A Parliament of Scotland’s People

It is, perhaps, only to be expected that the First Minister should note that the Scottish Parliament has become the locus of Scotland’s politics. More interesting is the fact that the British head of state concurred; making it rather difficult for British Nationalists to denounce the idea of that locus being anywhere other than Westminster – the self-styled mother of all parliaments. Of course, nothing will deter the most bitter, angry and fervent adherents to ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism; not even a chastening pronouncement from their monarch. They will continue to insist that the Scottish Parliament is, and ever shall be, what it was always intended to be – a mere inconsequential adjunct to their parliament. These ideologues are adept at denying even the most glaringly evident reality should it clash with their prejudices and pretensions.

Other than the shrill and deluded British Nationalist bigots, pretty much everybody accepts that Holyrood is the beating heart of a Scottish politics which is increasingly distinct from the British politics that those zealots would impose on us. It is to Holyrood that we look for solutions. Westminster is regarded as irrelevant, if not as a hindrance to progress and an impediment to finding solutions. More and more, Westminster and the edifice of British politics is seen to be the problem. The structures of power, privilege and patronage to which Scotland is tethered by the Union are alien to the distinctive political culture which has developed at an accelerating pace in Scotland over the twenty years since our Scottish Parliament reconvened.

Accepting, as sane, sober and sensible people surely must, the distinctiveness of Scotland’s political culture and the centrality of Holyrood to that culture, we might well ask how and why this has come about. We might examine the processes involved, not simply as an academic exercise, but as a potential guide to how a more progressive politics might be enabled elsewhere.

It was certainly never the intention that Scotland’s political culture should be allowed to diverge so significantly from that of the rest of the UK. Or maybe we should say England. Because other parts of what British Nationalists are pleased to think of as the periphery of the British state have also been transformed to some extent by devolution. But it may be informative that Wales has not developed a distinctive political culture to anything like the same extent as Scotland. (Northern Ireland is something of a ‘special case’ and not useful for comparison.)

From the outset, devolution was less about constitutional reform for the purpose of enhancing democracy and improving governance and more about political manoeuvring for the purpose of partisan advantage and preservation of those structures of power, privilege and patronage. The arguments in the devolution debate revolved, not around whether and to what extent Scotland would be improved, but whether and to what extent the Union would be put at risk. And that was true of both sides of that debate. To this day, you will still find Scottish nationalists who insist that devolution was a mistake and that it should never have been accepted. Unsurprisingly, they are outnumbered by the British Nationalists who insist that devolution was a mistake and should never have been allowed. But it was the impact of devolution on the Union which was the main preoccupation of both those who wanted the Union ended, and those determined that it should be preserved at any cost.

Devolution only happened because the British establishment reckoned an arrangement had been devised which would allow them to keep the devolved parliaments on a tight leash. This is where comparisons between Scotland and Wales become interesting. While the former succeeded in slipping that leash, the latter remains under in the grip of the British establishment as represented by the British Labour Party. A fact which cannot be thought irrelevant when considering Wales’s relatively poor performance in key policy areas and the fact that Wales hasn’t developed a distinctive political culture to anything like the same extent as Scotland. Certainly, that alternative political culture hasn’t come to replace British politics to the same degree.

Not that Wales lacks an alternative. Plaid Cymru and Welsh Greens offer this in much the same way as the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Greens have in Scotland. I’m sure there are people in both the Welsh parties looking very closely at the matter of why they have been less successful than their Scottish counterparts in terms of making the Welsh Assembly as central to a more progressive politics as Holyrood is. But at this point factors come into play which are particular to each nation and comparisons become less meaningful.

Before leaving the broad comparison, however, we should note that it demonstrates how crucial the SNP is to any account of how the Scottish Parliament came to be the locus of Scotland’s politics. But for the SNP, Scotland would be where Wales is now. Scotland may be said to be beating a path for Wales to follow. And if Wales, why not England? Why should England not also take the path to a more progressive politics?

Perhaps because England lacks an equivalent of Plaid Cymru and the SNP. England doesn’t have a progressive, civic nationalist political party. More importantly, England doesn’t have a party which stands outside the British political system. It is this separation from the British political system which explains both the electoral success of the SNP and the development of a distinctive political culture with its locus in the Scottish Parliament.

