By a Newsnet reporter
BBC Scotland Chiefs have come under fire after a programme broadcast on BBC2 as part of a series on the independence referendum provoked outrage.
The programme - Scotland's Top Ten Battlegrounds - featured a host of what the BBC described as "independent" experts and a panel of BBC Scotland presenters each giving their views on what the broadcaster claimed were the ten most important issues of the independence debate.

According to the programme billing, it promised a politician-free zone, calling on the country's leading academics and experts, to give straight answers to the key questions.

However the tone and content of the so-called documentary has prompted an angry backlash online with many viewers tweeting and posting messages expressing anger at the patronising nature of the programme.

Within moments of finishing, hundreds of messages of complaint had been posted with many claiming the programme’s style benefited the anti-independence campaign.

On BBC Scotland's own Facebook page responses were overwhelmingly critical of the programme.

One message read: "This program is making a mockery of the whole question of independence. All the arguments are as clear as mud and not at all helpful."

Another said: "Given that broadcasting is one of the issues on the referendum, one would have thought the BBC would have made a reasonably good program. This was terrible on many levels. Poor visuals, inconclusive arguments and really boring. Had to give up. Hopeless advertisement for BBC Scotland."

Many suggested the broadcaster was favouring the No campaign, with one saying: "The BBC's coverage of this is so ridiculously one sided and full of scare mongering propaganda it is farcical."

Narrated by John Gordon Sinclair the documentary claimed it would explore the top-ten issues of the referendum debate in reverse order of importance.  The issues had been determined by a BBC Scotland poll which had taken place in early January.

However many of the issues were not explored in detail with some highly questionable contributions from so-called independent experts, and BBC Scotland presenters, going unchallenged.

There were also question marks over the so-called independent background of pundits and claims that one had expressed views on the issue of North Sea Oil that were contradictory to views the same academic had already expressed in public.

Reaction to the programme follows a difficult start to the year for the broadcaster with the BBC Trust publicly announcing in January it had found BBC Scotland guilty of breaking accuracy guidelines after a broadcast on Reporting Scotland challenged the EU membership stance of the Scottish Government.

The ruling was compounded after a University academic produced a study which showed BBC Scotland and STV had both favoured the No campaign in early evening news coverage of the independence referendum.

Meanwhile, the BBC is this morning at the forefront of an attack on the Yes campaign with claims it has been briefed by the UK Government over the issue of a currency union.

Reports emerged last night that Tory Chancellor George Osborne was preparing to formally rule out a currency union with an independent Scotland and that sources close to the Chancellor had privately spoken to the BBC.  The development will add to suspicions that the BBC is now allowing itself to be used by the Westminster establishment as a tool against the Yes campaign.

The move followed news that the head of Barclay's Bank had dismissed suggestions that a Yes vote would harm his company's business.  Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins said the bank "can make it work" if Scotland votes for independence.

The comments, which are extremely damaging to the No campaign, have been wiped from today's news agenda by the as yet unconfirmed briefing given to the BBC by the UK Treasury.

The decision by the BBC to place, at the top of its news agenda, a story that has yet to be confirmed but has very clear political ramifications, will cause grave concern to those who rely on the broadcaster to report only confirmed facts in an honest and impartial manner.

This morning on Good Morning Scotland it emerged that the UK Treasury and the Scotland Office had refused to discuss the matter.


# Abulhaq 2014-02-12 08:58
Ah! no to currency union say Osborne, Alexander and Balls & co. These men assume successor state status for England, Wales and N.Ireland. They arrogate to that state the right to allow, or not, another to use its currency. Whatever ones opinion on currency union the notion that it is Westminster's decision alone as the legal successor of the United Kingdom needs to be challenged. Both Scotland and EWNI are successors of the 1707 Union.
# goldenayr 2014-02-12 09:00
The propaganda last night was also prophetic with its analogy that the ref was like a game of cards.I think it has now turned into a loaded gun held to everyone's head with Osbornes speech tomorrow.Is he bluffing?Is he scared?........I think both.
The bbc also continues to name the FM personally as if he's the only person wanting restoration.

