The Tony and Ken Show

Despite mounting pressure, the BBC is still resisting any prospect of Scotland getting its own national channel. Due to the EU charter commitments of the UK Government to protect and foster the minority and regional languages, we’ve got BBC Alba broadcasting in Gaelic, but there’s no similar European treaty obligation to provide a national channel for Scotland in English. Since the UK government didn’t ratify chapter 3 of the treaty in respect of Scots, only chapter 2, there’s no obligation to provide a national Scots language channel either. This leaves Scotland, which we’re repeatedly told is the most devolved nation in the history of devolviness, as the only self-governing or autonomous country or territory in Europe without its own publicly owned TV channel. It’s pathetic.

The only thing more pathetic than the BBC’s treatment of Scotland is the acquiescence of certain Unionist parties and commentators in the BBC’s metropolitan dismissal of Scotland’s needs. People who fancy themselves as representatives of Scotland, who style themselves as serious commentators on Scottish affairs, think that it’s just fine and dandy that Scotland doesn’t have its own national terrestrial TV channel. It would just be SNP propaganda and wall to wall Scottish country dancing, they scoff as they dance around the real issue.

The real issue is of course that London control of broadcasting ensures that Scottish viewers have no alternative to a London-centric view of the world. That favours the Unionist narrative, as became very clear during the independence referendum campaign which was portrayed on our TV screens exclusively according to the Unionist narrative. We had endless discussions about economic fears and warnings, because that was the ground upon which the Better Together campaign chose to fight the independence referendum, but almost nothing about non-economic arguments for independence – arguments about democracy, accountability and fair representation. We’re Scottish you see, and we don’t really understand abstract concepts.

Even the removal of weapons of mass destruction from Scotland was presented as an economic issue. It will cost hundreds, no thousands, no bazillions of jobs and ruin the economy you know, we were told. Every time Jackie Baillie appeared on the telly the economic ruin that would befall Scotland if we get rid of Trident was inflated like her ego. Just how far removed from reality, hell, how far removed from common humanity, do you have to be when your main consideration concerning weapons which can evaporate cities and render thousands of square miles uninhabitable for hundreds of years is how much money you’re making out of them? You have to be as sick as BBC Scotland and the Labour party, and that’s pretty sick indeed. BBC Scotland really ought to look at what happened to Labour in Scotland. That’s going to be your fate too if you’re not very careful.

However all this suits our rapidly crumbling Unionist establishment just fine. Control the airwaves and you control the access to information for that not insubstantial segment of the population that doesn’t use or trust the Internet. And that would be the older population which swung the vote in favour of Scotland remaining within the UK. In the meantime the Westminions keep telling us that Scotland is a unique country, so unique that it doesn’t need its own telly, so unique that its culture is dangerously divisive when it’s not being kitsch and parochial.

This week, Tony Hall, the heid bummer of the BBC, and Ken MacQuarrie the heid bummer of BBC Scotland, actually deigned to appear before MSPs at Holyrood and answer their questions. Or more accurately, the MSPs asked questions and Tone and Ken responded with waffle and management wankspeak. They refused to concede that Scotland requires its own TV channel. Scotland benefits from the BBC being a British institution, Tone said, buried amongst meaningless polysyllables about actualisation, proactivity and going forward into non linear channels in a synergistic fashion.

What it all boiled down to was that Scotland needs the BBC as a British institution to teach us civilised values like Bake Off and Strictly and Nicolas Witchell having a sycophanspasm over the latest photies of a skinny wummin who is apparently a role model because she married well. That’s feminism telt then. Left to our own devices we’d be painting our faces blue and tearing one another apart because we’re so divided and haven’t progressed socially since we made the realisation that burning virgins in wicker men didn’t actually have much of an effect on getting the rain to stop. Scotland is divided and we need the British state and its institutions to act as a neutral referee you see. We were already divided, only then we had the independence referendum and that went and divided us all over again. We have to be saved from this sort of thing. They’re only doing it for our own good. So that’s alright then. You can turn on your telly and be patronised by Jackie Bird safe in the knowledge that you’re being improved by it.

