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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  • CE

    Hi Arbed\Clark,

    Still waiting for some evidence of these ‘aggressive attacks’ I have been accused of launching on this thread?

    I do hope some is forthcoming and you are not launching hurtful personal attacks against me that are entirely without foundation?

    Also please inform Craig or a Moderator about these ‘attacks” and I will happily accept a ban if that is what they decide is appropriate.

    And of course, of all the injustices in the world, the one that really demands action and a demonstration is the fact that the Swedish police will not abandon due process and jump through hoops for a bail-skipping alleged sex offender. Incredible.

  • CE

    Hi Arbed,

    Thanks for (sort of), getting back to me.

    So shall we take that as a no then regarding evidence of your labelling of me as ‘aggressive’? You have obviously devoted a large amount of time to the Assange Case, and as such find any criticisms of your ‘research’ to be a personal attack. This is not a helpful approach to take if you claim to be against misinformation.

    Don’t worry I am familiar with your ostrich like approach to discourse and I do not expect you to have the good grace to apologise to me for the baseless accusations.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Hi Arbed.

    Yes, NOW the journos get nervous…I guess the true masters of that craft have always been in a minority, but the way they treated Wikileaks (like a dangerous interloper) made their guilt rise to the surface. They have become more like
    pack horses for Globalism, as a class, and don’t like having their warts advertised.

    As to the ‘attacks’, it’s relative. When a tiny chihuahua with a ‘little dog’ complex attacks your ankle with mini-bites, it’s a form of attack, but more of an annoyance. 🙂

  • Clark


    Arbed, I’d like to send you best wishes, and strength and calmness. I know that it can be very stressful arguing from a perspective that is opposed by the “mainstream” corporate media, which tends to synchronise people’s opinions such that they reinforce each other. I know that you’ve been the target of much aggressive language from many people; I’ve seen it happen right here on this blog, so I wish you well.

    To be fair to CE, I think that he has moderated his language lately, rather than getting more linguistically aggressive, at least up until his last couple of comments.


    I apologise. I formulated an impression that you’d been aggressive, but I having glanced back through the thread think I probably got over-emotional myself. Sorry. It seems to have been my own mistaken impression that has set off bad feelings again.

  • Clark

    CE, I do remember that I have been annoyed with you for arguing with Arbed about the matter of the Red Notice, when I know that Arbed hasn’t made the claim that you’ve been attributing to her. I read that article about Interpol weeks ago. From memory, there is a bit about the Red Notice near the beginning, but the article then progresses to controversy internal to Interpol about the use of any notice at all. Apologies if I’ve got the details wrong; as I said, I haven’t read the article recently. CE, I expect you’ll agree that it isn’t Arbed’s fault that there’s a bit about the Notice being Red in the same article that she linked about internal discussion within Interpol.

    But I think that you and Arbed have now sorted this matter out between you.

  • Clark

    CE, I still wish to object to your references to “SW’s statement”. I think that there is serious doubt as to whether that statement can be attributed to SW.

    I think that a “statement” has to be more than just “something said to a police officer”, and that statement isn’t even that; it’s something that was written down by a police officer, based to some unknown extent upon what SW said.

    For it to be “SW’s statement”, SW would have had to do something to make it “hers”; notoriously, she didn’t sign it.

    So what constitutes a “statement”? Well, knowing that it would be used as intended seems important. Knowing that the interview was being recorded would also help. That statement fails both of those tests.

    So consider. A police officer takes you into a room and asks you to recount what happened. No recording equipment is set up, or anything like that. As you speak, the officer makes notes. Presumably, the officer asks questions, but, importantly, doesn’t record those in the notes.

    Suddenly, the officer announces that an arrest is to be made upon the basis of what you’ve said, which is an outcome that you were not expecting at all. And from that point on, everyone refers to the officers notes as “your statement”. Except, six days later, some other sections are added, and now that’s “your statement”.

    Craig got it right. He called it “the statement of Irmeli Krans”.


  • CE

    Hello Clark,

    Thank you so much, that is genuinely and greatly appreciated.

    I apologise if my frustration has been growing in the last few posts, but I thought I had been attempting to moderate my language and be more constructive lately, so to be informed that I was ‘aggressively attacking’ someone and then not provided with evidence of this was frustrating in the extreme.

    I do value your opinion, and I am aware I can be over-zealous at times so if I am crossing a line please feel free to inform as it is not my wish to cause offence. I meant every word earlier, if Craig or the mods are finding me disruptive or aggressive I have no problem in adhering to a ban. I had tried to ban myself from further entrenched, circular, arguments on this matter(JA), but it is proving easier said than done.

    I shall return to promoting Scottish Independence on this thread!

