Oh Dear! New Labour’s Control of BBC Scotland Must Be Curbed 285

Beyond doubt, a significant number of Scottish citizens are disturbed at what they perceive as a systemic bias in the BBC against Scottish independence. I have read some sixty internet articles to the same effect in the last 24 hours. There is a citizens internet revolt against the mainstream here.

That BBC bias is displayed in the selection of which news stories to present related to independence, in the selection of guests on programmes, in the selection of which facts to highlight within the selected stories, in the comment provided by BBC journalists, and in the treatment afforded to guests, the way guests are presented, the respect they are or are not given and the opportunity they have to present their arguments.

Yesterday’s coverage of the official, civil service prepared GERS report indicating that Scotland subsidises the rest of the UK’s public finances brought these matters to a head.

The BBC’s own journalists presented the report solely as indicating Scotland had a fiscal deficit, without the BBC commenters saying that Scotland’s finances were much better than the rest of the UK – despite the fact that the determination of the comparison is the avowed main purpose of the report.

The BBC subordinated the GERS report to a commentary by the Fraser of Allander Institute allegedly indicating Scotland’s economy was too weak to sustain independence. They ran the story all day but did not reveal once that the Fraser Institute is a New Labour “think-tank”, and its head is the husband of Wendy Alexander, failed New Labour leader, and brother-in-law of shadow Foreign Minister Douglas Alexander. Fraser has an appalling forecasting record, having issued dire and completely wrong forecasts on growth ever since the SNP came to power in Holyrood.
[My dad used to work for Hugh Fraser, a total bastard incidentally]. It is, in short, not a real economic institute at all but another New Labour device to fund undeclared political contributions in effect to the party (cf the Smith Institute).

The GERS report was also subordinated in news bulletings to a “leaked” report about Scotland’s future spending choices. The apocalyptic tone of the BBC reporting of this bore no relation to the report’s contents. They continually showed the report with a graphic of a cover stamped Top Secret – an entirely false graphic actually made by the No campaign and circulated by them with a press release. This leaked report was the number one news story, and television guests invited to discuss it in the course of the day were unionist to nationalist in the ratio of 17 to 3.

Just one day, but part of an unbroked pattern of behaviour by BBC Scotland.

Broadcast media does have a real impact on public opinion and voting intentions. BBC Scotland is particularly influential as there is limited alternative broadcasting which reflects across its output Scots culture and interests.

Fairness in an election campaign is a much wider concept than the process of voting, and fairness of access to broadcast media is an extremely important component of that. It is plain that, as things stand, the referendum campaign will not be free and fair.

Action must be taken now. That necessary and urgent action is for Alex Salmond and the Government of Scotland to approach the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and request that the subordinate Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR, ponounced Oh Dear!) deploy immediately an election monitoring mission to cover the referendum.

I have witnessed ODIHR monitoring operations in action, and once had a job interview in Warsaw to be Head of ODIHR. In this, the pre-campaign period, ODIHR will immediately despatch a small team to Scotland of which the principal task will be media monitoring. They will be guided by this ODIHR media monitoring handbook.

This details what they analyse, including these criteria:

Were election candidates and political parties given equal opportunity to present their campaigns and platforms to the electorate through the media?

Did election candidates or political parties have equal or equitable access on a non-discriminatory basis to public/state media?

Were the relevant types of television programmes, such as news programmes or debates, unbiased?

Yes, ODIHR can and does monitor referenda as well as elections – the guidelines are easily followed mutatis mutandi.

It Salmond asks for an OSCE observation mission, I have no doubt it will be granted – there is a strong presumption in favour of missions within the OSCE, and member states like Russia repeatedly complain there should be more monitoring of the West, not just the East. It is hard to see on what grounds the Unionists can oppose international election monitors. They could not in practice stop it. Russia and Ukraine, for example, hate OSCE election observers in their country but have been obliged to accept them. To refuse would likely mean expulsion from the OSCE.

I believe the reason international observers have not yet been requested is a false understanding of their brief, ie that they only check the balloting and counting. That is not true at all – they monitor all the issues around fairness in a holistic way. Their brief is much wider than that of the UK Electoral Commission. The referendum already having been announced, we are already in the designated pre-campaign period. The OSCE observers would come immediately.

