By a Newsnet reporter

Trailed all week by BBC Scotland, Sunday night’s referendum debate was the political anorak’s dream match-up; Unionists versus Nationalists in a head to head.

Days after the launch of the Yes campaign and – chaired by BBC Scotland’s most respected political presenter, how could it fail to energise the ‘Great Debate’.

But fail it did.

An utter shambles of a programme where viewers were treated to partisan speech after partisan speech, each masquerading as a question.

Tribal hostilities replaced intelligent debate as the rhetorical rent-a-mob took advantage of an over polite chair.  It started with a front row Unionist allowed free reign to make a smear laden speech against Alex Salmond and went downhill from there.

This was no debate, it was a verbal stoning.  Flanked by Unionists on either side, Nicola Sturgeon was also accosted by several audience members, each giving voice to a plethora of media scare stories that have emanated from Unionists over the last few months.

Sadly, Isobel Fraser took the role of passive observer as Sturgeon tried to deal with the Unionist pincer attack.

A pumped up and very aggressive Ruth Davidson behaved appallingly throughout.  The former BBC Scotland presenter even appeared at times as though she was in charge, firing questions at Nicola Sturgeon and, in best BBC interview fashion, talking over the Deputy First Minister, thus making her replies inaudible.

A cheap stunt involving a letter should have been dealt with the Chair, or the producer, but it somehow made it through to the scheduled edited broadcast.

Anas Sarwar contributed little and arrived with a strategy that seemed to consist of nothing more than using any and every question to launch an attack on the SNP.

Patrick Harvie sat on the sidelines watching it play out.  When invited, all too infrequently, to contribute, the Green MSP’s contributions were easily the best of the four.

This is no reflection on Sturgeon, who had clearly been targeted by her two Unionist opponents and was effectively ‘taken out’ by the continual verbal assaults from whispering Sarwar and hectoring Davidson.

The audience was selected using the BBC’s own criteria – we don’t know what this entails but judging by the questions, the crowd seemed less inclined towards Nicola Sturgeon than anyone else.

In my own analysis of the audience participation I found that of the 26 politically partisan submissions by audience members, no fewer than 18 attacked either the SNP or independence.  Only 8 audience members spoke out in favour of Nicola Sturgeon’s party, or voiced opinions that could be interpreted as such.

In short, anti-SNP speakers were allowed more than double the opportunities to speak.  Moreover, the length of time awarded to these audience members was considerably more than pro-independence speakers.

Those who have been critical of Nicola Sturgeon’s performance ought to reflect on this verbal assault.  Sturgeon faced attack after attack, and that the Deputy First Minister managed to make any headway at all is a minor miracle.

Here, for those interested, is an edited segment showing every single speaker.  It really is quite revealing.

Comments  

 
# Macart 2012-05-29 06:52
I'd say the BBC would consider that a good night's work.

Did we honestly expect anything different? I'll wait for any STV version for comparison.
 
 
# clootie 2012-05-29 07:43
I didn't think even the BBC in Scotland would be so obvious in the bias. It was so blatant a set up it became laughable.

I now think we should simply refuse to take part in any debates organized by the BBC.
 
 
# Albamac 2012-05-29 08:15
Quoting Macart:
I'd say the BBC would consider that a good night's work.


I don't think 'televised shambles' is an accurate description.

Looked more like a successful organised attack.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-29 10:35
Clootie, Albamac

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but I agree with both of you. It stank to high heaven of set up. I mean the beggars controlled audience selection, allowed rants rather than questions, allowed the action Krankie to run the proceedings and on top still has editorial control.

Sitting out beeb debates gets my vote.
 
 
# DoricBob 2012-05-29 07:43
It was obvious to me that the audience was packed with young labour activists, and unionist supporters - but did we expect anything better from the BBC?
 
 
# Wee-Scamp 2012-05-29 08:27
Yes I agree it was an appallingly badly managed affair and I was utterly astonished that Ruth Davidson in particular was allowed to behave in the way she did.
 
 
# Siôn Jones 2012-05-29 08:28
The most shameless thing was the way the audience were allowed to challenge Niclola or the SNP, at length, and Nicola was not given a chance to reply.
 
 
# megsmaw 2012-05-29 21:41
This is why I didn't watch it all. I caught the last wee bit, but I just knew it would be a biased load of high blood pressure inducing rubbish! Ruth was extremely annoying, as if she knew her pals fae the BBC would let her rant and talk over Nicola as much as she wanted. Anas just came over as a typical Labour bully boy. But Partick was the highlight for me.
 
 
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-05-29 08:33
I switched over after watching some plant in the audience was allowed to ramble on for about five minutes attacking the SNP with no actual specific question.

I like many others am now questioning the value of these clearly unionist rigged debates.

There is no point in having audience participation if it is only going to be used by BBC Scotland to push their own political objective.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-29 10:39
"I switched over after watching some plant in the audience was allowed to ramble on for about five minutes attacking the SNP with no actual specific question."
Correct.Front row about two minutes in,and Fraser stood silently during the unfounded hot air multiple accusations.
I don't think he stopped to take a breath OR ASK a question!
I switched over,
Disappointed at Master of Ceremonies Fraser.
Worse than Dimbleby's Question Time.
 
 
# hiorta 2012-05-29 08:36
BBC Scotland seem massively afraid of something.
 
 
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-05-29 08:37
Its time for the Eddy Murphy (In Beverly Hills Cop) approach. Whenever Nicola or whoever is being asked questions and they are being talked over when answering they should stick their fingers in their ears and go ' lalalalalalalal ala I am not listening because you wont let me give my answer'. That or something similar. The SNP definitely need to take the gloves off and be a bit more aggressive on tv interviews on the BBC.
 
 
# John Lyons 2012-05-29 09:03
I think that will come nearer the time. Sturgeon wiped the floor with Jim Wallace in the last one, so the Unionists and the BBC have upped their game. The SNP will raise theirs to when they think it's appropriate and by that I mean Salmond will be the one appearing and he simply will not take any of this nonsense.
 
 
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-05-29 22:18
Quote:
The SNP will raise theirs to when they think it's appropriate and by that I mean Salmond will be the one appearing and he simply will not take any of this nonsense.


I certainly hope so. The unionists (politicians and media) need to be taken down a peg or two. Hopefully there will be debates nearer the referendum on tv.
 
 
# Albalha 2012-05-29 08:41
At on point lateish on a person at the back accused NS of lying more than once, it went unchallenged, I Fraser was way out of her comfort zone and the set up allows the likes of R Davidson to take over as the supposed 'referee' is off to the side.
And of course it doesn't really help when an SNP member decides to debate the in/out NATO question with NS.
Overall one of the most disheartening programmes I've seen at so many different levels.
 
 
# Albamac 2012-05-29 09:01
Quoting Albalha:
And of course it doesn't really help when an SNP member decides to debate the in/out NATO question with NS.


Surrounded by hostiles, he supplies them with ammo. What an idiot!
 
 
# cirsium 2012-05-29 11:32
why do you think the British Broadcasting Corporation Scotland selected this participant and this question for the 'debate'?
 
 
# Albamac 2012-05-29 14:02
Oh, I don't know, cirsium. Could it be that they'd have been fools not to take advantage of his unbelievable stupidity?
 
 
# kingdavidofgovan 2012-06-01 09:31
Quoting Albalha:
At on point lateish on a person at the back accused NS of lying more than once, it went unchallenged, I Fraser was way out of her comfort zone and the set up allows the likes of R Davidson to take over as the supposed 'referee' is off to the side.
And of course it doesn't really help when an SNP member decides to debate the in/out NATO question with NS.
Overall one of the most disheartening programmes I've seen at so many different levels.


Yes, that idiot was non other than our very own George Laird. This guy is mentally ill and and heading for doing a 'Peter Dow' since he failed to get nominated for the GCC elections. This was mild in comparison to some of the stuff he has been up to. His game now is actually to upset the independence movement as much as he can and feed the unionists so called inside info for their smear stories. Watch out for him.
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-29 08:49
A FOI question regarding the number of applications to appear. The political composition of those applications and the percentage from each selected to appear and allocated a slot to ask a question.

Of course the BBC may have eaten the applications to protect the guilty.

Chiefly what the Scottish public need is a mole on the inside of the Beeb to observe exactly what is going on.
 
 
# edinburghdave 2012-05-29 08:50
Im sorry Newsnet. For reasons of personal health (my blood pressure rising to the point of having a stroke), I could not watch more than 2 mins of that edited piece.

