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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  • Herbie

    Habbakuk complains about:

    “the posionous, obsessional rubbish”

    But surely such a complaint may be more correctly addressed to yourself.

    You’d agree that you’re obsessional. That’s just a fact.

    And you couldn’t reasonably disagree that your contributions are designed only to poison the well of rational discourse.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    CE – I prefer you on JA than on Scottish independence! 🙂

    You write :

    “people who do otherwise commendable work are capable of rape and other crimes…”

    Exactly right. And in that connection, I recommend that the Eminences and assorted others should go and read George Orwell’s esssay “Benefit of clergy”.

    Over but not out.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Herbie wrote about me :

    “your contributions are designed only to poison the well of rational discourse.”

    Herbie, are you talking about this blog? If you are, the “well” you mention must be as difficult to find as an oasis in the Gobi.


    La vita è bella, life is good! (is the wel but a mirage?)

  • brian fujisan

    a wee reminder of how these murky cretins operate, now there wouldn’t be any evidence of this confession being vindicated buy any cretin on Craig’s blog

    if it’s amusing and entertainment to some, that kinda dose not ring right on this blog. what happens when Mary or any other valued soul cries “enough” to me it is also unfair to assume that wont happen.

    “Focus on the popular posters,” my trainer told me. “These are the influential ones. Each of these is worth 50 to 100 of the lesser known names.” Each popular poster was classified as “hostile,” “friendly,” or “indifferent” to my goal. We were supposed to cultivate friendship with the friendly posters as well as the mods (basically, by brown nosing and sucking up), and there were even notes on strategies for dealing with specific hostile posters. The info was pretty detailed, but not perfect in every case. “If you can convert one of the hostile posters from the enemy side to our side, you get a nice bonus. But this doesn’t happen too often, sadly. So mostly you’ll be attacking them and trying to smear them.”

  • Clark


    1) The original allegations were ruled to be irrelevant to the European Arrest warrant by the High Court. For Offence 1, see paragraph 71:

    “In our view, it is not apposite to take into account the material in the prosecution file. […]”

    For offences 2, 3 and 4, paragraphs 92, 98, and 119 all read:

    “For the reasons we have given at paragraphs 68 and 71 as applied to this offence, it is not necessary to consider this. […]


    2) It becomes “abundantly clear” if you read the material carefully, as Arbed has.

    3) “Evidence of this ‘Kidnap’?”: I’d call attempting to raid the Ecuadorian embassy an “attempted kidnap”. Plenty of evidence follows. Comments arriving at this blog as it occurred:


    Craig’s testimony from his FCO contacts:


    Coverage linked by Arbed:


    4) CE, do you know that SW wants charges pressed against Assange? I’ve asked you this repeatedly. What if she doesn’t? And if she doesn’t (as she stated to “Witness I” and others), wouldn’t unwanted police action itself constitute a violation of SW?

    Yes, police pursue matters of domestic violence regardless of the wishes of allegedly injured parties, but that is to prevent witness intimidation. SW and AA have both stated publicly that they do not feel intimidated by Assange.

    5) Yes, I’d prefer a court of law, and I expect that Assange would like the chance to clear his name. But the allegations against Assange were made public by the Swedish police. Given that such repeated breaches of due process have extended to intimidation of the Ecuadorian embassy, I have serious doubts about the neutrality of the authorities in this case, which means that the risk to Julian Assange from the USA now seems to be the overriding matter.


    CE, you asked me in private e-mail communication to assure other readers that you are not acting as a shill for the establishment. I am not in a position to make such an assurance, but you do seem genuine to me. I have one question to ask you which I would really like an answer to: Have you read the document Extraditing Assange?:


    It is extensively referenced to the most authoritative sources.

    I refer you to an excerpt from Mary’s comment above:


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

    “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.”

    CE, the following is from my head, but it is also truly heartfelt. I have read Extraditing Assange. I have looked closely into the way Assange has been treated by the authorities and the media. I am scared, because it is unjust and unfair; this is not supposed to happen in countries like Sweden and the UK.

    Please, CE. You have been so aggressive towards Arbed despite her personal testimony as a rape complainant. I have reviewed each criticism that you have made of her comments, and every time, I find her contributions closer to the truth than yours. Please understand that for people such as Arbed and myself, and many others who comment here, this is about far more than the accusations against Julian Assange. It is about abuse of due process for ulterior motives by the authorities. In a supposedly free society, that is something that every citizen should be concerned about. If we do not defend our freedom, we shall lose it.

    Now, CE, please answer my question above, and then show me and everyone else that you are not a shill.

