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Wings Over Scotland

War is declared, and battle come down

Posted on August 27, 2015 by

Yesterday we noted an interesting apparent shift in the BBC’s political stance with regard to Scotland. Two serving senior political reporters have made open attacks on the SNP, backed up by other media and politicians, seemingly abandoning all notions of the impartiality to which the BBC is bound by charter.

(The Guardian’s hostile editorial was particularly bizarre, suggesting that devolving control of broadcasting in Scotland to Holyrood would turn the BBC into a mouthpiece of government, which inescapably suggests that the current Westminster-controlled BBC is a tool of either Labour or the Tories, depending which one is in power.)

This morning’s edition of The Times is the latest to join the offensive.

A column by Alex Massie, entitled “BBC ‘bias’ against independence was essential”, explains its headline with the following passage:


But this is a startlingly false premise. The Unionist camp fell over itself insisting that the status quo was NOT an option in the referendum. The choice, Scots were told, was between two different kinds of change – independence and the exciting, Vow-tastic super-mega-devolution that would be implemented by a new Scotland Bill and would be tantamount to “Home Rule”, whatever that was.

Indeed, the promise of the No camp was for “faster, safer and better change” than independence would provide – Massie’s claim that “the No campaign wasn’t proposing anything” is palpably utter nonsense. The SNP at least laid out a 650-page prospectus for their offer – the “Better Together” manifesto was a few lines of meaningless waffle cobbled together in a panic on the front of the Daily Record days before the vote.

The three Unionist parties had previously put together their own draft proposals, but all were largely overlooked by the national broadcaster. To the best of our recollection, for example, nobody seriously questioned how Housing Benefit could possibly be extricated from Universal Credit, as put forward by Labour. Save for one memorable evisceration of Johann Lamont by Gordon Brewer, the case for “faster, safer and better change” got a free ride.

Massie further justifies the BBC’s bias by saying that it’s its job to scrutinise, harry and oppose “the government”. But there were two governments involved in the referendum – the UK government and the Scottish Government – yet Massie only wants the BBC to challenge one of them.

None of this is new information, of course. It’s ground we’ve been over many times before. But it becomes interesting in the context of a series of events by which the official Unionist line is discernibly changing from “How dare you suggest the BBC is biased?” to “Of course the BBC is biased, what are you going to do about it?”

Readers already know our view on the answer.

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  1. 27 08 15 13:43

    War is declared, and battle come down | Speymouth

  2. 28 08 15 13:59

    War is declared, and battle come down | Politic...

111 to “War is declared, and battle come down”

  1. Johnny says:

    Two things.

    I am intrigued to know that media types are only ever supposed to oppose change. No room for progressive pieces or thinking at all, then.

    I’m sure the likes of Ian Bell must be pleased to learn that they are not doing their job correctly by, as is proper, opposing change.

    It might be that Mr Massie didn’t mean all journalists but that only means that he is either engaging in crass generalisations or failing to write clearly enough by defining exactly what he means.

  2. Morag says:

    I thought I might miss watching TV, even if only a little bit, but I don’t. I’m not missing the mind-numbing pap of property porn, and I’m getting a hell of a lot more done.

    We didn’t have a TV in our house at all until I was nearly 20. I didn’t grow up with Blue Peter and all the rest of it, I grew up with the radio. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve reverted. (And thank God Radio 3 has about as little of the spoken word as it’s possible to get, and only about four 2-minute news bulletins a day that are easy to avoid.)

  3. One_Scot says:

    Hopefully come the next referendum, the Scottish public will not be so easily fooled by the unionist media, especially the BBC and BBC Scotland.

  4. Itchybiscuit says:

    Bear with me here…

    When I was at school there were always fights. They always began with one youth squaring up to another but within a few minutes there occurred a playground phenomena – the ‘pile in’.

    In our political playground all it took was for one ‘source’ to come up with some (usually misleading) ‘SNP BAD’ headline for all the other media outlets and pundits to ‘pile in’ and disseminate the false or damaging story far and wide. Now if there were only one or two ‘players’ piling in then it could be addressed but when the massed ranks of the national media all fall into line by serving up the same stodgy fare then it becomes a problem.

    To listen to, and read, the BT stalwarts downplaying and poo-pooing legitimate concerns make me almost as angry as their referendum coverage did. Looking at the print media circulation figures shows that they’ve learned nothing from the recent past. Reminds me of a political party both in Scotland and England – Einstein (allegedly) had the right of it when he defined insanity…

  5. desimond says:

    The BBC is controlled by government. The people who control independent TV are, again, government-linked. The government dishes out the franchises and the people who get the franchises will sing the song the government wants to hear. Tony Benn said we don’t need the KGB here because we’ve got the BBC, and it’s true. There has to be fundamental changes in how broadcasting is organised for it to represent the breadth of opinion there is in the country. – Ken Loach

  6. CameronB Brodie says:

    He’s a British nationalist dissembler, plain and simple.


  7. muttley79 says:

    @Rev Stu

    Indeed, the promise of the No camp was for “faster, safer and better change” than independence would provide – Massie’s claim that “the No campaign wasn’t proposing anything” is palpably utter nonsense. The SNP at least laid out a 650-page prospectus for their offer – the “Better Together” manifesto was a few lines of meaningless waffle cobbled together in a panic on the front of the Daily Record days before the vote.

    Massie and the unionist’s case was built on fraud, deceit and lies. Alex Massie claimed to be undecided on how he was going to vote before the referendum. It should be obvious to everyone that the guy is a diehard unionist. The unionist parties lied about Devo Max/as close to federalism etc. They have no intention of having a powerhouse Scottish Parliament as they claimed before the vote last September. To do so would almost certainly mean that independence would be just around the corner.

    They do not want to empower Scotland and its people. The unionists have blown their own credibility, and all that is remains is Massie and company’s arrogant and childish crowing over their inglorious ‘victory’ last year.

