By a Newsnet reporter
 
The Scotsman newspaper is facing further ridicule today after publishing yet another article attacking First Minister Alex Salmond after HMRC failed to obtain Corporation Tax payments from online retailer Amazon.
 
The paper’s editor was forced to defend the publication yesterday after readers derided an article from journalist Andrew Whitaker that contained attacks on Mr Salmond for providing the company with £10 million of funding in order to secure investment that created thousands of jobs.

Friday's leading article followed revelations that the Westminster controlled HMRC had allowed a loophole to remain that resulted in the company paying little or no corporation tax in the UK despite carrying out business worth billions.

However, despite Editor Kenny Farquharson describing the Labour and Lib Dem condemnation contained in Friday’s article as “inexplicable”, the paper has claimed in today’s edition that the First Minister is now “under mounting pressure to come clean”.

The “mounting pressure” appears to be based on quotes from three opposition politicians including Labour MSP John Park.

The follow up article contains several quotes from opposition politicians including Mr Park, Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie and Green MSP Patrick Harvie who have demanded to know whether the global giant would face paying corporation tax in an independent Scotland.

The decision by the Scotsman newspaper to give the attacks such a high profile has bewildered Nationalists and Unionists alike.

The articles have resulted in unexpected support for the First Minister from Professor Brian Ashcroft who said emphatically that there should be no criticism of the Scottish Government over the £10 investment.

The academic said: "To criticise Amazon's business model and the quality of the jobs provided as some have done is again a red herring. The critical question is what would the counterfactual have been to the investments? In non jargon: what would have happened if the Scottish government had not paid the £10.6 million to Amazon in grants?"

Professor Ashcroft’s comments were linked in a re-tweet by former Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander, the academic’s wife.

Responding to the attacks, a spokesperson for the First Minister said:

“One of the many advantages of an independent Scotland is that a competitive corporation tax regime will make it more attractive for companies to route activity through Scotland, and thus tax revenue.  Under devolution, the Scottish Parliament doesn’t get a penny of the corporation tax raised in Scotland.

“Last year, we published a report showing how having a 3 per cent lower rate than the rest of the UK would boost output and create 27,000 in the medium to longer term.

“When their recruitment is complete, Amazon will have up to 5,000 jobs in Scotland at peak periods – surely no opposition politician in Scotland is seriously suggesting that we should not have that employment.  Indeed, when Amazon invested in Scotland last year, there were howls of protest from politicians in North East England that they had lost out.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting small business, and our Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) is just one example of how we are making a positive difference for small businesses across Scotland.

“The Small Business Bonus and other reliefs combined give Scottish business a competitive edge – over 85,000 properties now benefit from the Small Business Bonus as part of the most generous package of reliefs anywhere in the UK - a figure which represents two out of every five commercial premises in Scotland, and 54 per cent of shops in Scotland benefit from the small bonus scheme.”

Speaking to the Scotsman, John Park said: “The SNP say that we’re going to be independent soon after 2016, so would Amazon start paying the tax then. The SNP can’t on the one hand say that they want Scandinavian public services and then back a regressive corporation tax system that allows companies like Amazon to get away without paying anything.

“We now need to know what discussions Alex Salmond has had with Amazon about what its tax status would be in an independent Scotland or if corporation tax powers were to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.”

The row over the articles follow questions over an online poll carried out by the newspaper yesterday in which thousands of ‘votes’ were apparently recorded in the early hours of Friday for a pro-Unionist stance on the date for an independence referendum.

The ‘votes’ leapt by several thousand and halted with support for an early referendum running at around 70%, close to the claims by the UK Government following their referendum consultation. 

However the numbers mysteriously began to level off when suspicions were raised from scores of online readers who called into question the sudden surge.

Comments  

 
# Am Fògarrach 2012-04-07 03:40
The "mounting pressure" is really vicious and stupid since the Scottish Government can do absolutely nothing about this until Scotland either gets full tax powers or becomes independent, whichever happens first. Lots of trolls on the Scotsman article, but post #23 by 'Huntly Loon' is outstanding in the midst of all this keech. #27 by Castaway is also very good.
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-04-07 03:56
For those of you not familiar with Professor Brian Ashcroft, his wife is former labour leader (of MSPs anyway) Wendy Alexander.

Here is an interesting link to follow up on

macnumpty.blogspot.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Dougie Douglas 2012-04-07 03:58
The Scotsman's credibility evaporated many years ago.

They seem to be having a competition with the BBC to see who can publish the most mince about Salmond/SNP/Scottish Government/Scotland.

The BBC are still viewed by the public at large as a credible news source (mistakenly). The Scotsman has a readership that is so small that the nonsense that they print is irrelevant. The comment boards on the Scotsman are the natural habitat of the lesser spotted CyberBritNat - venomous, nasty raptors that jump on anything and spin like mad.

The BBC's propoganda is far more subtle and effective. The Scotsman is best ignored.

But you all knew all of that anyway.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-04-07 07:44
Correct Dougie, what credibility has the Scotsman had for the last decade ?

The frantic desperation of the anti-Independence FUD numpties becomes more bizarre by the day.
 
 
# kofk 2012-04-07 04:13
Intresting times indeed, why dont we start , asking Scotsman, and other journalists to start explaining them selves to NewsnetScotland , just an idea!!?
 
 
# kofk 2012-04-07 04:15
Lets try and get interveiws with some of these people, and quite happily publish those who refuse to speak!!?
 
 
# admiral 2012-04-07 06:28
Two points:

1. The Scotsman has long since ceased to be a "newspaper" and has long since ceased to have any journalistic integrity whatsoever.

