The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

We need to talk about BBC Scotland

Posted on March 05, 2015 by

In modern Scotland, you’ll struggle to find a politician from any party who won’t agree with two propositions: that Scotland is a nation and that devolution has, on balance, been a positive experience.

Debates about Scottish nationality are rare these days too. A substantial majority of Scots define themselves as “Scottish only”. Even UKIP has quietly ditched its plan to abolish Holyrood and now talks of forming a government.

But for all this consensus, Scotland’s inability to fully represent itself on the airwaves and onscreen remains one of the most critical issues we must now face up to.


The referendum created an eclectic range of alternative media. But, whether we like them or not, large media institutions like the BBC maintain a reach both online and offline that only a very select number of new platforms can begin to rival.

No single project can address this problem. Only a systematic renewal of Scotland’s media landscape will change the current reality of managed decline.

With the notable exception of BBC Alba, since the Scotland Act was passed in 1998, the development of a genuinely national media for Scotland has scarcely progressed. This is a glaring anomaly whose roots can be found in the act itself. The original decision not to devolve control over broadcasting has left a faultline that goes to the heart of Scottish society.

Much was made during the referendum campaign of the BBC’s pro-union stance. Coverage by the likes of Nick Robinson and Andrew Neil often seemed openly hostile towards independence. But, puerile as their behaviour often was, focusing on individuals actually misses a deeper structural point about London’s grip on broadcasting. The BBC is the glue holding together a Britain that is breaking.

Many Scots, brought up with an attachment to the country’s biggest cultural institution, were shocked at the inability of the BBC in Glasgow and London to properly understand the campaign. But such outrage misses a bigger point. A national media plays a pivotal role in constituting the national community and the nation state. Expectations that the British Broadcasting Corporation would act impartially on the story of the potential collapse of Britain were completely misguided.

But don’t take my words for it. Consider instead those of Director General John Birt, the man at the helm of the BBC when New Labour set about creating devolved legislatures in Cardiff and Edinburgh.

Originally there was a question mark over whether broadcasting would be devolved. For many, the case for doing so was self-evident and democratic. Yet Birt’s 2002 autobiography, The Harder Path, contains some startling revelations about how top brass at the corporation worked with politicians to prevent this. Led by Birt, it lobbied senior Labour figures in Westminster to ensure that broadcasting was not devolved.

Devolution was viewed as an existential threat by the BBC, which is why it played such a defensive role when faced with the potential fragmenting of the British state. However, Birt’s disdain wasn’t just reserved for nationalists (though he does somewhat hilariously describe 1998 as “the high water mark of Scottish nationalism”). It was more broadly directed at a consensus within civic Scotland, in particular the broad campaign to establish a fully fledged flagship news opt-out, the “Scottish Six”.

The former Director General is triumphant about winning the ensuing “ferocious battle” with colleagues in Scotland over this issue. As Birt explains:

“As devolution loomed as a reality, and the emotional temperature rose, BBC executives in Glasgow, the Broadcasting Council, the Scottish media and even Scottish civil servants all began to support the case for an independent Six.

I resolved to ensure that this potent alliance was not joined by all the main political parties in Scotland in particular the powerful cohort of Scottish Labour politicians.”

Birt’s overwhelming disdain for the ceding of any autonomy to Scotland goes way beyond institutional conservatism (in other areas he was a controversial moderniser). Rather, this was a remarkably successful attempt by the leader of the BBC to align the organisation with a unionist agenda at the outset of devolution. He would go on to find powerful allies in his campaign against an opt-out news programme:

“I wrote to, and then went to see, the new Prime Minister Tony Blair. I expounded not just from the BBC’s perspective but from the nation’s. I argued that we were one of the few institutions which bound Britain together. BBC news was iconic.

Opting out of the Six would be a powerful symbol of Scotland moving away from UK-wide institutions. The end of a single, common experience of UK news, would, moreover, encourage separatist tendencies. […] Blair was quick, as ever, to grasp the case. ‘Let’s fight’ he said.”

It’s worth keeping in mind what Birt and the powerful converts to his evangelical British broadcasting agenda were actually fighting. The Scottish Six was a modest proposal by any standards. That a country worthy of a parliament was so categorically denied a flagship news programme tells us a great deal about the link between the concentration of media power and the continuity of the state itself.

Ever since that crucial opportunity in 1998 was lost in the face of unionist intransigence, arguments for the development of an authentic and serious Scottish media have fallen on deaf ears. In fact swingeing cuts at BBC Scotland have destroyed standards and morale at Pacific Quay.

Perversely, serious journalism in Scotland has declined just as representative democracy started to come of age. Few deny the health of the two are interlinked in the longer term. Yet, in 2006 another Director General again ruled out the Scottish Six option. The 2008 report of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission found cross-party support but was largely ignored when it went south.

The BBC’s controversial coverage of the referendum was partly the result of a deliberate and systematic neglect of Scotland since devolution. It’s not the lack of stories or talent that suffocates our national media. It’s the fact that the ability to produce vigorous current affairs coverage in Scotland has long been viewed as contrary to the interests of the British state.

However, if civic Scotland could get behind quality news programming in 1998 and 2008, it can do so again. There is common cause to be made with all who want to reverse media decline, whatever their position on the constitution. This includes journalists working for a range of organisations, including the BBC.

Blaming individual journalists for the media’s failings is like blaming workers on a factory floor for the quality of its produce. The problem lies, as ever, further up the food chain. The wounding experience of 1998 has left a management at BBC Scotland that is trapped in a regional mindset. It has accepted a “more with less” culture and the steep decline in prestige that goes with it.

There is no simple solution to this problem. But if there is a route out, it can’t simply be about trying to create a ScotNat media to confront the unionist BBC. Instead, in arguing for a vigorous, quality, media for Scotland this time, we need to make our demands more compelling, more precise and ground them in a genuine, popular campaign for a national media in Scotland.

There is very little evidence that the unionism inherent to the BBC has shifted after 17 years of a Scottish Parliament. In contrast, a Scotland that’s now full of consensus and confidence about its nation status and its democratic institutions is thirsting for a media to properly represent it.

But such a transfer of power always has to start from below: institutions never change unless the people demand it. It’s time to start getting organised.

Christopher Silver is currently working on The Case For A Scottish Media, a guide to Scotland’s media deficit and how we address it. You can support this project here.

Print Friendly

    3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. 05 03 15 11:42

      We need to talk about BBC Scotland | Speymouth

    2. 05 03 15 12:03

      We need to talk about BBC Scotland | Politics S...

    3. 07 03 15 10:48

      We need to talk about BBC Scotland | Scotland (...

    175 to “We need to talk about BBC Scotland”

    1. Croompenstein says:

      Good article Christopher but it’s hard not to point the finger at individuals like Jackie Bird, Eleanor Bradford, Sarah Smith, Jim Naughtie et al when they are in themselves so blatantly pro-union and anti-SNP

    2. Stoker says:

      Sunday 15th March @ 2pm.

      Be there or forever haud yer wheesht.

    3. indigo says:

      If STV have the balls, it could quietly step up and deliver what the BBC refuse to. It would have the support of half the population of Scotland if it did so.

    4. Lollysmum says:

      What an excellent post, thanks. Without an impartial media Scots are always going to be decieved into believing WM lies.

    5. yerkitbreeks says:

      As in business the process of change is a long and difficult one to manage. One of the reasons the Referendum has been essential in opening our eyes to the inadequacies of the State Media was so many attended radio / televised debates and saw at first hand how the BBC ( or its agents ) sifted attendees and their questions to produce what it perceived as balance.

      This continues, of course, every morning on BBC radio here.

    6. mogabee says:

      We’ve done one ground level campaign, next one should be a doddle!

    7. X_Sticks says:

      Excellent analysis Chris.

      The biggest hurdle in the independence debate is the BBC. We are well aware that the newsroom in BBC Scotland has another element working against us; namely the ‘Scottish’ (Glasgow) labour party cabal that runs the show.

      Unless we can find a way to bring pressure to change that we will always have an uphill struggle to get our message out. They will do everything in their power to prevent us doing that.

      I hope the upcoming protest at Pathetic Queue will be well attended but as always folk will probably find they have other things to do on the day. Unless thousands turn up the protest will be ignored by the MSM.

    8. chris kilby says:

      Excellent article. And an unassailable argument. It deserves to set the agenda for another wide-ranging debate about the state (and future) of the media in Scotland.

    9. Fiona says:

      I agree with this article

      What we need to remember is that in fact Birt was right. The BBC is indeed one of the institutions which binds “Britain” into one “UK” and all nations need to have emblems of nationhood and a shared national tale of who and what we are. It is no surprise that those who work for the BBC are wedded to a conception of Britain as UK: they would not be employed if they did not. As Chomsky pointed out to Andrew Marr long ago, there is no need for direct interference with a journalist’s freedom: all you have to do is ensure that those who get a job will support your position of their own free will.

      The BBC is institutionally incapable of seeing this any other way, for those reasons. It will not change, because it dare not recognise that the UK is not one nation and cater to that reality.

      I am a supporter of independence for Scotland. I am not naive enough to expect those who oppose it to do things which will further my aim in that respect.

      That is not to say that a root and branch change is impossible, but it will take more than devolution of Scottish broadcasting: it will take a complete overhaul of recruitment so that those who get jobs are not steeped in British Nationalism (and neoliberal economics)

    10. fermerfaefife says:

      This must happen – even on a non cultural level if Scottish Sports (not just football) received a proper share of licence fee then that money and exposure would flow through the sport and increase interest and participation – healthier people and more sense of nationhood would be the result . Similarly with the cultural arts and spoken languages.
      The view of the world from a Scottish perspective is also markedly different to the southern Uk – You can look at Nicola Sturgeons debate on Questiontime when trident wasn’t even on the radar of the English politicians. Our views on immigration and EU is also different yet we have to get London views rammed down our throats by the six o clock news. Our view has to be represented and catered for.
      It is correct in so many levels to have a Scottish Broadcasting service funded by a Scottish Licence fee.

    11. Footsoldier says:

      Slightly o/t but interesting to note that the Scottish Daily Mail, Courier, Sun and Scotsman do not like the latest Ashcroft poll and consequently it does not feature in their main headlines. They are just so predictable.

      If the GE result turns out as the polls predict, there must come a point when these papers realise that their daily onslaught against the SNP is not helping their diminishing sales.

    12. Bob Mack says:

      I agree with Christopher in every sense.One of the first moves in any coup is to take over television and radio stations ,not only to push your own propaganda,but to ensure you opponent remains silent and unable to mobilise mass support.Thais is exactly what the “Establishment did,and continues to do in Scotland.We have all heard it for ourselves.
      Until we have journalism which is unlinked to Party Political need then this situation will remain.Thankfully the ordinary people like you and I have partially circumvented this blockade utilising Social Media,and we are able to remain co-ordinated to a degree.Many more people however remain shackled to the mainstream media for information.Long live the banana republic of the U.K.—–NOT.

    13. Big Jock says:

      BBC are doing what they have always done. When faced with a threat to their cosy dominance. They close down communication and prevent debate.

      They in their own words, have tried to hold the UK together by preventing devolution of the news. To hold a nation against it’s will, in the hope that said nation will come back to the fold. Is a fundamentally flawed and undemocratic way to behave.