  8. steveasaneilean says:

    So there you have it – arch-Unionist Massie admits the BBC was biased and that it had a duty to be so and it was all perfectly understandable don’t you know.

    I mean what do you think this organisation is? A neutral and impartial observer and reporter in a tolerant democracy?

    Phew! Glad I didn’t fall into the trap of believing that.

  9. Luigi says:

    Alex Massie:

    “The British Broadcasting Corporation – the clue is in the name…”

    See what I mean? See what I mean?

    The only excuse for not devolving some control of broadcasting to Holyrood is that it is the “British” Broadcasting Corporation.

    Not much of an excuse, but it’s all the unionist lickspittles have, so they stick with it. Pathetic.

  10. Dave says:

    Good point as usual Rev. I’d add that even if we take Massie at his word, which is pretty well put to be honest, it doesn’t change the case for devolution of broadcasting. That case was unquestionably accepted by the 45 throughout the referendum, but I would argue it has always been there and the referendum affected it only tangentially. Broadcasting should have been devolved with the Parliament in 1997/8. Its overdue and needs to happen ASAP.

  11. Donald MacLeod says:

    The second third and fourth paragraphs are broadly correct, as is the first line of the last. Basically it’s a demonstration of the institutional bias within the BBC and the entirely logical reason it appears. But the mistake massie makes is that logical means correct. He’s in the self-verifying echo chamber that Nick Robinson talked about, only it’s the unionist one not the nationalist one.

  12. Training Day says:

    Presumably then by Massie’s logic Pravda was ‘right’ to oppose the Baltic states independence?

    All very Putin-esque, Alex.

    Or maybe it’s just that Alex – introduced, let’s not forget, as an ‘undecided’ on a BBC panel pre-referendum – thinks that some governments are more worthy of ‘harrying’ than others.

  13. Bryce says:

    Watching the world athletics championships this morning and observed personal justification for being biased towards Justin gatland. Nothing about professionalism and the neutrality of reporting. No wonder an American athlete refuses to speak to the bbc.

  14. ahundredthidiot says:

    Double speak me thinks

    And come on…..just about every other show on the telly has Britain in the title…..wasn’t like that 5 years ago….but willing to be proved wrong by someone willing to do the work for me….

  15. Camz says:

    It’s quite obvious that the Westminster parties (and/or the civil service) had the BBC primed that change was bad, and the management passed that down the tree at the BBC.

    Look at all the threats of less military, less funding, less good things, more bad things (many coming to pass despite the No vote, including BBC cuts).

    The BBC would have been carroted and sticked in a similar fashion behind closed doors. It always has been, and it always will be.

  16. Maureen mangan says:

    I stopped funding the propaganda machine on 22nd September last year but it still annoys the hell out of me that it continues to exist and misinform.

  17. George Campbell says:

    Where in the BBC charter is it required to be the guardian and promoter of national unity?

  18. Giving Goose says:

    Proof, if proof were needed, that the BBC is a UK version of PRAVDA.

    In addition, contributors such as Alex Massie, his BBC colleagues (including the bunch at Pathetic Quay, Glasgow) along with the Guardian mob, identify with Westminster.

    Journalists they are not.

    Effectively they are the Public Relations arm of the London Establishment, responsible for managing the spread of information. We have this confirmed now, straight from the horses mouth.

    What is frightening about this is the fact that they see absolutely no shame in this. By extending Massie’s logic, then he would not have apposed Hitler nor Mussolini if he were a writer in Germany or Italy during the 1930s and 40s.

    Make no mistake, Massie is an enemy of democracy, as democracy predisposes change and evidently Massie, the BBC, and the entire MSM (with single figure exceptions) opposes change.

    Scary stuff indeed!

  19. donald anderson says:

    I always thought the Guardian and the EBC were the bibles of the Byres Rd Brit left in Scotland. They were too grown up to read the “local”, or “toytown” news as they saw it.

    Byres Road, thought the North Brits, was the “Kings Road of Glasgow”, apart from a few WC pubs at the Pertick end. Maryhill was a mile away geographically, but a million miles politically and culturally, with more in common with their auntie Dora in Springburn, than the Sloan Rangers lookalikes, Ante Dhuring.

    The trendy Brit left used to use the same arguments as Islington Corbyn. “independence is up to the Scotch WC, but …”

    Voting liebore on that basis is as silly as voting Cheesy Dugtail and buying the Daily Reptile, who are as opposed to the rest of Jeremy’s thoughts, as they for David Cameron’s.

  20. Brian says:

    Truly and worryingly Orwellian.

  21. Doug Daniel says:

    Indeed, the lack of media scrutiny of just what exactly was being proposed if we voted No has left us in the position we are now – piecemeal changes resulting from a half-arsed commission given a few weeks to try and throw enough bones at Scotland to shut us up. Oh, except those changes haven’t even come about yet.

    It’s likely that whatever we end up with puts Scotland in a far worse position than even the most pessimistic view of independence ever could have. Things devolved or not devolved for political reasons, leading to discrepancies and funding shortfalls. And this is possible because the media gave them a free ride. They never stopped to consider that, whatever someone may think of independence, a clean break is almost certainly better than continual tinkering.

    The minute unionists said a No vote wasn’t a vote for the status quo, any media worth its salt would have dogged them to spell out EXACTLY what a No vote was for, and demand that things be put in place to make sure it happened. More to the point, they would have pointed out that there was absolutely NOTHING stopping them from devolving powers X, Y and Z before the referendum even took place, since it was in their gift to do so.

    The media failed us completely. The problems that will beset Scotland between now and the day we finally vote for independence are on their heads.

  22. Dave MacIntyre says:

    At least journalists and the BBC have now given up the pretense of being neutral and we can throw some of these comments back at them.

    We are slowly gathering momentum and ammunition that we can use against them which is no bad thing.

    Sooner or later, the truth always comes out.

    I don’t often comment but I am on Wings daily and have been following the debate closely.