    Thanks again, and take care.

  • CE

    Hi Clark,

    Just noticed your following post, I’m just away to go out for a few hours, but will attempt to answer later.

  • Jemand - The Easter Bunny Hears Your Prayers

    Regarding Sofia Wilen’s alleged statement, I would suggest that she has made no statement in any legally valid sense. A statement needs to be recorded (written or audio/video) in her own words and authenticated with a signature if it is written. The police have neither. The alleged statement consists of a paraphrased transcription of a police officer’s hearsay minus authentication. Where is the compliance with police protocols?

    Now, both Sofia Wilen and the police have had over 2 years to produce a genuine complaint based on her words and signed. Where is the valid complaint? Where is Sofia Wilen? This is completely unacceptable. There simply are no excuses for this unprofessional conduct.

    Meanwhile, Anna Ardin presented dubious physical evidence that brings her credibility into question but this apparently doesn’t matter. How odd. 

    Resident Dissident, our discussion here on this blog will take place with or without your approval. It is completely lawful and has no bearing on legal developments. It is therefore curious that you are so intent on discouraging us.

  • CE


    Due you have any evidence that SW’s statement remains unsigned?

    As far as I am aware her statement was recorded(written) and she did sign it(eventually). I strongly doubt that the kind of unsigned statement to which you refer would have been allowed to pass through numerous courts of law without objection.

    I fear this is another ‘Assange Myth’ that has no basis in reality but has become popular with his supporters. However, I’m happy to have this matter cleared up if you are in possession of evidence that proves her statement remains unsigned.

    Irmeli Krans transcribed SW’s statement, I fail to see how this results in it becoming IK’s statement.

  • resident dissident

    “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?”

    When people are under stress all sorts of behaviour can come out – childish and otherwise. And if you don’t believe emotionally mature adults are incapable of the occaisonal burst of childish behaviour then I’m afraid you are not being very observant, and perhaps are also missing out on some of joys of life as well as some of its irritations.

    I’ll leave the Swedish legal system to make its own assessment of the complainants – because they are in a better postion to do so.

  • Arbed

    Yes, it’s very curious, isn’t it, that despite the fact that Marianne Ny’s EAW is dated 6 December 2010 she chose to submit to the UK court the unsigned version of SW’s statement (the one Irmeli Krans entered into the police computer system, as instructed “with the necessary changes”, on 26 August 2010). It was Bjorn Hurtig (might have been Claus Borgstrom too) who confirmed that a further statement was taken from SW on 2 September 2010 (which presumably she did sign) – and yet Ms Ny chose to present the earlier, unsigned version to the UK court. She would only confirm – not under oath, of course, because she didn’t attend the hearing herself – that the later, signed statement “said substantially the same thing”…

    Hmm. Nothing fishy about that, is there? It’s not as if 2 September to 6 December is a particularly long timescale for a prosecutor to get her court filings together, is it?

  • Arbed


    “I strongly doubt that the kind of unsigned statement to which you refer would have been allowed to pass through numerous courts of law without objection.”

    And yet this is exactly what did happen.

  • CE

    Hello Arbed,

    I fear a return to our previous ‘non-engagement’ may be the best for both us.

    Judging by your response to my earlier civil queries on this thread, I obviously rub you up the wrong way and our opportunity for rational discourse and basic correction has passed. Both the ease in which you attempted to smear me as being ‘twisted’ and ‘aggressively targeting’ you and the lack of class shown in not admitting your mistake and apologising has left a rather nasty taste in my mouth.

    All the best, I will probably throw all this out the window when these feelings subside.

    Clark – This does seem to confirm though that SW’s statement is not ‘an unsigned statement’, in fact it was only left unsigned for 6 days so to continue to refer to it as such may lead to further confusion.

  • Arbed


    Wanna know how it happened?

    18 November 2010 – Swedish District Court looked at a one-page summary presented by Marianne Ny to grant the domestic arrest warrant she requested. The court hearing took 1 hour, 45 minutes.

    24 November 2010 – The Svea Court of Appeal refused to hear Assange’s appeal.

    February 2011 – Justice Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates Court granted the extradition appeal, based solely on the wording of the EAW warrant. See my comment above about it being the unsigned version of SW’s statement dated 26 August 2010 which was submitted as part of the prosecution file. If you wish, I will try to dig out a link confirming the quote from Marianne Ny I give above concerning her reasons for not using the later, signed statement from SW (although this was known to exist). Riddle made it clear in his judgment that under the terms of the EAW Framework Directive it was not within the requesting state’s remit to examine the “underlying evidence” so he did not look at any of it. Indeed, these are the rules of the EAW extradition process – under it the UK courts do not seek to establish whether there is a prima facie case to answer.

