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.


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

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  • CE

    Hi Clark, could you please point out this ‘aggression’ you refer to as coming from myself?

    Thanks.

  • resident dissident

    [email protected]

    I’m afraid I don’t see the world in such black and white terms as you do – and therefore my action will be rather more even handed and incremental than your own, although I was one of the 6m who voted for electoral reform. I am surprised that although you are worried about NATO inference in Syria you have no qualms about Russia having a naval base there or it supplying the Assad regime with its arms – or is imperialism only confined to the West. And of course torture was not commonplace in Iraq under Hussein – and the 4m dispora of Iraquis who fled his regime had nothing to fear whatsover did they?

  • resident dissident

    Clark

    I also note from your comments in respect of corporatism during the week that you are not a big fan of our current economic system – but perhaps you could suggest what you would replace it with or how you would reform it rather than resorting to a blanket condemnation. The record of other models that have been tried e.g. state planning, the fedal system, the barter economy hardly have a convincing track model – or perhaps like me you are a social democrat who while beliveing that the market system is the least worst alternative of matching resources and needs that its excesses have to be regulated and managed. It is a rather important question – this is often ignored here – since making sure that everyone has a decent standard of living is something that most ordinary people would see as priority number one.

  • Arbed

    Resident Dissident, 8.43pm

    Ok, this article contains a goodly selection of statistics on the subject of false rape reports. As you will see, there is no conclusive answer on the matter but, before you object to the author’s comments regarding Assange’s case, please bear in mind that it was written on 23 August 2010, at which date the case against him had “been dismissed as groundless by the Swedish authorities, who are still investigating the charge of sexual assault, The Times reports today (p 25)”, as the article reports. I’m afraid there are no statistics compiled that directly relate to your query about the production of false physical evidence, as opposed to merely making false statements – a sign perhaps that this course of action is indeed very, very rare.

    http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/crying-rape-falsely-rare-or-common

    However, one does not need statistics to point out the logical fallacy in your argument that genuine rape victims sometimes hand in false evidence to the police (and remember we are talking about false physical evidence here – a condom which has been manipulated to appear used and ‘torn’ but which, on forensic examination, contains no DNA whatsoever, not even the woman’s own DNA) – if the story you are telling is true, you do not need to fabricate evidence.

  • resident dissident

    [email protected]

    Clark – much of what is publicly available in this case has been in circulation for a long time and is no where near sufficient to reach a judgement whatever you may think. And please do not be so naive to believe that the leaks are all from one source. It is because I believ all the evidence should be out in the open and subject to proper cross examination – and that these are necessary features for truth and justice that I believe these matters should go through the courts. If you think that view bears any relationship to how legal justice was administered in the USSR then you need to rad a little more history.

  • resident dissident

    Arbed

    As you say the evidence is far from conclusive – especially since as is mentioned Sweden has a far higher incidence of reported rape cases than elsewhere in Western Europe (although I supect even in Sweden the evidence is that reported rape cases are signficantly less than actual cases) and one of the lowest conviction rates which is bound to have some bearing on witness behaviour.

    There is no logical fallacy in what I say – just because people under extreme stress do not need to fabricate evidence – it doesn’t mean that they don’t do so in order to strengthen their case in their eyes, or to divert attention from other evidence that they find embarassing. I don’t know if you have young children but I’m afraid this is not an uncommon technique – and although it is onley hearsay evidence I know lawyers who are more than aware of witnesses embellishing their statements in both civil and criminal cases. I’m afraid logic doesn’t always come into human behaviour.

  • resident dissident

    Arbed

    Of course the best cure for embellished witness statements is of course good cross examination in court by experienced lawyers.

  • CE

    Hi Arbed,

    You claimed on a previous thread that the use of a red notice was unusual in the Assange Case(it most definitely was not). I can search for the exact comment later if you wish?

    None of the above statements you have reprinted provide any evidence against JA initiating unprotected sex without consent.

    Clark – apologies if I haven’t answered all of your queries, but I did explain my answers would be hit and run due to a busy day.

    I claim SW made a statement, because I have read her leaked statement. I didn’t claim to be a saint who would not view leaked evidence, I reinstated my belief that the best way to judge the strength of said evidence is a court of law, not amateur lawyers on t’interweb.

  • CE

    CE – just like you(Arbed) did when you falsely claimed that the interpol red notices were used incorrectly concerning JA.

