The Nick Robinson show

The British establishment media is parochial and provincial, narra-nebbit and noxious. Living entirely inside a wee anglophone bubble in London, many, if not most, of its denizens speak only two languages – English and Troll – and I’m not too sure about their command of English. BBC political editor Nick Robinson would disagree however, he has investigated himself and absolved himself of trollery. It’s all the fault of independence supporters for hating the English.

During the independence referendum campaign last year, Nick had a well publicised spat with Alicsammin during a press conference. In search of an anti-independence headline Nick asked Alicsammin about the Royal Bank of Scotland, and got his airse handed to him on a plate. Nick then went on the main BBC news at six and said that Alicsammin hadn’t answered the question that he had in fact answered. It’s just that Nick didn’t like what he’d been told, and was annoyed not to get the another blow for independence headline he’d been so plainly trawling for.

So rather than admit that Alicsammin had given him an answer that was not to his pleasing, Nick just made it up and the report he gave on the BBC’s flagship news programme was even more fictitious than Gordie Broon’s vow. Nick now says that he “phrased his report badly”. He phrased it so badly that it said the opposite of what actually transpired. That’s a special type of mealy moothed mendacious that is.

This incident came after months of biased and one sided reporting by Scotland’s national broadcaster, and for many it was the Robinson that broke the camel’s back. Nick really should have known that the BBC’s reputation in Scotland was dangling by a very frayed thread. Instead of doing what he could to bolster the BBC’s reputation, he pulled on the thread for his own reasons. The last shreds of the BBC’s credibility unravelled like an old sock, the toe of truth popped out, and it kicked the BBC on the bum.

In their anger and dismay, several thousand ordinary licence payers demonstrated outside the BBC’s Scottish headquarters. The demonstration was entirely peaceful and non-violent. There were no disturbances, there were no arrests. But they weren’t there purely because of Nick Robinson – frankly Nick, you’re not that important. If the BBC’s coverage of the referendum until Nick’s misrepresentation had been unbiased and as fearless in its criticism of the No campaign as it was of the Yes campaign, then Nick’s wee invention would have been dismissed as an individual lapse. But it wasn’t an individual lapse, it was part of a pattern of lies, obfuscation, misrepresentation, one-sidedness and outright pro-Union propaganda.

In a bout of self-justifying whining, Nick – who has a book to sell – is now trying to shift the debate onto the protests. He’s claiming that it was organised or approved by the SNP government, when it was no such thing. It was spontaneously organised by ordinary voters and licence fee payers in Scotland. The protests did not have the support, blessing or backing of the Scottish Government.

In a crude attempt to make out that he is the victim of his victimisation, he is also repeating the lie that the term “metropolitan” is code for English, and that public distaste in Scotland for the way in which he misrepresented the press conference and Alicsammin’s answer is motived by hatred for English people. Specifically English reporters covering Scotland’s independence debate. Hiding behind weasel words may be Nick’s modus operandi, but it’s not true for the rest of us. If I wanted to say something against the English I’m perfectly capable of using the word English to refer to them. But then, like the overwhelming majority of independence supporters I have no beef with the English. My late partner was English, my daughters are English. And I resent having to mention that in order to prove my non-English hating credentials. There are plenty of English people I have a deep personal animus against, but my distaste for them has nothing to do with their nationality and everything to do with personal issues. There are even more Scottish people I have issues with, which on Nick’s logic makes me an anti-Scottish racist.

Personally I’m sick fed up with the claim that Scottish independence is driven by hatred of the English. It’s a claim which is in itself racist, based on the stereotype that there is nothing distinctive or different about Scotland and its political culture – that Scotland is defined by opposition to England and nothing else. It’s a claim beloved of Scotland’s Unionists who have a cultural cringe a mile and half wide, it serves to justify their own belittling and depreciation of their own culture.

