I’ve just stopped laughing…

I’ve been unable to post for 24 hours, having been convulsed with laughter at Labour claims of pro-independence bias at the BBC. Every time I sat down to write I ended up shaking with hilarity until my sides ached. It’s only now my hands have stopped trembling long enough to hold the keyboard.

For sheer brass-necked audacity you have to admire these spin doctor types, inhabiting as they do a parallel universe of grudge and grievance, of black-and-white and right versus wrong…a world in which any assertion can be advanced even though totally detached from reality and, even as they watch, sections of the media repeat their confections of innuendo for a mass audience.

Former Daily Record political hack and Gordon Brown lieutenant (the more usual term is shit-kicker) Paul Sinclair managed to convey two ideas through the Scotsman – one, that the BBC was failing to be impartial and was complicit in working with Yes, and two, that the treatment of the No side generally was unfair and people should sympathise with them. Believe me, I’m trying.

The actual “complaints” were, to people with lives in the real world, trivial and not worth detailing. But, as ever with these occasional eruptions in the ever-simmering volcano of politics and media, the resulting outpouring of putrefaction contains evidence of what’s really bubbling away underground.

To me, it confirms first, that one of the lessons Sinclair learned was that you never let anyone off the hook. Even those you have on your chain must be reminded regularly of their duty to comply, by yanking it. The media after all is almost exclusively in the No camp. Do you know anyone from your neighbour to the best analytical brains in Scotland who would disagree with that? Of course not.

But to Sinclair the truth isn’t enough. He must constantly whip them into line to avoid slacking and create an impression of an alternative reality in which the plucky No camp is struggling against the institutional might of the BBC and other untrustworthy elements.

Secondly, it hints at a possible breakdown in a relationship, that between Sinclair and John Boothman, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland. This is not, as nationalists might have it, a self-serving and dubious affair. John Boothman was a political producer at BBC for many years and was famous for his unrivalled network of contacts in the Labour movement.

Contact with Sinclair would be as normal as tea and biscuits for him and mutually beneficial. Sinclair was carrying on the long Record tradition of working hand-in-glove with Labour and that was natural territory for Boothman who had a Labour background. The difference is that Sinclair could spin a pro-Labour line – and was expected to – and could editorialise in his copy. For Boothman that would be very difficult indeed, even if he had the motivation. (For those convinced of blatant pro-Labour bias at the BBC, I intend in coming posts to give my view more fully).

If the emails from Sinclair to the BBC were leaked at Sinclair’s request – and there’s no confirmation of this – it is designed to put the frighteners on the BBC, to warn them that anything and everything could turn up in the public domain unless they play along with him and to whip up synthetic Labour anger suggesting the media just won’t take a reasonable line. Do you think someone who worked for Gordon Brown where Damien McBride was schooled, could leak his own emails to put pressure on the BBC? Do you think he could do such a thing, this close adviser who writes the lines Johann Lamont delivers at FMQs? Sinclair’s emails were sent to Labour MPs and MSPs as well as to the BBC. Therefore, if the Scotsman received them from a BBC source, how did the BBC get the PLP emails? And vice versa. They must have come from someone with access to both. Who could that be? Make up your own mind.

All of which suggests a breakdown in the old pals act with Boothman.  And I’m not surprised because what isn’t widely known is that Sinclair had a name for trying to interfere in BBC news decisions to influence output. This is not unusual for those who are the mouthpiece of politicians. All sides do it. I have sat beside producers reduced to tears after being called to account by a hectoring spad. When there is a damaging story, the party hacks will call up the producer and harangue them to get them change tack while the programme is being made, sometimes luring them with a “better” line but always warning that a complaint will be made. They threaten journalists. At the BBC of course, the etiquette demands politeness and feigned respect for these bullies. The correct response is to tell them where to go.

But what I didn’t like about Sinclair-Boothman was the informal and insidious way it developed, so instead of old pals, it became almost one of master and servant. Sinclair seemed to assume the right to call the BBC head of news to account. It was going on right up to the final weeks before my departure.

As an example, you’ll recall the notorious leaked John Swinney briefing paper from March which appeared to say the SNP government knew of, but was hiding, big spending commitments in years ahead. I was presenting the Saturday Good Morning Scotland and we dissected this in the first item after the 8 am news. We gave it a good 10 minutes looking at all aspects. The following Monday John Boothman called me over and asked what the programme had done with the Swinney report. I checked and said it had been the lead item, given top billing.

