We’re all bastards from Newsnet now

When independence campaigners who are compelled to pay a licence fee on pain of criminalisation complain about how the BBC doesn’t reflect their views, and demand that the Corporation refrain from its anti-independence bias, they’re accused of trying to silence journalists and being enemies of democracy. It now transpires that it’s the BBC which has been silencing journalists, and if silencing journalists makes you an enemy of democracy then that would be the BBC.

The broadcaster and comedian Hardip Singh Kohli has reported that during the independence referendum campaign that he was told by a BBC Radio Scotland manager that his name appeared on an email list of Yes supporting individuals whom the Corporation would not invite onto its news and current affairs programmes. There is naturally no bar on appearing on BBC news and current affairs programmes if you oppose independence, because opposing independence isn’t bias at all. Oh no.

The news comes as the Corporation revealed its plans for its poxy wee Caledonian Ghetto Channel, to be launched later this year on a shoestring budget, broadcasting on a channel lost in the depths of the EPG for a few hours each evening. The new channel is the BBC’s answer to demands for a Scottish Six hour long news programme on BBC1. It’s pretty obvious that the Corporation intends to hive Scottish programming off into a minor channel that few will access, to underfund it, and then to claim that there is no demand for Scottish progamming. It’s another example of how Scotland is being sidelined and marginalised by the BBC. Get back into your box Jocks.

The BBC denies that it has any blacklist of pro-independence campaigners, and you might be surprised to hear that I actually believe their denials. In the small and cliquey world of Scottish broadcasting where everyone knows everyone else there is no need for an official blacklist. An unofficial one would work every bit as effectively. There are certain people who are “our pals”, and certain people that “we” don’t want to give airtime to because they’re not “our pals”. There may be no official blacklist, because an official blacklist would certainly call into question the BBC’s supposed impartiality, and would open up a legal and political can of worms for the Corporation. Why bother with all that hassle when an unofficial blacklist works every bit as effectively.  A nudge and a wink and private conversation in the pub achieves the same thing, and it’s entirely deniable.

I don’t wish to name any names, because this was told to me in a private conversation, but it’s not just Hardip who has been cast out into the wilderness by the BBC. Another prominent independence campaigner, someone who once appeared regularly on BBC news and current affairs programmes to give their view on the Scottish politics of the day and who had a distinguished career in broadcasting, told me recently that since 2014 their broadcasting invitations have virtually dried up.

Unlike Hardip, who is now seeing aspects of his personal life being tossed around on social media by British nationalists like dogs with a rotting bone, this particular individual has never been involved in any scandals or controveries, public or private. It’s pretty obvious that the sole reason that their broadcasting career has died a death is because the BBC doesn’t wish to give airtime to articulate and informed independence campaigners who can lend an air of credibility to the cause of independence.

The lesson from the bosses of BBC Scotland is very clear. If you want to support independence, then your career in broadcast journalism is at an end. If that’s not silencing journalists and being an enemy of democracy I don’t know what is.

The Corporation does of course invite a couple of pro-independence people on to its news and current affairs programmes, but invariably those are people who lack a prominent standing within the grassroots independence movement, and are people who have displayed a willingness to criticise that movement as much as they’ll criticise the British establishment. So if you are an independence supporter who wants to get on the telly, the best way to do so is to start criticising other independence supporters. Because apparently the British establishment is really keen to foster diversity within the Yes movement. And if you believe that I have a licence fee to flog to you.

I’m pretty sure my name appears on that list that doesn’t exist too. I write two weekly columns for The National, I do most of the public speaking for the newspaper at its public Roadshow events, and while I don’t like to blow my own trumpet I’m told that I’m one of the columnists who does best for the paper on social media. I write this blog which is one of the top ten politics sites in Scotland, and unlike most of the sites which appear in that ranking, this is a single author site and not a multi-author one. The editor of The National has told me that he has given my contact details to the BBC on several occasions.  Unlike many columnists for the paper I actually live within easy travelling distance of the BBC’s Pacific Quay studios, but I’ve never once heard from the Corporation. I don’t expect to either. The wee clique that controls the Scottish media has as low an opinion of me as I do of them. I’m not one of their pals and have no wish to be.

