Question Time

You don’t need a crystal ball to see into the future, the first edition of BBC’s Question Time gave a glimpse into the next 1000 days. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, was bullied, harried and talked over as she tried to defend Scottish independence… and that was just the “impartial” chairman, David Dimbleby.
Was it sexism? Was it anti-Scottish bias? Or was it just pure ignorance? It’s difficult to tell, as all three are amongst the most regular stars of BBC’s flagship politics programme (along with Melanie Philips – what a coincidence…) Perhaps Dimbleby just has a particular dislike of Nicola Sturgeon. He has form, after all – few in the Scottish political blogosphere have forgotten the way he rudely silenced Nicola when she dared to bring up a Scottish issue when Question Time was in Glasgow, saying it wasn’t applicable to the rest of the UK audience, despite Question Time regularly waxing lyrical about matters purely of concern to Londoners without so much as a word from Dimbleby. Whatever it was, it was unacceptable. Douglas Alexander was allowed to carp at the Deputy First Minister from the sidelines, demanding an apology for something someone else said (and which he misquoted grotesquely). It was like watching the school bully whispering insults into someone’s ear just loud enough for everyone to hear, and the teacher doing nothing to stop it. The fact that the usually rabid right-winger Kelvin MacKenzie came away looking like the second most reasonable person on the panel – including the chairman – speaks volumes.
So over the next 1000 days we can, at best, expect pro-independence speakers to be shown no respect and, at worst, see them treated like pariahs. However, we also witnessed the kind of lies we will be told again and again. Dimbleby himself goading the Tory UK Transport minister to say that Scotland was subsidised by England (a claim he has made himself on the programme on more than one occasion), Lord Ashdown making a spurious case for unionism based on defence issues and romanticising about fighting together in WWII (when was the last time the UK fought alone? Being a separate country from the USA has not stopped warmongering UK Prime Ministers from allying us to neoliberal US wars…), Douglas Alexander making grand statements of the “better together, weaker apart” ilk, without one iota of substance or fact behind the bluster… And all of it passed by without any comment or correction.
The battle lines are being drawn. On the independence side stand the SNP, the Scottish Greens, and facts; on the unionist side stand lies, Labour, Tories, Liberal Democrats, and the full force of the UK media, including the supposedly impartial state broadcaster which we all help pay for. Every penny of Scottish licence fees spent on the BBC’s news and political output concerning the referendum is being used to keep Scotland down. It’s not good enough. The Scottish independence referendum will be a once in a generation opportunity for some, and a once in a lifetime chance for others. It must not be missed due to misinformation pumped out by parties with vested interests and allowed to wallow in people’s minds by a compliant media.
Again and again we see the ridiculous claim that Scotland is subsidised by England. This is a lie – there is no other word for it – and it must be stamped out of the public’s consciousness if we are to avoid people being scared off independence because of unfounded fears. Whenever someone says Scotland would be worse off, it must be challenged. It is not good enough to blithely repeat the opinions of unionist politicians as if they were expounding facts, such as the BBC has done here. For those who dismiss suggestions of inherent bias in the BBC’s reporting, just take a look at the headline, written as if Osborne was stating a fact backed with evidence. We need our state broadcaster to ask the questions that we can’t ask ourselves, questions like “what is your evidence for that statement?”; but instead, we get unquestioned obedience.
These are just the calling shots. It’s going to get a lot worse. We will see the lies multiply, and repeated ad nauseum. Douglas Alexander claimed on Question Time that we need a “different debate”, before proceeding to show us what that “different debate” was – a dirty tricks campaign, distorting people’s words to fit his skewed narrative and just generally, as they say, playing the (wo)man, not the ball. Anything that we say can – and will – be twisted out of all recognition to try and show independence supporters as swivel-eyed, knuckle-dragging, anti-English heidbangers. As the positive case for the union (which has still to rear it’s ugly head, despite months of expectation of its arrival) fails miserably, they will go negative. More negative than 1997’s “demon eyes” campaign. More negative than the lies in last year’s futile AV referendum. Think the borderline racism Republicans in the USA utilised against Barack Obama, and then multiply that magnitude tenfold. With the full force of the UK establishment against us, it’s going to be a torrid time.
And like the stereotypical self-destructive, masochistic Scotsman that I am, I’m going to enjoy every second of it. Because you know what? It doesn’t matter what they throw at us – we’re still going to win.

Comments (102)

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  1. Iain says:

    Next thing we know the Unionists will be demanding Salmond produce his birth certificate to prove he was born in Scotland.

  2. Edinburgh Quine says:

    I manage to avoid most of the “political” output on the EBC. They may not be biased on a labour/tory basis, but given the behaviour of the Labour Party puppets who appear on our screens from the Glasgow outpost, it’s not informative on ANY level. As you point out, everyone in Scotland is paying for this, whether we want to or not, so they must, and should, represent all our opinions. Maybe it’s the time for some mass civil disobedience. It wouldn’t work at an individual level, but if enough people got together and refused to pay the licence tax, maybe they would take notice. We dont want them biased one way or another, just let us hear all sides of the argument PLEASE!

    1. FrankyB says:

      Just stop paying. The licence is for receiving ‘live’ transmissions. As long as you say you are not receiving or recording live transmissions they cannot make you pay. So you can still have your tv, video, dvd recorders, etc.