    I just wish I could scrap my TV licence as I have long hated the BBC but my teenage son seems to have the last word on that one.

    My preference would be to choose whether I take their particular channels or not rather than giving up the tele altogether but, like a lot of people, post referendum, I don’t listen to their news coverage anymore and that’s bound to hurt them too.

  23. CameronB Brodie says:

    Hope you don’t mind this experiment but here is a link to another discussion in response to this article. Fingers crossed that this doesn’t screw with the space-time continuum. 🙂

  24. dakk says:

    I can imagine Alex Massie sitting scribbling his article with tongue popping out,thinking’this will read like an honest insightful piece of journalism to feed the little people,and support our elite British view of the Scots’.

    Instead Stuart Campbell exposes Massie as being dishonest and blinkered,or maybe just not very bright.

    Read it and weep Alex Massie.

  25. galamcennalath says:

    “The BBC is ours and its job is to act as cheer leader for us!”, now admit the Unionists openly.

    In part, this is to also say, “It is ours so keep your grubby Jock paws off it!”

    I think this new open and clear position is much better, from an Indy prespective, than the previous line of, “Bias? Never at the BBC”.

    By the time we reach IndyRef2 perhaps most people, Yes and No supporters alike, will clearly understand whose side the BBC is on and that everything it spews has to be seen as NaeSayer propaganda.

    Progress, in an unexpected way, I think.

  26. David McCann says:

    I would recommend GA Ponsonby’s book London Calling: “How the BBC Stole the Referendum” [Kindle Edition]. Great read

    Available from Amazon for £1.99.

    You can also get it for your tablet by downloading the free app.

    Check it out here.

  27. Les Wilson says:

    Massie’s piece does not mention the unmentionables, like all the lies that were pushed by the Media and the BBC in particular.

    Not a mention of propaganda that we were deluged with. He picks his words carefully, we can brand him part of the machine he attempts to protect.

    You are seen, we know what you are, and it does not go down well with us. The BBC purport to support democracy, and it’s principles, the do not, but are rather the worlds biggest propagandists. Go write about that, or are you really scared to face the truth. GTF.

  28. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    So we have had HM Treasury flagrantly breaching its duty of neutrality and surreptitiously campaigning for a No vote using the Foreign Office and the Old Boys Network.

    HM Treasury also engineered RBS to menace moving their HQ in the even of a NO vote and leaking it to the Press thereby affecting the bank’s share price; an serious illegal act. They openly adfmitted after the Referendum that they had done so, because their higher duty was to preserve the State.

    We always knew that the BBC was acting as the propaganda arm of the British State and the extent of that, along with the inky fingered press, has been revealed by Professor Robertson’s studies and is detailed in his latest 100 page report.

    Finally a self professed “neutral” Scots journalist, used often by the BBC to give balance to commentary saying, that the BBC bias is to be applauded.

    There are no rules for that lot, nothing out of bounds. The Irish found out the hard way.

    These bastards will not give us up until they have bled us dry.

  29. Dr Jim says:

    Of course we could all vote Tory and give Scotland a taste of Ruthless Davidson for a few years

    See if they like that

    Give them the the party they think they really want,the real “Nasty Party” (did I spell that right) that’ll sort the BBC as well

    They’ll be begging for Freedom after that

  30. muttley79 says:

    The BBC in Scotland and broadcasting as a power will never be devolved to Holyrood short of independence. Predictions are a mug’s game but I can never see this happening bar indy.

  31. Training Day says:

    Y’know, strip away the many logical absurdities in Massie’s contortions and it boils down to this: that is quite simply a disgraceful piece for a supposedly free-thinking ‘journalist’ to pen.

  32. heedtracker says:

    It would have been wrong and a BBC dereliction of duty not to go after YES with acid scepticism!

    All just ust one more astonishingly offence piece of unionist shit. Or you won Britnats, get over it.

    What the BBC vote SLab Scotland creep show also try to excel at is completely erase, ignore, airbrush out any SNP MP’s and SNP MSP’s from their Scotland region coverage, unless ofcourse to monster them.

    The three BBC BetterTogether monkeys, Misinform, Lie, Ignore.

  33. Macart says:

    An apologist for state propaganda?

    Who knew?

    And he did it whilst misrepresenting the entire no campaign throughout the referendum too. Some feat by Massie, to claim black is white whilst Better Together and HM govts. stance are part of public record, but then who will hold him or them to account?

    These uncaring, unthinking, over inflated, over paid and over opinionated individuals are causing untold suffering amongst their own electorate, readerships and viewers. Politicians and the media metro set, my what a grand pairing they’ve made and oh what a heartbreaking disaster they’ve brought to the lives of so many.

    So, first Holyrood, then the councils and a manifesto commitment to tell them all to take a flying **** to themselves.

  34. Bill McDermott says:

    Paul Kavanagh, aka Wee Ginger Dug has a good piece on the ‘national broadcaster’ in today’s ‘National’. Scotland is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to broadcasting in self-governing territories.

    It is all part of London is Britain and Westminster is incomparable in representative democracies around the world. It sure is but not in the way Unionists mean it.

  35. call me dave says:

    Cosgrove on the Beattie programme made an excellent, cool headed and logical case for a better BBC Scottish news service a few minutes ago.

    Pointed out the double ‘news where you are’fiasco too making the case for a Scottish 6 programme as well as pointing out that this is not a devolved issue and under Westminster control.

    Made a much better fist of it than Hyslop earlier this morning.

    To have this discussed at all is very encouraging and would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Bring it on!

  36. sydthesnake says:

    see Darling & Mone got their prizes for services rendered
    they should fit into the HOL nicely, money for old rope



  37. louis.b.argyll says:

    We need help from the International community with it’s arms-length viewpoint.

    Our NATO protected ‘establishment’ is attempting ‘regime change’ in Scotland, by media subterfuge, to reverse and deny democratic change.

    Someone, with entitlement to do so, is complaining of lack of accountability and is twisted into an enemy of the state.