Metropolitanism is the belief that the entire world revolves around the metropole and defines itself with reference to it. It’s far easier for the likes of Nick to imagine that they are hated than it is for them to accept the reality that they are irrelevant. After all, when you’re hated you’re still important. But Nick isn’t that important, and he has nothing of interest to say about Scotland. It’s a country he neither understands nor appreciates. Still, I am sure he loves us, just as long as we continue to play our supporting role in the Great British Pageant – the role that allows British nationalists to pretend that their nationalism isn’t nationalist at all.

We have a right to expect reporters for the national broadcaster to be even handed and unbiased. We have a right to express our displeasure when the national broadcaster fails in its duty and responsibility to us. The correct comparison with Putin’s Russia is that we have a state broadcaster which slavishly supports the establishment, the state, and vested interests and which deliberately sets out to undermine, traduce, and marginalise opposing voices. Nick is not the one who’s been refused a platform here, he’s made a speech at the Edinburgh book festival about how he’s being silenced. He’s got articles in the press about how he’s been silenced. He’s published a book about how he’s been silenced – coming to a remainder bookshop near you soon. For a man who’s being silenced he’s not short of platforms to stand on to tell everyone he’s been silenced.

Meanwhile the case for independence is still sidelined and ignored in the mainstream media. Independence supporters are still traduced and insulted. We deserve better than this. The real lesson to take from the Nick Robinson show is that we need to devolve the BBC now.

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41 comments on “The Nick Robinson show

  1. macart763 says:

    Couldn’t agree more Paul.

    I’m getting fair fed up to the back teeth of being used by the meeja and politicians for their personal monetary gain or political agendas. I’m well past that point when it comes to folk telling me why I’m supposedly doing a thing or voting a certain way. They don’t know me? They certainly don’t get to define or judge me.

    We’re being used for someone’s personal profit. It’s cynical, deliberate and none too subtle. Mr Robinson is simply the latest in a long and undistinguished line of people using the independence movement to line his own pockets or promote a political narrative.

    We need to starve these people of the type of publicity they are seeking, deny them their headline and call their stunt out for what it actually is… PAY DAY.

  2. Indy Russell says:

    I will now and forever more associate Auld Nick with a special type of mealy moothed mendacious. Beautiful.

    • diabloandco says:

      yeah! Intit perfect!

      I hope this chappie from the Westminster /BBBC bubble is prepared to see his book plummet the depths.

  3. Devolve it?

    I suggest we ignore it as a nation, and do out own thing. How about a new current affairs program:



  4. chicthomson says:

    I agree with every dot and comma of this, and only wish I could have put it so succinctly!

    thanks paul

  5. mac says:

    Dissolve the BBC would be better

  6. There’s only one thing to do with Wee Gammon Face and that’s feed him back to the pigs.

  7. jimnarlene says:

    Not only should the BBC be devolved, it should be cleared of all those closely linked to political parties; of any hue.

  8. Itchybiscuit says:

    I see that ‘Dippity Dug’ has been tweeting her delight at a new ‘Holyrood Editor’ for STV – some guy called Colin. Perhaps she thinks that a ‘menshie’ will improve future coverage of her leadership debacle – aye, we all know its in the post.

    Nick Robinson? Obviously his sense of self-importance knows no bounds.

  9. I was born, grew up, and spent much of my working life in England. However, I moved to Scotland in 1989, met and married my West Highland husband and joined the SNP in 1992. I’ve been a supporter / member of the SNP ever since. Neither I nor any of the SNP members / supporters I know are “Anti-English” – that would make me “anti” my whole family! Yes, I’m anti-Westminster – but then so are a vast number of English voters. Nick Robinson’s prejudices are beginning to show way too obviously – time tae shut yer puss and get tae ….., Mr Robinson!!

  10. Andy Borland says:

    This wholly manufactured Robinson referendum media blitz & rehashing of his ‘mealy moothed mendacious’ ness, reminds me greatly of David Torrance’s propensity of using our First Ministers for financial gain.