I’m quite sanguine about the fact that I’ll never be invited on BBC Scotland to talk about politics and current affairs. I was involved with Newsnet Scotland, and am one of those people once described by former BBC Scotland director Ken McQuarrie as “those bastards from Newsnet”. When you have spent as much time and energy as I have complaining about how the BBC marginalises and excludes Scottish independence supporters in an effort to resist the normalisation of independence, you can’t really be surprised that the BBC doesn’t want to give you airtime.

But that caveat doesn’t apply to many, and perhaps most, of the other names that appear on that BBC Scotland nudge nudge wink wink blacklist that has no need to really exist. We’re all bastards from Newsnet now.


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0 thoughts on “We’re all bastards from Newsnet now

  1. Maybe you should get together along with Wings etc and build your own platform with those guys at trulyScottish Tv. Act like you’re already independent and all that. Would be summit tae watch tae

    • I like that idea but how do we get the ‘soft no’s’ to watch (and read) journalists and pro-indy people? I always share what they write on Facebook and Twitter but the majority of my friends and followers are likeminded Independandistas.

  2. We are way, way past the time for a campaign for non payment of the BBC propaganda tax. I know the SNP government can’t be part of it (at least officially) but the rest of us can. I finally had the balls to stop my direct debit in March. Come on Yessers, let’s do it. Look at Catalonia for inspiration. Faint hearts win f*ck all!!

    • Totally agree SoP. However, while many independence supporters have unilaterally stopped paying the fee, there are many others who remain reluctant to disobey the ‘law’ or have spouses/partners/housemates that wont let them. A widespread campaign, like the Poll Tax non-payment campaign, would let more of these people join in with confidence that they are part of a mass movement.

      • Not paying the license fee (PROPAGANDA TAX) will not stop the BBC being funded by the UK government.
        It will not reduce their income. Not buying the Herald Record etc WILL impact on their income. So I suggest that people stop buying these lying papers.

        The way to impact on the BBC is to have bigger and more demos at PRAVDA Quay. The 5 May demo should move on to PRAVDA Quay from Glasgow green. The BBC has declared war on indepence. We need to respond by regularly having demos outside their offices. They will hate this.

  3. Paul, it’s not just vile seps like yourself and Lesley Riddoch who don’t appear on the BBC and are on the list which doesn’t exist.

    Remember Isabel Fraser, the BBC journalist who once made the mistake of interviewing Ian (“Bayonet the Wounded”) Davidson with questions which went beyond the usual belly-rub kind reserved for BLiS______d politicians? He accused her immediately of having SNP sympathies and she then disappeared from our screens pretty sharpish.

    The Boothman Brood at PQ ensure that only the “right sort” are troubled for their trenchant apercus on Scottish politics and that their journalists are always be “on message”.

    Or else…

    • She gets the Saturday/Sunday morning Good Morning Shortbread slot. Usually under supervision (on Saturdays at any rate) from Gordon Brewer.
      Her disappearance from what Ian Davidson so amusingly called “Newsnat Scotland” ( quick, a needle and thread…I appear to have split my sides!) ALMOST coincided with it being cancelled, but it certainly doesn’t explain her being sidelined from their (stronger thread this time!) “flagship” radio news programme in favour of Hayley “I’ll stumble over every word and spend so much time interrupting it’ll be like a monologue” Miller.
      I think what did for Izzy Fraser was her ripping Davidson a new one. Live and on air.

  4. Just imagine if our first minister was given the time on bbc Scotland that May as PM is given to do her costant propaganda and lies. Imagine the difference it would make to hear what our goverment is doing to support our country through Brexit or, and i am ever hopeful, stop us from leaving the EU through independence.

    It’s a disgrace that we don’t hear from any of our main tv stations what our independence supporting government is doing to stop the limiting of powers by the Westminster goverment. This is directly denying the Scottish people the democracy we all voted for when we voted for devolution. It’s just totally vetoed and it’s so obvious.

    Like most on this blog we are politically aware, but the hundreds of thousands of others don’t know its crap they are being fed and they don’t know the news they are not getting. It’s very wrong and damaging and I’m not sure how we can fix it.

    I can also know there are many good and highly articulate political Indy supporting journalist who are never invited on any of the bbc political programmes. The snp after third largest party in parliament, but very rarely appear on the daily politics show, Marr, or god for bid the end of the bbc edition of first minister questions. BBC uk and Scotland politics shows have simply turned into a mouth piece for May’s apologists, Tory propaganda outlets and they don’t care that we all know that this is what they have become. Disgusted!