Tony isn’t going to allow Scotland to get its own TV channel, but if we’re good girls and boys we might be allowed a sort of British Scottish version of youtube. So that’s going to be videos of cats wearing tartan ribbons doing cute things in Coatbridge and shakey hand held mobile phone footage of a royal visit to Crathie church. There will be all the memorable moments from BBC Scotland’s flagship current affairs programme Scotland 2014/15/16 and its terribly expensive presenter who didn’t get the job because she’s related to a former leader of the Labour party. So that will take up at least 10 seconds of footage. And fitba, lots and lots of fitba. It will be a sort of online repository of the kind of crap that we’ve been complaining for decades that the BBC paps off on us. Only it’s a safe bet that we won’t be allowed to leave any comments on it or interact with it in any meaningful way, because if there’s one thing that the BBC can’t handle it’s criticism. So that’s really going to satisfy Scottish demands for proper representation in broadcasting.

The BBC isn’t going to change. The corporation is part and parcel of the British state and always will be. All we can do in the meantime is to keep arguing the case for a Scottish public service broadcaster and pointing out that having one is what is normal. It’s not having one that needs justification.

Now over to Sally for the weather. It’s going to rain on the BBC from now until we get independence.

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36 comments on “The Tony and Ken Show

  1. Paul says:

    Keep them coming! The beeb most certainly looks like it’s going the way of the labour party. Next up, Scotland’s “champion” with any luck.

  2. mogabee says:

    How true. I watched them this morning until I drifted off and imagined watching a Scottish bake off entitled Shortbread: “And all it’s permutations.”

    Jeez, amazing how much guff was said at the meeting. McQ had trouble meeting eyes as well. What a joke!

  3. Brian Powell says:

    The establishment: the BBC, Westminster, the Labour Party, the Daily Record, Herald, Scotsman are full of people who have the levels of self regard where they would believe the tide stops at high water mark because they told it too.
    They missed that the wave coming is a tsunami. The BBC is just a bit further from the shore.

  4. Wullie says:

    Starve the Scotts of the oxygen of knowledge and truth.
    A BBC Motto

  5. Golfnut says:

    Don’t suppose anyone asked Tone if it was such a good idea to have so many bbc high Heid yins related to, married to, and in general associated to the Labour party.

  6. muttley79 says:

    The BBC isn’t going to change. The corporation is part and parcel of the British state and always will be. All we can do in the meantime is to keep arguing the case for a Scottish public service broadcaster and pointing out that having one is what is normal. It’s not having one that needs justification.

    Correct. Scotland is obviously not a normal nation in terms of self governance. Sadly too many people in Scotland have earned lucrative careers off the back of that very fact. The cringe is used to argue that having our own broadcasting/media services would make us parochial, whereas in reality it is all about retaining as much political, economic and media power in London as possible.

  7. macart763M says:

    The least trusted outlet of broadcast news in Scotland strikes again.

    Unknown tribes in the Amazon basin knew they’d pull that stroke. How and ever no need to supply shovels since they appear to be doing a fine job of digging that hole they’re in ever deeper by hand.

  8. Neil Anderson says:

    Just received an email from 38 Degrees asking me to sign a petition to protect the BBC. Apparently, cuts are being applied to this “institution” after high ranking officials of Her Maj’s government (Gideon and others) have been wined and dined by the Dirty Digger Murdoch. Hmm, save the BBC from Sky? Swap one set of lying b******s for another? What to do, what to do?

    • Saor Alba says:

      I regularly sign on-line petitions which I regard as important, Neil, from 38 degrees and others, but I did NOT sign this one. I emailed 38 degrees and let them know why.

      I have a deep disgust and disrespect for the BBC because of the lies, interference and misinformation presented through TV screens to persuade those with vulnerable minds to vote no during the referendum. I also gave NO SUPPORT to a similar petition to protect BBC3. They do NOT deserve my support. They do NOT do the job they are supposed to do.

      You have to make up your own mind Neil, but I suspect you too will not sign this. Murdoch and the UK/English Parliament seem to be plotting to get rid of the BBC. That’s how these Unionists work – they even stab each other in the back. It is all part of their greed for more power and money.

      I gave up the TV licence over a year ago after a family conference and we now do NOT watch any live TV. Our lives are much improved and we do not regret our decision. We do NOT miss it and have many other interests in our lives and plenty of methods of gathering information.

      TV is designed to turn your brain to mince and deflect you from the real issues. Murdoch’s Sky is the same. Your penultimate sentence said it all really. Liars or liars? What a choice!!

