The Belgrano Moment

She was called Diana Gould and came from Cirencester in Gloucestershire, a middle aged, middle class lady from the shires. She appeared on Nationwide in 1983 and was invited by Sue Lawley to put a question to the Falklands victor Margaret Thatcher. ‘Why’, she asked calmly, ‘when the Belgrano was outside the Total Exclusion Zone and sailing away from the Falklands, did you give the order to sink her?’

After Thatcher’s first attempt at answering – claiming it was NOT sailing away – Ms Gould persisted with a measured, informed and detailed interrogation that had the Iron Lady melting in the studio cauldron. ‘No, Mrs Thatcher’, she interrupted and the hesitations and emergency re-phrasings of the previously untouchable PM gave the game away. She was struggling in the face of the politician’s nemesis – the informed punter. The indomitable Mrs T was squirming and it became uncomfortable viewing. Ms Gould, sounding like Miss Marple gravely informing the police inspector where he was going wrong, was having none of it. Lawley, sensing the temperature rising as Mrs T rotated on the roasting spit, intervened to help out.

It made the news…How Thatcher was skewered by a little old lady. The tape was re- played at that year’s Edinburgh Television Festival in front of an audience of journalists. (The correct collective being A Sewer). We laughed in recognition and enjoyed again how a member of the public had done what we all wanted to do and pin her down on her wilful destruction of human life. That was our narrative as a media and it was accepted wisdom in our circle – the Belgrano was running and Thatcher knew it when the order was given.

Just as we gorged ourselves on the memory, that old hand Roy Hattersley, who was on the guest panel, spoke up. ‘And if you think that went down well with the British public, you don’t know them’, he said. He censured us for being out of touch because most people really didn’t like to hear a leader being humbled that way, not when the country had been at war and life-and-death decisions had to be made – and made in favour of our sailors and soldiers. Many remembered Hitler’s war and understood the needs of the time both in lethal decisions and leadership. With our own prejudices and outlook as a media, we lacked real understanding of voters. He left us chastened.

I don’t know if Roy was completely correct in his assessment but it came to mind during the television debate when another punter – a nurse – complained to Nicola Sturgeon about her wages. She couldn’t manage on them and used food banks, she claimed. Cue uncomfortable questions for the FM and, of course, a media establishment loving it. Over in the Spin Room – God, but it’s tiresome and derivative, isn’t it? – The Daily Labour’s David Clegg couldn’t hide his delight. ‘The nurse is the story’, he announced proudly. I immediately recognised the syndrome – the hound chases the rabbit without noticing the juicy steak in his bowl. The story is whatever hurts the Nats and nurses confronting the leader is it and…and…foodbanks! Jings! Even the spoon-fed hacks couldn’t miss this. It fitted their narrative, the one they’ve pursued for a decade and more now – the SNP gloss is losing its sheen.

But what stood out for me from the exchanges was something entirely different. It was the message that nurses in Scotland are paid more than nurses in any other part of the UK. It was a chance to point out that when put on the spot with a tough choice in difficult circumstances, the SNP deliver. An independent review body decides how much nurses should be paid and the Scottish government didn’t hesitate. It paid up. There was no doctors’ strike in Scotland for the same reason. In what they call Band 5 a nurse can be £300 better off than in England. The latest deal gives anyone below £22,000 a minimum rise of £400 and entry level pay for staff is £880 higher than England.

Now it ain’t easy and Sturgeon wasn’t hiding from the effect on budgets of austerity, quoting her own sister’s views as a nurse. But, ask a non-aligned member of the public if they recognise the dilemma for a government of reducing budgets which have to be balanced. Ask if they think it reasonable to allow independent analysis to suggest an appropriate level of pay. Ask if it seems reasonable that Scots nurses get a better deal. Ask who you imagine would pay more if it were possible – Sturgeon or Theresa May.

