By a Newsnet reporter
A rally calling for a balanced and inclusive referendum debate from broadcasters has been held in Glasgow city centre.
Organisers estimate that almost two hundred people attended Saturday's march which was held by campaign group BARD2014.

The group are calling for a balanced and all inclusive referendum debate and the rally, which involved a march from Strathclyde University to St Enoch’s Square, saw people from all over Scotland attend.

The campaign, which is targeted at Scotland’s two main broadcasters, calls for equal representation for both sides in all debate and discussion programmes.  Organisers have also criticised the decision by BBC Scotland to cut jobs at a time when Scots are engaged in the most important debate in the nation’s history.

Speaking to Newsnet Scotland, a campaign organiser said he was pleased with the turnout and that more events are now being planned.

He said: “We were very pleased at the turnout for an event that received no publicity from any of Scotland’s main stream media outlets.

“The rally began with approximately 120 people.  By the time we reached Glasgow Central Station more had joined and we estimate that there were close to two hundred by the time we entered St Enoch’s Square.”

Leaflets with information were handed out to people who watched as the 'Illuminate The Debate' rally, headed by a lone piper, passed by.  Many offered their support for the aims of the campaign which is also calling for more representation from women and voluntary groups in the independence debate.

The spokesman was particularly critical of the BBC and commented on the poor quality coverage that is currently causing concern amongst many from across the political spectrum. 

Last week First Minister Alex Salmond criticised the BBC after it emerged that a break at Westminster meant that there was no Sunday Politics Show for Scotland, despite Holyrood being business as usual.  The First Mnister’s criticism followed questions posed by Holyrood’s Culture Committee to BBC Scotland management after they appeared in front of the committee.

The spokesman added: “BBC Scotland’s recent claim that they don’t have to be balanced in their coverage of the independence referendum should be of concern to both sides.

“Instead of job cuts, BBC Scotland should be investing in quality programming and addressing what is a very clear lack of balance in their referendum debates and discussions.”

Newsnet Scotland’s Lynda Williamson interviewed some people who took part in the rally:


# call me dave 2013-02-24 22:23
Well done to everyone who turned out for the demo.

# Trafalgar 2013-02-24 22:33
Just a pity you don't have a balanced debate on here instead of biased rubbish.

[Admin - This is a news site and not a debating forum. The site has a pro-independence editorial line, in much the same way as other news vendors operate a pro-Union editorial line.]
# Breeks 2013-02-25 10:11
Trafalgar, the balanced debate you claim to want would reveal how threadbare and anaemic the case for Union actually is. That's why you Unionsts are compelled to hide the weakness of your case behind bellicose accusations you cannot substantiate, a partisan media which shuns the truth, and fetid abuse of Alex Salmond perceived by all as smear and artless fiction.

If you have a positive case to make for the Union, then go ahead and make it. If all you have is rancour and condemnation, then just go back to your newspaper. Not because you're unionist, but because you have nothing to say.
# jinglyjangly 2013-02-24 22:34
Well done to the organisers and it was good to meet nns folks as well!!!

Turnout was better than I expected with people travelling from as far away as rural Aberdeenshire to attend.

Lets double the number for the next one...
# staypos+ve 2013-02-24 23:01
Well done Bard2014 , One thing I am confident about,there will be a need for further protests, i'll be there for the next and the next.

Can anyone suggest what happened to Issie Fraser , have there been any sightings recently ? or has BBC Politics become completely Male dominated.
# ferryman 2013-02-24 23:11
Yahoo. Got my first bitter together leaflet today.

Well I'm convinced.

# staypos+ve 2013-02-24 23:25
Ferryman we must live in the same street I received one as well!

Content especially poor.
# cjmasta 2013-02-25 01:21
My brother came from Stornoway to attend, it was good to hear all the speakers at St Enoch Square and I look forward to travelling to other cities to attend marches there also.

Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow again I heard although that might have been from different speakers with different intentions. BBC again in April or May I think was mentioned.
# Dee 2013-02-25 00:32
Going by the programmes on radio Scotland this weekend I don't think they got the message, no representatives on the YES side again. Utterly infuriating, I know I should nt bite but it is just so biased. They also had a debate on Friday in St. Andrews and was very similar. I do my bit for the yes campaign so I would like to see more help from Blair and co ,rebutting these one sided opinions from the bbc and stv..
# scotswhahae 2013-02-25 07:50
Been to all of the organised demonstrations against the BBC, This last one was indeed a better turn out.

