2007 - 2020

TV Times

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The BBC acts at times like a state broadcaster, it serves Scotland very poorly from the funds extracted from it, its news and current affairs coverage is deeply biased (as witnessed through the independence referendum and through the recent General Election), its lack of transparency as a publicly funded body is shocking, and its links to pro-government figures such as Rona Fairhead, David Clementi and Robbie Gibb are deeply questionable.

In Scotland the BBC has suffered a colossal loss of credibility over the past decade and some of the output from BBC Scotland seems just infantile and remarkably bad by any measurement.

Liberal squawking doesn’t help. The BBC’s own Emma Barnett (Five Live, Newsnight and Womans Hour amongst others) tweets: “How will scrutiny of politicians work post 2027? Asking for a mate.”

Yet this is the same woman who looked Angela Rayner in the eye and asked, “Are you going to nationalise sausages?”

The conundrum is this: how can an institution that has lost all goodwill and evaporated much of the good karma it once had with a mixture of incompetence and intransigence then plea to the general public for solidarity?

And, like everything in this world it is deeply generational.

For most under-25s the BBC is just an app they never use on the Xbox.

But, the conversation has been hijacked.

As Elinor Elliot writes on Twitter: “If you permit the dismantling of the apparatus of democracy and culture you will not easily get it back.

We need to distinguish between “the BBC” – which in many ways is not fit for purpose – and the concept and principle of public broadcasting.

We are being conned into ditching the latter because we hate bits of the former.

We are being asked to wave pitchforks in the air because the right want to bleach any idea of the public or collective from our consciousness. We shouldn’t be complicit in this madness to satisfy the new Johnson government because he can’t completely control the media.

Re-conceiving what a People’s Broadcasting Service (PBS) would look and feel like is difficult as we are so wedded to the BBC as the only model.

But here’s some ideas for a 21C PBS:

  1. It wouldn’t broadcast the Boat Race.
    [because it wouldn’t have a default position of covering elitist sporting and non-sporting institutions]
  2. It wouldn’t have an obligatory Royal Story wedged into the actual news.
  3. It would be open and transparent about pay and appointments and be required to have equal pay for men and women.
  4. Its journalists and editors and producers would ‘look like’ the actual country it broadcasts to rather than a tiny section of it.
  5. It would Tell the Truth about climate change.
  6. Its output and power and money would be distributed around the UK.
  7. Broadcasting would be devolved.
  8. Its news coverage would be ripped up and rebuilt from scratch based on key principles of journalism.
  9. It would be smaller and more horizontal and more accessible. It would be radically decentralised and ‘publicly owned’ in a very different sense.
  10. It would take risks.

 

The BBC’s deep political problems stem from deeper cultural and structural ones. Re-imagining a People’s Broadcasting Service (PBS) would include imagining it as an institution that was inclusive and participatory rather than exclusive and top-down and was both publicly-funded and publicly-controlled.

These principles apply whether you are talking about a reformed UK BBC or a new Scottish public broadcasting service.

 

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  1. Squigglypen says:

    Good luck with that jimmy.

  2. Graeme Purves says:

    It would be much more accountable to the public, and wouldn’t enjoy a statutory ‘free pass’ when it comes to freedom of information.

  3. Wynn Thorne says:

    I think you have been too easy on the BBC here! It has to do either of two things: compete in the market as ITV and SKY do by subscription or advertising or go for a more simple solution – return to one TV channel, one national radio channel, a handful of regional radio stations and a slimmed down website. It has lost the trust of the population certainly, but it hould never have had that trust in the first place.

  4. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    Well, add the following: ‘It would take risks – in the public interest’.

    I agree – totally. So, next steps? How do we get the truly democratic engagement – a quasi Citizens’ Assembly on the topic? We could do this for Scotland, surely – at least, or as a beginning.

  5. James Anderson says:

    In point 8 I’d stop at “principles” as I’m not aware that there are any journalistic principles in the U.K. other than lie, cheat, distort and demean!

    1. Michael M Romer says:

      James Anderson presumably does not include Bella Caledonia among unprincipled journalists and there are some bright spots elsewhere. The wonderful thing about the BBC is that it annoys the hell out of Boris Johnson and his cronies. It would be interesting to examine why this is so. It is time to stop and think if you find yourself on the same side as him.