      You cannot hold a nation together by force. This leads to resentment and bitterness. The nation will eventually spread it’s wings whether they like it or not. Hiding under the covers is something the BBC do over and over again. The Saville scandal reflects an organisation that is corrupt to the core.

      It’s run by old men and the British state. Time we did something as a nation to change that.

      45 SNP MP’S at Westminster would make change happen whether BBC like it or not. They only have months left of this shambles in Scotland. We don’t need to protest as the SNP will make sure it happens.

    14. Grouse Beater says:

      BBBC Scotland are entrenched, those who are not true blue Unionist huggers are fearful of their jobs should Scotland regain nationhood. In the task of protecting careers they joined forces to undermine a democratic plebiscite.

      There was a time I thought it practical simply to absorb BBC staff into a Scottish Broadcasting Service, but after recent events I would not give a fig for any of them. They can take their chances.

      In other words, I disagree about whom to blame. All should feel ashamed. You have, we all have the opportunity to stand up to bosses and say enough is enough. If that fails you can still withdraw your labour. If you do not, then you are helping to propel a phony democracy.

      A good essay, but all the signs were there for all to see that BBC would do the dirty. They are after all, a ‘state’ broadcaster, the British State broadcaster.

    15. Footsoldier says:

      If the SNP gain enough seats to hold the balance of power, the most important thing on the negotiating table (more important than Trident)is to have broadcasting devolved to Scotland, especially the BBC.

      Only the then can we have fairness and balance in the Scottish media. It would also do away with our daily diet of listening to so called national news that only applies to England.

    16. Grouse Beater says:

      It’s hard not to point the finger at individuals like Jackie Bird, Eleanor Bradford, Sarah Smith, Jim Naughtie et al

      Agreed, Croompenstein.

      I lost count of presenters and journalists in alarm of the consequences of a Yes vote, letting slip the loaded question, “What can we do about it?”

    17. kininvie says:

      I’m not sure that devolution of broadcasting, welcome though it would be, would solve the problem of BBC Scotland. The BBC’s problem is its failure to see what is going on under its nose, and that in turn is due to an unshakeable complacency.

      I cite two pieces of evidence. Here is an excerpt from the Trust’s minutes of 25th Sept 2014, under ‘Scotland post referendum’:

      The Director-General said he considered that the BBC’s journalism had been of the highest order, providing excellent reporting for audiences in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. The Acting Chairman thanked the
      BBC staff who had been involved in the coverage both on the day of the vote, and in the months and years preceding.

      This is despite the ‘Purpose remit survey for Scotland’ (Autumn 2013 – latest available) showing that in answer to:

      ‘The BBC helps me understand politics in my nation/region’, where the performance score fell by twelve
      percentage points to its lowest level since the start of the study. (5.3)

      That was a year before the referendum, and it would be no surprise to find responses to this year’s survey (to be published July?)to have fallen further off a cliff….

      No doubt the BBC will scratch its collective head over the figures, but will fail to find a solution because it simply doesn’t understand the problem, and will write off the bolshy Jocks in another orgy of self-congratulation over its election coverage. And there’s no evidence that BBC Scotland does not share this mentality.

    18. Stoker says:

      Excellent article Christopher, thank you very much.

      If this is the quality of ‘guest articles’ the Rev has in mind –
      we’re in for a few treats.

      Thanks once again.

    19. Almannysbunnet says:

      Christopher what an excellent read. I confess this is the first I have heard of your campaign. I notice that your deadline for funding is today. I suggest you extend it a little bit longer as I’m sure the exposure to Wings will garner you extra support.

    20. velofello says:

      Transfer of power always has to start from below? Transfer of attention and interest more like.

      “I’m not paying to be lied to, that would be stupid of me.” was my response to the BBC subcontracted reps enquiring why I’d stopped paying the BBC license fee.

      Seems I’m one of many that are no longer customers, and the BBC’s solution isn’t to consider why the drop in license payers but to campaign for a broadcasting levy on all households.

      Then consider the prospect of a Tory/Labour government of “unity” should the SNP win a landslide of seats in the coming general election. What then?

      Unopposed State politics thanks to a corrupted FPTP voting; a State funded and controlled TV and radio; zero hour contracts, or else for those “below”.

      The “below” need to get started by voting out every Unionist MP in Scotland, then we will have a democratic deficit in Scotland for the world to see.

    21. Flower of Scotland says:

      Great article Chris!

      If there is only one Demo you can go on please make it this one! It is so important. Other countries seem to be able to get thousands to Demos why not Scotland? There is still a lethargy, hoping others will do it.

      March 15th, 2-4 pm meeting at George Square and walking to Pacific Quay. It will be fun too so bring the kids and flags etc.

      We will never get Independence until we have our own Broadcasters!

      And beware STV, you look like being next the way you are going with “Scotland Tonight”!

    22. Eppy says:

      Just came across this quote last night.

      “They were out to fool the country for the country’s benefit and no country takes that sort of trick too well.”

      It comes from a book written in 1932 by Nevil Shute called The Lonely Road, and it features and attempt to rig a general election. (Basically a right wing plot to bring guns into the country and plant them in socialist South Wales and “discover” them just before the election.)

      A second quote a few pages later also rings true , especially if you change England to Scotland (and maybe Conservative to Westminster.)

      “You will be accused of having attempted to bias this election with a trick, to swindle the whole of England with faked propaganda in the Conservative interest.”

      Just a novel written over 80 years ago now, but we must still beware of the possibility of further dirty tricks to come.

    23. galamcennalath says:

      An excellent appraisal of the BBC at an institutional and senior management level highlighting how it is failing Scottish democracy. And, how that situation has developed.

      While I agree with what is said, there is another level of bias at work … other comments also point this out.

      A number of individuals, people literally in the public’s eyes, display blatant pro Unionist bias. Since the Labour party is the only significant Unionist party, it is difficult to deduce how much bias is party political, how much pro-Union, and how much both!

      This level of in-our-faces bias must go beyond those individuals, though. Those with immediate responsibility for formatting, production, choosing topics etc etc must be singing from that same hymn sheet.

      Yes, their masters are pro-British State, but those on our screens, are they being directed from on high? Or, acting to their own group agendas?

    24. Grendel says:

      A good article, but let’s not try to get the likes of Bird off the hook. They are enthusiastically unionist and vehemently anti independence. Lines attacking Scotland and the Scottish government are delivered with glee.
      I hope that those Wings readers who are attending Question Time tonight do the decent thing and walk out midway. The BBC may be able to hide the crowds outside their door. They can hardly hide a sizeable walk out on their flagship political debate programme.

    25. Silver: “Blaming individual journalists for the media’s failings is like blaming workers on a factory floor for the quality of its produce.”

      Not buying that canard. The journalists concerned are at least co-conspirators with BBC management, and it is at best disingenuous to compare them factory labourers.

    26. Brian Powell says:

      The relationship between the BBC and Labour wouldn’t be ignored. Some may have seen this information that as put together before the Referendum.

      “The BBC and the Labour Party in Scotland.

      Ken MacQuarrie top of the tree in BBC Scoltand,

      Head of News is John Boothman, married to Susan Deacon, former Labour MSP and health Minster at Holyrood.

      Head of online news, Tom Conner, he plus John offered media training to Labour Party prospective politicians. He bans all comments on BBC blogs.

      Lorraine Davidson, used to be a spin doctor and was frequently on commenting on BBC programmes and is married to David Martin, a Labour MEP.

      David is friends with Catriona Martin, who si a BBC reporter, formerly a Labour Councillor and friend of Jackie Baillie, Labour Health spokesperson in Holyrood, also Alan Clements, husband of Kirstie Wark. Kirsty and family went on holiday with Jack McConnell and family.

      Then there is Raymond Buchanan, BBC reporter, famous for misrepresenting statement from the Irish Minister for the EU, on Scotland in the EU. Raymond is is brother-in-law to Brian Wilson, who was a Labour MP, and headed the Labour for No in the 1979 devolution referendum.

      Brian promotes nuclear power and is a non executive director of Amec Nuclear Holdings.
      Then we have some returnees.

      Laura Kunenssburgh, reporter, whose dad was a donor for Wendy Alexander campaign, who once lead Scottish Labour in Holyrood and is sister to Dougie Alexander, Labour MP.

      Wendy is married to Brian Ashcroft, Director of freer of Allander institute, oft quoted on the BBC as an independent think-tank, which issues many warnings at us.

      Then there is the newish BBC flagship prog, on Scottish politics, fronted by Sarah Smith and friend of Wendy.

      Sarah’ sister is the daughter-in-law of Lorg George Robertson, of ‘cataclysm’ fame and former Labour MP and Cabinet Minster.

      It’s a cosy, warm place, BBC Scotland, if you are in the Labour Party and Labour connected.”

    27. schrodingers cat says:

      The BBC is the glue holding together a Britain that is breaking

      eh? i thought it was the great british bake off?

    28. Training Day says:

      “There is common cause to be made with all who want to reverse media decline, whatever their position on the constitution. This includes journalists working for a range of organisations, including the BBC.”

      A fine theory, unfortunately only supported by vanishingly rare evidence. Where are the MSM journalists eager to reverse media decline? Cochrane, who openly abdicated the principles of journalism in the cause of BT? Crichton, Labour’s principal (far from only) mouthpiece at the Record? Glen Campbell and his amazing torn SNP manifesto?

      The point is, surely, that there is no way back for all those ‘journalists’ who decried, belittled and demonised Scots who had the temerity to desire self-determination. And what’s more these ‘journalists’ know it too, hence their ongoing attacks on self-determination.

    29. North chiel says:

      Precisely “Bob Mack”. The FIRST issue to be discussed in any
      “Post GE” talks between SNP and Labour (if the outcome is as
      Predicted) should be “devolution” of broadcasting/media to Edinburgh
      BEFORE any other issue is even discussed.

    30. BrianW says:

      So when the BBC’s Scottish Branch stop seeing themselves as lap dogs (and in my view in Labours Pocket) – then we may see some programming from our perspective. That’s what I’m taking from this.

      I do lament what the BBC have become in Scotland. The puerile interview techniques/language/standards used towards some MSP’s is truly shocking. Interviews being carried out and broadcast/written by journalists touted as expert correspondents.

      Never during the Referendum did I hear one journalist, NOT ONE, question Gordon Brown re Corp Tax with the fact he reduced it twice and was prepared to do it a third time.

      Expert Correspondents?

      p.s donated to your “The Case for a Scottish Media” project.

    31. Joemcg says:

      I’m sure I read somewhere that the BBC stand to lose hundreds of millions of pounds if we were to become independent. That is the real reason for their hostility.

    32. Giesabrek says:

      While I agree with the message of this story regarding the elephant in the room that is the Biased British Corporation, I think the ultimate reason for it may have been misidentified. While I don’t know John Birt personally and cannot comment how unionist he is, if the BBC lost a small part of Scotland, it could have progressed to perhaps ultimately a separate broadcasting corporation, paid for directly by licence fees raised in Scotland.

      Given how much Scotland contributes to the BBC coffers, but gets only a fraction of that back, I think Birt was fully aware that the BBC budget would see a noticeable reduction if Scotland were to go it alone in the broadcasting stakes. He then dressed this up as a fight for the union, presented to a unionist (Blair) a man who hated the idea of a Scottish parliament (easy sell, I’d say). Thus the BBC budget is protected and perhaps forever more when the full force of the propaganda machine is used to prevent independence.