See? People whose eyes remain open, understand the complexities beyond the anger. Sure, they’d like nurses to be paid more. But what about teachers and police? Care home assistants? Social workers? If health budgets increased in the UK, they would rise here too. Sturgeon expressed the frustration that lies at the heart of the independence debate – we don’t control our own resources. Those same people will see Sturgeon challenged directly, like old Ms Gould did 34 years ago, and ask themselves if our nurse was being entirely reasonable given the national finances. After all, we are told they are still in a dire state UK-wide as Osborne’s deeper benefit cuts are only beginning and the Tories are waiting in England to take your house if you need old age nursing.

The media pros will imagine that this was a straight hit on the SNP but when the blinkers are removed, I’m not so sure. Canny Scots will note that no party is promising higher pay rises for nurses and Labour would take 1p in the pound away from them. Does anyone imagine nurses will fare better under the Tories?

No, I think Nicola may have had her Belgrano moment and, like the journalists of the 1980’s the media is reading it wrong.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

41 thoughts on “The Belgrano Moment

  1. Ms Burd and Ms Smithers were positively cooing at each other in the press room, sniding at the First Minister. The Sun Editor said he was going to run the starving nurse story on his front page. I never buy the rag, but noticed, at Maryhill’s Tesco, It was not on the front page. I peeked inside and saw a picture of her supping champagne at posh NT restaurant. I did not read any more. But noticed the National was missing as usual and a Brit Nat paper in its place.

    Facebook is full of comments from angry nurses, saying she is a charge nurse on a basic of £28K and her husband is a Tory Cooncilor and that she was given a front row seat with plenty of air time. I mentioned this on the Hootsmon comments and was given the usual ignorant loyalist abuse.

  2. The “Belgrano Moment” is a very, very poor analogy.

    Unlike Thatcher and the present-day Tories, Nicola Sturgeon has never killed anyone, started any wars, evicted anyone from their own home or starved any of her own citizens to death.

    This whole episode with the nurse was a very obvious set-up by BBC Scotland. Why the hell aren’t you directing your fire against them?

    Sometimes I wonder whose side you are on.

    • davidmccann24

      Allan. I think you have missed the point of Derek’s article entirely. And BTW I know whose side he is on.

      • Diana Gould was a real person who genuinely put Thatcher on the spot, by making a valid point based on fact.

        Claire Austin is a phoney, a fraud, deliberately planted by BBC Scotland to undermine Nicola Sturgeon.

        There can be no possible comparison between the two. If anyone has missed the point here, it’s Derek Bateman.

        • No, Derek’s point is about the reaction of the professional media bubble (who, at the time remember, believed she was totally genuine) versus the reaction of the public. And he’s bang on.

          • Derek may be bang on about the reaction of the public vs reaction of the media, but other than that the comparison is woeful.

            In the one case we have a PM who may have committed a war crime, yet the media – remember “Gotcha!” – with no interest in informing and educating the public did little other than their usual support and protection of the establishment. That is the main purpose of the media, and the BBC too, hence in the other case only the “wreckers and saboteurs” came under any close interrogation, while the Unionist establishment – Tory, Labour, Liberal – who have a whole armada of questions to answer avoided any kind of scrutiny.

            Now, it could be that the public may not take to the sight of Sturgeon being skewered, (though I’m not so sure) just as they may have disliked seeing Thatcher hung out to dry, but that is hardly something to be applauded, for it simply confirms what a pitiful job the media have made of educating and informing. Mrs Gould was genuine, her case against Thatcher was sound; Ms Austin seems to have been a fraud, her case against Sturgeon was false, but it took social media to discover that, not the newspaper industry or the craven BBC, who bought the whole charade hook, line and torpedo.

            Apart from the National, there is not a single media organisation, print or broadcast, which is holding the Unionist political establishment to account. On the contrary, they support the establishment and demonise and vilify the SNP – with the active connivance of the BBC and its reporters.

            They have no interest in informing and educating and helping to create a politically aware and sophisticated electorate – only in protecting the Establishment, and their own backs.

  3. She is actually unmarried but her Facebook page did (now gone private) show that she lived a life that most foodbank users could only dream of.

