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

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  • Roderick Russell

    @Komodo – When I first started on my quest for justice after 15 years of silence (since I was scared as most victims are) about the complaint I call Zersetzen (character assassination, intimidation, harassment and threats) I did so with two premises in mind: (1) that we had a free press that would investigate infractions in the rule of law, particularly where there are also implications for human rights and civil liberties and (2) that an issue like mine could not be covered up for years, since I thought that amongst the police, home office, politicians there had to be an element of integrity.
    Well, I was wrong on both counts. So recently I published two articles to demonstrate these two points, using other people’s facts. Links to them can be found on my LinkedIn web site:
    The first article is about Sir Jimmy Savile. Its purpose was to show how a well-connected pedophile could be shielded from justice for 50 years because he was close to high establishment interests. My contention is this: if power elites can override justice to cover up for a serial pedophile, they can cover-up anything.
    The second story: “The Guardian in America” was about censorship, and the moulding of public opinion. It argues that power-elites who get above the law, are hijacking control of the security / intelligence apparatus, and using that power to neuter the mainstream media.
    I should just mention that on August 17 I last summer I had posted a much briefer comment on this subject on Media Lens. Six hours later my son and his girlfriend were nearly driven off the road. A year earlier I had emailed Jeff Stein of The Washington Post, again on this same subject – the next day a truck was skidded at me here in Calgary.
    Censorship of the Media is clearly of major importance to our power-elites; they don’t want it discussed. If Scotland went independent, the pound, without the oil, would be devastated, and the London establishment finished. One must, therefore, expect a continuous barrage of propaganda from the media against independence.

  • Vronsky

    @keir liddle

    “it should be possible to test”

    Exactly. Although the Yes Campaign has lodged no complaint it’s an extremely safe bet that every “B”BC Scottish News is archived and indexed – there are lots of clever geeks in the Nats. So that’s Step One: accumulate evidence (to be fair, the BBC is selflessly helping on this part of the project).

    I’d like to hear Craig’s opinion on the ODIHR statement that their services would would have to be invited by Westminster. Clearly that won’t happen. Is there another path?

    I’m disappointed that there has been no attention from media scrutiny groups like Medialens and the Glasgow University Media Group. Are wars in distant places sexier than a war on your own doorstep? In our dreich wee war the stakes are high: if the we win there will be repercussions far beyond the Solway.

    Bloody Halflings, throwing the Ring into the fire again.

  • Alison Lindsay

    Fraser – is that you switched over to the football news? Don’t join the foulers and excitable misinformers, meantime. We will say YES and the issue of Westminster politicians, including the House of Lords will cease to exist. What we do after independence about monarchy et al will be up to us.
    I feel for your distress, but ‘they’ love these reactions

    Carry on printing the facts Craig and co.


  • Fred

    “The BBC doesn’t report what will happen in an independent Scotland.
    They report only what Unionists say will happen”

    Actually they were reporting what the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Scotland said would happen.

    Do you have any evidence they are Unionists? Or does the term Unionist just cover anyone who doesn’t spout Nationalist propaganda?

  • Herbie

    To be fair though, Fred, the BBC will be more concerned with what is good for London, than what is good for Scots in an independent Scotland.

    It oughtn’t to be that difficult to work out some comparative of the benefits to Scots, in or out of the Union, and the benefits to London of the Scots being in or out of the Union.

    At the moment, the fact that London wishes to hold the Scots to the Union indicates surely that London is more a beneficiary of their being in than out.

    And what price that benefit to London for Scots?

    Perhaps if London were to declare that they had no “selfish strategic or economic” interest in Scotland, it might serve to clarify matters somewhat.

  • John Goss

    Roderick Russell at 5.59 p.m. It is indeed made difficult for people prepared to raise their heads above the parapet. I’m sure Craig Murray can comment on this, and many others.

  • Fred

    “I’d agree that the BBC have been and will be opposing Scottish independence. They will be doing this because they’re their master’s voice.”