      My own view is that BBC Scotland and the Daily Rectum are the 2 single impediments to independence – if either acted in any kind of neutral capacity, or heaven-forbid, were as pro-independence as they are currently anti-independence, then we would now be looking forward to celebrating independence day next year, no doubt about it.

      The crux of the problem has been mentioned above – all the Labour supporters in key positions within BBC Scotland, within management as well as on the screen. I have no doubt the percentage of those supporting the Labour party or those with family connections is far greater within BBC Scotland than the current population percentage of around 25%. They cannot be persuaded and they cannot be fired.

      If the SNP are savvy enough, this perhaps could be one of the prices that Milipede will have to pay – to devolve BBC Scotland entirely and that could be the beginning of the end of the throat-hold this despicable organisation has on Scotland.

      And as for the Daily Redcoat/Rectum/Rancid* (*delete as appropriate), the impending fine they may see for phone hacking could result in a drastic reduction or even abandonment of one of the Mirror Group newspapers… I wait with baited breath for the final result.

    33. Alex Monaghan says:

      Broadly agree, but think you mean a substantial “minority” of Scots see themselves as Scottish only. We’re not a majority yet! 😉

    34. Ross says:

      why does Jackie Bird get a roasting all the time? And Sarah Smith? Jackie’s just a news reader. Sarah Smith just isn’t very good at her job but I wouldn’t say she’s obviously giving her opinions.

      Andrew Neil is a good cross-examiner. I agree he allowed his unionist opinions to get the better of him and shouldn’t have been allowed to do so. However, he was brutally inquisitive of the No campaign also.

      Noughtie – agreed. An obvious unionist. Probably a personification of the issue at hand. Giving a starring role in an issue he’s been detached from simply due to him being a London Scot. The BBC in London showed a disdain for talent in the country that this was actually about. Absolute disgrace.

      Well, Nick Robinson was a disgrace. No disputing that. Should have been sacked after the “he refused to answer” stushie. Genuinely upset more than angered me.

    35. caz-m says:

      I’ll be at PQ.

      I wonder if someone will ask “little Englander” Dimblebum tonight on Question Time,

      “why are BBC Scotland such a shower of anti-SNP, bias, unionist bastards…”. You know who you are.

      And please stop paying for Jackie Burd’s mortgage. Stop paying this illegal tax.

      It’s easier than you think, tell them you use the telly for DVD’s and Iplayer and that you will no longer be paying for he TV License.

      Tell them you want the 6 month rebate they owe you and that you will be withdrawing their “right of access”.

      I done all that in September, got my rebate and haven’t heard a word from them since.

      And I still watch the telly. Why should the BBC have the right to decide whether I watch the telly or not.

      The BBC can go and take a good frack to it’s self.

      To cancel your TV License telephone:- 03007906131

      Tell them that you want it in writing that you have removed their “right of access” and you don’t want any harassing, follow-up letters.

      Honest, it’s as easy as that. AND you get money back.

    36. Stoker says:

      Just for the record.

      I have absolutely no problem with the BBC being biased, but never whilst being publicly funded and masquerading as balanced.

      If it wants to spout its 24/7 lies & deceit then it must come up with alternative funding methods which allows people the option of whether or not they want to subscribe to their constant tripe.

      The BBC, as with The Rancid Rectum & The Labour Party, has lost all credibility amongst the vast majority of the public.

      They can no longer justify forcing folk to subscribe.

      And no broadcaster in any country should ever be more powerful than that countries sitting government – PERIOD.

      BBC – GTF.

    37. sunniva says:

      Birt badly miscalculated in his bid to position metropolitan news as ‘British’ news that would unify the country. It did the opposite. He didn’t just oppose the Scottish Six, he was the architect of ‘the news where you are’, the decision that ‘regional’ news should stay out of the national limelight and only ever be heard locally, even if there were interesting and significant local developments that actually might be of interest to others in these islands. This downgrading of the regional as beyond the national pale has alienated everyone in the UK and not just in Scotland and led to a weakening, not a strengthening of the UK. Most people in the UK now resent the dominance of the metropole as ‘the national news’. Programmes like Coast have to some extent rectified and addressed the appetite to hear of the diversity, complexity, and largeness of Britain. Hell mend them. It’s too late now. Arrogance like Birt’s has dissolved the social glue holding the nation together.

    38. scotsbob says:

      An excellent article, thank you.

      One of the main problems, as I see it, is that the BBC just pump out Labour/Tory press releases without any questioning or analysis.

      On Saturday the BBC website had a press release about a speech Gordon Brown was going to give. It was full of phrases like “Brown is expected to say,” “Gordon Brown is going to say.” This was not reporting on an event which had happened but a piece of public relations puff that was presented verbatim.

      For as long as the BBC indulge in this lazy and sycophantic journalism there will be no change.

    39. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      The mistake should not be made of assuming that those who read the news actually write it or determine what is to be read. I know for a fact that significant numbers of the staff at BBC and particularly STV are yessers but very few of them are in the position of being able to carelessly put their livelihoods at risk.
      As this excellent article indicates the problem is higher up.

    40. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Indigo says:
      5 March, 2015 at 9:59 am

      If STV have the balls, it could quietly step up and deliver what the BBC refuse to. It would have the support of half the population of Scotland if it did so.

      STV treads a fine line on politics.

      Don’t forget who issues their licence which is renewable, every so often.

      Take Broadcasting in Scotland to Holyrood and it becomes a different matter.

    41. No no no...Yes says:

      I’m sure that some staff at BBCScotland are deeply unhappy at the damage caused by senior management. They need to be encouraged to become whistleblowers to stop this circus.There are plenty outlets that would welcome such information.

    42. Cag-does-thinking says:

      A very good appraisal of the Socttish media presense of the BBC. However we also have to talk about the Radio Authority being absorbed into OFCOM. Radio station ownership and standards have been in freefall and indeed some of the things which the BBC did in the referendum would have fallen foul of the Radio Authority but as we know OFCOM like OF evrything else has no teeth or desire and is set up to give the impression of regulation while providing none.

      The radio licences held in Scotland have gradually been hoovered up into giant UK wide groups which have little interest in the remit in the licences as they were originally constituted.

      Alternative talk radio to the BBC? Well that’s now Heart, bland music for unchallenging people nationwide. Licence for young people alternative radio? Now Galaxy, UK radio to a formula with the repetition that a goldfish wouldn’t forget. RadioClyde/Forth/Westsound/Northsound, all owned by the Bayer corporation with strange echoes of Take The High Road and their estate distant masters in the Mayer Corporation.

      The point was that there were lofty ideals for what should be there once. It was in the initial bidding process. Nobody noticed or cared when those ideals were ditched and resold to bring all Scottish radio into the ownership of aglomerates who owe nothing to Scotland. Just like our print media. We deserve better.

      The BBC though will plough on telling us what those who really own it want. We have recognised though. Even the dogs on the street can see when the spin doesn’t meet up with their experience and the damage which threatens to demolish the Labour party in Scotland is collecting the BBC in it’s wake. You’d think competent and savvy journalists would have realised that bigger, greater elements of Scottish life just don’t believe them any more and that the BBC in Scotland just might be the first big casualty of the Empire disintegrating.

    43. I have always said that we are the only country in Europe that has to listen to another countries news broadcasts every day and have their sporting heroes glorified whilst ours are neglected.
      I have asked the BBC on several occasions to tell me what the budget is for English football and how much they spend on Scottish football but, surprise surprise, have never received an answer to a pretty basic question. We could probably ask the same question for news and other issues but we will never get the answers!

    44. Joemcg says:

      It’s been said before but another agenda was at work for the past 3 years and presently with the plethora of programmes with the word “British” in the title. Never in my 40 off years watching the telly have I seen so many and in such a short space of time. Subliminal and psycho warfare that the Nazis would have been proud of.

    45. Dan Huil says:

      The BBC in Scotland is like Labour in Scotland: when it comes to the crunch they will abide by the orders delivered from London. Only an individual person, with enough intelligence and personal bravery, near the head of these institutions in Scotland, can begin the necessary changes to bring about an independent, in a policy sense, BBC in Scotland and a genuinely independent Labour party in Scotland.

      I agree with indigo 9.59am. This is an ideal time for the STV to set up a news service and television schedule dedicated to Scotland and Scotland’s role in the world.

    46. Marga says:

      If you like this article, take a look at Christopher’s excellent blog:

    47. TheItalianJob says:

      Good article GrouseBeater on the BBC.

      I was shocked the gap between Yes and No was 10% on the day. I thought Yes would scrape through.

      Didn’t realise the coverage of Brown and the VOW would have moved so many over to No.

      Sad really.

    48. Joemcg says:

      Dave-yep, great point. Imagine if the Dutch got German sport and top players rammed down their throats 24/7. There would be riots. We have been programmed like willing robots to just accept it and shut up.

    49. Grouse Beater says:

      Christopher Silver:
      “Blaming individual journalists for the media’s failings is like blaming workers on a factory floor for the quality of its produce.”

      Christian Wright:
      Not buying that canard. The journalists concerned are at least co-conspirators with BBC management, and it is at best disingenuous to compare them factory labourers.

      Absolutely correct.

    50. IheartScotland says:

      @Brian Powell,
      Thanks Brian, that says it all….just one happy little family. (to the detriment of all other Scots)

    51. Alastair says:

      Would you consider a formal petition re BBC either on Wings or liaise with like minded to establish the best vehicle to capture the widest possible access for signing.

      A formal petition to be presented to the BBC, Scottish Government and Westminster Government.

      This would give a good starting point.

      Individual voice is hearsay – thousands of voices is a movement.

      Keep up the good work.

    52. Macart says:

      Superb article Christopher and couldn’t agree more.

    53. tartanarse says:

      Footsoldier at 10.17

      I for the life of me, can’t understand why the Courier presses on with anti SNP stories whilst its core readers are YES Dundonians.

      It didn’t work on Dundonians for the ref and it won’t work for the GE.

    54. R-type Grunt says:

      I agree with the article but the notion that it’s somehow not the fault of the employees is laughable. You could perhaps use that argument if said employees were getting minimum wage or the like but these are highly paid individuals who earn more in a year than I’ve earned in the last 30!

      Anyway, didn’t we establish after World War 2 (Nuremberg?) that following orders simply wasn’t an excuse?

      To go on-air every day and report bare-faced lies to the very people who pay their wages is just not tenable. They all have to go & the sooner the better. We have a Nation to build!

    55. Stoker says:

      Yes, very true, those working for the BBC are co-conspirators.

      And they are extremely well rewarded for their efforts.

      They do not have to do it, they choose to do what they do.

      And to hell with everyone else seems to be their mantra.

    56. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      Do we think the odious Birt devoted much time in his book to employing Jimmy Savile at the taxpayers expense along with various other ‘luminaries’ from Operation Yewtree?

