The things you miss when you’re away doing a talk for CommonWeal Moray in Elgin

On Tuesday I packed the dug into the car and drove to Elgin for a talk for Common Weal Moray. There was a great crowd, we had some fantastic craic and a few laughs, and the dug and I were lucky enough to benefit from the hospitality and kindness of Common Weal Moray members and Sue’s wonderful cooking. Only the dug gulped down far too much water after the long journey and threw up all over her kitchen floor. Sorry Sue. I’m happy to report that both the dug and Sue’s kitchen floor are fine now. Unfortunately, due to a mix up with parcel delivery dates, I had to drive back to Glasgow immediately after the meeting and got home very late and very knackered.

It’s August, the traditional silly season in politics, when nothing much happens so what does happen is equally traditionally blown up out of all proportion. This week it’s the long running proposal for Scotland to have its own hour long news programme on BBC1. It’s a mark of the low ambitions and lack of respect that the BBC has for Scottish broadcasting, not to mention the control freakery of BBC management in London, that a proposal for a single news programme has been causing arguments for almost two decades and we’re still no closer to seeing the bloody show.

An hour long Scottish news programme combining Scottish, relevant UK news, and international news ought to have been introduced back in 1997 when Scotland voted for devolution. The electorate of Scotland deserve to have a public service broadcast news provider which doesn’t conflate UK news with Scottish news, and which leads to the ridiculous state of affairs that voters in Scotland receive more coverage of education and health policies in England, which don’t affect us, than we do about policies which do actually affect us.

It’s also a mark of the paucity of imagination and the strength of the Cringe that there is still a substantial body of prominent Scottish Unionists who firmly believe that there is no need for a self-governing nation to have a news service of its own. They’re quite happy with Scottish voters learning more about the rest of the UK than they learn about the decisions of a Scottish government. It is of course a well known fact that any TV broadcasting which originates in Scotland would be a hotbed of Scottish nationalism and it would campaign tirelessly for the breakup of the glorious Great British bakery provider. Which is why STV is a by-word for Scottish separatism and Stephen Daisley is really a sleeper agent for the SNP. Wall to wall Scottish nationalist propaganda on that STV so there is. Oh. Wait.

The proposal for a Scottish Six news programme is in the news again because this time it has been backed by people who aren’t Scottish. A committee of MPs, only one of whom is SNP, have unanimously backed the idea that Scotland requires its own national hour long news programme instead of the current half hour of international and English news followed by the news where we are. The news where we are consists largely of fitba, cute wee animals, murrdurrs, how the SNP is really really bad, and some more fitba. The MPs want this replaced by an hour long show produced in Scotland which combines Scottish news with international news and would only broadcast the UK news which actually affects Scotland. The BBC, naturally, isn’t keen as this might lead Scottish people to imagine that we live in an actual nation, and not “where you are”.

For some unexplained, and probably unexplainable, reason, Reporting Scotland thought it was vitally important to bring us the views of Airchie MacPherson about a possible Scottish Six programme. Being a prominent supporter of the Better Together campaign during the 2014 referendum campaign, it came as no great surprise to discover that Airchie is vehemently opposed to an hour long Scottish news programme on the BBC. Possibly this is because he’s afraid it would distract from the murrdurrs, wee cute kittens, and of course the fitba. I don’t know anyone who wants a Scottish news programme, said Airchie, blissfully unaware that no one in Scotland knows anyone who cares what Airchie thinks about anything other than the chances of Clyde avoiding relegation.

The fact that Reporting Scotland got Airchie as its naw speaking head whereas the supporter of a Scottish Six was an academic specialising in the media demonstrates that there’s no intellectually based argument against Scotland having its own news programme. There’s only Airchie and his wish to return us all to an idealised 1960s with jumpers for goalposts and leaving politics to the serious big boys down south.