2. More to the point, what would Labour do NOW if it were the UK Government? What will the ConDems do NOW to close these tax loopholes, they are the UK Government? What did Labour do in their 13 years in government up to 2010 to close these tax loopholes? What would these parties do as the first Scottish Government after independence?
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-04-07 06:44
You make a very good point. Corporate tax is completely under the control of Westminster, so what is the current Tory Libdem London Government doing to close the loopholes?? What did Labour do with 13 years in power in London to close the loopholes??

The Westminster Government has the power RIGHT NOW to rectify the situation, whereas the Scottish Government doesn't.

These are the questions that Scottish journalists should be asking, instead of trying to pretend that somehow the Scottish Government which has NO control of corporation tax is responsible.
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-04-07 07:47
RL - Amazon is perhaps only the tip of an iceberg. Real heavy-weight stuff is already well entrenched overseas tax-wise. Take a look at www.ukuncut.org.uk
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-04-07 06:35
The laughingly titled "Scotsman' newspaper, ceased serving the people of Scotland in any meaningful way many years ago. It is actually sad to see it fall so much, yet fall it certainly has. Their was a time when even I would look at the 'Scotsman' to see what was happening in Scotland, but now I regard it as misleading and not objective. It could, with the right approach, be the 'GO TO' place for the whole world regarding Scotland and the constitutional debate, yet it seems intent on marginalising itself, with its parochial lop-sided, frankly stupid political coverage.

The real difficulty Scottish newspapers such as that have, and it is not alone, is that for years it has been comfortable feeding the Brit Nat narrative, serving up placating cap doffing Scot-Britannia pap to the masses, but the mood and politics of the people of Scotland have moved on, substantially. This constant and frankly absurd 'SNP accused' rubbish which comes from them no longer makes any sense. This particular story about Amazon, is just dumb, plain and simple, it really doesn't require more thought than that.

My question on this, is do the many global shareholders of Johnstone press realise that in some way, some might think their investment is being used to 'subsidise' what can only be describe as 'propaganda'. You know if you make an investment in a media group, you expect its management to maximise profitability, but by alienating its readership through the promulgation of an outdated political agenda, is the 'Scotsman' actually damaging itself, purely to maintain a particular political stance that fell out of fashion in 2007? It's an important question.

My other question is, do the ordinary shareholders understand the situation??

Surely there must be some good, reasoned, intelligent journalists in Scotland? Or am I mistaken - is this guff from the laughingly titled 'Scotsman' newspaper the best we can expect?

Just as a side note, press regulation in Scotland is wholly within the remit of the Scottish parliament.
 
 
# Aplinal 2012-04-07 06:47
RL: I would agree with you. About the remit of the Scottish Government to regulate the press, I thought that that was a reserved matter, but nonetheless, can you imagine the reaction in the rest of the MSM if the Scottish government DID try to do something? And what actually could they do that would be effective, but at the same time resist cries of "State interference in free speech!" etc.?

They have to play the game, as there is little or no other media actually on their side. It's a shame there is not the time (or indeed the benefactor available) to launch a genuinely neutral paper. It would be nice to have SOMEONE simply present facts and evidence on the most important political decision this country will ever make.

Those of us who regularly contribute and read this web-paper (if that is the correct description?) all understand the deficiencies in the MSM in Scotland, and we look elsewhere than the MSM/BBC in Scotland for information and facts, but I suspect that most Scots do not. Simply ignoring the MSM will not win over the opinion and votes of those in the 'undecided' category.

Somehow,we have to get a message out there. That is the challenge.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-04-07 07:05
I agree, that were the Scottish Government to intervene or 'do something', then the accusations would fly thick and fast. I'm not suggesting that.

I just find it depressing that in Scotland right now, aside from the likes of Newsnet Scotland, there is currently no mainstream media organisation actually presenting anything remotely like the FACTUAL truth regarding either the Scottish Government or the referendum.

A nation ruled by cringing forelock tugging Scots, who wish to undermine their own Government and democratic debate. It is utterly, utterly pathetic.

They call the unfinished 'parthenon' on top of Calton Hill, Edinburgh's Disgrace. Well I would argue their is a new Edinburgh's disgrace - The 'Scotsman' newspaper.

I wouldn't even wrap chips in it.
 
 
# Union City Blues 2012-04-08 07:18
Great name for The Scotsman, that's what I will be refering to it as from now on.
 
 
# exel 2012-04-07 10:27
Aplinal 2012-04-07 07:47
“They have to play the game, as there is little or no other media actually on their side. It's a shame there is not the time (or indeed the benefactor available) to launch a genuinely neutral paper. It would be nice to have SOMEONE simply present facts and evidence on the most important political decision this country will ever make.”

Why is it necessary for government to regulate the press? The best arbitrator of”the media” is the consumer of that media.

Governments should only regulate the information which they disseminate and should be answerable for its accuracy and neutrality.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-04-07 11:14
Eh? Governments should leave the press alone (agreed) but be answerable for the accuracy and neutrality of stories in the press??? That sounds like the press gets a free ride, can publish anything they like, and the government has to take the blame when the press lies. How's the weather on your planet today?
 
 
# exel 2012-04-07 11:33
Quoting Holebender:
Eh? Governments should leave the press alone (agreed) but be answerable for the accuracy and neutrality of stories in the press??? That sounds like the press gets a free ride, can publish anything they like, and the government has to take the blame when the press lies. How's the weather on your planet today?


For the, “the unwilling to understand” amongst us. Watch my bolding.

Governments should only regulate the information which THEY( Government) disseminate and should be answerable for its accuracy and neutrality.
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-04-07 07:38
The question is why are the JP shareholders, global or otherwise putting up with such a dive in their investment? Plunging from £3.50 to £0.06 is of RBS proportions.

Could it be the anti-independence line absurdly pushed by this Hootsman is actually being bankrolled with that intent. In other words - just who is losing money to keep it pushing this line and losing readership, advertising and credibility by the day as it does so?

Dark forces writ large indeed?
 
