From Our Correspondent

The retirement of Colin Blane after a lifetime in BBC radio journalism that took him from Beijing to Johannesburg to Brussels to Glasgow is a reminder of the contribution programme-makers have made to our lives. We hear them daily from flashpoints around the world, sometimes literally from a front line under fire, giving detailed analysis of perplexing events. Colin was with Nelson Mandela when he was freed. Jim Muir, a Scot from Lochaber, is a lifelong Middle East expert. Another, Alan Johnston, was kidnapped by the Army of Islam. I know journalists from other countries, often living in distressed societies, who cherish the sound of the BBC World Service bringing them valuable information they trust.

Our world has been shaped in many ways by the BBC through documentaries and debates, dramas and light entertainment. The breadth of output dwarfs anything else – 10 UK radio channels, seven ‘national’ outlets and 40 regional stations, a battery of television services from BBC America to BBC Persian. It gives us iplayer and Gaelic language. The scale and diversity makes it the world’s biggest broadcaster.

My personal pride was in connecting people in Scotland through a shared interest in our country and reflecting the wider world. For the first time in my life I felt part of the fabric of the country. Presenting for the BBC was the single most memorable job I had in 45 years.

Which is why I have become concerned at the direction taken by the BBC as it wrestles with a multi-channel digital environment on the one hand and state containment by insecure politicians on the other. I have been vocal on the shortcomings of the BBC in Scotland echoing the worries of many existing staff. And if there is a genuine desire to have a broadcaster we can be proud of we need to pressure it to change because the BBC isn’t going anywhere. Even after independence.

The idea that we opt out of consuming the BBC or not pay the licence fee is fine for those who don’t want to be part a diverse and multi-faceted public media. But it isn’t SNP policy to write off the BBC. There is no plan on the day after National Liberation to switch it off. Jackie bird won’t be getting her jotters.

On the contrary. ‘The SBS will continue to co-commission, co-produce and co-operate with the BBC network. The SBS will commission or produce a share of BBC network original productions reflecting the Scottish population share, in terms of both hours and spending. These arrangements will shift commissioning power and resources from the BBC to Scotland, while providing continuity for the BBC, consistent with its recent moves to decentralise from London’, says Scotland’s Future, the government’s Guide to Independence, and still the template for a post-Yes Scotland.

SBS, the Scottish Broadcasting Service, will be established not to replace the BBC but explicitly to work with it. ‘Under our proposals, a Scottish Broadcasting Service, providing TV, radio and online services, will be established as a publicly funded public service broadcaster, working with the BBC in a joint venture’, says the SNP. It will ‘initially be founded on the staff and assets of BBC Scotland, and will broadcast on TV, radio and online.’

Non-payers beware: ‘On independence, the licence fee will be the same as in the rest of the UK, and all current licence fee payment exemptions and concessions will be retained’ and ‘Existing licences for broadcasters in Scotland will be fully honoured.’ They won’t be ditching BBC programmes that drive nationalists mad. ‘Evidence also suggests that people in Scotland want more Scottish programming alongside access to the best from the rest of the UK and the wider world.’ And: ‘Scottish viewers and listeners should continue to have access to all their current channels’. When the document says SBS will ‘have the right’ to opt out of current BBC programming, it implies that services we currently know will be virtually unchanged. And remember, during the indyref how the Yes side scoffed at suggestions we might not get some programmes from the network…

In other words, the plan for independence is to rename the organisation the SBS and base it on the existing framework and arrangements. We will have a new channel in addition to BBC One but there is no suggestion that its news progammes will be served by anyone other than the existing newsroom, at least initially. There will inevitably be changes but there is no provision for wholesale clear-outs of staff. And in any case, recruitment won’t deliver what some critics seem to want which is supportive rather than critical coverage (As in the National). They’ll still get stories they don’t like. The way to eliminate bias is to hire professional staff with effective editorial oversight. Anyone praying for an age of McCarthy at Pacific Quay is in line for a let-down. The Greens are also against breaking up the BBC and instead prefer a federal structure.

The emphasis on commissioning will change over time with an expectation of more Scottish content. But the SNP recognises that it can’t just start again from scratch even if it wanted to. The BBC, for all its faults, can’t be reinvented and it certainly can’t be replicated in Scotland. What we can do is carve out a specialist service using the existing organisation and we can brand it as truly Scottish. We can scrutinise it at Holyrood and up the Scotland-focussed content. This is realism from the SNP, a typically pragmatic approach miles away from any string-em-up hysteria of the mob. BBC haters are heading for disappointment. Its elimination is a non-starter. And that’s official policy.

As I wrote at the time of the row over the roadside hoardings plan highlighting BBC bias, the constant raging about the BBC sounds scary to those not yet committed to Yes. It makes them wonder what kind of people nationalists are. That doesn’t excuse execrable journalism but it should give us pause about the impression we give to those we need to win over. We are each entitled to hold any view we wish but if we are truly interested in furthering the cause and ultimately in winning, we have to promote our case as rational and balanced. Some of the recent messages here stand in stark contrast to the measured and insightful contributions on, for example, land reform and crofting. There was me thinking we were better than that.

There is a window of opportunity here for Donalda MacKinnon but a short one. The new charter starts in January and yet here is a new Director for Scotland entitled to some leeway being new in post. She must have made her pitch in the job interview and if it included something radical – like a Scottish Six – she is entitled to claim it now. Let’s hope so.

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121 thoughts on “From Our Correspondent

  1. The BBC is, as someone once said about the Walls Agricultural Show, ‘aa very weel fur dem at enjoys dat sort a thing’

    Once you stop watching and listening, you lose the habit, full stop. And don’t watch or listen to any channel. Who has the time?

    True, lots of people do. That’s lovely for them.

  2. As someone who sees and believes in the frequently subtle and occassionally not-so-subtle biased news coming from the BBC, that the SBC will inherit staff and premises is neither a surprise nor a disappointment – i understand the practicality if this plan.

    Neither do I expect or want McCarthy-esque witch-hunts after independence. I believe the bias is controlled by a small number of key individuals and once in the SBS they will either change their tune or chose to leave.

    I don’t want the current propaganda mouthpiece against the ScotGov now, nor one pro-government after independence. I’d like an unbiased and balanced state broadcaster both now and after independence, something that doesn’t exist but hope it will soon enough.

    • Exactly and so far as I can remember…a level-playing-field was all the YES Campaign were asking for in Indyref 1.

  3. Whilst I don’t doubt the SNP’s intentions and pronouncements with regard to BBC Scotland, it’s worth pointing out that the SNP will effectively cease to exist after Independence, albeit perhaps not in the short term. A new political landscape will emerge and each party can then decide on their own manifesto according to circumstances at the time. Whether we keep a state broadcaster, and whether some people at Pacific Quay get their jotters, or not, is anything but preordained.

    • The Independence Party has been the first or second biggest party in Iceland at every election since 1931, despite Iceland becoming independent from Denmark over 70 years ago. There’s no reason to think the SNP is going to suddenly cease to exist just because we become independent – in fact, the likelihood is it’ll remain the largest party in Scotland for a long time.

      • @Doug Daniel

        I can’t say that thought is reassuring whatsoever Doug. The SNP after independence will become the establishment party, and I for one am not going to hang around long, as the once radical become the stale, mainstream and entitled. I would read your post again and tell me that you don’t recognise in it the kinds of things Douglas Alexander and company used to come out with so much; different party, same essential message. That the SNP are going to be around long term is presumptuous, and complacent imo.

        In an independent Scotland, I would want to vote for and support an anti-establishment, ILP type party, one that was rethought for the early 21st century, but one that was fully committed to reducing inequality. The SNP are essentially a broad coalition, one that is mildly social democratic, but that coalition would not be able to survive long when independence comes imo. I think you would see plenty of people walk away from the SNP after independence is achieved.

        The SNP has many strengths, but under independence it will attract more and more careerists, and it would gradually become what many were repelled by from SLAB. We are already seeing cronyism in parts of the SNP machine in Lanarkshire, just like the old unionist SLAB. I don’t want one party to be completely dominant if or when independence arrives.

        • You have just given reasons why you might not be supporting the SNP post Independence but that doesn’t mean others will or in significant numbers. Plenty of stable parties around the world have National in the title. In Australia there is the Liberal National Party, NZ simply has the National Party. So the N in SNP is not actually a problem.

          IF the more radical and left wing people leave it will simply move rightwards and there are plenty of small c conservatives in Scotland who would be happy to vote for them.

          What is likely to happen post Independence is the sort of process we saw in NZ when we changed the voting system from FPTP to MMP through public pressure and referendum voting. Some parties, including the former third largest party ceased to exist other parties rose from nowhere to take part in government: NZ First’s leader was Deputy PM, ACT a libertarian party formed by both Labour and National MPs has also held the balance of power.

          I can see both SLAB and LibDems ceasing to be, the Tories will depend on how well and believably they adapt to Independence. Any whiff of direction from London and they will be in trouble. But they could survive. New parties may rise or current small parties RISE instead.

          It is true that political parties have no absolute right to exist forever and history shows them to grow, change and decline. I can see the SNP changing but they will not go away anytime soon.

          Post Independence they will claim the mantle of the party which gave Scotland its freedom back and the guarantors of that freedom (there will undoubtedly be a reunification movement). They will as they have done after the first IndyRef seek to airbrush the Greens and RIC from that picture.

          Don’t expect them to be generous and politically inclusive.

    • You mean like UKIP? ;o)


  5. Retirement for Colin Blane: time to recall just how good BBC journalism can be and has been. I still recall just where I was driving the evening he reported (confusedly) from Lockerbie. It was hard at first for him, or anyone, to comprehend what had happened. You, Derek, name Jim Muir and Alan Johntone, there were so many, and still are.

    So, the SNP has charted their vision for broadcasting. It seems rational and should not frighten the no-sayers. The interest will be to see the fog of lies the MSM will now create.

