Daily Archives: August 7, 2017


Is it the BBC, or is it Me? 262

I love sport, and I have been watching the World Athletics Championships. This has left me genuinely uncertain. Has BBC sports coverage always been this harshly, stridently British nationalist, and do I just notice it now as my own sensibility has changed? Or has there genuinely been a shift away from any pretence of impartiality?

Apart from analysis focusing almost entirely on the prospects of the British contender in the sport in question, we have witnessed countless field events where numerous throws and jumps of other contestants are not broadcast at all, in favour of shots of the British athlete in the event warming up, zipping their tracksuit or chatting with their coach. Other competitors’ efforts are only of interest in relation to their potential to affect the position of the British athlete, with the exception of a very few major celebrities.

It is not treated as a sporting event so much as a nationalist propaganda event. I find it repulsive to the extent that I found myself being quite pleased that “Team GB” has so far been pathetic, and each athlete the BBC hypes, proceeds immediately to fall on their arse.

I have now discovered that Eurosport, even with the English commentary, is covering the games in a much more sensible manner.

I noticed at Wimbledon what seems to be a related phenomenon. Support for the underdog appears to have disappeared. The crowd were boorish and completely one-eyed in their support for British players and for celebrities. When Gilles Muller defeated Nadal, some wonderful winning rallies by Muller at key moments were met by something short of polite applause. It was embarrassing to watch.

I do not recognise Brexit Britain as the country in which I was born and raised. The UK has become a nasty and mean-spirited place, and the sooner it is broken up the better.

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The Scottish Silly Season

Until now I have stayed out of the silly season sniping between nationalists that has set in these last few weeks. I rather hoped it would abate after Robin McAlpine’s excellent oil on troubled waters effort, but it has re-erupted with a virtue signalling, holier than thou mess by Ross Greer in today’s Sunday Herald. I am afraid, Ross, that I am one of those irredeemably straight, white, old and male people. So you can discount what I say already.

To go back to the roots of the trouble, for the sake of openness, I should state that:

a) I think Cat Boyd was wrong to vote Labour rather than SNP. I would urge everyone in Scotland to support the SNP as the only practical route to Independence. However I do share the frustration of many with the SNP’s timidity on social reform and its continued, and frankly infuriating, failure actively to campaign about the benefits of Independence. Quite a lot of Independence supporters voted Labour, including some of my own family.

b) I think Stuart Campbell is wrong to sue Kezia Dugdale for defamation. I believe in free speech and if someone brands you with an unfair insult, the answer is to argue why they are wrong, not head for the courts.

However, having said I think they are both wrong, I should state that my very considerable regard for both Cat Boyd and Stuart Campbell is entirely undiminished. Why on earth should I expect people to act in the way I think they should act? And why should I assume that my judgement on these calls is superior to theirs, as opposed to just different? If everyone acted as I want them to, the world would be weird. Indeed, if I am so clever why am I typing up this at 3am? And why on Earth would the Yes movement want everyone to behave the same way all the time?

So in short, neither Cat not Stuart acted as I would have, but I accept they are acting as they believe best. In fact the criticism of both of them has been much more of a problem than their particular actions.

You don’t have to be perfect to work for Scottish Independence. But it would be a great help if we saved our bile for the unionists.

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