The bbc...Westminsters shit-stirrers to make the waters muddier.
# theycantbeserious 2014-02-12 09:24
Stop paying the TV license fee!
Stop funding union propaganda!
Stop funding the Westminster agenda!
Your money is being used against you!...
and your country!
# Breeks 2014-02-12 09:54
Under fire?

I've been up all night trying to uncurl my toes after watching that.

Hour long Better Together Party Political Broadcast.

They quite literally ring fenced the rare appearance of pro independence commentary with 'can you spot the Nationalist' condescending arrogance.

Yes, it was that bad.

Digital Channel now!!!

And as for Osborne - give me one benefit which accrues to the treasury if Scotland was denied a currency Union. Looks like impotent petulance as far as I can see. Cut off your pound to spite our economy.
# Fungus 2014-02-12 10:27
I often wonder if the FM should stand up and call their bluff. Tell them we'll go for our own currency, underwritten by our oil and whisky and renewables.... Let the rUK ride on the back of the banking spivs.

I'm sure the tune would soon change.
# fiferblue 2014-02-12 12:27
'Cut off your pound to spite our economy' - now that would make a great graphic. I'm sure there is somebody out there, with more artistic talent than I have, could come up with an appropriate image.
# Leader of the Pack 2014-02-12 10:12
"The development will add to suspicions that the BBC is now allowing itself to be used by the Westminster establishment as a tool against the Yes campaign"

I honestly cant believe this is the level of language still being used in regards to the BBCs coverage of the Indy debate.
Suspicion? How much more evidence is needed to turn it into a certainty?
# Breeks 2014-02-12 11:10
# Leader of the Pack 2014-02-12 10:52
Nobody in their right minds is going to believe that Osborne or anybody else in any UK or rUK Government would allow the pound sterling to crash overnight by denying Scotlands support of the currency just because they want to scare people into supporting a regime that would scare people into supporting them. How ludicrous does the no campaign have to get before the MSM gives up on them in disgust like the rest of us?
I don't know whos worst the Government that produces this level of stupidity or an MSM that promotes it as genuine and credible.
# gerrydotp 2014-02-12 11:12
Broadcasting at no 10 in the concerns - Will we still get to watch "Strictly"
Broadcasting should be no 1 in the concerns. Will we ever be told the truth by the British Broadcasting Corporation?
What a shambles of a programme.
# Marian 2014-02-12 11:17
It could be that Osborne is using the BBC to "fly a kite" to test reaction from the international markets before he says anymore.
# Shagpile 2014-02-12 11:37
Quoting Marian:
It could be that Osborne is using the BBC to "fly a kite" to test reaction from the international markets before he says any more.

My first thought. However, could he be trying to bounce the FM to say "Dollarization" it is then? There for Scottish banks would relocate to The City for security? Would it be the basis of their next scare?

Black Wednesday... Lamont, Major and Clark stood in No 10 cabinet room raising interest rates listening to BBC radio news. Could be they are repeating the same exercise.

Only marginally better than the back of a fag-packet.
# bringiton 2014-02-12 12:03
Possibly Marian.
Mark Carney in his speech made it clear that a currency zone would be a matter for negotiation between England and Scotland and that the BoE would implement whatever came out of that decision.
Since the UK as an entity (and it's parliament) will cease to exist on the 19th September,who will the SG negotiate with ?
Osborne can say what he likes now but after that date he will have no competence or legal authority to deal with anything.
Most of the "problems" arising from Scottish independence will belong with London,which is why they are so desperate to try and prevent it from happening.
We will have options,they may not.
# Dundonian West 2014-02-12 12:11
TODAY.Financial Journal---'City AM' believes Scotland can certainly go ahead and use £ irrespective of what rUK says.
" Sam Bowman, research director at the Adam Smith Institute, says that "an independent Scotland would not need England’s permission to continue using the pound sterling, and in fact would be better off using the pound without such permission." -
# Brechin 2014-02-12 12:28
Cracking piece from the Adam Smith Institute!