      Stop paying and sit tight with this defence and that will stop them in their tracks.

      1. EdinburghEye says:

        I’m quite sure FrankyB knows better.

        The BBC can lawfully come after you for non-payment of your licence fee if you habitually watch BBC iPlayer on your computer.

        1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

          They may “come after you” but its bluff. They lack the powers to effectively prosecute as I understand it

      2. Talorgan says:

        At the moment you only need a licence to watch the iPlayer live but the law is going to change so that you’ll need a licence to watch the iPlayer under any circumstance. You will also need a licence to watch BBC-produced videos wherever they may be on-line.

        http://www.bbcresistance.com

        The BBC would like all Internet connections to require a licence but have so far been blocked by industry.

  3. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Indeed we are. But we need to nail the lies – one by one. But once you nail one big lie you are well on the way to nailing them all. It actually doesn’t matter what the people of the rest of the UK think if the Scots understand they are being and have been lied to continuously for the past forty years we will prosper.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      Yes. That was why I started the Scotch Myths series, as an attempt to get people to think about what Big Lies we are constantly told, and how we can defeat them. I’ll be following up with a few more in the coming weeks. I think the “subsidy junkies” myth is losing traction with people of late, and it seems like the biggest of the Big Lies.

  4. This post would be really funny, if weren’t so serious.

    I saw the same programme, and watched it again today to check things> I felt Sturgeon had a pretty fair run at it, and came off rather well. Mackenzie wasn’t the usual idiot he portrays, and Alexander gave a reasonable account of himself. I didn’t think Dimbleby was especially rude, pushy or unfair in the slightest.

    I can only conclude that Doug Daniel was watching with tartan tinted spectacles, as he has contrived to see offence were there was none. I suppose if you have a ready made victimhood agenda, then it is inevitable.

    I’m happy to see a referendum, at any time, but it seems the same cannot be said of the SNP, who need to wait for the high-tide to bring their boat ashore.

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “I’m happy to see a referendum, at any time, but it seems the same cannot be said of the SNP, who need to wait for the high-tide to bring their boat ashore.”

      The same could be said of their opponents. It’s not as if any other political party has set up an independence referendence until the SNP put it on the agenda.

      Every referendum needs some time for the two side to gather strength and mount proper campaigns.

    2. Colin Dunn says:

      “I’m happy to see a referendum, at any time, but it seems the same cannot be said of the SNP, who need to wait for the high-tide to bring their boat ashore.”

      That seems a bit smug, to me. As an undecided voter I find this sort of point-scoring about the date sooner vs later really annoying. This is a big decision, and I think it’s only fair that we all have long enough for proper debate. That can’t be done in a hurry.

      Colin

    3. Peter A Bell says:

      “I can only conclude that Doug Daniel was watching with tartan tinted spectacles…”

      Or it could be that you were watching with union jack tinted spectacles. The silly remark about the scheduling of the referendum would seem to support such a conclusion.

  5. David says:

    You need a Facebook Page. Not a ‘Group Page’ but a ‘Pages Page’. It would help you to grow your circulation far quicker. E.g. you post a link, I share it so all my friends can see it.

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “you post a link, I share it so all my friends can see it.” – Yes, and Facebook also sells your personal details, doesn’t it?

      1. No one should be forced to join any social network until they are confident it ticks their own requirements. I resisted getting a Facebook account until they had dealt with the really big privacy issues that had for many years.

        Facebook has indeed been naughty in the past. However they got severely dealt with by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year. They now have a threat hanging over them of being fined $16,000 per breach in the future. Not done the maths, but that could potentially be billions of dollars and then there is the class action lawsuits users would bring if they breach privacy laws in the future. Other data protection and privacy watchdogs are investigating Facebook and other social networks to ensure compliance with the appropriate directives and laws operating in their country.

        Learn more:
        http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/11/facebook-settles-with-ftc-gets-stern-privacy-warning.php

      2. John Bull says:

        Then give fake details

  6. Morag Lennie says:

    Every time the BBC either mistreats our representatives, or spreads disinformation, or is biased in the time allowed to answer / rebutt all of the above, COMPLAIN. The Complaints no is 03700 100222, and press option 3 to speak to a person not a time limited machine. Also ask for a written response. This uses up time and person power, also stationery and postage costs. When they start getting several hundred complaints a week, they may start to address their practise, if only to save money. remember…………. be polite, it’s not the operator’s fault.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      I’ve complained so many times and gotten the same reply back for each one. They refuse to listen. Besides which, I think the bias shown by the BBC is so deeply ingrained in their psyche that they can’t even see what they are doing wrong.

      Besides which, I am not good at keeping my temper on phone lines. I’ll leave it to ore level-headed people!

      1. Morag Lennie says:

        Doug I totally understand what you’re saying, but if you ask for a written reply, which you are entitled to do, not email, paper copy, it will tie them up if enough people do it. I am now on first name terms with the poor souls who staff the call centre, and you might get a surprse at some of THEIR reactions.

