Catching Up

Busy weekend and no time to blog…that’s where tweeting comes in. Why should anybody go more than a  day without knowing what I think?

If Headlines is dropped from Radio Scotland, I don’t think it shows bias, just lack of understanding of what the audience wants and lack of respect for the listeners. It has become one of the forums for different views and is a rarity on RS in that allows free flowing discussion at length, something that listeners crave. It also treats the listeners with respect by disparaging the silly scare nonsense that so much of the media pretends to take seriously. It also allows us to laugh which gets away from the mock sincerity of so much current affairs.

But why for example would you drop Headlines but keep the Business programme on a Sunday morning…a minority interest surely in what is surely dress down time at the weekend.  We shouldn’t make the assumption that the BBC knows what it is doing.  It manifestly does not, as with the   Saturday morning changes when they dropped Newsweek in favour of a two hour under resourced GMS. I hear it may be replaced with a debating format in which a Yes goes up against a No which could be a good idea with the right guests and referee but disastrous otherwise. I’m not sure that’s the relaxed Sunday morning thing either.

It won’t be presented by Andrew Marr, a fine journalist like James Naughtie who sought fame in London and found it. The problem here it seems is one of assimilation because after 25 or 30 years absorbing London culture and learning about it, embedding themselves there and bringing up families, they lose some aspect of what makes them Scots.

Is it not the same principe that applies to immigrants to Scotland? They adjust and acclimatise and are no longer the same people who left another country through time. It is a natural process but we make the mistake if assuming London or England is the same country when it is not. But like all diaspora they develop a confused impression of their identity and blame the rest of us for not sharing their view.  Presenters are notoriously egotistical and are allowed to puff up their egos until they become bullies and Big shots. They think they are bigger than the people they interview. Marr blew his Barroso interview and he now knows it. The lack if a follow up to find out what legal process would follow a Yes vote was inexcusable and laughable. Yesterday he was trying to cover that failing up but made a worse mess by giving us the Marr Declaration on the EU and was embarrassed by Salmond. It is the triumph of vanity over talent. And it is noticeable that the London Scots treat Salmnod with contempt, with a different tone from the one applied to Cameron.

Whatever bias there is in Scotland, we get a double dose via the London BBC.

53 thoughts on “Catching Up

  1. The Barosso interview has been a disaster for Marr and the BBC. Alarm bells should have rung in Marrs head when Barosso used the term ”impossible” when describing Scotlands membership of the EU and then comparing us to Kosovo.
    It would be reasonable to expect Marr to challenge these statements but it appears that if you are from the big hoose, or have a prestigious title, then you are treated with a respect not offered to those from North Britain who reside in the parish council.

  2. Why so many comments on BBC radio Scotland, On reading your article RS listening figures are about 7% with 19% listening to about 6 hours a week. Hello is anybody listening.On the other hand Andrew Marr’s situation is more embarrassing. Do the tweeting comments yesterday have any impact or are we regarded as the great unwashed.cant help feeling general chat on MSM is promoting this blinkered organisation.

  3. I think BBC Scotlandshire got it spot on with this one:

    I see Newsnet have reused the picture too. The Newsnet item also has the term:

    ‘Marr’s Attacks’ in the last sentence.

    Spread it people. I can just see him: Ack! Ack! We come in peace.

    All together now: When I’m calling you-ou-ou!

  4. Derek, sometimes I worry about you.

    First you say it’s not bias if they drop Headlines, a programme that –

    ‘It has become one of the forums for different views and is a rarity on RS in that allows free flowing discussion at length, something that listeners crave. It also treats the listeners with respect by disparaging the silly scare nonsense that so much of the media pretends to take seriously.’

    but then you can’t tell us why it’s being dropped except to say that the ‘BBC don’t know what they are doing’-

    Derek, I think the phrases with which you describe the programme tells you why it’s being dropped.

    ‘treat listeners with respect’

    ‘free flowing discussion’

    ‘silly scare stories’

  5. “Salmnod” was in lord of the rings? 🙂

  6. As I judge it Marr has marred his reputation forever.

    Any pretensions he ever had for being a decent professional journalist/interviewer has sunk without trace.

    He has obviously either not read the White Paper or the Fiscal Commission Report. or he refuses to understand them. He trotted out the same tired questions.

    He interviewed Barroso but failed to do his homework on the functions of the position he holds (not responsible for accessions) or when his term in office ends (31st October 2014). Barroso will have NO involvement in any talks.

    Has the BBC any comprehension whatsoever of the damage they are doing to their reputation? I am beginning to think that the people at the top do not care, and perhaps their motive is to destroy the BBC.

  7. Norman Russell

    Funny thing is Derek, I spent 9 of my 12 years in the army in the south of England, and it turned me into an SNP supporter and made me more Scots!

