BBC the New Hammer of the Scots 136

I’d Hammer out Danger – I’d Hammer Out a Warning

BBC anti-Scots propaganda is moving beyond the risible towards the truly chilling. On the 26 April the first words on Reporting Scotland, issued by Unionist poster girl Sally Magnusson (no nepotism there) in sepulchral tones, were “There is a warning tonight” – that nobody, public or private , would get their pension paid properly after independence.

This gave my friend Kirsten a feeling of deja vu, and she did a quick trawl of the BBC’s continued and repetitive use of the words “Scottish independence” and “warning” in the same sentence. This is what she came up with:

“Scottish independence: Pension shortfall warning”

“UK Treasury warning that an SNP plan for a currency union after independence”

“Scottish independence: Warning over ‘weakened military'”

“Scottish independence: ‘Havoc’ warning from pensions firm”

“Scottish independence: Luxembourg warns against ‘going separate ways'”

“Scottish independence: Barroso warning on EU membership”

“Scottish independence: Michael Moore issues warning over vote question”

“Scottish independence: ‘Border checks’ warning from home secretary”

And I can’t omit this brilliant spoof:
“Warning for SNP over renewable energy”

Please note this amazing litany – and I use the word litany carefully, a verbal repetition to inculcate belief – includes only those where the deliberate practice of repetitive coupling of “independence” and “warning” has been captured by being written on the website; there are hundreds of other examples of broadcast, spoken use of the words “Warning” and “Scottish independence” in the same sentence by the BBC.

The presentation of every one of the above stories was in the most tendentious and anti-independence manner conceivable. They have all been countered and comprehensively rebutted.

By contrast, there are no BBC headlines that promote positive claims about Scottish Independence. You will look in vain for headlines that say “Yes campaign says independent Scotland will be eighth richest country in the world” or “Official GERS report shows Scotland’s public finances much healthier than those of the UK”. Such headlines just do not exist. Reporting Scotland or Newsnight Scotland has never, never been led by a positive story about independence. It has been led on dozens of occasions by the negative.

It astonishes me that even the use of the most obvious and blatant state propaganda techniques by the BBC do not result in any serious reaction from the political establishment. I repeat my call on Alex Salmond to request the intervention of the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE to monitor the referendum and in particular to start immediately Phase 1 media monitoring. I am writing to Alex Salmond and to Chris Patten – both of whom at different times have been guests in my home -to seek a meeting on this issue of BBC bias.

136 thoughts on “BBC the New Hammer of the Scots

1 2 3 5
  • Geoff Huijer

    Excellent article.

    About time someone spoke up about this shocking appalling

  • Muzz

    Nothing surprises me about the BBC anymore. I used to hold them in such high regard, until the independence stories started coming out.

    What worries me, is that the BBC are trading on their (formerly) good name and despite the obvious propaganda and one-sided reporting, most people will continue to believe every single word they say.

  • Brian Cuthbert

    Yes, another useful article Mr Murray. I too would welcome some outside monitoring of the situation – although I suspect that the Scottish Government don’t want to rock the boat just yet. As for the BBC, so much for the ‘British’ sense of fair play – what a perfidious lot they are.

  • David,McGuinness

    Gladsome one is taken this up.Im getting a little annoyed with bbc Scotlands morning News program all this negativity.

  • Rosie

    Just a heads up, Your link for BBC scotlandshire is taking us to the one above, the borders piece.

  • Dawn MacPherson

    You have made my day Craig. The BBC in Scotland are truely horrendous, I don’t know how any of the so called Reporters/Journalists sleep at night or look at themselves in the mirror.

  • Macart

    They’ve certainly done themselves no favours in terms of sustainable reputation post 2014. The BBC should quite rightly be held in utter contempt for their coverage of the referendum. I’m sure there is some form of reasoning behind the lack of protest from both the SG and the YES campaign, but for the life of me I’m stumped as to what that might be.

  • DougtheDug

    “By contrast, there are no BBC headlines that promote positive claims about Scottish Independence.”

    BBC bias isn’t blatant in that it doesn’t report outright lies. What BBC Scotland does is to push the “scare story de jour” from Better Together without questioning it and just as you said, what the BBC in Scotland won’t do is to report stories which put independence in a good light.

    Better Together’s campaign is based on creating fear, doubt and uncertainty about independence and the BBC is its more than willing helper.

    They’ve done the EU: Scotland will be forced out and have to renegotiate its way back in.
    They’ve done NATO: Scotland may not get into NATO
    They’ve done currency: England will say no to Scotland using the pound.
    They’ve done Pensions: EU regulations will cost companies billions when Scotland becomes independent in the EU. The fact that this contradicts the story that Scotland won’t be in the EU is just bye the bye.

