You’re Derek Bateman!

Campaigns aren’t supposed to contemplate defeat in advance and I know people – like Pat Kane in Stirling last night – who refuse to go there. It’s never been my view though because as a journalist as opposed to a participant, it has always been my job to look at both sides and all outcomes. I am deadpan about opinion polls in that I read them and refuse to go up or down. They are what they are according to what question was asked and when. They tell us what people said at a moment in time and not what they will do on September 18. I hear from people all the time saying openly and confidently that we will win. They have no doubt. I heard the same again last night from people who are out every week canvassing. I can’t disagree with them and am taken aback at their conviction. You’ll never get me to that stage. If I’m confident, I’ll go quiet. So if I ever write a line about victory being in sight, you’ll know it’s the wine working on the medication.

Pat Kane

These Yes meetings are cathartic for me. It is quite scary going from journalist to public participant – a totally different and unnerving transfer of attitude and skills which I would never have contemplated if it were not for what I regard as the national cause of independence. I am completely, perhaps madly, committed. It is gradually changing my life. I have forsaken an embarrassingly large amount of income, despite having wife and family; I have  put myself out here on a front line with opinions I didn’t know I had; I have jeopardised and, in some cases, severed associations I valued; I have fought an aversion to public speaking and learned to have no fear. I am for the first time in my life exposed – to ridicule, hostility and to recognition and respect.

I spent 25 years at BBC Scotland yet I am now better known than I ever was. I am recognised on the street. Improbably, people shake my hand. Love your blog, I get often. People tell me who I am…you know – You’re Derek Bateman!

I never was one of the select few who qualified for star treatment at BBC Scotland, not after the arrival of Jeff Zycinski as Head of Radio – he had other favourites to promote. Nor did I actively seek it, to be fair. But it is notable that six months blogging has done more for my public profile than 25 years as a BBC presenter. I also feel good about myself as in sure of what I’m doing, mostly because of the overwhelming response of Scottish people to what I write. I was always proud and a bit honoured to talk to Scotland via radio – that connection was something I really valued, more than the ego trip of being on air. But now, in a more grassroots sense, I feel part of the Scottish community, not set apart behind a mike and the welcome has been warm.

I mention this and what happens if there is a No because it came up last night – again – that this is a real movement. It is cross-cultural, it is classless, party-less and it is creative and innovative. It is self-perpetuating and it is become clear that there is no reason for it to quietly turn away if the referendum is lost. It extends beyond, far beyond, constitutional change. It is discussing how to do things differently, how to take control, how to make change rather than wait for it. It is developing a life stream that may not be stoppable, that can carry on into community action, breaking down the doors that prevent us taking part, deter us from voting, keep us from demanding and leave us at the mercy of a political machine. It needs a little co-ordination and could retain the name Yes because that sums up the attitude that defines it. Something powerful and inspiring has been born and it won’t lie down on September 19.

Meanwhile*, I’ve been wailing at the moon. Having spent part of last night at the Yes meeting in Stirling defending BBC journalism against claims of bias, I made the mistake of tuning in this morning to my old programme Good Morning Scotland. I shuddered at what has happened to it.

If you are going to preview your big story – Danny Alexander live! – followed by John Swinney – as live as he gets – you really need to have some ammunition. You need a case to make, a challenge to throw, a worked-out response for their totally predictable line of propaganda. I listened in horror to Alexander running rings around the studio for part of the interview, repeating ad nauseum his mantra of better together, too risky, no currency union. He hopped from point to point, assertion to assertion with barely a challenge. If you’d pulled back a curtain to reveal Blair McDougall and Paul Sinclair with headphones on producing the programme, it wouldn’t have surprised me. For much of the time it was the politician’s dream. He must have thought he got away with a free hit, getting a pop at his opponent while hammering home his own propaganda. And yet, when he was challenged he was laughably inept. It didn’t sound as if the pre-programme planning had been done to work out an interview strategy. For example…

What does the refusal to consider a currency agreement imply? Clearly Alexander believes Scotland has made no contribution to sterling over 300 years and has no rights to it as an asset under the Treaty of Union, otherwise he couldn’t deny Scotland. How does he justify that belief that the Scots played no role in building up a successful currency – that’s a denial of the Union itself – and how does it fit with his party policy of federalism that Scotland is a non-contributor to sterling’s value? And if Scotland’s contribution is non-existent, which UK nation has created a strong currency – is it perhaps only England?