He explained in exasperation that he had received an email from Paul Sinclair demanding to know how we had covered it and said he was always receiving these demands from him. He was at that moment framing his reply. I said Sinclair could just listen to the radio like everybody else and suggested he tell him to f**k off. He gave me the impression he’d like to but couldn’t.

This exchange left a sour taste for a journalist. Why should the head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland be personally drafting explanations of editorial decisions to Johann Lamont’s office? Didn’t Sinclair bother listening or did he sleep through the first hour and instead of using the iplayer just email his pal at the BBC who would check for him? When did anybody at the BBC, let alone an executive on £100,000 of public money, become an agent of the Labour Party, offering a personalised service no other  licence-fee payer or political party gets?

Sinclair contacts Boothman, Boothman contacts presenter and Labour interference goes down the line to the programme production team who are made aware of the scrutiny. Aim: Keep applying the pressure

If Johann Lamont doesn’t know what the BBC has broadcast what makes her think her bag-carrier should be able to access the head of news to find out? And is it really about finding out what was broadcast, or isn’t Sinclair’s email really designed to intimidate, to say: We’re listening to everything you do and if you make a single slip, we’ll be on to you.  And that, in all probability, is what eventually happened. Because Sinclair wasn’t put firmly in his box, he believed he could carry on trying to influence BBC editorial decisions until he found he wasn’t getting his way and ran to the papers to embarrass the BBC.

We did an item on another programme in which we questioned how effective the Yes campaign was. There was widespread concern at its lack of impact so we examined that idea. As soon as we were off air there was an email from John Boothman asking bluntly how were going to balance it with the No side.

We were puzzled as we had done a questioning item on Yes, hardly a puff piece and there is no actual requirement for strict balance at this stage. And yet here was the head of department, most uncharacteristically, immediately requesting in an email from home, how this would be balanced. My guess? Sinclair called him and demanded to know when his side would get equal time and the request was passed on to the programme-makers within minutes. I know I could be wrong, but the way this happened looked very strange. The irony of course was that we did a knocking piece on Yes and still they weren’t satisfied. Aim: Keep up the pressure.

Now there is no reason why a head of news shouldn’t have a relaxed relationship with those in public life and on occasion share a drink and a bitch to clear the air. But there’s a difference between that and a regular inquisition of decision-making in which the one representing the public institution does the fetch-and-carry. If Sinclair or Labour want to complain there is a  laid-down complaints procedure. Interestingly, they rarely use it. Why bother, when you have your own man inside answering your demands and passing your views down the line to the staff?

Managers have to know where to draw a line and relegate personal feelings when necessary. This inquisition by a political party appointee was inappropriate and crossed a line. Boothman should have said from the outset that editorial decisions were for him, not for Sinclair and he wouldn’t respond to demands for explanations. He would respond to formal complaints and would meet privately to listen to criticism from time to time. The current bust-up may indicate that Boothman is fighting back, forcing Sinclair to take another tack…which is to shift the target and apply pressure en mass to the Director of BBC Scotland.

Almost everything I know about spads and spin doctors is unhealthy and against the public interest. Is it time to formalise some rules for so-called advisers so they are made accountable perhaps by public examination by an MSP committee?

Incidentally, what does it tell us about the media that this story appeared in the Scotsman at all? Well, it’s certainly legitimate because – if – it came from Sinclair, it is a recognisable source, it is a genuine area of public interest and there is a right to know. And journalists feed off leaks and tips, as I used to do. But you see how easy it is if you’re in a position of authority to access the newspapers and set the agenda. And the way this works is that the paper knows the deal: It must give enough prominence as reward for the leak and shouldn’t interrogate the story too deeply or will risk not getting any more titbits. It is media manipulation. To be journalistically honest the Scotsman should have challenged the assertion in the emails by pointing out that apart from a Labour Party campaign of vilification there is no one and no evidence suggesting remotely that there is pro Yes bias at the BBC.

We had another example in Scotland on Sunday at the weekend where, and I’m guessing from past events, David “Fluffy” Mundell phones up and suggests the bedroom tax may be devolved. Really? No one has confirmed it as government policy, it would be a petty and opportunistic offer if it were, and it’s a desperate attempt to defray the rancid publicity the Coalition is getting. But, for SoS this is a Government minister telling them something new. What is a story-hungry reporter to do ? So, true or not, it is the splash story and the idea was further endorsed in the paper’s leader. So with one call, the Government has used the media to float an idea and win support. Simple. And they say Scotland’s single Tory MP has no influence.

