In an important respect the BBC in Scotland is the exact opposite of the BBC in the rest of the UK. It’s the exact opposite of state broadcasters, indeed even most privately owned broadcasters, anywhere else in the world. The BBC in its broadcasts to the rest of the UK not only fully buys into the myth of British exceptionalism, but it is one of the major propagators of that myth with its gushing coverage of the royal family, the wall to wall entitlement which characterises its coverage of UK, and especially English, participation international sporting contests, and its interminable production of reality contests with Great British in the title, as though there were something peculiarly and especially British about baking a cake or sewing a hem.
We see it also in news coverage which pays relatively little attention to anything going on in countries where English is not the main language, except where British interests are at stake. When EU countries are in the news its invariably because of something related to Brexit. There’s a curious lack of interest in other countries for their own sake. The BBC’s output consistently reinforces and supports the British nationalist conceit that the UK is a special place, removed from and decidedly superior to the rest of the globe.
On the other hand the BBC in Scotland never misses an opportunity to remind Scotland of its inadequacies and failures. The consistent message from BBC Scotland is that Scotland is a country which struggles to attain adequacy. Examples are legion. For example a recent report from The National newspaper found that the BBC had made over twice as many mentions of allegations that Nicola Sturgeon had breached the ministerial code than it had of allegations against all other politicians combined, despite the fact that the First Minister was cleared of the allegations by an independent enquiry whereas Conservative ministers in the Johnson government have not only been found to have breached the ministerial code but several of them have been found by a court to have acted unlawfully.
We also saw it in the recent prominent coverage given to the dreadful number of drug related deaths in Scotland. The BBC took unseemly glee in pointing out that Scotland has the highest rate of drug related deaths in Europe. Less prominence was given to the fact that drugs policy is reserved to Westminster and the UK Home Office has consistently blocked harm reduction strategies such as safe rooms for addicts on the spurious grounds that this would encourage and condone the use of illegal drugs. Equally, little attention was given to the shocking statistic that drug related deaths in England and Wales have risen by 52% in the past ten years according to figures published by the British medical Journal. https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m3988 In 2019 drug related deaths in England and Wales were the highest they had been since records began in 1993. However you would not have learned any of this from the BBC, which ignored the wider UK context and was eager to give the impression that it’s only Scotland which has a problem and that problem was all the fault of the Scottish Government.
Also absent from the BBC, or if mentioned was done in a blink and you’d miss it way, was the news that Scotland witnessed a10% reduction in alcohol related deaths in 2019, a reduction thought to be due to the success of the minimum price policy introduced by the Scottish Government. Sadly this decrease was short lived. Alcohol related deaths increased in 2020, amid warnings that the pandemic and lockdown has undermined progress made with the country’s world-leading minimum unit-pricing policy.
Scotland’s failures are trumpeted, Scotland’s successes are glossed over or ignored entirely. You’d almost think that there was an active political question in Scotland about independence and the BBC has set out to undermine public confidence in Scotland’s ability to be a normal country. The BBC presents Scotland as a shambolic basket case which would struggle to cross a road without a Great British boy scout to hold its hand.
The latest egregious example of the BBC straining every sinew in order to paint Scotland in a bad light came with the recent interview with climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a generation of young people to take direct action to combat climate change. Greta Thunberg has a low opinion of all industrialised countries in the global north which have historically been responsible for the vast majority of the carbon emissions which are causing global warming. Buried within her interview was an acknowledgement that some countries in the global north are now taking more action than others to tackle climate change, with the implication that Scotland could be one of those countries. However Greta Thunberg believes that no country is doing anything like enough and she’s certainly not about to praise any industrialised nation in the global north for taking belated action on the climate change which the global north is responsible for creating.
Despite the fact that the Swedish climate activist did not mention Scotland directly in her interview, the BBC headline was “Greta Thunberg: Scotland not a world leader on climate change”. The clear implication was that she had gone out of her way to criticise Scotland and to rubbish the steps that Scotland has taken to combat climate change when in fact she had not mentioned Scotland at all.
Naturally the BBC story was eagerly seized upon by the right wing British nationalist press with the Sun claiming that Greta Thunberg had “slapped down” Nicola Sturgeon, who had not been mentioned at all by her.
However Greta Thunberg did directly criticise the British Government, saying the Johnson administration was lying about being a “climate leader” and accusing it of “creative carbon accounting”. Yet BBC Scotland gave huge prominence to comments that Greta Thunberg didn’t make about Scotland and ignored the criticisms that she had actually made about the British Government. Yet again the casual viewer was given the impression that it’s Scotland and the Scottish Government which has the problem and which can’t be trusted whereas all is hunky dory with the UK’s claim to be a “world leader” in tackling climate change.
BBC Scotland never misses an opportunity to paint Scotland in a bad light, and when the opportunity does not arise, the BBC will manufacture it. Yet again the BBC has proven that it is an active participant in the campaign to oppose Scottish independence and as such it is unfit as a public service broadcaster for Scotland.
This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.
You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address email@example.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.