      There must be a lot of people working further down the pecking order in the BBC who would love to produce the critical journalism we so sadly lack on a societal scale. I have a great fondness, perhaps misplaced, for Phil Moorhouse’s website but he only reaches a small number of people. The Private Eye crew may be a collection of public schoolboys but they do come up with some wonderful investigations of the crimes and misdemeanours of the pathetic but dangerous mob who have seized political power in Westminster but their readership is small.

      1. James Anderson says:

        Yes, there are indeed excellent journalists about and I apologise for being too all encompassing. My point was aimed at the print newspapers and main media commentators eg Pexton, Marr, Neil and their ilk! There is little sign of honesty, integrity and morality in how some operate which unfortunately leads to tarring all with the same brush at times.

      2. Arboreal Agenda says:

        It’s a good point and the main attacks on the BBC have been from the right for decades who would much rather it didn’t exist and certainly do not want any kind of PSB.

        The BBC get more complaints about being biased towards the Tories and the right than any other group. Yet my social media and some friends in person, never stop attacking the BBC like it is some kind of arm of the Tory party. It is nonsense driven almost entirely by confirmation bias and the focus on a few well known individual journalists. To be fair though I cannot comment with confidence about BBC Scotland much as I hardly ever see it.

        Then there is the fact that most of the attacks are about political coverage as if that is the main thing the BBC do, conveniently forgetting that in fact, the vast array of output many enjoy is not party political stuff at all and quite a lot of it appears nowhere else, is unique, is very well done and is most valuable. People need to get more perspective and think what the UK would be like where advertising literally takes over everything of value, making money is all that is used to gauge artistic or investigative journalism success, and not just more risks aren’t taken, but none at all. Ironically, for me, the BBC mainstream political coverage is not something I follow that much because there are plenty of other outlets for that though virtually all of them have self-confessed bias. The trick is to read around which is very easy these days.

        ‘Throwing the baby out with the bath water’ could not be a more apt phrase for those who want to see the BBC closed down.

  6. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

    “The BBC … serves Scotland very poorly … its news and current affairs coverage is deeply biased (as witnessed through the independence referendum and through the recent General Election.”

    Thanks Mike for highlighting anew this matter (as urgent as ever) of BBC Scotland’s squalid and relentless propagandist role in undermining Scottish democracy on behalf of the British State. Something you wrote yesterday regarding Jackson Carlaw and the Scottish Tories comes to mind as equally apposite for the BBC Scotland news-editorial bunker:

    “In this context Jackson Carlaw and Alister Jacks roles as placemen and human shields to whatever excess and humiliation No 10 plans to throw at Scotland is clear. […] I’m not sure the Unionists and Conservatives in Scotland actually need or want *any* policies. To think of policy ideas would be to concede agency and to suggest that something (anything) should be done. In their worldview nothing is needed because nothing is really wrong with anything, and if anything were wrong, the London government would fix it.” ( ‘No Time to Die’):

    https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2020/02/16/no-time-to-die/

    The note of inertia is of course at its truest regarding any constructive direction. One has little doubt that the negative remit of BBC Scotland news does often require very time-consuming ingenuity.

    A couple of counter sites to BBC Scotland’s contrivances are:

    Indyref Two:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8bKMzW1ZeDZ7ZVrW7vJRKw/videos

    Prof. John Robertson’s ‘Talking up Scotland Two’:

    https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com

    And anyone who has arrived or woken up since the 2014 Referendum should know that with respect they will never be fully educated about Scottish politics unless they have at least viewed:

    LONDON CALLING: BBC bias during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXQYuLUAbyw

    The latter documentary being based of course on GA Ponsonby’s watershed book:

    ‘London Calling: How the BBC Stole the Referendum’ (£1.99 on Kindle).

  7. SleepingDog says:

    “4: Its journalists and editors and producers would ‘look like’ the actual country it broadcasts to rather than a tiny section of it.”
    I looked out some figures for BBC demographics. There are some noticeable differences between its staff profile and that of the general UK work-age population. Full figures for protected characteristics are not yet available, and Ofcom has taken over monitoring for all television and radio industry in the UK, it appears.

    Although BAME figures are approximately equivalent, in 2017 the BBC’s own figures showed this slanted towards non-leadership positions. I have also heard a view that BAME staff are much more likely to come from private schools and universities than general population, but the figures don’t break that down.

    Religion (much less) and age (younger) may be connected. I am not concerned about the lack of religion, as a population-equivalent proportion would give me concern about proselytising. Of course, religion is not the only view that can be proselytised. Are there loads of non-religious monarchists at the Beeb?