An oppertunity for the bbc to condense every scare story on the go into an hours programme, brilliant
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-29 08:52
I actually wonder if it's sensible for the SNP to allow the BBC to take the No campaign into Scotland's homes for the next two years by using our party representatives in this way?

I suspect they can hardly believe their luck that despite that travesty of a discussion a succession of SNP fallguys will volunteer for this kind of treatment for the duration of the campaign.

A bit like appointing a family of foxes to look after your chickens, coming home to find them all eaten, scratching your head then buying more chickens but taking care to make sure that this time the foxes will find it harder as you've made sure the chickens are all wearing little bacon crash helmets.

Failing a total withdrawal at least send in Kenny Gibson. He doesn't stand for their nonsense and they know it.
 
 
# tartanfever 2012-05-29 09:03
Another debate from Glasgow, an audience populated with mainly Glaswegians - when are we going to see a debate from somewhere outside the Labour club of the west of Scotland ?

As for the continual referring to Isabel Fraser as the 'best political commentator' on this website both from the reporters and from posters - maybe now you will finally wake up to see what an ineffectual host she is. Completely out of her depth, can't think on her feet and respond to whats going on around her. No wonder she gets employed by BBC Scotland as she gets mugged every time she is on air.

Fill an audience with some labour activist plants and allow them not to ask questions but give them the space for a one minute rant with no real question at the end and it's job done for the unionist myth spreading lies of the BBC.

The SNP need to rethink their strategy regarding the BBC.
 
 
# Piemonteis 2012-05-29 16:04
I think this is the main point. At the end of the day, Glasgow and the West of Scotland is chiefly Labour. Or at least, favouring independence is often still seen as a minority stance, with Unionism the default.

If we have debates in Dundee, Inverness and the Western Isles, with local audiences, I think we'd see a pro-independence audience even if organised by the BBC.

The BBC should be heavily criticized in some regards, but there were loads of people applauding what Sturgeon and Harvie were saying. Why were these people not getting their hands up and speaking up?
 
 
# edinburghdave 2012-05-29 09:17
But surely we can play at this game too? When applying for tickets say you vote labour snd you want to bring up some half baked scare story about joining the euro, and if given air time, let tip with youre real question.

Like when are we going to see a positive case for the great onion?
 
 
# alexmc8275 2012-05-29 09:38
Yes agree with you, let's just basically lie to them to get invited on these shows, then if given a chance drop a bombshell like, what's your opinion on the mccrone report and all the lies about it . If people manage to do that a few times, it will get even worse for them as they would have to be even more bias in case someone of Indy leanings slips through the net.
 
 
# tartanfever 2012-05-29 11:29
Think about it guys, this doesn't work.

This show is pre recorded. The show is filmed at 6pm and shown on air at 10.25pm, that gives the BBC 4 hours to edit the material appropriately.

So by all means get on to the show, but I guarantee your question will not see the light of day beyond the studio walls.
 
 
# alexmc8275 2012-05-29 12:08
Ah yes tartan good point. Oh well let me think of another cunning plan then lol.
 
 
# doctor_zaius 2012-05-29 18:19
It'd require a big effort, but if enough people managed it then some would get through (or the broadcast would be shortened)
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-29 12:33
The best thing to be done with the great onion is to chop it up and fry it .. yum!

... and on no account let it go old, as it will surely rot.
 
 
# pete_w 2012-05-29 14:27
Too late, the rot has already set in. Comsume at own risk; advise discarding.
 
 
# westie7 2012-05-29 09:27
I have sat and read through the various comments on the topics posted since friday and I am really worried, and heres why

There was broad but slanted coverage of the Yes Launch, slanted in that every statement or observation was immediately followed with a "but according to the unionists..."

There was ZERO coverage of the protest other than on here and the odd obscure corner regardless of the excuses that have been made on here about "other ongoing protests and events"

The whole BBBC "debate" if you can call it that! NUFF SAID

BUT still what we have on here is what I can only describe as a general attitude of It'll be fine, or possibly over confidence. Folk firmly believing in Independence, in the Yes, In a future need to get real. The recent BBBC programme is a clear indicator of the game-plan, if you throw enough mud it will stick and more importantly if you create enough doubt amongst a population who have been too happy not to stand up for themselves for the last 30 years, then they will just stick with..... It'll be fine in the UK.

SNP need to make themselves heard, They are not doing it well enough, Told AS this at my last meeting in constituency!

Everyone who is relying on this site to be the only beacon of news truth out there, great thought, it will probably get there but, in time? dunno. We all speak about the bias on various panels 1 to 3 against, 2-2 (actually 1.5-2 based on Harvies contribution). If the message going out to the undecideds is along these lines then it is definitely planning to fail. I have no doubt the independence vote will hold and maybe grow but in the face of such propaganda, blatant bias, every single newspaper (yes Sun included regardless what anyone says) and News programme... It has the makings of a 1979 fiasco of a different style.

I dont have a warm fuzzy feeling, and if anybody actually has one after the last few days you need your head examining. Unless we have a BBC defection and spill the beans or another newspaper claim to support Indy then we better all look for jobs outside Scotland after 2014 cos it will be UNBEARABLE
 
 
# Diabloandco 2012-05-29 09:42
I have to agree with you ,even though you have depressed the hell out of me.

The BBBC and to a lesser extent their pal and next door neighbour STV need to have their wings clipped.
I do wonder though how many folk actually bother to watch Distorting Scotland or the I'm JOHN MCKAY version on STV.
Quite honestly unless you were utterly fascinated by RFC or Leveson ,you would have given up watching either , possibly slit your wrists by this time.

I have no suggestions for any SNP spokesperson regarding the BBBC - if they steadfastly refuse to take part it will be made to look as though they have something to hide.
I no longer want them to be entirely reasonable any more , gently pointing out incorrect claims is not working ,time to blast the b^ggers with fact ,volume and over talking everyone else.
 
 
# megsmaw 2012-05-29 22:07
Exactly! It's time to wheel out the big guns. If Liebour and the Tories are sending out their attack dogs so should we, the pro Indy parties!
 
 
# alba11 2012-05-29 09:36
It's easy to blame the BBC entirely,but we in the independence camp can be naive. Labour and Tories arrived in groups, they were organised, sat together and got their contributions taken.SNP supporters were largely individuals, un-organised and did not get their contributions taken. If we are going to take part in BBC debates, and we have to, we need to get organised, and to get favourable questions accepted, we need to co-ordinate submission of short snappy questions which put the no people on the back foot.We need to be cleverer to beat BBC pro-unionist bias.
 
 
# Albamac 2012-05-29 09:40
If lambs complain to each other on the way to the slaughterhouse, what does the conversation sound like to the human ear?

Whatever it sounds like, they have a right to protest because they're not voluntary participants and they don't pay to watch.
 
 
# RevStu 2012-05-29 10:01
"In short, anti-SNP speakers were allowed more than double the opportunities to speak."

The BBC's partly-legitimate defence against this is that the programme explicitly stated the audience was selected to reflect a range of views. By many polls, No voters DO currently outnumber Yes supporters by around two to one, so having the audience balance and representation reflect that is actually in accordance with BBC guidelines.
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-29 10:14
enjoyed your angry take on the debates yesterday RevStu

wingsland.podgamer.com/.../


Peter Bell had a good piece too

peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-05-29 10:59
"By many polls, No voters DO currently outnumber Yes supporters by around two to one" -

I am not sure where to begin with that statement, so I will leave it at that.

And as far as polls are concerned, for anyone to accept them as in any way factually accurate is naive in the extreme.
 
 
# RevStu 2012-05-29 11:22
"I am not sure where to begin with that statement"

Well, you could begin by noting that it was true. Like it or not, many polls - I didn't say all, nor did I say I held the examples in question to be particularly reliable - show exactly that, which gives the BBC an ostensibly legitimate defence.
 
 
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-05-29 12:43
Polls are a blunt and simple manageable tool used by individuals or organisations to try and influence the masses.

They are about as reliable as Harry Redknapp's defence; it was the dog that done it, and to suggest that the BBC can in someway use unreliable spurious polls as a credible defence of their tactics is fundamentally flawed.

I am in no way suggesting that this is your defence of the BBC, but to try and give them one based on grounds that you would not build a house on, I believe does you a disservice.
 
 
# pa_broon74 2012-05-29 16:21
I don't think he was defending anything, he was merely pointing out that the BBC would use often flawed polls to support their position and claim they are operating within their own guide lines.

A bit like social workers, they work within their official guidelines but often do more harm than good, when you point that out, they throw some 'guidelines' in your face.

The BBC basically do the same, they know the polls are blunt & unreliable but they use them anyway to advance their agenda and cover their backs.
 