 
# Stevie Cosmic 2012-04-07 09:49
Totally agree. This bog roll is a complete joke masquerading as a business. It must be losing money hand over fist. If you look at the facts of the matter, the ridiculous stories, the rigged polls, the comments sections occupied 24/7 by the same people who manage to comment on stories before they go live.....the only conclusion one can reasonably come to is that The Scotsman is a front for something else, or at the very least, is being bank-rolled by, quite probably, the Labour Party.

Aren't shareholders' identities a matter of public record? Cant anyone do some digging to find out if everything is indeed legit?
 
 
# Holebender 2012-04-07 10:15
The Labour Party's skint. It can't afford to bankroll a failing newspaper.
 
 
# Stevie Cosmic 2012-04-07 10:33
But isn't there a wee piece of legislation that allows political parties to use taxpayers money for 'newspaper advertising' to the tune of several million a year?

I read that, I'm sure, on these very pages. Unfortunately I can't remember the details but perhaps someone who is better versed in these matters, or indeed the original poster, could chime in with the detail.

All I am saying, is that there are ways and means. The Scotsman's political alliances are no secret; neither is the fact that it's comments sections are occupied 24/7 by known Labour party activists. They aint doing that for free.
 
 
# Holebender 2012-04-07 11:16
No. There is legislation which forces public money to be used to advertise stuff in newspapers, but it is not in the gift of any opposition party. The advertising is generated by local and central governments.
 
 
# Stevie Cosmic 2012-04-07 11:35
I stand corrected.

I admit that, in reality, it's not a likely scenario that the paper is being 'bankrolled' as such by Labour, but I'd be willing to bet that the Scotsman generates substantial advertising revenue from that party, all of which is perfectly legal I imagine. It's the stance it takes which is quite unbelievable however: just how can a newspaper like this expect to be afforded any credibility whatsoever given it's unashamedly biased content ( I'm being kind there)? The revenue it does receive from that party must be so critical to it's ongoing operation that it is willing to print almost anything to secure it.
 
 
# nchanter 2012-04-07 10:34
Quoting Holebender:
The Labour Party's skint. It can't afford to bankroll a failing newspaper.

Maybe the White House?
 
 
# Union City Blues 2012-04-08 07:22
If Johnston Publishing shares are down to 6p, shouldn't we be trying to buy some? They might not be for sale though. I'd be happy to waste £100 on 1600 shares. Then we could push for a neutral position, not pro but neutral and honest.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-04-08 07:26
A good idea, but you need to remember there are nearly 640 million shares in total.
 
 
# weegie38 2012-04-07 07:49
Quoting Robert Louis:
My question on this, is do the many global shareholders of Johnstone press realise that in some way, some might think their investment is being used to 'subsidise' what can only be describe as 'propaganda'. You know if you make an investment in a media group, you expect its management to maximise profitability, but by alienating its readership through the promulgation of an outdated political agenda, is the 'Scotsman' actually damaging itself, purely to maintain a particular political stance that fell out of fashion in 2007? It's an important question.

My other question is, do the ordinary shareholders understand the situation??



I've often wondered why no shareholder brings up the fundamental commercial dishonesty of the Scotsman's political stance.

Under current conditions, the Scotsman encourages competition from British newspapers by insisting that Scotland remain part of the UK. This is reflected in its sales in comparison to the "newspapers of record" of other small nations in Europe. Its sales are dwarfed by Norway's Aftenposten (250,000), Denmark's Jyllands-Posten (120,000), and the Irish Times (100,000).

It's high time there was shareholder pressure. The Scotsman is a business as well as a newspaper: currently it is not being run as either an honest business or an honest paper, and its circulation reflects this.
 
 
# McHaggis 2012-04-07 09:53
Here's a thought...

The newspaper doesn't solely rely on sales, but advertising revenue (which is growing online).

By publishing so many absurd stories, they actually increase online advertising revenue. The more bizarre the story, the more page hits there are (proven by the most stupid threads going on for 6 or 7 hundred comments.

So, a way to increase online advertising revenue is simply to keep on publishing more and more SNP accused nonsense.

There is a tipping point though. I used to read and comment almost daily on the stories, now a I seldom do either.
 
 
# snowthistle 2012-04-07 10:02
I agree with this completely. I think the same is true of the Telegraph, I do not believe for a second that Alan Cochrane believes the nonsense that he comes up with. He's just provoking a reaction and then watching the hits pile up like a one- armed bandit hitting the jackpot - result? happy advertisers.
This phenomenon stretches to tv where 'controversial' political commentators have built a career from being controversial rather than from the quality of their commentary
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-04-07 12:43
This is what rampant capitalism does to the free press.

Forget high ideals like informing the public or holding powers that be to account.

In the pursuit of online advertising revenue, it makes perfect sense to publish any sensationalist guff as long as people click onto your site.

Sigh.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 10:03
Even big papers like the Guardian are biased and/or muzzled by elite interests. Plus the death of the printed press. I don't think shareholders expect much any more.

In the case of the Scotsman though, is the agenda the owner's, or is it the editor's? He defends to the hilt the objectivity of his paper and claims he is only "holding the government to account".
 
 
# setondene 2012-04-07 12:27
The Irish Times, which is streets ahead of the Scotsman in quality, was a notoriously hardline unionist organ during the Irish debate on independence. So was the ill-named Irish Independent. Both these papers survived Irish independence to become respected commentators on Irish life.
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-04-07 12:38
Not to mention the largest newspaper in Finland, and also in the Nordic countries, Helsingin Sanomat, with Mon-Sat circulation of 383,361 (Sunday 435,152) (2010 figures, might've gone down somewhat since then), not bad in a country of 5 million people. Next up the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat (~150,000) and the Tampere broadsheet Aamulehti (~130,000).

The mainstream press/media in Finland is independent of political parties and fairly impartial, though obviously there are some leanings this way or that, of which the readers/watchers are well aware. For instance, our state broadcaster YLE is sometimes accused of being 'lefty-greeny', but it's nothing like BBC Scotland.