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64 thoughts on “I’ve just stopped laughing…

  1. Great stuff Derek. I suspect there are some in the BBC?Labour circle who wish you were still inside the tent pissing out 😉

  2. Absolute dynamite, Derek. Thank goodness you retired when you did to tell us about all this stuff!

    Incidentally, since you mention Mundell and the bedroom tax – I noticed on a recent edition of the Sunday Politics that Andrew Kerr was doggedly refusing to refer to the bedroom tax as anything other than the “spare room subsidy”, even going as far as to correct himself when he accidentally repeated the term “bedroom tax” that someone else used. It seemed pretty obvious that someone had been having a word in the BBC’s ear about calling it the bedroom tax, because it was very jarring. What do you think, Derek?

  3. Holy shit! So a Labour Party spin doctor, working for Johann Lamont calls a BBC executive and executive jumps to it? Why? Why doesn’t he tell them to F off? A that isn’t a rhetorical question, why doesn’t he?

  4. Insightful, but, how to get this into the open (beyond those like us who smell the rats).

  5. ‘(For those convinced of blatant pro-Labour bias at the BBC, I intend in coming posts to give my view more fully).’ I look forward to it!

    Its great to hear an authentic and intelligent insider’s (recently at least) take on the strange political goings on at BBC Scotland. Many, many thanks Derek.

    You keep ‘the good stuff’ coming and we’ll ‘get it smelt!’

  6. brilliant stuff….can’t wait to hear more

  7. Watched The Thick of it, episode one of the second series, last night. A graphic outline of what Derek has just said regarding hectoring SPADs, worth a look.

    Brilliant piece again, Derek. Any chance of letting us know what happened with Izzy Fraser?

  8. “Is it time to formalise some rules for so-called advisers so they are made accountable perhaps by public examination by an MSP committee?”

    I’d love to see Paul Sinclair dragged out into the light in front of a committee. If his twitter account, and this blog article, are anything to go by, the man is a snake.

  9. I had a fuzzy view on these things being not too far removed from the truth.
    You have confirmed to me that the world of politics and reporting is indeed murky and deceitful and all stories and comment should be taken with a liberal pinch of salt.
    It’s been a rocky road to independence but it can be done, with people like you, thanks.

  10. […] comes from Derek Bateman.  The links between Labour and the BBC have long been suspect(ed), and here Derek scratches the surface with some recent examples, and a promise of more to follow.  Watch that space […]

  11. I am awaiting a response from the BBC whn I complained that Jackie O’Brien in a piece from the Highlands used the terms “seperatist” and “seperation” when referring to the coming referendum on independence. In my opinion these words have become politically loaded and should not be used by a supposed neutral interviewer – further evidence of the BBC’s pro unionist stance.

  12. Thank you Derek… So glad you left the Beeb!

  13. I’ve often though of Boothman as the unnoficial head of the opposition in Scotland. It didn’t occur to me that he was just taking orders. I have noticed quite a few stories on GMS where the first report was relatively unbiased and then changed in later reports to shield the party or slanted to attack the snp. Presumably calls were made.

  14. The cracks in the dam are getting bigger and bigger. Those living under it must be looking fearfully at the water seeping out, and checking their bug out bags and escape routes.
    Well done Derek, it was a long time coming, and has confirmed all I thought and explains why the BBC is so tainted and corrupted by the black arts specialists such as Sinclair and McBride.
    The forces used a stamp at one time for the records of those who fell short of the required suicidal standards of bravery. It was red and LMF. Which meant “lack of moral fiber.” You can never be accused of that. It takes guts to do what you have done. Whereas those who wither under the threats of the Ukanians Black Arts Department are IMHO no more than LMF.
    Keep up the great work, perhaps you and Izzy Fraser should become a tag team. “The Unforgiven.”

  15. Surprised? Moi?

    Nope the question left hanging is just what does Sinclair have on Boothman that gives him this level of leverage?

    Ironically Sinclair has now been exposed as the actual source of what he is ‘complaining’ about, imparting media bias. The impact on the Scotsman has been to see its circulation plunge ever downwards for giving Sinclair and his friends a platform.