 
# gfaetheblock 2012-05-29 19:35
Well put Rev Stu.

Polls generally have a third for yes, 40% tops.

The questions asked reflected that, the panel was 50/50.

I thought the debate was poorly chaired and a rabble, but just because the majority were for no does not mean that it was biased in any way.

Is it easier to claim bias that admit the no camp has more support?
 
 
# exel 2012-05-29 21:06
RevStu 2012-05-29 11:01
“The BBC's partly-legitimate defence against this is that the programme explicitly stated the audience was selected to reflect a range of views. By many polls, No voters DO currently outnumber Yes supporters by around two to one, so having the audience balance and representation reflect that is actually in accordance with BBC guidelines.”

That seems fair. Only 25%, of the eligible voters in Scotland, voted for independence parties in the 2011.
 
 
# pa_broon74 2012-05-29 21:37
Surely though...

... If we are to have the issue debated fairly both sides have to have an equal crack at the argument. It doesn't matter what level of support an issue has, its the debate that counts.

If the BBC are running its side of things in that way (as in filling their audiences according to 'polled' voting intentions, then its flawed.

Also, the premise here is also flawed insofar as I can see; its a three way split between yes's, no's and don't knows.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-30 12:05
And only around 24% voted for the 3 main unionist parties. Ok, let me correct that:

14% voted for a 'devolutionist' party
3% voted for a 'Home rule / federalist party (aye, I know)
7% Voted for a 'unionist' party; at least they have that in their name and opposed devolution.

I'm not sure I see your point re the 25%. If we are going to go down the 'only 25% of scots voted SNP so they don't represent the views of Scotland' etc route, then we might want to consider this...

Polls clearly showed that the SNP were going to win the May 11 election a good while in advance (from late march onwards). They also suggested that the SNP might even get a majority, triggering a referendum on independence (the other option being the combined Green + Margo + SNP allowing a referendum bill to pass). This was being reported widely in the news.

One might argue therefore that those who decided not to not vote in May 11 either did not mind the prospect of the SNP winning, or supported it. However, I would hesitate to state I know the minds of those who did not vote. I might ask how anyone who uses the 'only 25% SNP' argument how they would know what the 50% who did not vote think?

Revstu: "By many polls, No voters DO currently outnumber Yes supporters by around two to one"

Only one pollster comes anywhere close to this: Yougov. It is a clear outlier from all other polls.

What many commentators do is group those interested in the idea of independence but are unsure with the no camp. This is not correct.
 
 
# art1001 2012-05-29 10:09
This did look like a well planned assault by a selected and biased audience. Their arguments were tissue thin and erroneous but delivered with a degree of sincerity. A lot of the younger ones came across a bit brainwashed and trying to remember their slogans as they spoke. It is really depressing though to hear such self-denigrating views expressed.

We hear a lot about unanswered questions from the unionists. Maybe we should pay for the URL of the answers to be placed on a bid electronic sign stuck to the castle wall and on the back of Lothian buses. It really is becoming tiresome.
 
 
# Talorcan 2012-05-29 10:10
Here's one that will set them all back on their heels. Next time Nicola (or any of our nationalist representatives ) is being harangued like that, she should simply pull a whistle out of her pocket and give it a long and piercing blast. That will stun them. She then puts the whistle back into her pocket and states clearly that if she is not allowed to answer a question or is talked over again she will blow the whistle and continue to blow it until they all shut up. It might seem an absurd thing to do but believe me it really, really works. You DO get their attention.
 
 
# Glenbuchat 2012-05-29 10:25
The groundwork of excuses is already being laid. All reliable evidence suggests that Scots will vote, by a considerable margin, to retain the Union. When Salmond, Sturgeon et al wake up one morning in October 2014 to the stark realisation that the referendum has been lost, and this 'once in a generation' debate is clearly settled in favour of the status quo, someone will have to take the blame.

Be it the BBC or the popular press who are the subject of greatest separatist opprobrium, you can be sure that there will be no acceptance that they simply failed to win the argument.
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-29 10:29
"separatist opprobrium" oh dearie me.

Another one so confident about the security of his beloved union that he's actually too scared to mention the word independence in case it catches on.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-29 10:37
Its not an argument or a debate if only one side gets to air their views.
 
 
# Glenbuchat 2012-05-29 10:54
I would call it independence if it were independence. As Ms Sturgeon amply demonstrated, if you insist on maintaining a currency union controlled by the Bank of England then fiscal independence will be virtually nil.

Scotland will be a separate state with minimal control over its finsncial destiny. Huge risks for no obvious benefit.
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-29 11:07
I would agree with you that the pound is inherently unstable and represents a huge risk for both an independent Scotland and a unified UK. We should get clear blue water between Scotland and the BofE.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-29 12:13
Agreed, the Scottish pound could be weakended long term if it remains pegged to the rUK pound. If so, it may be best to decouple them at some point. Obviously it is in the BoUK's interest to keep Scotland in the £-zone to maintain the petro-currency strength aspects and for trade.
 
 
# macdoc 2012-05-29 12:13
I take it you don't consider Germany or France independent countries then.

Scotland had 3 options for monetary policiy. Retain Sterling which seems like the short term sensible thing to do. As has always been stated the bgovernment wil do whats best for Scotland and monetary policy is subject to change depnding on the current and future climate. The other option would be to join the Euro which wouldn't be the wistest choice at the moment. Then there is the creation of a Scottish currency which may or may not be the most sensible thing to do on day 1. I would like more information on this.

Of the Three options you can be damned sure the rabid unionists would be shouting at the top of there lungs no matter the policy.

You don't seem to realise Glenbuchat but the reason people in Scotland are for the Union is not out of loyalty or love or identitiy but because they are brainwashed into beleiving British Nationalist Anti-Scottish propaganda. Educate the population and there would be a unamous YES vote. Unfortunaely theUnionist Media will always try and confuse, complicate and lie about this issue.

I think that tells you enough that they cannot win the argument by factual information, there only alternative is to scaremonger because they know the vast majority of SCots even Unionists care and identify with Scotland more than Britain.
 
 
# amfraeembro 2012-05-29 12:37
I don't see a problem, or indeed a realistic alternative, to keeping the pound in the short term - just like Australia, Barbados, British West Africa, Canada, Cyprus, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Rhodesia, South Africa & Zambia did.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-05-29 12:47
Quoting Glenbuchat:
I would call it independence if it were independence. As Ms Sturgeon amply demonstrated, if you insist on maintaining a currency union controlled by the Bank of England then fiscal independence will be virtually nil.



If you don't consider it independence how can you possibly call it separation? How is it separation if we share a currency? I get the impression that logic isn't a strong point with you.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-29 13:09
I would say that having control of your own resource, taxation, spend, foreign policy and home affairs runs a pretty close second. But hey, lets leave those decision making powers with the nice people in Westminster, they've done such a bang up job so far. :)

Oh and did I forget to mention that whole democratic deficit thing? Y'know where every five years we get to throw a ballot paper in the bin because fifty million other bods get to decide who sits in the big chair, that one.
 
 
# megsmaw 2012-05-29 22:19
I want my country back now! I'm sick of the 50 million English votes overriding us. What other country in the world at this moment would choose to be dominated in this way? Exactly. None. Why are we exempt from the right to self determination?
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-30 01:41
Insomniacs R us. :)

Its not the fault of the English voter Megsmaw. They have the same problem we do - A corrupt top heavy system of government and politics. They only play by the rules as they exist now for the rest of us. Fact is the whole of these isles suffers from a democratic deficit imposed by a centralised, privilged and top heavy government.

They will not cede power via a federalised system, to them its the only thing worse than independence for Scotland, hence the no second question insistance. Yet its the only thing that would save the union they claim to hold so dear. Irony or what? The only thing left for us in the face of their hold on to power at all costs stance, is independence.
 
 
# exel 2012-05-30 07:03
Macart 2012-05-30 02:41
“They will not cede power via a federalised system, to them its the only thing worse than independence for Scotland, hence the no second question insistance. Yet its the only thing that would save the union they claim to hold so dear. Irony or what? The only thing left for us in the face of their hold on to power at all costs stance, is independence.”

Do I detect another voice in the wilderness? This fact has been apparent since devolution (a quasi federal system).

The Steele report offered the solution, but the liberal democrats took fright and would not put it to the English voters.

In Scotland, the same gang of “fearties” sold their supporters down the river for mini power in Westminster.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-30 08:05
'Fraid so exel and guilty as charged upon a time. Until 79' I believed home rule within the union was the way forward for all the interested parties. A way of engaging people on national and regional levels by giving them control of their own governance.