    Arbed – I have never made that claim. Therefore, yes, I would like your apologies.

    Arbed(10/02/13) – The instant global publicity of the ‘manhunt’, then the dropping of the case the next day, then picked up again a few days later, the Interpol notice , the EAW, the storming of an embassy over the non-use of condoms… Those things just do not happen in normal rape investigations.

    Arbed (11/02/13) – Meanwhile, here is an article setting out the controversy raging within Interpol how the very unusual way in which an Interpol notice was used in this case.

    —————————————————————————

    I take it by ‘forgetting’ these previous comments you now agree with me that JA’s Interpol Red Notice was entirely justified and that you are prone to bias and misinformation when it comes to JA.

  • CE

    http://www.interpol.int/INTERPOL-expertise/Notices

    Don’t worry Arbed, you are not the only Assange supporter to push this nonsense.

    Jennifer Robinson – “You only need to look at the way that Red Notices are used around the world. Red Notices are normally the preserve of terrorists and dictators. The president of Syria does not have a Red Notice alert. Gaddafi in Libya, at the same time Julian’s arrest warrant was issued, was not subject to a Red Notice but an Orange Notice. It was an incredibly… it was incredibly unusual that a red notice would be sought for an allegation of this kind.”

    Not one Iota what she is talking about, worrying that JA would choose someone so ignorant to represent him. I mean it’s almost as if the supporters of JA would say anything to paint him in a better light.

  • Arbed

    CE, 12.20am

    Thank you CE. You have now proved that I have never made this claim:

    “just like you did when you falsely claimed that the interpol red notices were used incorrectly concerning JA”

    Just as you have now pointed out, I have never made the claim that a RED notice was the incorrect one to use.

    Oh, and speaking of Jennifer Robinson, I believe congratulations are in order for her:

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/anu-honour-for-assange-lawyer-20130309-2fsuo.html

  • CE

    So just to clear things up then, you believe the Red notice was abnormal and that it was used ‘unusually’, but that it was not used incorrectly ❓

    Yes, I always read your links I generally find them informative and believe it is important to make yourself aware of views and opinions out of step from your own.

    Have you read mine? It provides a clear answer to the hysterical question of why JA’s notice was red and Gadaffi’s orange. I am sure someone as familiar with the case as yourself must be aware of this?

  • Arbed

    CE,

    Yes, of course I’m aware of it. Facts matter and it’s important to not spread misinformation. I try to be as careful as possible in what I say.

  • CE

    So I’m sure you will agree with me then that this quote from your link is completely wrong; (my emphasis)

    Recidivist mass murderer Muammar Gaddafi – he of the all-girl vestal virgin Clit Squad – cops a mere clockwork Orange Notice whilst our Julian Assange of WikiLeaks – exposer of state-sanctioned killers and war crimes and who is fighting extradition to Sweden for uncharged sexual allegations – is king hit with the big ticket Red Notice. Go figure.

    Go figure indeed.

    So if we are both wanting to avoid misinformation, I’m sure we can agree you link is totally ignorant in how interpol notices are used.

    Clark has indicated I have been somewhat over zealous and ‘aggressive’ in my posts, I apologise if this is the case. I only ever wished to discuss Scottish Independence on this thread, and it saddens me somewhat that I am wasting my time talking about JA when I could be promoting the Independence debate, but continually seeing things written I believe to be false(and could prove to be so in the Interpol case) stirred me into posting.

    I believe you are possibly the most knowledgeable poster on this site about the Assange case and some of your links have broadened my knowledge of the case exponentially, but I also believe this does not render your views infallible or unquestionable. I also apologise if it may seem if I am nit-picking sometimes, but the high esteem in which your views are held by others encourage me even more so to speak up if I feel you are wrong about something.

    All the best.

    CE.

  • Jemand - The Lord Heals

    Resident Dissident

    It appears that you are acknowledging the liklihood that Anna Ardin produced and submitted false physical evidence to support her complaint against Assange.

    As you would appreciate, the credibility of witnesses, especially that of complainants, is a significant factor in determining whether and how to proceed on criminal investigations and consequent prosecutions.