    Derek, I respect your view on BBC Scotland’s news output trying to be ‘fair’ but having watched Sally Magnusson being close to tears as the rejection of Scottish Labour became clear in the 2011 election coupled with the well known Labour allegiance of many of Newsnicht’s independent ‘experts’ plus the style of ignorant posturing, since Isabel’s demise, from the regular ‘Newsnicht’ presenters I will be hard to convince. The look on Kirsty Wark’s face when ‘No’ took a clearly unexpected drubbing at the battle of the Chain (Union) Bridge and her blustering and dismissive response to the result, says much about BBC Scotland’s sense of needing to being on ‘Westminster is best’ message.

    It is sad when nearly every other EU broadcaster and even those further afield gave the ‘March for Independence’ fuller and more balanced coverage than BBC Scotland. I do not expect to have to go to Russia TV or Al Jezeera for a balanced review of an event of major political importance in and for Scotland.

  16. FFS! When did “Scottish” labour take ownership of Pacific Quay? It looks to me like they are the propaganda arm of the labour party in Scotland.

    “For those convinced of blatant pro-Labour bias at the BBC, I intend in coming posts to give my view more fully”

    Yes, am more convinced than ever, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it.

    It is long past time the labour cabal in bbc Scotland were exposed. There should be a root and branch clear out of the politically influenced in that institution. Boothman, Maxwell, McQuarrie, Bird et al should be outed for what they are. british labour propagandists.

    bbc Scotland pro Yes? Only a fool could possibly believe that.

  17. It wasn’t that long ago that David Cameron’s SPAD came out of No.10 and lambasted the BBC reporter for going off message he either didn’t know or didn’t care that the camera was still running.

  18. Looking forward to your take on how Scottish Labour killed the ‘Salmond in Dodgy Land Deal’ story.

  19. Fantastic stuff Derek!

    You thought you’re first blog would be you’re last, knew it wouldn’t and I (and many others) are on the edges of our seats for more.

    This stuff is pivotal

  20. Hope you will tell us the political link between Lisa Summers and Jim Murphy. Was astonished some time ago when Labour were still in Government and Murphy was visiting Rosyth and the new aircraft carrier. In the lunchtime TV slot Summers greeted him with a hearty “Hello Jim”, not Mr. Murphy or Minister, and later gave him an opening for his diatribe against the SNP’ defence policy. It was obvious that they knew each other and even the BBC cut the opening remarks from the teatime edition.

  21. What a bizarre spoof this blog is.

    When they are not busy creating sham Labour4Indy groups and pretending to be undecided on the radio the lacklustre YESnp campaign create bogus blog like this.

    The truth. The first casualty of fading nationalist campaigns…

    • Grahamski
      Welcome. It’s great to have you on board. I was wondering if you’d get here. You’re presence is the confirmation I needed that I had arrived. Thank you. You’re not the first though. I had my very first critic yesterday and I thanked him for his view and his honesty. I extend a hand across the satirical nationalist divide. Game of footy in No man’s Land?
      Kind regards
      Derek

      • Brilliant riposte….

        Might I suggest others don’t feed the troll and leave him in Mr Bateman’s capable hands….

      • Roibert a Briuis

        OH MY with Grahamski and his ilk the old adage of Never argue with a fool; as onlookers may not be able to tell the difference should be to the fore. Ignoring them leaves them isolated and unfulfilled.

      • “You’re presence”? Hmmm..would the real Braveheart Bateman make such an embarrassing faux pas? I certainly hope not! I do miss his Saturday and Sunday turns, however. An hour or so of the bold Derek belting out ‘Flower Of Scotland’ is just the thing to start your weekend…

    • No spoof – believe it or not, this Paul Sinclair goblin really exists, and is as horrible as he is depicted in this blog.

    • Speaking of brainwashed Labour apologists, along comes Grahamski, right on cue! Re your stupid attempt to smear the SNP, your beloved Labour lot wouldn’t recognise the truth if it bit them on the arse. As examples of that, I give you Baillie, Lamont, Curran and Murphy, to name but a few of the main and repeated suspects.

    • The only thing fading is the activity of your lonely neuron. What it must be to be the most ridiculed user of the blogosphere. You are running very close to Darling and McDougall. It may even be a dead heat. Please campaign in Falkirk as you did for the 2011 election. My sides are still sore laughing at you hollow boasting about the reaction to your pseudo doorstepping.