The clock is ticking. Alex Salmond must ACT.

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285 thoughts on “Oh Dear! New Labour’s Control of BBC Scotland Must Be Curbed

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  • Villager

    Yes, Krishnamurti is an utter riddle for the pea-brained Ineffectual Firepower, His Pettiness! 🙂

  • Arbed

    Jemand, 4.32pm

    Thanks, appreciated.

    Do you think there’s anything that can be done with the other new development I posted about earlier?

    The latest news out of Sweden is that the Ecuadorian offer to interrogate Assange in the London embassy that was hand-delivered by the Ecuadorian ambassador in Stockholm on 25 July 2012 was not only passed by the Swedish FO to their “America section” but also to the official within the Swedish Justice Department responsible for Mutual Legal Assistance.

    This link says there was some kind of marginal mark “For further action”. They did nothing, of course. It’s also debatable whether either the FO or the Justice Department even bothered to pass this offer to the Chief Investigator of the case, Marianne Ny.


    And they say the case has nothing to do with the Swedish government, it’s “purely a judicial matter”. Pull the other one.

    This shows two things:

    1) contrary to Carl Bildt’s statement last year that to question Assange in London would be ‘unconstitutional’ for Sweden (he said this in person to Jennifer Robinson but was quickly shot down about it by Swedish legal experts), the Swedish Justice Ministry does have a section dealing with the use of Mutual Legal Assistance to questions suspects abroad; and

    2) the case is being controlled over there by the Justice Ministry, not the case prosecutor. Interestingly, one of the points raised in the UK Supreme Court hearing over whether a prosecutor was an appropriate ‘judicial authority’ for the purposes of an EAW was that a Minister of Justice, being part of the executive, was certainly not. It should be in the transcript of the hearing somewhere. I’ll try to dig it out.

  • John Goss

    “. . . I can confidently say that he has not encouraged or supported any comments against the two ‘official’ complainants that do not address the pertinent legal issues that concern him.”

    I agree with this statement. Julian Assange has behaved with great dignity in the face of a huge media campaign to link his name and ‘rape’ in the same sentence, had his whole life disrupted and had to seek asylum because of statements made against him by two women and used by governments to try and engineer his extradition to the US. Anna Ardin, on the other hand, has written vengeful blogs about how to make men suffer who end a relationship with them. She has worked for the Swedish embassy in Buenos Aires and Washington DC. She has told lies about her relationship with the Wikileaks founder (either her statement or the Crayfish party tweets is a lie). It amazes me how he has managed to stay so calm. I have posted the latest CIA-issue footwear photograph of Anna Ardin because Julian Assange could benefit from the focus of attention being elsewhere. And because I think she is a person of very dubious character.

  • English Knight

    Habbabkukri comments need to be slashed with a kukri and a resounding “ayo gurkhali” cry, leaving behind only his tattered yarmulke !

  • Ben Franklin

    John Goss; I didn’t detect malevolence in your intention. But, I do think the character of the ‘victim’ sometimes is germane, and the misandry present in some of Sweden’s laws makes the spike heel an issue. Don’t wish to create another ‘dust-up’ after the matter seems settled. The pic was ill-advised, not because it’s been viewed, but because it reveals something of a mindset.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    Mrs May is magic.
    How does one ‘redetain’ somebody?

    Is it ‘I arrest you’ ‘I release you’ ‘I arrest you’.


    >The Third Reich. >They Thought They Were Free Milton Mayer.

    “What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

    “This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.


  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    They do it via the phone now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Note the grim sounding names
    Belmarsh – That name alone strikes terror into the heart
    UK Border Agency
    Judicial Office
    Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac)

    9 March 2013 Last updated at 17:27

    Abu Qatada redetained over alleged bail breach
    Abu Qatada has been fighting deportation to Jordan for more than a decade
    Radical cleric Abu Qatada is to remain in custody following an alleged breach of his bail conditions.

    Mr Justice Irwin has ruled he must return to Belmarsh prison following his arrest by UK Border Agency officials on Friday, the Judicial Office said.

    The decision was made during an urgent Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) meeting by phone on Saturday.

    The move comes days before a government bid to have Abu Qatada deported to Jordan to face terror allegations.

    On Monday, the government will go to the Court of Appeal in a bid to overturn a judge’s decision to allow Abu Qatada to stay in the UK.

