BBC Shafted Indy More Than Diana

William and Kate’s seven day tour of Scotland next week seems certain to be accompanied by a larger than originally anticipated media entourage following the prince’s extraordinary personal savaging of the BBC. But, wherever the scribblers, snappers and dish monkeys are dispatched from, they will doubtless remain oblivious to the fact that they’re in a part of the realm in which the world’s supposedly preeminent public service broadcaster lost much of the public’s trust some time back. Somewhere it is unlikely ever to retrieve it.

The Palace will swiftly patch up its frayed relationship with the Beeb because the Crown and the corporation have always enjoyed a deeply symbiotic relationship. The monarchy depends upon the forelock-tugging deference of Nicholas Witchell, Huw Edwards and Andrew Marr every bit as much as the BBC relies upon periodic renewal of its royal charter for its continued existence. If you read Prince William’s statement you will see how, after excoriating Martin Bashir’s monstrous treatment of his mother, he refers in the last paragraph to the importance of public service broadcasting. This is a brief rift in relations not a crisis.

The future king knows very well that he and Auntie are better together. They will do everything in their (sadly considerable) combined power to keep this kingdom united – and every square inch of its realm in a semi-feudal time warp. The Firm has the slickest PR and marketing machine on the face of the Earth, as we were amply reminded by the incredibly reverential coverage of Prince Philip’s passing.

Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot about the Queen’s consort because of that and my attitude towards him was significantly altered. Also, on a basic human level, I abhorred how Diana Spencer was psychologically destroyed by one of the most ruthless power machines on the planet. We can only imagine what trauma she endured after Mr Bashir cunningly convinced her that MI5 and MI6 chiefs were plotting to have her “wiped out”. But what concerns me is that democracy in Scotland was – and continues to be – shafted far more by the BBC than Princess Di ever was. Not just by one single rogue reporter a quarter of a century ago but to this day (and 24 hours a day) by all the rogues at Pacific Quay and Broadcasting House who take the Queen’s shilling for rebellious Scots to crush. 

It isn’t Princess Di-like paranoia to assume the BBC is riddled with agents of the Anglo-British state

It isn’t Princess Di-like paranoia to assume these include a number of strategically placed MI5 plants. Indeed, it would be naive to imagine that the BBC’s vast news and current affairs machine isn’t riddled with agents of the archaic Anglo-British state. Her Majesty’s secret services wouldn’t be doing everything in their chilling capacity to defend the realm if they hadn’t infiltrated the UK’s most influential (by far) news and opinion provider.

We saw what that delivered for the preservers of the status quo during the 2014 referendum campaign – an endless stream of far from balanced and impartial output from pundits and reporters who considered it their responsibility to show how “foolish” it would be to vote Yes. An operating assumption that the pro-Indy arguments were “wrong”. That was how the man who led the BBC’s referendum coverage described what happened. But even Allan Little didn’t blow the whistle on this when it really mattered – early in the campaign. He only did so half a decade later in a series of BBC documentaries reflecting on that tumultuous plebiscite. 

Let’s be clear about Mr Little’s level of journalistic integrity and patriotism. This Scot witnessed round the clock how his country’s (possibly only ever) opportunity to determine its constitutional future was being systematically undermined by his employer’s persistent political bias yet he thought it more important not to risk getting chucked off the great big BBC gravy train. Among all the lies pumped out at that time there were also lies of silence.

Seven years later, the only investigation there has been into this period was conducted by an academic at the University of the West of Scotland. In February 2014 – a full seven months before Scottish voters made that momentous decision on our nation’s future – John Robertson issued the findings of carefully conducted, quantitative research, in which he concluded:

On the objective evidence presented here, the mainstream TV coverage of the first year of the independence referendum campaigns has not been fair or balanced. Taken together, we have evidence of coverage which seems likely to have damaged the Yes campaign.

Yet the BBC (and, to a slightly lesser extent, other broadcasters) were allowed to carry on inflicting colossal damage to the Indy cause right up to polling day. The onslaught in favour of the No side was ramped up on the eve of voting, most notoriously (but far from only) by the BBC’s then political editor Nick Robinson.

One aspect of the bias spotlighted by the UWS researchers was endless personalised attacks on Alex Salmond. Despite his stepping down as First Minister and SNP leader after the failure to secure a Yes victory, such attacks have still not abated. We saw that by the almost complete blackout of Alba throughout the recent Holyrood election campaign and by the extraordinarily aggressive interviews to which he was subjected by the likes of Gary Robertson. 