    • Oh Oh Oh arent you the guy who foresaw the Labour in Scotland landslide of 2011?

      you are famous around these parts 🙂

  22. Thanks for this Derek. It is gratifying to know that the suspicions of many Scots that the BBC is biased against the cause of self determination is justified. A good number of us have been arguing for some time now that the democratic process in Scotland is being seriously undermined by the msm and in particular the BBC. Anyone who has studied the tactics of Goebbels during the Thirties would surely conclude that our state broadcaster is employing similar methods. For example,the subliminal messages, i.e. ‘The Scottish Government has been warned’, ‘Alex Salmond is accused’, ‘The SNP fail’ etc, etc,; the failure to report ‘good news’ stories for the nationalist cause, the downbeat assessments on the Scottish economy and of Scottish oil, the grim, funereal tones of newsreaders when reporting anything which suggest Scotland is doing well.
    I am seriously concerned that not only is the democratic process in Scotland being undermined, the people of Scotland are undergoing a process of mind manipulation similar to that used in Orwell’s 1984. The constant drip feed of smears, fears, distortions and lies is having a negative effect on people’s self confidence, decision making and ability to think rationally. The ‘Big Lie’ is in constant circulation and comes in many forms.
    Once again thanks for exposing this extremely serious threat to our democracy. We can only hope that your revelations reach as many Scots as as possible before it become is too late.

  23. Derek, what you’ve written is what many of us suspected was the truth. Working for the BBC must be a nightmare at times. I’m wondering what the NUJ’s stance is on this and whether people have been lodging workplace grievances against the BBC as their employer. It would be interesting if the NUJ would be willing to comment on this. Seems to me the staff at the BBC could take out a collective Grievance – if they haven’t already done so. And if they haven’t, it suggests that they fear the consequences of doing so would be worse than the bullying itself. What does that say about the BBC as an employer?

  24. Grahamski has discovered this blog. It must be gaining a (well-deserved) reputation!

  25. Cracking post Derek.

    Looking forward to the follow up.

  26. Superb, after independence how many of these furtive types will be looking too keep their jobs?

  27. This article goes a long way to giving readers a proper understanding of the likely events surrounding the effective demotion of Isobel Fraser, who was (and is) one the best interviewers and presenters at BBC Scotland. When Iain Davidson made his comments that she was biased, the BBC said they supported her, but this did not last long. It looks very much like Scottish Labour wanted Fraser out of the way. Presumably they knew she had professional integrity, and would put both sides in the referendum debate under pressure. The Fraser situation is an utter disgrace.

  28. Great but unsurprising piece. The Scottish media, especially the BBC has been at this for decades. Raymond Buchanan, brother of Jodie, Mrs Brian Wilson, friend of ex-Labour MSP Alasdair Morrison, who’s the brother of BBC’s John. John McLaren, John Curtice, Douglas Fraser and Gordon Brewer. It’s a veritable Who’s Who of Unionism. Can’t wait for the BBC tarpaulin to be pulled back……….

  29. Well done Derek, looking forward to further revelations but I for one regret you are not still at the Beeb asking fair but tough questions to both sides.

  30. Good stuff Derek – keep it coming

  31. “…universe of grudge and grievance”

    The nationalist ‘case’ against the union is built around promoting a victim, blame and grievance mentality. The nationalist ‘case’ against 300 years of peaceful, mutually beneficial coexistence.

    ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ politics. (If it can properly be called politics)

    • So we never had a rebellion in 45, and the UKs tanks in Georges Square Glasgow are just mythology. The use of the word victim is enough in itself. Victims are usually created by events. “Promoting” victims is Ukanian speak for telling the truth. If every thing in the garden was coming up roses the SNP would not exist. Scotland would be secure and confident in a UK that did not discriminate against us. The UK is overwhelmingly pro England and London in that order. As in the BBC Scots are expected, nae required to sit down and STFU. Unless you have demonstrated your colonised credentials as Wark and Marr have.

  32. Love it Derek, good for you, I always suspected that BBC Scotland was the mouthpiece for Labour

  33. Well said Derek. You must be hitting home as the apologists for Rukitania are surfacing. Whenever i watch BBC I am overcome by a malodorous aroma. I now know what it is–Shite,

  34. I know that Private Eye is not noted for its support of Scottish Indpendence but they do have a great respect for quality journalism and take great delight in exposing unfair, corrupt and hypocritical practices. If only they could be persuaded to carry Derek’s excellent exposure of BBC Scotland and the Better Together mob’s disgraceful behaviour it would go a long way towards educating their influential readership, who while well informed on most things are, sadly lacking in knowledge and understanding of Scottish Politics and the disgracefully biased TV and Print Media. .

