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Yes, of course the BBC is biased against Scottish Nationalists

30 June 2014

2:35 PM

30 June 2014

2:35 PM

There are many reasons for this but let’s begin with the first and simplest: it is the British Broadcasting Corporation. Who could have imagined that an organisation that, rightly or not, sees itself as both creator and guardian of much of modern Britain’s identity and culture might think itself threatened by a movement hell-bent on destroying, or at least significantly changing, that identity and culture? I know, me neither.

Now of course the BBC is not consciously or deliberately biased against the SNP and against Scottish independence. It is scrupulous about ensuring ‘No’ voices are balanced by ‘Yes’ voices just as, in other areas and debates it does its best to be seen as an impartial, disinterested, referee.

I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating that the BBC’s news coverage is invariably suspicious of government initiatives. This is, in general, only proper even if it also inevitably means the corporation’s news coverage is infected by a bias towards the status quo. New ideas must be tested and known knowns are preferable to known unknowns.

A general election is a different kind of beast. Come election-time the BBC will, quite properly, subject the opposition’s proposals to scrutiny too. They will be asked to prove their readiness for office just as the government will be asked to justify their claims to another term.

But not all political debates are as clear as a general election. Not all choices are alike. It’s for this reason, among others, that the corporation views British membership of the EU as a good – and settled – thing and thus the burden of proof is upon those who wish the United Kingdom to leave.

The BBC gives UKIP plenty of airtime (partly because Mr Farage’s party exert a kind of appalling fascination and partly because BBC executives worry, deep down and just a little, that they might be missing something important) but you’d be hard-pressed to make a convincing case that it’s largely favourable coverage.


The Scottish independence question is much more like the european question than it is like an ordinary general election. The burden of proof is presumed to lie with those advocating separation not with those who can live with the status quo.

And so it is understandable, I think, that independence advocates are given a tougher time than Unionists. The status quo is not intolerable so why change it? Now, sure, nationalists disagree. They think the status quo is intolerable. But, perhaps puzzled by all this fervour north of the border, the BBC wants them to explain why that might be the case.

Not just the BBC either, of course, most of the press too. In January I suggested one of the Yes campaign’s goals was to shift the burden of proof to Unionists. Not Why should Scotland be independent? but Why shouldn’t Scotland be independent? They have had some success in doing so, at least in as much as Yes-supporting columnists parse every announcement made by any Unionist while declining to subject the SNP’s claims to any comparable scrutiny. But, still and with these exceptions duly noted, in general the media still thinks, or still behaves as though it thinks, the burden of proof lies with the Yes side.

The media doesn’t subject Unionist counter-offers to independence to as much scrutiny because, in general, it thinks those promises of more powers after the referendum an issue of mere secondary importance to be wrestled over once the main battle has been decided. 

As the Liberal Democrats will tell you, the media struggles with any story that has more than two sides. The press is minded to deal with or consider what No means after there has been a No vote, not before. There’s not much point in obsessing over Labour’s plans for a new Scotland Act until they’re in a position to deliver that Act. Same for the Tories.

But the SNP have their referendum and it’s happening now. So that’s what attention will focus upon. They want to make a change – a whopping great radical change too – and so weaknesses in their case are, probably inevitably, going to attract more attention than weaknesses in a case that says, actually, we can just muddle along much as we have muddled along until now.

Perhaps that is unfair but it’s also the way it is. Yesterday’s gathering of a few hundred protestors angry at BBC Bias is, I think, understandable but misguided. Understandable because it’s part of a nascent dirk-in-the-back interpretation of a No vote (if Scotland votes No!) but misguided because it rather risks making the nationalists look like petty, chippy, clowns. Which is a look the modern SNP has spent thirty years moving away from.

One final thing: there is a curious part of the nationalist movement that rather objects to British people playing a part in this referendum. Sometimes you get the impression that some (doubtless a minority!) nationalists think it is disgraceful that the British government uses taxpayers’ money to make the case for maintaining the UK. As though the UK government should be a disinterested observer in this debate. A cute but rather fanciful notion.