This is a game of bluff – that’s why Danny is pressing the button again today – and your opinion depends on who you believe. Wasn’t Danny in the Lib Dem team who gave personal assurances to students there would be no tuition fees? Does that make him a man to trust? And since the whole British government is behind the currency blockage, is it a sign of how much we can trust them that it takes two years to admit a radiation leak at Dounreay? The newspapers are asking today what happened to the Respect Agenda? The Scots are learning they can’t believe what London tells them – they lied about the value of oil forty years ago as Denis Healy admits and kept secret the McCrone Report and some of us remember being lied to over Iraq by a Cabinet including Ed Balls and Alistair Darling. The track record is one of mendacity. Why should it change now over currency?

This is the job of the programme team collectively to build a case to present since Alexander isn’t on to inform or enlighten, he is on air to preach and make a nakedly political point. It is the BBC’s duty to counter. It is not an optional extra. And whatever is going on behind the scenes, whatever staff cuts and budget reductions, there is a standard of professionalism expected by the listener – and frequently trumpeted by the BBC itself.

What was revealing was just how tongue-tied Alexander gets when a proper question is asked. He really isn’t a smart operator, he is essentially a message boy. He can repeat – and repeat – the message but drag him off topic and he flounders. He was reduced, pathetically, to implying there is no plan for the EU In/Out referendum – British industry’s real fear and the reason bosses are happy to play along now on the Scottish question, in the expectation they will get the result they want on Europe. He may have no plan, but his boss, the man he answers to and with whom he sits in the Quad planning the Scottish campaign, definitely and explicitly does want a Euro referendum. That means Danny is a junior part of a government planning a referendum. Isn’t it safer for business to exist in pro-European Scotland as their European base than risk what could well be a vote in the UK to come out of the EU? You just have to press him on the point and he falls apart.

And when it was put to him what his role would be if there is a Yes, he was reduced to rubble. Even Michael Moore could answer that one! Danny’s job as we all know, will be to change sides and work his wee socks off for Scotland and his constituents. Since he fumbled it, he should have been asked: Are you really unsure where your duty lies after a Yes vote? Isn’t that more telling than any argument over currency, Minister? Your loyalties lie with the British side and with the Tories you now work with and for you Scotland and the Highlands come second – that’s the Union in a nutshell. Still, we all have off-days…had them myself.

But of course no referendum item is complete nowadays, it seems, on Radio Scotland or Radio Four, without the cross-border airwaves hopper that is Mr Naughtie, popping up at every turn of the dial like one of those nincompoops in a Whitehall farce, trousers round ankles. Here he comes again…ha ha! Jim’s mad scurry from Scotland to London and back has been a masterstroke for the British, cementing the concept of Union more firmly than oor Danny will ever manage. He’s like an advert: Look, I work exactly the same in both places at once – same words, same attitudes, same outlook. Glasgow? London? Makes no difference to me. Same Jim. Same country. It’s called Britain, Jock. Got it?!

Thus in interview with Swinney, Britain’s overtly political stance on currency – rubbished by experts like the Fiscal Commission – is, to Jim, “a fact”. Immutable. Permanent. Indisputable. Any suggestion it is a political threat is laughed out of court. Yet the response that the debt will indeed remain – as Britain insists it will – as Britain’s debt, is a “clear threat” by the Nats. This is following the Better Together narrative as if they were writing his script. Now I know they aren’t, so I think we can safely say we getting the benefit of Mr Naughtie’s personal reading of the situation here. He might as well ask: Why aren’t you playing the Unionists’ game? Why won’t you do what we all expect you to do? You really don’t understand the power structure do you, Mr Swinney? London runs the country and when they speak, you jump. So jump.

And, if I was a producer, I would asking myself why the programme didn’t focus on pensions as that is what Alexander is up in Edinburgh to propagandise about. This is rich pickings for both the Yes side and a BBC interviewer as there is no national pension pot, just a circulation of tax and national insurance funding the old age pension every month, utterly dependent on today’s taxpayers. And we still have one of the lowest pensions in the developed world and we can look over to Norway to see how Britain – broad shoulders and deep pockets – did what Britain failed to by investing the oil money.

