By G.A.Ponsonby
President Obama has spoken; the USA made a tragic mistake when it fought off colonial rule over 200 years ago.  America wants to rejoin the self-styled 'greatest Union on earth'.
OK, not quite, but what an interesting question it would have been to the US President – why did they leave the UK when it was (then) a 100 year old success story?

Obama's intervention (that's what pundits call it) was Reporting Scotland's top story last night.  His short oblique statement on the referendum was just enough for him to deny he had backed one side over the other.

But it was seized on by our broadcaster and pushed to the top of the news agenda.  'Barack backs No' was the message.

Never has so few words received such massive coverage.  Never has a foreign politician been subjected to so little scrutiny.  Well not since Jose Manuel Barroso told the BBC it would be near impossible for Scotland to keep its EU membership if it chose Yes in the referendum.

Few will appreciate that Obama's comment was prepared after a request from Downing Street.  The BBC were briefed to ask, because Downing Street knew they would be in receipt of an answer they could spin into another anti-independence story.

There was a wonderful moment on Reporting Scotland when the political editor Brian Taylor flourished a Better Together campaign leaflet in front of camera.  It depicted Barack Obama with the word 'NOPE' emblazoned beneath – a corruption of Obama's famous campaign slogan 'HOPE'.  The metaphor, lost on Taylor and the Better Together campaign, was that a No vote kills hope.

With so few foot-soldiers able to deliver its leaflets, Taylor's leaflet stunt was probably worth a million quid in free promotion to the Better Together campaign.

We shouldn't be surprised anymore at the antics of the presenters and reporters at the BBC.  The corporation's stock is now at rock bottom in Scotland.

It's still a member of a pro-Union lobbying group and pays the CBI over £22,000 every month in fees.  In return the BBC gets to broadcast all of the CBI’s press releases, including attacks on independence.

BBC Scotland also appears to enjoy a similar relationship with the Labour party in Scotland. 

In May 2013 it reported on the launch of Labour's anti-independence campaign 'United with Labour' which would be headed by former PM Gordon Brown.  It earned Brown top billing on Reporting Scotland that evening as the Labour MP took the opportunity to bash the SNP and independence.

How shocked then was I when the BBC reported this week that Labour was to launch its anti-independence campaign … 'United with Labour' headed by … Gordon Brown.  It was the same campaign, with the same name and the same logo that BBC Scotland had reported on over a year previous!

As it had over a year earlier, the BBC gave Brown a high profile spot on that evening's Reporting Scotland where he … yep … bashed the SNP and independence.

Labour is of course the most popular pro-Union party by a country mile in Scotland which is why it receives such favourable coverage.  If this coverage can be lonked to a pro-Union message, with no response from the pro-Independence side, then all the better as the following news clip demonstrates.

How can a broadcaster behave in such a fashion?

In BBC Scotland's case the answer is simple.  It is a colonial organisation controlled by London which has become so corrupt that it is no longer capable of adhering to even the most basic ethical guidelines. 

It breaks its own charter almost daily.  The Better Together campaign is not doing well and the state broadcaster is pulling out the stops to ensure London's message is delivered.

  • It’s why Alistair Darling’s jaw-droppingly offensive interview with the New Statesman was nowhere to be seen on last night’s Reporting Scotland. 
  • It’s why Johann Lamont’s description of the Scottish electorate as “daft” was airbrushed out of BBC Scotland’s report of First Minister’s Questions.
  • It’s why BBC Scotland continues to rubbish the NHS in Scotland in an attempt at portraying it as one ‘in crisis’, when the real NHS crisis is across the border.

BBC Scotland is not a devolved institution.  The BBC never evolved in line with Scotland and thus it remains firmly stuck in the past where London rules.

Like most of Scotland’s media, it’s IN Scotland but not of OF Scotland.  It does not reflect the views of Scotland but instead lectures Scotland. 

The BBC is an institution that cannot change in order to meet the needs of Scots, but one that tries to force Scots to adapt to the needs of the British state.

This is why BBC Scotland manipulates news.  It isn’t informing the Scottish public, rather it is trying to influence us.