    He was arrested on Friday following a day of raids in London by counter-terrorism police.


  • John Goss

    Ben Franklin, thanks for the support. The picture has precipitated a few puns of which Shakespeare might have been proud. As to Sweden’s laws (we used to call them progressive) they have created an imbalance in sexual equality which favours misandry over parity. I have met a few Swedes, some gay, some not, but there is a mindset as you say which has turned the country into a place where straight men seem to be extremely vulnerable. How they ever copulate and procreate is beyond my comprehension. In Assange’s case the sexual impropriety allegations were investigated and dismissed, quite properly. My guess is Karl Rove went over there with an offer the Swedish government and the Yank-loving Claes Borgström and Thomas Bodström could not refuse.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    The implication in this BBC report is that Scotland can only export if they remain in the UK. Tosh from Moore.

    UK ‘offers best of both worlds’ for Scots businesses
    The UK government is hosting an energy event in Rio de Janiero this week, which will be attended by members of the Brazilian government and oil sector

    Scotland’s Future
    Clash over Scots constitution plan
    Scots pension plans to be published
    Blair: History on side of the union
    Scottish debt ‘lower than UK level’

    Scotland has “big opportunities” to do business in countries like Brazil as part of the UK, Michael Moore has said.

    Ahead of a visit to the South American country, the Scottish Secretary said Scots’ energy expertise was much sought after in Brazil’s emerging oil sector.


  • Jemand - The Lord Heals

    Arbed, many of these details seem to hint at, but not necessarily prove a particular scenario, however plausible. Both of us know what is going on. We all do. But these creeps rely on plausible deniability and it’s up to us to find enough evidence that supports either legal action or a political backdown.

    Do I think anything can be done (at this stage) about the developments you posted about? 

    The Ecuadorean offer to facilitate an interview and the ‘American Section’ advisement of this seems to support the long standing claims that the US maintains an ongoing interest in Assange’s legal affairs through the Swedish foreign office. All that can be done is to add this fact to the list of compelling evidence that needs to be kept current in public discussion. You are doing more than anyone in this regard. Stay on message, my friend.

  • Herbie

    Every time I see that man Carl Bild’s name mentioned, it reminds me of Carl Schmitt.

    Schmitt was a very committed Nazi, but more importantly he’s probably the most influential political theorist today.

    Put simply, his work argues for dictatorship over democracy, and for continual war of we against them, as the main way of maintaining power.

    His work was popularised amongst elites in the US by Leo Strauss, and can be seen most obviously in the wars and practices of Bush and Obama and particularly in how they twist law to stifle dissent.


  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Mary answers my question as follows:

    “Referendum for Scottish independence : good ie Because it is a real vote with an an unknown result

    Referendum for future of Falklands : ridiculous. ie Because it is a sham propaganda exercise with a known result”

    Are not both of these exercises in letting the people concerned state publicly, through the ballot box, what they want?

    Are you pissed off about the Falklands referendum because you’d rather the islands were handed over to Argentina without further delay? Are you following your usual line of ‘everyone who opposes Britan and its government in any way and foe whatever reason must be right and must be supported’?

    Shame on you, you sham democrat.


    La vita è bella, life is good! (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Mary (17h55), who writes as follows about Abu Qatada’s arrest:

    “The decision was made during an urgent Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) meeting by phone on Saturday.”

    It may have excaped your notice, Mary, but today is Saturday.

    Courts, tribunals and other legal and administrative bodies do not usually work at weekends.

    The members of SIAC were probably not all in the same place.

    So what do you expect the court to do?

    Have you ever heard, for example, of a video-conference? Or of conference calls?

    Had the court not met till MOnday, you’d probably be bitching on about hos callous and inefficient is was.

    You’re a silly old thing aren’t you.


    La vita è bella, life is good! (Mary should take sabbatical leave, she’s tired)

  • TS

    Great idea putting the OSCE to work (I speak as a regular OSCE election monitor).
    But what about a mass boycott of the BBC licence fee? It is a ridiculous tax on televisions completely unfit for the 21st century. That would be a sure-fire way to get a huge amount of global media attention on the issue!