I told the disbelieving people of Stirling last night that there was no deliberate or organised bias at BBC Scotland but I’m starting to run on empty. All I admit to is my belief that the BBC is failing – generally speaking as there are exceptions – to match up to the challenge thrown up by the referendum.  People don’t believe me though and I notice the RAJARS for Radio Scotland were down at a time when there is heightened interest in current affairs and there isn’t – or rather there shouldn’t – be any competition for speech-based radio in our country.  I fear what the next round of audience appreciation will reveal about the publics’ views on the national broadcaster.

Easy for me to say though. I’m just an ordinary licence-fee payer.

And thanks, Stirling…

PS I was leaving Stirling in the dark through the mist and rain when I became aware of a dim light outside high up to my right. I put down the window and there, towering above me, was the black mass of the castle, spotlights struggling to pierce the shroud of mist, casting an eerie glow. It was an awesome sight. I wonder if that’s how Proud Cressingham and his knights saw it before Stirling Brig…

* Anybody else notice that on Radio Four news tonight they told us about Alliance, the Dundee-based investment company, setting up shadow companies in England but didn’t mention Aviva, a much bigger outfit, saying it wasn’t a problem for them? Maybe they did Aviva  last night and I missed it but all the output I’ve heard has missed the Aviva story out, exactly as the Daily Telegraph did which covered Alliance  and then segued into the currency/Barroso fiasco. I used to argue that BBC Scotland should have a unit that had oversight of all BBC output on the referendum to check accuracy and balance to avoid that kind of London-centric reporting, but really, what’s the point? We will have to do this ourselves.

 

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117 thoughts on “You’re Derek Bateman!

  1. This may be an old Royalist motto, and that of many a famous Scottish regiment, but it does seem rather apt for the current mood among people that I know.

    Nemo me impune lacessit.

  2. It was a real pleasure to listen to you and Pat last night. I enjoyed the energy that was clearly evident from the audience interactions.

    Two thing came out of this for me:

    1. YES campaigners must stay focused unrelentingly on the positive aspects (while not trying to hide the fact that there will be some risks, disappointments and unexpected consequences). If we fail, then then we just end up in the same negative, dark place where BT currently resides.

    2. My wife, who is neither Labour or YES, identified a huge difficulty which I had not seen before, but Pat Kane did allude to in one answer. She challenged me after to articulate what Scottish Labour was offering their voters in the event of YES. I was clear: they are offering absolutely nothing! She pointed out how big a problem that is, because those voters will need a viable vision of the future shortly after a YES vote aligned with their aspirations and hopes. Without that, it is unlikely that many of that group can ever be convinced to vote YES, and at best they may become NOT voters. If they can see nothing but a YES resulting in a further SNP Government, with Scottish Labour decimated, then that will never be attractive. Even if the SNP were to split into factions they still would be seen by Labour voters as groups of “SNP people” rather than a true “Scottish Labour Party” with the ideas and ideals that they had previously voted for.

    LfI may be the only real way to address this gap, but to make that harder it must come almost solely from within the current Labour Party. Anything else will be seen as a group promoted by YES and SNP (as the smears already show) – and is less likely to be trusted and supported.

    Thanks to both of you for your time and effort you put into the meeting, and for the work still to come.

  3. Love the blog … What can I say it Entertains, Educates and Informs…what more could you want …

  4. Derek,
    “I have fought an aversion to public speaking” – No sign of any lingering aversion to public speaking during your masterful presentation at last night’s packed public meeting in Stirling. Instead, a powerful speech straight from the heart which dovetailed beautifully with the contrasting style of Pat Kane. Amongst questions and suggestions from the floor was the level of concern from YES supporters about the level of bias emanating from the BBC and the print media with a positive suggestion that the only way to counter that is to persuade more of our fellow Scots to engage with on-line blogs like yours and the others which promote a positive message and counter the fears and smears.
    Derek, be assured that your contribution from this site will deliver more impact in helping to deliver a convincing YES vote in 194 days that your many years behind the news desk at BBC Scotland.