      In an Independent Scotland, we will be able to have media outlets that will inform rather than deceive. Until then, I don’t care what happens to the BBC, which is an institution which serves its masters in London and cares nothing for Scotland or it’s people.

  9. Gavin C barrie says:

    Since I’m no longer a BBC client – by a few years now,this article went over my head,or, under my feet if you prefer. I do scan the TV guide in the National occasionally to preen myself that I’m not a BBC client, and note that Portillo is still undertaking Great British train journeys! What a great idea for a programme eh?

    Meantime, I’m trudging through a book “A History Book for Scots” – selections from Scotichronicon by Walter Bower (1385-1449), edited by D E R Watt, and By Jings, history repeats itself for those who will not learn. An account of the council at Northampton 1176 is interesting. A lowly Scots cleric is allowed to speak, in expectation that he is a fool. Addressing the English ” ..made arrogant by the large number of your troops…with a perverted lust, a desire to rule, you hasten to make subject to yourselves all adjacent provinces and peoples – peoples, I assert, far more noble than you are yourselves…of ancestry …and of antiquity.

    To follow the contrived rituals and procedures of Westminster – is to decline to learn from history. Another referendum will determine nothing other than confirm the chicanery and grip of the Establishment. Once a clear population preference is for independence our 56 MPs should depart Westminster and declare independence. The Irish did it, why not the Scots?

    • Marconatrix says:

      Presumably because the Irish then had to fight a bloody war of independence, followed by an even bloodier civil war, and after all than ended up with a divided country, still divided to this day.

      Maybe if they hadn’t gone off at half-cock in 1916 all that might have been avoided, maybe not, who knows?

      Hopefully there are wiser and cleverer heads in Scotland who can step by step politically outflank Westminster and make progress to independence inevitable, if it isn’t already.

      All the same the point might be reached when a final showdown is unavoidable, a sort of High Noon moment. That’s we we’ll discover the quality of our politicians.

  10. Albawoman says:

    These are our cultural masters. The Scottish Nation does not exist for them except in terms of the basest stereotypes.

    It’s going to take an enormous piece of work to change these attitudes. We have to support the cultural skills and talents of our people.

    There are writing groups, music groups, poetry groups all over the country working away and experiencing the pure enjoyment of the creative arts.

    Community support and investment for the creative arts needs to be a priority.

  11. bedelsten says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t be quite so despondent. Frustrated, annoyed, pissed-off, yes; but the worm is turning; increasingly, old-media is becoming irrelevant, especially for me since I went on the roof, removed the aerial and stopped paying for being sneered at.

    The recent flooding in Scotland is a good example. It has featured briefly in old-media and has now faded from view. While in full flow, so to speak, old-media did the usual; for the radio or TV – someone in wellies and a concerned expression but conveying little useful information, then buggering off back to their dry nest. For the papers, an image or two of water and a paragraph or two about something or other (the reporter, Libby Brooks perhaps, at a nice dry desk phoning/annoying/distracting those actually doing the hard work) then back to fitba.

    Meanwhile, if you actually wanted to know what was going on, which communities were being inundated, what help was required, what roads were flooded, what transport was operating, what help was being offered, which properties were being targeted by criminals, what progress was being made sorting things out, and who had lost or found a dog – various Facebook pages, Furbar excelling itself, had it all. And continue to do so. OK, outside a crisis, some new-media may seem to concentrate on trivia – but pictures and stories of cats and/or sunsets is what most interests and is harmless, possibly uplifting, and shows that people are not really that interested in the salacious gossip that fills up some sections of old-media – or so I have been told.

    Actually a Scottish YouTube might not be such a bad idea. You would get to choose what you wanted to watch and when. Broadcast radio seems somewhat pointless. If I want to listen to music, I don’t want to be endlessly interrupted while doing so. If I want to listen to Outofdoors, I am not going to set my alarm for 06.30 on a Saturday morning. If I want the news without fitba, it is on a mobile device.

    And we have excellent political commentators, wgd included. Keep up the god work.

  12. Paul – you are correct. If anything BBC Scotland has become less representative of Scotland and the people who live here in recent years.

    There is almost nothing about current affairs – no meaningful analysis or in depth coverage.

    There is nothing about social issues. Culture is largely limited to a few highlights of T in the Park and Celtic Connections despite our overwhelming wealth of literature, music, film, and art.

    We have nearly two thousand years of recorded history largely ignored except for the occasional helping of “look at me I’m Neil Oliver”.