      Thought not. 😉

    57. Ian Brotherhood says:

      ‘Augustus’s governors were never wolves, as had been most of the Republican governors, whose only interest in their provinces was how much they could squeeze out of them. Many of them were good watch-dogs and some were even honest shepherds…

      But it often happened that Augustus would unintentionally put the tax at too high a rate, discounting the distress caused by a bad harvest or a cattle plague or an earthquake; and rather than complain to him that the assessment was too high the governors would collect it to the last penny, even at the risk of revolt…

      Few of them took any interest in the people they were supposed to govern. A governor would settle in the Romanized capital town, where there were fine houses and theatres and temples and public baths and markets, and never think of visiting the outlying districts of his province…

      The real governing was done by deputies and by deputies of deputies, and there must have been a great deal of petty jack-in-office oppression by the smaller men: perhaps it was these whom Bato called ‘wolves’, though ‘fleas’ would have been a better word.’

      Robert Graves, I, Claudius, (1934), Chapter 12 (my paragraph breaks)

    58. Pam McMahon says:

      Thank you for this very excellent post. I agree with other contributors, that the first action of the new bloc of SNP MPs should be to demand the devolution of broadcasting to Scotland, where new rules and regulations for independent, unbiased state broadcasting could be drawn up and imposed by an independent and unbiased regulator.

      If this vote is unforthcoming, or unsupported by other Scottish MPs, the Scottish government should be looking at ways of diverting Scottish licence fees to Holyrood, to set up our own broadcaster.

    59. Leslie Wilson says:

      It is fair under normal situations, that the workers cannot or should not be blamed for delivery of their boss’s agenda.
      However, we have a situation here where they do not only do their job, but do it with open bias.

      Is it ok, that there is NO integrity left, in an institution who we pay for. Put another way, we pay for them to concoct propaganda against us. Neat, but not forgivable.

    60. Camz says:


      “how the BBC ( or its agents ) sifted attendees and their questions to produce what it perceived as balance.”

      Don’t look now, but if the polls are to be believed, for every Conservative voter in an audience, we should have three SNP voters. Two SNP for every Labour voter and nine SNP voters for every Lib Dem.

      Or if we watch BBCQT tonight…four Tories and two Nats. Same old, same old.

    61. Valerie says:

      Great article, but you missed the memo that Strictly Come Britannia is the glue in the Union. We were subjected to a bollocking, and accused of voting for Andy Murray’s 2 left footed mum, just to keep her in.

      We were doing that in our droves apparently out of sour grapes at losing the referendum. This came from a Scot living in London. This piece informed us we were trying to destroy everything decent and good about Great Britain. This piece was a personal low for me in terms of journalism.

      There is another way of looking at the media fiasco, and that’s in terms of just how far we have come, how much new talent and analysis half of Scotland has been exposed to, how the Independent movement controls the narrative on the Web and how many people are reading great analytical pieces like this.

    62. alexicon says:

      Excellent article Christopher. It’s always good to get a different and accurate insight to the thinking of one of the key players in the establishment.
      Where would us Scots be without our daily fix of the royals and cricket eh.

    63. gordoz says:

      Total agreement with this and comments from others.

      Scotland needs devolved control of the media or independence will be thwarted every time it is on the agenda. Its madness to pretend otherwise.

      Particularly state outlet propagandists the BBC; remember how they presented biased reporting on a nightly basis as others have said.

    64. IheartScotland says:

      @Grouse beater/Christian Wright,
      Absolutely correct, it’s not like they don’t know the consequences of what they’re doing. They are on record of being on the receiving end of an indoctrination meeting by the BBC on how to deal with the SNP and independence advocates by the BBC (Scotland)news head …..(I know this story is on Wings, but I can’t find it just now)

    65. Luigi says:

      The BBC is the most powerful of the unionist triumvirate that holds Scotland fast in the union. We certainly need to keep the pressure on, but the other two institutions (Labour party and Daily Record) are far more vulnerable.

      Think of this powerful, unionist trio as a three-legged stool. Take away one leg, and the stool gets very shoogly. Take away two legs and the whole rotten structure collapses. Certainly keep the pressure on, but either Scottish Labour or the Daily Record look like going down first (we have to hammer them). When that happens, the all powerful BBC is left in Scotland without a leg to stand on (literally).

    66. K1 says:

      Good article Christopher, but I too am in agreement with others regarding the inclusion of the reporters or ‘individuals’ as being at fault too.

      They ‘influence’ the audience; well kent faces have a powerful impact as does tone and demeanor, that’s how things work in that world. The BBC is a public relations institution, which is the flowery term for propaganda merchants.

      They wear their bias on their sleeves.

      I do not think you will have to extend your crowdfund, it will meet its target today. 🙂

    67. Marie clark says:

      Good article, but there are parts I have to disagree with.

      BBC’s biggest problem in Scotland, for me anyway, is it’s attachment to the Labour party in Scotland. That has to be wrong surely. I don’t ask that they trumpet the SNP or referendum, I only ask that they be fair and balanced in their reporting. That would appear to be a forlorn hope.

      They constantly read out any old rubbish spewing out from SLAB. No questions asked, rarely ask the SNP to reply, and when they do, they’re stuck in a wee studio somewhere else to be talked over and ignored.

      We should not single out individual reporter, really. Step forward one Eleanor Bradfrod and hundreds of FOI’s about the Scottish health service. What’s all that about then.

      If Birt thought that the BBC was the glue holding the UK together, he was very wrong. It has now become,for me anyway,one of the big issues driving us apart.Our TV licence was cancelled just after the referendum. It would be interesting to find out just how many licences this side of the border have been cancelled. But then they don’t keep that information do they.

      As far as I am concerned the BBC in Scotland is finished. They lie and lie again to us, the biggest sin sometimes is omission.Our government at Holyrood is doing a good job for Scotland but you would never know that from the BBC.

      Just as well that we are not all daft, and more and more folk are seeing through the lies and spin. Hence Ashcroft’s polls.

    68. macnakamura says:

      If anyone can remember a news report which features a sarcastic remark about a govt minister doing an official visit then I will be surprised.

      !2m 54secs

    69. Grouse Beater says:

      Grouse beater/Christian Wright, Absolutely correct, it’s not like they don’t know the consequences of what they’re doing.

      You bet I am right in my judgment. I saw it for myself – staff files with Xmas tree logos indicating people not to be given promotion. Hookers offered to producers and presenters to sweeten access for outside talent to the airwaves. Rampant sexism. Loyalty to Queen and Country, just not my country. Removal of too overt Scottish nationalists. Suppression of any drama that might be uplifting to a nationalist cause.

      Journalists happy to moonlight for MI6. Production companies to be favoured, the new cold shouldered. Excellent programme ideas submitted by independent producers rejected but quietly sent ‘upstairs’ vetted, copied, and then produced …

    70. Joemcg says:

      Just why is cricket reported and broadcast in Scotland on our national news when no one is interested here? It’s been that way for decades but we just accept it. A small point but this one issue just shows the BBC’s complete contempt and ignorance for Scotland. Reverse the situation and say bowls or shinty was given the same coverage and reported to England. Unthinkable eh?

    71. Doug D says:

      This is a good article, but how to go about building a broadcaster that speaks for all of Scotland, not just a yes friendly alternative?

      One thing is budget. Due to cuts, and it being the weekend, BBC Scotland only had one live outdoor camera available for the day of the last PQ rally in September, and it was elsewhere. That’s why they didn’t cover it. Lack of reach. Incompetence and lack of news staff really.

    72. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      Things to bear in mind.

      The upper echelons of the BBC have been a dumping ground for various Labour and Tory party hacks and duffer ex-MPs for decades. They will never change their arrogant, condescending and anti-democratic attitude towards scotland and the ‘proles’ who have to pay the TV tax.

      The BBC had it’s balls completely cut off during Hutton and since then has been a supine poodle for every westminster establishment whim. Not only would they lie about something as deadly serious as Iraq but they would do so again in a heartbeat and without hesitation if the westminster establishment orthodoxy demanded it.

      The BBC has never faced up to the colossal waste and management incompetence it has overseen for decades. The half-hearted inquiries we saw in the wake of massive executive pay rises and the Savile Scandal have changed absolutely nothing.

      What we are dealing with in the BBC is an institution so in thrall to the westminster establishment that it has the same problems with corruption, systemic failure and trust that they do.

      Only a root and branch reform from the top downwards has any chance of redeeming or saving them as they continue to dumb-down and become more technologically obsolete by the day. That in turn would take a root and branch reform of the westminster system to have any will to do so.

      The only way to shake up the westminster system is to ensure as many SNP MPs as possible in May. That is the only real chance this side of the next Indy referendum that a fair and just scottish broadcaster that serves the scottish people could finally be delivered.

      VoteSNPGetScotland. 🙂

    73. Fiona says:

      That’s why they didn’t cover it.

      Ya think?!?

    74. Clootie says:

      Christian Wright says:
      5 March, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Sorry but I’m in the same camp as Christian.

      Those who distort / embelish / ignore /inflate news coverage are guilty.

      Even the defence that they are being driven by their employer does not work. You only have to observe the glee with which Bradford / Bird and company deliver negative news stories or personalise interviews to be convinced of willing participation.

      We need to continue what we are doing – bypass the media (become the media). Everytime they present propaganda as news then it is destroyed online.

      Being devolved would have little impact as the Producers, directors, newsreaders etc would still be BBC staff and follow the union line. Devolution, quite rightly,gives you zero control over content nor focus.

      Blairs/Labours concept of democracy – “…encourage separatist tendencies. […] Blair was quick, as ever, to grasp the case. ‘Let’s fight’ he said.”

    75. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “And as for the Daily Redcoat/Rectum/Rancid* (*delete as appropriate)”

      Yes, I will. This seems as good a place as any to mention that “Rectum” and “Retard” as terms for the Daily Record are now subject to an automatic word filter. Comment rules have stipulated for a very long time that such puerile stuff (see also calling Anas Sarwar “Anus”, etc) is not acceptable, and I’m no longer prepared to painstakingly edit them to something less zoomery.

      I’ve manually approved this one because it was otherwise a worthwhile post and I had to say this explicitly at some point, but in general use of such terms will simply see your comment deleted.

    76. Roll_On_2015 says:

      OT – Lord Ashcroft Poll:

      SNP set for 56 of 59 Scottish seats in GE

      Polling by Lord Ashcroft indicates that Charles Kennedy could be on the casualty list and Gordon Brown’s seat could fall

      James Kelly over on SCOT Goes POP tells it as it is.

      SNP set to defeat Charles Kennedy, and are just 1% away from unseating Jim Murphy, according to rip-roaring Ashcroft polls.

    77. ronnie anderson says:

      Is anybody else having problems geting scottish Parliament TV on their computer.

    78. think again says:

      Breaking news BBC has learned to talk the talk. The following is an extract from a speech by Tony Hall Director General of the BBC delivered 2nd March 2015. Hopefully this is the archived version you will see.

      The selected paragraphs are my choice.

      “As great British content becomes harder to fund, the licence fee will become even more important. As American media giants colonise the world, supporting a thriving British culture will be essential.

      And in a world where trust is at a premium, which has more heat than light, more noise than signal, we will need the BBC more than ever as a trusted guide – the place you go to find out what’s really happening and why.

      Take news. It’s easy to find something on the internet that looks like a fact, that squawks like a fact but that isn’t a fact. Central to our democracy is that we all proceed on the basis of shared information and don’t just make up our own.

      The BBC will be needed to guarantee news that is trusted and gets its facts right. The real story. Providing in-depth analysis of the kind we’ve always done. Using new online tools, like the Explainers we have today on News Online, or the blogs from our expert correspondents. And, of course, crucially, reporters there on the spot, where it matters.