    The BBC male-female ratio is listed by Ofcom as 56-44, the reverse of Channel 4’s 43-57. Similar proportions in senior management. Pay, influence and out-with-the-old remain live issues here. I wonder if things have changed much since the days of Verity Lambert.

    Sexual orientation figures suggest significant LGB over-representation at the BBC, although the BBC’s own report is proud to have exceeded its targets. Perhaps this is partly a reflection of the single-sex fee-paying private boarding-school class bias that was noted in the Elitist Britain 2019 report. There is a point beyond which this starts looking less like a safe space and more like a club.

    Disability is difficult to gauge without further breakdown, and is another age-correlated attribute.

    Also, of course, we don’t know the full effect of that diversity-averse MI5 vetting.

    Regional breakdowns were not available.
    https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/166807/Diversity-in-TV-2019.pdf

    On the under-25s audience comment, a Guardian article from November 2019 says:
    “According to the Ofcom report, viewing figures for CBeebies and CBBC have dropped dramatically, with CBeebies now reaching only a third of its target audience, and CBBC only around one in six.”

    The days (2010) when The Sarah Jane Adventures (a spin-off regularly better than the Doctor Who of its time) almost reached a million viewers for CBBC appear to be gone.

    The BBC: Myth of a Public Service by Tom Mills is worth reading especially if you need historical background on that myth-making. If it was a public service, perhaps we would have one-licence-fee, one-vote.

  8. Alan Bissett says:

    “For most under-25s the BBC is just an app they never use on the Xbox.”

    This is not true. There is an entire generation of pre-schoolers (and parents) who absolutely love CBeebies. When you compare its Children’s Programming to what’s on offer on, say, Netflix, CBeebies is frequently much more imaginative, stimulating and diverse.

    This is the conundrum of the BBC. When we (rightly) complain about it we’re usually talking about its fawning, pro-establishment News and Current Affairs output, which is sorely lacking for all the reasons you’ve mentioned , Mike. But when it comes to documentaries, nature programmes, music festival coverage, drama, comedy and children’s TV it is still absolutely first class.

    This is why, as much as I’ll forever resent them for the pro-UK role they played in 2014, you won’t find me calling for the BBC’s abolition either.

    1. John S Warren says:

      The failure of the BBC over Saville (and it was not exclusively Saville) was in my opinion unforgivable in a major public institution. It should never have happened – but it did. Read the content of the Dame Janet Smith Reports into Jimmy Saville and Stuart Hall (2016). The BBC should never have been allowed to renew its Charter. It is that simple. No excuses. The quality of BBC nature programmes can never abrogate, or even diminish the scale or depth of the fall from grace. Justice simply cannot be allowed to be that trite.

    2. That’s true – sorry – big fan of Numberblocks and Hey Duggee ++. I was thinking more of teenagers and young people.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Editor, I was a bit surprised by your comment on viewing figures, but they do seem to be borne out by Ofcom in this report from November 2019 where they note that “The BBC’s dedicated children’s channels CBeebies and CBBC have seen viewing fall sharply”:
        “In line with these trends, viewing to the BBC’s children’s channels has declined. The average weekly reach of CBeebies to all 4-6 year olds watching on the TV set declined from 39% in 2017 to 34% in 2018.20 Meanwhile, for CBBC, the average weekly reach of its target audience (children aged 6-12) has been steadily decreasing and is now at 17%, just one in six of the target audience.”
        while:
        “The BBC’s data appears to show that BBC iPlayer makes a much greater contribution to the total viewing of CBBC (32%) and CBeebies (24%) programmes than it does for BBC television overall (12%), suggesting that children’s content is more likely to be watched on demand than other types of BBC programmes.”
        and:
        “The BBC’s Request also sets out that the average weekly reach of CBBC on BBC iPlayer is currently around 12% among 6-12 year-olds.72 However, there is currently not enough comparable time-series data to determine whether its reach is increasing.”
        https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0037/178867/consultation-bbc-childrens-change-operating-licence.pdf

        The methodology appears largely concerned with weekly viewing figures. However, recent low brand-recognition surveys of BBC iPlayer amongst young people may back the view that it is not widely sought after as a source of programming by the age group.

