I heard it on the BBC

Did you see Newsnight? They did a report at the top of the programme about Cameron getting real about the referendum and making a speech to invoke the spirit of the Olympics to wake up Britain to the risk of independence. But they used Alan Little to do the job of correspondent and he really hit it hard, pointing out how Downing Street was rattled, the polls were closing, Better Together was failing because it was too negative and Darling wasn’t up to the job. Cameron has a dilemma because of 59 MPs he only has one in Scotland and the Coalition is hated. At last some realistic hard-hitting journalism from the BBC, telling like it is.

I hear there was a move to appoint Little the BBC’s referendum corr but it was opposed by vested interests in the newsroom. On this basis, they made a mistake. He was right in form and hard-hitting. And he got a story Newsnight in Scotland doesn’t have – or at least aren’t doing. Yet, you know what, this has the sound of some ice-breaking, like the realisation is dawning that things are changing and once we start to hear that message on the BBC, the skids are under the No lot and they know it. If the tenor of Little’s report is right and if this is how the BBC reports from now, the ground is beginning to shake. Cameron suddenly gets it, he beings to implore the rest of Britain to help him and how long before their case against monetary union collapses? The logic is, as he gets rattled, he starts conceding. The more the previously reluctant BBC bites his legs, the more he will squeal. This report had a new tone, a sense of change, of panic of fear that maybe the Scots really are going to do it. Once that gets around, everything changes. And the worse the No message has been, the more difficult it is for them to claw their way back by being nice and conciliatory. Who’d believe them now?

This morning on Radio Four James Naughtie appeared giving his view on the Cameron speech and struck a totally different tone to Little. He sounded as if he was downplaying it and far from the No side getting rattle, he said them polls were still far apart and it was interesting how two BBC London-based correspondents could sound so different on the same story. Also they had Tessa Jowell – brought up and educated in Scotland – and rather imploring us not to vote for our own government “because she had a Scottish background”. This is a constant theme…MPs with tartan ties and peoples saying: But my wife is English. IT DOESN’T MATTER….it’s not about where you come from…it’s about those of us living here deciding to take control of our own affairs – all of them and keeping those unions and associations we, and they, choose. And didn’t Sturgeon give a pasting to Naughtie…poor Jim is no match for her and you know, it puzzles me why he is doing all the political interviews when there are experienced Radio Scotland presenters in the same studio. It’s a big assumption that a man who has lived in London for 30 years and wallowed in Westminster culture can really ever catch up with the rapidly moving scene in Scotland and it’s nuances. It’s not working for me, fine broadcaster that he is, he sounds a bit overwhelmed and retreats into  rambling upsums of the situation as he sees it, a clear sign he is stuck for a rejoinder…as he was years ago when he berated John Prescott for revealing details about a colleague only to be told by Prescott: “But that’s what you do…you ask people like me to dinner and then write about the private stuff we tell you…” words to that effect. Jim went silent and blustered something like: “Oh, come on now….”

This is going to get hot and I’m not convinced it is going to be the glory gig Jim anticipated.

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29 thoughts on “I heard it on the BBC

  1. Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call….

  2. How long can Cameron continue to reject debating with Salmond?

  3. I do hope you are right about this Derek. It would be long overdue.

  4. Yes Derek I also felt the change in tone. Alan Little definitely reported it like it was, My bias detector was switched to maximum as usual when watching Newsnight but there was none. However swallow doesn’t make a spring.

  5. I shall catch this on the iPlayer.
    Alan Little is a journalist of integrity and intelligence. His recent work includes Our Friends in the North, about the successes and challenges faced by the Nordic countries, certainly not a eulogy, but a very fine piece of reflective journalism. I commend it.
    Also a recent Hardtalk interview with Richard Holloway, which current journalists with BBC Scotland should study as an example of searching questions producing informative and revealing answers. No bullying and harassment involved.
    It’s good to have positive comments to make, unfortunately there is a scarcity of opportunity for this where the BBC is involved.

  6. Alas I have been watching the David and George show on QT – what a waste of time that was. I have given up, overdosing as I am on righteous bluster from both wings of caricatured extremes. I shall have to catch Newsnight later

    There seems to be a theme developing that there are mutterings about the performance of BT. They lack foot soldiers and they are over-reliant on the favours of the media. If the media started questioning or ignoring their daily briefs they will suffer.

    • Check out Yes Dundee’s Facebook account of how they love bombed a BT ‘event’ in Dundee today. They outnumbered the Nos 50 to 7!

      • Sheena Wellington

        Which was remarkable considering they didn’t find out about the BT ‘Goodbye’ demo until late on Wednesday afternoon, sent out a call early evening and had about 50 people rearranging their schedules to turn up!

  7. I hear what you said also note your enthusiasm and I’ll catch the iplayer in the morning. You are an experienced journalist and pick up these straws in the wind. But when I see two swallows I’ll concede that summer might have arrived.

  8. Just back home… off tae watch Newsnicht…

    I have a fair bit of time for Alan Little so…

    Hope springs eternal…

  9. But, but, but, didn’t Mr McConnell plead the case for no politicising of sporting events?

    Well that lasted all of five minutes.

    Spot on Derek, Alan Little dropped a bombshell critique on the BT campaign to date and slapped Westminster round the cheeks with a Monty Python cod. Cameron will have to come up with a helluva speech to undo two years of ‘ye cannae dae it’.