However, no matter how many times a hundred + people gather & march & voice their views against this organisation, it is never going to change things.

The turn outs are just diabolical.

I travelled from Angus, my sister from Fife. I really thought this demonstration would have been MUCH bigger. As it was better advertised albeit via facebook & twitter & places like Newsnet.

But sadly not. The people who organised these events are to be applauded, the people that DID turn out, also.

But in those numbers nobody is ever going to take notice of our cause.

The cold aside, it was good to walk alongside the people who ARE putting themselves out there to be seen & heard.

But come on people, we need a MINIMUM of 500 at least if we expect to be noticed.
# colin8652 2013-02-25 08:52
Enthusiasim about anything in some parts of Scotland seems to be a very difficult thing to stir up. Growing up as Fife/Kinross-shire lad as I did, I find it increadibly frustrating to see how Perthshire (where i now live) people are so un-motivated about pretty much anything. What's wrong with this country, did anybody with any get up and go, leave during the clearences.
# UpSpake 2013-02-25 08:09
For all those who braved the snow flurries and still enjoyed an excellent march good on you. For those who preferred a cosy bed and a slow start to Saturday, shame on you.
This is not a trivial issue we are highlighting here but one of the most serious for the sake of democracy here in Scotland.
Let's hope, as Spring arrives, a few more of you might spring out of your kip to swell the numbers. 10 times the turnout should be the minimum for the next Rally for, there must be many more before the MSM and in particular BBC Scotland sit up and take notice.
# clootie 2013-02-25 08:29
I made my way to the rally from the NE. I would be happy to do so again. However I am concerned that apathy is our great foe and not the bitter together campaign.

The BBC in Scotland will continue with the unionist message or the distraction. Of fitba/murda until we demand better.

I expected thousands.

Wake up Scotland - you will only get one chance at this.
# colin8652 2013-02-25 09:48
We have to find some way of reversing 300 yeas of being told we are rubbish.
# scotswhahae 2013-02-25 13:38
Quoting clootie:

I expected thousands.


Have to say Clootie so did I, at least 1000, I was so disappointed in the turnout, I really doubt I shall even bother again with these BBC demo's. I am no spring chicken any longer either, & it is that which pains me the most to know, that there are younger more abled bodies sat on sites like this MOANING about things, yet doing nowt about it.

I just felt it for the organisers of this event, as they DO put a lot of their time into these things. But I have to say that I think
Colin8652 got it right when he asked if all the people with some real fight in them, left with the clearances.

AND I also think that it should spread out a little from Glasgow, there are BBC studios in Dundee & Aberdeen, we should in truth be hitting them all...It is the travelling to Glasgow for all these I am sure that put many off..
# Willow 2013-02-25 12:01
Well done everyone who made it to the march.

No surprise but I can't find any coverage of this in the media apart from here on Newsnet.

Bit Off topic but thought it was of interest.

Google has penalised the Scotsman for selling links

Even better to see how well Newsnet Scotland is doing in the top ranking sites for Scottish news

Wings over Scotland has a piece on it.
# truth 2013-02-25 12:40
I made a 600 mile round trip from Birmingham to attend this march.

It was a little disappointing reaching John Street thinking I was late and only seeing a small band of people waiting.

However, by the time we started marching and spaced ourselves out, it looked pretty good.

Special mention must go to the young piper, who did really well, and also to the guy on the megaphone who encouraged us all to be vocal.

I was quite encouraged to see many passers by actually stop and read the excellent placards as we marched past. I would suggest that in future, we have "spotters" alongside the march handing out leaflets to these people. Perhaps we did have that, but I was too busy pointing my placard to members of the public to notice.

A big thanks to the organisers and all who attended. And if you're sitting wishing you had been there, get off your backside and go to the next one!
# scotswhahae 2013-02-25 15:34
@ truth

Wow! Kudos to you for that long journey, I know my day started at 6am, And trust me, that was early. lol lol

Like you, on seeing the small gathering when we first arrived my heart sunk, it DID lift again, when the march started and I knew I was part of SOMETHING that albeit should have been bigger & would have had more of an impact had it been so.