The media situation in Scotland is indeed worrying, considering that the country and its people are soon facing their most important decision ever. Scotland needs reasoned, balanced public debate, not propaganda.
 
 
# UpSpake 2012-04-07 07:00
The disgraceful way that the BBC often treat the majority administration of the Scots Parliament beggars belief. Time after time the SNP are marginalised and time after time, the SNP put themsleves up to be marginalised. Often I thing that their media savy is poor to non-existent and I have said so here.
As far as the MSM is concerned and in particular the Scotsman, simply refuse to gove them an interview, marginalise them in return. Sure they might ratchet up the attacks against the SNP but they have only two choices here, engage or die.
When circulation of the Scotsperson drops below 25000, I will cease commenting or even entertaining them in any way. They will have marginalised themselves out of existence. Sad, but I won;t miss them any more than I would miss BBC Scotland if it ceased broadcasting tomorrow.
 
 
# Briggs 2012-04-07 07:13
'Time after time the SNP are marginalised and time after time, the SNP put themsleves up to be marginalised'

Actually I think the SNP are playing the game very well.

They don't produce knee jerk responses, but wisely consider carefully before speaking.

A few on here could learn by their example?
 
 
# weegie38 2012-04-07 07:39
Quoting Briggs:
'Time after time the SNP are marginalised and time after time, the SNP put themsleves up to be marginalised'

Actually I think the SNP are playing the game very well.

They don't produce knee jerk responses, but wisely consider carefully before speaking.

A few on here could learn by their example?



Absolutely.

People should remember the Scotsman's influence on Scottish public opinion is almost non-existent now. It sells under 40,000 copies, so an optimistic estimate of the numbers actually reading the thing is going to be around 100,000 - 2% of the Scottish population. And even then, of course, that influence is not going to be universal: I know several folk who've become more sympathetic to the SNP thanks to the Scotman's ridiculously over-the-top bias, but who still buy the paper.
 
 
# gus1940 2012-04-07 08:01
How many of the few remaining purchasers of The Scotsman only do so to access the Death Notices on which they have a monopoly? I may seem morbid to make that statement but having reached an age when contemporaries have started falling by the wayside how else does one find out about the deaths of those with which one has lost touch.

If only some well meaning business or individual could extract the Death Notices form various papers and publish them on-line they would be providing a valuable service while at the same time hastening the long overdue death of The Scotsman.

I can't see how individual papers have any copyright over what is after all paid advertising - copyright, if any, surely would lie with relatives, Funeral Directors or Solicitors.
 
 
# tartanfever 2012-04-07 08:35
Spot on Gus - my parents only buy it for that reason and the same with their friends, once that generation passes then the circulation numbers will plummet
 
 
# snowthistle 2012-04-07 10:14
don't they post their Death notices online? The Herald does
 
 
# gus1940 2012-04-07 16:04
Re Herald Death Notices yes they are on-line but can only be accessed by typing in a name - you can't just read the notices for a particular day.
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-04-07 10:45
Gus 1940
Quote:
If only some well meaning business or individual could extract the Death Notices form various papers and publish them on-line they would be providing a valuable service...


I think there is an on-line site where you can get a list of all deaths in Scotland on a weekly basis. Sorry I do not have a link but I am sure if you Google it you will find it OK.

Update:
I went and looked for the link. Here it is:

iannounce.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-04-07 07:41
Briggs - 99% correct - there certainly have been a few banana skins recently. Live and learn well has to be the motto!
 
 
# Holebender 2012-04-07 10:24
Quoting Briggs:
'Time after time the SNP are marginalised and time after time, the SNP put themsleves up to be marginalised'

Actually I think the SNP are playing the game very well.



I disagree. There are a couple of simple things the SNP could do to level the pitch somewhat at the BBC. All interviews should be in the studio with the interviewer, not over a video link from a remote studio, and never with an ancient photograph of the Tay Road Bridge in the background. The remote studio link emphasises the SNP as outsiders, especially if there are unionist politicians in the studio with the presenter. The ancient photograph as backdrop implies that not only are the SNP outsiders, they are also out of touch and living in the past.

The only exception to this "in the studio" rule should be when there is a one-on-one interview with the First Minister or other senior minister where the minister is interviewed at home.
 
 
# patrickotic 2012-04-07 11:37
Quoting Holebender:
Quoting Briggs:
'Time after time the SNP are marginalised and time after time, the SNP put themsleves up to be marginalised'

Actually I think the SNP are playing the game very well.


Problem is bud, that the unionists hold all the aces as far as the media is concerned, so we just have to 'play the game' as best we can. this means we play with the dice loaded against us, but if you think about it we haven't done so bad over the past few years have we ? my own thinking is that deep down we Scots despise bullies and the MSM and their Westminster hero's are coming across like bullies, trying to tell us what to do and when we can do it !!!
The BBC and MSM are working hard to promote the positive unionist cause that simply doesn't exists, so are desperately attempting to discredit Alex and the SNP.
Every single time they fail or a story is seen to be dishonest or hypocritical, then the unionists get another few 'No's' becoming 'Not Sure's' and once they become a 'not sure' they are ready to begin the journey into becoming a 'YES' voter.
So, let them lie through their teeth and do their worst, as it is all to our benefit in the end.

I disagree. There are a couple of simple things the SNP could do to level the pitch somewhat at the BBC. All interviews should be in the studio with the interviewer, not over a video link from a remote studio, and never with an ancient photograph of the Tay Road Bridge in the background. The remote studio link emphasises the SNP as outsiders, especially if there are unionist politicians in the studio with the presenter. The ancient photograph as backdrop implies that not only are the SNP outsiders, they are also out of touch and living in the past.