      Across the BBC, we have some of the best experts in the world. They are free from commercial or political allegiances, answering only to the audience, not to shareholders, advertisers or any other paymasters.
      Having an institution whose only interest is whether something is good, and what the audience needs to know – and is on their side to benefit them – will become ever more important.

      And we will do this for everyone, because in a democracy everyone should have the right to share in our common culture.”

      Now all they need to do is filter this down through the ranks and walk the walk.

    79. Cybermidgie says:

      A good article, which reminded me of an example I saw last week of why BBC Scotland’s internal culture is desperately in need of a reboot. This is Eleanor Bradford, BBC Scotland health correspondent, on the subject of NHS targets:

      “To be fair, what these latest statistics suggest is that most people do get their treatment within the 12 and 18-week targets, but there’s no point setting targets if you’re not going to hit them.

      The 12 and 18 week targets were chosen by the Scottish government to show the NHS is performing effectively.

      If it can’t meet its own targets, something has gone badly wrong.”

      You can find the original article here:

      Apparently, Ms Bradford thinks the reason for setting a target is to make yourself look good. In reality, she’s completely missing the point of having a target.

      A proper target acts as a benchmark to drive improvement. The best targets are designed to encourage people to stretch themselves beyond the current status quo, without discouraging them by being unattainable.

      From that standpoint, I’m glad to see the SNP using their position in Government to set challenging targets for improvement, rather than indulging themselves with easy PR opportunities.

    80. Phil Robertson says:

      Interesting that an article bemoaning the lack of native media fails to mention already existing examples, most noticeably STV and local radio.

      Rather than being a “case for Scottish media” it concentrates on perceived failings in the BBC and, in particular, its news coverage. Curiously, this is an issue that unites the SNP and the Conservatives.

      In general, I prefer media to be unpopular with the party of the government (currently true at both Scottish and UK level) than being too cosy. It’s healthier for democracy.

    81. Davy says:

      A fair article Chris but I can’t agree with all of it.

      The only way Scotland will ever get a fair and honest broadcaster is to get rid of the BBC and its control by London. They have shown time and time again a total disregard for impartiality regarding Scotland, we are that annoying place up north that is only good for getting money from and the occasional article of the Queen at Balmoral.

      Watching the BBC and its reporting staff do westminsters work for them over the past two years was sicking, and now their Labour and Jim Murphy’s personnel mouth piece.

      Well hell mend them, if any of that BBC backstabbers think we will forget what they did, they can think again. Wether it is under Devo-Max or Independence the first thing a scottish government should do is get rid of the BBC and start all over again and eradicate that disease from our country.

      We paid for them, we should have got a fair return for our money, instead we recieved a shoddy service from a bunch of self serving shoddy bastards.

    82. Fiona says:

      The sad thing is that those who run the BBC truly believe this. That is because they are in the Westminster bubble, and are staffed by people who believe in the neoliberal project, courtesy of Birt’s “reforms”. They act as a job creation scheme for Westminster politicians who lose their jobs (see Michael Portillo as one example)

      Birt’s “reforms” (how I hate the way that word has been redefined) changed the whole nature of the BBC, but the rhetoric has not changed at all. What Mr Hall describes is something I value and would support: but it is not on offer. Not at all.

      For myself, I would welcome a return to impartiality and a public broadcaster independent of commercial influence. One which recognised that neoliberal principles are not objective truth but wholly political in character: and which reported them as such.

      I am now beyond believing that will ever happen. Those, such as Mr Hall, are too blinkered to even recognise there is a problem and he continues to spout a description which may have been true at one time but is long gone. He cannot reinstate those values unless he sees they have been lost. But he would not have got his job if he was capable of recognising that.

    83. Neil Scott says:

      Great to raise and keep raising this issue. Scottish media is not an add-on – but necessary for independence; and actually is independence (freedom to hear and see quality info like Stu gives us).

      I have no TV. The radio is unplugged. My news comes from Stu (thank you).

      Scottish media; please continue to lead the way Stu; and let us hope radio and TV follows your great footsteps!

    84. HandandShrimp says:

      I can’t be bothered with BBC News. The Daily Sneers is a more accurate description.

      I still enjoy an evening with Dr Alice on archaeology or an episode of Dr Who but as far as journalism goes I find the BBC pretty much in the same box as Fox News. BBC Scotland being noticeably worse than BBC London (or perhaps I am just more familiar with the issues in Scotland).

    85. frances says:

      Completely off topic but a message for HandandShrimp and Markyboy who were commenting below the line on Alex Massie’s article yesterday.

      Michael Mckeown was putting out some nonsense about the new Children Act. I couldn’t find this link at the time but here it is.

      I suggest everyone reads this as it gives you an idea of exactly what the new Children Act is about – and it is not sinister. It is Lord Pentland’s decision on an application for a Judicial Review of the Act.

    86. think again says:

      test for archiving articles

      I copied the wrong bit last time, sorry.

    87. Bill Dale says:

      A good article for analysis of the BBC, but in my opinion it fails to address the real problem. The BBC is not only institutionally biased and downright hostile to the idea of Scotland as a nation, but the majority of its staff are died-in-the-wool Brit Imperialists. Yes, we need broadcasting devolved, but we also need a near complete clear out of all the Brit Imperials in BBC “Scotland”.

      In my experience of advising companies in mergers and acquisitions, it was seldom that staff from an acquired company accepted the merger. More often, managers in particular had to be let go to prevent undermining of the enterprise. Who would doubt that many staff at BBC Scotland would do their utmost to undermine Scotland, even if they reported to the Scottish Government and/or Parliament?

      Do not watch any BBC output. Bring their bias to the attention of anyone you meet – it is surprising how quickly people catch on once they realise that they are being lied to. Oh, and by the way, Russia Today has amazingly good news and current affairs programmes, particularly the Keiser Report.

    88. HandandShrimp says:


      Thanks for that.

      However, I was not particularly phased by Mr M’s warblings. He was patently talking hysterical and reactionary nonsense. A classic case of dissembling to paint the SNP Bad! picture. It wasn’t hard to take apart though.

    89. Lollysmum says:

      How did I arrive at Wings?

      I was searching English BBC for news in the run up to the referendum. Guess what I couldn’t find it. I didn’t believe that it was a non-event given the huge consequences a YES vote would have for rUK. So why the absence of info here in England?

      I got into the habit of watching English news & then going to iplayer for Scottish BBC news. Unbelievable difference but what Scottish BBC were saying each night just didn’t ring true for me. There was only a negative campaign being portrayed.

      So then I went online to find out more & found film news from RT, France 24, Al-Jazeera & others & I realised the whole of the UK was being duped.

      1)England because it was treated as being a non-event & so explaining the panic of ordinary English people towards Scots towards the end of the campaign

      2)Scotland because they were only showing a distorted one- sided picture of indyref so viewers were led to believe the lies being broadcast.

      So then I started looking for websites & found myself at Wings-the rest, as they say, is history 🙂

      A direct comparison of news by the same broadcaster in two constituent parts of the same state destroyed 62 years of UK/BBC brainwashing over the course of a single week.

      Regrets? Not a single one. I owe online media & Scots my thanks for that deliverance. Thank you all 🙂

    90. Dr Jim says:

      You can’t blame the journalists…

      Yes you can, there were some perfectly good journalists in the BBC who vanished from our screens pretty early in the campaign, some now with low level radio jobs now “WHY”?
      Could it be some folk had a principle or two?
      For anyone to defend people like BURD they must be myopic and deaf, the BBCs coverage of the Referendum was not just bias it was offensively Racist, and they got away with it “WHY”?
      Too peaceful, Too reasonable, and Too Mollified to count
      Not that i would advocate direct action of the wrong sort
      “BUT” if this was NI would they have done it
      You can bet your sweet life they would’nt, because lest we forget
      Northern Ireland is a special case with special circumstances
      How many times have we heard that one
      I’m lucky enough to speak a couple of languages and this translated means
      “Don’t f..k the Irish about or they blow you up” not worth the bother, give them what they want
      Scotland goes through all the grief of the Referendum battle and all that entailed only for NI to be immediately given some powers we don’t even have yet
      Now i’m not having a go at NI good luck to them , i,m having a go at the perception of Scots as just a bunch of unimportant moaners i wish i had the answer to change it but where did the perception come from
      It’s time Scotland found a way to come together so that when we stamp our foot, they can damn well feel the ground move
      I’ll go away and calm down now…

    91. Grouse Beater says:

      Phil Robertson:
      Interesting that an article bemoaning the lack of native media fails to mention already existing examples, most noticeably STV and local radio.

      Good point.

      I am waiting for the 325th series of Taggart advertised as, ‘In modern dress.’

      I have tried to interest them in new series, but sales of Taggart get them subsidy from the ITV network, and still sell. And STV is not free of lifting the ideas of others.

      Remember, they are the commercial station that regained their franchise on the strength of a sly £2,000 bid, and at a time when they were under severe, sustained criticism for crap productions. How did that happen?

      And after stating Grampian should be left to prosper as a separate entity, a broadcaster that did almost nothing for its viewers, STV promptly bought it over to become a commercial monopoly.

    92. Geoff Bush says:

      As anyone who has made complaints of bias to the BBC will know, the organisation is pretty much impenetrable. So a single strategy for fixing it is probably not going to be effective.

      The risk of relying entirely on a shift in media usage to Social media and other online news sources is that these will never displace the BBC entirely, and crucially will not displace broadcast media as the main source of news for much of the audience who are currently against independence, and who need to be convinced to change their minds at some point.

      So the BBC needs to be the target of a number of simultaneous campaigns to enforce its charter requirement to be impartial at a) the political level on issues of governance, impartiality as a public service broadcaster as opposed to state-bias as a state propaganda broadcaster, and regulation b) the funding level in terms of mass refusal to pay the licence fee c)the grassroots protest level where we can make a noise and hopefully get some broadcast exposure(ha ha) and d) anything else we can think of.

      Christopher’s closing plea is about getting organised, suggestions ?

    93. liz says:

      Excellent article but all of us on here would agree with it in any case.

      My household still pays the license fee because the other folk in the house want to.

      But it does appear that there is a large fall in people who do and that is why they are now talking about direct taxation – forcing people who don’t even have a TV to pay.

      At least now a large number of people are awake.
      Agree 100% we need broadcasting devolved

    94. Sandra says:

      How much BBC journalism is there in Scotland these days? When the bin lorry ploughed into Christmas shoppers on Queen Street the BBC rolling news programme seemed to be relying on tweets from witnesses to cover the story rather than their own journalists. And the fact they sent the likes of Nick Robinson up to cover the indyref rather than trust the opinions of local reporters speaks volumes about their centralised attitude to news coverage.

    95. Onwards says:

      We can see this UK-centric attitude in the preview for the updated BBC news website.

      If you have an iPad or another tablet, go to the BBC news Homepage on a browser, and there is often an pop-up message at the bottom to preview and comment on the upcoming design.

      From what I can see, there is no longer direct access to the Scotland / Wales / N Ireland sections on the top bar, they have to be accessed by clicking on the UK section first.

      There is the ability to set your location, but doing so will just give regional news such as ‘Glasgow and West”.