Because the SNP is not, never has been, and never could be part of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state, it has been able to more effectively adapt to take advantage of Scotland’s proportional electoral system. While the British parties in Scotland continue to do their politicking in the manner of British parties – with consequences which are painfully evident in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament – the SNP has been more responsive to the priorities, needs and aspirations of Scotland’s electorate. Being more responsive, the party won a mandate from voters. Carrying that responsiveness into government, the SNP has won mandates repeatedly. Because the British parties are incapable of matching this responsiveness, they cannot challenge the SNP electorally. They simply aren’t doing the same kind of politics as the SNP. And the people have let it be known which kind of politics they prefer.

It stands to reason that a different kind of politics – a distinctive political culture – requires a parliament which accommodates the difference and distinctiveness. When the SNP formed its first administration in 2007, the Scottish Parliament didn’t just slip the leash of British politics, it broke that leash. With the suffocating influence of the British parties removed, Holyrood was able to become more than it was meant be. It was able to become what British Labour, in particular, had been charged with ensuring it never became. It became, not just the Scottish Parliament, but Scotland’s Parliament. The Parliament of Scotland’s people.

The Scottish Parliament has, indeed, come a long way in only two decades. But that progress is fragile. Notwithstanding the properly protocol-conscious rhetoric of the British head of state, it is impossible to overstate how much the Scottish Parliament is loathed and detested by the British establishment. A Parliament of Scotland’s People represents popular sovereignty. A functioning, if not fully developed, model of popular sovereignty stands as a challenge and a threat to the principle of Westminster parliamentary sovereignty which underpins the British state’s structures of power, privilege and patronage. From a British perspective, the Scottish Parliament must be reined-in, or closed down.

Whether Holyrood can survive as a Parliament of Scotland’s People; whether it can survive at all, absolutely depends on ending the Union. And doing so as a matter of the utmost urgency.



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Consumer power

Union Jackery is not merely irritating and objectionable, it has the potential to cause significant economic, political and cultural harm. Whether or not individual instances of Union Jackery are purposeful, all contribute to – and so must be regarded as part of – a generalised erosion of Scotland the brand. This, in turn, can be seen as serving the British Nationalist imperative to eradicate anything that is distinctively Scottish and impose a bland, heterogeneous British identity. A destructive process which is at least as old as the Union.

It is an insidious process, made all the more dangerous by the ease with which particular examples of Union Jackery can be dismissed. It is the aggregate effect that we must be concerned with, regardless of how seemingly trivial any single instance may be. Regardless, too, of any malign intent – suspected or proven. The overall impact is the same no matter what proportion of Union Jackery is merely incidental.

There is no point going into detail about the ways in which Union Jackery is harmful to Scotland. The popularity of Ruth Watson’s save Scotland The Brand suggests that most people recognise these reasons. And those who persist in brushing aside concerns tend to do so, not because they are unable to comprehend the harm being done, but because they don’t care. We know well enough how the British Nationalist creed of ‘The Union At Any Cost’ bids them celebrate, in fact or in prospect, whatever diminishes Scotland.

The question is not whether Union Jackery is deleterious to Scotland, nor even whether it is done intentionally, but how it can be countered, combated, deterred or stopped. And the answer to that question is consumer power.

There is no doubt that consumers have power. Massive power. The problem is demonstrating that power and deploying it to a specified end. Corporate power is, by definition, collective. Consumer power effectively doesn’t exist until it too becomes collective. Ruth Watson’s campaign, supported by The National, has done well in raising awareness of Union Jackery and has undoubtedly prompted a degree of consumer action. But that action is diffuse and sporadic. And corporations are very well able to absorb that kind of impact. Their size tends to mean that they are only vulnerable to very large market ‘events’. Mostly, corporation react to changes in consumer behaviour by adapting in ways that benefit themselves. Consumer ‘attacks’ are neither felt as such nor, more importantly, are they visible as customer action. Unless the action is big and concentrated, it is indistinguishable from normal market fluctuations.

It is easy for corporation to deploy their political power in the service of a political agenda. It is not at all easy for consumers to do so. The reason being that people are apathetic and idle. They are difficult to rouse to action, and that difficulty increases exponentially with the amount of effort that is asked of them.

I can already hear the protests. But this isn’t about individuals. It’s about crowds. Individually, people may be aware and active and tireless in their efforts on behalf of their chosen cause. At population level, people are all but immobilised by disinclination and hesitancy, and ever disposed to do the least that they can get away with. Established power, corporate or governmental, relies on this inertia and indolence.