The only exception to this "in the studio" rule should be when there is a one-on-one interview with the First Minister or other senior minister where the minister is interviewed at home.
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-04-07 07:44
The words 'Scotsman' and 'credibility' in the same sentence just has to be an oxymoron.
 
 
# xyz 2012-04-07 10:17
..er ... I'm sure you mean 'Scotsman newspaper' :)
 
 
# Ready to Start 2012-04-07 08:06
One ray of sunshine in the Hootsman.

HE former Scottish Labour MP Dennis Canavan has said he will back a “yes” vote in the independence referendum and has offered to campaign alongside the SNP in support of breaking away from the UK.

Mr Canavan, who was expelled from Labour after 26 years as an MP, also launched a strongly worded attack on his former party, accusing it of promoting the “preservation of the union ahead of social justice”.
 
 
# RTP 2012-04-07 08:13
Scottish independence: Dennis Canavan offers to campaign with SNP

This is a better story in the Scotrag.
 
 
# xyz 2012-04-07 10:21
got a link?
 
 
# Vincent McDee 2012-04-07 10:48
 
 
# xyz 2012-04-07 11:05
Thanks .. I could not find it using the Scotsman search .. I should have used Google
 
 
# Ready to Start 2012-04-07 08:14
Apart from all the jobs Amazon brings they are by far the Royal Mail's largest customer.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-07 08:21
As a demonstration of how the Scotsman is clutching at straws, as far as circulkation goes, you only have to note the number of enticements it puts out, like maps and DVDs to get people to buy the paper. Also the fact that they give away copies at the entrances to retail outlets such as Dobbies Garden Centres. Please buy our paper it is saying.
 
 
# clootie 2012-04-07 08:41
Way O/T

Latest response from BBC on my complaint regarding the inability to comment on BBC political Bloggs. The Trust passed it to the BBC Complaints

Reference CAS-1359584-JJ4D37

Thanks for contacting the BBC Trust. Your correspondence has been passed to us by the BBC Trust as it relates to matters which, in the first instance, are the responsibility of the BBC's management. Under the BBC's Royal Charter, the Trust has the distinct role of setting high-level strategic and editorial frameworks, but responsibility for day to day decisions within them rests with BBC management, so your correspondence has therefore been forwarded to us to respond to. I apologise for the subsequent slight delay in replying.

Your comments were passed to the Head of News, who has asked that I forward his response as follows:

“Thank you for your comments.

Occasionally, we receive complaints like yours, suggesting that our coverage, a presenter, correspondent or reporter favours, or is biased against, a particular political party. Our correspondents and reporting staff are acutely aware of their need to be impartial and unbiased, whilst covering highly contentious areas of debate and dispute between political opponents. They are highly professional and ask difficult questions of all the political parties. I can assure you that BBC Scotland's news and current affairs output does not take any position which favours any political party. Our political coverage is impartial and rigorously challenges all the main parties.

Naturally, as governments are in the key decision making positions, our scrutiny of their actions is prominent on our output. This applies to the UK Government at Westminster and to the Scottish Government at Holyrood. We are in constant dialogue with Scotland's political parties on matters concerning our coverage. They may question the way that we have reported an issue, or the way that we have questioned them, but they do not suggest that our coverage, presenters or reporters are biased.

On the issue of the online correspondent pages, the decision to change the operating model was taken for editorial reasons, to offer us greater flexibility and adaptability in the way that we use our resources. We are sorry if some online users do not agree with our decision to reduce the number of occasions on which comments to the two correspondent pages can be offered, but we do hope that our decision will result in a better service overall to Licence payers in Scotland.

I hope this response helps to allay your concerns.”

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.

Details of the BBC complaints process are available online at www.bbc.co.uk/.../handle.shtml.

Kind Regards

Lucia Fortucci

BBC Audience Services

www.bbc.co.uk/faq

NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.
 
 
# Diabloandco 2012-04-07 09:18
Same for me Clootie.

"On the issue of the online correspondent pages, the decision to change the operating model was taken for editorial reasons, to offer us greater flexibility and adaptability in the way that we use our resources. We are sorry if some online users do not agree with our decision to reduce the number of occasions on which comments to the two correspondent pages can be offered, but we do hope that our decision will result in a better service overall to Licence payers in Scotland."
but that piece of gobbledygook requires some explaining!
 
 
# BillDunblane 2012-04-07 09:32
Aye, rearrange these words into a well known phrase or saying......

Lets try another tack - ask them to change the English, Welsh and NI BBC sites to offer to them also "..a better service overall to Licence payers.." and post it on the various BBC sites that allow comment.

Just as an additional thought - when was the last time you heard of Scottish Labour complaining about BBC bias?
 
 
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-08 19:50
Quoting BillDunblane:
ask them to change the English, Welsh and NI BBC sites to offer to them also "..a better service overall to Licence payers.."


Email them telling them you're Welsh, that you'd like to complain about not having the same quality of service as the Scots and that you want the Welsh blogs closed for comments as well.
 
 
# pmcrek 2012-04-07 13:03
Quote:
On the issue of the online correspondent pages, the decision to change the operating model was taken for editorial reasons, to offer us greater flexibility and adaptability in the way that we use our resources.


Lifted straight out of 1984.
 
 
# Diabloandco 2012-04-08 19:14
Anyone else got this e-mail from the BBBC signed by a different person?
Is it a bog standard insult?
 
 
# Aucheorn 2012-04-07 08:51
Let me see have I got this right.

You complain to the BBC they ignore you or fob you off, so you go through hoops to complain to the BBC Trust, and they send you straight back to the one who has already fobbed you off.

I thought the Magic Roundabout had been off the air for a while.

Talk about stonewalling !

PS That letter looks awfully familiar.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 10:15
That is absolutely wrong. An Ombudsman system would reject that kind of complaints procedure: you must go through all channels in turn, one above the other, and never get short-circuited back to a lower one.