There were indeed leaflets being handed out on the march. And yes, the PIPER did us all proud.

My sister even laughed at me when I turned my placard toward the cars that were stop on our route so that they could read WHY we were there. I wanted all & sundry to know, so shouted out to the people we were marching past to COME JOIN US.

But I still feel it just wasn't enough, it needed more people, it needed more VOICES,IF we can't get that, then what is the point?
# Breeks 2013-02-25 12:45
My own feeling about marches and rallies is that it's just too easy for the good work of thousands to be discredited by one man with a pen or a microphone. We are all desensitized to the power of marches, we see a march about 'something' every other day.

I feel the same about leaflets. Everybody cranks them out & shoves them through my letter box, but I am under siege with junk mail. I don't read any of it.

We need a 21st Century 'Murray' factor. The innovator and visionary who makes sure we prevail by clever innovation and improvisation, and that we don't line up as dead men walking, like Wallace did at Falkirk and Charles Stewart did at Culloden without their respective 'Murrays'.

I'm no campaigner, & hesitate to condemn veterans of this political 'stodge', for all I know it does work & wins elections, but we're trying to reach people who want to be reached, - and failing. We need something fresh, inspirational, & different.
# cjmasta 2013-02-25 13:34
It really is up to each and every one of us to get out there if and when possible.

Only a couple of minutes into this march I saw someone pass one of the balloons to a passer bye. I just remember her looking at the balloon and looking at the march and realising what it was all about.

There was a genuine look of pride on her face that folk were out marching for something fair and better and she followed the march along the street before I lost sight of her.

I hope that for future marches people will go out of their way to get their rear ends to whatever city or town in Scotland is marching or trying to get their message out for a better future for all who live here.
# tartanpigsy 2013-02-25 14:32
As one of the organisers of Saturday's Rally, I'd like to address a couple of the points that have been made on here today.
First of all it goes without saying that we are extremely grateful to all of you who made the effort to be there.
We also agree about the numbers. There need's to be more !! The time slot was a problem, we did not have many options on this , our preferred time of 5pm on the Saturday was not possible due to traffic volume and shift changes at Strathclyde Police, who may I add were very easy to work with and deserve credit for how they handled the march.
We need to think about how this is taken forward. At the moment our thoughts are to have another event in May, time and date tbc.
Also we need teams out leafleting and informing the public. One of the most positive aspects of this rally, was distributing 4500+ leaflets to the public, there is a lot of goodwill out there, and a lot of agreement with our aims! TBC
# truth 2013-02-25 17:25
I'd just like to echo your comments on Strathclyde Police. I meant to mention it in my comment above, but forgot.

They did a great job, and at no time hindered what we were trying to do.

The march was supposed to be 4 abreast, but continually got wider and wider, but the Police didn't cause a fuss.
# tartanpigsy 2013-02-25 15:53
To continue,

the 4500 leaflets were given out over a ten day period leading up to the rally, another 3-400 were given out during the rally. Also around 40 bars in Glasgow had posters up. So although there were maximum 200 people involved with the rally itself, a lot more people are aware of the aims and grievances of our campaign. That is an important point!
Also some prominent people in the Yes campaign are now aware of us and in broad agreement with what we are doing.
We had media/ creative people who contacted us in private and gave their support to the campaign, but couldn't do publicly for fear of the consequences. This campaign has had good reach both into the general public and to those involved with, and affected by the media.
To increase the pressure two things will be necessary, firstly we need more people to physically work on the rally's, and secondly we need to secure some degree of funding. TBC
# Robabody 2013-02-25 16:24
As mentioned on another post , Mr & Mrs Rababody were there from Auld Reekie. It was Mrs Rob's very first march and she was fair taken with it (even more so seeing herself on the video clips).

A nice speech from a lady Journalist (with a bonnie bairn in arms)reminded us about the problems they face regarding owners and attitudes. Consequently it would have been great had the NUJ put in an official appearance (perhaps next time?).

One sour note was a youngish woman in the crowd near Buchanan Street stick her face towards us and making loops round the side of her head. Mad madam? No you are not, just badly informed.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns might be the thought for today.
# proudscot 2013-02-25 19:13
My opinion for the reason for the low turnout is two-fold. Firstly, many like myself who were not actually at Murrayfield, would be glued to their TVs watching the Irish match. So maybe that wasn't a factor taken into account by the organisers. Secondly, our supine unionist supporting press and media, ignored the march and thus deliberately failed to give it any advance publicity. Nor did they report it afterwards either.
# gus1940 2013-02-25 19:28
I still think that a vigil complete with hut as we had opposite St Andrew House prior to Devo would be effective.