    July 2011 – Justices Thomas and Ouesley (spelling?) did look at the women’s statements during Assange’s High Court appeal but again, in accordance with the rules of the EAW Framework Directive, they were not allowed to take any of the underlying evidence into account in their decision. They were, in fact, concerned with only two issues: whether Assange was a ‘suspect’ or an ‘accused’ for the purposes of an EAW and whether an investigating prosecutor was a proper ‘judicial authority’ to issue an EAW.

    February 2012 – UK Supreme Court did not look at the case itself at all. They accepted to hear Assange appeal solely for the purposes of a point law of “great public importance” – the issue of whether an investigating prosecutor was a proper ‘judicial authority’ in accordance with the UK’s Extradition Act 2003. Astonishingly, this had never come up in an English court before so there were no prior legal authorities on the question, hence the Supreme Court felt it an urgent point of law to deliberate. They decided, scandalously in my view – and Craig’s, if you recall – that a Swedish case Chief Investigator/prosecutor is a suitably impartial judicial figure. Nonsense, of course, but there you have it. We can all be extradited at the whim of foreign policemen now thanks to the precedent the Supreme Court set with Assange’s case.

    So, you see, an unsigned witness statement managed to make it through five courts without a single peep from anyone. All totally legal and following the ‘proper’ processes. All boxes ticked and correct. A marvellous thing, our legal system, isn’t it?

  • Clark

    CE, I think that I’m partly responsible for giving Arbed a false impression of your recent comments. But considering all your “Saint Julian” and “Brand Assange” stuff before; well, I think it’s understandable if your opponents (including myself) are somewhat sensitive.

  • Clark

    CE, 12:23 am, you wrote:

    “Clark – This does seem to confirm though that SW’s statement is not ‘an unsigned statement’, in fact it was only left unsigned for 6 days so to continue to refer to it as such may lead to further confusion.”

    No. It means that the statement that you keep referring to as “SW’s statement” is something that none of us have ever seen.

  • Clark

    Arbed, you wrote:

    “[The Supreme Court] decided, scandalously in my view – and Craig’s, if you recall – that a Swedish case Chief Investigator/prosecutor is a suitably impartial judicial figure. Nonsense, of course, but there you have it. We can all be extradited at the whim of foreign policemen now thanks to the precedent the Supreme Court set with Assange’s case.” [My emphasis]

    Did their ruling only apply to Swedish prosecutors, or foreign prosecutors in general? Either decision seems utterly outrageous.

    CE, what do you make of this?

  • Clark

    CE, 11 Mar, 8:43 pm:

    “Irmeli Krans transcribed SW’s statement, I fail to see how this results in it becoming IK’s statement.”

    That “statement” isn’t even in the first person. It is divided into sections, with headings. It is incredibly long. Are you expecting me to believe

    1) that SW just spoke for however long it took, and Irmeli Krans just wrote it down, changing all instances of “I” and “me” to “SW”? And

    2) that SW just came out with all that, without any questions being asked?

    And how did the paragraph headings get inserted? Whose work are they? One of them reads “The assault”. Whose words are we to take those to be?

    This is why a recording would be so important. It’s inconceivable that no one asked SW any questions in all that time, and the questions asked would have affected the answers SW gave, unless SW was some kind of robot.

  • Arbed


    “Did their ruling only apply to Swedish prosecutors, or foreign prosecutors in general?”

    All now, I’m afraid – in that the decision effectively rewrote what parliament intended when originally debating the UK Extradition Act 2003, so it applies to all extraditions from the UK.

  • Jemand - The Easter Bunny Hears Your Prayers

    The UK will need to revisit and rewrite their extradition treaties and EU obligations. Otherwise some of their despotic friends might find themselves embarrassing their British hosts when EAWs come flooding in. But not before they’ve delivered up Assange to the Swedes. So it looks like many cocktail parties for would-be visiting Israeli, South American and Central Asian VIPs will need to be cancelled while Assange remains special guest of Ecuador.

  • Arbed

    Clark, 12.44am

    CE, I think that I’m partly responsible for giving Arbed a false impression of your recent comments.

    No you’re not, don’t worry. I recognise passive-aggressive behaviour when I come across it. It’s a form of aggression that can be difficult to challenge effectively though, because of its profoundly dishonest basis and subtlty. You say CE “softened” his language, but passive-aggressive style is always like that – it’s indirect, passive, “softened” as you say – a particular word choice here, a sly dig there – so perpetrators can easily pull the injured-innocence “What, me? Where? – show me examples” stunt CE does on this thread. Of course, such examples look ridiculous when quoted back out of context. I’m glad he’s gone for the moment.