Maybe what people should be campaigning about is the BBC complaints system itself, not the content. Is there a body that could be approached?
 
 
# Jim1320 2012-04-07 08:57
The Scotsman is giving oxygen to this story but the real shame lies with the likes of Labour and Willie Rennie. Why don't they go to the Amazon sites and tell the workers they would like to scrap their jobs and throw them on the dole?

There is no principle these people would not toss aside to get a cheap shot at the SNP. Willie Rennie is part of the Coalition group. It is they that have for whatever reason not pursued the corporation tax.

It is absolute rubbish like this that makes me despair about the quality, intellectual ability and morality of the kind of people drawn to modern politics.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 10:16
Would it be possible to bring any aspect of this explicitly to the attention of Amazon (without walking into a minefield).
 
 
# Holebender 2012-04-07 11:08
Isn't Willie Rennie the "leader" of the LibDems in Scotland? Isn't the Treasury Secretary in London a Scottish LibDem? Why doesn't Willie Rennie tell his subordinate to sort this tax loophole out right now?
 
 
# Old Smokey 2012-04-07 09:15
I'm facinated by Labour MSP John Park's remark 'The SNP can’t on the one hand say that they want Scandinavian public services and then back a regressive corporation tax system'
Actually speaks volumes in itself.
By stating 'Scandinavian public services' he is refusing to state that the public services (ie free healthcare, free travelfor the elderly etc) are 'Socialist' in which Labour should beleive in, is the point that Labour are in reality no longer a socialist party or ave socialist beleif's.But they and in particular John Park dont want anyone thinking that the SNP are more 'socialist' than the Labour party are, so will tag 'Scandinavian' rather than 'socialist'.Also lend's to their anti SNP arguement that somehow 'Scandinavian' is bad
 
 
# Woodside 2012-04-07 09:48
Mr Park asks the SNP if after 2016 Amazon would pay tax- as that year will have the first Scottish General Elections is Mr.Park already admitting that the SNP are going to win these elections and form the first government of an Independent Scotland.

If not the question surely has to be in those elections what will be the Labour Party policy in their manifesto on corporation tax?

Or maybe by then Labour will have withered so far that such a manifesto will be given equal coverage to the other minority parties.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 10:22
Park is a Fife MP, why aren't any Fifers complaining about this stance?
 
 
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-07 10:29
Quoting Old Smokey:
By stating 'Scandinavian public services' he is refusing to state that the public services (ie free healthcare, free travelfor the elderly etc) are 'Socialist'


He's also implying they're somehow 'foreign' concepts, which is astonishing for a Labour MSP.
 
 
# Juteman 2012-04-07 11:48
Very telling comment, Jiggsbro.
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-04-07 13:13
A note on 'Scandinavian public services'. They're not uniform all across the Nordic countries - we're talking about several independent countries, after all! For instance, in Finland public healthcare isn't free, there's a 'health centre fee' (~10 euro, but it's annually capped) and hospital stays are ~30 euro a day (also capped). Maybe the fees are slightly more now, it's years since I've been to the doctor's/hospital. But still a fraction of the actual cost, mostly covered by national insurance. Similarly, OAPs don't have free travel, usually they get a 50% discount. Free education, though, albeit after the first 9 years you have to buy your own books, notebooks etc. And no tuition fees at colleges or unis :-)
 
 
# bringiton 2012-04-07 09:25
If the Scotsman circulation figures quoted here are correct and that number is going south then,to quote a well know unionist MP "who cares".
No longer a serious newspaper and can be ranked along side the tabloid trash publications which regularly fabricate or distort stories just to sell their nonsense.
One day soon we will see the death of this newspaper being published in it's own obituary section.
 
 
# Gaelstorm 2012-04-07 09:35
Should we be bothered by this nonsense?
I gave up on this "newspaper" shortly after Andrew Neil took over, & it's readership continues in decline.
It's an irrelevancy in the debate & should be treated as such. Even BBC Jockland hasn't bothered with this "story".
 
 
# BillDunblane 2012-04-07 09:41
According to the latest figures I can find, (ain't too easy unless you pay - unless someone can give me a web address) the Beano now has a better circulation figure than the Scotsman. It is admittedly a much better comic, and covers articles more seriously.
Now that Dennis is on our side, we only have to deal with Minnie the Minx. (AKA Rosa Klebb / wee Jimmy Krankie)
 
 
# proudscot 2012-04-07 10:13
Now now, BillDunblane, let's not descend, unionist style, into what could be construed as personal abuse - after all, what have Minnie the Minx, Rosa Klebb or Wee Jimmy Krankie ever done to offend you so much?
 
 
# Caadfael 2012-04-07 10:24
Wee bit O/T.
Anyone know what's happened to "The Courier"?
No letters since Thursday, last updated Friday afternoon!
 
 
# Islegard 2012-04-07 10:37
Corporation Tax is what Alex Salmond has been making a great effort to gain control of. The likes of Rennie found it amusing that Westminster refused to give him control. Now they are criticising him for something they are in control of and something they denied AS getting control of.
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-04-07 10:40
As far as I could see the Herald did not have a story about this in today's paper BUT, BUT, But, there was a letter in today's Herald on this subject.

Now I wonder what prompted the letter? A story in the Scotsman by any chance?
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 10:45
Way OT but very funny - in the Catalan press I spotted a reference to this 2022 world map fantasy, apparently published in the Guardian this weekend - UK divided into "Kiltland" and I won't tell you what they call rUK but it's no bad as descriptions go!

If you click this map you get a whole series of daft world views.

alphadesigner.com/.../...
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-04-07 13:19
:D

I see I'll live in the Second Kalmar Union. I wonder if Victoria and her Prince Daniel will be our constitutional monarchs (or Frederik and Mary, or Haakon and Mette-Marit??), or will the others see the light and we'll be a republic with a Kalmar President!