    I put it to you that, if it is true that Ardin concocted false evidence, she has destroyed her own credibility to the extent that prosecutors have reasonable grounds to doubt her account of her dealings with Assange. Note the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

    Furthermore, anyone who is found to have presented false evidence to police is liable to prosecution for attempting to pervert the course of justice. Those found guilty can face imprisonment. Resident Dissident, would you support calls for an investigation into Anna Ardin’s possible concoction of false evidence? And a prosecution if there was sufficent evidence to sustain a conviction?

    . . .
    Rape case collapses due to diminished credibility of complainant –
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_v._Strauss-Kahn

  • Arbed

    Would everybody agree that CE has just furnished us with a world-class example of nit-picking?

    He ignore the overall argument and detailed evidence of a several thousand-words article I provide to focus on one bloody sentence of it, with which I have already made it perfectly clear I do not agree.

    Yes, I’m with Clark, I think – CE has definitely targeted me aggressively. I can only imagine what kind of twisted satisfaction he draws from this.

  • Jemand - The Lord Heals

    Studying and commenting on the Interpol Red Notice issued for the arrest of JA is not going to yield much for anybody. It served two purposes that have now expired – 1) The timely arrest of Assange when he was engaged in the publication of embarrassing leaks, and 2) Damaging prejudicial publicity on a matter that could have been resolved much more discreetly and at much less cost to taxpayers.

    The issuance of the Red Notice appears to be technically correct, although under circumstances where the public has good cause to be suspicious. Since laws are constructed ostensibly for our common benefit, we not only have the right to question their execution but also a duty to do so. Anybody who obstructs, frustrates or discourages our interest in examining the truth is also suspect.

  • CE

    Good morning Arbed,

    Mmmm, I think your definition of ‘perfectly clear’ is different than mine. Clear as mud, springs to mind!

    Also, it was not ‘one bloody sentence’, it was the entire thrust of whole link(which was complete nonsense and provided zero facts to back up it’s crazy assertions) and to be frank why should we pay attention to people displaying a basic ignorance of red notice functions. Your response to a simple matter of factual correction is highly irrational, and you are more than happy to ‘nit-pick’, when it comes to correcting information you believe to be false.

    If you were as interested in stopping misinformation as you claim to be, you would be happy to stand corrected, that you are not speaks volumes. It seems you only want misinformation that you disagree with to be corrected, and not that which may weaken your argument. This is not the correct stance of the honest arbiter which you claim to be.

    Could you or Clark please provide some example of this ‘aggression’ that you continue to speak of?

    Many Thanks.

  • resident dissident

    “Resident Dissident

    It appears that you are acknowledging the liklihood that Anna Ardin produced and submitted false physical evidence to support her complaint against Assange.”

    No I am not – I have repeatedly made the point that I don’t think here is the right place to assess the evidence in a particular case. I am just making the point that sometimes genuine victims of crime will concoct additional evidence to support their case – and just because they do it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were not a victim.

    I have no problem with those who concoct evidence being made to face the consequence of their actions in court.

  • Clark

    Phew, lots of comments since I last looked in; I don’t even have time to read them all right now.

    Resident dissident, I think that I’m a lot less “extreme” than you might think. I complain about my own government’s behaviour (rather than, say, Russia’s) because I’m a voter; what my government does, it does in my name. Regarding Syria, frankly, I’m outraged – at the atrocity of funding these “rebels”/”terrorists”, of attempting to destabilise entire counties, at seeing the reality of the “seven countries in five years” that Wesley Clark warned about, as, in real life, the ugly ambition translates into prolonged agony of civilian lives ruined.

    The “superpowers” US and Russia have been fighting/manoeuvring for decades over the Middle East and its oil. Yes, Russia supports and arms certain governments (we only seem to call them “regimes” when they’re on the “wrong” side”), as does “our” side. It’s the fight itself that is wrong; I don’t make lists of moral issues to decide which thuggish side is marginally more or less thuggish. As I said, I complain about “my” side because it justifies itself with my votes.

    Saddam Hussein was one of “ours” originally, wasn’t he? Didn’t the CIA help to emplace him, and Western governments support him? But it’s always the people who suffer.

    Regarding corporatism, firstly, I propose a “market share tax”; some tax that increases, in proportion to market share or according to some formula, to maintain healthy diversity, to keep corporations from becoming too big and powerful. My other suggestion is legislation and enforcement of corporate transparency; maybe this could increase with company size / market share, too, so that larger organisations would have to reveal more of their internal communications, commensurate with their superior power; a set of “with greater power comes greater responsibility” laws.