  6. In this digital mutli channel environment I find the traditional model of the BBC to be restrictive and that includes iplayer. I opted out of using both over 2 years ago. I’ve never felt the need to go back. Amazon, netflix and a host of other internet services are now not only providing content, but commissioning new content themselves. You are seeing homebrew services on patreon, youtube and twitch.

    Maybe, just maybe on that happy day when there is an SBS – I may come back but that depends very much on the model adapted. I suspect though that having weaned myself off terrestrial TV and that also includes the other commercial channels in the UK, I may very well never come back.

  7. Oddly – Planet Earth II made me see how good the BBC can be – again. Indeed as frustrating as their political stance is, its annoying they can be something totally different elsewhere. In the final episode, a titan of broadcasting atop the ‘shard’ – begging us to do better for the environment. When he is gone, perhaps the last light at the ‘former’ BBC will go out.

    Its not that the BBC is, after all, evil. Its that ‘evil’ people have taken it and made it a weapon that was used so effectively to stop independence in Scotland. The fact is, well, it was criminal.

    The SBS can look, and I hope take, the technology progression et al from the BBC tech side, but it must not pander to use weak, fawning political analysis. Its not the presenters (for the most part) that will stain the SBS, its arrogance in the face of colossal change that would leave it weak at the beginning.

  8. Derek Bateman offers a realistic analysis that comes as a welcome glimmer of light in a discussion that commonly generates rather more heat than is helpful. I confess to having,myself, contributed a share of that heat. A lifelong champion of the BBC, I have lately been provoked by its behaviour to join the growing number of vocal critics.

    Having said that, I am not to be counted among those demanding the complete eradication of the BBC. I will not promote or participate in any campaign to withhold the licence fee. Like Derek Bateman, I recognise the exceptional nature of the BBC and realise that it cannot be replicated. Nor can it be revived or reinvented should those who seek its demise get their way. If it goes, it is gone irrevocably and forever. And that would be something that we, as a society, would surely come to regret.

    Destroying the BBC would be an act of social and cultural vandalism which would earn us the bitter condemnation of future generations; just as would the sacrifice of our public health service on the altar of glorified commercialism.

    I make a clear distinction between the BBC as an institution and the BBC as an organisation. As an institution, the BBC represents the ultimate bastion of public service broadcasting. It is as an organisation that the BBC has gone so very seriously – some would say disastrously – astray. And this is where I part company with Derek; at least to the extent that he appears to agree that there should be no “wholesale clear-outs of staff”. While I totally concur with his conclusion that, “The way to eliminate bias is to hire professional staff with effective editorial oversight”, I am convinced this will require a considerably more drastic operation than he seems to envisage.

    Back in August, I wrote the following,

    “When assessing the BBC’s coverage of Scottish politics and the now undeniable bias in favour of the British establishment it would be a mistake to think in terms of a formal conspiracy. If you’re imagining a cabal of managers, producers, directors, journalists and presenters secretly conniving together to do down the SNP and the independence movement, you are entertaining a fantasy. There is no organised plot. Nor is there any need for such a thing. What, with hindsight, has all the appearance of having been carefully contrived is, in fact, no more than the incidental outcome of an ‘organic’ process with no purpose or direction.

    Just as ‘misreporting’ may be indistinguishable from deliberate dishonesty, so what looks like a conspiracy may be only a mirage. It may be no more than the impression left on history by lots of unconnected, or only loosely connected, events. It may be a pattern without a plan. It may be conspiracy as an emergent property of an organisation which, not being effectively managed towards its true purpose, tends towards the dominant agenda within its own structures.

    All that is required for the appearance of conspiracy to emerge is that there should be a sufficient number of people; with a sufficient amount of influence; and a sufficient commonality of interest.

    This is what has happened in the BBC. And most particularly in BBC Scotland. It is not wholly accurate to say that either is institutionally biased; although the BBC is undoubtedly the broadcasting arm of the British establishment and can be expected to behave accordingly. It would be more apt to describe BBC Scotland as organisationally, or structurally, biased. Over time, a self-perpetuating and self-reinforcing process has led to the organisation being populated with people drawn from, or with intimate connections to, a Scottish political establishment that was, for a formative period of decades, the almost exclusive province of British Labour in Scotland (BLiS). BBC Scotland is stuffed with people who still regard what they like to call “Scottish Labour” as rightfully the dominant force in Scottish politics. Many are inclined to treat it as if it still is. They genuinely see nothing wrong in packing every studio panel with BLiS worthies because they cannot accept how irrelevant the pretendy wee party has become.” (

    It may be that the altered environment of independent will bring about evolutionary change in the ‘deep’ organisation of the BBC. But it is not realistic to suppose that this might happen quickly enough or visibly enough to satisfy the corporation’s most embittered critics. We see ample evidence of the inertia that afflicts such massive organisations in the fact that BBC Scotland has so abysmally failed to adapt to a new political reality in Scotland that is getting on for a decade old.

    I opened by applauding Derek Bateman’s realism. But he is not entirely dispassionate. His attitude to the BBC is tinged with a certain sentimentality. Which is wholly understandable and easily forgivable, given his personal connection with the organisation. Not being affected by such sentiment, I am more inclined to acknowledge that overcoming the evident organisational inertia in a timely manner will almost certainly require the kicking of a multitude of arses. That some of those arses might belong to former colleagues and friends of Mr Bateman is unfortunate. But the alternative may be an even more regrettable fate for the BBC and public service broadcasting in Scotland.

    • Sorry Peter, I disagree on a number of points. You differentiate between the BBC as an institution and as an organisation but the BBC is the BBC. If by institution you mean “state broadcaster” then I would agree that the presence of one can enrich the schedules dominated by commercial interests. But when that state institution claims impartiality, when there is clear evidence that it isn’t, there is a serious problem.

      I don’t watch Fox News, or even Sky News, because I know they are not impartial and they don’t profess to be. Few would think they were. However, the number of UK citizens that believe the BBC is impartial is disturbing – absolute trust is a dangerous thing when the state subverts it for its own ends.

      Equally with Fox New or Sky News watching them costs not a penny to me (not strictly true I know) but even if I chose never to watch BBC ever again I still have to pay the TV “tax” – currently I have only one option and that is to stop watching all live TV, including material not created, broadcast or paid for by the BBC. If the household media charge (or whatever it was or will be called) ever becomes a reality then I would have to live as a Luddite with no TV or any form of computer, including tablets and smart phones, to avoid paying this charge, simply to avoid paying the BBC their fee.

      And how far does the bias have to go before we stop supporting the state broadcaster? Surely there has to come a point when it’s justified to boycott such an organisation? Or does the so-called benefit of having a state broadcaster always outweigh any and all bias?

      And I don’t agree that once it’s lost it can never be regained – if the desire for a state broadcaster is supported by the majority of a population it will always be available. However, what you are suggesting is retaining a state broadcaster in circumstances when the majority do not support it – is that acceptable? Or does that border on unwanted state control when that same broadcaster is also heavily biased towards the government, whether the one in Westminster now, or the one in Holyrood after independence?

    • ” Like Derek Bateman, I recognise the exceptional nature of the BBC and realise that it cannot be replicated. ”

      Thank **** for that!

      Sorry but that was the first response that jumped into my head … and I’ll bet I am not the only one.

  9. Everything you say here , Derek, may well be true…
    The difference to my mind is ..It doesn’t matter what the BBC do AFTER independence as we will by definition be Independent.
    The problem is that until we are Independent the BBC is the single biggest obstacle to that happening.

  10. So, even with independence, there will be no end to this legal extortion.

    Rupert Murdoch is a lot of things, but I’ve yet to see him at my front door threatening me with a fine or imprisonment if I don’t buy Sky and/or his newspapers.

    I’d rather they scrapped the licence fee and then took the money from general taxation, on the no taxation without representation principal.

    At least then I’d have some control at the ballot box, rather than this unaccountable Ivory Tower in London that masquerades as the BBC trust.

  11. […] Bateman offers a realistic analysis that comes as a welcome glimmer of light in a discussion that commonly generates rather more heat […]

  12. “The idea that we opt out of consuming the BBC or not pay the licence fee is fine for those who don’t want to be part a diverse and multi-faceted public media.”

    That’ll be me then. Just as well I’m part of a diverse and multi-faceted public media online. That’s why I applaud the “BBC misreporting Scotland” campaign because if we continue to let the bbc get away with its blatant unionist bias, and the longer we continue to give it windows of opportunity, the longer the bbc will treat Scotland with contempt.

    Don’t pay the bbc tax. Let britnats pay for britnat propaganda.

  13. I don’t think I will be alone in seeing this as another disconcerting post from you Derek.

    I think many people would also agree that it is too late for the BBC, unless of course you want to become known as, “The guy who defends the BBC”. There is now too much evidence of its duplicity to be denied. I understand that you have fond memories of your time there but that was then.

    The roadside hoarding campaign is just one way of getting the truth across. When the BBC and virtually all of the mainstream media as working against you desperate measures are all that is available. Have you ever tried to make a complaint to the BBC?

    I think you need to recognise that the BBC of several years go is not what we have now. There is a massive amount of evidence of their impartiality, corruption of the truth and their disgraceful agenda against the SNP. They are being driven by scoundrels. I really think you need to get over it and I am sure that many more people will be along presently to say much the same thing. Sure some of their content would be missed but let’s not kid ourselves, we do not NEED the BBC.

    And by the way, as far as I know you still have not commented on London Calling. Given your continuing support for the BBC can we take it that you don’t believe what is in the book? If so perhaps a critique would be appropriate. I would welcome that.

    • Agreed. I was surprised Derek didn’t take the opportunity to tell us his opinion on London Calling. This would have been the ideal time.

    • With respect, Derek has commented on London Calling, well the book and not the film it is based on.