The proper news on the BBC, as opposed to the murrdurring cute kittens playing fitba news where we are, managed to get the slightly weightier intellect of David Torrance to speak against a Scottish Six. David’s opposition was seemingly based upon the premise that a proper Scottish news programme would require more funding than the BBC currently provides, and so it would be a bad thing because producing a TV programme is complicated and it’s going to cost money.

Specious as it was, he managed to phrase his argument poorly, so it came across to many that he’d actually claimed that Scotland shouldn’t have its own news programme because Scottish people can’t operate video cameras. I don’t often leap to the defence of David Torrance, in fact I never leap to the defence of David Torrance, but his opposition to a Scottish Six news programme isn’t because he thinks we can’t operate cameras. It’s because – if I understood him correctly – he thinks that there is no merit in the argument that Scotland deserves more funding from the BBC. So what we saw was a Scottish journalist arguing against jobs for Scottish journalists. If anything that’s worse than what he was ridiculed for on Twitter.

I’m not hugely convinced by proposals for a Scottish Six news programme. I think that the argument moved on a long time ago. A Scottish Six made by the same organisation which has given us Reporting Scotland and Scotland 2016 is likely to be Reporting Scotland writ large. What Scotland needs isn’t a Scottish Six news programme, what it needs is a Scottish public service broadcaster.

Unionist opposition to Scottish broadcasting originates in a Cringe based disrespect for the standards of home grown Scottish journalism, and home grown Scottish democracy because they operate on the default assumption that it would be controlled by the SNP and the Scottish Government. Because Scotland isn’t capable of sustaining independent broadcasting and journalism of its own, we’re too primitive and require the administrations of Westminster to do things properly for us.

But the real reason that Unionists oppose home grown Scottish broadcasting is because they’re terrified of anything that portrays Scotland as a normal country instead of a northern province of Britain. That allows the dangerous idea to grow in Scottish minds that Scotland might just be better off as a normal country in other respects, and govern itself like other normal countries do.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984

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38 comments on “The things you miss when you’re away doing a talk for CommonWeal Moray in Elgin

  1. Paul Kelly says:

    Where are your going away drinks going to take place?

  2. gavin says:

    And of course we also got the views of one Brian Wilson, who managed two appearances on the BBC yesterday. Not bad for a private citizen you would imagine, but this is political “product placement” for Scottish Labour/British Nationalism via a public broadcaster.
    I think when Wee Brian next gets airtime he could be asked about his time as a long term director of Scottish Coal, a company which has left a trail of environmental damage (estimated at £150million) across the old mining areas of Scotland, and also didn’t pay their whack into the pension scheme, leaving employees in the lurch—-just like Philip Green.
    But we won’t hold our breath. Actual journalism is now dead in Scotland’s media.

  3. annelawrie says:

    No matter what they call it: “Scottish six” or “where you are” it will still be the same WM propaganda ad nauseum, as long as it’s peopled by the same sneering clique, and sailing under the banner of BBC, whether being broadcast from London or Pathetic Quay.

  4. jrmacclure says:

    I don’t think anyone who made fun of David Torrance for his silly ‘tv news isn’t easy because there are pictures’ comment made fun of him (I think) because they believed that was his real opinion. They made fun of him for using Scottish Cringe in a particularly blatant way to justify a basically anti-Scottish position. I know that was the reason for my several pokes at him. Many of the people who made fun of him don’t even particularly find the idea of a ‘Scottish Six’ all that appealing for the exact reasons you mentioned.

  5. Ewan Munro says:

    Just in case anyone reading WGD cares (some of us will… ) Clyde’s chances of avoiding relegation this season should be pretty good. They narrowly missed promotion last season and are expected to match or improve on that outcome. As to the main point of the piece, I agree with Paul.. too little, too late. To get the news done right, we need to do it for ourselves.