  10. I saw the Allan Little report too. Isn’t it amazing how your heart can get lifted by just one piece of (literally) decent reporting? Fair enough, it was a good news story as far as we are concerned anyway but there was no attempt to put an anti-independence spin on it. Isn’t that all we want? Good, fair reporting of the referendum. If the issues were to be dealt with fairly on the BBC, we can’t lose. I hope Mr Little doesn’t suddenly disappear from view.

    I saw Our Friends in the North, as well, Margaret. You’re so right – well worth watching, an informative documentary that left you to form your own opinion.

  11. Well we will see how Naughtie behaves on gms tomorrow.He is a unionist to the core.

  12. I just wish this standard of unspun reporting would continue on the BBC…thats all we want balance. Wil this be continued by Noooauchtie tomorrow on GMS I wonder. Based on this (and his Nordic documentary) I wish Mr Little had got the Indyref reporter gig it might have restored my faith in the BBC. BTW has anyone else noticed that there seem to be more english accents in the BBCRadio Scotland newsroom recently? I say this as an english person and its not a judgement on their reporting but to me Radio Scotland always reflected/sounded scottish (with obviously a few other voices/accents along the way.

  13. Where there,s a hill, there,s a brae,an we havent reached the top. keep up the good work Derek

  14. There’s 8 months to go and It looks like there isn’t even a wee boy ready to stick his finger into the dam wall.

    There should be an amicable solution quest operating right now to sort out who gets what and the rest we give to the charity shop.

  15. Well done again. You said exacly what I was thinking.

  16. Here’s hoping it isn’t too Little too late.

    Somebody had to say it. 🙂

  17. I watched the clip on Wings Over Scotland. Quite jaw-dropping as you say to hear something so well-informed and objective on “Beeb Very Afraid”.

    Alan Little covered a number of key aspects very cogently. It would have been even more impressive if he’d been able to give a view on the uniform and blatant unionist bias in the media, although the very fact of him saying these things for the first time on this channel made exactly that point.

    Subtle.

    Even so, you might have imagined a decent interviewer asking, “Mr Little, why haven’t we heard this kind of analysis before..?”

    But the tide’s going out on such types. They can’t keep feeding so many people so much tosh and not expect we’ll get sick of it.

  18. Well the “Littles” have a good Reiver history as well! 🙂

    Still nice to see a neutral report. It’s a shame we probably won’t see Alan reporting on Scotland any more though 😦

  19. Radio 4 interviewer got a doing from Nicola this morning on the PMs red white and blue speech and he did not like it finishing with a very curt ‘thanks’

  20. Check the latest Yougov poll. Big gender difference on voting intentions:

    Males:
    Yes 44
    No 47
    Don’t know 8
    Would not vote 2

    Females:
    Yes 25
    No 57
    Don’t Know 16
    Would not vote 2

    Women are more likely to vote No but also more undecided, and may be more likely to shift. This is where the battle should be concentrated.

  21. Derek, on Call Kaye this morning, I caught 5 minutes near the end. They were discussing Independence. I heard a guy called Jackson giving the Tory line. Jackson Carlaw? Some poor guy had called in. He was choked with emotion about the waste of Scottish oil assets in the past. He referred to the buried McCrone Report. Jackson flatly denied he’d ever heard of it! Honestly! Worse was to come. Kirsty then said that the 2 of them would have to brush up on their history, as she hadn’t heard of it either!! She completely let him off the hook through complete ignorance of the topic . Please look into this, make something of it. We used to get the public saying they didn’t have the info, but ffs, now the MPs are trying it on with the same excuse!

  22. I was delighted by Alan Little’s analysis, he completely savaged BT and their negativity, and gave a sound contextual basis to Cameron’s speech. That kind of honest reporting is not something we often get from the BBC.

    Yet I wonder really if all is perhaps as it seems, and there might not be another agenda here. The intended audience was English, and just as with the FT’s coverage this week, I tend to think that this is actually an example of Unionist frustration, the exasperated yelps of those intelligent enough to realise that the Union is in real danger, but that those entrusted to its defence are frankly withering under the YES assault. An honest assessment of where the campaign stands, but in reality a call to arms to all Unionists.

    When I see this kind of straight-talking in a Scottish context then I might be prepared to accept that the BBC has had a conversion, until then I will remain slightly sceptical. Hopefully the changes made to their news coverage and recent recruitments make a difference. If not, then let’s have more of Alan Little please!

    • I agree it was mainly for the rUK.
      But becauseof the relentless propaganda the media has been churning out for some time, the folk in the rUK really believe that we are subsidy junkies.
      Also most in the rUK don’t think about Scotland at all.
      You just have to take a look at the appaling ignorance and abusive language heading our way both from journalists and CiF.

      I think most folk in the south will just either be completely indifferent or want us to piss off.

  23. Another good article Derek, as usual. Re the Morning Call phone-in this morning, almost every caller expressed pro-independence views and said Cameron should either be prepared to debate with Alex Salmond, or stop his Westminster Government from trying to whip up international support from other countries around the world against Scotland’s independence aspirations.

    Mark McDonald was articulate and put the pro-independence case succinctly and well, while Jackson Carlaw was his usual self – full of pro-union soundbites, and then reduced to lying when asked about the suppression of the McCrone Report – when as a politician of course he knows about it!

  24. I heard the last wee bit with Jackson Carlaw. Could not believe his bare faced lie. Just as well it was on radio. I swear I heard his nose growing!

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