I still think its a good and worthy concept, good grief even the FM has publicly admitted that, but two things prevent me from holding on to old memories, as I've posted on this site only this morning in a related thread. Firstly Westminster had two bites at the cherry to do this and on both occasions deliberately spiked the game. Hey presto we have devolution for the various parliaments and what a roaring success that has been. An exercise in frustration would be more accurate.

Secondly I absolutely believe that Westminster with its vested power and interests will never condone or promote any form of fair federal system in order to save the union they claim is so precious to them. I strongly suspect it would be stepped on even more heavily than independence.

It may be that I am merely far more cynical than yourself, I know you still hold out that some politician in the big house will see sense grab British politics by the scruff of the neck and promote that fairer union, that new politics. I simply ran out of trust in Westminster politics and the Westminster system period. I have always felt that we were capable of completely managing our own affairs as well as contributing to a whole, I am left with only one logical course at that point. Scrub the slate clean and see if we can build a new politics, a new constitution within an independent Scotland.

But I do sympathise exel, I merely cannot see it becoming a viable option any time soon and the Scottish electorate needs out from under Westminster dominance now.
 
 
# exel 2012-05-30 11:30
Macart 2012-05-30 09:05
“It may be that I am merely far more cynical than yourself, I know you still hold out that some politician in the big house will see sense grab British politics by the scruff of the neck and promote that fairer union, that new politics. I simply ran out of trust in Westminster politics and the Westminster system period. I have always felt that we were capable of completely managing our own affairs as well as contributing to a whole, I am left with only one logical course at that point. Scrub the slate clean and see if we can build a new politics, a new constitution within an independent Scotland.”

I doubt you are more cynical than I Macart. I do not trust any political party to deliver that “new politics” we both desire. Without that new political system in place, independence (secession from the union) is not the best route to self determination for the Scottish electorate.

The key is to take away absolute power from any political party who cannot persuade 50+1% of the eligible electorate to vote for them. That is simply Westminster on a smaller scale, a revolving party dictatorship.

If the English do not want a Constitutional democracy so be it. I accept your logic “Scrub the slate clean” but I do not accept that we have to wait until we are independent to discuss, what political system we wish or what set of rules we have to express our sovereignty (written constitution).

My vote would be to authorise secession from the union and adopt the sovereign state of Scotland operating under the “NEW WRITTEN CONSTITUTION” agreed by a settled majority of the Scottish people.
 
 
# mountaincadre 2012-05-30 11:44
Exel i and others have been verbaly sparing with you about this for yonks now, i like most i think actually agree with you on most of the stuff your saying, the problem seems to be," forgive me for saying this" but your niavity in thinking we could change anything with out being independant first. I for one will be demanding a written constitution/abolishment of the monarchy and most importantly bringing democracy down as far as it can go,BUT without Independance first we will be pissing in the wind as west minster will use any chink in the armour to defeat us, its not the way i'd like to do it but unfortunately thats the real politik of where we are.
 
 
# exel 2012-05-30 13:16
mountaincadre 2012-05-30 12:44
"Exel i and others have been verbaly sparing with you about this for yonks now, i like most i think actually agree with you on most of the stuff your saying, the problem seems to be," forgive me for saying this" but your niavity in thinking we could change anything with out being independant first. I for one will be demanding a written constitution/abolishment of the monarchy and most importantly bringing democracy down as far as it can go,BUT without Independance first we will be pissing in the wind as west minster will use any chink in the armour to defeat us, its not the way i'd like to do it but unfortunately thats the real politik of where we are."

I do not forgive you for your attempt to patronise me with your factually incorrect, grammatically pathetic and with spelling that my great grand daughter would be ashamed of, post.

My “niavity” whatever that is, may be showing, but it is my opinion. That is one thing we are allowed to have, before independence, I think.

I repeat: “My vote would be to authorise secession from the union and adopt the sovereign state of Scotland operating under the “NEW WRITTEN CONSTITUTION” agreed by a settled majority of the Scottish people.”
 
 
# mountaincadre 2012-05-30 13:56
Exel, i will remain a wee bit more cival than yourself exel in my reply to yourself, firstly exel i was in no way trying to patronise you, secondly what is factually incorrect about what i posted? you have on numerous occasions postede that the most important thing is to have local democracy NOT how it is delivered," I'm sure we can at least agree that West Minster will not be delivering that any day soon". As for the rest of your post i will let others be the judge of that.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-30 11:59
On the bright side at least you know you're not a lone voice in the wilderness. I think your final para proposal may have legs in settling many a doubter who feared the whole one party state nonsense. I don't for an instant think that's where it would head anyway, but using the two year period post referendum and pre independence ratification to hammer out a constitution sounds reasonable.
 
 
# exel 2012-05-30 13:26
Macart 2012-05-30 12:59
“On the bright side at least you know you're not a lone voice in the wilderness. I think your final para proposal may have legs in settling many a doubter who feared the whole one party state nonsense. I don't for an instant think that's where it would head anyway, but using the two year period post referendum and pre independence ratification to hammer out a constitution sounds reasonable”

Do you not mean “the two year period PRE referendum and POST independence YES ratification”?
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-30 13:38
Yes and no.

Yes, it would be good to see a roadmap of future constitution prior to the referendum. No I don't realistically think it will happen that way. There just aren't enough voices in support. Pretty much all of us agree that a constitution is not just desirable but necessary. However I see little support for creation of a constitution prior to the vote.

But I do think it entirely reasonable and realistic that we should be looking at constructing a constitution in the period post referendum and prior to ratification.
 
 
# GerrySNP 2012-05-30 01:18
In which case you would have to believe that the Irish did not achieve Independence in 1921, since from then until they invented the punt in the 80s they used Sterling, notwithstanding their refusal to join in the War and their economic war of the 30s under de Valera's policies. It was done at a cost, which they believed was less than the cost of trying to sustain a separate punt for the 60 years involved.
 
 
# colin8652 2012-05-30 06:10
Many unionists,seem, like thierr home counties cousins, to have money as thier god. The percieved fear of loosing £10 out of thier wallet or loosing £10,000 off the value of thier house is so frightening for them that they would rather see thier lives ontrolled by a foriegn government. Such cowardace is lamentable. Although in my heart I know Scotland would be a rich vibrant country I would always say that I would live in a cave or under a bush in a free Scotland than put up with westmonster rule.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-29 10:40
"The groundwork of excuses is already being laid. All reliable evidence suggests that Scots will vote, by a considerable margin, to retain the Union"

Please direct me to this 'evidence'. I have every poll ever carried out on the subject and these do not agree with what you are saying (unless you believe in Yougov straw polls). Am I missing some?

imageshack.us/.../...

If so, links would be much appreciated.
 
 
# Glenbuchat 2012-05-29 10:58
You have managed to misinterpret or misrepresent every poll you have ever read. Read the literature and comments from academic commentators and you will find that those opting for a yes vote in a referendum are consistently in a minority.

It would be foolish to confuse support for the SNP with support for 'independence'. Mind you, you appear to believe that support for Independents is support for the SNP.
 
 
# proudscot 2012-05-29 11:20
Quoting Glenbuchat:
You have managed to misinterpret or misrepresent every poll you have ever read. Read the literature and comments from academic commentators and you will find that those opting for a yes vote in a referendum are consistently in a minority.

It would be foolish to confuse support for the SNP with support for 'independence'. Mind you, you appear to believe that support for Independents is support for the SNP.


In the same way, Glenbuchat, as you seem to believe that support for Tory, Labour or LibDem policies automatically means opposition to independence oops, I should have used the pejorative "separation", of course.
 
 
# RevStu 2012-05-29 11:20
"those opting for a yes vote in a referendum are consistently in a minority"

A minority which is growing, and which is about to be backed by a major campaign of persuasion over more than two years, in the context of the possibility of independence being real for the first time in 300 years.

Stay complacent, though. Suits us fine.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-29 11:29
Where is the 'SNP' data you speak of in those poll results? I see only the results of Y/N polls carried out over the years by a number of different pollsters, as referenced. Yougov is a consistent outlier since 2007 so I have separated it as shown. People can conclude for themselves if they think I was wrong to do this.

The raw points are there along with a trend fitted to these. You are free to fit your own trend. I would be interested to see you manage to get an average No share consistently above 50% unless you choose only to use Yougov alone.

As for the local vs holywood results, I would be very interested to hear your alternative explanation for the voting patterns shown. I understood it to be that where the SNP dominated at Holyrood in the Highlands and Islands, voting for independents at council level is a long standing tradition.
 