A case in point is the way in which the BBC in Scotland acts as a conduit to outsiders who wish to express opinions that are helpful to those who wish to prolong the Union, even if it damages elements of Scottish culture or society.  Their words are reported but, like Obama, they are rarely if ever questioned.

Ask yourself what other country in the world would provide uncritical headlines to politicians who express views that suggest Scots are violent, intolerant extremists who would resort to ethnic cleansing if freed from the protective guardianship of Westminster?

But that’s precisely what the BBC did when the Swedish Foreign Minister claimed a Yes vote would lead to the Balkanisation of Britain.

This isn’t the first foreign official to be invited onto the BBC platform to express views that could be interpreted as less than complimentary to Scotland and her people.  From the issue of the EU to the compassionate release of Megrahi, BBC Scotland has bent over backwards in order to provide a platform to anyone wanting to have a go at Scotland.

It’s a colonial mindset that leaves it impervious to criticism from within the colony.  That’s why the words of critics like Lesley Riddoch and Gerry Hassan, or even former BBC Scotland reporters like Derek Bateman, will fall on deaf ears.

It requires of its presenters that they too conform to this pro-Union mindset.  Some, like Glenn Campbell, appear to require little by way of persuading.  Others we are told are being bullied and coerced by management.

The mindset of course may already be in place as demonstrated by the likes of James Naughtie.  In some ways the arrival of Naughtie has exposed the BBC in Scotland for what they really are.  Naughtie doesn’t know how to camouflage his pro-Union bias. 

His years in London mean he is unaware of the subtleties that are required in order to appear as though you are scrutinising equally.  BBC Scotland management allow him to pursue a personal agenda that would have been frowned upon south of the border.

The most recent addition to BBC Scotland’s referendum team, Sarah Smith, displayed her own metropolitan conditioning when appearing in a trailer for the widely panned Scotland 2014.

Smith personalised the independence movement by describing it as Alex Salmond’s.  Ironically this was one of the findings of the study into TV news reporting of the referendum by Professor John Robertson who noted the continual habit of presenters to describe the Yes campaign in this manner.  Something the BBC denied.

Another study, published in full by Newsnet Scotland, confirmed Robertson’s findings.  A week-long look at Radio Scotland found the biggest culprits in favouring the No campaign were BBC presenters themselves.

Some commentators have criticised the BBC this week over its decision not to renew the contract of one of these presenters, Gary Robertson.  I have to be honest and admit that Robertson’s predicament is not too high on my BBC priority list.

I’d have kept him over BBC Scotland management, but that’s about it.  Robertson’s hectoring of SNP interviewees personified the one sided anti-independence agenda that has brought the BBC to a position where hundreds of ordinary people are now prepared to give up part of their weekend in order to protest outside the Glasgow HQ.

You can basically predict how BBC Scotland will report any and all referendum issues.  They rely heavily on reports from established organisations, which is why the IFS, CPPR, OBR et al will slot into headlines with ease.

BBC Scotland also requires establishment figures to reinforce these studies which is why you’ll see Professors John McLaren, Jo Armstrong, David Bell and John Curtice regularly wheeled out.

Did you know that the day after Danny Alexander’s claims on the start-up costs of a newly independent Scotland were exposed as bogus, McLaren and Bell appeared on Good Morning Scotland to discuss just this issue.

Listen to both academics as they completely ignore the story which is the misrepresentation of another academic’s work.  McLaren especially again reveals his own agenda by attacking the Scottish Government almost exclusively.

The final nail in the coffin of the BBC is the news that a serving Labour MSP is to front a current affairs radio show. 

That Kezia Dugdale will be joined by a former SNP MSP in the shape of Andrew Wilson is not the point.  Dugdale is an elected official who will benefit from the kind of media exposure others can only dream of.

The pitting of a female Labour MSP against a male former SNP MSP also helps cultivate the narrative that the referendum is a Labour versus SNP contest, man against woman.  Wilson would be better advised to leave this well alone.

BBC Scotland is colonial and corrupt and something Scotland can do without as it grows ever confident.  It really is the end for this outfit and, going by the near universal loathing of the corporation amongst Yes supporters, I expect a mass withholding of the licence at some point in the near future.


