to have a non-payment of the of the TV licence protest – similar to what was done with the Poll Tax. Short of independence it is the only way to affect change in the BBC.

  24. Two excellent posts in two days. Welcome back. I have noticed that the intensity and vehemence of anti-Scottish rhetoric in the BBC and elsewhere (e.g. New Statesman and Prospect Magazines – nominally ‘left’ and ‘liberal’ respectively – but in reality metropolitan ovine soi distant ‘elite’) have markedly increased since the Brexit vote. We are being put firmly into our ‘provincial’ place. At best dismissive – at worst outright hostile and – yes – racist.

    I have for many years regarded Scotland as colonised and occupied – it took a year living and working in London – and then a return – to see it clearly. My stay in London was just after the miners’ strike, which involved close family members. Since then in my working life, I made regular visits to London, including many interactions with UK State institutions. I was left in no doubt that we are regarded as – at best – quaint yokels – at worst a downright irritant – but with things and places that the Brit State needs and will do whatever is required to keep.

    My London experiences, along with Labour’s – and particularly Kinnock’s denigration of the miners’ struggle and the NUM – had two effects on me. I arrived in London a member of the Labour Party (seventeen years long). On my return I immediately joined the SNP. I have been a member ever since.

    I am still a left-wing socialist and a republican, but I am and remain a member of the SNP because there is a more urgent and primary matter to be resolved. I can think of lots of policies that I disagree with -and do so publicly.

    But the lesson I learned over a quarter of a century ago, is ever more obvious and pertinent today. It is this: There can be no improvement in Scotland’s position and condition of our people unless and until we are independent.

    The national question is quite simply the supreme political issue for Scotland.

  25. The UK Government’s invocation of “social cohesion” in this context is interesting. It is very much a European, rather than a British concept. Social cohesion was a key objective of the European Union before neoliberals like Wolfgang Schäuble and Alexander Stubb decided it would be a good idea to beat the stuffing out of Greece, severely undermining the European ideal in the process. We need to reassert the importance of social cohesion across Europe and insist that it is perfectly compatible with a Scottish Six.

  26. The BBC charter…”promoting British unity”…well there we have it zero chance of an objective journalistic approach by the BBC to indyref2…phew! I wish everything was that easy to explain….seriously Derek spot on and particularly give your historic working relationship with the Beeb frustration doesn’t really cut it….

  27. “he arrogant, backward, dismissive bastards”

    I thought for a moment you were talking about the BBC.

    How could you possible be any further dispirited by the same McQuarrie seen here in 2014?

  28. I was so angry to read of this today and you have articulated my feelings EXACTLY, Derek! Thank you for this. Also.. would love to know more about this, the Scottish Broadcasting Company which to me sounds like it may have possibilities! But I know so little about it…

    Perhaps if more could be done to support this possibility, Independence might get a much needed media support and a direction in which to send folks (particularly older folks who might not be so politically aware) who need to know what’s truth & what is lies, when it comes to WM.

  29. Well said, Derek.

    The last two decades which has seen the rise of Scottish nationalism, has only come about thanks to the legacy of Thatcherism, in which both New Labour and the current Tory government unflinchingly continued to follow.

    The politics between Scotland and Westminster are now so poisonous, that I believe Westminster no longer cares about preserving a ‘sentiment’ of what the Union once was or its ‘cherished’ history; this is now the birth of some Frankenstein-esque of the British past. Everything now labelled with Union Jacks; how many Gold Medals can GB get? Breaking away from the EU as they try to re-enact the 1880’s again. It’s absolutely insane.

    Rather than accept that the Golden Age of Britain is long past and therefore, a more reasoned restructuring of Home Rule for all the home nations should have been the way to go, they have instead caused ill-feeling, racism, bitterness and rancour on all fronts. The US, the EU and the Australians have all stated that they won’t buy into the new British idea of free-trading with no tariffs. That literally leaves the Chinese, and after Hinkley Point, it makes you wonder how the relationship with China really is going to progress.

    This is slowly starting to look like a fight to the death in many aspects. Either Scottish nationalism has to be killed off one way or another …even forcibly if necessary through lies, deceit and financial restrictions …or it really is the death of the British Union. I honestly do believe that is the current climate of not only Scottish politics …but British politics too.

    • I doubt belief in Scotland can EVER be killed off, as long as you and I and so many others in Scotland, believe in self-determination. No amount of lies, deceit or financial restrictions will kill off our need for independence.

      As an amazing man once wrote: “…for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.” We were sold out by the dishonest and greedy. But Scots do not give up. They hack a life out of the wilderness & they make it theirs. Scotland is a tory driven wilderness now. But we will make it ours – one day…

  30. Pretty much saw this as inevitable Derek along with their somewhat transparent and questionable reasoning.

    The insult though, is to all of us equally and was partly intended as such.

  31. When they allowed George Osborne to make that dreadful sermon on the pound, they unwittingly and irrevocably trashed Scotlands reputation in the UK. The thrust of that mans speech was to imply that Scotland had existed on charity for 300years. A proud nation reduced to living on someone elses pocket money.

    It doesn’t matter what no voters thought they voting for. It was endorsing Osbornes view. The view of Westminster. The view that a nation like that, can’t possibly afford an hour of Scottish news or indeed have anything going on worthy of an hours worth of TV. It can take its British news or lump it. This has been going on for decades now. Catalan despite its struggle with spain has 5 channels worth of TV tailored just for them. But Scotland has to beg for an hours worth of news, only to be slagged off by the likes of Torrance that we can’t afford it, so England would have to pay for it?
    Like you Derek, I try not to use the word colonialism when responding to these carefully planned barbs, but I do have to wonder what its like to live on your knees and feel a deep sense of pride.

    I could never accept British unity or be reconciled to being British on those terms. Not now. Not ever.

    They don’t want to give us a hours worth of news? Fine. I’ll take Independence and get the news sorted out later.

  32. It’s simply a case of know your place.

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