    No, they have to be impartial.

    Don’t take my word for it, listen to Ewan Crawford, he’s a SNP supporter and advisor plus an ex BBC presenter. This was published after the BBC were accused of pro independence bias.

    The accusations are just Nationalist propaganda aimed at keeping the truth from the people Goebbels would be proud of them.

  • Herbie

    Fred argues, of the BBC’s role in covering Scottish independence.

    “No, they have to be impartial.”

    I think most of us are now all too well aware that the idea of BBC impartiality is a fraud.

    We’re well used to Conservative and Israeli commentators claiming that the BBC is agin’em all the time and yet when you do the analysis you see that the BBC is all the while the voice of elite interests, as indeed Lord Reith admitted.

    “The accusations are just Nationalist propaganda aimed at keeping the truth from the people Goebbels would be proud of them.”

    So what is the truth then Fred.

    It’s either that London benefits from the Union and therefore wiishes to preserve it in its own interests or London is in unusually altruistic mood and desires to save the Scots from their independent folly.

    Bit patronising the latter, given Scots contribution to world affairs, but there ya go.

  • Geo Mc

    Excellent ! BBC should be held accountable and should be forced to remain impartial which they are currently abusing.

  • resident dissident

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

    Just not true – simply search for “scottish” and “independence” on the BBC News website – and you will find plent of positive claims by Sturgeon, Salmond and the SNP. You may well have an argument about balance but it is nowhere near as black and white as you make it out to be.

  • resident dissident


    Many thanks for demonstrating the point that nationalism is harldly ever likely to be a force for political good. Orwell in his excellent essay on nationalism demonstrated all too clearly how the various milder kinds of nationalism inevitably mutated into the considerably nastier forms – and my guess is that if Scotland votes yes – we will see just such a phenomenom with both Scottish and (yes) English nationalism.

  • Midgehunter

    A very good and sharp article Craig.
    Most of us do seem to be a little bit frustrated by the apparent inability of the Yes Camp/SNP to come up with a response to the disgusting misuse of taxpayers money to maximise the anti-indy campaign.

    “KEIR LIDDLE = I’d like to hear Craig’s opinion on the ODIHR statement that their services would would have to be invited by Westminster. Clearly that won’t happen. Is there another path?”

    Coming as you do from the diplomatic service Craig, are there contacts that you could use to bring A.S. together with people who could “have a few words” with the ODIHR decision makers?
    I’m also thinking here about the Irish and luxemburg ministers (among others) who have been recently led up the garden path by BBC interviewers and their masters politically naive reponses to their compliants. I could imagine that quite a few Europeans do have a bit of a grudge after having been conned by the BBC.

  • Herbie

    Res Diss argues that nationalism is bad and big state unions is good.

    It’s interesting though that the policy of UK US etc is to split states such as Iraq, Libya and in future, Syria and Iran into smaller ethnic entities, the better to control and disempower them.

    That would surely indicate that smaller is better and big power unions like the US and others are a force for ill.

  • doug scorgie


    I’m sure that Salmond would rather not have attended the Thatcher funeral but politically he had no choice.

    A snub to Thatcher would be seen as a snub to the “masters of the universe” in the City giving a stick to the corporate and state media to beat him with in the Independence referendum.

    I think Salmond is an astute man who is (up to now) playing well in the political chess game.

    I am more concerned that Bernard Hogan-Howe Commissioner of the Met attended; a person that represents a supposedly non-political organization with a duty to be impartial and to uphold the law without “fear or favour”.

    He was knighted this year for services to policing. He could have declined the honour but he didn’t; in fact no senior police officer has ever declined an honour from the state.

    All police officers, from constable to chief constable to commissioner have to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown or they don’t get employed; thus showing that the separation of powers in th UK is a grey area at best.

  • Fred

    “So what is the truth then Fred.”

    Truth is if you apply Craig’s logic to any other news outlet the result is the same.