  6. Macart says:

    No I’m not particularly excited by the idea of a ‘Scottish six’ produced by the current set up either. I just can’t help the feeling we’d be given a full hour of Essenpee baaadness, not to mention the obligatory murdurr, fitba and kittens. I personally simply don’t trust them anymore. I can’t think of any reason why I should either. An SBC with fully empowered parliament and competence of broadcasting is pretty much the gold standard.

    After the past couple of days of silly season fuckwittery with the usual right wing reactionary rags going tonto over nothing at all, is it really any wonder there is so little trust?

    Near as I can see, our media both broadcast and printed, hold the independence movement, the Scottish government and the idea of Scottish nationhood in utter contempt. They represent the UK narrative orthodoxy end of. They have spent decades selling a narrative to the Scottish electorate of how their world should be viewed through a particular prism.

    They have spent the past nine of those years especially, misinforming, misrepresenting, dividing, demonising, denigrating and otherwise insulting Scotland’s electorate. The ‘threat’ of Scottish self determination was just that awful to interests both political and corporate. The societal divisions, the undermining of services and public institutions caused by their manipulation of narrative amount to nothing less than reckless endangerment and incitement.

    Absolutely no amount of reasoning, pleading, or a mountain of hard evidence will convince them to act in the public interest or become representative of their population overnight. They are fully invested and committed to the narrative they sold to all of us. Over invested and over committed IMO. Their narrative nationally in Scotland and UK wide has become a runaway train. Its why the UKs politics and society is in the wonderful omnishambles we see around us today. (see under Brexit, isolationism, economic catastrophuk, international laughing stock and the scapegoating capital of Europe)

    They have no choice but to defend the narrative THEY created. For if any part of the UK, en masse (see under Scottish self determination), stops to ponder their current lot in life, some very hard, very uncomfortable and very pointed questions are going to be asked of central government and THEIR media.

    • Guga says:

      We still have too many of the “proud Scots, but”, type of people who have, to quote Burns, been bought and sold for English gold. A Quisling is a Quisling, and they will always be prepared to sell out their own people and sell their souls to the devil.

    • Sandy says:

      Excellent post Macart. The problems with our political situation and the bias of the media are intimately connected as you highlight.

    • Tony L says:

      Totally agree.

      I realise that during Ref1 the main aim was to be the ‘good guys’ and not to frighten the horses, but I hope the lessons that saying most things will stay the same isn’t going to convince someone who’s a soft ‘No’ to make that leap of faith and vote YES.

      The BBC in its present form is not fit for a Scottish purpose. I don’t particularly care if an iS has a deal to buy in some BBC content, and neither do I want to remain some kind of ‘partner’ with the BBC and collect its taxes.

      People online complain that good Scottish talent leaves the country to employ their talents elsewhere – not only to London. Independent Scotland should be promoting NEW broadcasting with genuine oversight and independence from government.

      I believe Catalonia has 19 local channels. NINETEEN! We don’t even have one.

    • Golfnut says:

      Still the same level of ill informed drivel in the comments section and if I may say so any kind of understanding of just how deep the shit is they are about step in.

      • Macart says:

        Pretty much and has to be said I can’t say as I miss CiF for debate. I do miss some of my fellow missionaries right enough and I’ve seen them on there from time to time still working away.

        The article, though I feel it to be fairly prophetic, still failed to grab the nettle. The why of it.

        Why is UK society so divided, alienated, rage filled and suspicious of each other? Who controlled the message and the messenger? Who yanked people’s opinion this way and that till they didn’t know whether they were punched, bored or countersunk? Who is ultimately responsible for the management, administration and care of the state and its population?

        The buck for all of the above stops in only one place and those who exercise power through it. The UK is headed for a dark place of its own making and I reckon we should have no part of where it is headed.

        • Tony L says:

          Good questions. I will resist the temptation to post numerous Goebbels quotations, even though they seem most apt!

          I will also try not to put on my tin-foil hat and look sternly towards Bilderberg and the Carlyle Group!