  5. Jock Erskine Dun Eden

    It may be my age, but the chat is a little hollow at the moment. I “fish” quietly, and it does not take long to get a bite, then I tend to become more passionate at that point, which has turned out to be mostly good and productive YES engagements. The trouble is that a lot of the people I talk to are rooted in with the concept of the establishment. Immovable. Once you accept them as being NO engagements you can move on. Where we can all jibber japper to our hearts content and praise our endeavours, I ain’t sure? Lets all agree that we are wonderful, but lets just get out there and increment conversions.

  6. Derek, I could have listened to you all night last night and your blogs resonate with my own thinking and reinforce my belief in what we are doing. I’ve never been that interested in politics but am passionately involved in this “debate” and nowhere near ready to think about what will happen with a No vote. So please, it’s not lost yet, folks – chat to your neighbours, friends, workmates etc about your passion and see what happens. I was moved yesterday by an 80 year old friend I spoke to who was a no voter but having heard my belief that we could have a fairer society without trident said he might just reconsider – currency, standard life and banks fade into insignificance when faced with the possibilities that are available to us simply by putting a cross in a box.

  7. lastchancetoshine

    Gordon I
    Your wife really should ask labour ” to articulate what Scottish Labour was offering their voters in the event of YES” because really, no-one else can do that.

    Further the only way to get an answer out of them is to go and sit in your msp/mp’s surgery face to face.
    It’s a “have you stopped beating your wife” question though, as if it’s answered positively it’s a tacit admission indi can work, any other answer is saying “we can’t be trusted to work in the interests of the electorate regardless of the situation we find ourselves in”

  8. Duncan Mitchell

    Reiver,
    You are not the only one who has noticed some small nuanced changes in the way that some BBC correspondents and reporters construct their pieces to camera. I have definitely detected a subtle tendency to finish a piece on a more positive pro-indy outlook . I’ve noticed it with one or two especially Douglas Fraser but, the choice of stories to highlight is still flawed in my view too.
    The two interviews this morning should be replayed over and over as they dispelled any lingering doubt about BBC fairness having been ditched.

    • I think they’re trying to avoid too great a contrast when they are forced to provide a degree of balance 6 weeks before the vote. If a huge change was obvious at that changeover point a lot of people would understand that the BBC had been delivering months of anti-Scottish propaganda.

  9. Derek
    I spoke to you on Calton Hill ‘You’re Derek, I’m Derick too.
    Once my daily routine was BBC, BBC, BBC. TV News, Newsnight, Reporting Scotland, GMS, Traveltime. Radio Orkney.
    Then it became BBC, Scotsman Online
    Then it got too much and I cancelled my TV licence. Online and radio only from here on.
    Then BBC online, Scotsman online (Van MacHelsing, Unionist Troll Hunter(, Caledonian Mercury
    Then BBC, Wings over Scotland, Newsnet, I actually first heard of your existence at RS via Go Lassie Go and a link to your interviews with Andrew Hughes Hallet.

    Then BBC, Wings, Newsnet, Wee Ginger Dug (and who can resist the strapline ‘Biting the hand of Project Fear!), Munguin, Lallands etc etc. Not forgetting Derek Bateman. Comment is Free, The Staggers, the Spectator – all mostly for the crack btl

    Now my routine is
    Facebook, Wings over Scotland, Newsnet, BBC very briefly (mostly for the weather forecast and to check how the Treasury Gilts are doing, for sake of how the wind blows). Radio Scotland almost never. Once a month I tune in while driving and it is generally some crap about fitba, or a lead in to Talk Shite With Kaye or whatever her replacement BBCDrone is called. I turn off.

    The UK is finished.

  10. great Blog Derek, thoroughly enjoyed your Danny Alexander “messenger boy” synopsis. I just hope the population sees through the popular media pro-independence propaganda which is basically a self preservation exercise. The next 6 months is going to be very interesting. c’mon the Yes’rs.

  11. I enjoy the blunt and combative tone of your blog, Derek, and very much agree that Yes is a rolling rock that won’t be stopped by anything that happens on September 18th. I’m moved by the commitment of my own children, only one of whom is a (not very active) member of the SNP. My youngest daughter is arranging a party for September 19th. It will be, she says, an independence celebration – or a council of war. No stopping there.