It is as well to be mindful of this if the intention is to activate consumer power and harness it to a cause. Success in motivating people will count for little or nothing if what they are being asked to do is too difficult or effortful.

It may be time for a show of strength by consumers concerned by the impact of Union Jackery. It may be time to remind corporations that they cannot act with impunity. It may be time for a boycott. But for that boycott to be effective as a demonstration of consumer power in opposition to Union Jackery it will have to be planned and executed according to certain rules. The target must be carefully chosen. The timing must be correct. The means of triggering and coordinating the boycott must be totally reliable. And due account must be taken of human nature.

The first question to be addressed is whether a boycott is appropriate or potentially effective. It would be good to hear a range of opinions on this before we go on to consider the practicalities.

Target

In choosing a target for the boycott, a number of criteria should be applied. For present purposes, the term ‘product’ may be assumed to include services where such service meets other criteria.

  • The target must be easily identifiable so that those participating know exactly what the target is.
  • The target should be a discretionary purchase with a high daily sales volume.
  • If there is an obvious alternative to the targeted product, it may be advisable to included this in the boycott.
  • If there is an alternative the purchase of which augments or supplements the boycott, it may be advisable to identify it.
  • The item to be boycotted must be something that participants can easily do without for the duration of the boycott.
  • If possible, the target should be something that already has negative associations for a significant number of people.
  • The impact on the target must be immediate, evident and measurable.
  • The target must be such as can recover from the boycott. The boycott should not be destructive in intent or effect.

To be continued…



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What are they thinking?

If the provisions of the Referendums Bill allowing the re-use of a previously used question hint at the Scottish Government’s intention to frame the ballot exactly as for the 2014 referendum then this would be regrettable. I realise that having the ability to use the same question doesn’t necessarily imply that this is what Nicola Sturgeon has in mind. But, taking this together with various other statements, the indications are that the idea is to run exactly the same campaign again.

This would be a tragic mistake. So much has changed in the last few years that the context of a new independence referendum campaign must be significantly different. And simply dusting-off the old campaign strategy – if, indeed, that is what is intended – suggests a woeful failure to learn lessons from the 2014 campaign.

I know that Keith Brown has forged a close working relationship with the Yes movement. Assuming he also speaks to Nicola Sturgeon and Mike Russell, t is difficult to suppose that they are unaware of the importance attached to reframing the constitutional debate. Individuals such as Bill Dale and organisation such as Business for Scotland have worked long and hard with Yes groups all over Scotland to develop the necessary skills. When I talk with activists, the subject of reframing always features prominently in the discussion. Reframing is regarded as crucial.

There is little to indicate that any of this has influenced the thinking of the senior figures in the SNP who are laying plans for a new referendum campaign. This is not merely disappointing, it is downright disturbing.

All the talk we hear from the SNP is of ‘taking the positive message of independence to the people’. Other than the constant linking of the independence issue to Brexit – which may, itself, prove to be an unwise move – the rhetoric is all but indistinguishable from what we heard in 2012/13. The same notion that methods deployed with great success by the SNP in elections can simply be transferred to a referendum. The same obsession with an exclusively ‘positive’ campaign. The same focus on an ‘economic case’ to the exclusion of the constitutional arguments. The same mindset of playing by the British state’s rules.

The term ‘mindset’ is not mere jargon. Just as reframing is essential to an effective campaign, so mindset is fundamental to reframing. If we are to have any hope of even addressing the key demographic, far less changing the way people see the constitutional issue, then we have to be able to shift our own perceptions of that issue. At the most basic level, we have to move away from the idea of independence as something we have to ask for or qualify for or ‘win’, and start thinking of independence as something to be taken. Something that is ours by right, but that illegitimately withheld from us.

Obviously, there is a lot more to the art and science of reframing. But this is the starting point. And until I see some sign that our political leaders have realised it, I will continue to worry.



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Tavish Scott: Goodbye! Good riddance!

This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of iScot Magazine. It is reproduced here following Tavish Scott’s announcement that he is to retire. My reasons for celebrating his departure from the Scottish Parliament should be clear from what follows.

Wounds unhealed and lessons unlearned

Against very strong competition, one of the most disturbing facets of the British state’s propaganda effort during the first Scottish independence referendum campaign was surely the attempt by the failed leader of the British Liberal Democrats in Scotland, Tavish Scott, to raise the spectre of partition. Along with the odd party colleague and, if memory serves, an even odder member of the aristocracy, it was he who most fervidly peddled the notion of Scotland’s northern and western island communities being partitioned from independent Scotland to form exclaves of the rump UK.