  5. Pingback: We’re all bastards from Newsnet now | speymouth

  6. What I don’t understand is this: why aren’t the Scottish Government making a huge fuss about this and insisting that opposing views are given appropriate airtime? The BBC didn’t have any problem with this when it was UKIP. If the government made an issue of this then it would be a lot harder for the BBC to deny that the bias exists.

  7. I huv neffer been in invited oan the telly neither and have to suffer these politically smug ignorant besterds day in and day oot.

    Scotland has always had good folk singers and groups, who will never see the inside of a Brit Nat TV studio.

    All the newspaper revues in the talking heads programmes are about English newspapers. Never once have any of their Scottish guests had the guts to ask for a “Scottish” Paper, even though it is perfectly safe to do so, as they are mostly English owned or Brit Nat liars anyway. There is about as much chance of the National being included as there is on a Menzies delivery list to Lidl and Aldi, who answer complaints about that in the same Britspeak manner as wot the EBC do.

  8. Firstly from the previous thread congratulations and best wishes for the forthcoming event, the best of luck.

    Your comment on the blacklist is probably correct why put something out in print that could be used against you at a later date and used as evidence , the ones that matter at the BBC have probably learned how to work the system as they have previously covered blacklisting in the building and oil industry, so lesson learned.

    This is where the whole media Circus in Scotland let’s everyone down they are doing no favours even to Unionist supporters , the guff they promote as News has people who support the Union wrapped in a Alice in Wonderland view of what is going on , these people are going to be pretty upset when the world as presented falls apart before their eyes, there will be tears.

  9. If by some chance whilst out and about the BBC people asked me for a vox pop I would tell them in polite terms that I wouldn’t micturate on PQ if it were on fire (and I was somehow passing since I stay in Dundee) and dare them to broadcast it.

    I try to watch the STV2 nightly news firstly because STV did it while the Beeb were vacillating showing how easy it is and secondly it actually is a proper Scottish 7 covering UK and international news as well as parochial local news for local people. They even have seamless screen time with various ITV correspondents of the like which the Beeb said would be problematic for their version.

    Every time they do it I think ‘up yours Aunty’.

  10. Though it seems a bit odd that there’s no weather forecast at the end. I’m then off to C4 News last 30min since I’m not into fitba blether (though I do not begrudge those who are).

  11. There’s a bit of me hoping that when the Supreme Court adjudicates that the Scottish Parliament does not matter, is a mere ‘convention’, that NS should call a SGE immediately, with Independence the first item on the manifesto.
    Just walk out of the chamber, and force the issue.
    It is clear that BBC and the Dead Tree Scrolls have flushed out all those who are not ‘the right sort’, or from the right, ahem, ‘background’, education and belief systems.
    It has always been thus.
    Nowadays they don’t even try to hide it.
    Paul, there is more chance of Rangers brokering a shirt sponsorship deal with the Vatican than you appearing on any of the Brit Nat channels,
    the best compliment I can think of.

  12. Although your ‘normalised’ explanation mat well be sufficient in many cases, it can, I have reason to believe, be more formalised. As any well-informed academic researcher into the history of the BBC’s interaction with politics can tell you, Paul, there usually isn’t a ‘list’ as such – just a little black symbol against the names of certain people on pefectly normal lists. As one ex-employee once told me, re an interview for a senior post, which that person had, unexpectedly, been left to chair – they were advised that anyone with such a symbol should not be appointed.

  13. Totally agree, but it can all get very Schopenhauresque,

    Consider the two following Statements:

    1. Everybody knows the BBC are anti-Scottish independence and exist to preserve the British state.
    2. It has always been thus.

    Statement 1. is more or less true these days except for the more moronic element of society or those with an exceptional capacity for burying their head in a bucket of sand.

    However statement 2. is nowhere near to being true. It is not many years back at all when those of us who even hinted that the BBC were biased against Scottish independence were roundly accused of paranoia even by other pro-indy supporters.

    Hell, even the leader of the official Yes campaign for indy1 and others high in that van openly refuted accusations that the BBC were biased.

    • Sadly there are a lot of buckets and sand people about. Particularly older(not all by any means) in whose mind it would never occur that they might be getting fed a lot of lies and bullshit. The BBC telling Scots what to think since 1922.