# fynesider 2014-06-05 22:57
Does anyone have a (cartoon) of a Scot - back view - with the zip up the back of the neck we are all supposed to have?
# stonefree 2014-06-05 23:20
"Wilson would be better advised to leave this well alone."I would think so
I have the feeling the conflict that would happen with Ms.Dugdale will not be pretty
# lochside 2014-06-06 00:05
Accurate and concise article as ever. I'm glad to see that you are coming round to responsible and effective civil disobedience MR. P.

Concerted and Mass refusal to pay the TV licence along with several thousand Can pay-Won't Payers outside the BBC at Pacific Quay on June 29TH,

will surely alert the passive thousands in Scotland who are seething at the constant lies of the BBC in Scotland to wake up and join in the struggle for truth.
# cjmasta 2014-06-06 01:02
Is there not rules that come into play during the official campaign period where our Broadcasters should have to be fair? Not that I think the BBC will bother, they seem hell bent with their agenda and any damage done will be dealt with after they have got the desired result they put so much effort into getting.
I just wish the SG would do something about it instead of just letting them behave like they are, if there`s a good time to take the gloves off it`s now!
# Marga B 2014-06-06 02:08
Funny, the Catalan press headlined the Obama statement as "Obama in favour of the Scots' right to decide".
# Abulhaq 2014-06-06 07:27
not so the Castellano and Portuguese press which simply reiterate what has been said in the English media to the effect that Scotland should remain part of the British state. Being in favour of the Scots right to decide but telling them how they should vote, in favour of the status quo, is interference. The US is not in favour of Scottish independence or Catalan or Québecois independence. We ought not be surprised Marga by this.
# Leader of the Pack 2014-06-06 07:28
Obama's statement was neutral enough to be interpreted many ways. The No campaign don't need a smoking gun to run a lie in fact its best to run with lies when there are no smoking guns and certainty. Even Barroso's initial statements were neutral yet the BBC the media and the No campaign claimed them as justification anyway.
They only get away with it because of their hold on the media. Only media can question this barrage of lies misinformation and bullshit.
If it wasn't for these online sites we wouldn't know the full story either.
It is vital that Newsnet Wings and Bella are promoted as far and wide as possible. It is the only way to counter this incessant blanket of pure propaganda from the MSM.
# Jo Bloggs 2014-06-06 04:32
"I expect a mass withholding of the licence at some point in the near future.2

I wish I could share your confidence, GAP. I've no idea why there's not already been a mass withholding of the licence fee. Why are Scots so damn supine??? Or should I be kind and say 'cautious'?
# Breeks 2014-06-06 05:56
Well said, and every accusation backed with substantive evidence.
Nowhere is the subjugation of Scotland's interests more transparent, but every undecided voter should take moment to consider the whole spectrum of Scottish interests which play second fiddle to the UK's self interest.

Of the many, many questions which need to be asked, why isn't the Electoral Commission asking any of them?
# Leswil 2014-06-06 07:02
I think I can say with some certainty that the BBC are the worst of all the state propagandists in the world.

They are showing themselves for the despots they are,and the world will notice.

They have no shame.
We should never forget this sad period for Scottish democracy. It should be preserved in history.

The Union is finished no matter how long it takes. September the 18th will do fine for me, we need out of this abusive Union.
# From The Suburbs 2014-06-06 07:18
After Derek Bateman, its time some of the 600 BBC staff who are getting the sack, despite BBC Scotland getting £5 million to cover the Referendum, spilled the beans on Labour luvvie John Boothman.

Its an insult that the Referendum is being covered by a bunch of interns fresh out of Uni whilst experienced staff are getting the sack.

Watch award winning author James Robertson's take on BBC news coverage in 365 words
# Soloman 2014-06-06 07:25
Leader of the Free World says Scotland should Not be Free!
# ds12 2014-06-06 07:39
I think Taylor holding up that poster was a major gaffe for the no campaign,though he wouldn't have thought that.He'd be thinking thats the OBE in the post.
The YES campaign should be screaming that poster everywhere alongside the original.