 
# flyingscotsman 2012-05-29 15:52
As I have a background in statistics I can vouch for the analysis given by scottish_skier as being very good.

Also if these are the correct figures in this graph then i would be concerned that the variance between YouGov and the other polls smells like interference in the statistical collection method. And from the figures it started to veer around the time of the SNPs rise to power and its been way off ever since.
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-29 11:01
Well I'm not sure that "we are so poor, so wee and so stupid that I would sooner George Osborne ran the economy" is a great argument but putting that aside, are not the Unionist side also getting their excuses in pre-event?

It is the wrong date
It is the wrong question
The Scottish Government are deliberately engineering friction with Westminster

etc, etc,

That said I fully expected the debate to be another talking over each other rammy so I never bothered watching it. Anybody know what the viewing figures were?

Currently there is a solid Yes vote core of about 35% and a fairly solid No vote of about 45%. This issue will be won by who wins the hearts and minds of the 20% who are not sure. I suspect that 20% don't watch shows like the one broadcast . The Yes campaign, if it is to win and I firmly believe it can, must reach out and excite and envigorate the not sures. In many ways the jokey alternative question has a lot to commend it. Perhaps an Irn Bru style campaign with a touch of Scottish humour is in order.

Are ye up for it?

Aye
Naw
 
 
# megsmaw 2012-05-29 22:24
Agreed. It would be great to get the guys behind the Irn Bru ads to do some pro Indy ads. It could help engage the young folk who aren't interested in politics ( I know, I've tried explaining it's about us no the politicians).
 
 
# chicmac 2012-05-29 11:02
No sir. By ramping up of propaganda to way, way past the levels any decent democrat would consider acceptable, the BBC and others have long since forfeited the right to expect deferral for a generation should they win a NO vote in the referendum.
That is the price they must pay for their lies, distortions and omissions.

And how could it be otherwise, when at any time after the referendum the truth of some lie may be discovered using FOI or by other means which could have lead to a different result. We need look no further than the lies told about the economy of an independent Scotland in the past, which was not just a little lie but a Big Lie of Goebbelsesque proportions.
 
 
# brusque 2012-05-29 10:39
Jings I feel depressed now!

I don't think there is a way to beat the BBC; but that said, I agree that the SNP need to field a Mike Russell or Kenny Gibson, and maybe (just maybe) the result will be different.

Isobel Fraser was a shocking let down!! she lost control in the first minutes and never regained it.

I'm at a total loss about the "What will an Independent Scotland do for me" question. The SNP are not in a position to "do" anything for anyone, they may not be the party of Government - ergo, the question should have been asked of all panel members in turn, and the only feasible answer (given by Patrick Harvie) would be "I don't know". And given that nobody knew the circumstances of the woman asking the question, it would not be outwith their remit for one of the Panelists to ask if she had a particular issue in mind? Benefits? Education? Finances? Employment etc.

Most of us do not have a chrystal ball, so although the SNP (and I say SNP because they are the ONLY Party who have aspirations for an Independent Scotland) can say what they HOPE for, they cannot say for certain.

Who knows what the Unionists have planned for Scots should we not vote Yes? it is almost to awful to think about!! If the Debate was anything to go by Sarwar seems not to be reluctant to outline the "punishment" we can look forward to - I would say the same for Davidson but couldn't make out what she was shreiking.

Davidson giggled like a schoolgirl, after half a glass of cider, when Sarwar stated that "we all HATE the Tories"; yet behaved like a thug whilst preventing Nicola Sturgeon from answering in any meaningful way.

Please, please SNP; do not allow this to happen again. Sniping, sneering, mocking and name-calling is not a Debate, it is a travesty. The programme served to show the BBC at it's absolute worst.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-29 10:51
"The programme served to show the BBC at it's absolute worst."
May I add:----"and for what it is?"
 
 
# westie7 2012-05-29 10:59
Quoting brusque:
Jings I feel depressed now!


and Diabloandco...

Yeah I'm very depressed too so sorry if I bring everyone down.

I do also wonder how many folk actually watch/listen to the Broadcasting Stazi... I'm thinking the unionists who cannot be swayed will be listening to Radio1/2/3/4/ and commercial anyways, Hopefully!! but some of my family are the prime examples of fence sitters who cant answer the questions of "whats the benefits of the Union" and "Why dont you like AS"... These guys will watch debates, Watch Reporting Jockland, listen to Call Kaye, BBD etc.

These are the ten percent it probably needs (cos I don't believe Bionic Eyebrows 30something percent). These are the ones for whom the damaging decision could be made. The SNP need to know that they have to always be on their game 100%, expect the curve balls, be properly briefed. And yes I do mean Nicola had an off one, Joan who has to realise there are snipers just waiting to take her head off and at a different level my local SNP group of councillors (Aberdeenshire) who couldn't agree to run a minority which had all the signs of being feasable and let the ConLibs in.

I have been successful in business because I have thought, what dont I want, what are the dangers etc and KEPT them close in my mind knowing how bad it could get if I fecked up.
 
 
# chicmac 2012-05-29 11:32
"I'm at a total loss about the "What will an Independent Scotland do for me" question."

There are various ways to answer this.

Like this:

"The future is never an easy thing to predict. But to any informed forecaster the future for an independent Scotland is both brighter and clearer than for a Scotland which remains a dependency of a beleaguered UK with extremely uncertain prospects."

This answer will become better as the full plight of the UK economy is revealed as it surely must over the next two years.

Another more succinct answer could be

"Well, at the risk of being accused of setting the bar too low, I would expect an independent Scotland would do better than it has with 300 years of Union Dividends."
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-29 12:01
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future."

Neils Bohr
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-29 12:02
Whatever happened to Kennedy's

"Ask not what your country can do for you but rather ask what you can do for your country?" What opportunity is there for anyone to do anything for the meandering mess that is the UK? An independent Scotland would be a country where there is opportunity to both build a better community and opportunity to prosper.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-05-29 13:51
Quoting Jim1320:
"Ask not what your country can do for you but rather ask what you can do for your country?"



Now that's the best answer to such a question!
 
 
# chicmac 2012-05-29 14:16
I nearly put that down as a third option, but sadly, rejected it because it can come across as an admission that financially things will be worse off, which is simply not supported by the evidence.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-29 11:56
"What will an Independent Scotland do for me"

Scotland will be a fairer, wealthy country with more opportunities for ordinary people. The future is in your hands.
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-29 11:29
I wonder if Lesley Riddoch and Gerry Hassan watched these debates and came away concluding that both sides were "as bad as each other".

We seem to inhabit a kind of parallel universe where commentators like them quite rightly call for a proper debate on the independence referendum to take place over the next two years whilst refusing to acknowledge that under present circumstances that's almost impossible.

Was that the kind of debate you wanted Lesley and Gerry or was something not quite right about it?

Not even narratives or women maybe.
 
 
# pinkrose 2012-05-29 11:36
Battles are not won by putting heads down at the first hurdle. Battles are won by fighting and we can do this just like we came from behind at last yearselection. People want to be persuaded so every day do at least on thing to change someone's attitude. Get out there in the streets and communities and do something. Grumbling on here achieves nothing. The best way to defeat the BBC by the way is to raise awareness of what they are up to. Get behind the bbcbias campaign distribute leaflets, don't wait for others we must each do as much as we can.
 
 
# pinkrose 2012-05-29 11:45
My personal view of the debate was that NS and PH won the case for Independence and yes the questions and questioners were poor but overall the Independence argument won the day. Be positive we can do this.
 
 
# BeltaneFire 2012-05-29 15:47
Agreed pinkrose.

Looking people in the eye is a very effective method of campaigning.

Playing the game right to the final whistle will win the day. We must ensure it's us, but it's up to us to make it happen.

Stay positive and confident! And continue to educate yourselves for the battle ahead.
 