  7. Bill Cruickshank says:

    I have written 3 emails this morning: 1. To Nicola, congratulating her on her brilliant performance in the face of bias (Dimbleby/BBC) and thuggish behaviour from Alexander.2 .The BBC, re. bias and the Chairmanship of David Dimbleby – to allow Alexander to heckle and bully Nicola was disgraceful. 3. To Alexander himself re. his disgusting bully boy tactics, also suggested that he consider his positon.

  8. Bill Cruickshank says:

    Morag thanks for your advice, I will follow it. Would it be ok with you to post it on The March for Scottish Independence page on Facebook?

  9. James Coleman says:

    Yes! It was disgraceful. I agree with the writer that it was sad when a self confessed anti-scottish bigot was able to walk off the programme as the 2nd most impartial broadcaster (after Nicola). In fact although I intensely dislike Mackenzie’s views he was the most sympatico to Nicola. The BBC are really in trouble.
    And Nicola, under attack on all sides, even the audience, gave a good account of herself. Alexander came across as a little rat of a man, an anti-Scottish weasel, more interested in his own political career than what the Scottish people need and want. And I suppose that is the same for all of the London Labourites. Whether it is Independence or Devo whatever their London careers are in great danger and they are fighting for that and to hell with the Scottish voters.
    And it continued afterwards with Andrew Neill. Dismissing Hardeep’s views and Independence as inconsequential. But then we know where the Great Neill stands. He wasn’t able to enter into any reasonable debate.

    1. Ray Bell says:

      ” In fact although I intensely dislike Mackenzie’s views he was the most sympatico to Nicola.”

      Methinks Kelvin is confused. Having a stereotypical Scottish surname, and being named after a river in Glasgow, and having your brother named Bruce, not to mention Scottish parents… these all lead to a bit of an odd dilemma when one starts Scot bashing.

  10. Ray Bell says:

    A lot of the audience responses were predictable. However, the truth is that most ordinary English people are not that bothered by Scottish independence.

    I don’t think there was a sexist bias against Nicola Sturgeon. A male politician would have been subjected to the same kind of treatment. I think she did well, but she did start on the minimum pricing thing at one point, which is a Labour-type policy or originates in the Brit civil service (and which will not solve alcohol problems. It will cause smuggling and illegal drink brewing/distilling to skyrocket, much like the market in black market ciggies).

    Douglas Alexander was allowed to bully her, that’s for sure. I doubt most folk in London have ever heard of Joan McAlpine. The question ended up a damp squib. But Dimbleby didn’t intervene. The hard truth is, however, that SNP politicians are going to have to develop thick skins anyway.

    I also discovered that Paddy Pantsdown could bore for England, or for Ireland, or for wherever he’s from.

    Greening didn’t seem to have thought much about the subject.

    ” On the independence side stand the SNP, the Scottish Greens”

    The Greens don’t make much noise about independence these days. I hope any Greens reading will seek to rectify this.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      The Greens will be important in the debate. I don’t agree with all their policies, but they are right far more often than any of the three unionist parties are, and I would far rather have them on side than be against them!

      As for the sexist bias, I was seeing a lot of people on Twitter saying they felt he was being sexist, so he might have been, or he might not, but it was a point that people were raising. He was certainly not quite so obtuse towards Alex Salmond or Mike Russell when they were on the show.

    2. EdinburghEye says:

      I think that Dimbleby’s really appalling treatment of Nicola Sturgeon is half sexism and half anti-Scottishness.

      Dimbleby is certainly determined not to behave to Nicola Sturgeon as if he were supposed to regard Deputy First Minister as an important person in politics.

      But I think he’s also treating her as inconsiderable and inconsequential because she’s a woman – he feels it perfectly okay (for example) to fire questions at her, talk over as she is replying to those questions, and then cut her off, declaring that there’s no time for more. I very much doubt that he would behave like that to an equivalently-senior woman in the UK Parliament (though it’s hard to tell, since the Scottish Parliament has a leadership much more gender-balanced than in Westminster) but I also doubt that he would treat a male Scottish Minister like that (he certainly didn’t treat Alex Salmond himself like that).

  11. Ray Bell says:

    I wonder how many people here know David Dimbleby was in the Bullingdon Club?

  12. Morag Lennie says:

    My brother, and his friends, were in the black hand gang in our garden shed. Does that qualify him for a job at the BBC?

  13. bigrab says:

    Good piece Doug.

    Before I read it I wrote this http://bigrab.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/no-fear/ which I’d say chimes with you, albeit a little more briefly and less eloquently……

  14. David McCann says:

    The SNP will need to be carefull how often they are prepared to appear on radio and TV programmes when they are clearly outnumbered by the pro union lobby. That especially follows in Scottish programmes. They should insist on equality of views- pro and anti independence, and refuse to take part unless that criteria is met. After all it is not just the SNP who are in favour of independence.

  15. Richard Lucas says:

    It would be nice if Joan MacAlpine could be dissuaded from giving any verbal hostages to fortune for the next 997 days. Dougie A might well have come up with another diversionary tactic, but I see little point in helping him out

  16. bull says:

    So. You all think you speak for Scotland. We’ll see. What an ugly set of comments. I look forward to seeing views such of these discussed openly.