      Derek is entitled to his own view as are we. It is not for any of us to demand he comments on any topic which we seem fit.

      At the moment, I believe that the BBC in Scotland is biased. They are required to be. How the new boss balances legitimate criticisms of fake news and journalistic balance, well… that is a poisoned challace.

      This side of independence, it will be same old same old.

      Getting away from the constitutional and state broadcaster stuff. The BBC is the dogs bollox.

      • With respect, no one “demanded” anything.

        • Poor choice of expression perhaps, expecting Derek to comment would have been more appropriate, although… yourself and Dan are expecting too much in my opinion. Is he allowed in his blog not to deliver on another’s expectations?

          Here is what Derek said previously about London Calling:

          I enjoyed that article. You will not find him defending BBC Scotland in it. Rather you will find him lauding the forensic journalism of Mr Ponsonby.

          Not trying to pick a fight. Stating my opinion, that’s all. Feel free to disagree.

          • I am too old for fighting. ;o)

            Derek did laud Ponsonby’s journalism, while still denying any deliberate bias. To me that is incompatible.

          • At the risk of splitting hairs, as someone unconvinced of deliberate bias was troubled by the findings. Does not sound like someone in denial.

            It smacks of open minded acceptance of the evidence.

            Still, that’s as I see it.

            Ought he to come clean and confess to the Inquisitors? That would deny him the right to an opinion.

            All the best Bryan, if I were to add anything I would just be repeating myself and alternative views are healthy. Open minded even better… 😉

  14. Was the BBC ever anything other than the establishment’s propaganda arm? This may well be a topic for a future examination of senior pupils in an independent Scotland. Once the scales fall from your eyes then it is difficult to ever look at any output of the BBC without wondering what the facts really are. From news to “light” entertainment, there is a (mainly) sophisticated message pushing the establishment view.

    We are badly served not just by BBC Scotland, but by BBC as a whole, with its neo-liberal agenda and lack of any challenge to the received wisdom of the “expert”. (I put expert in inverted commas, since any real experts who have a different view from the establishment are rarely, or at least only once, invited onto serious programmes – witness the coverage of the death of Fidel Castro for an example of shoddy propaganda dressed up as serious reporting, with the one shining light of the expert who refused to toe the party line!) Oh and Question Time, can this really be considered a serious programme? Rhetorical question btw.

    Sorry Derek, we do not watch or listen to any news output from the BBC in any format, and rarely watch other programmes, especially not the sick-making Great British anything at all programmes. The BBC is not only the enemy of Scottish Independence, it would appear to be against any progressive change in society, so tell me again why we need it?

  15. I can’t think of a single blog that you’ve written Derek, when I haven’t been applauding silently before the end, but in this instance, I sincerely believe that you have misjudged the depth of anti-BBC feeling that now exists in Scotland. Hell will freeze over before I will give a bent penny to the BBC, now or after independence.

  16. TBH I’ve never stopped watching telly. I simply stopped watching or listening to the BBC output.

    Now I’m not saying it’ll be impossible and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done or even attempted, but I am saying both the government and the broadcaster/s WILL have their work cut out for them.

    When the trust is gone, its gone and earning it back will be no easy matter. Not for the BBC themselves or any new SBS working with the BBC in an independent Scotland. In recent years they hurt a LOT of people and as is the way of things, people have a very long memory for things that hurt them.

    Honesty, integrity, balance and above all patience. If the Scottish Government want people to trust a public broadcaster again post indy? They’ll need those by the lorry load.

    • The first sentence in your last paragraph really says it all Mac. To think, when for the only time in my life, Sauchiehall Street in the 1960s, I was interviewed by a B.B.C researcher, and found that upon answering her questions about which programmes I watched, they were nearly all B.B.C productions.
      How matters have changed. In fact, it’s not only the state broadcaster I don’t trust, it’s any other M.S.M outlet. Today, I get all my news from the internet, where I can surf the world, and perhaps get a insight on news stories that I certainly won’t get from any U.K based company.
      Of course first we have to become an independent nation once again, but the B.B.C have made such a good job of destroying our trust, it must remain a serious doubt if a large swathe of the population will ever trust a state broadcaster ever again.

  17. Derek
    I usually agree with you but I can’t when it comes the BBC, I am sure you have fond memories of your time there, but that was when we were blind/deaf and did not have access to the real news via the now numerous nonbiased sites such as WOS or WGD, The BBC has gotten away with misreporting Scotland for years, the penny HAS dropped for most of us who can access the web, hopefully it will drop for you soon, the level of mistrust the BBC has in Scotland is immeasurable,

    I will not stop reading your normally wonderful journalism as I am of the opinion you WILL return from the dark side (hopefully sooner rather than when it’s too late),

    thanks Syd

    • Hi. Thanks Syd. I grow weary of those who have undergone a revelation and only await, like a superior being, for me to catch up. The trouble with this is that I spent 20 years on the dark sign and know the organised bias doesn’t exist. Endlessly haranguing won’t get me to change the facts. I find it a worrying aspect that only those who agree with this argument can be accepted. One day someone will explain how I spent all those years working on every news programme they broadcast and yet missed out on the conspiracy. What I think isn’t the point, though. What the Scots think is the point. I fear this hysteria and brow-beating is a serious deterrent to sensible Scots moving to Yes. Derek

      • “One day someone will explain how I spent all those years working on every news programme they broadcast and yet missed out on the conspiracy. ”

        In those (far off) days, Derek, most of Scotland was, politically speaking, asleep. Labour politicians were in full charge of the country and their placemen and women in charge of BBC Scotland. It was simpler times. Scotland was neatly in its box and, actually, there was little need for the BBC to resort to any of the tactics that we have seen it adopt in more recent times (after we awoke and came out the box). That, Derek, is why you spent all those years and saw no consipiracy because there was no need then for the BBC to adopt any of the tactics it now stands accused of.

        You know, Derek–stuff like this:

        Do not tell me, Dreke, that what you see in the above BBC clip was not deliberate manipulation of news. I just won’t believe you.

        • PC: Yes, that is one of the damning clips of the BBC deliberately manipulating the truth. This was NO accident, someone had to prepare that clip in the way it was presented and they did so specifically to denigrate the SNP, and in particular to undermine John Swinney and Alex Salmond.

          Derek may be right that there is no “grand conspiracy” but a few people have and still do manipulate how ‘facts’ are broadcast; they interview SNP representatives totally differently to others; they select and misrepresent statistics to paint the SG in a bad light; they create unbalanced panels which are pro-Union; they broadcast unionist party press releases unquestioningly; they NEVER admit to mistakes even after they are debunked.

          In an iScotland I don’t want the BBC or even an SBC if these same few people have any influence whatsoever.

      • Is it “sensible” for Scots to sit back and take all the bbc bias without trying to do something about it? Not only that, we have to accept we have to pay for the bias?!

        “What the Scots think is the point.” Now that, Derek, is sensible.

        • I agree with all the comments about bias, but I don’t think there is a conspiracy. There doesn’t need to be. It’s what’s called “group think”. You know what’s expected, what’s allowed, what’s disallowed, who to allow on, who not etc etc. You get absorbed into the corporate ethos.

          • Group think does not deliberately edit news reports like the one on Alex Salmond supposedly “mocking” John Swinney. Group think does not deliberately edit images to make them look more pro Union. Group think does not deliberately edit parts of what someone is saying to make it look like they are saying something else. Group think does not go ahead with news reports that are known to be lies.

            Only conspiracy does this.

      • Derek, could you explain this:

        It looks pretty much like a personal opinion to me, unless it was summarising opposition views.

      • Here’s the problem Derek – people don’t give a shit if the bias is the result of a grand unionist conspiracy, or a handful of people in key positions manipulating output while most are blameless, or mere unconscious groupthink, or some combination of all of them. What they care about is that *it exists*, that they’re being asked to pay for it, and that even the most generous explanation for it has required passive acquiesance from the vast majority of people working there.

        You don’t get to claim that an institution is some great public good, that it exists to serve the public, and then allow those who work there to weasel out of any responsibility for its failures with claims they were unknowing(which is a nonsense, when they cannot fail to have noticed all the criticism levelled at the organisation during & after the indyref) or in fear of their jobs(if the BBC truly is some great public good then surely those working there have a duty to speak out even if it does cost them personally). Has there been one whistleblower? One protest resignation? No, sneering, arrogant refusal to admit fault is all we’ve had. And now sneering condemnation of anyone who refuses to continue to support the BBC or give them the benefit of the doubt.

        And that’s before we even consider how regressive the TV license itself is, being essentially a flat-tax without regard for income or most circumstances(you think it’s right that someone who’s disabled & unemployed has to pay the same amount as a landowner living in a mansion?), or indeed the grotesque way in which the BBC pursues supposed-“evaders”(and don’t give me any pish about that all being the fault of the company contracted to do the collections, the BBC chose them and continue to choose them despite their borderline-extortion racket being well known).

        As long as the public service broadcaster in Scotland is essentially the BBC, whatever it’s called, I won’t be watching or paying for it, and if you are then frankly you give up any right to complain about its output.

  18. “…Jackie bird won’t be getting her jotters.(sic)”
    That is the nub of the problem. The notion of objective reporting, and BBC staff working for the public, not their own views, has gone out of the window long ago. We expect that SKY et al will reflect, or at least not contradict, the views of their owners, and we had expected better from the BBC.
    I doubt that there is anyone in the BBC, Scotland or England, that subscribes to fairness, objectivity, research, and thorough investigation. Anything that conflicts with political correctness and the perceived policies and attitudes of the politicians, guardianistas, academics, and big business will be trashed or omitted. The last few months have seen the BBC relentlessy trashing Brexit, disparaging those who voted to leave and attributing the normal ups and downs of business and life to the evils of Brexit. They never mention that they are in receipt of monies from the EU.