    I’m a wee bit saddened by your clinging to the idea that the BBC has just lost it’s way a little, like a man who can’t believe the rumours that his girlfriend is cheating on him. The BBC’s function as state propagandist long antedates the referendum campaign and embroils them in much more serious matters – crimes, even – such as the illegal attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing genocide in Palestine. There is plenty of documentation at Craig Murray’s site, or MediaLens, or the Glasgow University Media Group. You’d be shocked to know how many of us watch the BBC news only to get an indication of what isn’t true.

  12. cynicalHighlander

    Trust in any BBC news reporting is a slow burn which started for me last century where today I question anything that they report on anywhere in the world with a large pinch of salt. Even if they started to be balanced now their end is nigh no matter the result of the referendum.

    • Very well said. It’s good to know other people can see this subtle but evidently effective overuse of the union jack symbol. One of many limbs attached to this monstrous propaganda machine that has been force fed into the minds of the British public for generations now. It’s hardly suprising that the oldest of these generations are less keen on change and more under the impression that Scotland would struggle with independence. Having spent the last three years immersed in data and comparisons with dozens of other countries worldwide, I can safely say that nothing could be further from the truth. Of all the 140 countries from 220 on Earth who have gained independence in the last 70 years, Scotland is in as good a position as any, infact it would be fair to say in a stronger position than every single one of them. Not one country has wished for this to be reversed but for some reason apparently nearly half of Scotland are against it, even though every economical, social and political fact points towards yes as being the right and fair decision. I say ‘for some reason’ but nothing could be more obvious what that three lettered reason is. BBC.
      The question is ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ but the real question is ‘Will Scotland win the battle against a huge wave of biased, fear mongoring one sided broadcasting?’ I like to think most people can see it for what it is now, I hope I’m right.

  13. I don’t think a single reader of your’s agrees with you that the BBC is unbiased.

    If there is one, please come out and state explicitly that you agree with Derek that the BBC is unbiased.

  14. You may well be defending the BBC in Scotland but the plain fact is that BBC Londoncentric is totally opposed to any recognition of a meaningful dialogue on independence for Scotland. You have given us many jewels of insight and intrigue on this journey towards our inevitable destiny. Please keep pursuing the facts and reporting with the razor sharp observations we have come to expect from you.
    The pollsters and opinionators need to be stopped by those with the hard facts and you’ve proved to many of us that you’re up to speed with the debate. Thank you for the light you shed where doom and gloom are wont to tread.

  15. I too, feel that negative opinions surrounding the independence debate receive far more coverage by the BBC than anything positive. There is a general bias towards Britain (England and Wales) in news coverage as a whole by the BBC with Scottish stories, unless negative, relegated to regional news. I am tired of being made to feel that I live in a Region of the UK. Bring on the SBC I say.

  16. Seeing a catharsis displayed so publicly and so honestly is a rare and cherished privilege for that I thank you Derek,
    I’ll never forget my Damascene moment ,
    it was in 1974 and reading my parents ( old Labour ) paper of choice “the Daily Express” found myself ill at ease with the general tone of the paper and not entirely sure why it was but looking at the header on the front page it proudly proclaimed “THE VOICE OF SCOTLAND” and immediately thought you don’t speak for me,
    then looking closer at the source of said rubbish found it was “printed in Manchester” days later I signed up to the SNP a nationalist was born.

  17. ,
    ” you’ll know it’s the wine working on the medication” It is different in the real world!

  18. I wonder how much the licence fee income has dropped. Just heard that a 1% drop is £35 mil (I presume for UK). Does the BBC or the collection company give any figures. I presume FOI does not work because it is not a public company?

  19. Interesting read Derek, I have noticed over the recent months with growing awareness how biased the reporting on the BBC is, I thought first it was me being paranoid as I care deeply about the referendum, but in the end had to admit to myself that not only is the Independence reporting shamefully biased in favour of the Union the interviewers constantly appear to lack knowledge and be either unprepared or unwilling to challenge blatant untruths. I now question all topics they report on as I an annoyed with myself for being so naive and lazy in the past to have believed their impartiality. I now read info on social media and check in with foreign news channels to get a variety of views before I decide on my response.