  9. SleepingDog says:

    I cannot recommend this as I have never played it, but some people might be interested in a new game, still in Early Access* (not finished), called Not for Broadcast:
    https://www.notforbroadcastgame.com/
    According to the blurb on Steam, this UK-made game is set:
    “In an alternate 1980s where the nation stumbles towards dystopia, join the National Nightly News team as they document the latest political scandal, the rise of a radical government, and which celebrity has for some reason written a book about it all.”
    Apparently the game mechanic follows a similar one to Papers Please! You can follow official censorship guidelines and be rewarded, or tell the truth and take the consequences. Anyone feel like taking over from BBC News?

    *If you are not a regular gamer, I do not recommend playing any game in Early Access, as the experience may fall short of the finished game.

  10. The Stroller says:

    Well, the BBC is part of a bigger picture, right? I mean, the BBC, the monarchy, the House of Lords, the National Trust, Oxbridge, all form part of what can be described in one word as patrician Britain…mainly England and with an Anglo accent invariable, but nominally Britain.

    I doubt you can seriously reform the BBC in a positive way within the prevailing system. Clearly, its finance model could and should be adapted to the 21st century, non payment of the license should de decriminlized, of course it should. But that’s a technical question really, it’s a “how?” question not a “what?'” question

    I doubt Johnson’s government is going to go much further than clipping the BBC’s wings, though you never know. It really has too much to lose when it comes to the crunch, and if you have won an 80 seat majority with the Beeb as it is, who really cares?

    That is one the hope that we are entitled to holding about Boris Johnson. He’s a bit of a gambler, and sooner or later he will overplay his hand….he’ll bring himself down by his own actions allmost inevitably I would say. But when?

    The problem is, even in the worse case scenario, with no Opposition in Parliament, he would merely be replaced by another Tory Brexiter as PM… I mean, Corbyn, the Ghost of Westminster Past, is still leader of the Opposition? What on earth is he still doing there? He looks like a ghost, Corbyn, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually were a ghost…

    Anyway, the Beeb? Let’s see, but I don’t think it makes sense for the radical overhaul some of Johnson’s team are briefing about… and it has been mooted before under other Tory governments and nothing much changed eventually… at the end of the day, it works for them.

  11. David Allan says:

    It can’t go quick enough their propaganda out-put has been recognised for what it is . Funny how the nightly pre-election squabbles on anti-semitism have gone away ! When they make their editing decisions on certain perceived national interest issues they really go to town on all guns blazing. Witness last 2 weeks of 2014 Indy Campaign . A mouthpiece every 30 mins of daytime Gordon Brown etc.

    Unbridled bias at all levels and unforgivable in a supposed democratic state where in 2014 BBC England took over BBC Scotland to assist the better together campaign.

    New replacement broadcasters will emerge providing improved greater choice , if they fail to do so and prove just as bad as the BBC so be it. Hopefully there will be some that prove integrity and honesty can still be found or TV broadcasting will just continue to slowly become obsolete .

    If the BBC is to survive in some subscription form let it be children’s telly only . It’s all they do well !

  12. Rob McClair says:

    A splendid critique on an organisation that we, as Scots, are very entitled to see as a hostile movement, not just to independence ( as is their wont) but to the airing of any information that would add weight to an Independence argument.
    I give you a case in point.
    As recently as December 2019, the United Nations no less, published a document tabulating the best countries on the planet in which to live. Amongst many interesting facts, this revealed the fact that Ireland ( the original country of course, to break away from the …..self-styled ” United”(??)kingdom)…. was ranked in third spot ( behind only Norway and the Swiss) .
    Now, remarkable that is of itself, ….along with other little ‘ gems’ about the Irish today having average salaries now 40% above the uk figures of today.
    It also seems to be an unknown fact to the beeb ( or to be fair, the rest of the unionist lackey scribes taking folding money to keep us abreast of such matters) that when Ireland ( with a population smaller than Scotlands, and without much of Scotlands natural resources ..like oil, gas, renewables, hi tech industries, 4 of the worlds top 200 universities etc etc )….joined the then EEC at the same time as did the brits back in the 1970’s, the per capita wealth of the Irish was HALF that of the brits, but now…after 40+years of membership and participation inside today’s EU…that same Irish population TODAY finds itself on that same basis as TWICE as wealthy as the brits……and all while managing to be a free, happy, independent, and well-respected european democracy alongside its 25 partners.
    Now, I am obliged to ask the question…why is such remarkable Irish progress not the subject of any positive comment in the UK? Can there even BE an explanation, beyond a wilful desire to hide this startling information in respect of another country..fellow celts…and from within these very islands.?
    The Irish, who having made the leap of faith that scots would also need to make, ….and in their case only after a long and bloody war and with thousands dead..against de facto imperial masters of some eight centuries….are clearly due our respect, but even more they have shown a hugely relevant example as to what CAN be achieved by a small nation OUTSIDE the strictures of a “United Kingdom” , which consists of four countries, two of whom are highly likely to leave and by subsequent membership of a European Union that, despite its imperfections and frailties, still has numerous countries queuing up to join.
    Is it not now time we saw to it that the great mass of scots , currently unaware of the ‘ Irish story’ were duly educated in the art of the possible…through reference to a nearby, recent, and similarly sized example on our very doorstep…and enquire, in the strongest possible terms, quite why our people are subject to this quite deliberate wall of silence from our self-described ” free” press.
    They have sold us a pup these many years.
    Unfortunately for them, that pup has died !