Put that in your pipe an smoke it Gideon.
# Puskas 2014-02-12 14:23

RT Russia over the next few days on the Money Markets discuss Scotland, Independence, and the pound... FM Alex Salmond gets a hammering regards the stance on the monetary value of wishing to stay with the pound.. The view given was get rid of the pound as quickly as possible and use another .
I personally agreed with this view.
# balbeggie 2014-02-12 16:28
It is not the view of RT but the view of Max Keiser is his TV programme. You will see a disclaimer at the beginning of his TV show which is always entertaining/amusing and sometimes informative.
# Puskas 2014-02-12 18:58
Quoting balbeggie:
It is not the view of RT but the view of Max Keiser is his TV programme. You will see a disclaimer at the beginning of his TV show which is always entertaining/amusing and sometimes informative.

I agree. I am just pointing out that I agree with Max....... Vote Yes
# WRH2 2014-02-12 12:50
Osborne's leaked speech show Westminster are being backed into corners and now just lashing out. I personally don't care what currency is used because Scotland's assets will be the strength behind it. This is a bit like "who blinks first" and Osborne and Cameron are joining Alistair in this game.

The SNP have had years of practice playing the long game and that experience is beginning to show. As long as Scotland holds its nerve we will come out of this OK and independent. Don't give in to those who would bully us.
# Leswil 2014-02-12 13:10
Last night's "documentary" was a wall to wall push for the NO campaign. I do not think they even tried to hide it. I was fizzing mad about it, and made an immediate complaint, not that I will hold my breath.

# Fungus
Ref Osborne and the supposed threat not to embark on a currency Union. I agree, the SG should call their bluff, and should do it now. However I disagree, at least for the moment, about our own currency.

We should peg to the pound, retain our Sovereignty and let rUK get on with the debt, SG have tried very hard to work together with Westminster, but they do not want to know.
Indeed what they proposed ( if Osborne does not bottle it!) will damage the Scottish economy as well as their own. Simply madness.

Out of spite!
Why would we want to now accommodate them, help with the debt they have incurred?, I think their actions and scares will draw Scots to thinking just why should we bother.
I would go with that.
# Young NED 2014-02-12 13:14
On the program, I actually quite liked the tone (controversial as that may be) but it didn't excuse the bias by omission - no mention of democracy, no mention of inequalities etc. Understand they weren't in the top 10, but that's only because the BBC didn't ask about them.

On Currency, YES have to be strong about this like DFM was today.
Good luck in the conversation where these 3 (Osborne, Balls and Alexander) tell rUK businesses "oh we've refused a currency union with Scotland based purely on spite, yes it will cost you millions, yes it will damage our BoP and yes we still have exactly the same currency union with Guernsey and Jersey... But Scotland just doesn't like us so we're not playing". However, if they do decide to commit economic and political self harm, Scotland will rightly (under the Vienna Convention) tell the rUK negotiators they can shove their debt and will incur considerably less debt building up a foreign currency fund and pegging the S£ to the UK£.
# TheBabelFish 2014-02-12 14:28
Tragic what has happened to the BBC in the course of this debate. The Beeb we all grew up with is no more. What was once the most credible broadcaster in the world has become no more than a crude propaganda mouthpiece. A sad and pathetic laughing stock.
# bringiton 2014-02-12 14:30
Looks like Westminster have decided to get directly involved in the failing No campaign with recent pronouncements from both Cameron and Osborne.
They must be getting desperate because they know what effect unelected Tory governments have on Scottish opinion.
# Rafiki 2014-02-12 14:48
I am reminded of the "3rd question" on the referendum which was supposed to be the SNP's "preferred choice". London reaction swiftly followed and turned it into a straight Yes or NO.

# MAcandroid 2014-02-12 15:32
In many other countries the offices of the state broadcaster would have been taken over if not burned to the ground for this kind of propaganda.
# ramstam 2014-02-12 16:01
Young Ned - I agree that BBC set up the programme with no reference to people's perception of how the new Scotland might look post indy. The so-called pundits are well aware of what is required of them and rarely surprise us, though David Bell said a thing or two that would discomfit some of the Unionists. It seems that nobody is willing even to play Devil's advocate to explore the public's views and concerns. Silence also on the 59 outnumbered and mostly silent (with 6 exceptions) Scots MP's.
# Independista 2014-02-12 16:21
This so called documentary,was toe-curlingly embarrassing.
Why on earth, if they really want to inform, do they not invite experts from both camps; give them equal time to put their case, in a series of programmes, over the next few months?
Witnesses, documentary film, could be called by each side to put their case.
WE deserve better from our state broadcaster
# VarisLoon 2014-02-12 16:45
Section 21 of the Edinburg Agreement is being completely ignored.