      Pandora you could still bookmark the Scotland section directly, but I imagine most people will have the main homepage bookmarked first, to see major international news.

      I suppose any complaints will just get brushed off as nitpicking, or because they are going for a simpler design, but it is just another example of giving less prominence to Scottish national news, and reinforcing a UK identity.

      It might just be one extra click, but I remember reading web design articles showing that every extra click needed loses many viewers.

    96. Luigi says:

      If by amazing chance, the SNP do have considerable leverage with a minority Labour government, then they really have to insist on the full devolution of broadcasting powers. Birt may well have sold the “existential threat” line to the feeble red tories in 1998, but the question surely now is:

      Will broadcasting control now be devolved to Scotland, and if not, why not?

      (And they better have a bloody good excuse this time)

    97. Croompenstein says:

      We can’t even get live games of our national football team yet can get England on STV.

      They brought up the Southern presenters to cover our Commonwealth Games, who cringed at having to mention the word ‘yes’

      The only live football league games we get are on BBC Alba.

      They shove Sportscene on late on a Sunday night, when I was wee the highlight was sitting up late on Saturday night to watch the days games but we only get match of the fucking day.

      The BBC coverage of sport in Scotland is a fucking joke!

    98. Grouse Beater says:

      In addition to a mentality locked into Great Britain and the Union, producers and executives protect vast salaries, salaries paid by us to an allegedly public broadcaster.

      The rot set in led years back by the Armani suited and vainglorious accountant, Birt, then aided and abetted by Michael Grade.

      They use the same excuse as banksters, “If you want the right quality of talent you must pay for it.”

      Well, we all know how crap is that talent.

      Of course, they never state the criteria for selection of that talent expected, and never explain who is responsible for its selection. It’s always self-serving.

    99. Angus says:

      Doesn’t the ITV (STV) fall into the same category as BBC North Labourshire? Both are controlled from London

    100. Chitterinlicht says:


      What I find also interesting, given BBCScot positioning, is the storming advancement of SNP since referendum.

      Starting to think #indyerf has terminally hamstrung Union and no amount of state media broadcasting will fix it.

      Union is dead just a matter of time.

    101. john king says:

      H&S says
      ” I find the BBC pretty much in the same box as Fox News. BBC Scotland being noticeably worse than BBC London (or perhaps I am just more familiar with the issues in Scotland).”

      No you were right the first time H&S
      The obvious signs of bias I find the BBC pretty much in the same box as Fox News. BBC Scotland being noticeably worse than BBC London (or perhaps I am just more familiar with the issues in Scotland).The signs of bias (self preservation) are clearly more apparent in Glasgow than from Manchester, since the English based luvvies are not facing extinction as the Pacific Quay lot are (and they know it)
      Those people cannot be reasoned with,
      they have nowhere to turn,
      and they WILL fight to the bitter end.

    102. Grouse Beater says:

      Lollysmum: “How did I arrive at Wings?”

      If only ever Scottish voter had been as curious as you, and not shut their mind to radical, better alternatives to the arid, crumbling status quo.

    103. Legerwood says:

      The BBC is not so much the glue holding the UK together as the wedge driving it apart.

      The 6o’clock news is almost wholly England centred which leaves the people in England almost completely ignorant of what is happening in the rest of the UK or the different approaches taken by the devolved administrations to problems that are common in all parts of the UK.

      It would only take the addition of a sentence or two to many reports to let people know about these things. An example, and a rare example, of what I mean was a report about A&E waiting times in all parts of the UK few weeks ago on the 6 o’clock news where the reporter had actually come up to Scotland to report from Ninewells hospital because it had 98% of patients dealt with in the 4 hour target.

      The standard of reporting on the BBC is pretty low and often superficial. I watch the news at 6 and then CH4 news at 7 and it is like chalk and cheese.

    104. K1 says:


      I’ve noticed this campaign for the SNP canditate for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, Corri Wilson, only has 5 days to go, but isn’t making great progress.

      Perhaps a helping hand to get them over the line? We need every possible SNP candidate in the country to have the best chance at fighting for their place at Westminster.

    105. john king says:

      Luigi says
      “Will broadcasting control now be devolved to Scotland, and if not, why not?

      (And they better have a bloody good excuse this time)”

      There is not an excuse good enough not to devolve control of broadcast powers to the Scottish government, only possible reason they could have would be one they couldn’t admit to!

    106. Hamish Budge says:

      I’m intrigued….the BBC network news reports that Labour could lose all of it’s seats in Scotland (that’s correctly the headline), and has a bit of detail as to the key findings from the polls – Brown’s seat, Kennedy’s seat and the Jim Murphy near thing. So exactly as it is and should be – well done them. Then ‘Reporting Scotland’ talks about ‘sweeping gains’ – but doesn’t define that. We are told that the Lib Dems may have only one seat, but at no point are we told that the SNP are predicted to take 50 of the 59 seats – surely that should be the headline and lead on the story on the Scottish news, particularly when the UK BBC news have led the way.

    107. cirsium says:

      Unless thousands turn up the protest will be ignored by the MSM.

      X sticks – it is going to be ignored by the UK MSM anyway. Remember the anti-Iraq war protests?

    108. K1 says:

      Rev’s in sheriff mode at the minute, nay mair recking dailys and parameltdoons…we’ve been telt! (:-))

    109. Maid_in_Scotland says:

      A bit O/T for which I apologise, but there are connections, I hope. Today in the post I received a ‘communication’ from the LibDems, printed in Bristol, published and promoted for the LibDems in London and focussed entirely on healthcare. Guess what? The NHS (not the Scottish HS, mind, just the NHS) is failing badly, with every area of Scottish healthcare in freefall thanks to the SNP, bad, bad, bad. Accordingly,

      “only the LibDems will fight for a fair deal for Scotland”.

      Furthermore – “Despite higher NHS spending in the rest of the UK, experts say the SNP have cut health spending in Scotland.”

      And these experts are who exactly? The BBC, high heid yins at SLAB HQ, a Daily Record journalist, someone in a dusty room in Whitehall??? We deserve to be told.

      If any of the allegations in this double-sided card are indeed true (please don’t bash me, folks) then we should be told properly with actual facts and figures and an open and HONEST debate. Anyone out there in the world of unionist politics and the media willing to indulge me, and please make sure you invite the ‘experts’. 🙂

      Oh and “only the LibDems have a plan …. ah ha ……… to spend more on the NHS across the whole UK while balancing the budget by 2018”.

    110. Phil Robertson says:

      Angus says:
      5 March, 2015 at 12:43 pm
      Doesn’t the ITV (STV) fall into the same category as BBC North Labourshire? Both are controlled from London

      No, that’s the point. Like Scottish football, it is a Scottish based entity, free of London control. You can judge for yourself how well either or both have performed.

    111. Ron Maclean says:

      RevStu, Peter Bell, Prof Robertson, Derek Bateman and others are doing an excellent job holding the treacherous troika (Slab, BBC, DR) to account. It’s difficult to see how they can go further without the support of a major Scottish organisation. The SNP fit the bill but seem curiously reluctant to take on the MSM. In the current euphoria have the SNP forgotten we lost the referendum?

    112. Roll_On_2015 says:

      Dr Jim: at 12:14 pm

      A word of advice/warning… Pargraph breaks… Hammers

      But I think your comment was spot on.

      Especially the last part:

      It’s time Scotland found a way to come together so that when we stamp our foot, they can damn well feel the ground move.

    113. Doug Daniel says:

      Dr Jim: “Yes you can, there were some perfectly good journalists in the BBC who vanished from our screens pretty early in the campaign, some now with low level radio jobs now “WHY”?”

      And who made that decision?

      (Clue: it wasn’t Jackie Bird or Eleanor Bradford.)

    114. X_Sticks says:

      cirsium says:

      “Remember the anti-Iraq war protests?”

      Oh, yes. There’s also all the anti-austerity rallies in Spain, Italy, Brussels, Portugal that we haven’t been told about by the media here in the UK. Is there something they don’t want us to know?

      Regarding the BBC protest, if 10000 turned up in Glasgow at the protest the ‘Scottish’ media would find it hard to ignore. If they did their lack of coverage would be exposed through social media and could end up being counter productive to their ’cause’.

    115. jackie g says:

      Following on from Lollysmum’s post at 12.14pm

      How did I arrive at Wings?


      I live and work in Scotland and i too was getting to the point a month before the vote where i started looking for an alternative.

      The BBC i have held in contempt for many a year, there cover up of Mr Saville was the last straw or so i thought.

      With the coverage getting worse i was getting very despondent and one day i read some comments on their website which i quote ‘give them their independance they are all drunk most of the time anyway’ now i know that was probably some numpty who said that but what galled me was how the BBC were allowing this nonsence to be posted.

      So i searched alternatives and found Wings.I also found Bella Caledonia, the Common Weal,and The wee Ginger Dug to name a few.

      Since such times i have not looked back, i have learned more in the past few months about what is really going on than i have for years,and also being a fan of big Eck and Nicola i joined the SNP.

      I don’t always agree with everyone and sometimes The Rev’s (Football rants gets my hackles up) but i would rather have this than the alternative, oh and last but not least i cannot forget the Humour many a lunch time my workmates ask me what keeps me so Thank You keep up the good work.


    116. Almannysbunnet says:

      “I do not think you will have to extend your crowdfund, it will meet its target today.”

      I think you’re right, it’s ticking along nicely now. I’ve donated to Wings and The Case for a Scottish Media this week. I’ll have to tighten my belt, ah well bye bye TV licence.

    117. Luigi says:

      Ron Maclean says:

      5 March, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      RevStu, Peter Bell, Prof Robertson, Derek Bateman and others are doing an excellent job holding the treacherous troika (Slab, BBC, DR) to account. It’s difficult to see how they can go further without the support of a major Scottish organisation. The SNP fit the bill but seem curiously reluctant to take on the MSM. In the current euphoria have the SNP forgotten we lost the referendum?

      Ron, I think the SNP have to be careful not to be seen protesting too much – they are a grown up, mainstream party now, and with government comes responsibilities. That said, I’m sure that the SNP are fully aware what is going on – they are also aware of WoS and a number of other “irregular” cybernat forces that are busy doing the dirty work and taking the fight straight to the unionist MSM at every opportunity. Our enemies are increasingly bogged down by our salvos, leaving the SNP time and space to get on with preparations for the GE. Quite a good situation for the time being, IMO.

      Best leave the dirty street fighting to us, and let the SNP prepare for bigger battles to come.

    118. Luigi says:

      Regarding the BBC protest, if 10000 turned up in Glasgow at the protest the ‘Scottish’ media would find it hard to ignore.

      Aye, but they would zoom into a very small part of the crowd and report that, according to official estimates, “a few hundred” protesters showed up.

    119. Rob James says:

      BBC is a state propaganda instrument and has been from the time of Stanley Baldwin, who realised very early on how it could be utilised to control, inform or misinform as required.

      In order for it to achieve this, it is necessary for the individual components to conform to the same principals, hence the carefully selected employees. They are all ‘in it together’. You only need to see how the interviewers fawn over their preferred guests, and then witness the vitriol with which they attack those who disagree with the ‘party’ line. They have no ethics and are totally complicit in lying to protect the narrative of the British Empire.

      This morning, I watched a report on Ukraine, and then turned over to watch Russia Today which featured the same topic. You would have thought they were referring to two different conflicts.