Now the BBC is not a wing of the government but it would hardly be a surprise if, somewhere deep inside its institutional consciousness, it believed the break-up of Britain would be a bad thing. In that respect nationalist insinuations about The Unionist Implications of the Great British Bake-off are not quite as far from the mark as they might initially seem. But, look, it’s the BBC. 


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Show comments
  • Rangjan

    “But, perhaps puzzled by all this fervour north of the border, the BBC wants them to explain why that might be the case” – this sentence reveals that to the author, and possibly the BBC, Scotland is “another country”. This possibly explains best both the bias of the BBC and the dissatisfaction of those British people who pay for it but happen to live in Scotland.

  • robertinventor

    Not so scrupulous abut balancing stories today.- after the news that the Yes campaign is top of the polls for the first time ever in one poll, these are the top stories:

    Pro-Union figures step up campaign (headline story for the day) – NO
    What are ‘No’ parties offering? – NO
    Peston: Independence at what price? – NO
    Scots powers plan ‘within days’ – NEUTRAL – but if you read the story it has a strong NO bias.
    Pound falls on independence poll – NO
    Osborne plan ‘won’t break rules’ – NEUTRAL
    FM: ‘Scots people are winning’ – YES

    Four NOs, two NEUTRALs (one biased towards NO), one YES.

    I am sure there are just as many newsworthy YES stories they could have run.

  • Tryingtodecide

    There’s a lot of vague, unsubstantiated opinion in this article. The BBC operates under a Royal Charter, one which states it’s goal “to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in our news and other output dealing with matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy”. This charter “guarantees the editorial independence of the BBC and sets out its Public Purposes. These are defined as:

    representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities

    This last part is the important one – bias in the BBC with respect to a question involving one of it’s regions is NOT OK, it violates their Royal Charter.

    There is an academic study available about bias at the BBC re the indyref –

    I would look into this before accepting any vague, opinionated, un-detailed, unreferenced and, dare I say it, biased assertions from Mr Massie in his article above.

  • DaHitman

    “partly because Mr Farage’s party exert a kind of appalling fascination ”

    And you’re not biased one bit are you, hypocrite

  • scotcanadien

    “Now of course the BBC is not consciously or deliberately biased against
    the SNP and against Scottish independence. It is scrupulous about
    ensuring ‘No’ voices are balanced by ‘Yes’ voices just as, in other
    areas and debates it does its best to be seen as an impartial,
    disinterested, referee.”

    Is that meant to be funny? I suppose it depends on which side of the fence you sit.

    And if the anti-BBC Demo was a waste of time, it is very odd that immediately afterwards the BBC ACTUALLY REPORTED THAT A DEMO HAD TAKEN PLACE. That hasn’t happened before! And another unheard of event took place today (even more egregious for the NO camp!), where BBC is reporting IN A FULL PAGE SPREAD that a certain Kathy Wiles, a Labour MSP/MP candidate for Angus, called some innocent children at the Demo Hitler Youths in a tweet that was received with great merriment by her anti-Scottish Labour activist friends. (I hear she has since resigned.)

    • Wessex Man

      Well if she’s resigned it shows the BBC is totally un-biased toward your cause.

  • Tern

    I actually made a BBC bias complaint of favouring Yes over their radio phone-in 3 weeks ago on what are voters’ outstanding issues. Because they refused to include the issue of citizenship by descent, where Yes’s refusal to make inheritance of a parent’s citizenship unrefusable is a division of families against ECHR article 8, a new clearances, and the clearest and nastiest sign of an unpleasant anti-outsider brand of nationalism that only cares about the folks who already live here and wants to abandon our emigrants and diaspora. It is a peculiar injustice of the present racist climate in Britain that the media don’t want to focus on an immigration justice issue even when it’s an argument to save the union. On that radio show they again let the nat present Yes as the pro-immigration side unchallenged, and totally falsely from what I have seen when took this citizenship question to Yes meetings.

