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Weathering the storm: new anti-Scottish BBC plot revealed

5 March 2016

11:48 AM

5 March 2016

11:48 AM

Sometimes trivial matters are actually less trivial than they seem. They can be revealing. Thus Bill Clinton’s habit of cheerfully cheating while playing golf was more significant than you might at first think. It told you something – even if only a little something – about him.

The great thing about non-trivial, trivial indicators is that you can find them everywhere. The grow, like weeds, in even the most unpromising locations. An ordinary person, for instance, might not reckon the BBC weather map a matter of significant controversy but then an ordinary person probably hasn’t thought these matters through.

Mercifully, Paul Monaghan – sorry, Dr Paul Monaghan – the SNP MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross is not an ordinary person. To wit:

So. Much. Disrespekt. [Sic]

Dr Monaghan, who among his many other virtues offers further proof that doctors who neither teach nor practice medicine yet insist on being called doctors are invariably less than sound, is not alone. Here’s Ronnie Cowan, SNP MP for Inverclyde:

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.02.20

And here is Angus Brendan MacNeil, SNP MP for the Western Isles:

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.05.01


The agenda-media! Mr MacNeil has been worrying about the pro-Cornwall, anti-Scottish perspective of the BBC’s weather map for more than a decade now. Think on that.

As you know, three examples constitute a trend and since Chris Law, SNP MP for Dundee West, favourited and retweeted Dr Monaghan’s initial observation we may, I think, add him to the list. I have not trawled through the whole list of Dr Monaghan’s retweeters (there being nearly 600 of them) to see how many other SNP MPs have endorsed his complaint (a retweet from such a person being, in this instance, reasonable evidence of endorsement) but even as matters stand 7 percent of the SNP’s Westminster group belong in the Map Truther camp.  There are probably more of them out there than that.

Now you may think this reflects a certain lack of perspective. Even, also, an unawareness that perspective even exists. The curvature of the earth may also remain a mystery to flat-earth nationalists.

The Weather Underground is strong, however. They know what the BBC is up to here. I mean:

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.11.31

The converse is also, obviously, true. Every fule knows that Scotland is neither too stupid nor too poor to be independent but it’s no surprise that the BBC wants you to believe Scotland’s too wee to cope as an independent state.

And, look, this is no laughing matter. It might even be a question of life and death. Oh yes:

Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 11.12.02

It is easy to laugh at these people and right to do so too. But there is a more serious point to be made as well, not least because it is always useful to be reminded that on any given question ten percent of people can be relied upon to believe in absolutely anything.

Now you might think that these SNP MPs, these tribunes of the new Scotland, are joking. But I am afraid they are not. Their deadly earnestness might almost be endearing if it weren’t also so jaw-droppingly ludicrous.

It comes from the top too. When Alex Salmond complains that the BBC is a ‘national disgrace‘ or writes that the corporation is ‘guilty of sustained bias against the national cause’ he feeds the fever swamps. The Map Truthers, then, receive some measure of encouragement from people who should, you might hope, know better. The paranoia exists on a spectrum and some are just more grievously afflicted than others.

Never-ever under-estimate a Scotsman’s ability to manufacture a grievance, however. And while that is true of all my compatriots it is doubly true of my nationalist brethren. The grievance-monkeys are endlessly creative, capable of discovering a slight, an agenda, another piece of disrespekt (sic) from even the humblest or least promising set of circumstances.

So too, of course, are plenty of other people. Frothing eccentricity is by no means confined to the SNP benches at Westminster. Even so it is always useful to be reminded just how deep these waters run. There is a luminous quality to nationalist loopiness that is simultaneously a matter for great merriment and heid-in-hands despair.

Sensible nationalists – and that is, despite some appearances, most of them – know this only too well. But there is no shame in pointing out, from time to time, just how many nationalists are far beyond barking. Every day in Scotland is an amazing day and the great thing is you never know what conspiracy will be unmasked next.

As I say, it is all very trivial but also revealing in a very non-trivial way.


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Show comments
  • Rob Norman

    What about Africa?? Poor entire continent made smaller by cartographers for aeons.

  • The PrangWizard of England

    Oh Dear! These bloody Scots never stop whinging. Do they think that the whole of England is accurate in these maps and only Scotland appears tiny. They have the minds of spoilt children, WAAAAA, it’s not fair.

  • FrankieThompson

    Alex. This is an attempt at humour and it doesn’t work. You’re much better when you don’t try to be funny.

    PS. Have you never seen the West Wing Big Lump of Cheese episode about the Peters Projection?

  • JSC

    Perhaps there’s some truth in it, this image alone from BBC Scotland might explain the entire existance of the SNP:

    The whole of the rest of the UK is missing!