  4. Derek Bateman makes an excellent point. Really, it shouldn’t surprise us in the slightest if professional journalists get it wrong. They are, for the most part, concerned more with manipulating the public mood than with reading it. They don’t ask what the public mood is and then pursue and answer to that question. They formulate their own notion of the prevailing mood informed principally by their perspective from a location within the British establishment, and then grace us with their conclusions. They have their cosy consensus, and that which lies outside it is largely unknown to them because it is of little interest to them. Taking an interest would be effortful. The cosy consensus has its own gravitational field, and achieving escape velocity would be demanding of both intellectual and physical resources.

    Why bother? The most readily available rewards come from exploiting the professional journalist’s location within the establishment. Why risk losing ones place within the circle which enjoys privileged access to established power – at some level – by stepping outside that circle? Why rock the boat? It’s a very nice boat.

    Things have changed since the days when Mrs Gould of Cirencester in Gloucestershire was a brief media novelty because, almost accidentally, she gained brief, one-off access to established power without being a member of the elite – and was able to make very effective use of it. Now, that one little old lady politely quizzing Margaret Thatcher under the watchful eye of a media professional has developed into a substantial alternative media machine interrogating established power incessantly and relentlessly. And doing so from a location outside the British establishment. Outside the circle. Not part of the cosy consensus.

    The media accustomed to manipulating the public is being challenged by media manipulated by the public.

    It was the alternative media – citizen journalists, if you like – who asked questions about the nurse who claimed to have been referred to a foodbank because she couldn’t afford to feed herself. It was on social media that those claims were scrutinised. The traditional media were smugly content that the attack on the First Minister fitted very nicely within their cosy consensus.

    An army of Mrs Goulds decided that the public mood demanded facts rather than professional media spin. And they know what the public mood is. Because they are the public. I salute them.

    • jacquescoleman

      Excellent stuff Peter.

      And while here may I ask Derek : why no mention of the fact that ‘nurse of the question’ and BBC set this up together to embarrass Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. Or do you, Derek still believe your beloved BBC wouldn’t do such a thing?

      To me The BBC/’Nurse’ deception was the story last night but it took social media to unearth the facts and present it to the public. The MSM did nothing but sit on its arse as usual, too lazy to do any work, and unwilling to do so anyway, because “Nurse embarrassing NS” fitted the Agenda it wants to believe.

      • silly woman embarrassed herself. hope her mates give her grief when and if she returns to paid employment. Not clear if she actually works for NHS.

  5. Canny Scots may see through this but those who pick up the unionist papers will continue with their uninformed prejudice.

    Wings has called this one in a very balanced manner. Lets get to the truth before engaging in all this faux outrage, which is becoming extremely tiresome.

    And then lets see how the situation has been manipulated and engineered by dear old Auntie Beeb in the first place.

    • Those that believe the “foodbank” nurse are not those we can influence. Some will have their prejudices confirmed re ease of ‘free food’, but some may have had their doubts and are now looking slightly askance at the BBC coverage!

  6. […] Derek Bateman makes an excellent point. Really, it shouldn’t surprise us in the slightest if professional journalists get it wrong. They are, for the most part, concerned more with manipulating the public mood than with reading it. They don’t ask what the public mood is and then pursue and answer to that question. They formulate their own notion of the prevailing mood informed principally by their perspective from a location within the British establishment, and then grace us with their conclusions. They have their cosy consensus, and that which lies outside it is largely unknown to them because it is of little interest to them. Taking an interest would be effortful. The cosy consensus has its own gravitational field, and achieving escape velocity would be demanding of both intellectual and physical resources. […]

  7. The BBC as ever is openly and systematically gunning for the SNP. Yet another question concerning a devolved issue which is not directly relevant to the General Election in order to deflect attention from the Tories execrable record at Westminster.

    • jacquescoleman

      And yesterday of all days when the open goal of the Dementia Tax faux pas by the Tories was yawning in front of them. Any journalism organisation worth its salt would have been slavering to attack that. But the BBC… ? (Sorry about all the cliches but they happen to fit excellently my comment!)