    In complaining I referred to the issue’s absence from all the coverage: “Bias that no BBC coverage at all has mentioned this issue’s existence or questioned Yes on it.” Their answer referred only to that one radio show and not to the balance of all their coverage, showing they intend to continue to refuse to cover it.

    So I cited that in my European parliament petition, lodged Jun 23, for the EU not to recognise the referendum as legitimately mandating and fairly conducted, and to relate to a new state on that basis if Yes wins, unless by automatic right this citizenship question got enough media coverage in the campaign to make most voters aware it exists.

    • Wessex Man

      oh dear, how many generations of emigrant Scots are you going to go back to?

      The Referendum rules have been accepted by the Scottish Government and the UK Government.

      I expect you are annoyed because they never asked you.

      • Tern

        They did ask us, they had 2 consultations on it. It’s not referendum rules I’m arguing with, this stands over any rules it’s about whether the mandate comes from voters who knew what they were voting for or not. The world status of any vote on self-determination is that voters must not be oblivious to what they are voting for, esp that they are voting to do something unhumanitarian to themselves and their families.

  • Amir
  • Martin Burns

    You’re arguing that the BBC’s coverage of EU election and Independence Referendum are broadly equivalent – that they provide a similarly unfavourable coverage.

    If only the Yes campaign would receive the kind of coverage that Farage had.

    What the BBC does in the Referendum’s case is ignore/downplay the Yes side and bolster whatever guff the No campaign has come out with.

    Yes has a rally of 50k people. The BBC provides as much airtime to a ‘counter demonstration’ of I think it was 5 people.

    2k people pitch up to Armed Forces Day in Stirling – huge wall to wall coverage.
    20k people go to Bannockburn Live the same day. No coverage beyond a very quick “also in Stirling…” As Craig Murray observed: like reporting on the Glastonbury Village Fete, the tombola, the cake baking competition, the Vicar’s opening speech, and finishing up with “also in Somerset this weekend: a music festival”.

    • Wessex Man

      any coverage that Farage and Ukip received was totally biased against Farage and UKip, despite this UKip topped the poll for the EU elections, why we even picked up our first Scottish MEP.

      We has idiots like Hislop and Merton on Have I got New for You and other ‘comedians’ all over the BBC devoting all the shows to slagging off UKip and we topped the polls.

      Get over yourself!

      • Graham Purnell

        “We topped the polls”? Says it all really.

        • Wessex Man

          Yes it does rather, it says that id the CyberNat Nutters got out and pounded the streets, knocked on doors and actually put a reasoned argument they might swing the vote. Rather than occupying these blogs quoting Wings over Scotland, hur hur hur!

          They might get their message across.

  • Alec
  • Martin James Keatings

    Do you smoke it or take it in the arm?

  • Graham Purnell

    I partly agree but when the BBC in Scotland replace proven talent with other presenters deemed to be more unionist (yes, I’m talking about you, Sarah Smith) the case is damned near proven that they are riding roughshod over electoral rules. For an allegedly unbiased presenter to declare in a program covering the independence issue “doesn’t it make you proud to be British?”, as Sarah has done, is inexcusable – and I would have thought unethical. It was a rhetorical question too, one with an already implied answer.

  • DaveTheRave

    Ok, just what is UKIP’s ‘appalling fascination’????!
    Are our political commentators so out of touch, so far off the mark, that they can’t (or refuse) to see that UKIP are about the only legitimate vehicle of protest for the English people amongst this abominable pro-pan European cesspit coverage we get from virtually all news organisations???
    That coverage includes the Scottish referendum.
    So I say to Scotland: How can you turn down this opportunity? Vote yes, whatever these so-called experts say.

  • john

    Again, it’s London establishment versus sans culottes.
    The top punters at the Beeb are always gong hunting. There’ll be no gongs for supporters of Scottish independence but opposers should be well rewarded.

  • Fergus Pickering

    But they ARE petty, chippy clowns.

  • Thomas Widmann

    I was at the BBC bias demo, and I was therefore because of BBC bias in general, not just because of the independence referendum. I was just as appalled by the amount of coverage UKIP got in the European Parliament election campaign, by the lack of coverage of the anti-austerity march in London, by the way they add the word “British” to every single programme title. Seeing the event as part of the Yes campaign is misleading.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Lies, damned lies and BBC head counts.