    We have about one series every ten years on Scottish natural history and just as little about Scottish food and drink.

    The comedy output is largely non-existent – so no more Still Game, Rab C. or Naked Video type programming.

    And I have yet to meet a single person who thought that the Hogmanay show was anything less than utterly abysmal (but the BBC Alba ceilidh was great).

    And so it goes on. BBC Scotland by name but certainly not by nature.

    And the weather forecast? Pishing down as usual.

  13. Ealasaid says:

    You have it spot on as usual Paul and express my disgust better than I can. Having greatly reduced my TV viewing in the last year I went completely without live TV over the festive season and was entertained instead by everyone complaining about how bad the programs were.

    As I start this New Year I have finally cancelled my cable TV service, even though I was getting it free in the bundle. Just waiting for the handyman to remove old TV aerial to stop any hassle and I will be writing to demand the rest of my TV licence money back.

    A bit late to the cause but at least I have got there. The only answer to give the BBC.

  14. Coinneach Albannaich says:

    Chan eil telebhisean agam.

    Saor Alba!

  15. Papadox says:

    Hall & MacQuarrie today very shifty insecure Dumplings full of hot air and piss, a pair o weasels that didn’t trust each other. They waffled, lied and couldn’t even look into the camera. Your spot on Paul these two septic plukes will give us nothing but a laugh. Tic toc

    Good examples of the establishment and their dregs.

  16. andygm1 says:

    There may be lots and lots of fitba’, but it’s the wrong sort of fitba’. You can watch as much of the English national side as you can bear, but to watch our own national team you have to turn to another channel and pay for it.

  17. Anyway, bring back Mary Marquis.

  18. David Agnew says:

    Ditched the license a year ago. Never regretted it. Once you have it flushed out of your system, you will be amazed that you ever tolerated it in the first place.

  19. FergusMac says:

    The BBC, like the rest of the British establishment, takes itself very seriously indeed (and, as it regards itself as the mouthpiece of God on earth, why shouldn’t it?). That supreme arrogance is both its strength and its weakness.

    Think of another example of supreme arrogance, the Labour Party in Scotland before the post-Referendum backlash.

    The best way to puncture supreme arrogance is to laugh at it. That really drives them wild, and they can’t survive it.

    For me, one of the high points in the Referendum campaign was that lad on the rickshaw with the speakers blasting out “The Empire Strikes Back”, while he invited the people of Glasgow to “bow to your imperial masters, the Labour Party”

    Remember their seats falling like dominoes on General Election night. 30 years ago, who would have thought that could ever happen?

    So take every opportunity to laugh and joke at and about the BBC. Meet their representatives with mockery. Especially Union Jackie Burd, the Labour Party’s parrot.

    That is, of course, on top of not watching or listening to their programmes, and not paying their poll tax licence. If there is anything you absolutely can’t miss, watch it later on-line. My wife does that with Strictly come Prancing.

    Laugh at them, take the piss, refuse to take them seriously. There are no better weapons to use against them.

    Remember Nick (paleface speak like snake, with forked tongue) Robinson was dubbed “Toenails”, as he was so far up the Great British Arsehole that they were the only part of him you could see.

    • Luigi says:

      It was the famous “imperial masters” incident in Glasgow in 2014, when I realised that, whatever the result of the referendum, the red tories were finished in Scotland. On that day the aura of invincibility was broken, the myth was shattered, the respect was finally gone. For all to see.

  20. Francis Mooney says:


  21. Sooz says:

    Quite honestly, I’d rather do without until we gain our independence, and then we can build our own national broadcasting service. Ditched the TV years back and occasionally I’ll catch up with something if I feel the urge, which isn’t that often.

    I will admit to listening to R4 and the World Service, but mainly as background as I work from home. The Today programme gives me the chance to harrumphh and laugh and snort derisively, but it’s useful to listen to in order to find out what kind of biased pish is being served up to the listening public.

    Anyway I have plenty of things I’d rather do than be glued to a propaganda goggle box. There’s drying paint to be watched closely, for a start, and those planks won’t warp without supervision.

    • Coinneach Albannaich says:

      I’m pretty much in the same boat, Sooz; right down to using R4 to wake up to. At least it doesn’t pretend to be Scottish.

      My Old Folks have a TV. They’re old enough not to have to pay for a licence. I can watch it when I visit, but often seek an excuse not to.

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