    1. Morag Lennie says:

      Good Morning Bull. this is not a closed site, ergo views are being discussed openly. Have you ever attempted to put a point of view to ANY BBC call in programme? You will rapidly find that, in the main, should you wish to put a reasoned, informed case for Scots Independence, your chances are zip. Should you manage to get on, you will be harried, talked across, and cut short. Should you attempt to pass on factual information i.e. the delineation of the North Sea, the response will be, and HAS been to me, is that true,………………and you’ll be cut short. However, freedom of speech is supposed to be one of the Union Dividends, ( for the life of me I can’t think of any of any others,) so we will FREELY continue to post our views.

    2. James Coleman says:

      Ugly, Ugly!? The comments are all fairly well balanced, but more to the point they are…TRUE.

  17. You need to watch BBC Newswatch this week.

    The show makes BBC Scotland look very dodgy, ably assisted by a piece to camera by myself! This Newswatch segment is opening up many eyes to see the truth! Had loads of comments from people saying they had no idea the comment censorship was going on, made all the worse by it being a specific BBC Scotland policy. Just a shame some of my more scathing comments didn’t quite make it through the edit suite! But still a good outing me thinks.

    Repeat schedule shown below…

    Saturday (tomorrow) Morning
    03:45am BBC News Channel
    07:45am BBC1 Breakfast Show

    Should be available shortly on the iPlayer and then, no doubt, available to view on YouTube ;-).

    BBC iPlayer link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01986s4/Newswatch_13_01_2012/

    1. bull says:

      Do you all really think the BBC is part of a conspiracy to keep the union? Isn’t that a bit paranoid? I can’t see your player playing anything, but some evidence rather than hysteria would be useful in this atmosphere of hyper-ventilation.

      1. You may not be aware but the debate of whether the BBC would be the broadcaster of Scotland has been ongoing for some time. There are strong feelings that a new Scottish broadcaster should replace the BBC. The BBC therefore has a vested interest in the debate.

        Hopefully good journalism, backed by active public scrutiny, will facilitate a factual, honest and informative debate. Surely there is nothing to fear in that?

        The iPlayer link is working now.

      2. James Coleman says:

        “…hyper-ventilation…” (sic)

        Come off it! You’re the only one here who seems to be hyperventilating.

      3. James Coleman says:

        That last remark was to Bull.

    2. Castle Rock says:

      Hi John, I watched it and was surprised that they actually transmitted it – don’t know who you are but you certainly came across well. Don’t think it helped them either when they read out the statement rather than having someone come on from BBC Scotland to explain why we are being silenced. I think its going to ruffle a few feathers.

      1. Hi Castle Rock, Let me start by saying I’m just a normal concerned citizen, a bit of a political anorak, a card carrying member of NO particular political party and someone who wants to see my fellow Scots making an informed decision based on a balanced and informative debate.

        The user comment (or lack thereof) policy now operated by BBC Scotland is very damaging to the debate. To say I was fuming when this happened back in November would be an understatement. I’ve only occasionally contributed to the blogs but I am indebted to the frequent posters who spent time informing others of the facts, figures and resources to look up to get at the truth – they gave me the tools to fight for an independent Scotland. My mission, along with many other complainants, was to fight this anti-Scottish and anti-democratic measure so others could have the same life changing experience or at least to be properly informed.

        You may also be interested in reading the Points of View Messsageboard campaign thread where Peta, a member of the POV team who was trying her utmost to get our complaints dealt with:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/NF1951574?thread=8297690

        The Newswatch team were very supportive. Their job is to highlight user complaints about BBC news content and they appear to have more autonomy than people perceive. The complaints had been sitting in their inbox waiting for an opportune moment coming along when it would make for a great Newswatch piece. Events this week made it an opportune moment to dust off the emails and get me into the studio to expose this injustice.

        Regards
        John

    3. Well done John, just watched it, you came across well.

      It was rather telling that BBC political editor Daniel Maxwell
      http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=657004347
      @DanielMaxwell1
      Daniel.Maxwell@bbc.co.uk
      wouldn’t appear on Newswatch to justify his nonsensical decision to ban free speech on Blubber with Brian.

      1. When I first started to complain about the user comment censorship, little did I think it would end up with me featuring on a national TV programme. It didn’t cross my mind that I would be the one carrying the Tartan baton ready to have a swat in the direction of this draconian policy.

        In a non-recording moment between Raymond Snoddy doing the lead in and him coming to me, he asked if I understood the statement by Daniel Maxwell.

        “Bizarre” was my response.

        I was far more scathing about some of the other censorship measures going on and mentioned the naught “B” word… BIAS. Unfortunately this didn’t get through the edit process. Upon reflection the Newswatch team did an exceptional job overall and are a truly great bunch of folk. There are good journalists in the BBC wiling to listen and put the facts on air.

    4. James Coleman says:

      Had a look at it and it was good but far too short. And being watched by a minority of people will have little effect. I wasn’t aware that all the other English comment blogs were wide open to comment. The Scottish Editor should be ordered to explain himself by BBC Chairman. The statement by him (the Editor) was grotesque. Nannie state stuff straight out of 1984. They’ll decide what is good for us! Those who know the ropes should try contacting the ex Tory MP who is now Chairman of the BBC. I can’t remember his name.

      .

  18. Frankly says:

    This is, of course, not so much politics now as a form of warfare, in which the first casualty, according to Aeschylus, is truth.