There was, of course, no evidence of any measurable support for partition among the people of Orkney, Shetland or the Western Isles. And Tavish Scott’s constitutional and economic arguments were, to be generous, ill-informed drivel. But, needless to say, his ‘secessionist’ campaign on behalf of nobody who’d ever asked for it won enthusiastic support from the British media.

While it is easy to mock the antics of Tavish Scott and his ilk, this is not a laughing matter. The very mention of partition is deeply offensive to those aware of how the British state’s strategy of divide and rule has blighted large swathes of the world, bringing misery and suffering and violent death to millions. As an instrument of policy in the hands of the British ruling elite, partition has had a devastating geopolitical impact and much of the conflict in the world today has its origins in the seeds of discord sown when the British empire was in its pomp.

India and Pakistan. Israel and Palestine. Iraq. All of the Middle East and much of Africa. All still bear the bloody handprint of European colonialism and, in particular, British ‘diplomacy’.

The casual, clumsy carving of the Indian subcontinent in the few weeks prior to independence in 1947 is undoubtedly the most horrifying example of partition in action. Almost entirely on the whim of a lone British barrister named Cyril Radcliffe, some 15 million people were displaced and a cataclysm of violence was ignited. The number of deaths is put at between one and two million. But the truth is that the disruption was so massive that nobody really knows how many died.

But it wasn’t only the killing. As is ever the case when political malice or ineptitude results in the breakdown of society, women suffered most. Abduction, rape and mutilation was rife. Tens of thousands of women had to endure unspeakable horrors. Tens of thousands more who managed to escape the sexual abuse, forced tattooing and physical torture, still had the torment of their families being torn asunder. Many were separated from their loved ones for years. Some were never reunited.

The bitterness and recriminations born of British blunders continue to affect relations among governments and communities in the region. There is little sign that the wounds inflicted by Cyril Radcliffe’s pen 70 years ago might heal any time soon.

That anyone could even talk of partitioning Scotland illustrates, not only the irresponsible idiocy of British nationalist ideologues, but the totally unprincipled nature of the anti-independence campaign.

It also says something fundamental about the nature of the British state. It speaks of a blinkered attitude to history. An unwillingness to learn from earlier mistakes. Perhaps even a pathological inability to take responsibility for past actions. Because it’s not only the example of partition discussed at some length above. The instances are legion. I would challenge anyone to find a situation in which partition did not lead to serious strife. And yet the British state persisted in resorting to the same strategy. How is this to be explained?

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the British establishment simply didn’t, and doesn’t, care. It is entirely untouched. It acts with total impunity, so has no cause to consider consequences. The British state suffered no significant repercussions from its use of partition. Just as it has never been called to account for its appalling conduct during the first referendum campaign.

It’s all tied up with the British sense of exceptionalism and entitlement which is so ill-concealed by the current Westminster regime. A dumb, smirking arrogance born of the self-righteous certainty that comes with deeply entrenched power.

Those of us who supposed that the first Scottish independence referendum had brought out the worst in the British establishment have been given cause to reconsider that conclusion by Brexit. Much of the unscrupulousness of Project Fear made an unwelcome reappearance in the course of the EU referendum campaign. But the way Theresa May and her ministers have disported themselves since then has put even the insolent hauteur of David Cameron in the shade.

Once more the issue of partition puts in an appearance. We didn’t have to go all the way to the sub-continent to see the impact of the British state’s predilection for the politics of division. We have a telling enough example on our doorstep. The aftermath of partition in Ireland is a piece of historical tragedy too close to home to be ignored. Or so you would think. But Tavish Scott managed to disregard it when he was threatening Scotland with partition – however ineffectually. And, despite endlessly repeated warnings, the British government too has turned a wilfully blind eye to the implications of Brexit for the border between the republic and the British province and the state of relations between and among the communities affected.

With the publication of the UK Government’s position paper on cross-border arrangements, we see yet again the blithe assumption that the British state can simply impose its idea of a solution – however incoherent and impractical and dementedly fantastical that may be.

One can all too readily imagine Cyril Radcliffe, having concluded his slicing and dicing of India, brushing off such concerns as may have reached his elevated ears with a flippant assurance that it would all work out in the end. (As, indeed, it may. Because seventy years on, the turmoil that partition initiated still hasn’t come to an end.) It’s even easier to imagine David Davis echoing that nonchalant sentiment.