    1. Jo says:

      Rob

      “As recently as December 2019, the United Nations no less, published a document tabulating the best countries on the planet in which to live. Amongst many interesting facts, this revealed the fact that Ireland ( the original country of course, to break away from the …..self-styled ” United”(??)kingdom)…. was ranked in third spot ( behind only Norway and the Swiss) .
      Now, remarkable that is of itself, ….along with other little ‘ gems’ about the Irish today having average salaries now 40% above the uk figures of today.”

      I’m not buying any of that. We know from the election results that many Irish people were up in arms over housing, over the “health service” … just two vital factors requiring a favourable approval rating in order to be one of the best places to live. Ireland is no paradise. People need to stop pretending otherwise.

      1. Rob McClair says:

        Oh gawd…not another nutjob choosing to argue…not with MY conclusions ( I made no such claims) but with the figures of the UNITED NATIONS no less.
        Still, maybe you can raise it at your next Lodge meeting and THEY can write to the UN and set them straight….or better still, if the UN statements are wrong….please educate us all to your superior understanding !
        I made no figurative claims in my post….your argument ( such as you have one) is with the UN, and I wish you luck in demolishing THEIR understanding…something that YOU clearly don’t have !

        1. Jo says:

          Rob

          “Oh gawd…not another nutjob choosing to argue…not with MY conclusions ( I made no such claims) but with the figures of the UNITED NATIONS no less.
          Still, maybe you can raise it at your next Lodge meeting and THEY can write to the UN and set them straight….or better still, if the UN statements are wrong….please educate us all to your superior understanding !
          I made no figurative claims in my post….your argument ( such as you have one) is with the UN, and I wish you luck in demolishing THEIR understanding…something that YOU clearly don’t have !”

          I’m the “nutjob”?

          Did you actually read that load of abuse you just directed at me, some of it sectarian?

          1. Rob McClair says:

            Oh good…the message was clear…you are INDEED a nutjob.
            Now…don’t you have Playschool today?

    2. Alan Reid says:

      Rob

      You are aware of the phenomenon of “Leprechaun economics” …….. ?
      Financial commentators have taken Ireland’s economic indicators with a huge dose of salt.

      Ireland is a grand place, but it’s hardly nirvana.

      Alan

      1. Rob McClair says:

        Nowhere did I say …or even SUGGEST…that Ireland was ANYBODY’S Nirvana, and only a moron could claim I did so having read my post.
        I am very well aware that Ireland has lots of problems still…as wvidenced by their recent election turmoil….but the point to be made ..in the face of tge INDISPUTABLE FACTS…NOT OPINIONS…I gave in my original post is that…an even smaller nation..in these very islands…and having escaped the clutches of Westminster…are CLEARLY doing extremely well, by the standards OF ANY NATION ON THE PLANET…and after THE most difficult of births.
        You challenge none of my FACTS I note…and let me add yet another.
        In that UN report to which I rwferred ( the December 2019 issued one) not only showed Ireland at number 3 in that tabulation, but that the pompous brits had themselves fallen freely down those same UN rankings to FIFTEENTH place…..feel free to check for yourself.
        In essence, my only observation…not even a claim….was that from a standing start, the closest example ( both geographically and economically/ politically ) to the issues facing scots today, is the REAL LIFE/ CURRENT TIMEFRAME example of the modern Ireland of today….and if THAT upsets your prejudice and/ or ignorance, let me suggest politely to you that you come back once teacher talks you through the accuracy of the comments I DID make, rather than the bizarre, nonsensical ‘ spin’ that YOU in your bizarre world, chose to put to them .
        Facts are Chiels That Winna Ding, Alan……….ask teacher, she’ll explain !