  8. I think the SNP need to start directing the narrative here rather than responding to it.

    Each time they are asked something that is about a devolved matter they need to preface it with “this is a Westminster vote and you are asking me a question about a devolved matter. I am happy to answer but I am not sure how relevant that is to a Westminster election” or something of that ilk. if they say that every time the message will soon get across that the media are trying to manipulate the election to suit their own narrative.

    They then need to use their subsequent answer to demonstrate that governing through the means of devolution is governing with one hand tied behind your back all the time; they need to clearly state that it is not fair to expect SG to counteract austerity measures imposed by Westminster but despite that they do what they can; they should point out that they are focused on Westminster elections and actually what are the policies of the Scottish opposition parties to non-devolved areas of welfare or defence spending or foreign affairs, etc.

    They can say and do this without sounding hostile or rattled – but they should definitely see these “devolved” questions not as a threat but as an opportunity to highlight the limitations of devolution compared to independence.

    My fear is that, just like the recent local authority elections, the SNP will come across as too timid to defend themselves and stand up against Westminster and for what they believe in. I hope I am wrong and after tomorrow’s manifesto launch they will come out guns blazing.

    • Absolutely correct Steve. The SNP have many talents but designing and engaging a rebuttal strategy is not one of them. Much to my constant frustration as it is hardly rocket science

    • The problem with that approach lies in the editing done by the interviewing media. Either the “Westminster rebuttal” will be edited out to suit the end purpose or it will be left in as the only answer with the intention of making it look like the interviewee was trying to dodge the question.

  9. I never watch BBC debates because they are nothing more or less than Yoon stitch ups where there is obvious collusion between BBC and the Yoon Parties and Labour in particular. They are still at it. It is why I will never ever pay the TV TAX again. STV isn’t any better though. We have a deplorable Media. The Brits have nothing to learn from the North Koreans and I dare say the North Koreans learn everything they know from the Brits. Jackie Bird for one wouldn’t be out of place in NK.

  10. We seem to be missing the point. This was a UK general election debate. The question asked was nothing to do with the NHS controlled by the UK Government. NHS Scotland is a devolved responsibility. The question should have been ruled out of order. But of course it was not. The BBC specifically invited this nurse to attend and put this irrelevant question to the FM. Once again revealing the BIAS of the BBC.

  11. Nurses are held up as some kind of angels who should be paid much more money.Now I agree about the pay but we are no angels ,we are professionals doing a job just as many others do. Everyone could do with a pay rise.
    What seems to have shocked this nurse is the reaction of her nursing colleagues. Yes we could do with more money however we work alongside nursing assistants and domestic staff who will never earn the wages we earn. What would they have thought this morning hearing what she said. And now getting some more background on this individual. I also take it from the wages she claims she earns she is a newly qualified staff nurse.With the way things are it is quite possible to work your way up the ladder quickly.
    She is more to be pitied than anything else.I’m sure she thought she was speaking for us all when she wasn’t.

  12. I am an SNP member. I am heartily sick of those who speak in public for the SNP being so mealy-mouthed and ‘nice’ to those such as Sarah Smith et al. For the love of God, come back at the BBC in particular and start getting the truth out in public.

    Several times during last night’s stitch up I was yelling at Nicola Sturgeon to confront Sarah Smith over the actual questions and her handling of them.

    Stop being so reasonable and nice.

  13. This has been posted elsewhere but it might actually fit as a response here too.

    Last night (21st May) BBC Scotland ran their Leaders Debate for the 2017 General Election.

    Early in the debate a familiar looking face at the front of the room commented about nurses having to use food banks. Sarah Smith wouldn’t allow the comment to be answered, as there was to be an NHS question later in the debate. Fair enough.

    Almost at the end of the debate the NHS question was ready to be asked. Up pops the same nurse who wanted to discuss nurses and food banks earlier. She aimed her question right at Nicola Sturgeon blaming her for poor nurses pay and the fact that nurse in Scotland have to rely on food banks.