    This is beyond politics. The Independence movement has exposed an evil will…which stalks the corridors of power.


    Free us from the negativity of greed and superiority.

  38. unchillfiltered says:

    Commission a rolling ‘bias index’ for BBC political output in Scotland. I’d be delighted to give 100 quid a year to see them held to account by a properly set up watchdog. There must be academics and/or polling companies who could take this on.

  39. gordoz says:

    Pretty much agree with all said and fine points made Rev.
    BBC will not change thru either Lab/Tory control.
    Either Nicolas way or mass Yes cancellation of lic fee

  40. call me dave says:


    William Hague among 45 new peers in dissolution honours.
    Picture of Michelle too…lots to Mone about 🙁

  41. CameronB Brodie says:

    Doug Daniel
    Greater scrutiny of the Better Together pitch would surely have lead to the debunking of that popular urban myth re. ‘a positive case for the Union’. That might have proven problematic to Mr. Massie and the rest of team UKOK.

  42. Dr Ew says:

    I don’t feel it was unreasonable for the BBC and the media in general to approach the independence debate with the intention of greater scrutiny of the Yes camp’s case. The scale of change being proposed was profound and our Fourtb Estate would have been derelict not to test it from all angles; the burden was on us to articulate the principles and practicalities.

    That, however, was not what happened. Robinson’s cynical misrepresentation, misdirection and monstering was emblematic ofthe entire BBC editorial stance throughout, an attitude which only became more entrenched over the period. A healthy scepticism of a radical proposal is one thing; peddling paranoia and propaganda while claiming impartiality is quite another

    The great irony, of course, is that it all backfired so spectacularly and exposed the BBC and the British State for what it is.

  43. gillie says:

    All this makes it even more difficult for the BBC in Scotland.

    It is viewed with deep suspicion and growing hostility by Scots as the purveyors of untruths.

    The BBC has no future in Scotland, that is a truism that many in the BBC find very hard to take.

  44. orri says:

    There is a difference between biased questioning, biased reporting and outright lies.

    Nick Robinson asked a probing question which might even have been justified as unbiased question.

    He got a rather thorough answer which he seemingly didn’t accept and tried to rattle Salmond by persisting in posing the question again.

    Simple bias would have been to give a precis of the question and use a patsy to comment on the quality of the answer. No need for most viewers to judge for themselves. Not a lie as such.

    Alternatively simply brush it to one side and report on something else.

    When you outright lie you go beyond simple bias and, perhaps, wander into perjury such as when the police claimed Andrew Mitchell had refused to answer a question.

  45. R-type Grunt says:

    Good article Stu. Succinct & to the point as usual.

    Every time I read, hear or even think of Massie I’m reminded of that Badiel & Skinner sketch show way back. See thon creepy git in the smoking jacket with the strange fixation on boys? Aye, that.

  46. Spout says:

    The fact that they now feel comfortable disclosing these opinions makes me think that they feel we are fully back in our place with no chance of independence on the horizon.

  47. The Man in the Jar says:

    @CameronB Brodie
    at 12:45

    Seconded! 🙂

  48. Luigi says:

    muttley79 says:

    27 August, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    The BBC in Scotland and broadcasting as a power will never be devolved to Holyrood short of independence. Predictions are a mug’s game but I can never see this happening bar indy.

    Indeed, but let’s keep the pressure on. We want them to explain their opposition. If they are going to hold on to their (rapidly deflating) BBC ball, then they at least have to provide a reasonable excuse for denying us – preferably one that is above Primary 3 level.

  49. Jack Murphy says:

    OT. Dissolution Peerages 2015.
    From the Prime Minister’s Office
    10 Downing Street

    TORY:Michelle Mone
    LIBDEMS: Michael Bruce,former MP for Gordon
    Menzies Campbell,former MP for North East Fife
    LABOUR: Alistair Darling,former MP for Edinburgh South West.

    “All nominations were vetted for propriety by the House of Lords Appointments Commission”. 🙂

  50. HandandShrimp says:

    At least they are admitting that the media were biased 🙂

    That the media worked hand in glove with Better Together will, bit by bit, become apparent to all.

  51. Dcanmore says:

    Welcome to the new world order.

    The BBC, since 2010, and like other public arms-length institutions such as NHS, is slowly being taken over by UK government interests. The pattern is clear, you start parachuting like-minded right wing people into management positions, they usually have a background connection to the current government or the Party. The government then forces change through cost-cutting and starvation of funds. The like-minded then start weakening the structure within the confines of ‘saving money’.

    The outcome of all this is to cultivate public disdain at the incompetence of said organisation. There is a war going on at the BBC and the Tories are winning it. On top of that there is the face of the BBC, the presenters of programmes. Nick Robinson, Evan Davies, Andrew Neil and other Tories are given free reign to kick back at those they feel oppose them ideologically especially in social media. This works in the Government’s favour because it creates ill feeling towards the BBC and encourages outbursts of ‘bias’.

    Many feel, rightly, that the BBC is bias. But what we have to do is look at the organisation as a whole and not just the presenters-at-large. The BBC is a huge institution, many ordinary people who work in the background are there to do a good job then go home like the rest of us. When we talk about the ‘BBC’ we don’t think of them, we think of the presenters and their bosses.

    A good indicator of how the BBC is in turmoil is the fact that they employ 5000 journalists, and yet the journalistic output of the BBC is to my mind very small. BBC News 24 regurgitates the same half-dozen stories to death every 30 minutes. The BBC website for news content is pitiful. This is a deliberate contraction of news reporting regardless of the work being produced by the journalists, or you could say Government interference at management level.

    The BBC is funded to the tune of £3bn via the licence fee and sales income every year, yet its programme output is shrinking. It is the highest funded broadcaster in the world yet BBC Four’s content annually is now 74% made up of repeats and BBC Three is now going digital only. This is an ongoing contraction of the BBC’s output, or planned shrinkage. The Tories now plan to scrap the License Fee because it is ‘outdated’. What they are actually doing is reducing the influence of the BBC throughout the land and have it set up similar to the PBS in the United States.