    As was the case in the 1970s, when the devolution proposals were perceived to represent a mortal threat to the anglo-union, the defenders of the UK state will not care much about truth or reason. What mattered to them then, as it evidently does now, is to win at all costs and to that end to seek to discredit the opposition utterly by telling huge whoppers and repeating them incessantly:

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” (Adolf Hitler)

    1. bull says:

      Gosh. Aligning a quote from Hitler to people you disagree with you. Classy. Whatever people may say about truth and lies, it is evident to me that a number of people who passionately want an independent Scotland are anti-English. It permeates a lot of the comments here. That’s one of the problems with passionate nationalism. It tends to be inward and hateful of others.

      I live quite near to the border and a lot of my friends are Scottish. Will the vote be restricted to people living in Scotland (presumably that would mean a lot of English people would be entitled to vote)?

      1. Morag Lennie says:

        Mr., Ms., Mrs. Bull whatever your status is, let me say this once and for all. loudly and clearly, SCOTTISH NATIONALISTS ARE NOT ANTI ENGLISH. We are deeply, profoundly, to the depth of our beingness sick, tired, disgusted, angry dedadeda, at the way our country has been treated by WESTMINSTER GOVERNMENTS. For thirty years, I was a social worker, working with poverty and deprivation that would make a horse vomit ( and biologocally, they can’t. ) I saw young mothers, trying to do their best, slowly dying of malnutrition…….. no, not starvation in the sense that they had nothing to eat , but no decent nourishing food to put in their’s and their childrens’ stomachs. i could go on and on about the horrors that still give me nightmares from time to time, despite having been retired now for14 years. While I was dealing with this, the pipeline taking Scotland’s Oil south was running about ten miles east of where I live. Now I am one of these people who would want Independence, regardless of the economics, etc of the issue, but Westminster Govts could have killed the SNP stone dead, had they ever dealt fairly, and equitably, with Scotland. They haven’t, EVER. Our drive to independence is not a rejection of you, the individual English people, who are trying to do exactly the same as we are, feed our families, care for the vulnerable, grow a thriving economy where everyone has a decent crack of the whip, etc. etc. It is a rejection of a Parliamentary system, which has, willfully, denuded our country of it’s resources, the greatest of which is our people, and in return told us we are begging leeches. If indeed that’s what we are, they should be in transports of ecstacy at the prospect of getting rid of us. And before you tell me that it’s BRITAIN’s oil, check out the delineation of the North Sea Acts, passed in the Westminster Parliament. North of 55 degrees latitude is SCOTTISH waters. hence, it’s STILL Scotland’s oil

      2. bellacaledonia says:

        The current proposals are for the vote to be given to people on the electoral register in Scotland.

      3. Quoting Hitler is never a good call for it will be used against you.

        A know quite a few Scottish nationalist who are actually anti-English, ironically they are born and breed Englishmen who’ve made the choice to escape to Scotland. The vast majority of nationalist are anti-Westminster rule, not anti-English.

        The registered voters of Scotland will be the people voting in the independence referendum so the many registered voters of Scotland, who just so happen to be non-Scots based on their residence, will be able to put his mark on the ballot paper.

        May I humbly submit the principle of self determination as an area for you to research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-determination

        International law recognises it is the people of Scotland who get to decide upon their own sovereignty. The rest of the UK can contribute to the debate but they aren’t deciding upon their own sovereignty so they don’t get a vote.

      4. James Coleman says:

        “…a lot of my friends are Scottish….”

        Couldn’t resist it! The first sign of a racist! And Mr Bull (John? Shit?) is a closet one, trying to appear reasonable while at the same time…

      5. Education is a way of understanding facts rather than imaginary thoughts in 6 parts taking about an hour in all. Diomhair prt1

      6. Ray Bell says:

        I believe it was Goebbels who said that BTW.

      7. Frankly says:

        The principles of propaganda are well known. Those who have exploited them to the most regrettable effect unsurprisingly have had insightful observations to share with us about them, which it is arguably better to be aware of than to ignore. Turning one’s back on the truth is not an option that I personally favour or would recommend.

        One of the big lies which keeps being trotted out by anglo-unionists is that the case against the anglo-union can only be passionately racist rather than reasoned and fair-minded. Recognizing the existence of civic nationalism does not suit their purpose, and so they do not care to recognize it. Bull’s bullish comment testifies to that, I venture to suggest.

        We are beginning to experience a storm of wild allegations from south of the border, and I am afraid that in these circumstances, as one remembers only too well from the 1970s, these allegations will come thick and fast with or without provocation. Be in no doubt about it. The constitutional debate is now a war zone, so to speak, now that the anglo-regime has entered the fray, and the battle for Scotland is being fought . . . and not by Marquess of Queensberry rules:

        http://tinyurl.com/6tavh6y

  19. Scottish republic says:

    “””””””””””warmongering UK Prime Ministers from allying us to neoliberal US wars”””””””””””””

    I like the clarity of this sentence.

    I am surprised that everybody is apparently surprised at the Brit nat gangbangers attacking Nicola Sturgeon.

    The SNP just shook their arrogance to the core and is challenging their very existance.

    They want to destroy the SNP and will do that on TV if the SNP plays their game.