        1. Alan Reid says:

          Thanks for the rant, Rob. Another ambassador for independence, I see.

          Generally, so-called “facts” are interpretations based on a number of variables selected by the authors of a report.
          The UN HD report is available on-line ………………….

          Ireland is indeed 3rd – Index score 0.942
          UK – Joint 15th – Index 0.92
          United States – Joint 15th – Index 0.92
          Japan – 19th – Index 0.915
          France – 26th – Index 0.891
          Italy – 29th – Index 0.883

          I love Ireland, and visited it again on holiday last year, but on balance – is it really a more successful country than the United States, Japan or France?
          Although admittedly, if the USA hadn’t been within the “clutches of Westminster” until 1783, perhaps it would be 3rd!
          And one might argue Britain (Scotland) isn’t doing too badly based on the criteria selected.
          But make of the report what you will …….. but personally, I don’t think it’s the smoking gun you’re looking for.

          Very kind regards
          Alan

          1. Rob McClair says:

            What pathetic back-papedalling THAT is.
            Nowhere…nowhere at all was I suggesting that Ireland was superior to the USA etc…but had it been read back to you correctly by your carer, you just MIGHT have picked up ( eventually) on the REAL point I was making ( and with nary a ‘ big’ word in sight) was the the overall UK press have made little,…perhaps NO mention to either the british or the scottish public…that it wax and is PERFECTLY possible for a relatively small country like Scotland to make a success of itself …as demonstrated by nearby, and similarly sized Ireland ( and with similar…though far from identical…histories and opportunities !
            As for my own PERSONAL view on the matter, I will never shrink from putting the case for that in which I believe..nor do I expect those on the opposing side to flinch from putting theirs.
            The point of my post…if you go back to where others began this debate…was the view that the wider press and media was…lets be kind here…being ‘ remiss’ in not highlighting the clear success of their post independence world…(NO ONE ON THE PLANET COULD TRUTHFULLY DENY THAT FACT ) …..that must leave them wide open to the charge I repeat here…that being that such biased, weighted media are knowingly CHOOSING not to inform..not just Scots, much as that would be their primary purpose…but the wider british public…a public that is surely ENTITLED to be told quite how and why the good folks of the very ” UNITED”(?)KINGDOM itself are not being appraised of THEIR relative demonstrable decline in an ANNUALLY PRODUCED set of statistics …and certainly from an organisation with no dog in the fight over scottish independence.
            I stand by the FACTS…FACTS I note you do not seek now to dismiss, but in summary, the whole point of the ‘ rant’……( can a 100percent factually correct dissemination of FACTS ever be a ‘ rant’?..on Alpha Centauri perhaps…the one area where I suspect your ‘ knowledge’ is more valid than my own)…was to further the debate about quite why we….as an entire nation, especially now that the new government has the knife into the now vulnerable BBC…are being denied hard, indisputable FACTS….and it is gratifying that, by your silence on that original issue, even the likes of YOU might now share this widespread concern.

        2. Alan Reid says:

          Tell you what, Rob, let’s just congratulate Ireland on coming 3rd in the UN HD report, and accept one can extrapolate all kinds of conclusions from such a publication, including the opportunity for some bad-natured jeering at the UK – if that is one’s inclination. It’s part of human nature to look for something bigger than oneself, and I’m pleased that you’ve personally found it with independence. Good luck with your efforts, although this exchange does not endear me any more to the separatist case.

          On the subject of the BBC , I don’t buy the argument that it is biased against independence – or failing Scotland. For instance, in 2014, I thought the “Yes” camp got good coverage and the same opportunity to put its case as “Better Together”. The losing side on that occasion just didn’t convince enough of the public as to the merits its proposal. But such opinions are always subjective. Although, in the aftermath of a reverse, it’s always easy to find a scapegoat – including poor old Auntie!

          Very best regards
          Alan

          1. Rob McClair says:

            As I have said to you already, your argument is not with me…( save on the matter of independence , which was NOT the point of the original posts)…indeed, I made it very clear that neither of us should be afraid to fight our respective corners….that’s perfectly healthy in a democracy. YOUR argument is with the UN, and the veracity of their work and conclusions.
            What is NOT democratic…and what MY post was about….is that only ONE side of the argument is getting an airing. Now, I cannot stop…nor do I seek to…deny any media outlet from holding a view…but I DO take strong issue with them, and you, where honest, independent, and thoroughly reputable information that does not fit with their..or it seems YOURagenda…gets deliberately hidden away. Indeed, while it wasn’t a forensic search…I neither have that skill nor the time to do that…I did truly TRY and find the information to which my original post referred, to no avail….which kinda bears out my point.
            Nowhere do I seek to stymie the view of the other side….We’re deluged by it daily…but BOTH of us should be able to share a wrinkling of the nose at the lop-sidedness of the diet of information….prison rations on the one side….and I genuinely regret you don’t have enough of an open mind to see that for and by yourself !