      For me, devolution of media is vital, but not in the guise of the BBC.

    120. BrianW says:

      @ Brian Powell 10:37am..

      “Wendy is married to Brian Ashcroft, Director of Fraser of Allander institute, oft quoted on the BBC as an independent think-tank, which issues many warnings at us.”

      Brian, it’s like your mystic..

      No sooner have you wrote that in your post but lo and behold.. look what pops up on the BBC..

      They have been covered here before:

    121. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Well, how does the unionist Press take comfort for the Ashcroft poll results?

      Poll: SNP on course to take Brown, Darling, Kennedy seats…but not Murphy’s


      —- pulls jersey over the head and does a victory tourie.

    122. K1 says:

      Aye Almannysbunnet, sometimes it’s easy to predict 🙂 Other times…no so much 🙁

    123. Votadini Jeannie says:

      Agree with those who say that the journalists who present the “news” are not just doing their job. Some may be, but others, Jackie Bird in particular, were on most occasions unable to hide their distaste for anything indyref/SNP related.

      Interviewing the then First Minister at your boss’s bidding is one thing; speaking to him with snarling, sneering contempt was another. A downright ignorant and contemptuous attitude, which could only reflect the reporter’s own feelings. People like this should not be presenting “impartial” news.

      I also agree that devolving broadcasting is essential to Scotland’s future. It is sickening to see an independent TV company like STV still hampered by their franchise being granted in London, which ensures that they will never be too controversial for fear of losing their licence.

      But let’s not forget the NLA – newspaper licensing is just as important in Scotland and that’s a control we need to demand along with broadcasting.

    124. Ronbon says:

      BBC was totally biased in it’s pro union rhetoric. James Cook imo was one of the few impartial journalists during the referendum campaign. Not seen much of him since!

      The public need to be made aware of the BBC hierarchy and their links to the Labour party in Scotland. I’m sure it would open up a few people’s eyes.

    125. Effijy says:

      The strangest thing of all that I find with the BBC is that pre Referendum there was a small majority of those willing to vote Yes, The vote went with a narrow majority for No, and ever since we witnessed the on-going Westminster corrupt, the Lie that was the Vow, the selective and biased reports in the media, now ensures that a healthy majority of the Scottish nation would now vote for independence.

      The BBC have obviously smashed, tore up, and binned their so called Charter, but I would say that they do a fair job in employing ethnic minority groups.
      How then is it that I cannot see an unbiased let alone a pro independence presenter on any form of BBC show?

      I’d say that 60% would now vote for independence, so it is strange that the BBC don’t employ 1% of those voters?

      My thought is that Oh Kaye UK, Big Burd, Chauffeur Car Marr, Andrew Neill No deal, etc are all earning money beyond the dreams of the people who are being squeezed for
      their License fees.

      They would kill their Grand Mother before they would let their gravy train hit the buffers.

      It is difficult to make someone see the Truth, when their
      excessive salary depends on them not seeing it!

      PS BBC Radio broadcast from Rutherglen Parish Church tomorrow at 12 noon. It’s in the middle of the Main St.

    126. bob mooney says:

      Just watched BBC Scotland news and no mention of the Ashcroft poll, changed over to watch STV news and lo and behold it was the headline story and Jimbo saying again vote SNP and get Tory, you would think that after 9 years at University he would be able to read and count, oh no just remembered he graduated with a qualification in sweet Fanny Adams.

    127. manandboy says:

      Were the BBC to list all the reasons there are for keeping it,
      and then, one by one, reduced that list in order of priority
      for the Unionist Establishment,
      the last on the list to be dispensed with
      would be Propaganda.

      In other words, the sine qua non of the BBC,
      is its value to the Establishment
      as an instrument of population control and manipulation.

      For that reason, the BBC is simply not compatible with
      an Independent Scotland and must be dismantled north of the border.

    128. K1 says:

      Just £75 to go on Christopher’s fundraiser! Well done all 🙂

    129. Alastair says:

      Unfortunately one of the sad things that comes with age and experience is you tend to focus on things pre ordained to the history you have lived.

      Reporters, columnists, media organisations, the now ever present “experts say ” (spits nails), some MP’s, (glad to say virtually no MSP’s as a plus of our local/Scottish politicians who are closer to accountability or maybe just better people. Happy to give the benefit of any doubt)
      is to …….

      ………FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!

      Back to Kind of Blue. Mmmm

    130. Tarisgal says:

      This is a very good article with many salient points. However, I would dispute one or two comments made.

      To say that individuals themselves cannot be blamed for the media’s failings I feel is not helpful. In many other situations, ie child abuse, those that know and fail to take action are considered ‘enablers’. And so I believe that people such as Jackie Bird, Sarah Smith, Andrew Neil etc., are ‘enablers’. Their willingness to stand by and indeed contribute to biased reporting is ‘enabling’ the BBC to continue to put a unionist slant on the various programs produced and aired. That enabling is used to project unionist opinions on many citizens of Scotland that may not have the wherewithal to research the background of those opinions and to seek alternative slants to the various ideas and propaganda pushed forward by the BBC. With journalists being prepared to ‘enable’ the BBC and Westminster, they must assume some responsibility and accept much of the blame for the position the BBC is now fostering.

      Yes indeed change has to start from the top. But so often that change begins with the dissention of the middle and bottoms layers of the business itself and not necessarily the buyer of the service, in this instance the Scottish public.

      I think Fiona’s comments re Nom Chomsky’s comments to Andrew Marr are certainly pertinent, “there is no need for direct interference with a journalist’s freedom: all you have to do is ensure that those who get a job will support our position of their own free will”. Indeed. And as such those who get those jobs ‘enable’ the BBC to continue on its unionist path, totally disregarding the need for unbiased reporting in Scotland. While on the surface it would seem the top layer of the BBC are at fault, the journalist layer must also take responsibility for allowing the unionist stance to be perpetuated ad nauseum…

      @velofello says: “… the BBC’s solution isn’t to consider why the drop in license payers but to campaign for a broadcasting levy on all households”.

      I so agree and that point really angers me. Given that they have asked you why you chose to resist paying the fee, it seems incredibly stupid to ignore the reason but focus on how to MAKE you pay it! Why not reconstruct the product to be something that folks would happily pay for! But even the staff in those associated departments refuse to accept that their product is faulty and there is no need for change. They seem to be unwilling or unable to press home to those ‘further up the food chain’ as Christopher Silver puts it, that people will not pay for damaged or broken products!

      Yes – the electorate of Scotland must continue to press home the fact that they will not support the broken BBC. But it behoves the electorate to make it clear to all those enablers that their reputations as serious, thought-provoking, consummate journalists are deeply at risk and instead they are considered simply journalistic parodies that will fall when their chosen ‘side’ falls.

      Because while there is no certainty in much these days, it is being proved by the various polls that the Scottish electorate seldom forget who sided with who!

    131. K1 says:

      Well that was pretty fast, crowdfund reached its target!

      What a powerful wee site this is 🙂

    132. JLT says:

      So …what is to be done then?

      Do we take on the mantle of a mass petition demanding major changes at BBC Scotland. What happens if more than 2 to 3 million signatures are handed in to the Scottish and UK Governments demanding change.

      Surely if the people demand it, then finally, the Scottish Government can begin to take a deeper interest in what is being done at Pacific Quay.

      The main daily newspapers we can destroy …but I believe only an act that is nationwide will bring the changes to the BBC.

    133. Casper1066 says:

      Its like a cancer and needs to be cut out, some still live in the past, they still believe we are a Empire and have not moved on. The wont do it themselves, so we need to do it for them.

    134. Drew Law says:

      “…up to which we now must face.”, I think you’ll find!

    135. bob mooney says:

      As proof that BBC Scotland talk pish, an article at 4pm newsdrive about using urine to generate power!

      At the moment there is a discussion about Norwegian politics which just finished and the pish article has just f-I wish I had made this up but it does describe BBC Scotland.

    136. Anne says:

      I will be there at George Square on 15 March for the protest against BBC bias in Scottish political news coverage. See you all at 2 pm.

    137. unionismisnotnormal says:

      Does anyone know how much Labour apparatchniks like Bird/Magnusson/Campbell etc are on a year? Or is that another one of the BBBC dirty little secrets, one of many it would seem!!!!

    138. bob mooney says:

      Just listening to BBC Scotland Newsdrive and an article about Norwegian politics has just finished and – I kid you not – an article talking pish has just come on, it is about making power from urine, shades of deputy dug on this programme.
      Does anyone think before they broadcast this crap or are they determined to allow STV to be the national broadcaster come the revolution.

    139. bob mooney says:

      My 4.44 pm blog should not have went apologies for the grammer

    140. Andy-B says:

      Very good article Chris, we have a parliament yet we don’t have control of our media, a ludicrous situation.

      The BBC as everyone knows is an extension of the UK government, a state broadcaster, better know as the Ministry of Truth.

    141. North chiel says:

      “Manand boy” again “bang on the money” with his comments.
      “BBC Scotland” news and current affairs output in particular is an affront
      To democracy in our country.The nothing short of disgraceful and outrageously
      Biased output beamed into the homes of our citizens on “round the
      Clock” basis particularly during the final weeks of the referendum campaign
      Should not be forgiven or forgotten.

      Hollyrood needs to have control of radio and television/ media output
      In Scotland .The BBC licence fee should be outlawed in Scotland
      And they should be made to compete with other broadcasters on a
      Commercial basis. In its present form this organisation should have
      No future in an independent (or even present context) Scotland. A Scottish
      Broadcasting organisation requires to be established, to SERVE
      The people not to “BRAINWASH” our citizens.

    142. unionismisnotnormal says:

      Sooner Scotland is rid of this brit establishment stalking horse and all the talking heads who work for it the better.

    143. Tinto Chiel says:

      Since I can’t bear to watch BBC Scotland or listen to its radio equivalent anymore, can anyone tell me if Isabel Fraser, doughty interviewer of Mr “Bayonet-the -Wounded” Davidson, is still to the fore?

      She seemed to me to have disappeared from view before I give up on Pravdavision in September.

      Doubtless she will now have returned to duty, since the BBC has a charter which guarantees impartiality.

    144. Chic McGregor says:

      I think ‘Birt’ is an anagram of something.

    145. Ron Maclean says:

      @Luigi 1.22pm

      I agree with you. What you say is relevant and has to be considered. I’m not suggesting a change of tactics while we are high in the polls and if I could come up with an organisation other than the SNP I would.

      I don’t think allowing the continuing onslaught against the SNHS, education system etc is necessarily an indicator of responsible government. Expecting individuals, however talented, to keep the MSM at bay seems to point to a return to the relentless positivity of the Yes campaign. That didn’t seem to work very well

    146. Lollysmum says:

      Some times at despair at posters on WoS

      How can anyone say that keeping MSM at bay is the responsibility of SNP government.

      Broadcasting does not come under the remit of Holyrood. Westminster controls it & as the media is the WM government’s propaganda arm. WM will never relinquish control to any devolved parliament because it relies on it too much to get the government propaganda out to the masses. Without the media at it’s beck & call the govt would struggle to retain control of the UK.

      Why do you think WM & BBC is now talking about replacing Tv licence with a tax on every household? People are boycotting the licence both north & south of the border because they are rejecting BBC. Less money coming in is starting to focus the minds of those who need the BBC to continue operating & brainwashing the people.