  8. Derek, you describe Marr and Naughtie as fine journalists. Well, since you obviously know them, maybe. But surely that was in a vastly different climate that we now find ourselves in, namely the referendum contest. They, the B.B.C are an organ of the state, and as such, will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that entity survives, in this case, the U.K. From Lord Reith to Lord Hall, D.Gs have stated that the B.B.C does not have to impartial, and I,m afraid that Professor Robertson’s report makes that abundantly clear. Whoever wins the referendum, it has damaged it’s reputation, certainly in Scotland, beyond repair, and I really don’t know how those in charge of what I hope will be an S.B.S can put this right,

  9. Brian Macfarlane

    Derek you are turning into a minority of one over the bias of the BBC It isn’t even obvious anymore its WAY WORSE than that. As Professor Robertson said to the Holyrood committee he deliberately discarded much of the evidence to remove all doubt. Yet he still came up with a 3-2 ratio in favour of BBC Bias.

  10. I really believe it wont stop,and we are paying a licence for this??????????????????

  11. ” after 25 or 30 years absorbing London culture and learning about it, embedding themselves there and bringing up families, they lose some aspect of what makes them Scots. ”

    Absolutely correct – this is the time I spent ” down south ” and not to assimilate would be akin to the Pom in Aussie wingeing on about how much better it was in Blighty. Therefore you begin to think and behave like the locals ( wonder which type of school their kids attended ??!! ). There is a tendency to think “bright ones like me ” emigrated and that the dross was left behind in the old country.

    This partly explains the disparaging approach of the Warks and Naughties of this world and anecdotally, it is only by returning full time to one’s roots, in this case aka Scotland ( I’m in the Borders but even though mud is clatchie rather than the Doric dubs, the feeling of being at home is the same ) some deference returns.

    Having said that, I still have to steel myself before talking to local landowners, many of whom attended English public schools since this endows them with such apparent superiority they talk at you rather than with you !

  12. Oh and credit where its due for Hayley Miller on GMS this morning. She gave Jim Murphy a hard time and deservedly so. I will expect the BBC to go in hard on the offers of Devo ? over the coming weeks, and test how these promises can be delivered/guaranteed.
    Lesley Riddoch has a good article on this in The Hootsmon today!

    • Well hopefully someone will post Leslies article to archive because I will never give the hootsmon a penny of my money or indeed a tick for advertising.

    • Yes, noticed Hayley gave Murphy a well deserved grilling.. Has she seen the light about bias, or was it hat Naughtie was absent?

  13. 7.30 this morning heard Jim Murphy give a SPEECH about how every working person would be poorer in an Indie Scotland. A source from the SNP was allowed to say in ten words that this was not so.
    No bias —aye right

  14. Meant to say “on GMS”

  15. Marr is not well. You only have to read the introduction to his (very old, re-packaged) “new” book, and work out the implications of the typos, to see that. He shouldn’t be doing the job that he’s doing.

  16. Having lived overseas, as opposed to decanting to London, my impression is that Scots become more Scottish and nationalistic. In comparison London-Scots like Andrew Marr tend to become more overtly British than is healthy for them. Going home for these people is not the same experience as those Scots who live and work in New York or Sydney. London-Scots tend to be disappointed in coming home whilst those Scots from overseas are elated by the whole experience.

    So it does not come as a surprise that Andrew Marr is more influenced by the negative attitudes of the likes of Osborne, Balls and Barroso because it fits with his own views of Scotland. Andrew Marr has banished his inner Scot to the darker regions of his brain, So it is little wonder that in making the Marr Declaration Marr thought he was on safe ground in giving his personal view on EU membership, how could he be possibly be wrong.

    Alex Salmond soon made Marr very aware how wrong he was. Marr has been acutely embarrassed by this whole episode and the BBC badly damaged yet again.

    As I keep saying, Pacific Quay should be demolished brick by brick and deposited over the border. The BBC has no place in Scotland’s future.

    • I was a ‘London based Scot’ for five years. Though in my case a childhood from the age of 6 growing up in New Zealand where Scottishness is celebrated and allowed to flourish and the areas that ‘resemble’* Scotland are lauded and valued. I remember my parents waxing lyrical over Central Otago. So living in London and having my Kiwiness denigrated made me feel closer to Scotland than ever. While domiciled there we holidayed more in Scotland than anywhere else. Having people here helped of course. France is nice but we are definitely foreign there, though one group made us feel very welcome after learning we were New Zealanders, not English. Being able to be flexible with one’s nationality while out and about has its advantages 😉

      *Provided you stay far enough away from the permanently snow capped alps in the background. Then it begins to segue more into Switzerland or Wyoming.