 
# raisethegame 2012-05-29 11:41
A different debate

I spotted this in 'The Commentator'. 'Hacks, luvvies and has-beens battle for the soul of Scotland' By Tom Gallagher

Bold and eloquent nationalists could have a decisive advantage over timid and self-selecting Unionists, drawn from the salons of London, if the financial storm melts all political certainties

"...Turning to the opponents of separatism, they seem held back by similar limitations. There is no big idea to invest the union with renewed fascination and appeal. In the print media and on television, there is a heavy reliance on established figures from journalism who have come to fame mainly after leaving Scotland. This is shown by the debate scheduled at the Royal Geographical Society in London on June 27th, which the Spectator is already energetically promoting. The ‘great bunch of speakers whom its Anglo-Scots editor, Fraser Nelson has assembled, are Sir Malcolm Rifkind, an ex-Secretary of state for Scotland under Margaret Thatcher and now the MP for Kensington and Chelsea; Iain Martin, a pugnacious defender of the Union working in London; and Rory Stewart, who since 2010 has represented a seat in Cumbria. In the chair is Andrew Neil, the impresario of political broadcasting who permanently departed Scotland nearly forty years ago
None of them will even be able to vote in the coming referendum since their main residences are in England. They are opposed by Kelvin McKenzie, now a splenetic purveyor of John Bull sentiments and Gerry Hassan, a Glasgow-based media columnist. Hassan believes that an SNP victory is likely to deepen Scotland’s attachment to socialism and he swats aside Salmond’s deep courtship of media mogul Rupert Murdoch as an event of no special significance.
It would have been perhaps more effective to showcase politically-minded citizens who live and work in Scotland there, create jobs or are involved in other practical ways designed to make the country a better place to live in. But both unionists and nationalists tend to fear allowing the public to invade their political tents which is certainly the view in the Westminster Village where Fraser Nelson is based....."

thecommentator.com/.../...
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-05-29 11:55
Kelvin is batting for the Yes camp?

/\(oO)/\

Dear God!
 
 
# Magua 2012-05-29 11:41
It really is time to go on the offensive. The SNP's victory at the Holyrood election was a massive anti- Tory vote which reflected that ordinary Scots know that Labour are still pale-blue "ladies-in-waiting", desperate to return to their evil neo-con ways to pander to middle-England voters. Most of the unpopular policies being so ruthlessly applied by DEMCONS originated in New Labour think-tanks. The privatisation of Health, Education and the Post Office; the changes to disability and sickness benefits; PFI projects; and the ditching of the UK residency requirement that allowed "an alien", Rupert Murdoch to own media outlets. Oh, and let's not forget that "Tony" signed up the UK Armed Forces as America's permanent "tail-gunner". So let's remind our fellow Scots of the children's cautionary tale "The never-ending Tory" and hope, as a further warning, that the SNP have been compiling a catalogue of the rabid, anti- Scottish drivel from the MSM but, in particular, that from the Be-Bc, including such gems as "Anita Anand" whose arrogance was only outdone by her ignorance when interviewing Alex Salmond. This, of course, had nothing to do with her "boss" Andrew "Brillo-Pad" Neill who, like so many "Scottish" patriots, loves his country - the UK!
 
 
# Leal 2012-05-29 11:52
I am Really losing my patience, Not with the BBC ,but with the SNP. This has to Stop Now. Yes The unionist will have a field day with an SNP Refusal to participate in BBC Rigged shows but really they are going to Do it anyway.
Live or Nothing with a 50/50 Crowd, No Compromise whatsoever. This may see other Channels...ie: ITV/STV ,Sky Etc up their Game. The Independence Bloc Must Fight this or we may as well Pack our Bags.
 
 
# Aikenheed 2012-05-29 11:59
Why not put all the questions/points raised on the Yes website along with polite unspun factual answers - then if they are brought up again in another TV "debate" the response can be "Thatpoint has already been fully addressed - you can see it on the website - however to summarise yet again.... "??
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-29 12:41
I think that would be a great idea and good positive thinking.
 
 
# cirsium 2012-05-29 12:03
independentista s - what did you expect? The British Broadcasting Corporation selected the audience and the questions. It has already closed down comment on the political blogs because it could not control the message. Did you really think that it was going to give the pro-independence view a platform?

Look at what the debate showed you. Lies, myths and shouting down Nicola Sturgeon - the positive case for the Union!?!

This is the fight of a lifetime. Think of Bruce and the spider! Think of the SNP winning a majority government in a system designed to prevent that very thing!
 
 
# Training Day 2012-05-29 12:17
I was at Pacific Quay on Saturday. Kudos to the organisers of the demo, but I came away thinking that the BBC might actually report it because numbers were low, allowing them to present a case that a few nutters turned up and milled around for a couple of hours to no apparent purpose - and that this was indicative of support for 'separation' etc. The conduct of the debate confirmed the view that nothing will change over the next two years unless we swell our active numbers and force other organisations to report on large demonstrations of anger at this state broadcaster.

Again, kudos to the organisers on Saturday but we must all redouble our efforts for future gatherings.
 
 
# BeltaneFire 2012-05-29 15:57
I was also there, and yes, the numbers were smaller than we would have liked.

Nevertheless, it's set the ball rolling and we have already learned lessons.

More people, more placards, music and more noise. For example, a large-print placard for the benefit of the tourist buses passing. Not all the people on the buses will be foreigners. We must aim to attract the attention of those passing too. Once we have achieved this, we'll arouse the curiosity of the BBC's competitors.

This will grow! It has to grow!
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-29 12:25
"labourhame.com is unavailable or may not exist"
"Rejoice! "It's all been a mirage.
 
 
# Wave Machine 2012-05-29 12:31
Get a grip and ask yourself this.
Would you be comfortable sharing a platform and supporting the same world view with a Conservative politician?
Probably not!
Yet we see Labour supporters and apologists doing this very thing.
There is an inescapable fact that emerges from this television debate.
It is a fact that the contributors in the audience who were hostile to NS are boldly and without shame providing the framework for Ruth Davidson and her ilk to continue to chip away and undermine the basic social conciousness of our society.
Ruth is a Tory, a person who supports policies that are negative, target the poor, divide society. These policies have resulted in a broken UK economy, a fractured society. There is no "cure" for these ills within a UK context. We wouldn't be having debates about constitutional change if there were, but by siding with, sharing a platform or contributing from the audience to Ruth's and the Tory viewpoint, you perpetuate the ills that plague our society. We all recognise what those ills are, I don't require to list them.
So replay the debate, look at Anas Sarwar and those hostile audience members, recognise them for what they are and be confident.
Call them Tories, call them Labour supporters, whatever. They are nothing but people with little imagination, no social conscience, lacking in vision and social morality, who would seek to see the continuation of a status quo which sees children living in poverty, who would put people at risk by privatising the health service, who would go to war on a whim.
I'm happy for them to be given a televised platform. I'm also happy for everyone to be reminded of the basic truth; Labour and the Tories shared a platform, a shared message, a shared policy. Remind them of that at every occassion. They walked into a trap, eyes wide open. What fools!
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-29 12:37
# pinkrose 2012-05-29 12:45

I agree with you that the "Independence argument won the day" but only,I'm afraid,if you can sift through all of noise and chatter and examine what was actually said.

That however.I suspect,will not be the case for most of the people who were watching the programme.

The general impression I got from watching was that this was a deliberate attempt from the organisers of the 'show' to create as much negativity as was possible and in that they succeeded.

The only real positive contribution from the audience to my mind was from the guy (at about 10.00 mins in on the clip)who said that most of these 'questions' were a matter for debate and decision at the first election after Independence.
The main point to be stressed would be that it would be'US' the people of Scotland taking the decision for ourselves.

As long as the debate is allowed to be about what the SNP / Mr Salmond's vision of an Independent Scotland will be then this is what will happen.
I feel that the SNP have to emphasise the fact that their 'offer' of Independence is 'just that' an offer and it will be up to the other political parties to make a counter offer and then the people can decide.

I also feel that it is very easy,for the 'pro dependence side', to attack the idea of Independence because of it's very nature. Stepping out into the relative unknown...

On the other hand I think it will be very different when the time comes for the 'pro dependence side' to defend this union .

I think it will be a different argument when that happens.

What to do about the BBC ..I really don't know but I do think that the Scottish Government have to take more interest in what is,obviously,go ing on at Pacific Quay.

Overall I am not despondent as I think the debate is only beginning and the more negative aspects of it will be thinned out rather than be reinforced in the coming months.
 
 
# EdinScot 2012-05-29 12:39
The BBC has been using these tactics for a fair number of years now. I can go back at least ten years when i heard the same inane ramblings about how would we afford foreign embassies by plants in the audience. Its a sure fire way to demoralise the opposition aka US! The good old British brainwashing corporation are trying to do just that, brainwash us into submission, making us beleive we are still a fringe group of separatist cranks instead of the reality of being where we are today with a majority Nationalist independence supporting SNP Government! We are so close to our goal that we should not let them break us. We knew they would fight dirty, after all they do have form in this scenario but they usually end up the losers and their former colonies do have a happy knack of shaking them off and transforming themselves into shiny new countries. Dont lose the faith.

My guess is that maybe the EBC cranked up their rhetoric after the demo the day before by those brave hearts who took it to their door. Who knows...