    PBS is a public broadcaster that has shown a lot of BBC content over the years, in fact for a long time it was the only place that Americans could view BBC programming before the rise of the internet. However PBS funding is pitifully small, they rely on annual fundraising events and charity to keep going. This of course has an effect on the production of original content. I believe the Tories want to turn the BBC in a PBS style-set up. If you want it then send in a donation to keep it going! The good bits that sell around the world and make loads of cash would be sold off to the highest bidder (Sky, ITV or Viacom etc). Bear in mind the publications arm of the BBC has already been sold off.

    We all got angry at the BBC at some point during Indyref, either through protest, cancel of licence fee or grumbling on social media. But sadly what we are doing is being complicit with the Tories in bringing the BBC down. The current UK Government’s despises the BBC with a passion because they hate it being a huge publicly funded entity that they can’t control absolute for their ends. So they attack the BBC from multiple angles and will do so as long as they are in government. The BBC is to be torn down and reshaped into an anaemic shadow if its former self and that will happen, along with the NHS before the end of this government.

    I don’t want the BBC to be cut off at the knees and controlled by a narcissist Tory minister at their whim, but I do want it to change so it reflects fairly what is going on in the UK and the world today. I suppose more than ever we need our portion of the BBC to be devolved.

  52. john king says:

    Now heres a thing
    Gibraltar, they are always telling us its British and wheel out the English Bobby at the drop of a hat so why when the tory culture secretary Whittingdale says Scotland cant have its own BBC as the name British means (whatever the fuck he wants it to mean)we’re all in it together,
    but Gibraltar has
    A British protectorate but has the option of creating and viewing its own home grown news, for a wee rock with a population of 29.774
    Dunfermline on the other hand has 50.380 of a population, so there you have it small peninsula on end of Spain can have its own broadcaster but Scotland which generally identifies itself as less British than Gibraltarians cant?

    What are you afraid of Whittingdale?

  53. Phil Robertson says:

    “But this is a startlingly false premise. The Unionist camp fell over itself insisting that the status quo was NOT an option in the referendum”

    That is disingenuous. The question was about independence and, while a victory for YES had consequences, a victory for the NO vote has no such constitutional implications. That is not to deny that all sorts of undertakings were made but they were not on the ballot paper.

    While the followers of the Vow will have voted No, it is wrong to assume that ALL No voters supported it. The No camp would indeed include those who supported the status quo. So, for them, it was an option. And, in practice, in many areas the status quo is what has followed the referendum.

  54. ScottieDog says:

    Vintage massie,
    The status quo represents to my mind, things staying as they are. I haven’t read the times article (not good for blood pressure) but he seems to deliberately miss out gordon brown’s ( who wasn’t an official spokesman for BT) last ditch televised attempts to save the union.

    That wasn’t questioning the YES campaign and the white paper, it was blatant campaigning for BT and massie knows it.

    The problem is the MSM is just flooded with ‘truisms’.

    Now Mrs ScottieDog is hinting at getting our TV license back. Normally I’m very easy going but I have to put my foot down on this one…

  55. Kevie Helmet says:

    Due to the nature of a Scottish independence referendum and all it implies I don’t think it could ever be possible to have impartial reporting within the UK.

    This is probably gonna come over as a crazy idea but

    when the next referendum comes along couldn’t we make it a condition that none of the mainstream UK TV channels are allowed to report on it and a channel sanctioned by both side in the interests of impartiality set up to have exclusive rights to report on it for the duration of the campaign.

    Call it The Referendum Channel run and controlled by an outside/non UK neutral body

  56. Greannach says:

    I’m glad Massie wasn’t a journalist in 1980s Estonia.

  57. Fred says:

    A state broadcaster like a state newspaper was never a good idea, we have learned nothing from Hitler’s Deutsche Rundfunk, One People, One Reich, One Broadcasting.

    The BBC version of Goebbelsschnauze with its overpaid, self opinionated prima donna’s is not worth saving. Into the Clyde with the lot of them!

  58. msean says:

    Looks like an attempt to change the historical narrative. It used to be the case that the winners got to write/rewrite the history 1984 style,not now though. The internet is here. No box is big enough for the internet. 🙂

  59. Chitterinlicht says:

    Well said Stu.

    SNP were ALWAYS going to be on the back foot and subject to intense MSM scrutiny around White Paper and quite right to.

    To be fair they could have and should have planned better around the arguments on some key issues. The Wee Blue Book was a better more accessible summary of White Paper by a million miles or anything else that i saw.

    But the abject failure of MSM to scrutinise the NO campaign alternatives particularly as they were provided at last minute is what annoyed me so much (and still does). That said they did not have to. Simples

    If you think longer term though there is hope.

    That said by the time the next indyref comes along i will be looking to my State pension and there is no way i am risking that for an independent Scotland!


  60. Proud Cybernat says:

    “Indeed, the promise of the No camp was for “faster, safer and better change”

    Faster change? We would have been independent on 24th March next year. They have a little under 7 months then to make good the promise.

    Tick tock unionists, tick tock.

  61. Stevew says:

    BBC didn’t just passively ‘scrutinise’ YES. They were active and enthusiastic peddlers of Better Together’s scare campaign, abusing the trust of the Scottish people.

  62. Burnbraeandy says:

    “Lickspittle” is good, but clear winner is “Fannybaws”.

  63. Cactus says:

    So looks like it’s now confirmed..

    “..the official Unionist line is discernibly changing from “How dare you suggest the BBC is biased?” to “Of course the BBC is biased, what are you going to do about it?””

    Yeah, enough is enough.. what you gonna do about it ‘remaining bias-funders?’ (That goes out to everybuddy receiving / paying for the live BBC signal, not just us bonnie Scots.)

    The BBC is one of the largest crowd-funded organisations that ‘appears’ to pro-actively work against Scotlands best interests, and they don’t even offer / reward you with any perks for your expensive annual contribution!