How inspirational.
# tartanpigsy 2014-06-06 07:44
Don't forget this on the last Sunday of June

Time to let the world know about the corrupt BBC
# WRH2 2014-06-06 07:58
What will people looking in the UK's direction from the US make of this? OK I know that generally they don't pay much attention, but just imagine for a minute that some are looking. The USA is much bigger than the entire UK both in terms of area and population. Is this intervention by Obama indicative of the UK's subservient position in the relationship with the US? He particularly emphasises the ally role of the UK which in recent years has meant getting involved in wars that the US wants to pursue. Maybe Cameron and co should wake up and think of Putin's jibe about the UK being just a small island on the edge of Europe. Is Obama saying the same thing but in different language?
# bringiton 2014-06-06 07:58
I think Obama also said,as an outsider looking at the UK everything looks fine.
This is a situation where the dominant partner in the relationship is the only one allowed to communicate with our mutual friends and of course tries to portray a picture of,nothing to worry about,just a small domestic matter which will soon be cleared up.
Some of our friends just don't want to see past the Westminster story line.
# neoloon 2014-06-06 08:09
Obama gives his lapdog, Cameron, a wee chocolate treat - forgetting chocolate is bad for unionist mutts.
# SolTiger 2014-06-06 08:33
Yes we must stay strong for the USA so our soldiers can die in their illegal wars, our people can be extradited to them with no reciprocalsyste m in place, our airports can be used for their trasporting of prisoners to places where torture is much easier to hide.

Keeping our positive ties to the USA and forging new ones of our own as an Independent Scotland based on historical links and family lines is no bad thing.

However the UKs ties to them based on things like "strength" are not something I want Scotland to be part of.
# gus1940 2014-06-06 08:41
In the oft repeated plug for her wonderful program Sarah Smith mentions 'Our award inning team'

What team would that be and what award?

Have we ever been told by Pathetic Quay why the regular series of QT format Indpendence debates was dropped or is it obvious to anybody that the reason was that in every single debate Project Fear were comprehensively taken apart and humiliated?
# PhilCo 2014-06-06 09:10
It's a shame that the proposed legislation for non-payment of licence fee to become a civil rather than a criminal matter hasn't been completed. The possibility of a criminal record might put some people off non-payment. I know that some people have already ceased paying legally by using only catch-up TV like iPlayer etc; however, to have any impact, any campaign of non-payment must be widespread, very visible and clearly directed at BBC referendum reporting bias. That requires careful planning and orchestration by an organisation with reach and influence...... Does Newsnet Scotland fancy leading this campaign? (I would follow). I currently pay by DD, as a tactic it might be possible to redirect payments to a trust to be held until demands are met to demonstrate that we support the idea of a national broadcaster free from "commercial taint" but which must also be demonstrably free from bias.
# Breeks 2014-06-06 09:12
I wouldn't go overboard about what Obama says. IF it was politic for him to support us, rest assured he'd be gushing our praises. WHEN it becomes politic to do so, and it will, I'm sure that is exactly what he will do.

In all sincerity, there's no point getting up tight about it. It's the American / Neoliberal way, perfectly encapsulated by shallow and superficial "astroturf" campaigning strategy adopted by the grassroots Better No Borders mob,or whatever it said on the side of their jam jar.

An independent Scotland would have a lot of support from our Scottish and indeed Irish diaspora, and there will be a lot more substance and longevity to those attitudes than a quick Presidential soundbite.

Strikes me, the most fitting tribute we can pay all of those who would afford us fewer liberties than they themselves enjoy, is to vote YES, and oblige them henceforth to expound their prejudices to our face when we have the liberty to reply.
# rabkae 2014-06-06 12:21

"This little country, that inspires the biggest things - your best days are still ahead...and if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, or your challenges are too great, that we can't do something, that we shouldn't even try - think about all that we've done together. Remember that whatever hardships the winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner. And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: Is féidir linn. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Is féidir linn."