    I typed “STV warning independence” into google and this was the result.…1602.13315.1.15687.…0.0…1c.1.11.hp.9hioZYD-A-Y&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45645796,d.d2k&fp=610e83b954f19de4&biw=1280&bih=670

    See, it’s a con, just like the claims that Westminster was stealing Scotland’s territorial waters and oil rigs, Nationalist propaganda. The Nationalists will do anything to incite hatred.

  • craig Post author

    I just received a text saying that tonight’s Reporting Scotland said the ban on bee killing pesticides is a “Massive blow to the SNP”. Surely that can’t be true.

  • DoNNyDarkO

    I spent a week back home last year, and the Hotel gave the option of a daily newspaper which I took. The Scotsman used to be a great read back in the days of Norman Mair. For 6 of the 7 days I read it there was a full front page negative either about Independence, Alex Salmond, or the end of the world as we Scots know it.
    The other rags are not much better.Auntie BeeB became Goebbels and there isn’t even an attempt to hide the bias. But there’s the rub, they have nothing positive to print about being ” bitter together “.It always ends up as threats of what will be taken away,lost.
    One of the threats was that they would stop BBC programmes being shown North of the Border.
    I hope to hell that once the YES vote is in, that we at least get a pro Scottish Press.

  • DoNNyDarkO

    Resident Dissident:

    The Nationalism which was being pushed down our throats from all angles during the Olympics must have made you and Orwell sick to the stomach.Never seen so many Union jacks in my life.

  • doug scorgie

    29 Apr, 2013 – 9:16 pm

    “I just received a text saying that tonight’s Reporting Scotland said the ban on bee killing pesticides is a “Massive blow to the SNP”. Surely that can’t be true.”

    Craig, it is not a “massive blow” to the SNP it is hyperbole but:

    Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

    “The Scottish Government takes the health of bees and other insect pollinators very seriously but, in this case, the science has not been clear cut. Ministers have to therefore make careful judgements in the absence of conclusive evidence.”

    The SNP is not immune to powerful agricultural interests in Scotland

  • Cryptonym

    CM @9:16pm I didn’t catch all of the mis-Reporting Scotland program tonight, it clashes with cooking dinner, but I don’t remember anything as silly as that, though by their convoluted logic such a claim wouldn’t surprise me. I do recall the story and the NFU guy at the end of the bee piece was a bit incoherent and spare, but nothing so ludicrous as that. Someones having you on. No mention that farmers probably can and will buy the banned stuff outside of the EU, but hints of alternative products being sought, which would probably be no less harmful. One thing people can do is buy a box or packet of mixed wildflower seed and sow them in any spare pieces of ground, even along the edges of lawns or otherwise unused space, public places as well, verges and so on, as well as helping the bees it should make for a visual improvement too, some night-scented stock also is a pleasure on summer evenings.

  • Clydebuilt

    “We are not in an official referendum campaign and therefor do not have to balance it out between yes and no”

    A reply by the BBC to a complaint on their biased broadcasting in Scotland

    March: Second Illuminate the Debate

    Taking place: Saturday 18th May 2013, Glasgow.

  • John Goss

    Slightly off topic. Not everybody knows this but a new political party has started up with the very noble intention of trying to do the impossible – unite the left. I had already liked its Facebook page on a global scale but learnt a little more about it on Saturday’s march against the use of drones at RAF Waddington.

    Please like the page, if you agree with it of course. This could go international (which would make it acceptable to Scots too, and we welcome you (and your oil)). You can join your local branch or start one.

    I learnt about the march against drones on Thursday. On Friday I sawed in half a pull-out bed and made a sturdy placard for what, after booking on the coach, I learnt would be a two-mile walk from Lincoln. It turned out to be three-and-a-half miles, above a mile uphill, and the bed, sorry placard, got heavier and heavier. There’s no gain without pain. But the time has come even for older people to get active. My placard read “DRONES – THE ULTIMATE IN COWARDICE and I am reliably informed it is on the Demotix Waddington RAF photos. Unite against the horrors of the world.