  • guano

    La vita e bella is supposed to be about the small-minded ignorance of village anti-semitism. i.e. a role-reversal theme of the small-minded ignorance of small-country Israeli apartheid. Sabbakuk uses the title of this film as a cry of anti-semitism. In the context of 15 years of the neo=con War on Terror it is perfectly reasonable to ask the question ‘cui bono’ for whose benefit has all this massacre and state inflicted terror been done and how has it happened against the wishes of the citizens of this country? How has it become necessary for political advancement in Westminster to be a Friend of Israel? How has Israel come to dictate UK foreign policy?

    Habbabkuk uses this phrase La vita e bella in order to slander those who criticise this Zionist agenda with the slur of anti-semiticism. A classic troll of the Larry from St Louis kind.

    I was once staying on a hospital ward where a single patient started constantly whistling like an owner to his dog every few seconds. This enfuriated the nurses who shut him in a private room because of his attention-seeking behaviour, whistling to them as if they were dogs to call their attention. I find Habbakuk’s repetitive style equally offensive and unacceptable.
    This disruptive behaviour is not just bullying and distressing to Mary. Like the dog-whistler, it is designed to test the patience of all readers, challenging them to divert their attention from the subject of the blog to his abusive behaviour.
    It is not his language that is abusive Even Craig’s language is sometimes “abusive’ and that is a recognised flavour of Scottish culture in the Flyting poetic form. It isn’t part of Scottish culture to be personally insulting though, rather the opposite, ultra-politeness.

    The dog-whistler understood that it isn’t necessary to use language at all in order to be abusive. I’m not sure why this abusive behaviour of Habbabkuk’s has been allowed by Craig and the mods to carry on for so long.

  • Clark

    CE, please try to think where your reasoning could lead. Some local authorities are installing audio surveillance on public transport now:


    So, the authorities don’t like your activism on, say, Scottish independence (that oil is worth billions). So they gather in any audio they can find of your sexual partner. While she’s on her mobile phone to a woman friend of hers in a public place, a microphone overhears some complaint (just a girls’ joke, really) about your recent sexual performance. Or maybe a radio scanner or a network tap intercepts her phone call:


    A little later, a female plain clothes officer arrives at your home while you are at work, and, maybe under the pretext of doing a survey, asks your partner some fairly intimate questions, and gets into a conversation…

    Pretty soon, you’re called in to the police station. Charges of sexual harassment are made against you. Your partner objects to the charges, but (in the words of Claes Borgström) “she is not a lawyer” so she can’t get the charges dropped, and you’re both dragged through the courts. After all, she did say those things, and as you’ve said, in “civilised” countries, the decision of the authorities must override the wishes of the individual.

    Is this really the sort of society you want to live in? Far fetched?


    Of course, if your bid for Scottish independence is successful, you needn’t worry about what happens here in the south. You’ll have a government you can control, because you have a much better electoral system.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    Just when you thought that all hope for a just society had been lost, you see this cheering news. This Australian human rights lawyer, and a member of Julian’s legal team, has been named joint winner of Australian National University’s young alumnus of the year with Sebastian Robertson, founder of Batyr, a non-profit organisation addressing mental health challenges among young people.


    Ms Robinson said she remained a member of his legal team because free-speech principles were at stake.

    ‘I happen to like him – he is incredibly intelligent and brave – and I enjoy working with him. But whether you like him or not, it is the principles involved and the importance of WikiLeaks’ work that merit support. I also feel strongly that, as an Australian, he deserves support from Australians – support that certainly has not come from our government.’

    She literally shines.

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    These bishops have had the courage to voice their concern. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have added their support.

    Archbishop of Canterbury attacks Government welfare reforms
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is supporting a campaign to derail a key part of the Government’s welfare reforms.


    The letter from 43 bishops to The Sunday Telegraph reads:

    SIR – Next week, members of the House of Lords will debate the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill.

    The Bill will mean that for each of the next three years, most financial support for families will increase by no more than 1 per cent, regardless of how much prices rise.

    This is a change that will have a deeply disproportionate impact on families with children, pushing 200,000 children into poverty. A third of all households will be affected by the Bill, but nearly nine out of 10 families with children will be hit.

    These are children and families from all walks of life. The Children’s Society calculates that a single parent with two children, working on an average wage as a nurse would lose £424 a year by 2015. A couple with three children and one earner, on an average wage as a corporal in the British Army, would lose £552 a year by 2015.

    However, the change will hit the poorest the hardest. About 60 per cent of the savings from the uprating cap will come from the poorest third of households. Only 3 per cent will come from the wealthiest third.

    If prices rise faster than expected, children and families will no longer have any protection against this. This transfers the risk of high inflation rates from the Treasury to children and families, which is unacceptable.