  19. Well you cant fault a trier and by god you have been trying Derek haven’t you .

    As that well worn tale goes ,

    Your story has touched my heart ,
    never have i been so touched by a tale such as yours , etc etc.

    The clever ones amongst you esteemed readership know the ending of this well known little ditty .
    And like the previous post the Audience aint buying it , close but NO Cigar .

  20. Derek, the first law of broadcasting, in any form, is that what counts, is not what the speaker says, but what his audience hears.

    What you are saying is, effectively, another defence of the bankers.

  21. Says the man who spent most of his working life at the BBC.

    Equally disgusted that Peter Bell should try promote this entity. The man who tells day after day to trust the evidence of our own senses

  22. I always enjoy the quality of your writing, and your reasoned arguments – even if on this subject I disagree with you.

    The evidence gathering by Mr Ponsonby and Prf Robertson is comprehensive. Up until their work all journalism could hide behind a batch of pro forma excuses.

    How much evidence do you need? I can think of a dozen blatant examples off the bat….aghhhh. But on this blog your readers can think of them too and plenty more besides.

    I’m happy for you that years ago, when you worked for the Beeb, you did not experience institutional bias, but lets be realistic, there wasn’t any sight of an Indy Ref then, was there? Think they’d employ you or your ilk today? Good luck with that, cause I don’t seem to see you getting called up as an expert on any of their shows, not like Mcternan or even Edwina Curry for heavens sake, to talk about the Scottish NHS.

    And here’s the thing, I loved the Beeb, was always politically aware, always against the likes of Murdoch. Defended it in debates with Americans.

    There was a contract and I paid it gladly and would have defended it to the last. Now its broken, and it wasn’t me or mine who ripped it to pieces and pissed all over it.

    And I am furious. In this light, billboards are the epitome of civil protest.

    You often defend the BBC with the tired old excuse of they didn’t mean it, its a new team, its a bedding in period etc, etc. Well I have over 20 years service in a male dominated workplace and like any female there could write a book about discrimination, so trust me when I say that the first line of defence when challenged on it is the ‘daft laddy’ defence of, oh we didn’t know, we didn’t mean it, its a new team, a bedding in period….

    The Beeb could publish the figures for how many people in Scotland have stopped paying the fee in the last 2 or 3 years. It is substantial. Any boss, in any other industry, loosing custom like that would be out on their ear.

    It is not accidental, it is not incompetence, it is not inexperience, it is not a bedding in period, it is not cut backs, it is clear and deliberate policy from the weather map up. And given its size and status, it has to be called out on it.

  23. I suspect that this item has been prompted by the release of the ‘London Calling’ Online Documentary.
    I’m sure that you have your reasons, Derek, for assuming that any future Administration Up Here would merely work in partnership with the current BBC Organisation, because of their world leading quality programming, which it is argued, no sane Scottish Government would attempt to replace with our own too wee too poor too stupid Independent licence funded National Broadcaster. Better Boadcasting Together in other words.
    I happened to be at my niece’s wedding in Dublin the week-end after Nicola Sturgeon’s tour de force in Ireland the week before.
    RTE week-end politics programmes had extended coverage of her visit and Q&A at Trinity College, and repeated in full her speech and Q&A to the Upper House of the Irish Parliament.
    The cross party consensus of the Senators was of ‘when’ Scotland achieves independence, no longer ‘if’. BBC if I recall devoted a couple of minutes to the FM’s highly successful and productive visit to the Republic. I wonder why?
    The RTE programmes also covered Brexit, Ireland’s reaction to May’s Hard Brexit, the very real danger to the Good Friday Agreement if hard borders were reintroduced between the North and the South, and the impact that, in their eyes, Scottish Independence, or a Greenland style EU deal for Scotland would have on Ireland’s position vis a vis the CTA and Free Trade with ENGLAND.
    I cannot agree that Pacific Quay is not a London media stockade, Derek. We had to search social media to get the full report of NS highly successful visit.
    It is seductive to argue that because of the World Service, the supreme Wild Life programmes, and foreign correspondents risking life and limb in far flung trouble spots, that we forgive the Beeb for Strictly, the Great British Hegemony, the Saddam like fervour with which they gushingly promote the Royal Family and constantly glorify the bellicose side of our Armed Forces, and of course the sinister right wing farce that is QT is truly unforgivable now.
    Scotland Independent will have its own licenced funded broadcaster.
    It will not look Southward for approval from the London Elite.
    The fate of Jackie Bird and Gordon Brewer worries me not.
    PQ may have been conspiracy free in your days. Aye, right.
    We’ll buy BBC content just like Ireland, Canada, Australia, NZ, and even France, do.
    You’ll be telling me next that Catholics weren’t excluded from the world of Scottish journalism until the ’80’s.
    I rarely watch BBC nowadays, Derek. I find it more and more ominous that I would be charged with a criminal offence if I failed to pay their propaganda tax.

    Humbly, I have the communications skills to compose a much more measured and evidence based rebuttal of the notion that there is no bias at the BBC, and that they are to big to ditch after independence, but, frankly, I don’t give a damn any more.
    How many viewers still tune in to the farce that is ‘Scotland 2016’?
    I rest my tired old case.

  24. I think it is right to reasonably and politely highlight that the BBC is the British State Broadcaster (and as such do ‘have a dog in this fight’). One of the strengths of the BBC for the unionist cause is the hard won reputation for impartially gained over many years (whether deserved or not). The unionists have damaged their prized weapon with their behaviour during IndyRef1 -and underlined it with the change to the BBC charter. The BBC reputation is broken in Scotland.


    I think Derek is right to point out the dangers of falling into the trap of seeming to be irrational or vindictive towards the BBC. They are destroying themselves. I think the billboard posters are borderline, many NO voters still have an attachment to the BBC and need to be gently eased away from uncritical acceptance of BBC as truth.

    SHOUTING will not help. I find it challenging enough to keep the conversation from overheating when I merely point out that the BBC is the state broadcaster.

    Cool but firm

    Get Independence then negotiate buy what we want and leave what we don’t. I’m sure the Irish can give us a few pointers and the BBC will not be in such a rush to insult customers who are no longer tied.



    Years of bullshit , propaganda and lies and there are still some out there who would give this company another chance. NEVER .

    Jackie Bird and Kaye with E are liars who’s contempt for independcence , snp and most of us Scots is shown every single day .They are the ones who peddled the fear aimed at our pensioners during our referendum

    That referendum was the most important political choice we would ever have , it’s importance somehow overlooked because we lost . The BBBC lied and cheated for years and still does to the people of Scotland and they should never be forgotten .

    Now , no doubt, you think i am one of the looney anti BBBC seperatists who you mention above who would love to see the whole shebang destroyed and a new SBC with NEW presenters and journalists and you would be right .

    I will never forget or forgive what that bastaredised company did to spin and lie to my fellow Scots during the REF. Nor will they ever get a penny from me .

    They are the reason we lost the REF or do u forget the hours they gave the cluncking fist to frighten and promise powers we would never get amongst the feckin thousands of lies and misdirections they churned out on a dfaily business .

    Ive followed your blog for 3 years maybe longer and always admired your points but this one . One you continually go back to is undefendable . The BBBC are the establishments tool and after we finally get Indi i for one will be shouting at the top of my voice for that disgusting company to be shown the door and never have a chance to spill its poisen on our tv’s again .

    This is a bad article Derek . The BBBC are hated and your blind to it ..

    please stop giving them excuses , FFS

    You are the lone voice here …… maybe you should ask yourself if maybe your vision is clouded some what . I dont know but your constant sticking up for them makes it hard for everyone of us to take you seriously on BBBC matters.

    Jesus wept Derek . What a pityfull pile of dross this is . Time you got out more


  26. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen etc. The BBC promotes war, and is utterly silent on the British state’s involvement with the bloodthirsty Saudi regime. IMO the BBC are complicit in war crimes.

  27. I simply decided to walk away from the BBC. Paying good money to be lied to seems daft to me.
    And I reviewed the output, rubbish I concluded. Still do review the schedule occasionally :-

    Great British Baking – nope.
    Silly costume dramas of a fantasy world – nope.
    Sports coverage of English football, rugby broadcast on BBC Scotland whilst Scotland are playing, and yet not televised. – nope.
    Question Time – nope.
    Strictly Dancing – contrived nonsense, Ed Balls! Tanky Davidson next? – nope.
    Andra (faux aggression) Neil – nope.
    Andrew Marr – nope.
    Nicholas Witchy or whatever he’s called, a career following the royal family – nope.

    I spent some 5 years in France, listened to BBC World Service. In that time every program, topical and drama, was based upon England. Except once when the setting was Wales – an English couple were intending to settle in Wales. A drunken Scot featured once in a drama. The Northern Irish never ever were mentioned.

    No philosophical angst about Aunty BBC from me, the BBC promotes England worldwide, and BBC Scotland are rubbish.

    Life’s clock is ticking, better things to occupy my time. I can source reasoned diverse data and opinions via the internet.

  28. When you worked there Derek the BBC famously made great documentaries, great drama, great current affairs, it was brilliant at covering great sporting events and was much loved by all.

    Now it makes Great British this, that and the other crap to be honest. It is no longer worthy of a fee.

    Where have the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand national gone? What about Formula 1 or the World Rally Championships? Just exactly when did we last see a Scotland International Football match live on the BBC that wasn’t against England?

    What about Sportscene highlights being shown on a Sunday instead of it’s rightful place Saturday night?

    I’ll tell you why with regard to Sportscene. it’s because “Match of the Day” is on and WE have to watch that programme instead. It is “National Broadcasting” you see.

    This I can’t understand, the Scottish football has already been recorded, the programme made yet we are offered Match of the Day on Saturday night instead of Sportscene. Shameful to Scots license payers.