21. The governments agree that it will be important to ensure that
broadcast coverage of the Referendum is impartial. Broadcasters, Ofcom and
the Electoral Commission will discuss the best way to achieve this.
# Leswil 2014-02-12 17:08
This program was an outrage, let me give just one of the many tricks they played.
The voice over asked someone about border controls and the "expert" said that they would be probable. ( or similar words )

Then the voice over, said " did he just say what I think he did. He then re ran what the "expert" said again, just to emphasis the point.
Designed to stick in the viewer's memory.Lots more things delivered by repeating. TO SCARE US!

THAT IS THE BBC FOR YOU,it is propaganda telling you how to vote. They are trying to steal your vote by such things.
BBC a fallen angel, who will be held account at some point.
# gus1940 2014-02-12 17:28
Having just watched this disgraceful example of BBC Unionist Bias I wonder what it would cost for a 60 minute long prime time commercial on ITV.
# JimW 2014-02-12 17:44
I am unable to comment on BBC'Scotland's new referendum offering, as I exercised my human right of refusing to watch it. By all reports I was not wrong.
# Briggs 2014-02-12 17:45
My next door neigbour, a wee English guy, came through for a cuppa and in the course of conversation asked me if I'd watched the programme on BBC2 last night. I said that I hadn't and he said he wasn't very impressed and had basically learned nothing about the Referendum debate.

The main point information that stood out for him was that Scotland apparently couldn't get rid of Trident until 2025.

Obviously my reaction was "Whit!"

I'm working on him.
# george davie 2014-02-12 18:28
Had to switch channels after 10 minutes. The whole tone of the programme was so patronising.

The programme seemed to be directed at the large number of people who are "don't knows" or "never voted before because politics is rubbish".

The BBC's message seemed to be; "Listen, this whole independence thing is so complicated, difficult to understand, full of uncertainty and, let's whisper this quietly, boring. Best not bother yourself with it all - just stay at home. It's not worth the effort".

In short they don't want people to vote.
# lochside 2014-02-12 19:14
Apart from the tabloid style and the jokey flippant commentary by 'Gregory Boy' it was a serious and total propaganda exercise for BT.

The usual suspects gathered round a table all expressing concern at the need for 'facts', when they are the prime reason that the Scottish public is never allowed access to 'facts'.

Add in an 'Independent Economist' called Jo Armstrong regurgitating the old discredited lies about Barnet 'transfer payment' being based on a declining Oil income and therefore impacting on a Indy Scotland. Turns out she is a colleague of Prof. John Mclaren of C.P.P.R, the think tank that is Labour friendly.

The BBC have demonstrated with this dodgy documentary that they have contemptuously dismissed the U.W.S findings of bias and gone on the offensive on behalf of their British paymasters.
# fordie 2014-02-12 20:59
I watched a few minutes and turned it off. Dire. Don't need to add my thoughts to those above. As all the other so-called Indy programmes produced by BBCS.

Driving home tonight I tuned in to BBC Radio 4. Lead story via Nick Robinson 'Three UK parties will issue statements saying no to Scotland using the pound' . Few minutes in to the supposed report, nearly drove off the road as he said that Westminster would agree it with 3x conditions.. Then back to the Robinson just saying no propaganda. It is literally like living in a parallel universe.
# hetty 2014-02-12 21:59
There may be a significant enough number of people in Scotland, who
are Euro Sceptic and who would vote yes in the knowledge that their pound is safe and the queen will still be head of state etc. So perhaps the most important thing is to gain Independence then change things from the inside. It is mostly old age pensioners I find are scared of losing the pound etc, most are comfortably off and think they will really lose out without that good old pound.
If you get too radical for those folk, they will definitely vote no and so will all their friends. So, one step at a time, and Independence is a great way to start to build a better country and make the changes we need, that might be a change in currency, but too much too fast will turn potential yes voters away.

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