    All these stories are reported as “shock horror” without any examination of the underlying facts.

    What BBC Scotland does is what it has done from the year dot since long before the independence campaign which is to run with Labour press releases and now Better Together press releases against the independence movement. And it doesn’t just report on the story, what it does is to try and create the story by ramping up whatever Labour/Better Together have put out as a press release so that the BBC is creating the news rather than reporting it.

    As another example, you’ll never get the positive fact that nuclear weapons will be removed from the Clyde run as the BBC Scotland main headline for several days on end as they do with Better Together scare stories.

    The reporting on the independence campaign makes the true nature of the BBC obvious in Scotland. The BBC is Britain’s State Broadcaster and it has always behaved as such. Impartiality is impossible for such an organisation.

  • Stevie Cosmic

    Excellent and informative article once again Craig; it’s brevity underlining the stark nature of the BBC’s behaviour.

    One thing though, in the comments section of either NNS or WoS (can’t remember which), a reader said he had sent a letter to ODHIR regarding the referendum and it’s monitoring. The reply this person received, and re-printed in the comments, was a little worrying to say the least. From memory, it basically stated that the ODHIR would consider involvement in oversight in the referendum ONLY if invited to do so by the UK government. The nature of this reply is of course also consistent with the EC giving legal advice on Scotland’s position within the EU post 2014 – totally unhelpful to the Scottish cause to have a fair and democratic referendum that is based on factual evidence and clear and consistent information.

    As neither NNS nor WoS have a search engine that looks at comments, I’m unfortunately unable to provide a direct link to the reply.

  • Komodo

    It astonishes me that even the use of the most obvious and blatant state propaganda techniques by the BBC do not result in any serious reaction from the political establishment.

    But it does. Anyone who has ever met Murdoch at a party constantly whines about the BBC’s leftwing bias. A handy trope, which I am sure the BBC welcomes as preserving the illusion of leftwing credibility.

    Incidentally, I am often struck by the eerie correspondence between ‘Today’s’ choice of lead stories and the Guardian’s.

  • Juteman

    The BBC in Scotland isn’t left leaning. It’s pro Labour. Quite a difference.
    And pro union, obviously.

  • Abe Rene

    Perhaps the reason why there are no articles on the BBC website supporting Scottish independence is that it really is a bad idea. 🙂

  • English Knight

    No worries, Agent Cameron will take the country to war before the 18th September 2014 referendum, and make it easy for Salmond. The fear being the Turks might effectively limit PM Erdogan powers in their upcoming 2014 Presidential and Local elections and make the planned NATO adventure in Syria untenable, only Turkey can supply boots on the ground on the scale required.

    In any case a laissez-faire approach to the 50% GBP two trillion oil left over in the existing wells that will rekindle typical Scots ingenuity, is in itself enough to keep a 5m population quids in. Quite apart from existing oil/gas production and the huge environmental engineering backlog required to clean up the existing rigs/wells in the North Sea,that will be due to the new Scots Government.

  • Stevie Cosmic


    Well done you 🙂 Both of them.

    I forget the simple html for a site search, but glad someone is more observant than I.

    Neither post inspires any real confidence, sadly.

  • Fred

    I have taken a look at the first of your links regarding pensions.

    It looks topical and it looks factual to me. The warning comes from the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Scotland not the BBC, I assume you will be accusing them of bias as well.

    Then you can accuse STV of bias they carry the same headline, as does the Edinburgh Evening News and various other news outlets whom I assume you will also accuse of anti SNP bias.

    Don’t you think you might be getting a bit fanatical about independence, there are a lot of issues need to be addressed, like this one. There is plenty of time before the referendum for the SNP to resolve these matters.

    I’m afraid I see these constant attacks on the BBC for publishing the facts as no different to the Israeli accusations of anti-Semitism any time the BBC publishes anything vaguely pro Palestinian. A concerted effort to prevent the people hearing the facts.

  • Komodo

    @Fred: I don’t recall the BBC issuing dire warnings while everybody and his dog was closing down or robbing company pension schemes during the last few years:

    Where did the money go? Oh, yes. The banks.
    The growing liabilities fuelled by quantitative easing will have been a factor behind the record hike in closures.

    Current policies seem to be aimed at ensuring that pension schemes aren’t in deficit because they no longer exist.

  • Kempe

    Oh here we go again.

    So have these matters really been countered and comprehensively rebutted or just brushed aside by Wee Eck as per usual?