  20. Have to say the level of bias on BBC now is unbelievable. I tend to listen to any other news nowadays or if it is BBC I assume its likely to be the opposite of what they are stating.

  21. Something that only recently crossed my mind, does the BBC reporting on the referrendum automatically represent a conflict of interest? The first B in the BBC is ‘British’ with a licence fee extracted from every British household and should Scotland vote yes then there’s going to be a whole lot less of them?

  22. Derek, Although there may not be deliberate bias there is institutional default Scottish cringe-ism within the BBC. I have been noting over the past year not just the content of interviews, their structure, but the choice of words, the emotive and simplistic ‘headlining’ of stories, (eg shifting ‘may’ to ‘will’) the tone and even facial expressions of presenters and interviewers, their incredulous inflections responding to any positive ‘yes’ views. Sally Magnusson and Kaye Adams come to mind as two who are particularly transparent and unable to mask the ‘leakage’ of their inner views as they broadcast. I have complained to the BBC about this but got the pat response da-di-da of their investigations showing no bias – I just dont think they have the skill to understand what is patently pouring out like a great waterfall of propaganda over the airwaves. The analysis by future generations of this will be interesting much as the WW1 propaganda of 1914 is seen as crass and simplistic nowadays.
    I listened to the Danny Alexander interview and agree – once he was challenged he fell apart. I suspect like many big organisations the ‘ingroup’ pressure applies – if there is a (written or unwritten) default ‘position’ that everyone tacitly upholds, going hard in an interview against the corporate mantra will leave that particular interviewer vulnerable to becoming ostracised.by the ‘ingourp (usually the powerful for promotion etc) and all that that entails in terms of careers.
    My other little hobby horse is the product placement strategy of the BBC in sticking union jacks in every programme they can -(mugs cushion covers, t shirts, posters etc etc) I should have been counting all this time, but would love to know if there is in fact a policy to establish the union jack visually in as many situations as possible in order to consolidate the unionist message.
    Well done you ditching all of that!

  23. I would like to believe that there is no organised bias in the BBC but if that is the case then it seems a remarkable co-incidence that everyone on TV or radio has decided to follow the no campaign agenda individually. We constantly hear BBC people asking about plan B but we never hear anyone from the yes campaign asked about the effect on the value of the pound or rUK economy of not having a currency union.

    Every company that has a contigency plan is reported as saying they will leave Scotland and those that say independence is a benefit or they see it as neutral is either unreported or like Willie Walsh the interview is terminated immediately.

    I have yet to hear anyone from the BBC challenge the yes campaign on the number of civil service posts that will lost in London and re-created in Scotland after independence not the effect on both economies. It also appears that BBC has no knowledge of the oil reserves in the Clyde basin or west of Shetland and the potential effect they would have on our economy.

    Maybe there is no organised bias in the BBC. Maybe it is just that 100% of their output is biased for some other reason.

  24. Great piece as usual Derek, although I must disagree with any suggestion that the BBC is not biased against Scottish self-determination. The bias is omnipresent in the corporation and I have a complaint against it ongoing at present, as will many, many other individuals.

    Yes. Of course, not everyone at the BBC is biased on the issue. I admire some of them. However, generally speaking it is rotten to the core on the matter.

    If there is a No vote there will be a mass campaign of non-payment of the Licence Fee and it doesn’t surprise me that the UK government is currently considering re-classifying non-payment as a civil matter rather than a criminal matter. They can’t be seen imprisoning Scots for opposing the BBC.

  25. Alan Whitelaw

    Derek I see the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Cultural Committee will meet this coming Tuesday 11th March , on the agenda is the U.W.S Report and they will be questioning B.B.C. Managers and the Author of the Report re. the future coverage of the Independence Debate. Will you be there to give some pointer?

  26. Good blog again derek,but sadly you still seem to be in denial about your biased former employer.

  27. It’s a good job the yes campaign is going to lose, because Alex Salmond and his cronies would look very silly indeed when it turned out that they’d called somebody’s bluff which quite obviously isn’t a bluff. Why on Earth the rUK would bluff about this, or why on Earth we would accept a currency union has not been explained. All we’ve been offered instead, again, is whining about how unfair it is that the rUK isn’t going to offer Scotland a deal which would benefit Scotland greatly and provide nothing but risks for the rest of the UK. This argument that “Scotland has helped to build up the currency” is believed only by deluded yes supporters. The strength of a currency has little or nothing to do with history and everything to do with the present. In other words, Sterling is strong because it is backed by ENGLISH TAXPAYERS and the ENGLISH ECONOMY. If Scotland wants to go on benefiting from this then it had better vote no to independence, because hell will freeze over before rUK politicians are dumb enough to backstop an independent Scottish government and banking system.