    Nicola answered well and pointed out that nurses in Scotland are paid more than in rUK.

    The resultant responses in the debate are, at this point, irrelevant.

    The apparent stalking of the nurse on social media is also irrelevant, save for what it discovered via that nurse’s own words.

    It would seem, according to the nurse, that she had attended BBC Question Time in Edinburgh on 11th May. She had been hoping to ask a question about NHS, as she is a nurse of many years experience in NHS Lothian. When she returned from the filming of Question Time she explained on social media that unfortunately she had not had a chance to ask her question. But she did explain that she had been sitting beside the man who was later identified as a Tory councillor and had words with him regarding his stance on well paid nurses.

    Up until that stage she, and her social media presence, were solely of interest to herself and her friends. Her habit of calling Nicola Sturgeon names would have remained between herself and her friends had BBC not deliberately changed their policy on members of the public and BBC debates.
    This is where it turns to interference by BBC.

    According to the nurse in question, she was contacted by BBC and asked to join last night’s audience to ask the question she didn’t get to ask last week.

    Before I continue let me explain a couple of things about this type of televised debate. I have been in the audience for a few of them over the years; some run by BBC and some by STV.

    They have one common policy. Before you are invited you are asked which questions you would like to ask the panelists. If you are lucky enough to be invited you will, on arrival, be again asked to submit up to the minute questions. Those questions will then be reviewed by the director, and juicy ones chosen.

    This nurse was in the audience on 11th May. She will have had her question vetted by the director’s team. She doesn’t explain on her social media whether her question was dismissed on 11th May before the debate was broadcast, or whether hers had been chosen as the next question to be asked but they ran out of time. The reason for it not being included on 11th May is highly pertinent to last night’s debate too.

    In her social media she does not say that her question was to be next but they ran out of time. Had that been the case I am certain she would have mentioned it. So I can only assume that this was not the case.

    This is where BBC interference comes in to play. They have the nurse’s question on file. They think it would be a good one to throw at Nicola Sturgeon. But how do they ensure it is asked? Normal BBC policy on such things is to not allow previous audience members to attend a second programme, and particularly so soon after being seen on screen beside an audience member who was “outed” as a Tory councillor.

    BBC does not like such scrutiny.

    But we are expected to believe that it was all quite innocent and a BBC researcher deemed it acceptable to invite her back so that she could ask her question of Nicola Sturgeon live on air. Add to that, the fact that the question was about a devolved matter and this is a General Election where only reserved matters should be relevant in Scotland.

    Now, if BBC can be that devious, and I don’t doubt it for one second, then they can also foresee the backlash. They knew how quickly the two Tory councillors were “outed” after 11th May. They would be certain that the same would happen here; as it did. There would be much more outrage at a poor nurse being savaged on social media than 2 Tory councillors.

    Remember at the end of the programme, when Jackie Bird was talking to the journalists, and the writer from Scottish Sun said nothing had happened of note? Guess who was the one to not only pick up the savaging on social media, but decided to join in that savaging. That same Sun writer.

    Do I believe in coincidence when it comes to BBC bias?

    Not a chance.

  14. Derek, I completely get what you are saying regarding how different people will respond to this exchange.

    Likewise the point you make about how the pay issue is really a Westminster issue, and that Scotland and the SNP have done their best by Nurses.

    However – and it’s obvious what’s coming – the key issue is a deliberate act by the team who carefully select who gets to ask questions to plant one to “get Sturgeon”. This team is already notorious for allowing a far-right staffer to “select” the audience, for their enthusiasm for UKIP, Farage and Nuttall, and for the ease with which Tory councillors get to masquerade as ordinary public..

    There is no doubt that Ms Smith knew in advance that the question would be asked, that it would be seen as a devolved issue, it would place Nicola Sturgeon in some difficulty, and it would avoid the need to tackle the Tories or Labour on their appalling or incoherent policies in this “debate”. Ms Smith is not that incompetent – merely utterly biased, as is your former colleague Ms Bird. So ridiculous is this stitch-up that even the Record and Sun have issues with the credibility of the Questioner and with the integrity of the BBC.