  35. You must be touching a raw nerve Derek as the project fear trolls are now taking an interest.

  36. @Gus Coutts

    As a long time subscriber to Private Eye, I’ve emailed the link to this article to the Private Eye Editorial Staff.

    Hopefully they might feature it. I previously urged them to investigate the mysterious Jezerna Roza, maybe that’s why ‘she’ went to ground until recently.

  37. […] Writing on his blog, Mr Bateman claimed that Boothman was “famous for his unrivalled network of contacts in the Labour movement.” adding that, “…Sinclair had a name for trying to interfere in BBC news decisions to influence output.” […]

  38. Thanks for sharing the fascinating goings on behind the doors of the BBC in Scotland. I look forward to hearing more!

  39. Fascinating insight behind the walls and doors of Pacific Quay and congratulations for having the integrity and courage to lift a corner of the veil on the grubby internal workings which we all suspected take precedence therein. Let us not forget that Boothman’s gang is due to be supplemented by another key propagandist for Better Together – welcome James Naughtie .

  40. Roibert a Briuis

    WOW AWESOME Derek but hardly surprising the BIG surprise is that they booted you out so that you were free able to tell it like it is.BUT THEN we all know that there is a big spelling error in the title of the Labour ooops LIEbour Party and for a party called The Scottish LIEbour Party that is a figment of a few deranged peoples imagination.

    O/T was watching Pravda (2) ooops SKY News, the clone version of the Badly Biased Corporation at lunchtime and Coward Dave accepted an invitation to do a televised debate with the other party leaders pre the next general election explaining how IMPORTANT televised debates were and how he was looking forward to taking part.

    David Cameron has told Sky News he is ready to take part in TV debates ahead of the next general election but wants them to happen earlier. – Mr Cameron said there would be “negotiation” about how the debates would be organised but said that he was committed to being involved. – “I felt that while they were very good, and full credit to Sky for championing them” .

    The Prime Minister earlier indicated to Sky News he would not be happy for UKIP leader Nigel Farage to be involved in the clashes, despite the party’s popularity. “These debates should be about people who have a prospect of being prime minister – that is what people really want to see: what would the Government do,” he said.

    OOOOPS forgot what you said last week Coward Dave – big surprise not.

    How seriously worrying is it that we need to watch RT and Al Jazeera to get any real balanced reporting and news without any distorting spin……I watched RT the other week with Sophie Shevardnadze interviewing Hans Blix and it was like night and day, one question one answer no interrupting and when Sophie slipped up and asked two questions Hans quietly and politely said please just one question at a time and Sophie apologised and continues without any issues…….Paxo and ALL the BBC starstruck excuses for interviewers eat your heart out – or watch and learn how properly interview people and not to be a propagandist that Paul Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of ……………….IF ONLY

  41. So thats Grahamski come out of the hole in the woodwork how long to you think before we see Ffulkes, Smart, Kelly and the likes all trolls together maybe if we put a wee saucer of milk down laced with arsenic they’ll all have a wee sup?

  42. You are lucky to still get RT. I can hardly heat it, let alone see it now. Suspicious? As for Pravda, that is now quite a decent paper.

  43. Oh Christ …has Grahamski finally appeared. Well, he can go and bugger off back to the Scotsman opinion pages there. He is one of the key individuals who ruined opinions on that newspapers website with his dreadful trolling. I swore I would never ever comment there again. Mr Bateman, if he starts …BAN HIM! This is a wonderful site. I have no problems with Unionists coming here, just as long as they are sensible and talk sensibly. With Grahamski …never!

    • It could be worse – you might get McIntyre of OBE fame who pollutes the comments on The Herald daily with his repetitive nonsense and obsession with Alex Salmond..

  44. “It could be worse – you might get McIntyre of OBE fame who pollutes the comments on The Herald daily with his repetitive nonsense and obsession with Alex Salmond..”
    yea someones always got to spoil the atmosphere aint they gus? 🙂

  45. They (BBC) don’t like it up ’em!

  46. Saturday morning is just the same as any other since Bateman left, so fantastic to hear from him again. Please keep it up.

  47. […] government by the Hillsborough Enquiry and the events at the Orgrave Colliery in 1984. Evidence of political manipulation of the news at the BBC , supposedly our impartial broadcaster, and the recent scandals over MP’s expenses have all […]

  48. Thank you Mr Bateman. Your esteem grows ever. Well done on your consummate work.

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