    Why the **** should English taxpayers backstop Scottish banks???? Do you think we are completely stupid? Privatisation of profits in Scotland. Socialisation of losses in England. Oh yeah, why on Earth would we say no to that!

    • On behalf of the English, Geoff Dann asks: “Do you think we are completely stupid?” Well, actually, YES, we do.

    • Geoff – I meet up with an old English friend in Greece every Autumn. He is a professor at the Royal Military Academy, Shrivetham. An English person brought up the independence question. He said “I. like most English people, know very little or nothing about Scotland, and think given those circumstances I will not comment and so make a fool of myself”. I suggest you take his advice!

    • Geoff, every late summer in Greece I meet up with an English Professor from the Royal Military Academy, Shrivenham, Wiltshire – no doubt you have heard of it. When a mutual English friend raised the independence issue the professor said “Like most English people I know little to nothing about Scotland I will therefore not venture an opinion and possibly make a fool of myself”! I suggest you heed his advice. The assumption that because you read the English media and listen to the BBC is a guarantee of omniscience is your first mistake!

      • Apologies for double post – management reminded me of the Prof’s exact words and who am I to dispute what she says!

  28. cynicalHighlander

    Make of this response what you will but the brainwashing by our state broadcaster is coming into question by an ever increasing number of people and we can’t all be wrong.

    The whole debate is on you tube in sections.

  29. An example of negotiation to us all; the contrast of Danny Alexander on GMS many mornings since the Osbourne Currency Sermon, “It ain’t gonna happen”, with his teaching to us on Any Questions 7th and 8th March at about 33:45 minutes into the programme, in response to a question about UKIP and the EU:

    “I just think the the idea that you can advance the reform agenda by sitting down with people and saying, ‘If you don’t agree with me we are going to walk away from the club.’ is just completely wrong. You get the best out of any alliance or any attempt to work together with other people by working positively with them, not continually threatening you will throw your toys out of the pram and walk away.”

  30. […] up from London to head BBC Scotland’s referendum coverage last year, has been frequently criticised by a former presenter of the same programme, Derek Bateman, for a failure to display an even-handed […]

  31. Far away in Australia I’ve noticed and commented upon the change in BBC shows, mainly documentaries such as Coast, and on BBC newscasts, the terminology change that is, from England to The United KIngdom and recently when reporting on the storm tossed south east of England words I never thought to hear – southern Britain.
    THE ABC acknowledges its close ties with its ‘ sister’ BBC, even to an ABC announcer quoting the Spanish President of the EU saying an independent Scotland’ s chances of joining the EU were practically nil. The 30 second news bite accompanied by laughter at the very thought of an independent Scotland..

  32. This is the reply I received to a complaint made to the BBC over the Standard Life reporting…

    However, we believe we reported on the Standard Life story in an accurate and impartial manner.
    We reported exactly what the investment firm has said which is that they are “drawing up contingency plans to move the company out of the country unless a formal currency agreement can be agreed”.
    Standard Life is the first big Scottish company to warn this which is why its story, we believe, is of interest to the majority of our audience.

    We are determined to be impartial and fair in our coverage and to bring a range of views to our audiences. The up and coming referendum is a long campaign and there have been, and will be, many opportunities across all of our platforms for coverage of the issues.

    Only the company does NOT at any time say it IS moving out! and it stated “to move parts of the company”
    Don’t expect any good news for the YES campaign to be highlighted…hence AVIVA. Sorry but they could not be more biased if they tried.

  33. Derek,
    I must admit that I have been concerned about the role of the mainstream media and I have written about it in my recent blog, http://bit.ly/MYLl5m I have taken the liberty of including a couple of quotes from your article which I thought were very appropriate.

  34. A conspiracy is something you usually find out about when it is too late.

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