    This is the SNP’s game. It’s their referendum – the Brit nats are irrelevant. The BBC will be out on a limb without the SNP voice.

    The SNP must insist on an equal number of pro-independence voices to avoid getting ganged up on or they stay on STV and the streets and town halls of Scotland.

  20. Albalha says:

    On Question Time it’s pretty clear the panel was hurriedly changed in light of the news resulting in the 4-1 panel. At least Any Questions on R4 yesterday junked their original plan, but with that it would be interesting to know how late in the day it was decided, how thrown together it was – hosted in Loretto school, how broad an audience one wonders. Having monitored pretty much most news outlets over recent days I think the SNP has to think carefully who they put up for interview (as alluded to above). For example Bruce Crawford on the Politics Show with A Neill wasn’t the best choice, there are enough strong interviewees to go around. Not sure J Swinney was the greatest choice for Any Questions either. And I agree with M Lennie it is worth complaining I appreciate people don’t think the BBC gives a stuff but I think when it comes to charges of bias they do. Always worth quoting from their Editorial Guidelines.

  21. Indy says:

    I think the sexist accusations are based not only on that episode of Question Time but on previous episodes. I think it is a valid accusation. He was bad on Thursday, he failed to control Douglas Alexander and consistently talked over Nicola and did not give her the same opportunity that he gave to other speakers to make their point but really that pales into comparison to his behavour when he basically told her to shut up when she started talking about independence on a previous programme. I just don’t believe he would have spoken to a man like that. He is a deeply unpleasant person, Dimbleby. I thought Nicola did very well, she was very dignified in what must have been a very difficult situation. There is no doubt that a Scottish audience would have been on her side – nationalst or not. Just on a human level it was really annoying to see someone who is always very polite and reasonable being treated in that way by a lot of patronising egomaniacs. I except the Tory MP from those comments – she was rather good actually, shame she’s a Tory.

    1. Justine Greening MP was a credit to her party. Funny moment when she managed to avoid having to answer the Scotland subsidy question. Surely this wasn’t lost on the UK viewing public? Perhaps we’re almost at the point of killing off this lie once and for all.

  22. Marcus Stout says:

    Nicola Sturgeon once asked me (face to face) – “Where the toilet was?”. As a ‘life-long’ S.N.P. supporter (38 years) – It kind of put everything ‘into place’?

  23. bull says:

    No, as I don’t support it I wouldn’t be ringing so have no experience of that. I will have to take your word for it, though I have to say I am rather sceptical about your claims that you are denied freedom of speech. Still – claims of bias in the BBC are one odd thing you share with tories and people further to the right.

    I think NS comes across like most politicians; unwilling to answer a question directly and boring on and on to drown out others. I note the views of Dimbleby on here, but it is a major effort to stop her once she starts. I don’t think she comes across at all, a slightly squeakier Hazel Blears. There will be more and more pressure on SNP politicians and it will be interesting to see who stands behind Salmond who towers over all others in the coming period.

  24. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The aptly named Bull must have been watching a different programme. On a rough analysis Douglas Alexander was allowed about thee times as much time as Nicola Sturgeon and was allowed to speak uninterupted. Nicola was interupted continually by Dimbleby and by Alexander (with no attempt by Dimbelby to stop him).
    It became fairly obvious as the programme proceeded that sympathy for Nicoa was growing among the other panelists and I have had two phone calls – one from a contact in London – who were appalled at the bullying. I suspect this has rebounded on Alexander except among blind Labour cheer leaders. Petulant and nasty behaviour towards women does not go down well with the average male voter, far less the average female.
    It has all been washed away however by Henry McLeish’s brave stance this morning against the Labour/Tory hitch-up and infavoutr of the “preferendum”.
    I don’t know if it has fully registered yet just how much trouble Labour is in on this issue.
    Final point. It doesn’t matter what an English audience think of any of this.

    1. bull says:

      You’re right, that’s a very rough analysis. I was watching the same programme. I’m almost tempted to see what the reality is about time, because what you suggest is absurd. Perhaps it’s just some people don’t like dissent in the chorus.

      You’re wrong that ‘it doesn’t matter what an English audience thinks’, though. When the referendum happens, and whatever the result, of course it will matter, a lot, and quite rightly. I’m sure this could be done without alienating people in England; perhaps a start might for some of your supporters to stop describing English people offensively. It’s just an accident of birth you know.

      1. James Coleman says:

        Never mind Blog sites. Just go to comments on Scottish affairs in the supposedly ‘quality’ Daily Telegraph . The anti-scottish racist comments on there are appalling. And they are much less racist than those which appear in the Daily (Hate Scotland) Mail. If the comments were directed at blacks et al the papers would be closed down.

      2. Doug Daniel says:

        Calling someone born in England English is offensive? That’s a new one…

  25. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Which supporter has described the English offensively?. None here that I can find. Try some English media blogs if you want to see “offensive” on the Scotland/England issue.
    It doesn’t matter what an English audience thinks about the choice Scotland will make.
    They may hold an opinion but that has no practical consequence..

    1. Ray Bell says:

      “It doesn’t matter what an English audience thinks about the choice Scotland will make.” – Yes an no. There is a considerable English population in Scotland, and plenty of Scots who are related to people living in England or who are English.