    • Wessex Man

      Yes, I found this when I sent a letter of compliant about the pure bias displayed by the writer of BBC History account of the Battle of Flodden Field last year to ‘mark’ it’s 500th anniversary.

      In which the writer sought to paint King James of Scotland as a sainted much maligned King provoked to invade England by that scallywag King Henry because he feared invasion of Scotland.

      When in fact Henry was fighting the French, that King James was excommunicated at the time because in was thought that he was implicated in his father’s death, that his Navy in alliance with the French blockading the Italy and the Papel State. He actually invaded England to fulfill the ‘Auld Alliance’.

      Just as well the English Queen was there with our second eleven to comprehensively clobber the invading Army and actually inflict the biggest defeat on any invading Army in History.

      Such a shame that the BBC sought not to give it any aIr time unlike the Battle of Bannockburn fought two hundred years before.

      Those wicked BBC should have displayed more sense and spent as much time on it as they have on Bannockburn and really have given you Cybernar nutters something to scream about.

      • Maidmarrion

        They didn’t bother their backsides reporting the Battle of Bannockburn on either STV or BBBC.
        But lots of coverage of Armed Forces Day – Stirling Council is cruising for a bruising come the next election.

        • Iain Montgomery

          So you think Stirling Council run the MOD and both TV broadcasters.
          Interesting logic.

          • Graham Purnell

            They had a lot to do with allowing both events to run simultaneously in an attempt to dilute the Bannockburn anniversary celebrations. Quite successfully too, if the BBC (lack of) coverage is admissable as evidence.

            • Wessex Man

              Find me any level of coverage about Flodden Field other than regional news items.

              • Graham Purnell

                My comment was mainly directed at Stirling Council but the BBC seemed to deliberately sidestep coverage of the Bannockburn event.

                The significance of both battles are very different. Bannockburn led to the independence of Scotland from a state of English serfdom. Not a provocative statement but a historical fact. Bannockburn is much more pivotal to Scottish history (some would say the most significant event) than Flodden Field is to English history. The resonance of the event was not lost on the BBC who deliberately downplayed the event even though they had significant presence in the same place for the Armed Forces Day. They obviously thought Bannockburn Live would bolster nationalist sentiment.

                Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want either event hijacked politically. Neither should have been tainted by the current political debate and should have been celebrated for what they were. It would also have made more sense to the local economy not to have them running concurrently.

                • Wessex Man

                  My point has nothing to do with the events being hijacked by the politicians and everything to do with this article. Politicians would hijack their own children if they thought that would get headlines.

                  My point is that the BBC far from being biased against Scotland is no such thing, their tame historian Geoge Goodwin in his article revelled in changing history to make James some sort of heroic figure which he was not, he was invading his neighbour England. I’m not saying that to rile Scottish readers it’s a fact, of which BBC History as well as BBC TV and BBC World all seem to grapple with facts until they can twist them to suit their own politically correct views, which are mostly rubbish.

                • Graham Purnell

                  I completely agree with you on the point about Flodden. The coverage of the referendum is something else entirely. Sarah Smith was brought in to present a show covering the referendum and coverage is supposed to be unbiased, according to Electoral Commission rules. One would surmise that Sarah would put difficult questions to both sides of the campaign and be an impartial devil’s advocate. Unfortunately, she wears her unionist heart on her sleeve and has said things like “doesn’t it make you proud to be British?” which, in this context and in her role, is beyond the pale.

                • Wessex Man

                  Yes but then the BBC will do eveything to keep the Union because they know what side their bread is buttered on.

        • The Masked Marvel

          The BBC is currently running leftie Scot Neil Oliver’s series on Bannockburn. Can’t say they’re not covering it.

          • dougthedug

            The BBC is currently running unionist, British Establishment loving Scot Neil Oliver’s series on Bannockburn while avoiding the live event. Can’t say they’re not covering it.

            There. Corrected it for you.