          Rather I think it is simply greed, power, and maintenance of influence by media owners who can support or oppose the political elite and by this influence can ‘grant’ lifelong wealth or ignoble resignations. Most obvious recent example outwith Scotland is the treatment by the CorpMedia of Jeremy Corbyn – the “anti-establishment” Labour leader.

          The mystery is how more people can’t see through this charade.

          • Macart says:

            At the end of the day Tony, central government have the country and society they and their narrative created and the UK has the government England’s populace voted for.

            Yet media commentators ask why the UK is falling apart?

  7. bedelsten says:

    Selkie and I were very happy to have met the dug in Elgin. As was noted by his minder, he is larger in real life and works the crowd like a pro – then lies down for a rest. Many sympathies for having to endure the A9 twice in one day – though, given the unexpected blog, the time has been well spent.

    Agreeing with jrmacclure, the torrents of Torrance twitter fest was just an opportunity to take the prig down a peg or two. Don’t sympathise too much, he (Torrance that is) will bounce back again to annoy us. I see there is an #AngryTorrance, which will probably be more entertaining than the original.

    Before the meeting in Elgin I did some homework trying to get my head round GERS, fiscal deficits, too poor etc., and other stuff never likely to appear between cats up trees and the fitba. It is sort of annoying that the unspoken consensus is that Scotland would do quite well as an independent nation, not something one is likely to discover watching a BBC at six which would, I suggest, be a derivative of ‘and the news form where you are’ with buffering Skype from Skye, and that awful nationwide in the black and white days, with outside broadcasts of trivia while interacting with the natives – thus justifying and spending the budget. Anything complicated, such as actual investigative journalism, actually explaining the working of democracy in Scotland, would be far too complicated for the natives to understand, more cats and fitba please.

    Then, this morning, I see that the Scottish media is having a go about police numbers. One which seems strangely coordinated and/or it displays the laziness of the media – barely an original thought between the lot of them.

    • Sandy says:

      The police numbers report was easily and clearly taken down by Stuart Campbell at Wings. That one man in bath with a computer can present a fuller truth than all the print media combined tell you everything you need to know about Scottish ‘journalism’.

      • Gail Hughes says:

        The one that basically said, “The SNP promised to increase police numbers by 1000. The SNP increased police numbers by 1000. The SNP have failed.”?

    • Jings, Ginger’s nae sae wee, ava, ava.

      ‘He was a gash an’ faithfu’ tyke,
      As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
      His honest, sonsie, baws’nt face
      Aye gat him friends in ilka place’

      [I widnae fancy pushing him aff the sofa, aince he got coorie & comfy.]

  8. […] Source: The things you miss when you’re away doing a talk for CommonWeal Moray in Elgin […]

  9. punklin says:

    I know – given the appallingly low standards of pro-union propaganda at the BBC – it seems not to make sense but isn’t the idea of a Scottish Six in our (independence supporters’) favour?

    Of course it runs the risk of being just a longer Reporting Scotland but I still think it may be a move in the right direction…

    Less likely that they’ll get away with it and BBC worth bringing even a tiny step away from its current position. It still holds so many valuable cards (funding, access to broadcasting and audience loyalty etc) we have to begin somewhere.. non?

  10. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  11. Yet BBC Scotland seems to have chipped in for David Torrance’s wee jaunt to Cleveland to cover the Republican Convention. And here’s me thinking that the BBC had staffers like James Cook to cover affairs in the USA.

  12. The thing is, will the new Scottish Six, employ the same ‘Scotland Rubbish compared with England, and we’ve got the stats to prove that we are too wee , too poor, too stupid’ tactic as The Scottish Half Six, Distorting Scotland, does now.
    Unemployment down in Scotland but not as much as England. Aye, right.
    Scottish economy faltering, while England still shows a modest growth. Thanks for that.
    House prices are falling, but Scotland’s plummeting. Sell, sell, sell !

