Complaining that a shark is a shark

Rejoice! Huzzah! BBC Scotland’s got a new boss. Ken MacQuarrie is off to pastures new in his new role as pantomime villain in a production of No Good Scottish News Please We’re British. Now that there’s a change of leadership there’s going to be massive changes at Pacific Quay, in exactly the same way that there are massive changes to a branch of Scotmid when it gets a new assistant manager. The tripe and offal will still be on display, they’re just going on a new shelf.

Scottish audiences consistently report the lowest level of trust in the BBC out of any of the nations of the UK. This is of course the fault of the perceptions of the Scottish audience, and has nothing at all to do with a BBC whose spending priorities mean that Scotland gets the lowest proportion of BBC spending on programme making out of any part of the UK. There’s nothing wrong with the BBC. It’s our perception of it which is at fault. The problem with the BBC isn’t that there’s a problem with the BBC. It’s that people have noticed that there’s a problem with the BBC. So that’s alright then. All that needs to be done is to strap on the red white and blue tinted spectacles and all will be well.

A national institution is failing, but it’s the nation which needs to change. We’re just looking at it squinty and we jolly well ought to stop. Sit up straight and be happy that you’re being noticed at all, Scottish people. Nicholas Witchell is coming along to drown you in royalist treacle.

The loss of Scottish confidence in the BBC most certainly, absolutely, positively has nothing at all to do with a BBC which consistently reports on Scottish politics and the largest and most vital independence movement in the UK from a decidedly British viewpoint. It’s wrong of Scottish audiences to be upset by this, but the BBC is concerned to put Scotland’s concerns to rest, and it proposes to do so by sticking its fingers in its metropolitan ears and going la-la-la Strictly Come Dancing and oh look, there’s some flour based programming which is going to replace the Great British Bake Off. Crumbs. And if we’re really lucky, we might get an edition of Question Time from that part of Dundee that voted No in the referendum. The Scottish independence referendum that is. No one who counts cares how Scotland voted in the EU one. Only those Scottish votes which please the British establishment need to be respected.

So far it seems that the BBC in Scotland is going to adopt the same strategy that the Labour party in Scotland adopted when it discovered that it was having problems finding a receptive audience. It’s going to carry on doing exactly what it did before, only more loudly, more vociferously, and with even more oppobrium being poured on the independence movement. Because that worked so well for the Labour party. They’re going to listen. They’re going to learn lessons. They’re going to engage. And then they’re going to carry on doing exactly what they were doing before. Because they’re a branch office and their bosses haven’t given them permission to change.

You see, in the view from those down in the large and important end of the BBC weather map, which is the only viewpoint that actually matters, there’s not a problem with anything that the BBC in Scotland is doing. There’s just a problem with how they explain themselves to a bunch of ingrates who have unaccountably failed to appreciate just how damn lucky they are to be a part of this United Kingdom which has been so great to those in managerial positions down at the important end of the weather map. Which is another way of saying that us Caledonian types are too thick to appreciate all the wonderful red white and blue Great Britishness that the BBC bestows on us in an effort to raise us from the swamp of primitivism to which we’d be condemned without all those edumacatit types pointing fingers at us and then screeching that they’re being oppressed when we point out their short-comings. So that augurs well for the future of broadcasting in Scotland.

But to be fair, independence supporters complaining that the BBC is a decidedly British institution which is biased against Scottish independence is a bit like complaining that a shark acts like a shark and doesn’t respect the aspirations of fish. The BBC’s job is to preach Britishness and to maintain the British state. It’s the last remaining British civilian institution after the British establishment privatised all the others so it’s got the entire responsiblity of saving the Union’s arse. The Scottish independence movement has as much chance of being fairly represented by the BBC as there is of the Tory party extolling the benefits of socialism and Adam Tomkins tweeting something that isn’t snide.

As a British institution whose goal is to promote Britishness, the BBC is genetically incapable of understanding why so many of us want to get away from being an equal partner in this most perfect union. That’s because we’ve learned from decades of BBC programming that Scotland is equal in the sense that a chair, a sofa, and a toilet are all equally things for sitting on. It’s just that only one of them is regularly crapped on.