  • dougthedug

    I certainly agree with Alex that the BBC is the British state broadcaster but I’m interested in the fact that he simultaneously believes that the BBC is “not consciously or deliberately biased against the SNP” but “understandable” that independence advocates are given a tougher time than Unionists.

    In a debate if you are setting yourself up as an impartial third party then giving one side a tougher time than the other doesn’t sit well with the claims of impartiality.

    If Alex thinks that “promises of more powers” are of mere secondary importance then he hasn’t been following the independence campaign in Scotland. The promise of “jam-tomorrow” devolved powers by all three parties and now the recent offers of federalism by both Labour’s Gordon Brown and the Tories’ Murdo Fraser are a direct attempt to influence voters into thinking No vote will lead to an almost autonomous Scotland within the UK. This is a direct and fraudulent play by the No campaign for those who want a stronger Scottish parliament but perhaps are still a little scared of independence.

    If you have watched referendum coverage in Scotland provided by the BBC it is without doubt biased and you don’t need the academic report of Professor Robertson which confirms it is biased to tell you that. A lot of those protesting outside the BBC are Mr. and Mrs. Average who are finally fed up of the rampant partiality of the BBC. To dismiss them as petty, chippy, clowns is both inaccurate, biased and patronising.

    “…there is a curious part of the nationalist movement that rather objects to British people playing a part in this referendum”. There isn’t in fact. What is objected to are those like David Cameron who claim that it’s a referendum for Scots alone as an excuse to duck out of any debate while at the same time pumping out unionist literature and rhetoric from Westminster. If it’s for Scots alone then David Cameron should butt out, otherwise he should put his money where his mouth is.

    This whole article is written to justify BBC bias and to label those who complain about it as clowns. You’ll get your gong yet Alex.

    • Wessex Man

      how does this jel with Salmond demanding a debate with him?

  • Malcolm McCandless

    BBC News quoted a MOD press release that claimed that over 35,000 people attended the Armed Forces Day in Stirling. Photographs clearly show that far less than 35,000 attended, (more like 2000)

    Worst still the BBC ACTUALLY televised this event – BBC employees could see with their own eyes that far less than 35,000 attended this event, but still BBC News still presented the 35,000 fictional figure as fact.

    You see when even presented with the evidence of their own eyes the BBC REFUSED to acknowledge and correct their own news stories.

    It is the same with Prof John Robertson’s research into the BBC’s reporting of the referendum. The data clearly shows bias, but the BBC refuses to accept the research.

    The BBC are so publicly in denial over their own reporting that it is now being argued that this is evidence of collusion between BBC managers and the UK government to deliberate mislead and lie to Scottish viewers and listeners over the referendum debate.

    • FF42

      We should vote YES because it’s all a big conspiracy? FWIW the photo I saw of the Armed Forces event has a good ten thousand people in it. I’m prepared to believe to believe they were other attendees at other places and at other times during the day.

  • Maidmarrion

    Roughly 1,500 to 2,000 were in attendance – I was one of this good humoured group.
    We are well pissed off with the very biased media and it was enlightening to have Professor Anderson present to reiterate his study , made over a year , of that bias in action.
    The BBBC is shocking and quite easily seen to be behaving in a very partisan manner, perhaps as one of the MSM Mr Massie you have difficulty seeing that bias as a threat to a democratic vote.
    As I said it was a good humoured bunch but I suspect that good humour will evaporate if the media is judged to have had a malign influence on a democratic debate and referendum.
    Perhaps you could remind yourself that this is a referendum on independence not a vote for Mr Salmond or the SNP.

    • hectorsmum

      The name is Robertson. Professor John Robertson, I thought Maidmarrion, Your tally comes in at the same as others who were there and glad that others made it. Sorry not to be there myself.
      Vote YES for a fairer Scotland.

      • Maidmarrion

        I was just about to alter the post – I am watching Andy Murray play , you’ve guessed already ,the name of the chap he’s playing is Kevin Anderson!
        Hence my muddle !Thanks!
        It was a good afternoon!