    Resident dissident, I’m not a “commie”. I think that markets are a great way to harness natural human competitiveness. But if certain companies or entities are allowed to win or dominate, the advantages bestowed by a market are lost and you just get another form of totalitarianism.

  • Arbed

    CE, 9.07am

    Ignored – but only because it is you.

    I think most readers of Craig’s blog can see what you are up to. I have a theory that someone who deliberately targets the particular individual who they see as the most knowledgable on a issue about which they themselves hold especially extreme views – and which person continually and most inconveniently (from the targeter’s perspective) provides the links and facts which force the targeter to confront (at last) their own closely held biases – has begun to harbour a deep personal resentment towards that individual as a result. No surprise then that the ‘attacks’ against this individual become more and more targeted and more and more aggressive.

    What the targeter doesn’t seem to see all that clearly though is that the more they behave in this way, the more their own motivations and biased accounts are put on display for other readers to notice. The ‘discreditor’ discredits themselves, and the views they hold so dear.

    Magic! Carry on CE – Keep going, you’re doing wonderfully.

  • CE

    Happy to admit I have some in-built biases Arbed, we all do.

    You would also be well served by a dose of your own medicine regarding these biases and not regard correction as a personal attack. You are posting on a public blog, if people disagree with you, or can provide evidence contrary to your assertions then they have a right to do so.

    Again, as you continue to label me as an ‘aggressor’ who has ‘attacked you’, it would be most helpful if you could show where in this thread I have ‘aggressively targeted you’? It is extremely unfair and disingenuous to label me as such without providing evidence.

    Thanks.

  • LastBlueBell

    @Arbed

    Don’t let them get to you. You are doing a truly admirable job.

    @ Resident and CE

    I would like to put forth a question.

    What kind of evidence would be required, from what source, for you to change your opinion?

  • Arbed

    Thanks, LastBlueBell. I’m not sure whether you are Swedish or if you would be interested in this I’ve just posted in the Why I’m Convinced thread:

    A one-off demonstration outside the Sweden embassy in London – 11 Montagu Place, London W1H 2AL – in support of Julian Assange, and to demand that he be questioned by the Swedish authorities here, will start from 3pm on Tuesday 19th March. (I expect it will last until at least 6pm to give some people a chance to come down after work – if they work in the city, that is.)

    Anyone who wants further details can email [email protected]

    I’m going myself. It would be great if a couple of people from Flashback could come over to show that disgust at the way in which this investigation is being run is shared by Swedish people too. Please can you repost this notice in the forum? Many thanks.

    Also, latest developments in Swedish laws relevant to onward extradition via Sweden, which I’ve just posted on Craig’s top page:

    Meanwhile, over in Sweden, bang goes the theory that Assange will be “safer in Sweden, or at least as ‘safe’, from extradition to the US than he is in the UK” – the Swedish government is introducing new legislation to criminalise publication of war-disclosures by foreign media as “espionage”:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.expressen.se%2Fdebatt%2Fkrigsjournalistik-maste-fa-vara-fri%2F

    As you can see, even the Swedish MSM are extremely worried about this latest announcement and see it as especially dangerous for journalists.

    Here’s Flashback’s full discussion of the implications for Assange of this new legal push – which should be obvious to even the most wilfully blind. Flashback sets out chapter and verse of how it will all fit in with Sweden’s extradition laws:

    https://www.flashback.org/t1275257p4339 (Google translate req’d)

  • resident dissident

    Last Blue bell

    I haven’t made up my mind – I tend to think that these things are best decided in court with lawyers presenting the arguments for both sides and cross examining each other. I can see stronger and weaker arguments from both sides of the argument as at present – but with only a partial presentation of the facts from interested parties with political axes to grind and not being a great expert on Swedish law or acceptable standards of behaviour there I don’t really believe that I could make a call either way.

  • Arbed

    Resident Dissident, 9.44pm 10 March

    just because people under extreme stress do not need to fabricate evidence – it doesn’t mean that they don’t do so in order to strengthen their case in their eyes, or to divert attention from other evidence that they find embarassing. I don’t know if you have young children but I’m afraid this is not an uncommon technique

    I’m sure you don’t mean to, but are you aware that this can be read as insultingly implying that the two Swedish complainants (aged 33 and 28 now, I believe) have the emotional maturity of young children?

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