    A famous insect once said, “always let your conscience be your guide.”

    The choice, as ever, is yours.

  64. Doug says:

    The “jocking” of the unionist parties. The drift of policy towards the wider yes agenda. Admission of media bias (hopefully leading to general acceptance of same). Eradication of funding sources for the no campaign. Increased intolerance in rUK for Scottish affairs. These are all GOOD and necessary steps shaping the battlespace for Indyref2.

    Don’t attack him for this. Agree with him that its a valid perspective and argue whether its desirable that we should be required to fund media taking this stance under penalty of law.

    Each click on the ratchet takes us one step closer.

  65. Capella says:

    @ ahundredthidiot 12.53

    No fear, Newsnet has already counted the “British” titles for you in February 2014:

    “Research carried out by Newsnet Scotland has revealed that in that last year of the Labour/Lib Dem administration at Holyrood there were just 25 separate TV broadcasts of shows which had the words Britain or British in the title.

    However for the period between Jan 2013 and Jan 2014, that number had risen to a whopping 516.”

  66. Dal Riata says:

    The Right Honorable John Whittingdale OBE, Conservative MP for Malden and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has been ok-yahing for the BBC.

    How do I know that? Because BBC Scotland’s Lunchtime News told me so! That was nice of them, so it was…

    I can’t remember the exact words he used, but it involved the likes of, “The BBC is a British institution”, and “Scotland voted to remain British in last year’s referendum”, blah, blah, bloody blah…

    Just checked the BBC’s own website and it states:

    At the Guardian Edinburgh Television Festival on Wednesday, the UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale stressed that the BBC was a “British” institution.

    Yes, and…?

    Ahhh. So they omitted to tell us about Whittingdale’s UKOK, Better Together, you-voted-No-you-suckers-so-get-back-to-your-caves-Scottish-plebs-ness….

    How… unsurprising!

  67. carjamtic says:

    People can’t make informed decisions as voters if they don’t have access to the requisite information,but if the media are biased they won’t get information that is balanced.

    Even if the media was well balanced people know that information that the government discloses to the media may not be.

    The BBC and MSM decided the people of Scotland didn’t deserve balanced information,why?,what misguided belief caused them to abandon democracy ?…..Jesus wept.

  68. scotsbob says:

    I know it’s not relevant to this topic but just seen the Honours List. Darling, Alexander, Mone, all got their 30 pieces of silver

    Anyone surprised?

  69. Iain More says:

    BBC rid of get Skywalker.

    I kind of expect the guff’s in London etc to behave as Brit Nats, well that is what they are. It is the quizzers staffing Pacific Quay that I really cant abide. Parasites all, dependent on benefits paid for by Scots tax payers.

    BBC rid of get Skywalker.

  70. handclapping says:

    @John King
    “Its six thirty and now the News from Lochgelly” … parting comment from the Six Fife Special from the KoFBC in sunny Methil.
    Ah, dreams 😀

  71. Capella says:

    Could all this furore be to preempt Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the Alternative MacTaggart tonight?

  72. david martin says:

    The only solution to the BBC is to stop funding it and let it either away. That is something everybody can and should do.

  73. Macnakamura says:

    Luigi says:
    27 August, 2015 at 12:49 pm
    Alex Massie:

    “The British Broadcasting Corporation – the clue is in the name…”

    The only excuse for not devolving some control of broadcasting to Holyrood is that it is the “British” Broadcasting Corporation.

    One upon a time, I had a discussion with Head Teacher about parents’ meetings.
    It was suggested to her that one of the meetings could be convened at the end of the school day as this may suit some parents.
    She insisted that Parents Evenings could not be at any time other than in the evening because they were called Parents Evenings !

  74. Dan Huil says:

    Any pretence of political impartiality in Scotland on the part of the bbc has been blown away in the last few days by bbc, and other unionist, journalists.
    Thank god for sites like WOS. Thank god more and more people in Scotland are looking to the internet to find informative analysis about politics in Scotland.

  75. Illy says:

    This is possibly a major win.

    No longer are they arguing that the BBC was not and is not biased against Scotland.

    They are now arguing that it is right for them to be biased against Scotland.

    They’ve admitted that they’re biased. Now we just need to trumpet this far and wide, in their own words.

    I wonder if they’ve thought this through?

  76. Capella says:

    Where is Mr Peffers?

    He has told us countless times that we are all British by virtue of living in the British Isles. So the clue-is-in-the-name BBC is our BBC and we want it to reflect our culture and current affairs too. It is not London’s BBC.

    How ignorant these colonial journalists are.

    Give us our £320 m back and we will run a proper public service broadcaster.

  77. Clootie says:

    …it is OK for the British media to be biased and support the union. That is what Massie and Co are saying.

    We will therefore never have balanced reporting. This is not journalism it is state propaganda.

    Thank goodness for the Internet and the decay in newspaper sales.

  78. ahundredthidiot says:

    Sorted the World out today over a beer. 2 things.

    Party members to vote on indy ref 2 with 80% ‘yes’ target to include it in manifesto ’16 – to be delivered during next term.

    And Marmite being worth a 5% swing. Harsh reality is that if it hadn’t been for threat of divorce, my misses would’ve voted no, why?, Salmond effect. NS can swing 5% overnight, easy.

    Previously a skeptic about rushing to a potentially fatal second ref, I now believe we need Indy ref 2, sooner rather than later.

    Before any troll tries to capitalise……it was one beer!

    And thanks to Capella

  79. robertknight says:

    Just ‘Massie junior’ taking over the mantel of conduit for Unionist propaganda from ‘Massie senior’.

    Move along people, nothing to see here.

  80. ahundredthidiot says:

    Just heard from a reliable source.

    British troops training on mock built up areas modelled on Glasgow City Centre for dealing with insurgents.

    All leave cancelled for weekend of 19 September.