      1. Doug Daniel says:

        That’ll be the English audience that reside in… England?

        An English person living in Scotland is part of the Scottish audience, so if I was an English-born Scottish resident and I was asked who was being more offensive, I know who I’d say…

  26. Question Time is a circus in which performers compete for the loudest applause with the shiniest opinions. That’s why the likes of Starkey and Phillips keep getting invited back on. If you believe otherwise you are doomed to disappointment. For a measured discussion of the issues, as well as a practical debunkment of the myth that the BBC is infested with anti-independence ‘institutional bias’, look out Any Questions with the other Dimbleby on Radio 4.

    If the message isn’t getting across, the answer is not to shoot the messenger. Dimbleby was not under any obligation to ‘control’ the maudlin schoolboy Douglas Alexander or anybody else. His job is to let the debate flow, and mostly it did. The idea that Nicola Sturgeon, an experienced and capable politician, needs to be protected from the bad men is itself sexist and patronising. For what it’s worth, I thought she came across fairly well. She didn’t rise to Alexander’s petty jibes (a withering put-down would have been better, but those are hard to conceive in the heat of a TV studio). In her eagerness to get her prepared points across, however, she missed some open goals. Ashdown wittered on about a ‘three-question’ referendum, which showed he hadn’t done his homework. And Sturgeon ought to have trampled on his weaselly, appalling insinuation that the UK was heading towards a Yugoslav-style ethnic meltdown.

    I will always defend the freedom of journalists to ask awkward questions awkwardly. You might say I have a vested interest in that, and you’d be right. But beyond that, there’s a serious debate to be had here. Sometimes it will get messy, nasty and dirty, but to borrow Woody Allen’s line about sex, that’s a sign it’s being done right.

    1. Albalha says:

      Just listened to Any Questions on R4, summing up ……all in the UK should get a vote, these pesky Scots can do one, how do we split up the UK NHS etc etc. Rather disappointing in many ways but I would have at least expected JD to point out even the ConDems stated it’s Scottish only residents who will vote and the reality of the NHS. Perhaps of course JD doesn’t know the facts either ah well.
      On a positive note Canon Kenyan Wright called in.

      1. Albalha says:

        Of course Any Answers ……

      2. An open letter to David Cameron telling him why he is mistaken

      3. Marion says:

        He called in – from Kent…

        Any Answers afterwards was jaw droppingly appalling; the possible exception being the interesting point made in an email from a wummin on Mull: “I want independence for Scotland, but as an English woman living on Mull which has a large population of English, I would be very uncomfortable with the idea of me voting in any referendum on the issue”

  27. Tony says:

    Never commented here before but your take on that farce struck a chord.

    A disgraceful state of affairs that we can no longer tolerate

  28. greg sawers says:

    What has been conspicuous by its absence – well to me anyway – is a clear and honest account of how the Union was undemocratically formed in the first place. There is a great account of this in Alasdair Gray’s ‘Why Scots Should Rule Scotland’. Perhaps then, Paddy Pantsdown could allude to the hardships that ensue when countries are forced together as oppose to separation.

    With Burns night on the way what better time to reflect on the context of Such a Parcel of Rogues in the Nation.

  29. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Gordon Darroch.

    You’d do better if you didn’t patronise the rest of us.
    Nobody is suggesting that Nicola needs protection from the big bad boys. What we are pointing out is that on virtually every BBC programme the SNP speaker, whether it is Nicola Sturgeon or whoever, gets interupted every time on attempting to answer – usually after about 10 or 12 seconds – whilr the othets are allowe to pontificate without interuption.This is obviously policy.
    And,yes, Dimbleby is obliged to stop others interupting when somebody is talking. That’s what he is there for.
    Are you seriously suggesting that if David Cameron was on or Ed Milliband Nicola Sturgeon would have been allowed to talk over them.
    Don’t be daft

    1. “You’d do better if you didn’t patronise the rest of us.”

      You know, in your case, I’m not sure I would.

  30. I am originally from Scotland and a “borderline racist” as you have called anyone against Obama. Obama is the worst President in Americas history and the opposition to him is nothing to do with race. His socialist policies have brought this once proud country to its knees and the confidence level even lower. the center left policies that may or may not work in Scotland will not work here as proven by history. So our want (or need) to be rid of this menace is not racism but economics.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      I’ll thank you not to misinterpret me, please. Obama has certainly not lived up to his promise (although being hampered with a Republican senate hardly helps), but no one knew that in the election campaign. Are you denying that people used the fact that his middle name is Hussein for political traction? Did Obama not have to show his birth certificate to prove that he truly WAS born in an American state?

      These things were instigated by a deep-rooted racism in certain parts of America. I did not say that every person who did not want Obama as president was racist, and you will find no such quote from me anywhere else either, but an alarming number were, and made no bones about it. If you can’t see that, then to quote Public Enemy: “you’re blind, baby”.

  31. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Any response to the substantive point I just made?

  32. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Gaeme Atkinson
    Wasn’t it rather something to do with greedy and crooked bankers and the worldwide failure of feral capitalism.
    There’s pretty stiff competition to be America’s worst president – George Bush and Gerald Ford spring immediately to mind.
    Or maybe I live on a different planet

  33. Close BBC Scotland and abolish the licence fee in Scotland – e-petitions http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16633

  34. EdinburghEye says:

    Some numerical analysis of how long each panellist got to speak, how many times, and how many times David Dimbleby (or others) interrupted them.