  17. When will these people who live in the imperial capital learn that Alex Salmond is not the leader of a pack of revolting natives in pictland but probably the finest politician of our age.
    Step out of line with him and he will hand you your head on a platter.
    Marr deserves everything that is coming his way for this exhibition of unprofessionalism.
    I despise these people,not only for that reason but for the contempt they appear to hold the democratic process in Scotland.
    We elected the SNP to government through an election system that is far more representative than the Westminster one and such,AS,as it’s leader has far more legitimacy than any politician in London.
    Disrespect AS and you disrespect our democracy but I suppose that comes naturally to representatives of the British state who regard anyone outside the imperial bubble as not being worthy.
    Next time (if there is one) Marr will have to be more careful.

    • @bringiton I agree 1000% with you! In my opinion, Alex Salmond is the finest ambassador Scotland could ever wish for. I DO NOT GET why some Scots can regard him the way they do and it maddens me when I see some of the bile that’s directed towards him. It’s so unusual to see genuine passion in a politician. He spent years on the effective fringe believing solidly and consistently in one thing – Scotland! I have an equally high regard for Nicola Sturgeon, plus a little bit of Ayrshire pride there too 🙂

      An american friend was saying yesterday that she’d heard his recent London speech and thought he was such an inspiring speaker. She said we must all be so proud to have him as our leader. I explained that myself and many others are indeed proud of him, but that there are some who don’t like him. She was astonished at that.

      The simple fact is, politicians from the other parties hate him because he’s everything they can only dream of being.

  18. Mr Marr tried to be clever and got his erse kicked on live telly. Whatever his reasoning, whatever his mindset, he made the fatal error of underestimating his interviewee and got caught and clobbered in one fell swoop. His grey moment dumping both himself and the BBC, currently under scrutiny on many fronts (including that of bias during this referendum coverage), into more highly visible bother.

    He’s been quite rightly slapped for his handling of both the Barroso and Salmond interviews, both worthy of mockery for wildly different reasons, both a lesson on how not to conduct and interview. When the opposition lose it on air, you know you’re doing something right. 😉

  19. I don’t want to labour the point, but whether BBC bias is deliberate or an unintended artefact of the ‘house style’ doesn’t matter. It’s unmistakeably there, and must be dealt with.

  20. Yesterday there was a news article on the BBC homepage about the Balls/Osborne clashing over the budget, on the Andrew Marr (Opinion) show. There was a section at the end for posting comments, so I asked why the Scots were being denied the opportunity to post comments on the BBC Scotland homepage about articles to do with the referendum.
    My first post got through and was published, but my next post (nearly one hour later) was deleted almost as soon as it appeared, and the my final post, questioning Balls and Osborne’s financial prowess was immediately moderated, never to be seen again.
    Censorship from planet Beeb!

  21. “The problem here it seems is one of assimilation because after 25 or 30 years absorbing London culture and learning about it, embedding themselves there and bringing up families, they lose some aspect of what makes them Scots.”

    Derek, I can really relate to this after making the move the other way. I’ve lived here for nearly half my life, my children are born and bred here. I feel as though I belong here, and the inclusive nature of the Yes campaign and the SNP’s only reinforce this. What I can’t understand is anybody would vote to be ruled by another country.

    Having said all that, I’m not a professional journalist. James Naughtie and Andrew Marr are, and that’s what they are paid for. I really don’t believe that their bias is solely one of being seduced by their adopted home. Rather one of deliberate undermining the aspirations of the one they left.

    Why? We can only guess. Mine is that they see something exciting taking place in Scotland of which they are not a part and don’t control. Rather than lend their expertise, they resent it, and so seek to undermine it.

  22. I think one issue that has not been highlighted in this debate is one I would call “English political spite towards Scotland”.

    It reflects an attitude the Americans displayed before the invasion of Iraq in trying to assemble a Coalition of the Willing, “You are either with us or against us”. It reflects also the Russian attitude towards Ukraine, “if you won’t be our compliant friend, then we will be your implacable enemy”.

    What we are getting from Westminster is a combination of both, “We are better together, but leave us and we will destroy you.” I would imagine that such views may well become prominent in reporting the independence debate. Will the BBC challenge that?

  23. Marr is another landed gentry pseudo Scot. One of the many who think it is a place to collect butterflies or attend a hoot at the fringe. But a serious nation with a serious capital city and economy. Don’t be silly! Scotland is somewhere you come from not belong to and that’s the case for most London Scots. The game is up Derek there is bias in the BBC. Marr gave his opinion and then backtracked. How can he have any credibility in this debate when he has outed himself. Douglas Fraser is another! I hear Ken MacDonald is getting ditched as well because he was off message for too long. Come over to the light Derek you cannot be paranoid if something is fact. The BBC have been outed.

    • I’m still a bit hazy about the way so many people denigrate Mr. Fraser as a biassed pro-union propagandist, but praise Mrs. Fraser for quality unbiassed journalism leaning to independence. I wonder what it’s like round the dinner table in their house?