    Well!…..if its OK for the BBC to lie and mislead….why can’t I?

  81. David McDowell says:

    If I hear another clever clogs mindlessly parroting the phrase “the clue is in the name” I’m going to give up on politics altogether.

    The assumption that other people are too stupid to notice the word “British” or understand its implications, has now become terminally boring.

  82. Proud Cybernat says:

    The ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’.

    “We’re ‘Great Britain’ so naw, yae cannae have yer ain parliament! The clue is in the name.”

    Anyone see a problem in that statement?

  83. Robert Louis says:

    So, it’s official, I was right all along to describe the blatantly biased, anti Scottish, propagandist BBC, as the blatantly biased, anti Scottish propagandist BBC. No better than cold war Pravda, or the state broadcaster of North Korea.

    In many ways, this is good news. Let us write it large, it’s official the BBC is biased against Scottish independence. Come the next referendum, there can be NO PRETENCE that the BBC is giving the facts. They have effectively admitted their own bias.

    In many ways, the unionists have shot themselves in the foot with this nonsense. Kind of helps strengthen (as Rev points out above) the case for this;

    Scotland has no need for the London colonial broadcaster called the BBC.

  84. michael diamond says:

    Wonder when future generations in an independent scotland look back. What will they think of these vile creatures who would sell and betray their nation. Not a legacy i’d like to be remembered by!.

  85. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Dave McIntyre 1.13pm Its a new one on me A bit of paper acting as a Arial,Im on 28th love letter,but they will get them all back at the next Bbc Demo.


  86. Taranaich says:

    Mr Massie’s entire “the BBC is there to challenge the government” is all predicated on the idea that the BBC even attempts to challenge the government on the most important agendas. Yet, as we all know, it is not just the union the BBC completely failed to challenge: where is the constant haranguing of Ian Duncan Smith’s welfare “reforms”? Where is the coverage of the hundred thousand-strong marches against austerity and NHS privatisation? Why is it left to Australia to feature merciless examination of high-profile sexual abuse by dead government ministers, let alone those serving?

    Case in point, here’s a piece from March 2014:

    Thus the BBC is not, as I say, a referee. It is simultaneously inclined to criticise almost anything the government proposes while also favouring, instinctively if rarely explicitly, the status quo. Knee-jerk opposition goes hand in hand with a preference for the devil we happen to know now.

    The BBC is big on settled will and suspicious of radicalism, no matter where that radicalism springs from. Which is why eurosceptics, libertarians, Scottish nationalists and Trotskyites each have cause to criticise the corporation and complain it is biased against them. It is.

    But so, mind you, are the public.

    A year after he said this, 50% of the Scottish public voted for Scottish nationalists, ending up with 56 of 59 MPs, more than double the amount of votes of any other single party. Is the Scottish public now against itself?

  87. Stoker says:

    The Rev wrote:
    “the promise of the No camp was for “faster, safer and better change” than independence would provide… The SNP at least laid out a 650-page prospectus for their offer – the “Better Together” manifesto was a few lines of meaningless waffle cobbled together in a panic on the front of the Daily Record days before the vote.”

    Excellent, that’s a keeper!
    I’m already stocking my arsenal for the next referendum and excellent factual quotes such as this will come in handy for leaflet/poster drops etc – delivering factual knockout blows!


  88. robertknight says:

    #michael diamond

    In their defence, their “nation” isn’t ‘Scotland’, it’s the ‘UK of GB & NI’, above all else.

    ‘Scotland’ is to them what ‘Midlothian’ or ‘Angus’ is to you or I.

    It’s why I’ve never understood those who claim that they are equally both ‘British’ and ‘Scottish’.

    These days, I claim to be neither; never considered myself to be the former, now too ashamed to admit to being the latter.

    ‘European’ will suffice TFN.

  89. Paula Rose says:

    Here’s a link to the article by wee ginger dug – he gives examples of public broadcasting across europe, recommend you read if you haven’t already…

  90. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    C’mon Gibralter!

    Tell us how you did it!

  91. Paul says:

    At a general election, the sitting government is the status quo. Does that mean journalists should only scrutinise the opposition as they are proposing to change things?

  92. fillofficer says:

    the blue tories have infiltrated the labour party since it began & still do, as recent events have proved without shadow of a doubt. lord darling….jeez

  93. Grouse Beater says:

    Massie Ferguson is a … tractor. 🙂

  94. James123 says:

    Nicola Sturgeon made a speech tonight putting forward the case that BBC Scotland should get a proportionate share of the license fee adding that there should be new and distinct Scottish TV and radio channels.

    The Scottish Labour Party responded by saying “Scottish programmes for Scottish people? Fuck that.”

    A spokesman for the Lib Dems said “Promoting Scottish culture is the same as Nazism”

  95. Robert Peffers says:

    @Luigi says: 27 August, 2015 at 12:49 pm:

    “The only excuse for not devolving some control of broadcasting to Holyrood is that it is the “British” Broadcasting Corporation.”

    I keep pointing this out but I’ll do so again.

    The Establishment has always been like those old Wild West Ghost Towns. You know the ones I mean, They were mainly single story log built units with double story false fronts to make them seem more impressive. They stand now deserted and empty with the only movements the odd gopher, rattlesnake or wind blown tumbleweed.

    The Establishment too has always also had its false front to make it look more impressive. In this case it is their claims to be Britain when all they are in fact is the United Kingdom. The Establishment’s gophers, rattlesnakes and tumbleweeds are all real enough though. Not to mention the many sleekit rats of that southern airt.

    The propaganda wing of the United Kingdom was created on 18 October 1922 and the Establishment typically gave it the overly grandiose title of, “The British Broadcasting Corporation”, even although the United Kingdom Government did not control the entire British Isles.

    The Channel Islands having been independent since the 13 century, Man also independent and the Irish Free State becoming The Republic of Ireland also in 1922. So the BBC has always just been, “A”, British Broadcasting Corporation and never, “The”, British Broadcasting Corporation.