Despite the fact that the Scottish Parliament is supposedly one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world, it doesn’t have control of broadcasting. There’s a reason for that. If the BBC really was as neutral and unbiased as we’re constantly being told it is, then there shouldn’t be any problem in devolving control of broadcasting to Holyrood and allowing Scotland to run its own neutral and unbiased public service broadcaster alongside the BBC. The same checks and balances which supposedly ensure the neutrality and lack of bias in the BBC could just as easily be applied to a public service broadcaster based in Edinburgh or Glasgow to one based in London. The fact that the Unionist parties fight tooth and nail against allowing Scotland to have what ever other self-governing devolved country or territory has – its own public service broadcaster – is because they know as well as we do that the BBC is an agent of the British state.

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0 thoughts on “Complaining that a shark is a shark

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  1. BBC in Scotland is now a busted flush. Whether it is Huw Edwards in London or one of the poker-faced BBC Scotland taking heads, sorry but no thanks. I kept my licence over Christmas in case aunties or grandsons needed to watch something on tele but I am very soon to cancel. As for Scot-6…please do not even bother.

    • I cancelled 2 years ago after consultation with the family. It has been extremely beneficial in many ways. TV is not needed.

  2. Perhaps the reason we are not to be “allowed” our own indigenous broadcaster is because the Brutish think we might act like them and be biased toward Scotland. Just a thought.

  3. Hello WGD good to have you back in action. Hope you had a very good time in the US.

    I am in the US with my family. They have just acquired a Large Ginger Dug which is just gorgeous.

    The news folk here are totally fixated on Trump. Understandably. The BBC World News is introduced by very loud pompous music. It looks and is very well resourced.

    BBC Scotland is a joke and an insult all at the same time. Scottish Kailyard TV could be its new title. The Scottish people are being so ripped off economically and culturally by the relentlessly mean in all ways, BBC Scotland operation.

  4. Pingback: Complaining that a shark is a shark | speymouth

  5. Phew! 6 days w/o a post. Got withdrawal symptoms.

    On the maps issue, I have a book of German road maps. They start at the top. I see Michelin starts its maps of France at the top too.I am unfamiliar with maps from the US, or say Australia. Perhaps other readers could enlighten us. Do their maps start in Hobart or The Florida Keys?

    It is a subtle two fingers to Scotland, and has always irked me, that UK maps start at the bottom. I might expect a map to start at the bottom if it was from Arabia, but other than cultural imperialism, why do British map books start at the bottom?

      • The old Landranger series do but the newer OS Explorer maps do not. I have just checked. The lowest numbers of the maps are in the south of England and the highest in the north of Scotland. The same with the books of road maps with lowest in Cornwall getting higher as you move north. Except for the lowest numbered maps that give you enlarged coverage of London and other urban areas as you move north. My out of date book did not even reach Scotland or Wales for those and Northern Ireland is not included at all.

  6. The basic message of McKinnon in today’s National is: Nothing will change. Patronising tosh, written by a Sir Humphry SPAD.
    We’re doing just fine, it’s the audience who are not getting it.
    What a great visceral swipe, Paul.
    Nothing will change. There will just be plenty more of the same nonsense.
    We have covered all the ground in the past. BBC Scotland is an Establishment mouthpiece.. It is an English /Home Counties Establishment Institution.
    There is nothing Scottish or Welsh, or Irish about the BBC.
    It services the 58 million or so Down There.
    BBC PQ is a mere colonial stockade.
    Murders, SNP BAD, isn’t Ruth Davidson a wee cutie and a rising star, the weather on the distorted squinty map, and traffic jams on the M8.
    Come Independence, it will not be missed.
    2016 has been a gawdawful year.
    Welcome home, Paul.

  7. Couldn’t agree more Paul.

    They really, really don’t quite grasp the whole diplomacy thing do they? STILL they insult, patronise and belittle and its all the punters fault.

    Were they paying attention to the populace at all in the past ten years? Has the BBC seen what Scotland’s electorate have done to politicians who have used exactly these tactics over this period? Mind you, according to Einstein that is the very definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    So yeah, I’d say the BBC along with those other great British institutions, the establishment parties, are by any measure to be regarded as completely fucking insane at this point. Telling people they are stupid and wrong because they don’t understand you is perhaps the most arrogant, ignorant and insensitive trait to be found within the traditional establishment order. Its their ‘go to’ place when people whom they have shat upon from a great height, round on them and tell them where to get off.

    Same shit, different day.

    • Agreed, Sam. She displays the tenement dwelling semi educated social status craving Retainer traits to which that Old Oxbridge man Cleese refereed when he talked about the Anglo Scots hacks Uriah Heeping their way in the MSM Down There.
      As I observe, job done.
      They’re hearing, but not listening, just like the Red Blue and Yellow Branch Handlers.