    All of the above is just a grump about the BBC’s disdain for the Scottish viewer, what about only 55% of the fee being raised in Scotland being spent on programming in Scotland?

    What about it’s current affairs and news programmes being no more than a mouthpiece for the most right wing government the UK has had since Thatcher and ignoring the diplomacy of the First Minister and former First Ministers visits around the EU trying to garner support.

    Most of all what about the lies and propaganda that no one can fail to miss even with their eyes shut?

    What about…eh!

  29. Sorry Derek, but na no for me. Its gone beyond now and any party that stood on an election pledge post Indy to scrap the fee would get my vote. If it was a commercial outfit it would be withering on a vine now. Its behaviour since the coalition has been shocking, needs totally tore up and rebuilt.

  30. I don’t think you are entirely getting this, Derek. I don’t pay the BBC tax because I won’t fund an organisation that is working flat-out, consciously or not, to prevent my country becoming independent. I don’t tell many people this because in general they don’t understand and don’t realise what’s going on. It only makes you appear weird, so I keep it to myself and just pretend I was doing something else the night the big talking-point show was on. Occasionally I pretend to have watched something.

    However, after independence the BBC will no longer be working to prevent independence. It will be too late. Whoopee. I expect I’ll start paying the licence fee again, even though I may not watch a great deal, having got out of the habit of it.

    • I am afraid that you are wrong. The BBC is working flat out to wreck Brexit, and the truth has been demolished in the enthusiasm to blame literally everything on Brexit.
      After independence the BBC will be working flat out to overturn it. A call for an audit of voting? Check. A call for yet another referendum? Check. Blame every bad thing on independence? Check. Demand a debate and vote on every decision post-independence? Check.
      Be sure that there are many voices and many powerful folk in this country who would sooner see Scotland go down the plughole than be independent and successful. The BBC will not merely give them a voice, but a megaphone.

  31. Boys from the Blackstuff

    “a warm, humorous but ultimately tragic look at the way economics affect ordinary people… TV’s most complete dramatic response to the Thatcher era and as a lament to the end of a male, working class British culture”

    Does anyone believe that the BBC will produce a 2016/17 Theresa May equivalent?

    Not me for one, I do not look at the past through rose tinted specs.

  32. Derek,
    I believe that the SNP document you quote from probably reflected my own views – at the time. However, in retrospect, its stance was trusting and naive and written in a manner designed not to scare the horses. I do not think it reflects my current view nor that of the current SNP membership. While I believe it is essential for an independent Scotland to have a public broadcasting presence, continued association with the BBC would be a backward step and be prejudicial from the outset. Any of the Quality BBC programmes – and they undoubtedly exist – could be bought in as they are in Eire (see Jack Collatin above).

    However, I do not go along with the whole scale condemnation of PQ staff some commenters occasionally voice. However, I believe that some of these stem from an imperfect knowledge of the structures and roles of the various personnel involved in the news an current affairs output of BBC Scotland. Perhaps this is something you could throw light on in view of your long experience with the organisation.

    For example, a few weeks ago, I had the misfortune to listen to Friday lunchtime BBC Scotland “investigation” into Police Scotland completely uncontextualised “catalogue of errors” piece. The phrase was repeated continually in all broadcasts. The phrase “near misses” was also repeated constantly, but the programme failed completely to explain what a “near miss” actually was in this context, nor was there any evaluation of real or potential consequences of the incidents recorded. The phrase “near miss” is most often used in aviation where collision of two planes would have dramatic catastrophic consequences so I suppose this is what the vocabulary was intended to conjure up.

    The selection of a piece for “investigation”, its pursuit and the slant of the final presentation of the piece do not happen by accident. When you get such insistent and repeated politically slanted reportage as this it is often tempting to blame those reporting it, since they are the visible face of the organisation. Most of us are aware that there is a whole team of people involved in this process. However, we are perhaps unaware of the detailed interactions of such a team.

    I think it would certainly help my understanding, and perhaps be illuminating for others, if someone with the knowledge could provide an informative piece on the structures, personnel and processes involved in the production of a “news” piece like the above.

    For example, who is involved in the decision to investigate a particular topic? The head of news? The “journalists”? An editorial team – and if so, who are they? Who researches the topic, researchers or journalists, or are they the same thing.? Who decides on whether and when an item is covered in the output? Who decides what is excluded from coverage? How far are the individual journalists, presenters, involved in how the topic is presented? Who writes/edits the web pages? Who decides on the personnel to be interviewed, or excluded?

    Perhaps this is a tall ask, but an informative guide to the precise internal workings of PQ might help us to understand exactly who it is pulling the strings and manipulating the stories we are fed. And it might go some way to explain the defence you mount on behalf of erstwhile colleagues and present staff.

  33. If anyone seriously believes the bbc is not biased about Scottish politics they should hear Sarah Smith’s comment at the end of her wee whine on Thurs. Radio4 6pm news.

  34. Sorry Derek and I do understand you have some residual loyalty to the BBC but it is British Nationalism writ large. A recenty trip to the Far East confirmed what I have believed for some time – the BBC, like the UK, has become a lauging stock!

  35. Impartial as ever Sarah Smith , either expressing her own opinion or the stance of the BBC in Scotland regarding the finance bill , its hard to differentiate between opinion and fact now , i know what i will trust and it aint Smiths wee lassie . or now Brian Taylor all singing from the same shit sheet .

  36. Derek, during the last few months before Indy Ref 1 when you were part of the Saturday morning BBC Scotland programme we had a fair presentation of both views. I looked forward to that slice of honesty. But when you left, the programme fell apart. I gave up listening when the last man standing (Ken MacDonald )was sent to Canada.

  37. Derek
    Posted a comment at 6.55. Blog says still waiting moderation. Is there a problem?

  38. Why are you so eager to lambast those Scots who have made informed choices regarding their decision to avoid viewing the very biased news output from the BBC?

    If we want to refuse to pay the license fee due to the skewed on a daily basis politically biased drivel that labours under the heading of ‘Reporting Scotland’ it’s our right to do so…furthermore if we want to campaign and inform the wider community of this travesty taking place with clear and unassailable evidence at our disposal in the form of London Calling and a billboard campaign then that does not discredit the Independence movement as you clearly believe Derek.

    This is all getting a bit ‘groundhog day’ Derek? So you’ve got a bad dose of the cringe, no need tae explain, it’s as clear as the SNP bad emanating from the non-institutionalised bias brigade at Pacific Quay. They don’t ‘realise’ what ‘their problem’ is either…just like yersel’ they too think the ‘people’ are the problem.

  39. It seems strange for a man who supports independence, to also support the main agency involved in denying it to us. Conflicting views are not uncommon, but this position seems at least counterproductive and could even be dangerous.

  40. Derek, I am not a ‘superior being waiting for you to catch up.’
    I have just caught up with FMQ and the Draft Budget on I Player.
    Brian Taylor and Severin from the Guardian and Lindsay from the Times, regulars on BBC PQ waffled about Scots questioning ‘free’ things like tuition fees, no bridge tolls and prescriptions because the May SGE seemed to indicate that Scottish voters were leaning towards the right?
    This is the arrant Unionist nonsense that trips from the tongues of Unionist hacks diurnally and without challenge by Taylor or Brewer.
    Speaking of… ‘Offensive’ Brewer’s Budget programme was an exercise in dumbing down.
    He was puzzled as to where the ‘extra’ money was coming from, or which other areas of public spending would be cut to meet the SNP commitments to Education, joined up care for the elderly on leaving hospital, and so on.
    I give up on this lot of either very cynical Unionist agitators, or, more alarming, not very clued up political and economic commentators.
    Fraser’s, Dugdale#s. Harvie’s, and Rennie’s responses to the Draft Statement were quite frankly beyond belief, yet avoided feedback from Brewer and his assembled guest.
    We are trying to keep up with you, Derek, sincerely.
    But on the issue of BBC Scotland and no conspiracy, I feel that you are simply wrong.
    I ask, how many copies of the Guardian and the Times are sold in Scotland?

  41. John pilger
    Edward said
    Robert disk

    Need I say more…
    Thanks BBC

  42. Id say Derek is well aware of the problems with the BBC , the difference comes in his opinion of if it is a terminal problem or not. Derek thinks there is hope for the organisation post independence , he may be right but i dont agree.
    The first problem as always is those in favour of the BBC like to lump it all together , news , nature programmes , drama , comedy , antiques shows , sport etc. etc.

    Lets take Sport for an example , Scottish Football is treated appallingly by the BBC , the mindset in Pacific Quay is clearly that Scottish football is just sh*te , and our national sport is treated accordingly whilst they provide a very glamorous saturday night platform for English football and as even as we can currently see American Football !
    Id be very interested to see how much the BBC is paying for the rights to broadcast American Football , but i suspect the figure may embarrass the Sports people in BBC Scotland.

    As for the other outputs nobody doubts the credentials of the BBC organisation to produce good telly , What raises a few eyebrows is the fact they still have a nasty habit of wanting a rather large percentage of their programming to be produced in London by people with rather posh accents. Little or no cultural or historic sensibilities are catered to by this organisation in reflecting the varied nature of the UK or our diverse histories. The BBC histories of Britain are usually histories of England with a 5 minute nod to the Scots , Welsh or Irish.

    But News is where the real debate is ,
    Control of the News agenda is the main bugbear to many of us in the Scottish Independence movement ; the BBC’s lies , smears and bias during the referendum campaign have only opened our eyes to the fact that the BBC use the exact same tactics on an almost daily basis when reporting UK politics and World News.
    What has become clear since then is that It is all biased , it is all filtered , it is all produced to conform to a certain middle class , middle England view of the world (and view of the UK) .
    It is still predominantly based on the idea that Britain is still a great world power and the BBC is the arm of that great power holding out a torch of truth to the rest of an ignorant world.
    This extremely self satisfied Organisation with its blind faith in the superiority of the London metropolitan view of the world may convince those who buy into that “Britain is best” mindset but to many of us such delusions of grandeur are just pathetic post imperial posturing.
    BBC News are no champions of free speech , they are a national propaganda organisation pumping out a tired and tattered national political agenda that should have been binned after Suez.
    I seriously hope when we do get independence that any newly formed SBC will run a million miles from such an old fashioned elitist model and seek to become a true national broadcaster , looking out to the world not , down on the world.