    • Benbecula
  • Kitty MLB

    Well obviously the Bias Brainwashing Corruption are bias against
    Scottish nationalists.And not because they are always bias
    but they no the Yes vote will hurt their beloved Labour Party
    The reason why they give UKIP so much air time is because they
    assume UKIP will disrupt Conservative votes not realising that
    the working class Northern voter who used to be Labour’s core
    voter are the target.

  • FF42

    My issue with the BBC and regulated broadcasters is their compulsion to repeat the nonsense that comes from the Scottish and UK governments simply because it has come from government, rather than subject it to any kind of scrutiny. You just get noise and virtually no discussion of the issues. The coverage is not biased but it lacks any substance.

    • hectorsmum

      Scottish government, really?

      • Graham Purnell

        Yes. The Scottish Government

      • FF42

        In a spirit of bipartisanship I accept that large amounts of mince come from both sides of the debate. I also accept that you should ignore the nonsense of some supporters and judge the case on the merits of the best arguments.

        I would say neither side of this debate are making their case well. However, I think that’s more of a problem for YES than NO. We know what the status quo looks like. YES supporters have to paint a convincing picture of change. The people making the statements matter more for the YES side. The nonsense goes right to the top, with Alex Salmond saying any old rubbish if he thinks it will get him votes. The nonsense from the NO side mainly comes from Coalition ministers, who don’t have a horse in the race and don’t matter much.

        Back to the BBC. No doubt they would repeat sensible Scottish Government statements,if they made them. The Government, not the BBC, will make the case or not, and they have plenty of channels to do so.

  • smilingvulture

    Alex Massie doesn’t watch Scotland 2014,fair dues

  • CraigStrachan

    Provocative, Alex.

    • Maidmarrion

      I take it you are saying No thanks to the Scottish NHS , free education for the young , help for the infirm , vulnerable ,old and young ?
      And thanks a bunch for the pollution in the Firth of Clyde , Dounreay , Dalgety , Kinloss in which the children of Scotland paddle ?
      Thanks for Trident and 100 billion to be spent on Trident 2?
      And for many ,many foodbanks to help feed the hungry?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        And what business is it of yours how he votes or are you hoping for A key role on the ‘committee of public safety’ in the unlikely event of a Yes vote. Personally, I hope he is voting No for the soul purpose of pissing you off.

        • Jambo25

          Oh look! he’s insulting people again. Good oh!.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Just enjoying myself. So why would a currency union be a good thing for UK tax payers? Got an answer to that one. Not a chance.

            • Jambo25

              Try looking at ‘Scotland 2014’ about a week ago or the answer I gave to somebody on another site who was polite an didn’t spend all his time insulting people.

              • Inverted Meniscus

                So how will a currency union work to the advantage of UK taxpayers? No more lies and obfuscation just an answer please.

                • HJ777

                  As usual, Jambo will never answer a straight question.

                  When he is cornered and can’t or won’t answer, he just pulls out his accusation that he is the innocent victim of insults.

              • Wessex Man

                Don’t be shy, repeat it here.

              • HJ777

                You can’t or won’t answer so you bring out the all-too-predictable accusation that you are the innocent victim of insults.


        • Maidmarrion

          You are a very silly troll.

          • Inverted Meniscus

            Hilarious. A haranguing cybernat nutter who goes ape at a No voter calling somebody else a troll! You cybernat nutters really do not understand irony do you?

      • CraigStrachan

        No, I’m saying no thanks to small-minded separatism

        • Maidmarrion

          So its Bye Bye Scottish NHS.
          Bye Bye £30,000 for your kids or grandkids further education.
          Yipee to 100 billion on Trident and stop fussing over a wee bittie radio activity in the waters of Scotland.
          And the more foodbanks the merrier.
          What an unthinking person you must be – with a teeny weeny mind indeed.

          • HJ777

            The waters of Scotland are naturally radioactive.

            What are you proposing an independent Scotland would do about it and why is it a problem anyway? Scots seem to have survived many thousands of years surrounded by radioactive water.