      • Yeah, kinda weary of the old ‘promising to listen’ meme. We’re beyond talking to the establishment at this point. There isn’t a word they would listen to nor any action they would take if we did. They are what they are Jack – the opposition and an entrenched one at that.

        Another meme of the media and their chain tuggers is ‘Peak SNP’. That’s not the ‘peak’ which concerns me after this year. ‘Peak Hate’ is the real issue for 2017 and I feel that we’re well on the way to scaling that particular hill. Mind you that’s not one the media or your average establishment politician likes to draw attention towards, seein’ as how they’ve made more than their fair share of contribution toward the condition.

        The UK is what they made it and similarly the US. This is a UK made by politics as it is practised and politically compromised media without courage or ethics. The electorate of the UK is societally divided as never before. Suspicion, hate crime (in fact rank and naked xenophobia), fear, isolationism all fostered by the politicians, their narrative and their media. There is a wave, a tsunami of economic hardship and international indifference headed in the direction of the UK. The establishment have their scapegoats at the ready and it won’t take much for very real social division, anger and frustration to reach an inevitable and tragic conclusion in the cities of the UK.

        When things don’t pan out as promised and the public start to ask very pointed and very angry questions of the UK government and the entire political class in general? The system will collapse. Whatever social cohesion is left will fall apart as the UK eats itself alive in a wave of recrimination and anger. All it would take is one incident catching the public mood at the wrong time. The media and the smarter politicians will run with the mob they created of course, but the real tragedy will be happening amongst a confused, angry, frustrated and frightened electorate.

        The thing about ‘Peak Hate’ though? That is when ‘Peak Hope’ is needed most. There is an answer and an out for the Scottish electorate from this madness. All we have to do is ask.

        • There is ,Sam, a refusal to admit that the YES Movement is much more than the SNP Party, and as you know the MSM and Unionist Politicians imply by phrases like ‘Peak SNP’ that all this talk of Independence is an SNP cult/plot. BAD SNP.
          It is reported that the English NHS GPs are in crisis, and a patient in England has to wait more than 4 weeks for an appointment.
          The BBC reports that the UK Gov is pumping £2.4 billion into GP services by 2020 to alleviate the situation.
          Now the BBC know that NHS England is to ‘achieve efficiencies and savings’ of £32 billion by 2020 as part of the Red Blue and Yellow Tory Austerity package, £10 billion of which, and this £2.4 billion to GP’s is part of it, is being pumped back into the HS; in other words there is no new money, just £10 billion less cuts.
          The net outcome is that England will lose £22 billion in real terms over the five years of Ruth Davidson’s Tory Party WM Administration.
          This is the sort of double entry bookkeeping that Panorama of twenty years ago would have relished.
          Now BBC National news reports the Doctor Doublespeak of WM as gospel.
          There is a mood brewing Down There, Sam.
          The Beeb has gone to the Right, promoting Brexit, and producing NHS distortions like this GP underfunding scandal.
          As March approaches, I expect the State Broadcaster to go into anti EU overdrive, as The Dunkirk Spirit is invoked to take on Johnny Foreigner.
          I agree, there will be the usual rabble rousing MSP suspects thumping their tubs.
          We bide our time, and watch it unravel before summer 2017. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail.
          6 months on and the Brexit Team still don’t have Page One of Plan A.
          Peak Hope is the key.

  8. Yes, but while agreeing with all the above, the B.B.C are still going to be around come Indyref2, the self-same Westminster establishment voice pumping out their anti-independence propaganda twenty four hours a day, and however much we may denigrate their “stories”, a huge number of people in Scotland still take their word as gospel. It may not please us, and their numbers are no doubt reducing, but it’s still a fact.
    As has been proved many times, once the lie is out there, it is very difficult to counter. It enters peoples minds, they are convinced it’s correct, and on many occasions, no amount of doorstep canvassing will make them believe otherwise.
    So they, the B.B.C, greatly assisted by their fellow travellers, the print media, along with the fifth columnists who never miss an opportunity to denigrate our fine country, and S.N.P Government, are going to make life very difficult for those of us who want an independent Scotland.
    Please don’t underestimate the task ahead, as I’m sure most of us on this side of the argument don’t, as more muck than we ever thought possible is going to be thrown at us, and some will stick, at least in some peoples minds, but we can prevail, and regain our independence.