  • Arbed

    A very clear explanation from Flashback of how what happened to the 25 July 2012 hand-delivered Ecuadorian offer to facilitate Assange’s interrogation at their embassy – and particularly Marianne Ny’s seeming exclusion from the Swedish response to that – shows that the UK Supreme Court’s decision that a Swedish prosecutor is an independent and “impartial judicial authority”, and not part of the executive, was completely and utterly wrong.


  • resident dissident

    “that a Swedish case Chief Investigator/prosecutor is a suitably impartial judicial figure. Nonsense, of course, but there you have it. We can all be extradited at the whim of foreign policemen now thanks to the precedent the Supreme Court set with Assange’s case.”

    Rubbish Swedish prosecutors are not policemen – a simple search of Wikipedia or even an episode of Wallander would demonstrate that this is not the case. they are officers of the court employed by a separate prosecuting authority. Many European countries employ a similar system.

  • Annickburn

    It should be noted that the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) received an invitation from the United Kingdom Delegation to the OSCE to observe the elections to the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, scheduled for 1 May 2003.

    Their report can be found Here: Link text

    In the report the BBC is indeed mentioned:

    “The BBC has developed detailed guidelines for broadcasting during election campaigns; these guidelines were negotiated with and agreed to by the major political parties. In essence, the guidelines provide for equitable – rather than equal – coverage. The guidelines set out minimum coverage for parties fielding candidates in a designated number of constituencies or with a minimum number of candidates on party lists. Small parties receive very little coverage and sometimes complain of inequity. In practice, the four parties already represented in the National Assembly for Wales received the bulk of the election coverage during the 2003 elections. In Scotland, the four major parties received by far the most coverage, while two smaller parties already represented the Scottish Parliament received substantially lower levels of coverage and the remaining parties received still less.”

    Does “equitable” rather than ‘equal’ coverage mean that while some views will be allowed in order to broadcast debate, the weighted bias towards one side will undoubtedly swing the consensus to the view of the BBC?

  • Arbed

    Resident Dissident, 9.39am

    Rubbish Swedish prosecutors are not policemen – a simple search of Wikipedia or even an episode of Wallander would demonstrate that this is not the case

    But a better source might be the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s own website in English, where it is set out very clearly that Swedish prosecutors do indeed have a dual role: investigators of preliminary investigations (though the police are usually in sole charge of very minor offences) and/or prosecutors as the case moves from preliminary investigation to an actual prosecution:


    The Swedish Prosecution Authority themselves admit this peculiar arrangement whereby the prosecutor is both policeman [therefore part of the State executive] and the judicial figure deciding on prosecution matters (there are only two European countries which have this prosecutorial dual role, Sweden being one of them) can lead to acccusations of a lack of impartiality in the Swedish judicial system. They have therefore built-in a legal obligation on prosecutors – called the Objectivity Demand – to take into account any evidence favourable to the suspect in their decision-making:


    Of course, Assange’s supporters point out that Marianne Ny’s self-elected role as Chief Investigator on this particular preliminary investigation, in which the strongest of the allegations is labelled “[minor] rape less serious offence”, would ordinarily be left with the police, and her ‘overlooking’ of a forensic report showing no DNA on the condom evidence handed in by one of the complainants which she had in her possession at least three weeks before writing out an international arrest warrant for a suspect’s extradition does not meet either of these requirements of the Swedish judicial system.

    You are probably unaware of this Resident Dissident but there are a lot of clear miscarriages of justice in the Swedish system. Thomas Quick is currently the most famous example, but there are plenty of others.

  • resident dissident

    More than 2 European countries have prosecuting authorities that are able to direct the police – that is not the same as saying that they are policemen as you know only too well.

    I’m afraid there is no such thing as a perfect legal system where miscarriages of justice don’t occur – that said I think you will find that in international comparisions the Swedish system does pretty well if you can stand back from the individual case which you are pursuing.


  • LastBlueBell


    If you are not intellectually prepared or open to change your opinion, whatever evidence is revealed or presented to you, why do you waste other peoples times, arguing with them?


    My Pleasure, I am interested, but have little time at the moment, therefore my sporadic apparences.

  • resident dissident


    Because my argument is not with regard to the one sided evidence that is being presented but with the attempt being made to subvert the court processes by in effect trying to conduct a one sided case on the internet. Yes of course you would like to appear here as the prosecuting attorney so you could then demonstrate that Assange is innocent and we can avoid a court case – but sorry I am not playing that game. I am also not entirely enamoured by the bullying and abuse that is dished out to those who do not buy into the whole Assange cult and in particular those who have now fallen out with Assange.

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