So above the political fray is Ofcom its next chair may be an ex Tory minister

Goons like him were green lighted by their off-air commanders to set about (or simply exclude) the former FM. And nothing was done about this by the broadcast industry’s supposedly independent regulator. So above the political fray is Ofcom that the man widely tipped to be its next chair is Ed Vaizeya lifelong Conservative who served as Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries under that paragon of political integrity and public accountability, David Cameron. 

Appearing on Newsnight last night to comment upon the Di disaster – and boost his chances of beating off a challenge by former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre to become Ofcom’s next boss – Baron Vaizey of Didcot stated:

We all pay the license fee. We pay it under criminal sanction, as it were, if we don’t pay it. So everyone has an interest in how the BBC behaves and how it organised itself going forward.

We do all have an interest in that – especially in Scotland at this critical juncture in our struggle for a proper democracy and national self-determination – but our rights to fair coverage by the BBC will never be equally respected. The whole essence of a monarchical regime is that an awesomely privileged dynasty is considered far more worthy of respect than all of their subjects put together. Accorded phenomenal, fawning deference every hour of its existence, the House of Windsor is the apex of power in the UK’s still semi-feudal society. Everyone in it can now count upon even less scrutiny from the primary moulder of public opinion in their kingdom. For the foreseeable future none of the extended Royal family (not even Prince Andrew) need fear another Martin Bashir or Emily Maitliss rocking the Palace. Nor will any of them ever be prosecuted by the Crown for not purchasing a TV license.

17 thoughts on “BBC Shafted Indy More Than Diana

  1. I’m not a nationalist, or a fan of Alex Salmond, but I have sympathy for him due to the way he has been treated by Sturgeon and the media.
    I would also be far happier with him as first minister as for all his faults , he genuinely cares about Scotland. Sturgeon cares only about how she is perceived. Soundbites , spin and talk , a truly empty vessel.
    I read a piece in the Spectator recently, the journalist had spoken to Salmond and came away convinced that his revenge is far from over.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I hope the full story comes to light. I think that is what he is pursuing probably not for his own reputation either. He doesn’t seem the type to worry about image. To take the amount of pressure he has from the State, its payroll in Scotland and press and maintain an even perspective on it all is impressive.

      Excellent article.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If the House of Windsor is the apex of power how did Boris Johnson get away with the illegal prorogation of parliament where he clearly embarrassed the current heid yin by his actions? He never ended up in the tower.

    I think that the recent backlash against the BBC for its cessation of normal service due to the death of the Prince shows that the monarchy’s popularity is on the wane. Especially so, I suspect, after the present Queen’s reign ends.
    The state will tolerate them while they serve mutual purpose. Hauners for honours.

    My elderly mother in law was clearly shocked to find out that the BBC is not as squeaky clean as she has always believed. Despite me telling her for years. This would be an opportune time for the Scottish government to make some political capital regarding the systemic pro union bias that seeps from BBC Scotland. An open goal. Which no doubt they will spurn again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Property is power and I haven’t seen Boris Johnson – or any previous PM – strip the House of Windsor of any of that. Look at how much of Canada, never mind this country, is Crown land and you’ll see why the Queen can easily put up with a temporary prorogation of Parliament.

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    2. “If the House of Windsor is the apex of power how did Boris Johnson get away with the illegal prorogation of parliament where he clearly embarrassed the current heid yin by his actions?” How dae ye ken that? It is just as likely that Mrs Windsor was in cahoots with BoJo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Privy Council and the Canadian PM for example. The Royals ultimately control a lot more than they ostensibly admit to. Or their establishment controls it for them and associated Gentry. Who are still here after all this time since 1066. Britain forgot. Ireland doesn’t forget so easily. Scotland neither… and Wales, doesn’t really have enough power so is just bitter and insular, reduced to beggars. Instead of, for example, crowing about under 50 jobs being created in Tech in some part of Wales with 2 million people living in it, such desperation! They should rather stop the conservative ignorance, re-legalise cannabis, produce high quality indoor-grown stuff in old farm buildings or industrial areas, powered by wind water and wave power and corner the UK market (assuming the economics work out). But the Hegemonic 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is the preventor of that common-sense economic policy on drugs. So, how many UK Citizens (Subjects) know who the REAL power is over them? How many have heard of the 1961 SUCoND? Which was ratified by the Misuse of Drugs Act (as if smoking cannabis to relax is in any way a MISuse of it!)

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    1. Since you’re (rightly) not available, Paul, I won’t give you the full itinerary but I can tell you it includes a visit to St Andrews University, where William and Kate famously met, of course.