Also liked the name given to rUK, Merkelreich's capital Neuberlin, German Nudist Sea, South Chinese Sea and the No Fish Left Here Sea...

Oh! I only now noticed the Catalan Empire!
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 22:55
That's why it was in the Catalan press, lumilumi, all signs of national (or imperial) recognition eagerly grasped ...
 
 
# cirsium 2012-04-07 20:22
thanks for the link MargaB. LOL
 
 
# Vincent McDee 2012-04-07 10:45
Yes
85272 (74%)

No
29280 (26%)

@11:45
 
 
# Islegard 2012-04-07 11:48
So we are to believe 114,552 people have voted in the pole of a newspaper with a circulation of 37,731.
 
 
# gus1940 2012-04-07 16:19
'Yes' is now well >100k
 
 
# Vincent McDee 2012-04-07 10:56
Latest figures for the Loonyman:

The Scotsman : 37,731 ; -9.73 Year on year ( -4.07 month on month ) -3,338 total loss by March 2012.

www.pressgazette.co.uk/.../

The www.scottishreview.net/.../ tried to explain why.

Here www.nrs.co.uk/.../ if you download the appropiate pdf, it can be found the estimated number of readers for all reasons (deaths, sports, politics, various, etc) is

137 Thousands, very much in line with the average 4 readers per copy sold.
 
 
# BillDunblane 2012-04-07 11:32
Thanks for the links. (As the Archbishop said to the butcher...)
 
 
# C2DEalba 2012-04-07 11:52
Everyone knows corporation tax is not in the control of the SG. The Scotsman newspaper must think people are stupid!

Clearly, sales are a side issue, they must want to run at a loss. Wonder how the shareholders of the company like that. Or perhaps they have the same tax set up as Amazon!
 
 
# gus1940 2012-04-07 16:15
One must suspect that The Scotsman and the rest of the Unionist Propaganda Rags are beneficiaries of some sort of Westminster Slush Fund as common sense would say it is commercial madness to try to drive away one's customers.
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-04-07 12:05
Back on Topic: Amazon Story

It would appear that Amazon is the target of more than just the Scotsman (see below). But what the Scotsman has done is give the story a Scottish 'spin' which as we all know means the story will be spun to involve Mr Salmond and the Scottish Government being 'accused' of something or other.

The Guardian on the 4th April ran a story about Amazon and its non-payment of corporation tax - perhaps that is where the Scotsman got its idea from.

guardian.co.uk/.../...

Amazon by arranging its business in this way (setting up its HQ in Luxembourg) to avoid paying corporation tax is not doing anything illegal. It is up to HMRC, not the FM, to do something about this loophole. We all know what cosy arrangements the HMRC has had with big businesses so do not expect any changes anytime soon.

Today the Guardian has an article by Mr Waterstone of the bookshop Waterstones . guardian.co.uk/.../...

But this story about Amazon and its tax arrangements is not new.

There was an article about it in the Daily Telegraph in Sept 2011 which pointed out how little Amazon was paying in corporation tax. This story did not excite much further comment. So why now?

It is worth bearing in mind that it is not just overseas companies which play our tax system to its advantage. Large home grown businesses do the same as this story about the Prudential demonstrates:

telegraph.co.uk/.../...

As some of you may remember it was only a few weeks ago that the Pru was threatening to move its HQ etc overseas. You have to wonder why when it has such advantageous tax treatment from under the UK system administered by HMRC.

No doubt when setting up the system of corporation tax in an independent Scotland the administration of the system will be informed by the obvious shortcomings of the current UK system and take steps to avoid them by closing such loopholes as now exist.
 
 
# bringiton 2012-04-07 21:21
So long as the process is open,transparen t and accountable there shouldn't be a problem.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 22:57
In one comment on the Scotsman story, did I see one knowledgeable-sounding guy say that 98% of the top 100 companies in the UK do not pay UK taxes? Something like it anyway.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-04-07 12:15
My Dad has phoned me to say he's cancelling his advertising with the Scotsman.
I told him it was about time.
 
 
# balbeggie 2012-04-07 13:05
That is where it will really hurt them, if the advertisers desert them then it is curtains for them.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-04-07 18:05
I hope they ask him why he is cancelling.
 
 
# cokynutjoe 2012-04-07 12:36
I have two newsagents and a filling station within walking distance, none of them sell this paper. Am I missing something?
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-04-07 13:03
Legerwood.Thanks for the link.
Many people only buy the Scotsman for the Hatches,Matches and Dispatches.
This link gives the info FREE!
Change the Filter to Today or whenever.
iannounce.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Tommy Kelly 2012-04-07 13:16
When it refers to Scotland The BBC is the most biased media organisation in the UK.

On Newsnight Scotland on Tuesday 3rd April, Gordon Brewer blatantly promoted Teesside as the preferred location for the development of Carbon Capture and Storage Technology. He went out of his way to downplay the real advantages of Scottish locations.

The first act the first independent Scottish Government should be to establish and finance an independent Scottish Broadcasting Service.
 
 
# amfraeembro 2012-04-07 14:47
The Scotsman is perfectly entitled to be as biased as it likes - and who cares.

This is absolutely not the case for the BBC.
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-04-07 15:34
You're quite right, amfraeenbro.

The Scotsman (or any other newspaper or commercial TV channel) is a private enterprise, so by definition not answerable to the public but to their shareholders - though I wonder about the shareholders. Plummeting circulation... Apparently advertising revenue hasn't plummeted as badly, otherwise I'd expect shareholders to be getting jittery.

Whereas the BBC and its North British branch are supposedly answerable to the public. That is why it's so worrying. The BBC have become a bigoted propaganda channel in Scotland.

The 'BBC brand' is respected the world over for fairly impartial and accurate reporting - everybody knows the viewpoint is going to be 'British' but that's only natural. Other global news broadcasters (CNN, al Jazeera, whatever) have their own viewpoints, it goes without saying.