            Salmond and his crowd have actually cut the budget for further education in Scotland in order to fund ‘free’ higher education. Did you not know the difference between further education and higher education?

          • CraigStrachan

            I haven’t noticed the NHS (a proud creation of the British state) going anywhere. It’s more likely to suffer in the fiscally-uncertain environment of independence. As for my kids further education, we know for sure there won’t be £30,000 available to them under independence, as Scotland will no longer be using pounds. I’ve always been in favour of nuclear deterence, and I worry the Clyde will suffer from the loss of Royal Navy contracts. And I reckon foodbanks play a useful role that a lot of people who might otherwise go hungry are grafeul for, but that might just be my teeny minded looking to the obvious, and no doubt I’m missing something.

            • FF42

              If we leave the UK market there will be higher unemployment as the business that was previously in Scotland moves south. This means more demand, not less, for foodbanks and it means less revenue from taxes to spend on things like education and health.

      • Stuart

        You forgot the magic money tree at the bottom of everyone garden.

  • The Masked Marvel

    One key ingredient missing here: If Scotland is no longer British, do they still have to pay the licence fee? If not, doesn’t the BBC have a wee vested interest in keeping them in the fold?

    As for scrupulously providing voices on both sides of an issue, BBC producers are very clever in that regard. It’s a numbers game, and it’s rigged. When it comes to the side of an argument they don’t like, BBC producers as often as not will bring in the most shrill, worst example of a supporter for it. This way they can demonstrate that they provided “balance”, based on the numbers, while the segment itself will obviously be biased against that side of the issue. The audience sees one side of an issue represented in its ugliest form, while the correct side is presented reasonably, and usually with less interruptions from the BBC presenter. It’s a very clever system, and it works for them.

    It’s part of why Nigel Farage got so much air time even long before UKIP did will in the recent MEP elections: so they could gang up on him, insult him and his party, and try to goad him into slipping up. It’s more a testament to Farage’s own political abilities (never mind that more of the public agree with much of what he says) that he comes off favourably, rather than to how the BBC covers him and UKIP. A BBC News producer got herself in hot water recently over an anti-UKIP tweet, which reveals the internal mindset more than a statistic on the number of guests ever could. The “favourable” coverage you think you see is easily balanced out by the constant stream of negative remarks by guests and comedians elsewhere on the BBC. How many voters watch/listen to news and current affairs programmes, and how many watch/listen to all the rest of it and hear only people calling UKIP racist? A balanced number?

    Nick Griffin was brought on to that infamous Question Time episode so the BBC could claim, “See? We’ve given the BNP air time, we’re not biased or censorious”. But it was an obvious lynch job, and was always intended to be. Just because the BBC provides a more or less balanced number of talking heads on each side of an issue does not prove a lack of bias.

    The BBC is a wing of the Establishment elite, not of the government. Depending, of course, on who is in power at the moment.

    • you_kid

      A inadvertant cut to the licence fee would result in the reduction of 300 staff broadcasting from Glastonbury to 273. Now, who on these pages would disagree with making those and other savings?
      Would it surprise you that the BBC have already annonced cuts to that extent? Has it therefore crossed your mind that perhaps the BBC too know what the rest of us have long come to expect will happen in September?

      • The Masked Marvel

        No. They’ve been cutting for quite some time now, nothing to do with an existential threat of losing Scottish licence fees. BBC 3 is going to digital only, for example, for entirely different reasons. The BBC have been whinging about budget cuts forced on them by the nasty Tories (actually a freeze in the enormous licence fee, with no freeze on the profits they reap from the commercial arm) for years already. Have you forgotten, or simply not noticed?

      • hectorsmum

        Well we in Scotland would just like to see the money raised in Scotland spent in Scotland. Much is taken and probably spent on Glastonbury, not much spent on T in the Park eh?

        • Wessex Man

          The standard chip on shoulder response, I would say that considerably more is spent per head of population in Scotland and Wales than in England.

          I do however think that it’s time to cut the BBC free to compete in the comercial world and relieve everyone of paying a licence fee.

          • scotcanadien

            You seem to be the one with the largest chip nowadays.