    3. Derek c says:

      Youth unemployment in Ireland is currently 2 and a half times higher than Scotland’s..true her gdp is nearly double that of Scotland due to it being a neo liberal playground for large tec companies..Ireland also received over 3billion bailout/loan from the ‘brits’ not the eu when her economy went belly up..(albeit with a tidy interest for UK)hence the reason Salmond n co went quiet on the Celtic tiger front and Ireland being comparable to Scotland after years of bangin that drum.the world famous Tipperary has ridiculous youth unemployment that no where in Scotland suffers from.. your also more likely to find Irish students at Scots universities than vice versa..if/when Eire unites her population will be larger than Scotland’s with more sectarian baggage than Belfast lite(as Glasgow’s teasingly called across the wAter)no ones saying Ireland’s or Scotland’s not a half decent place to live but we can all roll out stats to suit an argument..and many young Scots or Irish with aspirations to better their lives generally move away..ohh and back to auntie beeb..if Boris/Cummings n co get their way and you think the beebs bad.. be afraid of what will come after it..for 50 pence a day or whatever the license is .. it’s far from the worst..Boris broadcasting is a frightening thought. Worse than Fox News!

      1. Rob McClair says:

        I have no compunctionwhatsoever in agreeing with much of what you say, indeed space and time permitting, I could have said some of your views myself……but along the way,you seem to be inferring that I either hold some special love or admiration for Ireland based on my original post….which if you have ( and only YOU know that) …is completely at variance with what I thought, wrote, or advocated.
        Should you care to read my original remarks again you will note that I expressed little by way of OPINION re the Ireland of today…preferring instead to major on indisptable data and fact, much it from the unimpeachable source that is tge United Nations….an organisation with little axe to grind re the conclusions it draws ( annually) , and CERTAINLY does not promote scottish independence Nowhere did I claim…as per an earlier banal critisism… that Ireland was any kind of Nirvana…and I repeat ( as I ALSO said already) that the recent Irish elections revealed all man er of issues that the Irish democratic process both seeks..and needs…to address.
        No….my entry note to this discussion was two-fold………..One, to formally record some hugely interesting statistical FACTS about that nation….and Two, to illustrate how a similarly sized nation to ourselves has clearly and indisputably increased hugely its wealth, its standing in the world as a free people , and a whole series of published , indisputable parameters that reveal that particular nearby nation…despite being born out of wars where thousands died, and where only lunatics would seek to replicate….has indeed made a success of itself without any formal ties to the UK.
        You, like me, will be very well aware that,despite being born out of those bloody days, modern Ireland and the UK we know today, are as close…and not just geographically….as almost any two nations on the planet…indeed, that ‘ closeness’ is such that each state allows citizens of the other to vote in that nations elections, amongst other ties…not ,east those of trade, cukture, family ties etc etc…..and it was THAT aspect of life for BOTH nations post the 1920’s pain that I sought to highlight.
        That of course, is where the scottish element comes in……and the reality that the ‘ unionist’ media in all its forms….whereby these clear Irish successes as earlier enumerated are I believe totally and knowingly ignored….rather than give cause for ordinary scots …..many of whom are (rightly) cautious about ‘ going it alone’……who, being unable to see the future with any certainty in todays fast moving world, are surely entitled to peruse what I personally consider to be the ‘ next best thing’ …through the vehicle of examining the hands on experience of a nearby, broadly similarly cultured, of similar size and a long held latency amongst many of uts numbers to make …be it for good ir ill….its very own mistakes, and similarly also enjoy its successes…..successes in PRECISELY the areas that the UN ( with no horse in the race) have duly recorded…as indeed tgey do annually.
        I suspect therefore that you missed my entire point right at the outset….( whether that be by accident or design, only you will know)….which was NOT to paint Ireland as some sort of paradise, but merely a HUGELY relevant indicator as to what arguably better-placed scots could themselves achieve….and I cannot fail to conclude that, whether you be pro or anti a self-determining Scotland, that information has a valid place in the wider indeoendence debate…and ‘our’ media fails every single last one of us by their failure to inform us and try as I might,…. as a solitary-but-interested citizen…..I see no published record ANYWHERE of the HARD FACTS as I laid out in that original post ….nor indeed, do I see ANY riposte from ANY contributor to this site taking issue with the veracity of my various statistical points…do you?
        NO..perhaps my next study will necessitate my trying to identify how the subjects of such study…the population of Ireland , …and with some generations of adaptation to their Stand/Fall decisions…now regard the Ireland of today pre and post the 1920’s ? How many are anxious to give up what THEY now have, in return for what WE have….I suspect that WOULD be an interesting read !
        Who knows….maybe it will be for “United”(?) Kingdom supporters …….with a government there today, seemingly hugely attracted THEMSELVES to an economic policy of ‘ accommodation’ with international corporations that trouble you so very much re Ireland.