  24. I thought ‘Headlines’ was maybe being scrapped because of the ‘ official campaign ‘ rules being enforced from May and one thing BBC Scotland appears to demand is control.Any commentator appearing on that programme, BBC wouldn’t be able to control what was said,maybe fear as well comes into it?
    As for Andrew Marr, either he’s been watching Gordon Brewer( don’t listen to the answer, give your own summation it much more important) or he was doing what lots of presenters do to round off an article, give their own quip, either way it’s a sad day when a journalist being corrected is up there in the headlines-shows how rarely, journalists are actually held to account.
    Good grief, rather than watch another stale debate from Pacific Quay, wouldn’t it be more interesting if they got Ken McDonald, talking to members of the public , as well as the great and the good gauging their views – as a host on Scotland Tonight?

  25. “The Marr Declaration” – what a great term.

    Maybe we can develop some more, e.g. the Naughtie Decree (lots of those to come I hope), the Fraser Memorandum (suitable for any business correspondent), or the MacQuarrie Ultimatum (they work both ways though)?

  26. I’d rather have Borgen than the BBC’s Scottish Borg.

  27. mac said: “As I keep saying, Pacific Quay should be demolished brick by brick and deposited over the border. The BBC has no place in Scotland’s future.”

    Would it not be a delicious irony to see the shed that is the BBC, turned in to a ship building center of excellence and the old Govan Graving Docks restored to use after independence. A real poke in the eye for the imperialist unionist supremacists that control us right now. It is a horrible boil on the face of Glasgow and Scotland.

  28. I know Marr has had a stroke & been seriously ill, but Morag, He was like this even before his stroke, when it came to Scotland, he only got excited when he was interviewing someone who was saying Scotland is FINISHED (or words to that effect) Andrew Neil is another, they are really only happy when they hear how BAD things could get for Scotland. And BOTH of them have this way about them, of throwing in a wee bit of their own, before QUICKLY moving on, Only the Time difference on the Marr show, got him caught out this week, or I am sure, he too would have got away with his little dig had Alex been in the studio… He should be sacked for this, as should every single one of the BBC reporters who QUICKLY move on not allowing what THEY say, to be challenged, NEIL&FRASER included.

  29. We’ve recently been having a debate about the generic names for Scottish based Scots who seem to delight in doing Scotland down, and then for those Anglo Scots (mainly London based) who occasionally visit us here in the wasteland of “North Britain” to tell us how to behave or even better, broadcast their pearls of wisdom from London. The consensus seems to be that the former be known as “Warks” or “Warkings” and the latter as Lord Hee-Haws (as in Vote Naw, get hee-haw) or “Marrtians”. Perhaps there could be a Poll of Polls on a Blog of Blogs to determine the appropriate phrases and candidates. NB subjects for these names are not limited to BBC or STV, all media propagandists are eligible for the titles.

  30. Yes campaign side are being treated to ‘IRA-Type’ treatment by BBC. It is quite disgusting to hear. They also know the games up for the UK, when such programming is countenanced!

  31. Marr was completely our of order yesterday with Alex Salmond. Are these people on bonuses if there’s a No vote? I can’t think of many BBC journalists post-September 18 who will be able to look themselves in the mirror and feel they have served their viewers, listeners and this “democracy” well and not jeopardised their integrity. Then again, it would appear Marr’s gigantic ego is intact, and his fat salary will no doubt more than compensate for the loss of his soul. We really should be switching off and cancelling our licences.

  32. Marr wasn’t up to much before his last illness. I watched his programme once and only once since I found his little ego-trip boring. But minutes ago I watched his performance with Alex Salmond and he was most fortunate that the First Minister’s manners are impeccable. The man got off lightly, considering his ridiculous behaviour. He was not in control and ought to be let go before he does himself serious harm.

  33. Interesting to see you allude to the celebrity-power of some journos over their interview subjects. As you know, for most politicians being interviewed is a rarity – it’s really not core activity at all. It doesn’t take a Marr or Naughtie to overawe them, either. Some journos are sensitive to this and I think they get more out of their subjects, better interviews, for that. And while I’m not sure I agree in principle with your thought about identity and London-based Scots (!), you’ve certainly touched on something significant about how they sometimes se Scotland and its politics (although the reverse it true, too, with Scotland-based journos often largely ignoring the significance of Westminster in Scottish politics). Marr certainly miscued quite seriously on Barroso, though, and perhaps that’s a telling example of the former.

  34. dennis mclaughlin

    I’d like a framed picture of Alex Salmond’s incredulity on the Marr Declaration …..jaw dropping doesn’t come close !.

  35. The Herald’s current headline states that the proposal is to control 40% of revenue. Surely that is a load of mince? Is it not just income tax? Have they started to spin this load of rubbish already?

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