    Children and families are already being hit hard by cuts to support, including those to tax credits, maternity benefits, and help with housing costs. They cannot afford this further hardship penalty. We are calling on the House of Lords to take action to protect children from the impact of this Bill.

    The list of names and their sees follow.

  • John Goss

    Clark at 10.56 a.m. yesterday. Thanks for that comment. Thankfully those who know who the trolls are can choose not to read them. There are only 24 hours in a day.

    After listening to advice on this blog and reflecting on it I have taken down the picture of Anna Ardin linked earlier and replaced it with an old boot.

    On topic (just about). While Scotland seeks independence from imperialist Westminster and its media-control some 1700 English-speaking Falkland Islanders choose to screw the British taxpayer for yet £100,000 per Falkland Island family, ad infinitum, in a referendum that is a foregone conclusion. This is my take on it.


  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Guano, at 05h43, says the following about the use of “La vita è bella, life is good!” :

    “Sabbakuk uses the title of this film as a cry of anti-semitism”


    “Habbabkuk uses this phrase La vita e bella in order to slander those who criticise this Zionist agenda with the slur of anti-semiticism”.

    Now, I hadn’t realised that it was blog etiquette for commenters to have to explain or justify their handles – any more than it was necessary for them to explain or justify their avatars. But as a favour to Guano and others, I’m happy to do so.

    “La vita è bella, life is good” are all words which pre-exist, and do happen to have an existence and meaning outside of, the eponymous film. They are meant as a standing reminder to the Eminences and others of that persuasion that there is more to life than the unending catalogue of woe, death and destruction, intrigue and turpitude and conspiracy which at least some of them appear to specialise in bringing to our attention. If you like, the words constitute a standing reproach and summary answer to those whose vision of life, as represented by their comments on this blog, appears to be unremittingly negative.

    Did that help?

    Probably not.

    (As an after-thought, I do think that Guano should get his act together with the other Eminences : the one seems to think I’m anti-semitic, whereas others opine indignantly that I’m an agent in the pay of Jerusalem. Do make up your minds!


    La vita è bella, life is good! (just look around)

  • Mary - for Truth and Justice

    Argentina casualties and losses

    649 killed
    1,657 wounded
    11,313 taken prisoner

    1 cruiser
    1 submarine
    4 cargo vessels
    2 patrol boats
    1 spy trawler

    25 helicopters
    35 fighters
    2 bombers
    4 transports
    25 COIN aircraft
    9 armed trainers


    Great Britain casualties and losses

    258 killed
    775 wounded
    115 taken prisoner

    2 destroyers
    2 frigates
    1 LSL landing ship
    1 LCU amphibious craft
    1 container ship

    24 helicopters
    10 fighters


    The stupidity of Thatcher and Galtieri is well illustrated by the above statistics and by the memorials to the dead of both nationalities on the islands and on the mainlands of both countries.

    The cost of the referendum is stated to be £70,000 but I bet HMG is forking out much more. There are even international monitors and planes visiting outlying remote islands to collect the votes. http://www.falklands.gov.fk/assets/ExCo-205-12P.pdf

    The predicted result will be used by the boy wonder in the House in his squabble with Kirchner. Grow up Mr Hague.

    Q Will dissenters be sent to live with the penguins in Bluff Cove?

    PS We all know it is really about mineral resources.

  • resident dissident


    “Genuine rape victims don’t hand false evidence in to the police. (They’re unlikely to indulge in the kind of retail therapy coping strategies Ardin clearly enjoys either.)”

    And where is you evidence for this generalisation – I think you will actually find that many rape victims suffer stress disorders that make them behave in all sorts of different, unusual and erratic ways – it is also one very good reason why rape trials and investigations are best conducted in private rather than over the internet.

    I’m afraid that the rest of your post says rather more about you than Anna Ardin.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    ary says (correctly as far as Galtieri is concerned) :

    “The stupidity of Thatcher and Galtieri is well illustrated by the above statistics and by the memorials to the dead of both nationalities on the islands and on the mainlands of both countries.”

    Could I ask Mary to tell us how she thinks Mrs Thatcher and the UK govt. should have reacted to the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands?


    La vita è bella, life is good!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Mary :

    re the Falkland referendum, you say that there will ne interbational monitors, and you appear to emphasise your surprise by using the word “even”.

    Presumably you should be in favour of international monitoring? After all, you back Craig’s idea for OSCE monitoring for the Scottish referendum.

    Could we have an asnwer for once to yet another legitimate question politely phrased?

    Thank you.