    Do any of the nationalists here really believe independence is going to be trouble free? Are you really that naive? It’s no good simply slamming any reporting of problems an independent Scotland might meet as anti-Scots propaganda and trying to pretend they don’t exist because they’ll come back to bite you.

  • jake

    @stevie cosmic & doug the dug

    The reply from ODHIR that you refer to which appeared in WOS certainly suggests that ODHIR wouldn’t get involved unless requested to do so by the UK government…..which is odd because checking their website and their recent involvement in elections in Iceland they themselves acknowledge that it was prompted by their own offices in Iceland not the Government of the country itself.

  • DougtheDug


    ICAS do not quantify the number of companies which would be affected by the new “cross-border” regs nor how much would they owe but just report what the total underfunding in the UK is.

    However these are the figures used by the BBC in their report.

    “6,316 final salary pension schemes across the UK are currently running a £237bn deficit”

    What they don’t say or even attempt to analyze is:

    1. How many of these schemes would fall under the new “cross-border rules”?

    2. What amount is owed by by the companies which do fall under these rules? The slant of course is that it is the full £237bn underfunding and it’s going to cost Scotland.

    3. How many of these companies are in Scotland?

    4. Who allowed these companies to underfund their schemes?

    5. Wouldn’t Scots (and the rest of the UK) be better off if the EU forced the schemes to be fully funded?

    6. Is this going to be more of a problem for the rUK than Scotland as that’s where most of the companies are based?

    Ally that with constant repetition of the story by the BBC which was given a much more lurid treatment in the press and you get the idea.

  • Komodo

    Time to fight back…

    Reptile warns: “Devonport jobs to go if Trident stays in Scotland” (Hootsmon)

    “Cost of maintaining Leuchars, Kinloss as transit camps for Army unacceptable” warns lizard; “Scots enterprise would make better use of them” (Airfix Modeller)

    Komodo warning (FT*): “Scottish shift to Maria Theresa thalers will provide valuable opportunity for English traders – don’t resist inevitable change”

    JOCK OFF! (Daily Tabloid)
    Highlands economic wasteland, warns tabloid living fossil – cut Scotland loose now!

    (Daily Mail*) House Price Slump Dragon Warning: Glasgow’s Existence Threatens Southeast.


    *No, not that one.

  • Aplinal

    @Stevie Cosmic.

    I was about to say the same thing. I also could not find the quote, but I recall this exactly as you stated it. I did wonder whether the Scottish Parliament is not considered a “real government” by these institutions but simply a devolved body, which I suppose it actually is. Perhaps Craig can clarify this. It would explain why the SG had not requested anything, as they in fact do not have the power to do so.

    Or I may be misreading this, and in fact the ODHIR can not respond to an Individual, but could respond to a representative body. This would make some sense, as otherwise when would an overbearing national parliament invite a monitor when it is THEIR MSM that is biased?

    More clarity, and some action required

  • Brendan

    The military spending one is interesting. The UK has the ‘fourth largest defence budget in the world’, apparently. For a small country that hasn’t been threatened since Johnny Hitler, that seems somewhat large. It’s not as though we make any decisions ourselves anyway. But it’s interesting, of course, because we are in a Recession. Or Depression. Depending on how accurate you like your terms. And plonker there, Hammond I see his name is, is happy to broadcast exactly how Big our Military Dick is, and emphasise how much money we spend to enable us to dong slap Al Qaeda at a moment’s notice.

    What if we, in Scotland, don’t want to dong slap Al Qaeda? The quesion doesn’t arise, it seems. I personally would happily axe the military budget, but about 50%, if not more. But that’s politics, innit? Marginalize perfectly reasonable opinions by pretending they don’t really exist.

    As an aside, I’ve long thought that pensions are the next massive finance sector fuck up. You know the type I mean, the type where nobody resigns, nobody gets fired, and lessons are learned whilst the tax payer foots the bill, without being asked. That kind of fuck up.

  • Komodo

    Would you call that BBC piece a dire warning, Kempe? Or more of a regretful head shake? Would you say that it was timely, considering that this process began well before 2008? Here’s a warning. This is what a warning looks like:

    Kudos to the Torygraph, there.

    Seems a lot of people are already losing their pensions, never mind the border. But we don’t shout about that, as we are *healing* (1) the economy with the money.

    (1) Osborne’s latest lovely spin word for privatising everything for his chums.

  • DomesticExtremist

    Worse still, they are serialising Thatcher’s biography.

    Defund the BBC, cancel your licence:

    ‘You don’t need a licence if you don’t use any of these devices to watch
    or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV – for
    example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or
    you only watch ‘catch up’ services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD.’

1 2 3 5

Comments are closed.