  • Frederick Bee

    In fact, as someone who watches the BBC weather forecast several times a day, I can reveal a much worse conspiracy — a conspiracy to wipe out the North of England. The forecast opens with the shot described in this article, with Cornwall in the foreground. As the forecast proceeds, the camera invariable slides to the left, or west, gliding up to Northern Ireland and then coming to rest on Scotland. When the shot returns to the presenter, her or his body is invariably blocking any view of the North. She then comments on the high for the day, which is inevitably the temperature shown for London. A coincidence? I don’t think so.

  • WuffoTheWonderDog

    Every BBC announcement seems to be made by a North Briton with a nose that needs blowing.

  • John

    The BBC weather map is the most often viewed map of the UK, and it shows Scotland as much smaller than it is. It is quite reasonable for Scots to ask the national broadcaster to use a more accurate projection that shows Scotland as its true size: over 1/3rd of the Great Britain. I’m not a nationalist, and I oppose Scottish separatism. However, it is precisely this kind of thing–the patronising dismissal of a reasonable objection that has been made repeatedly over many years–that feed the growth in Scottish nationalism. Scots feel ignored by the UK; part of that is down to a perception that Scotland is tiny.

    • Arthur Sparknottle

      The so called map is not a map, but a satellite image taken from Meteosat, a geostationary satellite situated 23,000 miles over the equator. The foreshortening of the north south dimensions of northern lands is an artefact of the fact that the Earth is curved and that the satellite’s viewpoint is not perpendicular to Scotland. Indeed far from being an English plot, England’s north / south dimension also suffers from the same effect, though being further south, to a lesser degree.

      Please inspect the following graphic which shows the current Meteosat Infra Red image for Great Britain.

      • Jim Robertson

        Damn you Sir for slaying our self induced victimhood by providing facts.

      • ChuckieStane

        The BBC’s image (which comes from a system bought by the BBC from the New Zealand Met Office) has already been tilted from the satellite image after a storm of protest when introduced in 2005.
        The BBC refused to back down and we have been left with this compromise image which let them save face but fails to fully address the original complaints.

  • rjbh

    lets face it… theres nothing the English like more than slaggin off Scots for any convenient reason.. its because so many Scots voted to remain in the Union.. English Nationalism at work.

  • John Robertson

    I must admit. During the Nationalist driven referendum I ignored all economic data & I looked at the weather map and thought “Look how small we are as a landmass – we’re clearly too wee geographically to split up”.

    It seems I was duped into this (says no No voter ever).

    • Peter A Bell

      Nobody ever mistook the typical No voter for a thoughtful individual.

      • HJ777

        And nobody ever mistook you for anything other than a fat pompous slob.

        Thoughtful people could see the SNP’s economic fantasies for what they were. People without critical faculties actually believed their promises. I must have missed the bit where they promised free cake, but presumably that is what attracted you to their cause.

      • Jim Robertson

        Yeah! And no-one mistook the AyeYaBam’ crowd for understanding irony or possessing any semblance of economic literacy.

        How’s your Type 2 Diabetes by the way? You know ~ treated and paid for by the UK taxpayer?

      • John Robertson

        Tell me about GERS and the economic case for Scotland? Is it as grand as your BMI?

  • roru

    As an American with no dog in this fight, I’d say the Scots are seeing clearly. If a whole big US weather map can fit on my TV screen without distortion, why does a UK map have to squoosh Scotland?

    • Alec

      The lower 48 are more-or-less oblong with a much lower N/S:E/W ratio relative to the UK’s (even not taking into account the expanse of sea between the mainland and Shetland). As such it can fit into a 16:9 widescreen much more aesthetically.

      • roru

        I see squooshed Scotland and then I see a LOT of words to try to explain it. Methinks…

        • Alec

          Imagine how the Alaskan foreskin pandhandle would be squished on a similar projection.

          • roru

            Ha! You’ve got me there, except…wait….. Is there a country the size of Canada between England and Scotland?

            • Alec

              It’s not actual but relative scale. Obviously the lower 48 are on a smaller scale than the UK on 16:9 screens.

              The UK’s not much wider than Maine but stretches from the same latitude as Vancouver to Anchorage. And this is at a higher latitude which makes the relative tilt more pronounced.

    • The Patriarchy

      Because our TVs, like yours, are wider than they are tall, whereas our country is taller than it is wide, unlike yours.

      • roru

        I get that, but my screen is square, so there goes that theory. The US map fits it with bits Canada and Mexico in view as well. The weather person just zooms to look at a particular area without anyone being squooshed. Just sayin’.

  • The Patriarchy

    Less amusing than the nationalists thieving on expenses, but I suppose folk always knew that was utterly predictable.

    Meanwhile the unlovely sturgeon is back performing as Cameron’s poodle once again, desperately shrieking her undying allegiance to the European UNION, and her eternal loyalty to Berlin. You would think on her fat salary she could afford a hairdresser and something better than those bandy cabriole legs.

  • Ade

    It is clearly an EU-centric view of the British Isles, taken from a satellite somewhere over Spain.