    Will the Scottish Six, in covering the diurnal late lamented Eleanor Bradford SNP BAD NHS trope, (the name of the new harbinger escapes me) , point out that NHS England is heading for a £2 billion deficit, that some Health Boards Down There are employing ephemeral managers on ST Contracts and paying up to £60, 000 a month, because of the utter fragmented chaos in Merrie Engerland?Or the anticipated abject failure to meet the WM Government’s £22 billion in ‘savings’ in NHS England, while Scotland, by law, is required to remain within budget ?
    Given the absolute farce of the MSM Unionist propaganda yesterday regarding Scotland’s Police Numbers, by the well paid, immoral Unionist Press Hacks Up Here, will the Scottish Fix, sorry, Six, report on the disastrous drop of 20,000 PC’s (in real terms) Down in England, when running the next Wullie Rennie inspired Police Rubbish SNP BAD strap Up Here?

    Of course not.
    The ‘international news’ segment of the Scottish Fix will feature good news from the Motherland, wee Royal babies sitting on helicopters, giggling cutely for the cameras, celebrating Machineries of War and while the TV world wallowed in the Empire’s past Wars, or a free advert for the Chelsea Flower show which we must absolutely pop down to see, or swoon over spoilt Establishment brats on a billion dollar catamaran competing against American spoilt Establishment brats in the Americas boat race thingy.
    And finally, what is the point in changing now?

    England’s wobble against Pakistan in the Test is much more important than Scotland first World Cup Qualifier, not featuring England, for which we Scots will have to pay a cable TV to watch, unlike the English Games, which of course are part of the ‘British’ Sports ‘Crown Jewels’, which will be free to view for all ‘British’ citizens on Cooncil TV?
    Glenn Campbell’s wide eyed innocence when he asserted that the BBC would still retain its political neutrality following the changeover to the Scottish Fix was a picture of barely contained piss taking.
    The hacks at HS , The Record, failed Fucking Useless Labour dinosaurs, Ruth and Wullie, and the long line of Unionist commentators, must have been pissin’ themselves at that one.
    How would David Torrance get by without the huge wedge of appearance money which he presumably, allegedly, possibly, I have no real way of telling, but I’d imagine so, get from Pacific Quay?
    The now scrapped Scotland 2016 was a nightly Better Together SNP Shite telecast.
    Reading between the laughter lines, I assume that this is what Campbell meant as the impartial BBC Scotland carrying on as before?

    • Tony L says:

      And as an aside on the cricket – don’t forget it was a Scot (Douglas Jardine) who almost destroyed the Empire in 1932/33 with the MCC (as it was then) cricket tour to Australia during the “Bodyline” series.

      Actually Scotland has produced some top cricketers despite it being a minority sport.

      • thank you for the ‘aside’, Tony.
        Mark Carney’s on now trying to waffle his way through a .25% cut in interest rates and announcing the issue of £60 billion more in QE, bringing the total of Monopoly Money in the UK economy to $435 billion since the crash 2007/2008.
        All those reported pensioners who voted No in ’14, and the 38% who voted Brexit a few weeks ago, weren’t told that this would be one of the ‘pooling and sharing’ consequences of tying Scotland to rule by an English Dominated WM Far Right Red Blue and Yellow Tory Government.
        Pensioners who are relying on income from their savings are being robbed of .25% interest to pay for Farage’s Folly, ‘regime change’ to which Carney referred during his ‘Don’t Panic” spiel today. So our elderly citizens are being asked to live on less, so that banks can carry on regardless, and the lovely world of credit slavery can continue, despite the collapse of Service Industries. Manufacturing, House Building, even before Boris and Co., begin negotiations to Brexit. The 9% drop in the value of the £, which is now trading at a measly 1.18euros, from 1.41 a few weeks ago, is crippling the retirement income of 1.2 ex pats living on the continent, and our imported goods are costing more already.
        Supermarkets, Off Sales, and so on, will have their zero hours shelf fillers changing the prices this afternoon..