    • Entirely agree with you, Brian.

    • Look, quite a number of clever professors from England come up here to make programmes to tell us about Stone Age axes and stuff. North Britain is alive with prehistoric ruins and if these folk from Oxford did not tell us about them we would all just take them for granted, wouldn’t we?

  43. BBC Persia , that says it all really !

  44. Derek – I think you really need to stop writing about the BBC. You are wasting your talents, banging on endlessly about them and it is tediously boring. Nostalgia is getting the better of you …. they are not as clean as you think and nowhere near as important.

    • “Nowhere near as important”. While I agree their influence is diminishing, they, the B.B.C, still remain a huge obstacle to us gaining our independence. As we see from todays headlines in the M.S.M, the corporation’s staunch allies in their continuing propaganda war to deny us our rightful place as an independent nation, we have a tough fight on our hands. And just wait until the date of Indyref2 is announced. If we think it’s bad just now, just wait.
      My only hope is that the lies that they will tell in trying to thwart us, will become so preposterous, that even amongst former No voters, the penny will finally drop that it’s another attempt to con us out of our nationhood.

  45. Writer laments bygone era. Invests emotional capital in the hope that things will sort of go back to the way they were. Puts lots of trust in document used in unsuccessful independence campaign. And has another go at the hysterical ‘mob’ who continue to be source of embarrassment. Unfair? Perhaps.

    It may well be the case that the SNP will pander to the sensibilities of those middle class Scots currently content to remain in a state of ignorance about the state broadcaster. I can almost imagine it now. SNP politicians reassuring the ‘sensible’ that “Independence will mitigate the financial fallout from Brexit and you can still have the BBC – except it will be called the SBS”. What a vision.

    Some of us want independence, but not if this is the best that’s on offer. Narrow nationalism and an appreciating Scottish pound are of limited appeal. And if we really want a state broadcaster which supports the establishment, justifies war mongering abroad and extinguishes the voice of the vulnerable at home, then we don’t need any future SBS. We’ve got the BBC, the masters of the genre. Why would we settle for second best? We may as well stick with the UK.

    But, hey Derek, if enough of your cautious, comfortable, middle class voters can be persuaded that independence won’t disadvantage them financially, then it won’t matter what the rest of us think about having to live in an independent Scotland which is just Little Britain. That’s democracy after all.

    I feel uncomfortable at having written some of the above, since I admire your integrity, value your political insights and appreciate the quality of your writing. But some things are just too important to let pass. The BBC is a pervasive and malign influence on both UK and Scottish societies.

  46. There’s no conspiracy, as I said above, no need for one, as another said “all singing from the same shite sheet”. So where is THEIR evidence for impartiality, where is their (commissioned) independent academic analysis of their output showing incontrovertible proof? Where are their clear statements of principles against which their performance can be measured and they can be held to account? Nowhere. It’s all wishy-washy and wide open to interpretation and they refuse to account for their output.

    As another recent book explains, the BBC has been the establishments’ and governments’ mouthpiece ever since its inception. They will only change if we, the people, make them.

    • Did you read London Calling or watch the documentary? Don’t you think that is proof enough?

      You seem to be implying that all of the people who have disagreed with Derek are incapable of seeing what is going on for themselves. Please bear in mind that the vast majority of them, like me, are big fans of Derek’s writing. The fact that so many of us have disagreed with him on this one surely tells its own story.

      • Bryan, perhaps, I didn’t make myself clear. I have read GAP’s book when it first came out and donated to the DVD and find his evidence for BBC partiality entirely convincing, plus I have the evidence of my own ears. What I mean is, there is no organised conspiracy – no cabal of plotters meeting every day to frame the SNP BAD “news”. It’s the group think, the “ethos”, “this is the way we present these stories”, these are the “experts” we invite on to “comment” and we don’t ask “certain others” to comment, we reflect the UK Gov viewpoint – that’s the way we do things – and if you don’t fit in you won’t go far. It’s also peer pressure.

        Maybe there are occasionally some instructions from on high – e.g. file a FOI request on NHS errors etc. But I don’t believe in conspiracies.

        I too have enjoyed Derek’s work and found his Saturday morning slot indispensable, but yes, he’s wrong on this.

        • “Group think” or “ethos” cannot, of itself, deliberately manipulate a video to present a distorted narrative. Such an act must be conciously planned, calculated and executed at several different levels.

          Why haven’t we seen Brian Taylor screaming rom the rafters about how his report was deliberately distorted to portray something that simply DID NOT HAPPEN? Where was he? Why was there NO ONE from the BBC screaming about this blatant assault on truth broadcast to the people of Scotland?

          Where were ANY of them?

  47. Derek,

    Plenty of posts above to demonstrate dissent with your view, so I won’t add too much here. The BBC are not responsible for the entire No vote. However, the lies they promulgated to pensioners and the 200k EU nationals were enough to make the difference. They denied us our independence, worked to undermine democracy and that makes them lower than a snakes belly in my book.

    What I don’t think anyone’s picked up on though is that the ‘unconscious/cultural bias’ thesis is not an excuse. With the power and responsibility (not to mention the quantity of our cash funding them) that the BBC has, they are not permitted to fall into that condition. They should have enough self-awareness, self-review and self-analysis to ensure that they don’t. They should have independent review, fresh personnel and business processes to stop any unconscious bias creeping in. They should respond and react to complaints, criticism and public opinion. That they do none of these things suggests that they are happy with the status quo and that what they do is more deliberate than you believe (and maybe was the case in the past).

    Yes, a SBS, or whatever its called, could collaborate and co-commission programmes, as many other national broadcasters already do, and buy in some of the quality programmes the BBC produce. But it must be totally editorially independent and the BBC, including ex-BBC Scotland personnel, must be kept well away from and SBS news and current affairs – they have demonstrated they are not worthy of that trust.

  48. My comment at 6.55 yesterday still awaiting moderation. WTF???

  49. As others above have said, even if you remove Scottish independence from the equation and look at BBC Scotland from a neutral viewpoint, it’s clear from the spending figures, programs made, and treatment of staff, that Scotland is being poorly served by the TV licence money and the BBC’s attitude towards Scotland in general.

    Even before the referendum campaign rolled into town, trying to get the BBC to commit to a Scottish Six was equivalent to extracting wisdom teeth. Now that STV are forcing their hand, we may get some belated effort, but I’ll bet my last penny that from day 1, the BBC will work to undermine its own program.

    That alone is grounds in my book for condemnation. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

  50. I think some people underestimate the part that the BBC plays in all of this. Let’s say that that they wanted Scotland to be independent. Let’s hypothesise that they had been pro YES to the same extent that they have been pro NO. Does anyone seriously think that we would have failed with them on our side?

    • Would have been a shoe in. They disseminated without due diligence every single lie that was spouted from Better Together. They were the platform for Brown’s ‘new’ intervention every time he had one. Jackie Bird ‘let’s call it ‘Devo Max’ shall we’ in her cosy ‘chat’ wi Darling, it sure as hell wasn’t a ‘professional’ iinterview from the partial Bird.

      If the BBC had remained even slightly ‘impartial’ we’d have skooshed it, without a doubt.

      • Absolutely no doubt there. BBC it says it all, the word British comes first and always will. This is THE British state broadcaster, it’s main job is to protect & promote the union and the establishment that run it. To seek independence but champion it’s main adversary seems strange to everyone reading this article Derek. I normally agree fully with most of your articles but even rose tinted spectacles don’t work this time.

    • Exactly Bryan !! Think of the Devolution Ref result ! Backed by the BBC, 70 odd % Yes !

  51. Derek it is quite simple.The reasons behind it all don’t really count. These are highly paid supposedly intelligent people who know they should be unbiased, and if they lack the self awareness or objectivity to ensure that then tough.
    BBC Scotland burned their integrity to fuel their anti indyref rhetoric. They don’t get it back by emerging with a shiny new badge.
    They took me for a fool with their truth twisting. I take that as a personal insult. The people who participated in that won’t get my respect ever.

  52. Looking forward to examples of BBC information we can trust.

  53. I rather doubt whether further debate on the question of bias is going to take us anywhere useful, Derek. Views on that appear to have become fairly entrenched. I would, however, be very interested in your thoughts on what Donalda Mackinnon can do to move BBC Scotland to a better place. Her appointment is certainly an opportunity to improve things.

  54. Sorry Derek, you are simply wrong on this. The BBC is the toady apologist for the vile pond life spawned in the Westminster cesspool. It is hopelessly biased and terminally corrupt. If we need an SBC at all post independence then it will need to be a completely fresh start from the ground up.

    Almost 3 years on from not paying the propaganda tax I don’t miss anything at all of BBC’s output. Netflix is so much cheaper (£7 odd per month) to while away idle hours and umpteen sources of news, comment, and opinion are just a keystroke or two away via google search.

  55. Derek it was your own blog that first brought BBC bias to my attention when you championed Prof Robertson’s analysis of the bias and spoke out against how the BBC ignored it. I have found what has been proven daily since has been truly appalling in a so called free democratic country, as the BBC would have us believe.

    I too have stopped the TV license. I do not withhold the money for political reasons. I do not watch BBC or the iplayer, even when it was still free. I can no longer stand to watch this outright biased propaganda or allow it to invade my home. The news is totally unreliable not only on Independence issues but right across the spectrum it seems. But there are always presenters on hand to tell you what to think in case you ‘make a mistake’.