    The Establishment itself has always been only a false fronted edifice. Yet Cameron claims he is the British PM and the UK armed forces as the British army, navy and air force. Even, “Magrit”, Curran claims we Scots will cease to be British if we dare to, “separate”, ourselves from the United Kingdom. Chancers the lot of them. Mind an no pit yer fit in yon gopher hole.

  96. North chiel says:

    Nicola, very “generous and diplomatic” in her statement
    today ” the BBC is NOT institutionally biased ”
    I rather suspect Professor Robertson could very well
    provide contrary evidence .
    However, AT LAST the penny finally seems to have dropped
    as regards how the Westminster “state propaganda apparatus”
    Is the “real enemy” of Scottish democracy and this is what ensured
    Our “better together” future on 18-9-2014

  97. Robert Peffers says:

    dakk says: 27 August, 2015 at 1:14 pm:

    “I can imagine Alex Massie sitting scribbling his article with tongue popping out,thinking’this will read like an honest insightful piece of journalism to feed the little people,and support our elite British view of the Scots’.”

    Anyone who imagines this is a recent thing best think again. Way back in the dim and distant there was a quite militant wing in the independence movement. The Scottish National Liberation Army was/is a tiny but long-lived organisation responsible for dozens of bombs and hoaxes, including a string of letter-bombings. Their original targets were the electricity pylons carrying Scottish generated power over the borders and attempted demolition of the BBC TV transmitter towers.

    So even then it was realised that not only was Scottish power being robbed but that the BBC were Establishment mouthpieces. Be it noted the SNP wanted no part of such violent methods.

  98. Stoker says:

    @ North chiel (10.29pm).

    Correct! And here’s the latest from Newsnet.Scot

  99. call me dave says:


    “How did it come to this”

    I know but we are where we are. All seething!

    But the race is still on. 🙂

  100. willie says:

    As I have said before the BBC is a weapon of the British state every bit as much as a soldier fighting to retain colonial rule.

    Germany in the 40s had it’s broadcasts to England and its patently clear that the BBC will not change.

    It’s a weapon against the Scouts and we slums recognise the BBC for what it is and react accordingly.

  101. Robert McDonald says:

    In reply to ahundredthidiot’s question I just had a rough and ready look at the numbers of programmes produced by the BBC with “Brit” (to take in Britain and British) in the title and from 2000 to 2010 they bumped along at one or two a year and then from 2007 (anyone know what happened that year?) went to five from then on.

    Remember this is just the actual production and some would be series on every week so the actual numbers viewable would have been more.

    Makes for an interesting chart and only covers the BBC

  102. david agnew says:

    All it takes is a few short steps and you are done with it.

    Ditching them and UK print media has done wonders for my digestion.

  103. Breeks says:

    Serious question…
    Is there a practical way to declare a limited UDI over a section of full sovereignty? What physically stops the Scottish Government setting aside some of its budget, or even just giving tacit approval for a “pirate” broadcasting service?
    Of course, there will be a legal flurry of claim and counter claim, but can you imagine the political capital to be made by Westminster denying Scotland’s right to broadcast its own programming?

  104. Alan says:

    Massie’s comments show just how arrogant the press have become. On a par with members of Parliament at Westminster they seem to think that once they’ve got the job they are then entitled to tell the population what their opinion should be. This is the tail wagging the dog.

    When Massie gets into his sermon and states there was nothing to challenge the No side on during the referrendum, he is stating the status quo is the preferred option and that change is to be feared and defeated. Is he therefore by default a supporter of all that is currently happening as far as domestic and foreign policy go. Massie & Co must then support welfare cuts, zero hours contracts, wars in the Middle East and support of states with dubious human rights records, to name but a few, oh and press censorship?

    The press in the main are therefore the enemy of change, which side of your fence that that puts them on is obviously a personal matter.

  105. Bill says:

    When will you realise it’s all over?

  106. clashcityrocker says:

    Love the title to this post Rev. I feel moved to respond with “There’s a Tower in the Heart of London”.

  107. Fiona says:

    @ Bill.

    What is all over, Bill?

  108. yesindyref2 says:

    I’ve never rated Massie, he seems incapable of joining two coherent sentences together without them being contradictory. His Times piece is a classic example:

    “Paranoia – not too strong a word – about the media in some nationalist circles has reached impressive depths”

    [ Paranoia: unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people ]

    but then:

    “In other words, the press was right to be “biased” against the SNP and Yes Scotland. That’s its job.”

    Total contradiction with his use of the word “paranoia”. It’s not paranoia if it’s justified.

    Are we sure he’s not a paid agent of the SNP? He had a lot of exposure prior to the General Election in which the SNP won 56 seats, pity he was relatively unknown during the Ref.

  109. yesindyref2 says:

    Massie’s article does, of course, show that he thinks the BBC and the media WAS biased against Independence, the SNP and YES Scotland.

    He might try to weasel out of it by saying he put the word “biased” in quotes, but his whole article is about WHY it should be biased, not whether or not it is.

    I think that’s the most important thing of all.

  110. Will Podmore says:

    The choice in the referendum was between keeping our nation united or splitting it into two. Those who wanted a split lost, 55/45.

  111. heedtracker says:

    The choice in the referendum was between keeping our nation united or splitting it into two. Those who wanted a split lost, 55/45.

    Or they voted for that historic The VOW fraud Wil Plodmore. Crash Brown raged/begged vote NO for dev-max and a federal UKOK. But it’s all turned out to be worse than a pack of teamGB lies, with paye tax devo designed to cause as much harm to Scotland as possible and by pure chance, SNP

    Other news

    Googled BBC Scotland, M9 crash, tragedy and hundreds of BBC TV, radio, online reports on the accident and none mention that it was the non emergency number used by the caller reporting it in.

    Well none so far, there are hundreds of BBC attacks on SNP and the Scottish police and Sturgeon all about this one tragedy so maybe there’s a fact or two in there, or probably not.

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