All i know is, now we must organise a follow up demo against this propagandist organisation with even more of us to swell the numbers. Crank the pressure up on them. Ive heard it said that a vigil (until the referendum)at Pacific Quay along the lines of the Scottish Parliament one at Calton Hill appears a sound one. The demos should also be taken to our town and city centres to bring it to the general publics attention. A demo should also be held against them right outside the Scottish Parliament in full view of the Unionist media and politicans with the added bonus of a BBC studio round the corner from Holyrood, we could even ask them directly for a response to the demo!

That could be their worst nightmare. The propaganda is such that doing nothing is not an option anymore.
 
 
# amfraeembro 2012-05-29 12:42
A neutral observer watching 'The Big Debate' would conclude that the SNP is the most unpopular, indeed hated, party in Scotland.

People know this is the opposite of the truth.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-05-29 12:56
Quite. As I've said many times before, it does not take much intelligence to understand why the SNP are rather unpopular with the UK political establishment / BBC / MSM.

People open to the idea of independence will expect them to be given a hard time/portrayed in as bad a light as possible. It is par for the course.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-29 13:21
Time Magazine Blogs.Scotland Independence.
50 comments to date.
globalspin.blogs.time.com/.../...
I've put in a comment,and mentioned newsnetscotland .Spread the word.Someone in Scotland may actually read it!
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-29 14:08
Comments are excellent
 
 
# BlueTiles 2012-05-29 15:48
One of the main comments that shook me from the audience was the one man who claims to be following all of the politics in the news etc and then just spews forth a large amount of already dismissed Unionist scaremongering.

I wrote a parody letter of complaint intended for Alex Salmond ( Re- Murdoch, doing nothing for the economy etc) and it read exactly like what the audience member was saying.

The answers are out there but that dark cloud from Pacific Quay seems to obscuring them deliberately from the Scottish people.
 
 
# jafurn 2012-05-29 15:57
Not O/T

Joan McAlpine ‏@JoanMcAlpine
Mark Thompson of BBC before MSPs today - insisting beeb can cut Scottish news 16% & still increase content & quality...

news.bbc.co.uk/.../9724385.stm

edit...
After 5 minutes I have to say this guy is living in an alternate universe
 
 
# Exile 2012-05-29 16:30
I think if they cut it 100% that would dramatically improve the quality.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-29 16:40
Well McQuarrie is an arch propagandist for the BBC on the one hand and Unionism on the other
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-05-29 17:20
From what has been said here about the conduct of the debate it would appear to have turned out exactly as expected: the unionists talking over the SNP representative. This is always what happens when the unionists are in the same studio as the SNP. No matter what the topic it is their default behaviour in such situations. That is why the arrangement used by Newsnight whereby the SNP spokesman is interviewed on their own, and therefore has a chance to get their points accross, works to the advantage of the SNP.

unfortunately this is not going to be the format if there are any more 'debates' but the idea from one of the posters above that the questions from the audience together with full answers from the YES campaign is a good one. A variation of 'Frequently asked questions' format.
 
 
# Teri 2012-05-29 18:15
I have great respect for Isobel Fraser as an interviewer, but as chair of a debate she fails miserably. In the run up to the Holyrood elections she chaired a few debates on the Sunday Politics Show and she allowed the same thing to go on. If the BBC wish her to chair debates then they should send her on a course to develop the right skills. She has never succeeded in controlling more than one person at a time and it looks like she never will.
 
 
# naemairleesplease 2012-05-29 18:51
O.T
A petition against BBC Newsnight

"I was approached by the BBC to be interviewed on Newsnight to talk about what it's like being a working mum struggling to pay rent and housing costs. Of course I was happy to do it, being a working mum is something I’m proud of. It hasn't always been plain sailing. But I did not expect to be personally scrutinised, have judgements made about my choices and asked why I chose to have my child - a beautiful, sociable and happy three year old girl. I have done my best for her and wanted to bring her up independently. But the BBC has humiliated me and I want them to apologise for portraying me and my family in this way."

change.org/.../...
 
 
# lochside 2012-05-29 19:37
The Great Debate was not a shambles, in fact it was a great success. The BBC and their Unionist masters managed yet again to provide a propaganda exercise masquerading as a poorly organised 'debate'that the old Politburo would have been proud of. Put a bumbling inadequate 'presenter' in charge; get a list of Labour Unionist stooges to repeat memorised diatribes straight from labour H.Q. and spew them unchallenged at Nicola Sturgeon; have a smug and 'reasonable'= uninspiring Harvie; a Jim Murphy clone (Sarwar) and a shrill Tory cynic (Davidson) unchallenged to interrupt NS at every opportunity with the latter individual waving a piece of paper about as if it was the Gettysburg address; and put the weak and pathetic NS into yet another major PR opportunity to call the collective bluff...and you get the result intended: a complete turn-off for the uncommitted and another chance for the message to get hammered home: 'they're all the same'. What the Unionists want is a rerun of 1979..a low turnout and a narrow victory ( for them this time) and despite all the optimism on here, I think they might get it. People( yeah me) are fed up the the lack of fight by the SNP...Glasgow was supposed to be a stunning victory..it wasn't;the big Launch was supposed to answer all the questions for Joe Public..it hasn't; and now another setup where the SNP look weak and clueless. The Party loyalists on here will not agree with me.. but they don't matter. What does matter though, is convincing the folk who don't read this site, that teh Independence vote is important and that the yes side are offering big positive change, not more of the same such as sterling, the monarchy, European membership etc. they want clear black and white answers as to currency, defence and socil services and all clearly costed. Unless that happens soon and is vigourously proposed..forget it! I certainly don't want to live through another 1979 debacle.
 
 
# pete_w 2012-05-29 19:46
Have any of you seen Newsnight's treatment of Shanene Thorpe: change.org/.../... It is disgusting and symptomatic of what is going on at the BBC.

In connection with Newsnight's manipulation, I stumbled across this article: leninology.com/.../.... It is a very interesting analysis of how the BBC is intertwined with the prevailing political sentiment in society (not Scotland's, of course).
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-05-29 20:16
I only now had a chance to watch this 'Great Debate' recorded, online (59min, so all of it?).

I was expecting a lot worse, by the comments I've seen here.

I think it was pretty balanced. Lively at times, and babe Ruth came out badly, with her shouting. The audience asked pertinent questions but I wouldn't label any of them as 'Labour plants'. My only objection is that there wasn't time to go in depth into the many important issues.

I think Isobel Fraser did a fairly good job at chairing the thing.

Patrick Harvie was excellent, Nicola Sturgeon almost as good. Anas Sarwar sounded like the empty (London) vessel which makes the most noise, and Ruthie... She's been called 'head girl' here and that's what she was like.

This debate is a start, there are many more to come. I only hope the SNP and other independence-minded people will be a bit more robust in debunking unionist lies. (Actually, I think they are, but it seldomly get reported in the MSM... OK, darkened room for me now.)
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-29 20:31
eh? ,, .. did you watch the audience comments linked in the article?

only one sensible pro-indy comment .. and even that did not flatten the unionist fear factor .. as he said . "none of this can be decided till the first election in an independent Scotland." or words to that effect.

When what he should have said was: "The only way to make Scotland a fairer more prosperous country is vote yes for independence - Westminster is robbing us blind!".. .. or words to that effect.
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-05-29 21:25
Ermh... I haven't seen the audience comments linked. I was just saying that the Big Debate programme, as I saw it online (59 min) wasn't as horrible and biased and bad as I thought after reading comments here.

I think most of the audience contributions were actually pretty pro-Scottish, just curious. OK, so there was that thin girl who was allowed to ask two inane questions, but I get the feeling many nats are getting a wee bit paranoid.

That said, I don't think BBC Scotland is fulfilling its charter to provide inpartial, relevant information to the public. Either they're partial or then they're irrelevant.
 
 
# xyz 2012-05-29 21:57
Take a look at the ten minute 'edited segment showing every single speaker' above.

I think you will have a change of opinion
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-05-29 22:22
I might do that soon... But you cannot edit in things that weren't there. You can, of course, edit out things.

However, I was talking about the full version, in which Patrick Harvie and Nicola Sturgeon shone - although 'head girl' Davidson tried to drown out NS's facts. I concentrated on what NS was saying, she blatatantly said that you cannot join the Euro unless you've been a member of ERM for two years - and here's the catch: there's no compulsion to join ERM. Just look at Sweden or the Czech Republic! Euro scaremongering debunked!
 