  • Steven

    I’m not sure you can really accuse an institution of leaning one way or another when you, yourself are not objective or unbiased on the issue. I personally am not pro or anti independence, and I appreciate balanced information and arguments on both sides of the fence rather than both accusing the other of skewing the figures and scare mongering.


  • nevermind

    great post Craig, even for a Kraut.
    Midgehunter has it to a T, whats is now important is that those interviewed by the BBC are clued up enough to point to this distressing dichotomy.

    When we were in Newbury, demonstrating against the bypass, our press work (Green Party then) was so down to base that the BBC had problems finding anyone who was wiling to speak for the other side.

    If live comments reflect the reality, than the BBC orifice will tumble, crumble and disintegrate into crumbs.

    This incipient drip drip must be interfered with by adding a reality funnel, tonight’s news as just announced by Craig is ludicrous and wrong. Curtailing the BBC coverage and making their output subject to Levinsons regulations is just one step. Why should they be exempt from it?

    Their MI propaganda freaks must be curtailed and exposing the influence of the FO and MI’s in this mouldy institution calls for some brave heart action.

    Just sayin’

  • technicolour

    Don’t understand this. The BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation: funded by all of us everywhere. It will naturally also have an interest in keeping its remit. It does not want to become the English Broadcasting Network, and who can blame it, As Res Dis shows, it does indeed report on the ‘alternative’.

    I have yet to see a genuine post by CM which sets out the parameters, ramifications, moral and legal status of a genuinely independent Scotland. Excuse me if I have missed it.

  • Cryptonym

    Steven @10:51

    Craig’s blog is one (brave) man’s effort in a pleasant backwater of the web, to get unassailable facts, and his own opinions, out into the world, with a touch of wit and humility. The BBC is a publicly-funded global behemoth with reach into every home and mind through a mandatory subscription, backed by the state’s monopoly on violence and implicit threat to individual liberty. That is the the difference. I don’t think any reasonable person (that counts Fred out) could conclude that the BBC is treating the Independence debate, or many other matters, in an even-handed manner, their bias is so unashamably blatant as to cause anger and revulsion. Across the UK the BBC peddles disinformation daily, is the legally culpable cheerleader-in-chief for criminally insane inhuman warmongering hawks with a limpet-like grip on the levers of power over us. Forget all that fantasy remit about, educating, informing and entertaining, this is a sleek propaganda machine with selfish and evil interests of an gruesome elite top of its agenda, at all times.

    In the Independence debate the whole of the No case is scaremongering and lies, repeated ad nauseum, that is all they have, the Yes case makes itself just by holding a mirror to the sinister combination of the Labour, Tory and Liberal parties acting in lockstep. The independence debate has shown and confirmed that these parties’ differences are just superficial skins on a singular entity: a perpetual governing clique and elite, British democracy a sham affair of smoke and mirrors, fooling no-one any longer.

  • Herbie

    I love the idea of Scottish independence from the Union, a people free to find their own destiny. What’s not to like. It’s beautiful. I love it.

    But in terms of the modalities it seems to me that those who argue for Scottish independence have not paid attention to the Irish experience.

    And that is curious. Very curious.

    It does seem that some of these advocates suggest that a simple majority vote will achieve it.

    Not so.

    If it comes down to that, goalposts will be moved.

    If necessary, particularly strong advocates will be removed.

    The only reason part of Ireland achieved independence from the Union was with the support of another power, namely the USA.

    The only reason the North of Ireland achieved its rather special status within the UK was with the support of another power, namely the USA.

    And that’s how it works.

    I wish the Scot Nats well, but please don’t delude yourselves. Absent the support of another power, your best bet is to argue for special conditions, and that is certainly achieveable.

    My feeling is that Alex knows all this and that the threat of Scottish independence is his way of obtaining a better deal for Scotland within the Union.

  • technicolour

    Lovely prosing, Cryptonym but could you set out the “parameters, ramifications, moral and legal status of a genuinely independent Scotland” – as you see them?

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