    1. If you seriously think these issues are decided by the time on the stopwatch rather than the strength of the argument, I can only pity you.

      1. EdinburghEye says:

        Nice way to miss the point, Gordon!

      2. At least you’ve reassured me that there was one.

      3. EdinburghEye says:

        I guess I’m just an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy type tediously insisting that facts are important. You obviously disagree, but my point is: If you’re going to critique Dimbleby for his behaviour at Question Time, it’s useful and important to be able to document what he actually did, and how that compared to his behaviour to other panellists. Now you, obviously, think that mere facts don’t matter at all, because if you have a “strong argument” why would you need to worry about actual factual details? Well, that’s fine for you. I prefer to have the facts.

    2. bellacaledonia says:

      Nice blog, added it to the roll, thanks.

      1. I’ve no objection to your facts, I just don’t think they’re all that relevant. Whether a presenter behaves in a certain way is a minuscule part of the argument. As I said before, I thought Nicola Sturgeon held up pretty well. I can also see the logic in giving her a hard time on this issue, because this is the SNP’s big idea and it needs to stand up to scrutiny. The arguments I’ve been most impressed with in the last few weeks have come from the likes of Hardeep Singh Kohli, Neal Ascherson and Mike Small of this parish, who want to step up the debate and argue why we would be better off as an independent nation. For me it’s about extricating the country from the headlock of the union, looking up and starting to engage with the rest of the world on our own terms. And when I say ‘we’, I was born and raised in England, came to Scotland 11 years ago and have never looked back. I would far, far rather live in a modern, confident, inclusive Scotland than a rump UK run by the Tories and increasingly cast adrift from the rest of Europe. That’s why, to be blunt, I have no time for Alex Ferguson-style whinges about unfair referees or past injustices, however valid they may be.

      2. EdinburghEye says:

        Gordon, here’s why I think your grouching at me for doing this kind of analysis is foolish. One: This blogpost is specifically about Question Time. If you feel that once BBCQT is over and done, there’s no point in talking about it, then your role in this discussion is to butt out of it – it just makes you look like a grinch of the Internet to come by in order to complain that other people are having a discussion that you think is a waste of time.

        Two: if you want to discuss BBC Question Time’s balance and fairness, then it’s important to speak from the facts – and the only way to get the facts, in this instance, is to go over the episode segment in that kind of detail. If your response is that you don’t see there’s any point in discussing it, see point one.

        Three: If BBC Question Time is supposed to be a flagship vehicle for balanced discussion of the issues of the day, with political leaders and opinion formers speaking directly of what they know – which is certainly the ideal the BBC aspires to – then last Thursday was an unqualified failure for David Dimbleby, because he had a party leader on the panel who was able and willing to answer a recently much-mooted question, and who was prevented from giving a clear answer simply because Dimbleby opted to talk over her and to allow one of the other panellists to talk over her. If your response is that you don’t see there’s any point in discussing it, see point one.

  35. CapnAndy says:

    Good comments about propaganda, but. When you start believing your own propaganda you are effectively stuffed.

  36. FrankyB says:

    Why doesn’t Alex Salmond, Nocola walk about with just two documents with them always.

    The McCorne report.

    The report on Diego Garcia and Britian’s shameful treatment of these islanders.

    Then anytime they say something pull these documents out and point out where they have lied before on a large issue.

    No one will trust the unionists.

    Keep saying McCrone, McCrone, and give everyone links and copies to this document.

    1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I tend to agree. Expose them strongly and publicly on one big lie, keep at it tll it sticks and if they start to try to fight back introduce other lies as appropriate.

      We probably need a McCrone leaflet.
      Probably better not done by SNP HQ who are better sticking to their positive tack

  37. James Coleman says:

    Gordon Darroch Would you please stop being so negative and properly read peoples’ posts. I’m fed up with your constant interjections which usually don’t make much sense. You come across like a Labour Party member.

  38. loudribs says:

    Hi there,
    I’m a bit slow on the uptake but I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind putting a credit on that title pic or a link to http://questionabletime.com? I’ve got no problem with you using it but a link wouldn’t go amiss.

    Cheers,

    Ribs

  39. Marianne says:

    Dimbleby authoritatively ‘corrected’ a panellist who said 16 and 17 year olds should vote because they could marry, by saying they could do so only with parental permission. When told this was not true in Scotland, instead or remembering this was right, he was astounded.He had obviously never heard this before.

    For a man who has had an expensive education, he seems surprisingly ignorant. Even my adoptive mother who had had litle education had heard of Gretna Green marriages. They’re quite well known. Even the fictional ‘dipstick’ Ricky in ‘Eastenders’ knew he could marry his sixteen year old girlfriend n Scotland although her family hated him.

    I’m surprised by Dimbleby’s ignorance and faintly offended. His brother Jonathan made some very ignorant and offensive remarks on the Welsh in his poorly written biography of Prince Charles.English people can’t help being anglocentric but the combination of ignorance and arrogance is infuriating.

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