But to have an arm of the BBC being so blatantly biased and partisan in Scotland... If the BBC isn't careful, their global image will be compromised. The world will still buy their costume dramas and nature documentaries but might be wary of BBC news reporting.
 
 
# Angus 2012-04-07 14:58
The north britsman's headlines are so blatantly misleading that it is embarrassing for them.
Best thing the followers of Scotland's Independence can do is not to log on to them or anyother corrupt news outlet, and so deprive them of any following or arguements. Taking labour hame as an example, it was a very boring site till the Independence movement moved in.
 
 
# lumilumi 2012-04-07 15:41
I mostly get my Scots news from the BBC website and NNS - kind of sickening fun comparing the two takes on the same thing (if things even get reported on the BBC website).

Follow some blogs, take an online keek at Hootsmon, Herald, P&J, local papers if there's something interesting going on.

Way back when the Scotsman launched their online edition I followed it every day. Now I seldom go there. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-04-07 15:45
O/T
Is anyone having problems accessing the lead story on NNS about Mr Swinney and investment?

When I click on the title I cannot access the article.
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-04-07 15:47
NNS are aware of the problem and trying to get it resolved.
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-04-07 17:04
Thanks. I wondered if I had been put on the naughty step for some infringement or other!

UPDATE
Got in via Facebook l;ink to article.
 
 
# sammy pig 2012-04-07 20:15
re the Amazon story, it's the lack of any economic credibility that get's me. Two thousand jobs could well be the equivalent of £30 million in wages being generated in Scotland in just one year. These wages will be taxed and have national insurance deducted.
It's a grest deal for an incentive of only £10 million. Are Labour so economically illiterate that they think a proportion of corporation tax is worth losing this multimillion investment?
I always wondered how labour manage to make a financial shambles of everything they touch. Now we know.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 23:06
re. Park's Scandinavian public services gibe, on his Scottish Parliament CV he says:

"I am also interested in European matters and in particular the social partnership models in the Nordic countries."
 
 
# Kinghob 2012-04-07 23:10
Well Sammy Pig, your bewilderment is down to trying to understand why the likes of the $cot$m*n struggles on as if Labour won a landslide in the last election in May 2011 as their alternate universe journalistic approach implies.

The good thing is that the influence of the sc%tsm@n is provably much reduced (if even in existence at all) or we'd all have Ian Gray in complete control of the Scottish Government as they predicted would be the case right up to the last minute, as the political 'glitch' of not voting Labour in Scotland would be sorted when we voters realised the error of our ways.

Well.....we 'PLEBS' didnae do that.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-07 23:38
Oh look, the Scotsman has commissioned its very own "SNP u-turn" report to write a story on: wonder how much it cost. A worthy successor to the Amazon one, which may be running out of steam after so many days on the front page.

"In a paper commissioned by Scotland on Sunday, Chalmers, the defence policy director of the Royal United Services Institute, stated that the SNP’s anti-nuclear stance would be “hard to square” with an independent Scotland accepting Nato’s commitment to a nuclear alliance."

scotsman.com/.../...
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-04-08 01:38
Let the Rabid unionists get on with this one. The Hootsman is getting far too much coverage on line this week.

Much better for all concerned to read this instead. Much more relevent right now. An excellent, informative and agreeable piece of journalism.

wingsland.podgamer.com/.../...
 
 
# Katie Beardie 2012-04-08 00:04
The Scotsman is definitely anti SNP. Check out the SNP 'accused' headlines from Google

www.google.co.uk/.../
 
 
# aiberdeen sheep 2012-04-08 07:29
The Scotsmans circulation may be negligible, however when papers are quoted on the BBC or a paper review is done, surprise, surprise, Pathetic Quay will quote the paper to reinforce and justify the propaganda and agenda that is being peddled by them.

The outright bias that is going on is going to make getting a "yes" vote nigh on impossible in my opinion.

Of course, I hope that I am wrong.
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-04-08 08:50
So do I!
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-08 12:13
In spite of all, we can see the Amazon story still thriving - now back on the front page of the Scotsman today.

Has anyone else been repelled by the disgraceful non-story in the Herald today - can nothing be done about these slurs? What is the point?

And this time it's a "Senior Political correspondent" not the "Chief" - how can these journalists let their names be associated with such trash?

heraldscotland.com/.../...
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-04-08 12:39
Marga B Your heraldscotland link,as we all know is a NON-STORY.
Sure you'd agree.
The more ridiculous the headlines--the bigger the sales.
LIKEWISE,clicks on links or to the 'newspaper' direct.
More clicks--more money.Simple.
Outrageous non-story headline or leader== Money,money,mon ey.

Someone posted similair info on newsnetscotland yesterday,which really indicates news journalism isn't a job, it's a cash making hole in the wall.
Increase sales/clicks.Truth is the first to suffer.
I used links in my posts a lot,but now desist.
From yesterday,I decided not to go to any of the Scottish Rags' sites.
Leaving it to newsnetscotland editorial staff to keep me informed.
All the very Best.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-04-08 13:24
Dundonian - that's why I refuse to subscribe to these people, though as a foreign reader it could be useful.

However glad to see there's very few comments on it, which means most people just treat it like the trash it is and ignore it.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-04-08 13:42
Marga B.Yes,I see the problem.
They really are a load of-----,well let's not say!
In the long run,hopefully,i t's counterproducti ve.
 
 
# Diabloandco 2012-04-08 19:09
Clootie, I have exactly the same e-mail BUT it is signed thus,

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.



Details of the BBC complaints process are available online at www.bbc.co.uk/.../handle.shtml



Kind Regards



Matthew Degnan

BBC Audience Services


Different chap altogether - just goes to show what they think of their audience and their concerns.
Just an automatic piece of DRIVEL!
 

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