Speech made by US President Barack Obama in Dublin on May 23rd 2011 - on the occasion of his first official visit to Ireland.
# Angus 2014-06-06 09:27
A scare story per day, that is BBC Better Together's campaign.
Obama, tell us why Scotland has nearly all of Europe's oil rserves and the lowest standard of living??
The British government also tried to engage Putin against Scotland.
# Caledon 2014-06-06 09:47
Excellent article.
I suspect there are quite a large number of people in Scotland already witholding their licence fee but the BBC will never admit that is the case.

I do hope there is a large turnout at the next protest at Pacific Quay on the 29th June, so we cannot be ignored again by the Scottish media.
# Clydebuilt 2014-06-06 10:18
Quote article "Wilson would be better advised to leave this well alone."

absolutely, no one from the YES side of the debate should participate in this show or similar. Let the BBC put up the Labour MSP without an opposing voice. Highlight the bias.
# BRL 2014-06-06 10:50
I agree with Clydebuilt 100%. The YES side should boycott this appalling BBC NO promotion and it should do so with such a gesture it cannot be hidden by the BBC or media.

A last minute call-off / refusal to be involved in the program following an earlier appeal for the BBC to prove it's impartiality, would resonate where it would hurt.

It's long past the time for the YES side to start biting bums and leave the mark for all to see.
# Neimo Fakir 2014-06-06 13:20
I want to agree but I think that could backfire.

Where is the media coverage of Better Together refusing to put people forward for joint debates? What coverage would there be from said media when YES don't put someone forward for this? "Well, we gave you a chance!" they would crow.

Where I definitely agree is that Andrew Wilson shouldn't have touched this and Dugdale should never have been approached. By going for politicians they have made it about Labour vs the SNP and I don't think it would be pain-free pulling out now.
# Breeks 2014-06-06 17:03
I'm very uncomfortable with the whole format of serving members of Parliament retained as anchormen in a political program aired by the rotten BBC 103 days before the referendum. I'm not aware of any precedent where this has been permitted, and it stinks.
I am equally suspicious that the Tories and Lib Dems haven't been whining about their lack of representation.

As for Wilson, I'd be interested whether the SNP are up to speed with what he has committed himself to, or whether he is the proverbial maverick / loose cannon.

If Scotland 2014 is anything to go by, we will know in 2 or 3 shows whether this is down to the usual standard we now expect from the BBC.
# rabkae 2014-06-06 10:38
"I expect a mass withholding of the licence (fee) at some point in the near future."

Some of us are already there!
# Will 2014-06-06 11:05
The BBC colonial? it's called the British Broadcasting Corporation, not the English Broadcasting Corporation. So it represents the British people as a whole, not one part or other.
Clydebuilt advocates that the Yes campaign should refuse to participate in a current affairs show and that it should then complain that the BBC shows bias by not having a Yes representative. So the BBC is damned if it presents a debate and damned if it doesn't.
# Dundonian West 2014-06-06 11:15
"These remarks from Obama on Scotland were not spontaaneous.
Came after an informal request from No.10"
Gideon Rachman,Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator,Fin ancial Times on Twitter.
# Onwards 2014-06-06 11:29
If Scotland loses the opportunity for self-government, then the BBC will have played a large part of it.
And we are all paying for it.
# proudscot 2014-06-06 11:34
BBC Scotland is replacing a recognisably neutral and unbiased presenter, Kenneth McDonald of the "Headlines" programme commenting on the press headlines & stories of the preceding week.

They are replacing him with a blatantly biased serving Labour politician, who is well known for her anti-SNP and anti-Salmond views. If the BBC Scotland management feel they prefer a controversial and more confrontational type of programme, then why not bring in the likes of Nicola Sturgeon to debate with Kezia Dugdale.

This would also have the advantage of defusing any future complaint of "male v female bullying" of the kind levelled at Ian Davidson in his dispute with Isabel Fraser on Newsnight Scotland.
# Marian 2014-06-06 11:51
By controlling the media the Westminster political establishment is effectively setting the agenda for the referendum every day whilst the SNP and YES organisations send out news releases to the media every day and most of them are simply ignored.

The Westminster establishment veil has been dropped and we can now see just how undemocratic Britain really is in 2014, and it is most certainly not the democratic Britain many of us thought we lived in before this referendum campaign commenced.
# Marian 2014-06-06 12:49
Have we Scots lost our will to fight and are we just going to roll over and accept this assault on our democratic freedom?