    I feel so much better having removed this malign influence from my sphere and I will not be rushing back to it reformed as SBC in an independent country. I do not miss it at all and as others have said other sources are available. Like others I enjoy your blogs still, but on this subject I do not think you understand that it has gone way too far now. Those of us who have left as viewers / listeners will not be rushing back. The trust has all gone and is utterly destroyed. It is not only depressing but pointless as you cannot believe anything they say or show you. A name change is not going to make it acceptable.

    • Dear Ealasaid…I was at the Govan screening of ‘London Calling’ and during the QFA which followed…the question as to whether the BBC is ‘reformable’ (in a Scottish context) was raised.Personally,I don’t believe that it is.

  56. On the contrary Derek, what people have that they didn’t have 20 or 30 years ago is CHOICE.
    I don’t lookmto the BBC for news or entertainment. If the Scottish govt of the day try to ouch that on us thy will get short shift.
    Times have changed.

  57. Sorry predictive text! Argghh

  58. This is my third attempt at a comment now Derek. I use plain language with no swearing so i see no reason to censor me. Your baffling support for the most powerful barrier to our independence (the bbc) makes no sense to most of us here as it is clearly daft to champion two opposing sides in any contest (unless of course you are an arms dealer). I usually enjoy reading your articles but that ends here and now. Censorship equates to a lack of respect for other peoples views and is ultimately destructive to all sides. Are you part of the problem, or the solution?

  59. Derek, you’ve the same right to respect for your opinion that your readers have for theirs.

    “World’s biggest broadcaster”, mind you, is almost as funny as “BBC Persia”. Have you tried that line on any Americans? Are you using a weegee board to channel Boris Johnson?

    The best English-language dramas – and I say this with clear memories of the laugh-track 70’s, when ‘American show’ mostly led to ‘switch channels’ – are made in the US now. I’m waiting for the next “House of Cards”. “The Good Wife” was on the soapy side at times, but I found it good entertainment. “Mad Men” was excellent. The BBC? Is there anything you’d recommend from the last few years? What do you think is head and shoulders above the best of US TV?

    Either way, if you’ve time to read one more opinion – “the BBC makes good drama and culture programmes” sounds to me these days like “Pol Pot had a great line in knock-knock jokes”. Once you turn a critical eye on the idea of Britain, it’s historical record and its actions in recent times, particularly over Iraq and in unleashing such rampant inequality, you just get sicker and sicker of the BBC’s relentless tub-thumping, bombastic national chauvinism. There are times in the (increasingly distant) past when I could see a way to some hesitating pride in what it is to be British. No more, and I find the BBC’s undimmed blind pomposity an embarrassment.

    The world of scheduled broadcasting on limited airwave frequencies is in its twilight. TV, in better-connected countries at any rate, has already started migrating to the net – where there are no national borders. National broadcasters – any broadcasters – are entering a global marketplace where they live or die by audience share. The BBC would stop delivering to Scotland? Really? The idea was nonsense in 2014, and gets more nonsensical by the month.

    It’s a given these days, that the TV news follows the agenda set by the printed press. But that’s now a press exclusively controlled by the oligarchs. If the BBC follows that agenda, is it still a legitimate public broadcaster? Where is the stone this approach is carved into?

    We all know that a democracy doesn’t function without an effective justice system – OK, we’ve got that – or an effective press. We’ve had regular European elections over the years, but what has been the turnout? How well has the press – and the BBC – covered the elections, and informed the public about European issues and European politics?

    The BBC is no benign influence. It failed on Europe. It fails to accept the views of 45% of Scots. It rejects the decision of Scots to choose almost every one of its MP’s from its own party.

    The breadth and depth of TV programming created in the UK depends on a breadth and depth of creative talent that will continue to exist, however UK production and broadcasting is organised. Sharing a language with the world’s most lucrative broadcasting market is an advantage that we share with Australia and Canada, not something that the BBC deigns to grant us.

    Do you talk with influential SNP people? I would be very interested to read what you hear about evolving policy on broadcasting. I fully understood the ideas in “Scotland’s Future” about the BBC, at the time it was current. Post the Corporation’s performance during the referendum? I don’t think so. The better ‘No’ voters can see the dark side of Britain, and of the BBC, the sooner we’ll have our country back.

  60. Considering the ousting of pretty much all Independence supporters from PQ such as yourself, Lesley Riddoch and others how is the transformation at the BBC to proceed without some sort of personnel change even if that was the hiring back of such persons at increased cost. Though I suppose an increase in local content might provide the space for that, how will that work with the current management?

    I suppose the space between a Yes vote and Independence Day might give BBC Scotland a space to adapt to the new reality but the evidence of their failure to adapt to the SNP since 2007, nearly a decade ago now suggests otherwise. Add in their failure to adapt to the reality of 45% of Scotland voting Yes and I think they will be like the Hootsmon after Devolution under the Barclays when they would insert apropos of nothing little paragraphs inimical to Holyrood at the end of every fucking article.

    They will instead have yesterday’s unionists on constantly criticising everything under the sun. See their failure to adapt to the radical decline in the FibDem’s and still treating them like they matter while ignoring the now more numerous Greens.

    Look at any politics story on their news pages, after what the SNP are proposing all 3 unionist parties get quoted, Patrick Harvie is nowhere to be seen or heard.

    It is now December, they have had since May to adapt to the new political reality where the Greens have more MSPs than the FibDems yet they have not done so.

    It is all of a piece with their failure to report what the vast majority of our MPs in Westminster are doing where they are the third largest party with the right to ask questions at PMQs. Yet how often are these things on the BBC? I get what I know from The National, otherwise I might think they are utterly inactive.

    We are asking the people who have failed to adapt to these things to somehow adapt to the reality of Independence such that they mange to report the reality of it to us.

    Without significant changes, at managerial level at least, people who can bang heads together and say ‘why are we doing this this way?’ or ‘why are we not reporting this?’ this vastly demonstrated institutional inertia will continue.

    I suggest that continuing on your scheme Derek will simply reassure those therethat they can carry on with minimal changes. Their rolodexes and address books won’t change, they will still look to the same spokespeople and commentators.

    If you think yourself, Craig Murray, Pat Kane, Lesley Riddoch etc will suddenly be in demand on the SBS you are dreaming, the same biases will remain unless they are actively removed.

    At the very least I expect everyone there to have to reapply for their jobs with outside candidates encouraged to compete and offer alternative visions. At least on the journalist and managerial level. We could perhaps leave the technicians, camera people out. The producers with the limited rolodexes might have to be challenged too.

    As for keeping BBC One, NO! You want it there to compete with the SBS, to allow the propaganda arm of the rUK state to continue to beam its feed into iScotland?

    I expect the Borders to get an STV feed pdq after a Yes vote too. You cannot expect social cohesion in iScotland with such things as we have at the moment still there.

    You are the sort who is so invested in the status quo you cannot see any alternative working. Well if enough people with other ideas are about and in positions of power and influence you may well find others do have alternative visions.

    I expect STV to adapt well, they will have to. Are we going to continue to pay for C4 when their Scottish coverage in news is minimal? With British presenters shoving British values at us?

    Derek you are I suggest betraying exactly the inertia I have detailed above. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    • The BBC have signally failed to adapt to Brexit, resisting, rubbishing, blocking, denying beyond the dreams of Goebbels. so what epiphany will take place on indepndence, unless it is that of the fear of losing their jobs. That would make them ideal members of staff?

  61. Basically I don’t see your scheme which is today with added opt outs flying.

    I see the SBS making a lot of local programs and buying in BBC programs, much as the broadcasters in Australia and New Zealand do it. In NZ there are local quotas in radio and television enshrined in law. Commercial radio stations are required to play local music as well as imported music. There is the NZ Film Commission and NZ On Air which disperse government money to make local productions. Scotland will need those.

    We will otherwise be in the position of having our culture swamped by British and American culture with no space for local programming.

    The changes which will have to happen to bring this about will be profound and will likely disorient you. Some of us have lived elsewhere and seen what other small independent countries have to do to avoid cultural swamping.

  62. I also do not like Patrick Harvie wrt politics see how a federal system will be stable. There will be an inevitable tension between how much money the SBS sends south from the license fee and how much BBC Centre will want. Also how much input will the BBC want?

    Much better to have a clean break and for the SBS to buy in BBC or whoever programming. We may be able to negotiate some sort of bulk deal for 5 years while we adapt. But I do not expect to see BBC One at the bottom of my dial and I expect Scotgov to insist that those who want a broadcast license: FreeView, VirginMedia, Sky in Scotland put the SBS and STV at the bottom of the dial. If you want the full fat LBBC One then you will be able to find it further up the program guide with the other foreign broadcasters, maybe as a separate subscription but that will be a matter for the broadcasters and what they see as their Scottish market.

    After Independence Day I do not expect to receive BBC Radio 4 or 2 or whatever on my car stereo. I expect SBS Radio to expand to fill at least some of those slots in a Scottish manner. If they want to buy in LBBC Radio programs then fine, providing we can comment.

    I don’t think you quite realise Derek what the broadcast environment is like in an Independent nation, or how it has to be if it is to reflect the nation we want to become.

    Already people in Scotland get fed up with TV news which has no relevance to Scotland. I tend to watch the C4 News but I usually have some other Channel as a fallback I go to if they are spending ages on say the English NHS or Education etc. I’m not alone.

    I want television that is relevant to my life. I expect differences in my life living in iScotland and that will include losing easy access, there is always the internet, to familiar things. In the car I can connect my smartphone and stream any online program.

    During the recent Kaikoura earthquake I was listening to NZ Radio’ overnight National Program which was fantastic. It was on my laptop, the one I’m using to write this.

    I can get any of the BBC radio programs via the world service or by using tunnelBear to look like I have an English IP Address. I expect LBBC post Independence to play Whack a Mole with Scottish VPN users. What larks it will be.