            • Wessex Man

              Not at all my shoulders are strong and broad to carry wasteful idiots like you.

        • monty61

          Not that I’m against it – it’s well worth preserving in my opinion – but I think you’ll find that the numbers work the other way particularly when you count the Gaelic radio and TV output.

        • CraigStrachan

          Plenty was spent on the Bannockburn re-enactment. How did that go?

          • allymax bruce

            We won.

            • Wessex Man

              as against the Spanish during the Darian Adventure and as against we English in 1513.

              • scotcanadien

                Shh don’t talk about Uruguay in 2014.

                • Wessex Man

                  SNP to you.

                  Wait knowing how thick you are- SCOTLAND NOT PLAYING! yet again!

            • Col McGillveray

              Ye made me laugh there Ally!

            • CraigStrachan

              Yes, one French-speaking king beat the other.

              • Moderator

                Robert the Bruce spoke Scots and French and some Gaelic and English.

          • scotcanadien

            A sell out, notwithstanding it was forced to compete with the BritNat hurriedly arranged damp squib up the road. Even the Red Arrows fly past was only seen by a handful of attenders.

            • CraigStrachan

              A sell out after the number of tickets available was reduced to 20,000 from 45,000, yes. And it seems the event organisers didn’t seem able to handle even the reduced number, with people giving up and going home after being kept queuing for hours.

        • DaHitman

          So you just want the rest of the UK to fund everything else, you just have what you contribute spent in Scotland. Please vote Yes at the referendum

    • MichtyMe

      MM, residents of Scotland do not have to pay the licence fee, it is voluntary. The legal system in Scotland makes it almost impossible to prosecute and convict for non payment. In E&W annually there are 150,000+ convictions, in Scotland a handful, presumably the willing, who asked to be convicted.

      • hectorsmum

        We do not pay but we are expected to, but I think that a speaks volumes that so many have made a concious decision not to. A bigger bunch of lying toerags you will never meet, they speak for the Establishment so that is Labour in Scotland, most in Pacific Quay are labour supporters anyway, and Tory in England and possibly Wales.

        • DWWolds

          If you believe the BBC speak for the Tories in England you are obviously listening to a different BBC from that we receive here in the East Midlands

          • Wessex Man

            and here in the West Country.

            • pablo58

              ..and here in the West Midlands

          • The Masked Marvel

            She means Cameron and Patton, so not really Tories.

            • DWWolds

              I do not..

              • The Masked Marvel

                I was referring to hectorsmum. The BBC does not speak for anything properly Tory.

        • Em Taylor

          How would you know they are a lying bunch of toerags? Presumably if you refuse to pay your licence fee because you object to their content, you at least have the common decency not to watch any BBC channels. Or does your moral high ground not reach your local transmitter?

      • The Masked Marvel

        Ah, I thought that had changed. Any metrics on how many do pay? That would make a difference as to whether the BBC would see losing Scotland as the loss of tens of millions in revenue, or as good riddance to a losing cost centre, freeing up much needed-cash for vital departments.

        However, based on the BBC’s pattern of behavior in grasping for any new territory in which to stick the tentacles, one suspects they see a possible threat to keeping this one. If Scotland goes independent, do they make BBC Alba part of Worldwide and make it commercial? Not likely. No hope for a Still Game reunion, no matter what happens.

      • David Booth.

        No one should be convicted for not paying the “BBC Poll Tax”
        1- If they come to your door do not let them in, they have no power of entry.
        2- Do not sign any any document or engage with them in any way.
        3- Finally ask them in a polite manner to leave your property.

  • K Cooper

    pretty sure the protest against BBC Bias against a YES vote was attended by over 2000 people not a few hundred as you say.

    • monty61

      ‘It rather risks making the nationalists look like petty, chippy, clowns’. Yes. all 2000 of them. Doing a really good job of it. Plus ca change.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Hilarious, I suspect he actually counted them.

    • Iain Montgomery

      The 2000 figure came from a Yes supporting website.
      The hundreds came from Police Scotland and looked a more likely number from the photos.