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    Have just come in from a super concert given by very talented children who belong to the SW Surrey Concert Band, (brass, woodwind and percussion) to find more depressing litter has been scattered on this blog. The band’s leader and conductor is an ex military band musician who has a marvellous relationship with the children, encourages them and spurs them on to play their hearts out.

    The perpetrator could listen to a repeat of Claire Balding on Radio 4 Ramblings this morning. She went out with an American guy who collects roadside litter by the sackful. Most heartening to listen to about what should be unnecessary work.

    David Sedaris
    Ramblings, Series 23 Episode 5 of 6

    Duration: 23 minutes
    First broadcast:Thursday 07 March 2013
    David Sedaris, the American author and comedian, takes Clare Balding on a litter-picking walk in West Sussex.

    When David Sedaris was a child he would clear up around the house, and keep his own bedroom perfectly tidy. This obsession has, in recent years, been transferred to the outdoors and Sedaris is now a devoted daily litter-picker, cleaning the roadside verges of Pulborough and the surrounding area.

    Clare imagined that this edition of Ramblings might take her across the South Downs, occasionally reaching for a stray bottle or piece of paper. In reality it involved walking less than two miles, and filling six bin bags full to bursting with all manner of filthy rubbish. All while wearing a fetching hi-viz jacket. A very unusual edition of Ramblings!

    I could do without the ageist remarks and the ad hominems. Very unpleasant and took the edge off my feeling of well being but only temporarily.

  • guano

    Sabbakuk is a catholic in the Savile sense of the word, smarmy, abusive, deceitful and dangerous. La vita e bella = Jesus will take care of everything bad I do. I will never forget the description of Savile’s enourmous cross clunking the boy in the back while he raped him. I detect in Sabby’s use of the word Eminences a cynical dislike of those who criticise the powers that be. i.e. a warning threat of Judge not, lest ye be judged.

    We are all very unperfect Sabba, but people aspire to better than the lowest common denominator of human degradation. You mock that aspiration to higher ideals with your sarcasm and insultry. Things like Cameron selling off the NHS for rich companies to make profits, or the persecution of the Palestinian people, are immoral acts of historical significance which ought to be highlighted and criticised.

    Your mockery/trollery/incestuous picking on Mary is becoming increasingly un-Savvy.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    That’s weird. I heard on Sky that CoE bishops have written a letter to the government warning them that their welfare cuts are too severe and then googled ‘UK bishops warning to government’. The following came up.

    Archbishop of Canterbury attacks Government welfare reforms
    Telegraph.co.uk-2 hours ago

    Among the bishops to sign the letter to this newspaper are 14 of the 26 … with a long-standing convention within the Church of England.


    Archbishop condemns benefit changes
    Belfast Telegraph-11 minutes ago
    all 5 news sources »

    and this next

    Here be trolls: Hunting down internet haters
    Stuff.co.nz-18 minutes ago

    WARNING NOTICE: Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater says trolls’ are … on the internet for the purposes of entertainment,” says Jonathan Bishop, … “In the UK, we have had the cases of Suzanne Moore and Julie … Topically, issues on government, politics, race, and sexuality garner the most troll activity


    Latter has some interesting and relevant content.

  • Clark

    John Goss, 4:03 pm;

    “Arbed, I don’t know why you take on the trolls and sock-puppets.”

    John, replying to “contributors” like Kempe serves the purpose of correcting dishonesty. Kempe wrote (of Anna Ardin)

    “Even if she is a “heel” she still has the right to say no.”

    Anna Ardin didn’t say “no”, according to her statement. Kempe dishonestly gave the impression that she did. Kempe effectively lied by implication; it’s a clever technique, and I think that it is right to correct the impression it may leave upon those who haven’t read the statement.

    Many people read the comments other than us, the contributors. That’s why people like Kempe come here and post comments such as that one, which they know are dishonest, but which give the impression that they are endeavouring to establish in people’s minds.

    Obviously, no one is going to convince Kempe, who must know the facts about the actions against Assange very well in order to formulate effective presuppositions such as that one.

  • Clark

    CE, note what Kempe did there. I’ve seen so many instances of this from Kempe to become convinced that s/he is a professional shill, someone paid to influence public opinion against Julian Assange. Ask yourself why such agents are being employed. If you’ve read “Extraditing Assange”, you will be aware of David Allen Green’s dishonesty and misrepresentations against Assange. It’s just more of the same, just pushing the establishment agenda.