    You still skate by the further destruction of the integrity of the organisation you once worked for – how long can you avoid stating the obvious?.

  15. it is said the nurse CA did go to a food bank, twice in five years, hardly destitute. but no organisation knows of other nurses doing so. Also proved Nurses paid more than in England

  16. I believe you are all missing the main story here. When Theresa May accused the SNP of being fined by the electoral commission, it was the Sun’s political editor that called her out. Now we have the Daily Record and Sun calling out the BBC on it’s unfair bias. That would not have happened 12 months ago.

    I’m not living in Scotland at the moment, but , my impression is that the Record and Sun are being studiously neutral in this election…some might even say they are having a sniff at the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

    I reckon for IndyRef2, they’ll be for Yes.

    • Exactly. This is quite different from, say, 2014. And social media has effectively undermined the old media narrative.

      Real target: the disgraceful state broadcaster!

  17. This was no Belgrano moment. This was a BBC set up. A General Election debate and the host allowed the focus to be about devolved matters this should,have been about manifestos and the WM track record. Who uses foodbank when they can earn a basic salary of almost 22k, the heat should be on the BBC who invited this nurse on QT two weeks ago and now invited back for the leaders debate. How many people get that opportunity, she explained on her twitter it was because she never got to speak at QT. Personally, it has been a set up, and the expected outrage has taken the heat of the Tories. RS did damage co tell and said she used a foodbank twice o. The last five years when her back was against the wall, so what was it, was she unemployed, of on long term sick, or just a bad manager of her finances and was left down and out. Certainly not a Belgrano moment, Bateman has seriously blundered in this analogy.

  18. Yes, Alistair, there’s some change there, isn’t there?

    Claire Austin, the nurse on Question Time, maintains a professional profile on LinkedIn. Much of her profile is publicly available:

    By going on TV and airing what she calls details of her private life to make a political point, she opens herself up to scrutiny of her private life to the degree that it establishes or discredits her honesty.

    Specifically, she said on TV that she cannot live on her nurse’s salary, and has to rely on Food Banks (present tense).

    She claims on LinedIn to be an NHS Lothian nurse since 2010. She says she graduated with a nursing B Sc from Napier in 2012 – a 2 year course that costs GBP4000 for students who pay the full price. She says she has 3 employers, and as well as a challenging role at the RIDU at Western General, she provides track-side nursing at the Isle of Man TT, helps run a hospital in Benbecula and travels on demand as an emergency nursing specialist.

    Other publicly-available Facebook profile details show her daughter (now at uni) was at George Heriot’s 2015-2016 (I hear that’s about GBP11,000pa), and her daughter’s best friend owning her own horse.

    Now as well as saying that others paid for her NY travel, she says someone else paid her daughter’s fees. If we take unchallenged the change from “have to rely on Food Banks” to “twice in the last 5 years”, that is the period after she graduated with her degree, not while she was a student.

    Even if we play along and accept the truth of her Food Bank use, there are so many angles to this story it’s hard to know where to start. Who are the two non-NHS employers who pay so little on top of her NHS pay that she’s unable to buy food? Where is her gratitude, as after all, a new Scot born in Lichfield near Birmingham, to the Scottish government for providing an undergraduate education that one can only suppose she couldn’t possibly have afforded down south, ditto her daughter’s uni study? If her LinkedIn profile is truthful, and if as I hear she lives in tony Stockbridge, her kid goes to private school, she has a degree, her daughter’s getting one, and she spent NY in NY, isn’t hers an amazing story of prosperity that’s a huge credit to the SNP’s stewardship of the economy all these years?

    If a woman looks so swish when she’s out on the town in New York, is it natural that she appears on national TV abandoning cosmetics entirely?

    “I was referred to a Food Bank”. Were ye, aye?