  14. This just proves how cowardly they are and how much independence scares the crap out of them take thursdays fmqs nicola tore ruth Davidson apart anyone wacthing saw it brian Taylor of the bbc had tryed to spin it the other way around and two cheer leaders who in honesty didnt truely see the destruction that was Davidsons question on herself shows how pathetic there cowardice has made them.

  15. I mentioned this on Wings a while back. I know someone who has a regular show on BBC Scotland and has done for many years. The show has nothing to do with politics. He’d once said something on air a year or so before the referendum that implied he supported independence. He had a surprise visit from the Director General. The DG was very interested to hear his thoughts on independence and although nothing was explicitly said, he was left in no doubt about the intention of the conversation. Want a continued career then keep quiet. Something he had a very hard time doing.

  16. After reading this article I now remember Iain Macwhirter has disappered from the BBC after his pro Indy stance. I presume he is the mystery person.

  17. Turned on Marr show this morning.

    F……ng Nick (LIAR) ROBINSON hosting it. Had to immediately turn it off. The man makes me feel physically sick when I see him.

    A proven liar and ex Tory party member given a platform by the BBC. What a disgusting corrupt organisation.

    The BBC gets a block grant from the UK gov but also acts as a private company. Rolling in money its executives living the high life while turning a blind eye to a paedophile ring of employees ( Saville etc) at the same time masquerading as a force for good in the world and a bastion of fairness and objectivity.

    • Am surrised Jacob Mogg Rees isnt on the BBC more often seeing as his father was once one of the heid honchos, fair enough he gets plenty of airtime but am sure he would get more for being another LYING Silver spoon up the erse Tory shitebag

  18. I have longed to have you invited on to a BBBC political programme – I know it is never going to happen or indeed to any other articulate, intelligent and incisive commentator.

    Putting up with the drivel spouted by Brewer , Bird and co. was too much for me and I haven’t allowed them to grace the screen of this house for a couple of years.

  19. I note Haggerty seems immune from the blacklist. No surprise there right enough, also no surprise with the unionist bullshit emanating from the Sunday Herald today.

    “Pro-indy” my arse!

  20. The SNP can’t keep on ignoring state funded, BBC bias. Their supporters are sick to the back teeth with this. People like former Syrian ambassador Peter Ford, can take apart BBC interviewers on for example, the “chemical weapons attack”. On the same matter, Peter Hitchens destroying Andrew Neil. Lord Adonis, doing the same with Brexit. These are individuals, taking on the establishment themselves. Because of their views and their dexterity with words, they are perceived as dangerous to the establishment. The only reason the disgraced BBC have them on, is to have the opportunity to try and discredit them. The establishment tries to portray them as being rebels, insurgents agitating against mass opinion. The establishment fails, because of the quality of their argument and their articulation of the facts. They won’t be browbeaten. They won’t be interrupted without causing damage to their antagonistic interviewers. They point out the bias and errors, of the state funded outlet’s propaganda.
    I support the SNP. The Scottish Government is fantastic in what they do. However, they let themselves down on this. The SNP has around 130,000 members and many more supporters, yet they are being frustrated by the failure to tackle the corrupt BBC They allow themselves to be put on the defensive. They are not assertive enough and make it too easy for the BBC Unionist interviewers to interrupt. In the General Election they, unbelievably, allowed themselves to be attacked on devolved matters by the unionist propagandist Glenn Campbell, without complaint.
    The corrupt BBC know exactly what they are doing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to the SNP. They somehow, seem to keep believing that the unionist media is going to be fair to them. This policy of being nice to the BBC, in the hope of getting a fair crack of the whip, has proved to be a dismal failure. They keep falling into set up traps and accept fake Unionists news without too much of a murmur.
    It’s past time to accept that this policy hasn’t and isn’t working. If they don’t change into attack mode and refuse interuptions in TV interviews, then they’ll continue to be made to look weak and defensive. TV interviews are one of the only ways, the SNP can undermine BBC bias and lies. But they can’t do it, if they follow the Unionists agenda.

  21. Ach, you might be a bastard from Newsnet, but one of the best articles I have used to blooter the Yoonionist and tractor arguments out of the water was the A-Z of myths debunked, and it turned a few people that I know of from no or unsure to a yes, maybe we will see an updated version one day, kkep up the good work Wee Ginger Dug and mind and take yer owner Paul oot furra walk maybe back in the direction of Skye

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