  • Clark


    “… claimed 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels [in Syria], largely via Jordan since November […]

    The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours. But the report added that as well as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain” […]”

  • English Knight

    A modern Zen Koan for the likes of Habbakyke & Kempe – “Rwanda or Auschwitz, in which camp was the Almighty MORE silent than the Pope of Rome?” Hint – the S Korean national flag. After a couple of years rumination they might just break through the dialectic, and spare us all of this “chosen” hubris – after realising their consciousness has been no more than that of goats and chickens !!

  • Clark


    “Syria’s borders with Jordan and Turkey have been long-ago identified by the US Army’s own West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) as hotbeds of sectarian extremist/Al Qaeda activity – hotbeds that the West is purposefully funneling thousands of tons of weaponry through, while disingenuously claiming it is attempting to prevent such weapons from falling into the hands of extremists.” [My emphasis]

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Clark, at 22h56, said :

    “Many people read the comments other than us, the contributors.”

    Not according to Craig, they don’t. According to Craig, very, very few people who visit this blog read the comments (as opposed to Craig’s own posts). And, given the posionous, obsessional rubbish spouted so often by most of the commenters, I’d say they were very sensible.


    Lq vita è bella, life is good!

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, I think that Craig either misinterpreted the monitoring tools, or was maybe feeling pessimistic when he wrote that. The accumulated results from the available tools are tricky to interpret. But when I had access to the software, I’d look at the real-time page activity. There are far more readers than contributors, so many that the latest page scrolls faster than you can follow it.

  • Clark

    CE, I’m OK thanks; I hope you’re well, too.

    Mary, best wishes to you.

    I’m off to bed. Goodnight CE, and everyone.

  • crab

    Clark Craig was setting up a joke when he said that, the punchline was “nobody reads my articles either” :o)

  • Ben Franklin

    ” given the posionous, obsessional rubbish spouted so often by most of the commenters, I’d say they were very sensible.”


    Given the disproportional level of antipathy, I suggest many refrain from spending more time, and commenting, due to the overly overt, and disproportional antithetic diatribes of the hasbara tribalists.

    No one wants to be subjected to subjective animus, for no other purpose than subjugating the good auspices of cogent commentary.

  • CE

    As sad as I am to take some of the debate away from Scottish Independence, the usual nonsense about JA begs correction.

    “My guess is Karl Rove went over there with an offer the Swedish government and the Yank-loving Claes Borgström and Thomas Bodström could not refuse.” – John Goss

    Yes of course he did John. 🙄

    Clark, you talk about misinformation about the Assange case, the comments on this blog are full them! Let’s just take one paragraph from resident ‘expert’ Arbed;

    “Of course the (1)actual allegations are not really relevant to the extradition case against Assange – it’s (2)abundantly clear they are merely the pretext for the (3)attempted kidnap (‘judicial’ version) of a political foe. But (4)none of that would be possible without Ardin’s false allegations. And there is (5)solid forensic evidence that they are false.”

    1)The actual allegations on a EAW are irrelevant to the EAW?
    2)’abundantly clear’ to yourself maybe, but certainly not to everyone.
    3)’attempted kidnap’- Really? Evidence of this ‘Kidnap’? Your penchant for over egging the pudding is most unhelpful.
    4)Totally and utterly false. SW’s allegations (sex without consent, however you like to dress it up) alone are sufficient for charges to be brought in most civilised nations.
    5)Personally I prefer a court of law to an internet blog for discerning the strength and validity of evidence.

    Some of JA’s supporters like to talk about ‘red herrings’, the biggest RH of all is the continual promotion of this nonsensical idea that the Swedish prosecutors should be jumping through hoops for a bail-skipping alleged sex offender.

    And for the umpteenth time, people who do otherwise commendable work are capable of rape and other crimes. If presented with rape allegations, they must face them like anybody else, however otherwise worthy their past contributions. I know Western governments want Wikileaks crushed, and that JA’s fears of extradition to the the US are not unfounded, but none of this should give JA immunity from serious charges that have emerged from Sweden.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Ben, I’m sure what you have to say is interesting and relevant but would you mind posting in English so that we can read you? Thanks.


    La vita è bella, life is good! (post clearly or not at all)

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