  9. “The tripe and offal will still be on display, they’re just going on a new shelf.”

    Summed it all up, really. And another great article, Paul. You won’t be dancing the rumba on SCD any time soon.

    “Honest, honey, I can change….”

    Don’t finksae, Donalda. Since I stopped my dirty habit of watching the BBC I feel a lot better. I don’t shout obscenities at the tv, or throw polystyrene bricks at the screen. I am calm. I am Zen. I am mellow.

    Of course, I might just be misperceiving things, silly cybernat scum that I am.

  10. I cancelled my TV Licence over two years ago, but a couple of monts ago got two letters saying are you still not needing a TV Licence, then one saying the house was under investigation then one to the Occupier saying there was no record of a tv licence at that address, do you need one, then a letter saying if there was reply telling them why no licence was needed the investigation would be suspended for 7 days while a chance was given to reply.
    They waste a lot of money when they have been told the licence was cancelled.

  11. “Adam Tomkins tweeting something that isn’t snide”. He’s a lucky boy that Tomkins, now an appointed Tory MSP having come in third and 10,950 votes behind. Appointed? Elected does seem a far-fetched description.
    Tory MSP Murdo Fraser ? He lost by 10,353 votes.
    Tory MSP Brian Whittle? he lost by 12,450 votes.

    The D’Hondt allocation system surely does not represent the electorate’s preferences.

    • The system needs changed. The D’Hondt system, as it stands, encourages mediocrity, which is what Red, Blue and Orangy Tories aspire to. One should not be elected without winning the said election. I know what it was set up to prevent, but that does not make it right.

  12. bread…buttered…is…side…on…they…know…which…their…

    which just goes to show,
    it doesn’t matter how many times you rearrange the words of the BBC,
    here in North Britain, the meaning remains the same.

  13. Now that ebc Scotland has said its mea culpa, will j byrd and co get the sack?
    The negative editing of positive stories,the showing of crowd shots during indyref1 from negative angles to do down Yes, the hostile questions and constant interruptions when Yes were being interviewed, the lack of probing Westminster ministers and Secy of State for Scotland over reserve matters etc.
    A good redd oot is needed at Pacific Quay!!
    That is the only way forward.

  14. Brilliant article WGD, especially paragraph five. The bbc and Labour in Scotland are currently occupying the same if-we-put-our-hands-over-our-ears-we won’t-hear-them bunker.

  15. It was probably quite an astute move by The National’s editor to publish the interview with Ms MacKinnon without comment as the subsequent unprovoked comments and blogs provide a useful way to gauge attitudes, none of which, as far as I can tell, are sympathetic to the BBC and which can be pretty well summed up as ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. Additionally, yesterday saw more than one Twitter spat where the BBC got gubbed. Their item about the health service ‘struggling to cope’ had many responses pointing out the errors and general SNPBadness. More of this sort of polite but firm instant rebuttal is required.

    The BBC’s 2016 financial report says its income from Scotland fell from £323m in 2014/2015 to £320.1m in 2015/16 which, since the number of households in Scotland increased from 2,540,561 in 2014 to 2,557,582 in 2015, implies the percentage of households with a licence decreased from 87% in 2014 to 86% in 2015 (OK, there is not actually a 1:1 relationship between households and TV licences, but the number of households in the UK with multiple licences is only about 300,000)

    Personally, I am quite happy to be one of that growing band of non-payers. The BBC cannot win my trust to return to the fold, it has to earn that trust and, since I am not partaking in their output, I am not sure if and how this can be achieved. If the BBC is the state broadcaster and propaganda arm, then Indyref2 should get the BBC worried because there is a much greater likelihood of Scotland achieving independence and, after that, who knows, but revenge is often a meal best served cold.

    Question: After Indyref2 and the breakup of the UK what happens to all the .uk domain names? Can they be moved to a former-united-kingdom domain and can I then register goto.fuk?

    Figures from, and

  16. @ Jan Cowan; My life experience is that those who crave the power are the most unsuited to have the power.
    In my patch we’ve had a pair of full-time politico enthusiasts, bereft of self-awareness seeking political office. And talented individuals in our group reticent of putting themselves forward.Why?

    The role of SNP MP, having to wearily travel to Westminster would not appeal to me. The position of MSP is much more a do-able for a person with family.And so we have to ensure that being an MSP is an agreeable – though assessment liable position. Unfortunately our media do not assess performance, they publicise and promote Unionist propaganda, even the unionist numpties.

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