  19. The following is an abstract of an overlong knee jerk rant of mine over on WGD BTLcomments on Macart’s excellent guest spot; ‘Survival of the fittest.’

    “Sarah Smith
    Jackie Bird
    Professor Curtice the Tory funded pollster
    Severin Carrell
    Alex Massie
    David Clegg
    David Torrance
    That blonde lass from the’ Press Association’ whose name always escapes me but is a pro Union regular on BBC Politics programmes.
    Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser
    Jackie Bailllie
    Alex Cole Hamilton
    Willie Rennie
    Kezia Dugdale
    David Coburn
    Ruth Davidson
    Nurse Clare Austin ( Severin Carrlell, thanks for naming if not quite shaming her in your otherwise antiseptic Unionist damage limitation account of the ‘debate’ in today’s Graun; Ms Austin,the flame haired harridan who was a ‘re-invited’ member of the ‘balanced’ BBC audience who, and these are facts from her own tweets, is single, is photographed sitting in a very comfortable gaff, who earns according to her own tweet, £22,345 per annum, the nearest equivalent of which on the Royal College of Nursing’s official Scottish pay scales is £22,313, which is the fifth increment of the Band 4 scale , which is £404 MORE than her equivalent in England and Wales, where Ruth’s Government is demanding £20 BILLION in ‘efficiencies and savings’ from the English HS, which means sacking thousands of nurses doctors and vital health staff by 2021, while Clare is guaranteed no redundancies, by that BAD SNP mob whom Clare is accusing of bringing you to the brink of resigning.
    In Northern Ireland the equivalent rate is £621 LESS that Clare’s take home.
    They must be queueing ‘round the block at the Falls Road Food Bank across from the Victoria.
    We have yet to discover the location of the Food Bank which gave ‘free food’ to a single woman, in full time employment, pocketing £437 a week. Did she mislead them? Or can anybody pop into their nearest Free Food Store these days? Some body’s lying somewhere, and it ain’t the Royal College of Nursing.I’m sure David Clegg will be investigating this juicy EsEnnPee Bad yarn today.)
    A wee curly heided Maths Teacher hidden at the back, and a grey haired veteran teacher in the front, obvious plants, both ‘randomly’ picked to spout ‘Edukayshun Shite/ SNP BAD’. (At one point Davidson was tapping Smith’s knee and pointing to the audience so that our ‘impartial’ chairwoman knew which of the ‘plants’ to pick next. Good old ex BBC colleagues at work there.)
    The Bald comfortable off elderly guy plucked at random (aye right) from the middle of the audience to act as a prompt to Kezia and Wullie to remember to bring up the £15 billion deficit; which they did. This was the Man of Mystery’s only contribution)
    Oh Yes, and on the other side of the debate, there was Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, SNP Leader with 56, yes, 56 MPs standing for re-election
    Patrick Hardie
    And in the Spin Room Joanna Cherry the only actual WM politician invited to this absolute farce from BBC Scotland.
    No Ian Wallace. No Alistair Carmichael, no Mundell the Michty.
    Why would they invite Scottish WM MPs to join a panel to defend their Parties’ record in WM over the past 2 and a bit years? What do we think this is? A UK GE 2017 debate?”

    This in my calmer moments was the real story, Derek.
    It was not a Belgrano moment.
    It was the night Free Speech, a Free Press, and democracy died in Scotland.
    Steven Jardine fronted RS Late Night Bulletin last night, and with faux indignation banged on about Joanna Cherry having to apologise to this poor nurse.
    Torrance even smirked not for the first time that the Great Scottish public wasn’t really interested in politics. Arrogant dismissive elitist.
    Yet Jardine and Torrance are members and enthusiastic contributors to the Establishment funded Fake News assault on the Independence Movement, a democratic body politic which arguably now includes more than half the Scottish electorate.
    Diana Gould was righteously angry, and genuine.
    Sarah Smith choreographed an hour and a half of vile Unionist propaganda, backed by the ‘sewer’ of hacks in the Spin Room.
    It was Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Sturgeon, a disgrace to Free Speech, an insult to the Scottish electorate, and the death of democracy.