    As oor Eck said at the time :
    “First, I hardly know David Torrance.
    And secondly – and much more problematically for a biographer – he doesn’t know me at all.”

    In his keenness to take the Queen’s shilling for services to the Establishment, Robinson reinforces the belief that he hardly knows Scotland or the Scots and, more problematically for him, he doesn’t appreciate how contemptuously Scots view him & the BBC.

    • punklin says:

      I agree with the point about David Torrance – he trades his second-rate opinions on people and subjects he neither knows nor understands. His use of English (the language) is also second rate. The dug skates rings round him, and round Cochrane, Farquharson, and even Massie!

  11. Great piece Paul.

    What Robinson did with the Salmond episode was simply wrong – regardless of what his motivation was. The very fact that he simply cannot acknowledge that in two words – ” I fibbed” – means that as far as I am concerned I have neither time or respect for him as a journalist.

    As for the recurring attempts to paint the “Yes” movement as anti-English is, as you so rightly point out yourself, nothing more that its own racist stereotype with no basis in fact or substance.

    Both Robinson and the anti-English claim should be seen for the rubbish they are then soundly ignored.


  12. The only slight variation in relation to Robinson’s latest collection of mealy mouthed commentary is that he’s spoken outwith the auspices of the BBC this time. Although doubtless the gist of any comments and the content of his book have already been approved by those in the know.

  13. Guga says:

    It is long past time that the corrupt and biased EBC was scrapped along with their television tax. The television tax is an anachronism in this day and age, and is only of use to the EBC to prop up the ridiculous salaries for overpaid staff and overpaid assorted nonentities (the so-called “talent”). Scotland should have total control of its own broadcasting and communications systems.

  14. scotsgeoff says:

    Is that the same Putin that David Cameron turned to during Indyref? That one?

  15. Papadox says:

    Thanks Paul my sentiments entirely, excellent.

    GUGA I’m with you 100% time to stop the “Establishment Broadcasting Corporation” beaming its anti Scottish propaganda and lies into my bonnie wee country and skimming the money from the “licence fee” to line their pockets. Total corruption.

  16. Alastair Wright says:

    I used to think Nick spoke bull shit, but there’s a use for that, the guy talks midgie farts. He may actually be one.

  17. Iain says:

    ‘The demonstration was entirely peaceful and non-violent.’ …this is at odds to the utterances of the former MP for Eastwood – I distinctly remember Mssr. James Murphy being allowed to say the exact opposite on the radio in the following days by the same broadcasting company….I just don’t know who to believe.

  18. Fillofficer says:

    Nasty nicks intervention was a pivotal moment for me int referendum. He got sent to do the dirty deed, did it, got the result (out of the edit) & got his payback kerfknching. No morals, professional ethics, conscience, SHAME. Nuthin. Cnut who just happens to be English. (Then went off sick wi an allegedly serious throat complaint, cough cough) sympathy – none. U stirred me up again Paul, keep it up

  19. davy1600 says:

    I said it on WOS and I will say it here, Nick Robinson is not worth the steam off my shite.

  20. Gordon says:

    Nick Robinson – Get in the sea!

  21. Dougie says:

    The Anti-English thing was deliberate by BT
    There polling shocked them so low was the support for Uk
    To win they only need pensioners vote 1 million and folk living here but born in England 500,000 thus the tactics of scare and a yes vote being anti English
    The biggest laugh was that a No vote was patriotic it wasn’t and can’t be but it gave soft No something to hide behind
    Fact is those inside SNP did not believe at the beginning that a yes was possible
    That it was close was down to people not the official yes campaign which failed to reasure pensioners and failed due to fear of appearing anti English play the patriotic card and let BT beat them to it

    It was there to be won

  22. Tinto Chiel says:

    Some great verbal pyrotechnics here, Paul. A brilliant debunking of the man. If only he would read it. Personally, I thank Chrome Dome Nick for finally making me see how biased and corrupt the BBC is. There’s no going back once the scales fall. Seeing is believing, after all.