Unlike the protests we have had at Pathetic Quay and Saturday's march the Edinburgh hut managed to get a considerable amount of media coverage.
# Fourfolksache 2013-02-25 20:43
The apathy continues I'm afraid. Credit to those who participated but we need numbers to affect the media especially the BBC.
We need to get three or four big names to sponsor a petition to Patten to challenge the BBC stance that that they do not need to be balanced. With NNS help we can get tens of thousands to demand this an with a heavyweight frontman/woman surely we'll get a response. Otherwise they'll ignore it
# pinkrose 2013-02-25 20:44
Hi for what it's worth, the reasons I didn't turn up. Firstly it clashed with local leafleting which we do each Saturday and secondly,althou gh it was mentioned on twitter a few times it wasn't enough to really build enthusiasm and motivate people to attend. It needs to be mentioned on twitter over and over for days and weeks beforehand to build momentum. I got up on Saturday not sure whether to march or leaflet, went online and found nothing about it which dampened my enthusiasm so I opted to leaflet instead. I was pleasantly surprised to see the video and the number of people attending and will make every effort to be there next time.
# velofello 2013-02-25 20:52
I attended the rally since I'm firmly of the view that doing nothing isn't an option. So yes the turnout was disappointing,a nd Glasgow was quiet so probably too early in the day. Routes and timing have to be negotiated with the authorities so no criticism implied.
It may be worthwhile to contact the organisers of the Edinburgh Rally of last May for support and exchange of ideas.
For instance, Start off at Glasgow Green - plenty of space and march to George Square. And like the Edinburgh rally, entertainment will draw the crowds.
I'll be at the next one, and the next.
And who knows how many of the public as we walked past, read the banners and thought "Aye right enough".
# bruman 2013-02-25 23:30
I was on the march and will be on every subsequent one too. My dad was there too and he's now in his 80's. @proudscot - I managed to do the march and still get home for the rugby. Of course that might have been because the march was on Saturday whereas the match was on Sunday.
# cjmasta 2013-02-26 00:50
The turn out was low, I also expected to see more there and was a little disappointed when I turned the corner to see a much smaller crowd than expected.

I hope the next ones will be higher profile but I do realise there are limits in not just making people aware of an event but managing to get folk to take time to actually go to it.
# rob4i 2013-02-26 12:20
It's not just Unionists Scotland is up against it's also Apathy which is every bit as destructive towards a democratic Scotland!
But to be fair to everyone who didn't attend, like myself, will in fact be voting YES anyway, but I understand your concerns on turnout but wouldn't worry too much about it being some sort of bench mark because I don't think it is.
# UpSpake 2013-02-26 14:06
Can I ask what is truly a 'daft laddie' question ?. If the BBC operate under Royal Charter and therefore is constituted under English Law and not Scots Law then are the conditions set out in that royal charter applicable only to areas of the UK covered by English Law ?.
For instance, the fear of arrest if, god forbid, watching the tube and not in possession of a License, might involve your home being invaded to determine whether or not you had the audacity to own a TV and not be paying for the priviledge can happen under English Law then surely it follows that if 'right of entry' is disallowed under Scots Law then all we have to do is simply to deny entry to anyone who comes calling ???.
# truth 2013-03-04 17:34
The last Labour Govt reclassified the license as a tax. They did this for cynical reasons in order to remove it from the basket of goods that constituted CPI. (The license went up every year and this wasn't helpful to their inflation figure).

However, you are quite correct, you do not have to allow access to anyone who calls from TV licensing (Capita plc) UNLESS they have obtained a warrant from the local courts. They can only obtain a warrant from local courts if they have a strong suspicion you are watching TV eg they saw a TV through the window.

In addition, you don't technically need a license to own a TV, only to use it (or TV receiving equipment) to receive live TV pictures as they are broadcast. This includes internet if what you are watching is broadcast at the same time (simulcast).

Of course it may be tricky to explain why you have a TV and are not watching it.

Me, I got rid of the TV and pay no license. Much happier.

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