  13. Dr Lindsay Neil says:

    I agree with all the above, I now listen to the World Service and far less to BBC4. I have complained to the BBC about their interviewers who so constantly and insistently interrupt the interviewee that all meaning and sense is lost. Andrew Neil is worst at this and should be retired. Aggressive whales no longer need preserved! Other interviewers need to be re-educated in chairing/hosting political debates; too often politicians are permitted to rabbit on uninterrupted – interrupting only each other- and the BBC chairperson appears powerless to stop them.
    Inadequacy of assertiveness in interviewing can be overcome by giving each speaker a set time and their mike cut off when they overrun. The public – me, cannot make sense out of several people rudely talking over each other. For Scotland, BBC Scotland is far too anglicised to appeal to Scottish listeners. Truth and total impartiality is required and resurrected where absent. That happens often and we resent it and move away.

    1. Rob McClair says:

      Hear, hear Sir.
      You are a refreshing presence here, amongst the nutjobs !

  14. Delta says:

    Oh dear – where do I begin

    Well if the BBC does not agree with you it’s biased. Natch. So the fact that during the Indy ref it actually allowed questions about the currency, balance of payments, and European membership(recall the Divine Nicola’s threats on that score about what might happent to EU nationals if the EU didn’t play nice) means its er….biased…to you. But to me it was trying to be balanced. It all depends where you sit.

    I thought broadcasting was devolved – er BBC Scotland Channel that not one I know watches and oh…lovely BBC Alba – for the …just remind me how may monoglot gaels do we have? but its costing millions. An outward looking broadcasting policy would be teaching us Spanish and Mandarin.

    Now people looking like the country we are in – well in Scotland that’s be mostly over 40 and white – I may apply.

    If you look at the last report you will see the number of BAME people on screen is the same as the population at large and indeed there are more people African heritage on screen than in the population at large.

    Royal Stories – Meghan and Harry have been mana from heaven for my republican friends – keep it coming I say.

    Smaller and more horizontal and taking risks – you mean more like you see yourself so you might get a job with them.

    1. Hi ‘Delta’
      where to begin? You could begin by knowing that broadcasting is devolved?

      You are of course welcome to speak your mind here but when you say: “If you look at the last report” (which report are you talking ab out?) and “you will see the number of BAME people on screen is the same as the population at large and indeed there are more people African heritage on screen than in the population at large” I do have to wonder.

      “There are more people African heritage on screen than in the population at large.” Really.

  15. Dr Lindsay Neil says:

    Two nights ago I watched the main BBC news at six pm. They covered the outbreak of Covid 19 in Tenerife and got an obviously Scottish holidaymaker confined to his hotel to comment. This chap was minus his front teeth and had a very difficult to follow Glasgow accent. He was given several minutes of air time.
    I was stunned that the BBC with its extensive resources had only been able to find an almost unintelligible individual to give his local view of confinement in a Tenerife hotel.
    Then I thought, if the BBC wished to convey to the British nation that Scots were all like this and that this individual was representative of the average Scot, they had picked a winner. He was some way beyond Rab C Nesbitt and not acting. I mean this gentleman no harm or criticism as he was just being himself, but I deprecate the prejudice/ incompetence and anti- Scots behaviour of the BBC in putting this guy on the National news.

  16. kamukta says:

    Awesome article. Loved every part of it. I shared this with my friends thru Facebook and they loved it a lot!

  17. Phebe Tlamka says:

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  18. kamukta says:

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I implement a portion of your post to my site?

    1. Please lift/share – a wee ackowledgement of the source/artist would be good

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