    Stuart McHardy, Scotland’s own contrarian historian, I think, coined the term “metrovincial” to describe the narrow-minded Establishment lackeys in the London bubble. Mr Robinson fits the bill perfectly.

    Oh, and he tells lies.

  23. Alan Mackenzie says:

    “Spontaneously organised”. πŸ™‚ I like it!

  24. Grizzle McPuss says:

    The ‘Irrelevant Nick Robinson’, never talented enough to even lick the shoes of John Cole. Nuff said regarding this insignificant Baron Munchausen.

  25. jdman says:

    The wife and I went on holiday to Devon a couple of years ago, and the owner of the cottage we hired lived in an adjoining cottage , the evening after our arrival he invited us to enjoy the (beautiful) sunset on the verandah and he opened a bottle of wine,

    We sat and drank what was a very nice wine and spoke about ourselves and the current topic of the day which was the looming referendum on Scottish independence,

    He asked me where I stood on the vote, at which point my wife was shaking her head clearly suggesting he “shouldn’t go there”, this just peaked his interest more and he wanted to know, “you not one of those separatists are you” (cybernat wasn’t a phrase in common usage in England then) to which I replied “of course I am, why on earth would any country willingly allow themselves be ruled by a neighbouring country”?

    He, more out of curiosity than anger continued to probe me for answers as to the mindset of (in his opinion) “people who would break up the United Kingdom”
    he felt there was injustice all across the UK so why should Scotland feel it was being singled out for special attention,
    I showed him my Ipad and brought up BBC Scotland News, linked to a (yet another) critical item on Alex Salmond, he said “but the BBC do that to all politicians, your not suggesting THEY are biased are you”
    I responded by saying if you see a “news” report on the BBC that you dont like “what do you do”?
    He said “I would exercise my right of reply”
    I responded, “go ahead, just imagine you dont like what was just said about Alex Salmond and you want to put the record straight go on the website and voice your disapproval””

    He duly complied and said after a while “the comments section appears to be down at the moment” I said why dont you check the BBC in your region see if it’s ok here”? which he did and found the comments section was fine,

    I said “The comments section on the BBC Scotland website has been “down” for more than a year now” he said why dont you complain”?

    I showed him pictures on my Ipad of previous protests at Pacific Quay, to which he replied “why have we never heard about this in England?

    I, over the next two weeks explained what was REALLY happening in Scotland, showed him the Mcrone report, and many more pieces of evidence showing the true nature of Westminster’s treatment of Scotland, he eventually said “then this all Scots hate English thing then”?
    I simply pointed out “What better way to drive a wedge between Scots and English than to perpetuate a sense of grievance against England and the English and in the process marginalize “the whinging Scots”

    I promised him that what is happening in Scotland was not and never will be about “The English”
    and that when we gain our independence (sigh) the two peoples will be closer than ever,

    He could not believe that the public had been lied to and kept in the dark as what was really happening!

  26. Moray says:

    The Nick Robinson report was a very significant event for me in Indyref. It was the moment I realised how biased the BBC were. And it was the moment I ceased to be just a sympathiser of the Yes movement and became a full fledged supporter.

  27. Jan Cowan says:

    We must be getting close to our goal when Establishment figures are driven to cheat so blatantly. The next one to be forced to tell the truth will be Carmichael. So let’s not forget to support the Orkney people in the coming weeks.

    • Well said, Jan. My Mum used to say she could tolerate a thief (who knows what drove them to what they did?) and even a violent person (they can be reformed, can’t they?) but she could NEVER tolerate a liar because you never know where you stand with them and you never know what they really think or believe.

  28. fatbob says:

    if ye canna staun the heat Nick get yer erse awa fae the fire.

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