  • Clark

    resident dissident, 9:33 am

    “…one very good reason why rape trials and investigations are best conducted in private rather than over the internet”

    Well it would have helped if the Swedish police hadn’t reported everything to Expressen then, wouldn’t it? But that wouldn’t have been useful, for the purpose of smearing Assange.

    AA isn’t a “rape victim” or even an “alleged rape victim”. Check your facts.

  • resident dissident


    I wouldn’t waste your breath trying to explain the difference between anti-semitism and anti zionism to Guano – quite why he is allowed a platform here given what Craig has previously said about ant-semitism is beyond on me. I also notice that the campaigner for truth and justice still hasn’t come forward with an explanation as to why it is considered acceptable to use Jewish religous ceromonies as a basis for an attack on zionists. The campaigner for justice also seems to spend rather a lot of time arguing for certain people and causes to be beyond justice. Orwellian doublespeak at its finest I’m afraid.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Get rid of English period ! Get rid of there rules rule in house from Scotland for Scotland ! Tell them too go get there own oil ! Through out history they’ve been nothing more than a thorn in anyone’s backside near and a far !” Shawn McCalla Graham, 4:17pm, 9.3.13.

    Was this some strange uro-gynaecological exhortation, a play on Mediaeval nightingale melodramas, or was it irony? Or just xenophobia? Did you know that one in five Scots is deemed to be functionally illiterate, in the English language? England’s not much better. Anyway…

    It is not – it cannot be – about “English”. Many of us living in Scotland could be deemed, by one or other definition, English. It is about economic and social – domestic and international – imperialism, control of resources and self-determination for all those who live in Scotland. The same discourse applies to all those who live in England, Wales and (all of) Ireland and indeed everywhere else. Paraguay, for example.

  • resident dissident


    I don’t know what Anna Ardin is – that is what the Swedish legal process is trying to find out, and in my view should be allowed to do. Unlike you I have not prejudged the issue – and I don’t think this is the place for the case to be conducted. I have no intention of appearing as prosecuting council in what amounts to a knagaroo court – and I would advise others not to try to do so either.

    I think you will find that it is the prosecution rather than the police that is accused of leaking eveidence (or at least that is what Arbed said previously while conveniently ignoring the point that the defence has not been above a spot of leaking either). Undesirable though leaking of evidence is, especially in rape cases, I don’t think that is a very sound argument for avoiding trials in general – think about it.

    I was actually asking a question about what was Arbed’s evidence for her rather broad brush generalisation that genuine rape victims do not present false evidence.

  • Clark

    resident dissident, the High Court proceedings are a matter of public record. Open justice is one of the pillars of a free society. You should not be arguing that looking at public documents is some way prejudicial. One of the sites I linked to was bailii.org, “British and Irish Legal Information Institute – Access to Freely Available British and Irish Public Legal Information”.

    Or would you prefer a police state and closed courts?

  • Clark

    I really can’t believe some of you people. All the things that we hold dear, all our legal protections, the things that have moved us in the direction of a free society – you seem as though you’d trash them all. And for what? You say that haven’t read the statements, but you can look in the Swedish media to see that there was NO allegation of violence.

  • Clark

    Maybe you think that you’re helping to protect women. You’re not. You’re arguing for everyone, men and women, to be put at risk from the state.

  • resident dissident


    I have no problemn whatsoever about nearly all court proceedings being open and being a matter of public record – not all are btw – there are for example protections for minors, rape victims etc. That is not the same as saying that all evidence should be available to the public before the case so that they can prejudge (the source of the word prejudice btw) a case by a partial selection of evidence which has not beem subject to challenge and cross examination – and for which there is no documented judgement. A lot of brave people fought for many years in this country for there to be fair and balanced legal processes in this country – I don’t believe that they should be thrown away and undermined so easily.

  • English Knight

    With Independence at least the Scots will not have Lithuanian imposters forced upon them out of Edinburgh Pentlands sitting in the Cabinet deigning to represent them on the world stage. In the long run, invariably another McCluskey will arise and be found out to be yet another Mucluski with a penthouse on Haifa Beach!

  • Clark

    resident dissident, do your public duty and look at the publicly available facts, not the leaked material, but what was leaked and by whom, and the documents such as court records that are quite rightly publicly disclosed. You will see that this case should be dropped, as proceedings have been hugely prejudicial against Assange.

    You didn’t like the old USSR, did you? I’m warning you; we are moving in that direction. The further it gets the harder it will be to stop. Do not complacently assume that “it can’t happen here”. Authoritarianism will encroach wherever people permit it to.

    We have secret police, secret courts, abuse of process, restriction on public demonstration, most of these are referenced and documented on this very thread. Come on. Please. It’s time to act.

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