Is this what Keir Hardie and James Maxton fought for and is this what our forefathers fought for on the beaches of Normandy?

We have the best case ever for independence and the timing is to our advantage too and we have the grass roots support to fight the battle.

By contrast Westminster has nothing but fearmongering and lies and no grassroots campaign to speak of.

There is now only a 10% swing needed to win the YES vote so what are we waiting for?

Get out there and fight for Scotland's freedom for its now or never.
# Dundonian West 2014-06-06 14:44
OT.Labour MP would say Yes to Scottish independence.
George Mudie MP for Leeds East was born and educated in Scotland.
"In an interview with BBC Radio Leeds, the former government minister said: "If I were in Scotland I would be voting for an independent Scotland."

"When Mr Mudie announced he was to retire as an MP, Labour leader Ed Miliband described him as a "fantastic MP" who would be a "huge loss" to the House of Commons."

"A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "George Mudie is entitled to his opinion but we know the overwhelming majority of Scots share the view of the president of the United States Barack Obama that we are better together." [!!]
# Breeks 2014-06-06 17:38
Hold on a minute...

What Barack Obama actually said was "The United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us, from the outside at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well. Err... We obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have, remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner".

I wouldn't interpret that reference to a united partner as a partner state remaining united, but rather, an existing partner remaining united in its alliance with the US.

This "Declaration of Unionism" is the BBC / Better Together spin. May I be bold and predict through my sense of deja vu a disclaimer issued next week that Obama's comments have been misinterpreted, or misconstrued.

Let's just get some clarification here and establish whether the BBC is putting words in someone's mouth AGAIN.
# Will 2014-06-10 15:22
Breeks quoted Obama,
"We obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have, remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner."
Breeks then interprets this as meaning that Obama didn't want Britain to remain united.
Obama often spends four months preparing a speech; he is very careful in his use of words. So when he says he wants us to say united, that is what he means.
# Breeks 2014-06-10 16:24
First off, he didn't say it in a speech. It was a press conference.

Second, you introduce a third option which I certainly didn't. I speculated on whether Obama's united reference referred to the domestic unity of the UK, or the unity of the UK and US as allies. Unlike the Unionist press machinery hoovering up the comments to suit their own agenda, I personally believe the US President was trying to be studiously impartial in what he said.

At no point did I even suggest Obama was an advocate for breaking up the Union. You've made that bit up.

Pay attention Will. You're more likely to learn something.
# michaelkav 2014-06-06 23:45
Obama said nothing of the sort that people in Scotland should vote NO or did he even imply it. He is very high profile to go misrepresenting . The BBC are losing the plot.
# Will 2014-06-11 15:59
Breeks, you wrote, "I wouldn't interpret that reference to a united partner as a partner state remaining united but rather, an existing partner remaining united in its alliance with the US." You propose two alternative explanations, and say it is not No. 1 but No. 2. You interpret Obama as not referring to Britain remaining united. But he plainly said he wanted Britain to remain 'a united ... partner'.
You "speculated on whether Obama's united reference referred to the domestic unity of the UK, or the unity of the UK and US as allies." And you preferred the latter explanation, citing as evidence - your belief. What grounds have you for this belief?
# Breeks 2014-06-11 22:39
The belief that appropriate diligence would require the elected President of a foreign country NOT to intervene with the internal politics of another country. He had already declared the issue was one for ourselves to decide democratically. So why should the US President say the matter is for us to decide, then promptly wade in to take a side?
I don't believe he did. His reference to a united partner was not the issue of unionism in the Scottish context.
I have pointed out the ambiguity in what he meant with a view to seeking clarity. The Unionists in the media have painted Obama as a British Nationalist, and I strongly suspect he is no such thing. It would be much more politic for Obama to be strictly neutral, because in a few months, he might find himself embarrassed to be shaking hands with the leader of an independent Scottish democracy, weeks before negotiations begin on Trident & the UK's permanent seat of the UN Security Council.

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