    Back in NZ there were commercial companies offering such services with access to US Netflix as there was no local version. Netflix played Whack a Mole for a while then gave in and started a NZ service.

    Maybe Netflix can offer the LBBC to Scottish customers.

  63. You seem to have stirred a hornet’s nest here, Derek. Well done.
    Apropos my earlier posts on BBC Politics and Current Affairs programmes, I dipped into Sunday Politics today via the I Player.
    Gordon Brewer opens with a prerecorded interview with Salmond.
    Then ‘live’ in the studio, that self confessed sectarian bigot WATP (his own soubriquet) Adam Tomkins is given free rein to chatter incessantly like a parrot on Smack about the two referendums; in 2014 Scotland voted to stay in the UK, and Britain voted to leave the EU in June this year.So thewre.

    Of course Salmond isn’t present to challenge this pusillanimous sophistry, and we can rely on the normally Hang On A Minute, Let Me Get This Clear, So What You Are Saying Brewer, to sit silently while his Unionist stooge sends this guff off into the chill December gloaming.
    BBC PQ use this wee ruse repeatedly. Prerecord the SNP spokesperson, then have a Unionist ‘live’ and allow them to prattle on unchallenged. This is a deliberate editorial policy, Derek; of that there can be no doubt.
    Then Brewer starts to feed WATP with the Work In Progress Vow 2.
    Brewer ‘suggests’ that post Brexit Scotland will be offered a ‘shedload of new powers’, in agriculture and fisheries,and that this would crush any impetus for Indyref2. He is not keeping up with the news from Down South methinks. WM has already rubbished any notion that Scotland would have control of its own agriculture and fishing. Perhaps Brewer knows that, perhaps not. If the latter, he’s no’ very good at his job. If the former? Mmm.
    WATP eagerly takes up the prompt on a ‘shedload of new powers’.. A nice game played slow.
    His invited guests summarising the week’s news?
    Lo and behold, Severin Carrell of the Guardian, Lindsay MacIntosh of the Times, fresh from their appearance on Brian Taylor’s FMQ prog on Thursday, and the Shelter editor Paul Mcnamee (?).
    Yet more Unionist ‘opinions’, with Brewer rehashing his ‘shedload of devolved powers’ guff just in case some of us were out of the room when he and Tomkins waffled away earlier.
    One thing. The Scottish Tories are now officially not ‘Scottish’.
    Tomkins has declared that May and the Three Brexiteers will be negotiating for us, like it or lump it, because we are all ‘British’.
    I am tempted to be subjective when commenting on Adam Tomkins, and his rise without trace, but I’ll keep my cool.
    Derek, BBC Scotland current affairs and news programmes are now in a dark place. I do not argue that they are biased, per se, just that they are of poor quality, run by the Last To Leave The Room Unionist sympathisers.
    The good uns got out or were kicked out.
    Gordon Brewer is now a cartoon cut out.
    You’ve had a ‘shedload’ of comments on this anyhoo.

  64. Derek,

    My comment posted at 6.55 on Friday seems to be still awaiting moderation – why I do not know. I will try to post it again here, even though later commenters may well have covered some of the points made.

    I believe that the SNP document you quote from probably reflected my own views – at the time. However, in retrospect, its stance was trusting and naive and written in a manner designed not to scare the horses. I do not think it reflects my current view nor that of the current SNP membership. While I believe it is essential for an independent Scotland to have a public broadcasting presence, continued association with the BBC would be a backward step and be prejudicial from the outset. Any of the Quality BBC programmes – and they undoubtedly exist – could be bought in as they are in Eire (see Jack Collatin above).

    However, I do not go along with the whole scale condemnation of PQ staff some commenters occasionally voice. However, I believe that some of these stem from an imperfect knowledge of the structures and roles of the various personnel involved in the news an current affairs output of BBC Scotland. Perhaps this is something you could throw light on in view of your long experience with the organisation.

    For example, a few weeks ago, I had the misfortune to listen to Friday lunchtime BBC Scotland “investigation” into Police Scotland completely uncontextualised “catalogue of errors” piece. The phrase was repeated continually in all broadcasts. The phrase “near misses” was also repeated constantly, but the programme failed completely to explain what a “near miss” actually was in this context, nor was there any evaluation of real or potential consequences of the incidents recorded. The phrase “near miss” is most often used in aviation where collision of two planes would have dramatic catastrophic consequences so I suppose this is what the vocabulary was intended to conjure up.

    The selection of a piece for “investigation”, its pursuit and the slant of the final presentation of the piece do not happen by accident. When you get such insistent and repeated politically slanted reportage as this it is often tempting to blame those reporting it, since they are the visible face of the organisation. Most of us are aware that there is a whole team of people involved in this process. However, we are perhaps unaware of the detailed interactions of such a team.

    I think it would certainly help my understanding, and perhaps be illuminating for others, if someone with the knowledge could provide an informative piece on the structures, personnel and processes involved in the production of a “news” piece like the above.

    For example, who is involved in the decision to investigate a particular topic? The head of news? The “journalists”? An editorial team – and if so, who are they? Who researches the topic, researchers or journalists, or are they the same thing.? Who decides on whether and when an item is covered in the output? Who decides what is excluded from coverage? How far are the individual journalists, presenters, involved in how the topic is presented? Who writes/edits the web pages? Who decides on the personnel to be interviewed, or excluded?

    Perhaps this is a tall ask, but an informative guide to the precise internal workings of PQ might help us to understand exactly who it is pulling the strings and manipulating the stories we are fed. And it might go some way to explain the defence you mount on behalf of erstwhile colleagues and present staff.

    • @Jack Collatin – nailed it there – this kind of one-eyed performance repeats daily – the unionist apologist allowed to unpick the SNP interview, if there is one, and rabbit on endlessly without intervention and interrogation of their polemic; the usual suspects as “expert” commentators. Never, ever someone who will upset their cosy wee mutual back scratching.

      @Jory Some searching questions and as licence payers pay their wages we have a right to know – along with some performance targets, clearly spelled out principles regarding what is meant by “impartial” (and all the rest) and indicators to show how these have/not been met, together with external auditing of this process by some professional media academics.

      After all, as John Robertson (rtd Prof) has shown, BBC in Scotland have been highly active with FOI requests to the Police, the NHS etc. so that they can show how the SG/SNP is a failure. And he’s still waiting their reply to his FOI request about their FOI’s – Hell will freeze over first, for they never submit themselves these sorts of searching questions. Wonder why?

      Tom Mills in “The BBC: Myth of a public service” argues that the BBC has been an establishment/government mouthpiece since its inception and still is.

  65. Isn’t this (from Prof. John Robertson’s blog) clear evidence of an agenda?

    “According to the Scottish Information Commissioner’s (SIC) records, in the last three years (2005 to mid 2007), of the Labour/Lib-Dem coalition, BBC Scotland made only three FoI requests of Scottish Government departments. It would have been surprising if they had made more because a public service provider depends on government for its funding and so is unlikely to try to expose any flaws in any of its departments. Don’t bite the hand as they say.

    Again, according to the Scottish Information Commissioner’s records In the last three years of the SNP government (2014 to 29 November 2016), they made twenty-six! The SIC does not receive all the requests made and does not know of any made directly by the BBC to local governments or health boards. According to the Scottish Government’s Strategy and Constitution Directorate, BBC Scotland has made a total of 160 FoI requests since January 2008!”

  66. Oh well looks like a Score draw eh Derek , your best result so far oops .
    The thing is most people on here really enjoy your blog & your objective posts dont let this one get you down chin up old sport .

    • Dear Robert….I suspect Derek is thicker- skinned than you would have us believe.I’m not going to pen a long-winded thing here so here’s my thoughts for what they’re worth.Derek is in favour of Scottish Independence.That truth is established.He left the Beeb for reasons (I cant remember) I suspect were political and honourable.I am more or less the same age as Derek.I have also been in the same situation where 1) You leave a place of employment for ideological reasons. 2)You then (after a while) defend former work coleagues through a sense of ‘cameraderie?’….not hard to fathom.

      • Jon, I am 68 years of age and as a young man I was employed by the MOD(n) at Faslane. At first I was too busy trying to earn a living and help raise a family to be concerned with the ethics and morals of the nuclear deterrent. As I got a wee bit older I started to develop a bit of sense and independent thought. I looked at my situation and decided that I could work there no longer so I left. This was in 1982.

        Under the broader definition you could say that I too left for ideological reasons but at no time did I feel the need to defend my former colleagues. They were big enough and ugly enough to defend themselves.

        (I mean they had Polaris missiles ;o)

  67. For info, I received an update from Inform Scotland today. Extracts below.

    “The Inform Scotland BBC Misreporting Scotland Billboards Campaign – Update
    Inform Scotland has finalised the billboard campaign for BBC Misreporting Scotland for the
    final two weeks of January.

    We have been working with the three main providers of traditional billboards to get our
    billboards up across the country. These are JCDecaux, PrimeSight and ClearChannel.
    Despite there being no legal reason for not running the poster, JCDecaux refused to run it
    because they said it was “too controversial”. Primesight refused to run it apparently
    because the BBC itself is one of their major customers.

    That left us with ClearChannel, who agreed to run the poster, but only in a slightly revised
    format, which turns our statement BBC Is Misreporting Scotland into Is the BBC
    Misreporting Scotland? …”

    “… The static billboards will go up in week beginning 16th January and run for two weeks in
    locations across Scotland. The changeover day during the w/b 16th Jan varies so the
    posters won’t necessarily all appear on the Monday, but they will run for a full two weeks
    from when they do first appear. …”

    • Interesting….The BBC has long tentacles. There’s a a chapter in the book, The BBC:The myth of a public service, explaining how the BBC solicited the security services to vet prospective staff – to maintain impartiality (lol)

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