 
# Talorcan 2012-05-29 20:58
I don't watch these 'debates' any more, for I know that the SNP representative will be shouted down, and instead of getting up off their chair and damn well telling their opponents what they REALLY think of them, they will play the polite game of sitting cross legged and trying to appear cool and calm so as to look dignified. It's not working. It makes us look like wimps and it's high time we got some speakers with fire in their bellies. That baloney about Scots who don't believe in independence being 'good Scots' like the nationalists is something we ought to kick into touch. Alex and Nicola fell for it, and when quizzed about whether or not unionist Scots are somehow 'anti-Scottish' they should have said that of course they are, for how can it be otherwise.
By voting NO, they are condemning Scotland to another 300 years of dependency on the hand-outs of another country. Ergo, they must be anti-Scottish.
 
 
# Fungus 2012-05-29 21:27
Quote:
What will an Independent Scotland do for me


Take the power to decide where your country is going and how it is to get there from a foreign government and give it to you.
 
 
# Will C 2012-05-29 21:28
I also 'phoned in to "Call Kaye" and asked a question on Trident on the Clyde. I was called back and was kept online for a full forty minutes - all the while being told that Kaye would get to me soon. Meanwhile Kaye was sharing notes on the weather and dolphins in the Moray Firth with Fred McCauley. Needless to say, I was told ever so politely that they had run out of time. It was a very frustrating experience, yet so typical of how the BBC operate - appear to be interested in the nationalist viewpoint but never quite get there.
Much has been said about the "Not-so Great Debate", some of it defensive - it wus the BBC that lost us oor independence and some of it naive - flood the studio with rampant nationalists. In reality the posters who are highlighting the magnitude of our task are right on the money. At the moment we are losing the argument, the heather is not alight.
I would suggest three points which need urgent attention:
1. We in the independence movement need to raise our game. I for one was totally deflated by the so called launch of the YES campaign. I have helped to produce better school productions than what came across on our TV screens last Friday. The atmosphere in the hall may have been electric but that did not come across to the punters at home. OK I accept that the organisers were at the mercy of a unionist media, however that should have been accounted for.
2. We are seen to be VERY WEAK on the economy - we are being battered on sterling/Euro and the Bank of England setting our interest rates ("a foreign power setting your interest rates, what sort of independence is that?").
3. I have been a nationalist for all of my adult life (I am 57) and I have always been concerned that we in the movement for Scottish independence have consistently underestimated our opponents. We are challenging the British establishment and we should be under no illusions as to what tactics we will face from our opponents. Oil rich Scotland is the last bastion of the Empire and she will not be allowed to leave without a fight!
 
 
# velofello 2012-05-29 21:36
Lochside, a rigged debate really shouldn't cause you to feel discouraged..Indeed your reaction is just what is hoped and planned for by the debate strategists. to undermine your sense of optimism
The SNP has declared its intent to re-industrialise Scotland, and it is happening.
How many questions were raised over that in the big debate?
Or about training and education?
What kind of programme, what kind of people presenting the programme permits a spotty youth to call the Depute First Minister of Scotland a liar and then deny her the right of reply?
C'mon stand up, speak up for your country and its people.
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-05-29 22:59
Personal attack on another poster removed - NNS Mod Team
 
 
# Hillside 2012-05-30 08:36
I wouldn't be too despondent about this debate. It's clear that the unionist parties are making a concerted effort to rubbish the SNP, and particularly AS, at every opportunity. However a record number of Scots chose to vote SNP in the local elections and just aren't going to buy the line that they've been fooled by a 'snake oil salesman'. It reminds me of the dark days of Tory government in the 1980s when an edition of Question Time from somewhere like Perth would give the impression that every Scot was a Thatcherite. Depressing to watch, but it didn't help the Tory vote in Scotland.
 
 
# Hillside 2012-05-30 13:38
And I believe many of those people who voted SNP for the first time did so because they were turned off by the negativity of the unionist parties. Of course these people still have to be won round to voting yes in the referendum, but Ruth Davidson & co's performance will certainly not convince them to vote no. The SNP need to stick to the positive message however difficult that me seem.
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-05-30 09:43
Will C

We are winning the arguement and slowly but surely we are winning the war of attrition which we are forced to fight against constant distortion and downright lies. The reason we are being "battered" on the Euro/EU/sterling/the economy is that, no matter what position we take on these areas, our opponents will use their control of the media to attack us on them because these are the areas in which they can scaremonger the most and create the greatest confusion.

If we see out that battle to a draw we win.
If we firmly establish that the public are being lied to we win.

Eventually at worst trading figures back and forward has a neutral effect as the public switch off.

That is the nature of wars of attrition.

In particular the decision to keep sterling in the short term is the wisest option which is why the attack on it is so furious.
I think you can take it that any furious and continuous attack on any SNP position or policy indicates that that position or policy is a good one.

What we have to establish is that well informed people support independence. That is worth more than any other advance.
 
 
# Will C 2012-05-30 15:54
Hi Sneck, I hear what you are saying and would love to agree that we are winning, however, I think at best we are down 1 nil with 75 minutes to go. That is to say, plenty of time to win the game but we need a much better midfield (the engine room) to take control of the game i.e. win the economic argument (the engine room) and we win independence. The YES campaign must come up with clear, consise policies on issues such as pensions, benefits, sterling, Europe, defence jobs etc. To conclude and return to the football analogy, we are in a game where the opposition have the proverbial 12th man i.e. the media and therefore we must raise our game, we must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that an independent Scotland would be a better place to live. Do that and we win the game and our independence.
 
 
# lochside 2012-05-30 12:08
Dear Vellofella, I appreciate your exhortation to stand up for my country. I'm not discouraged and have challenged people both at work and socially to re-examine their attitudes to their country and its subservient status. I worked in the North Sea at one time and was blacklisted by the Yanks for trying to organise a Union, but also for challenging their colonial attitude to the Scottish workers (who actually were only a small majority of the workforce. Working off Norway, and spending time ashore there opened my eyes to how badly we were being deluded by London Rule and impoverished economically and spiritually by it. I went from a 90 minute patriot to a strong believer in our inalienable right to self-determination and that belief has and will continue to never waver!
 
 
# exel 2012-05-30 16:50
Macart 2012-05-30 14:38
We are not so far apart Macart.

I think that as far as the cynicism stakes are concerned I win hands down.

I would never buy a second hand car from a salesman who tries to tell me that he will fix all the problems after the purchase has gone through.
 
 
# Macart 2012-05-30 17:22
Heh, I suspect you might be right there exel. I do have a lemon at this very moment.
 
 
# youoffmyplanet 2012-05-31 17:25
Okay, I'll be honest, this is one in a number of showings from Nicola in the past 6-12 months which I have been left unimpressed by. She's looked (understandably ) short-tempered every time.

The policy of the SNP recently is evidently to keep Alex away from these debates generally and have him doing statesman like things such as Norwegian renewable speeches and Guardian talks in London. I love that he does that, but he's a force to be reckoned with when he does come to these little BBC programmes. Can you imagine how much Sanwar would have squirmed sitting next to him instead?

Fantastic to have seen the Lib Dem seat be relinquished to the Greens, to all intent and purposes a more credible 4th party in the future.

This is the 3rd or 4th time that Nicola appears to have been 'left to the wolves' in what can only be described as a string of well-orchestrated stitch-ups. WHY why why are the SNP blundering like this? :\

I have met activists as young as 16 who rhyme off the dozens of sound-bite advantages of independence and the uselessness of the union without stopping to take a breath. Am I the only one to have noticed that Nicola keeps failing to cut across the noise with the sharp, clear and witty facts that we used to know her for?
 
 
# youoffmyplanet 2012-05-31 17:33
Just to make it clear, I am a great fan of Nicola's, but I think joe public is starting to wonder where Alex is when all of this is happening. The reasons for his absence either need to be explained clearly for the audience so they know he's away doing things that are great for Scotland, or he simply needs to just be there no excuses.
 
 
# the wallace 2012-05-31 17:39
Why have two of my posts disapeared ?>
 
 
# Suomi 2012-05-31 19:39
My impression from viewing this TV programme and First Ministers questions is that the unionists are attacking too early.They should have kept their powder dry because the Yes campaign now know what their line of attack will be.Plenty of time to develop effective antidotes.
 
 
# rob4i 2012-06-01 09:04
BBC = Biased British Corporation
Any pro-independence party or individual should never entertain the corrupt BBC when invited to a studio for debate on independence unless the ratio is of equal proportions and this, of course, will NEVER happen!!
 
 
# Talorgan 2012-07-05 22:55
Quoting clootie:
I now think we should simply refuse to take part in any debates organized by the BBC.


I wonder about this approach. It would draw attention to the unfairness of the situation. Does the cause of Independence gain from these episodes?
 

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