    • Brilliant, Jack. This kind of propaganda, this manipulation, and the complicity of a supposedly non-partisan BBC is an unambiguous all out assault on democracy. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it has all the hallmarks of a totalitarian type state, a 1984 set up where opinion is created and controlled by a party intent on destroying freedom to think and delegitimise aspirations for self-determination.

  20. Yes, they did miss the real story. Yes, the correct term for them is a ‘sewer of journos’. No, I really don’t think they care anyway.

    Journalists apparently don’t care who they hurt at the best of times. When it’s someone they openly despise? Take a wild guess what their reaction’s going to be?

    You’ve seen the latest readership figures?

    They are far, far beyond trust or integrity at this point Derek. I doubt there are more than a handful across the UK I’d read and could probably count as creditable professionals. The rest that we are aware of on a daily basis? People have simply grown to detest and mistrust for all the right reasons near as I can see.

    Most people understand that journalism has many branches and that it is unfair to label all as irresponsible, reckless, empathy free, hacks for hire. This does not alter their view that a great deal of the UK media should in fact aspire to the sewer in most folks opinion. I can pretty much get behind that idea myself tbh.

    For the pain they’ve wilfully caused and the pain they are yet to inflict, they don’t don’t merit the benefit of the doubt any longer. Those people don’t know or have yet to encounter in the profession, will find themselves tarred with the same brush regardless.

    They can lay the blame where it should lie… with their less honourable, but far more recognisable, peers.

  21. I would pay big money (to charity) for a head to head debate between Derek and Jack Collatin regarding BBC Scotland and their attempts to undermine democracy. I have Jack winning in the 4th…

    • As long as there are pints of Guinness involved, Achnababan.
      I suspect that Derek and I would be as one on almost everything; we are stardust, harmony and understanding, peace and love and truth abounding.

  22. Robert Graham

    I waited until the dust settled before adding my tuppence worth . I dont really get the Belgrano analogy but i suppose leaders getting ambushed could fit the bill .
    What we saw with this Leaders debate hijacked and manipulated by the bbc and others , with the clear intention of causing as much damage to Nicola Sturgeon the SNP , all the way through this stage managed pursuit of the only party the Union fear , the thorn in their arses ,
    What the presenter allowed to happen indeed she had to make it clear , this was supposed to be about electing MPs at westminster and not devolved matters , she did interject with statement , we know these are devolved matters but because there was so many questions we had to allow them ,Oh really madam Smith , ok let’s follow that little ruse if thats the case it would have been perfectly ok to ask questions on say Football , or hockey anything goes eh ? Smith and the bbc believe people are bloody dumb and stupid .
    Yet again the union control the media as if we hadn’t noticed .

  23. Gavin C Barrie

    I’m more inclined to describe the event as Nicola’s Victim moment. The programme host Ms Smith failed. Firstly she allowed the question on a non-devolved issue, secondly she didn’t query the nurse’s statement that she had had to visit a food bank ” What on a 22K salary?” would have been the reaction of an impartial host. The clincher for me was Nicola’s statement, “My sister is a nurse”, that demonstrated her awareness of the nursing profession. and to her credit, Nicola didn’t set about the nurse for her lies.

  24. Yeah, Nicola’s good. Alex is good. The SNP team is full of good politicians. The whole strategy of unionism is to provoke a fight, because it’s bigger, richer, more powerful. It wants to fight.

    The breasts of brave men won’t turn away machine guns now, any more than they did then.

  25. Roy Hattersley was right Derek – Thatcher went on to a landslide victory on a wave of triumphalism

  26. SNP gets a large percentage of its funds for campaigns from its membership.
    I believe in the 2015 election it was around 46%.

    In the same election, on the other hand, the tories got a whopping 2% from the membership. The rest comes from corporate donations like PwC (aka Professionals without Consciences) who donated close to half a million..

    Guess who each of them work for.

    I believe the appropriate saying is “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”.

Leave a Reply