      I criticise SNP when they deserve it but they don’t in this case. The orders have gone out from WM. Deny SNP a media platform so that voters can’t see their offer for the election.All sections of MSM are carrying out those orders to the letter & will continue to do so.

    147. Croompenstein says:

      Why was the PQ demo arranged for the same day as Mother’s Day FFS 🙁

    148. Christian Schmidt says:

      At least in Scotland you have a number of Scottish newspapers, which is more than Wales has…

    149. Fiona says:

      @ Croompenstein

      Good point 🙁

    150. Christian Schmidt says:

      To be honest, I think Birt has a point, common news is a glue, and as long as Britain is one state I cannot see any justification for also having some common news.

      The obvious answer, which surely would have worked both ways, would be to have a BBC Northern Ireland, a BBC Wales, A BBC Scotland and BBC England (or perhaps 4-5, for Northern/Southern/Eastern/Midlands/London), and then charge them to produce a common TV programme together as well as one on their own. This would have ensured that you have both a common perspective that is not dominated by one perspective (i.e. London’s) as well as in-depth national/regional programmes.

    151. fermerfaefife says:

      BBC 6 oclock news does it again – Smurph gets away with the biggest party at WM forms the government shite again without any challenge.
      winds me up no end !

    152. Gary45% says:

      Will we get a unbiased, honest debate on Question Time tonight on the totally fantastic BBC?

    153. Grouse Beater says:

      The head of BBC Scotland, absolutely straight-faced, told me BBC’s commissioning procedure was now truly fair and comprehensive for all independent production companies.

      If you are turned down by BBC Scotland you can resubmit the idea to BBC London, as if somehow, one rejection from the same empire does not kill stone dead other avenues. Even if you tried and had the expenses and time to march to London you’re competing against some serious big time companies, many already running series and programmes.

      He then said – don’t guffaw – by the same token those in London can come to BBC Scotland with their ideas … as if BBC Scotland had London’s monopoly of programme schedules and massive finance to invest. Those who do take the high road are invariably well established London companies, much preferred by BBC Scotland.

      The sheer incredulity on my face must have shown.

    154. lochside says:

      The Bbc is the main State funded obstacle to Scottish Independence.It has been acting overtly against the SNP and the Scottish people for the past 8 years. Devolution of it will not work. Revolution. …i. e smashing it into oblivion will.

      Mass nonpayment, SG open opposition tp it and mass demos will bring the rotten edifice down. But some on here still want supine whinging only.Well keep believing the ‘polls’ supplied by a tory…and dont be surprised when the brainwashed ‘silent majority stymie us again.

    155. Ron Maclean says:

      @lollysmum 6.11pm

      I don’t think anyone said that keeping the MSM at bay is the responsibility of the Scottish government.

    156. Robert Peffers says:

      I gave up deliberately watching TV quite some time ago. That in spite of being able to claim a free TV licence. I found the only things I bothered watching were the late news, Ceefax and the rare occasion there was live Scottish football being broadcast. Even the latter tended to have commentary in the Gaelic language that I do not speak.

      In fact there was only one, or perhaps two,persons I could thole to listen or watch and they were relegated to obscure programmes at even more obscure times. I now get my news from on-line news agency sites :-

      or from WoS. I get Scottish politics direct from Holyrood TV : –

      So, far as I’m concerned, the BBC ceased to exists as a Scottish institution and became, a bit like Lord HawHaw did in WWII, no beter than the enemy propaganda machine. Every one in it has thus become no better than ("Tractor" - Ed)s to Scotland.

      Besides the equipment, (that we Scots have paid for), some technical people, and Izzie Fraser, the hale mankit pauchtie clamjamfrie o thaim kin gan tae meet the Earl o Hell the morns mornin fir aa Ah care.

    157. Robert Peffers says:

      @fermerfaefife says:5 March, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      “BBC 6 oclock news does it again – Smurph gets away with the biggest party at WM forms the government shite again without any challenge.
      winds me up no end !

      That’s like the Old Dear who went to see her GP complaining, “Every time I raise my arm like this it hurts”. The GP said, “Well don’t do it them”.

      You can get all the news you need from a news agency on-line : –

      It is, after all, where the so called MSM journalists cut & Paste their stories from and you can get the Scottish Politics directly from Holyrood Parliament TV :-

    158. Lynda Williamson says:

      We need true and radical reform of our media.
      Quality journalism is crucial to the health of our democracy.
      It is time to rethink journalism as a service and not as a commercialised industry and fund it appropriately through general taxation.
      It also needs to be regulated.

    159. Effijy says:

      If only a few thousand more names were added to this petition,
      we would get an independent inquiry into BBC Bias & Corruption

    160. Gary says:

      Great piece chris and campaign supported. I agree with whoever posted further up that if STV had the balls they really could lead the way here

    161. Elmac says:

      lochside says:
      5 March, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      The Bbc is the main State funded obstacle to Scottish Independence.It has been acting overtly against the SNP and the Scottish people for the past 8 years.

      Could not agree more. We don’t need this crap in our lives – stop watching live and STOP paying – nothing will hurt them more. We need thousands of decent people to show their disgust for this thoroughly reprehensible organisation by fronting up at the demo on Sunday 15 March at 2pm in George Square then on to Pacific Quay.

      This is my first post on this site having fallen off the fence almost a year ago and being an avid reader ever since.

    162. CRAIGthePICT says:

      Well written Christopher.

      “the ability to produce vigorous current affairs coverage in Scotland has long been viewed as contrary to the interests of the British state”

      “The problem lies, as ever, further up the food chain”

      These two quotes nail it for me. However, as far as a ‘solution’ goes:

      in arguing for a vigorous, quality, media for Scotland this time, we need to make our demands more compelling, more precise and ground them in a genuine, popular campaign for a national media in Scotland.

      We are already doing exactly this, but the ‘powers that be’ do not listen or indeed give a monkeys. We will not have a national media until we are independent, it is the only solution to this and a plethora of other ubiquitous injustices being foisted upon our nation.

    163. Hoss Mackintosh says:

      I have to plug the upcoming book by the most excellent G. A. Ponsonby.

      “How the BBC Stole the Referendum”.

      I am sure it will be a best-seller in Scotland and should be available in time for May GE15 for maximum BBC embarrassment.

      In years to come It will be become a classic reference book on state propaganda.

    164. Gary says:

      After the referendum David Cameron actually thanked the media for ‘winning the campaign’. Any media has to represent the country in which it is broadcast. This is what BBC has failed to do. Its not OUR broadcasting corporation despite the fact that we prop it up with our licence fees.

    165. Stoker says:

      Effijy says:
      If only a few thousand more names were added to this petition,
      we would get an independent inquiry into BBC Bias & Corruption

      (38 Degrees link removed).

      Bullshit, have you seen what we got out of the last petition from 38 Degrees? A company with absolutely no credibility.

    166. Dafydd Williams says:

      Excellent analysis, which deserves wide publicity. A similar initiative in Wales, led by respected broadcaster Geraint Talfan Davies, was also seen off by the London-based BBC bosses. How can you have ‘genuine home rule’ without a national broadcasting system? It is good that Birt has now revealed the facts – let’s get them a high profile.

    167. Davo says:

      I just stopped paying the UK propaganda tax and I am now £145 better off each year. It is totally legal and I get to watch the exact same programmes on EBC and the commercial channels as I used to. All you need to do is watch TV on catchup over the internet instead of watching it live. The great thing is that I am not now funding pedophiles, politicians and their offspring as ‘celebrities’. Also, everything is now in High Definition (HD), which is nice.

    168. Dan Watson says:

      Some time ago the BBC paid an obscene amount of money for the privilege of televising Formula 1.
      The Scots licence payer were given no say as to wether this was a wise way of spending our licence fees, this was a decision made by BBC management in London.
      The Scottish Government should start to demand a larger slice of our licence fee money to finance Scottish made programmes and Scottish sport.

    169. donald anderson says:

      With friends like this Labour don’t need enemiesAn article on John McTernan, Murphy’s Chief of Staff, from the Morning Star (another GB paper)


    170. VoiceofReason says:

      Just a quick question, Davo – I’m curious – if the BBC is so worthless, why are you still watching the content it makes?

      If everyone stopped paying the licence fee, the content you like to be able to find online for free won’t be there anymore.

      Its that simple. Is that really what you want? I don’t.

      It it is hard to start a broadcaster from scratch. To scrap the BBC in Scotland entirely would be insane – an act of spectacularly myopic imagination. The BBC in Scotland makes some excellent content that nobody else is bothering to make because it wouldn’t make money.

      To say the licence fee funds pedophiles is lazy. The BBC is imperfect and the current balance of power within it incompatible with a devolved Scotland but it isn’t responsible for the referendum outcome.

      We need a creative vision of what we want our Scottish share of the BBC to look like come independence. We need our friends across the rest of this island. Creative vision is what will make a difference – personal attack can be ignored, as can misinformation and fear-mongering about a unionist conspiracy that doesn’t exist in the places you see it.

      I’d advise continuing to invest in the infrastructure of an institution that must and will do more for its Scottish license fee paying co-owners. Our part in the BBC is an international asset we must protect.

    171. Davo says:

      Q:Davo – I’m curious – if the BBC is so worthless, why are you still watching the content it makes?

      A:I don’t watch any commercial TV and the only things I watch on EBC are the foreign crime series and sport. I would be happy to pay to watch these but not if it means subsidising a corrupt state broadcaster from another country.

      Instead, I switch between Netflix, NowTV, Amazon, etc on a monthly basis and also get a great selection of factual TV from YouTube and Vimeo. I am watching better quality TV and am actually watching less. This saves me about £65 a year compared with the EBC fee so I will be able to subscribe to WingsTV when it launches:-)

    172. Ken Mair says:

      The BBC Scotland used to start with “Welcome to your National News” that got dropped when the referendum was announced.
      Today the Labour Party on Air that is BBC Scotland gives unfettered access to the Labour Party and wages an all out propoganda war against the SNP and covers any story that contains a union flag.
      They should really call the “news” “Retarding Scotland” as it sure feels as if we have gone back in time.

    173. Peter Barjonas says:

      If BBC Scotland offers anything of value it is the nightly pleasure of seeing the beautiful Shelley Joffre on the Scotland 2016 programme. This Irvine lassie must be the most beautiful presenter on the station. This sad, Nationalist OAP looks forward to this visual treat. Unfortunately, the rest of the stations Unionist pap is, quite frankly, attrocious.

    174. Denis says:

      In the independence ref. the people of SCOTLAND where told, to stay in the EU. we had stay in the UK, now England is taking us out against ” OUR ” will, I don’t get it, I voted for INDY and I accept SCOTLANDs majority voted to stay, ” BUT ” now England has voted, WE don’t COUNT, why should we, we are only a money machine, OK, the price is low for oil but if it goes UP, will SCOTLAND get the benefit or will it go to England ” LONDON ”. I am PROUD to say ” I AM SNP ” but I have always agreed with the vote. I ask one more question, IF they don’t need ” ME ” why will they not let ” ME ” go, they ” London ” have given INDY to so many other countries in this world, ” WHY OH WHY NOT US ”.

    175. Denis, they “gave£” nothing. It was taken, or inevitable.

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top