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  4. In addition to Professor John Robertson’s excellent academic work into msm bias, there was also the work done by Edwards & Cromwell (2018) which identified the UK’s ‘amazing litany of bias’ and its ‘Propaganda Blitz’ on Scotland, in addition to Alan Little’s belated admission on BBC and msm bias more generally.

    This institutionalized bias, which as you rightly note still continues today, and will also shroud any future referendum, seems utterly at odds with any authoritative interpretation of the UN Charter’s norms (McWhinney 2007) which explicitly states that the self-determination of a people must proceed ‘without interference’ (United Nations 1945). This means there should be no interference by peoples or entities outside of or external to the defined ‘people’ seeking self-determination, which in our case is the Scottish people.

    As in New caledonia, any future referendum held here in Auld Caledonia (if needed) has to be better managed, including work done to improve the franchise (Scotland is currently using a local government franchise for its national elections and national referendums, which is highly irregular and is not reciprocated by other countries, and which invites even further ‘external interference’), and preferably with close UN oversight and agreement beforehand regarding the franchise and the role of different ‘actors’ in an effort to prevent external interference in what is after all a matter for the Scottish people only.

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    1. Good points but the UN has a patchy record of enforcing any of its charters. It’s always been under the control of its Security Council, of which the UK is (and is determined to remain) one of only five permanent members.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “opportunity to determine its constitutional future”. Would independence deliver this in reality? There are many agencies involved in the defence of the British constitution, in fact you mentioned MI5 and MI6. There is very little in my opinion that can be argued against independence in principle but this is one area I see as insurmountable. Scotland has over 6,000 miles of coastline of which there is a continual presence of Russian submarines within extremely close proximity. Russia and China (and others) have hugely sophisticated intelligence agencies constantly probing weakness in NATO in general and UK in particular. No country can consider itself independent if it relies on another for its own defence. GCHQ is now a vast worldwide resource in league with every other free-world agency and of course Five Eyes. The SNP loves to proclaim how much we could be like Norway, Denmark etc but all these countries have their own infrastructures. Scotland has nothing. How will that ever be reconciled within the strictures of a truly independent Scotland?

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    1. Good points but remember one reason we need such defences is because the UK keeps meddling in the affairs of other countries. I think the only two superpowers that have ever invaded Scotland are the Romans and the English (unless you count the Gaels and the Vikings).

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  6. Scotland would need an defensive strategy, within that need, we need an army and all things that go with it.
    We do not intend waging war with any nation, but Trident opens us to a first strike, as Westminster thinks it is something it no longer is.

    Yet they have aircraft carriers now in the China sea, still trying to show they are big boys. An Independent Scotland should have no part in all this. Getting Trident gone, would get us off the first nuclear strike map. In an Indy Scotland, we must, get rid of these weapons.

    Let them park them in the Thames, next to Westminster, that would assure their demise. They do worry too much about all these in Scotland, 400 miles away, and they will do all they can to keep them close by our biggest city, but the whole of Scotland and NI, would be at risk. They do not care one whit about that.

    While they imagine it is safer for them, that would certainly be wrong thinking, if they think London would not be nuked, but I guess English exceptionalism is what they would rely on, Aye right, London would be flattened too, no matter what. Yet they dream on…..the empire, yady yady ya…

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  7. Rob Brown has perhaps more in common with Baron Vaizey of Didcot than he realises.

    For starters, both men seem to be believers in the fatuous notion of the compulsory nature of the BBC TV License fee.

    Suppose I was to moan and complain about the iniquity of being compelled to pay for a Commercial Airline Pilot’s License on pain of fines and even imprisonment? Onlookers would scoff at my complaints because I am not forced to fly airliners and therefore I don’t.

    It seems to elude nearly everybody that you are not forced to own a device capable of receiving TV content so therefore it cannot logically be said that you are forced to pay for a license to do so.

    The logical deduction is that if you object to BBC bias, and millions of people on both sides of the border do so, you can bin your TV and stop funding the organisation you dislike.

    It’s not as if you will be starved of opportunities for entertainment, sport, education, or coverage of current affairs. Countless alternatives exist.

    Just imagine the seismic shock to the BBC if most Scots took that step. Or even if only the pro-independence supporters. It’s such a small thing to do if it accords with your principles and beliefs, and it is my opinion that as with all commercial organisations (for that is what the BBC is), economic leverage is the one power that will make it change.

    Previous generations of Scots found themselves going over the top in Flanders, or charging ashore in Normandy under machine gun fire, in support of their beliefs. Their descendants cannot be asked or even arsed to forego Saturday afternoon footie and Strictly on the box in support of theirs.

    If you object to something, the very least thing you can do to make that objection clear is to cease subsidising it.

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