        I have nothing against cricket, per se, Tony.
        As another ‘aside’, Tony, when Scotland elects for Self Determination, could we be in any deeper shit than the mire through which the Holy London Empire is wallowing now?
        I doubt that Brexit will become a reality now that Money has spoken.

        • Tony L says:

          In ref to your ‘aside: I am no economist, but from what I can glean from better minds than mine, iScotland already has a fairly diverse economy. If we take a long view – say the last twenty years – Scotland even under the mismanagement of the Westminster crooks, has been in a stronger position than the rUK in 16 of those years.

          It will not be an easy ride, but no country is having an easy ride now anyway. The point is, even I can see where billions of savings can be made in the GERS figures which makes iScotland’s financial position far more manageable.

          So, NO I do not think we’ll be in a worse position.

          • That makes two of us at least, Tony.
            I suspect there are more of a like mind. Some may even play and enjoy cricket.
            Carney’s speech was a cry for calm, which I fear will go unheard by the Money Men. Money is deaf, and does not require a passport.

  13. Steve Asaneilean says:

    Really Scottish Six – surely twice as much pish is still pish?

  14. Maria F says:

    One hour of ‘highly sanitised and unionised’ Scottish News in the BBC, that mouthpiece of the Unionist Government we are forced to pay to even when we don’t watch it?

    No thanks. It may have my money (for now), but certainly not my mind. My interest for anything to do with the BBC began its irreversible and progressive disintegration the moment this article surfaced:

    When was this article by Conlan published by the grauniad?

    11 Sep 2014, yes, that is right, such a good timing: exactly seven days before the Scottish Independence referendum.

    Can you get any more unscrupulous, vicious, manipulative and disrespectful of a democratic process?

    11 Sep 2014 marked the end of the BBC for me.

    It took me a little bit longer to ditch the grauniad, but that boat has sunk too. I cannot say I have missed any of them!

  15. Dointhebiz 1 says:

    Could we not just have our wee segment of news for 15 minutes and miss out the football? Or, 10 minutes and miss out the fluffy bunnies bit? Or what about 5 minutes, and do away with the SNP BaaD?’… In fact that would just leave us with ‘Muuuurder’,…. And believe me watching it,…. It truly is.

  16. Tarisgal says:

    I’ve been posting here and there, this link because I love the idea! But hardly seen anything about it. Does anyone know any more than that posted? It seems to me that this would ultimately be more satisfying watching than Scottish6. And I’d rather have a whole channel than one single hour. Having said that…

    The older viewers who watch news, probably watch BBC. They’ve always done it and never questioned what exactly they are getting for their buck. So while I absolutely do not care about a ‘Scottish6’, I can’t help feeling that if Scot6 were to give a view of Scotland as being fairly prosperous and that services are, in fact, working quite well (while unlikely they (BBC) will give credit where credit is due), perhaps these folks will be able to put two and two together and actually work out WHY Scotland is prosperous and which governing party may be responsible. A reasonable view of Scotland courtesy of Scottish6, with SNP flyers, billboards etc proclaiming exactly what they have done, ie today’s A&E reports of more than meeting targets, lower crime figures etc., perhaps it may be possible to convince people that the SNP are actually doing a pretty good job, all things considered. And that voting SNP could be no bad thing… in fact could lead to even better results. I think the two would have to go hand in hand though, as I can’t see Scottish6 proclaiming from the rooftops that Scottish A&E targets have been met AGAIN!

    That’s the only credence I give Scottish6. Much as I’d love to say I can’t think of anything good about the scheme, that above idea is one that makes me feel “wellllll, perhaps…” I won’t watch it myself. But I think it likely that the usual watchers will tune in as normal… Perhaps we CAN take advantage of it in some way…

  17. mealer says:

    Pish and vomit.Who trained that dog? The BBC?

  18. […] On August the 3rd Paul Kavanagh, just a day or so before the Festival opened, wrote in his blog, Wee Ginger Dug: […]

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