The British state represented by both of these individuals is so confident of its invulnerability that there is no need for caution. No need to heed the alarms. No need even for what most would surely regard as careful consideration.

I am probably not the only one to find that discussing the situation being instigated by the British state in Ireland is fraught with trepidation. There’s that nagging, superstitious sense of tempting fate. A feeling that, despite the years of peace, partition has created a structure which is so fragile and finely balanced that a word out of place might tip things into chaos.

Evidently, the British political elite is not given to such misgivings. There is no room for doubt. The price of failure always falls on others. The potential momentousness of that price, as evident from the lessons of partition, simply does not impinge on the calculations and conniving of the British political machine.

We are entitled to ask ourselves if this is symptomatic of established power which has become overly secure for the health of democracy. And, if it is, what do we do about it?



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Welcome our new bollard overlords!

The video clip from the Jeremy Vine TV programme didn’t make me angry at all. I’ve been a Yes campaigner on social media for many years. I’m well accustomed to the vacuous blabbing of parochial Brits who know nothing of Scotland or its politics but imagine themselves experts.

That, for me, was the most striking aspect of the interlude. Each of the panellists first admitted to being ignorant of Scotland’s economy, industry and assets, then proceeded to demonstrate the abysmal depths of that ignorance. Yet, despite the evident and acknowledged dearth of any useful or relevant information, they still considered themselves amply qualified to pronounce definitively on Scotland’s capacities.

These are idiots. What should make us angry is that such cretins are presented by the British media as having opinions that are significant and worthy of respect.

At least Jeremy Vine had the good grace to seem embarrassed by the crass behaviour of his guests. I was, I’ll confess, a bit embarrassed on their behalf. Almost pitying the deluded stupidity. Until the thought occurred to me that none of these bollards would be out of place in the contest to be the next British Prime Minister. And that they would then assume ultimate authority over the country they were so proudly ignorant of.

Then I got angry.



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Bring down the clowns!

It has, for very good reason, grown all too easy to dismiss the actions of the British state in relation to Scotland as being motivated by pettiness or as the result of incompetence. We see in the likes of Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson (Not to mention the Tory leadership candidates rejected in their favour. Imagine how that must sting!) bumbling clowns playing to an audience so beguiled by the bright lights and sequin sparkle as to think this performance important politics and the tawdry, torn and precariously tilting big-top in which it is being enacted the only place of any consequence.

The clowns know their audience well. They know how it likes to watch the whiteface abuse and humiliate the auguste. They are aware that the loudest and most demonstrative section of the audience identifies with the superior status of the lead clown. They are conscious of how this claque subconsciously associates its myriad hate-figures with the inferior and afflicted fall-guy.

When Hunt, or another of his British ilk, throws a custard pie in Nicola Sturgeon’s face, the audience screams with amused delight as they see in their lumpen imagination Britannia’s bold favourite asserting dominance over her possessions and inflicting defeat and mortification on those who dare challenge her divinely-ordained status. The clowns are adept at pandering to the basest urges of their audience. And should that audience’s enthusiasm for the circus show any signs of flagging, the media is ready to play ringmaster, urging the crowd to renewed frenzies of righteous outrage and vicarious triumph.

To those of us catching glimpses of this spectacle through gaps and rents in the fabric of the circus tent, it seems just that – a show; an entertainment; an interlude. We may readily forget that such performances are, not mere distractions from the serious business of the British state, but the actual conduct of that business. We tend to abstract performances such as the Tory leadership contest from the context of British state affairs and lose sight of the fact that this really is the British political elite doing its day job. We tend to see the clowns as stage actors playing a part when, in fact, they are state actors playing with the lives of real people and the fate of nations.

When the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs withdraws his office’s support for overseas trips made by Scotland’s First Minister, we should not take this lightly. We should not see it as just a clown lashing out with a flimsy paper plate piled high with harmless foam. We should not regard it as only a bit of macho posturing in the hope of impressing the select few who will select the next British Prime Minister not least on the basis of how ‘tough’ the candidate promises to be with those uppity Jocks.

We must take this seriously. We must see this as offensive action on behalf of the ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist ideology which now stands as the greatest threat to Scotland since England’s armies northwards rushed rebellious Scots to crush.

We must see this for the anti-democratic abuse of power that it truly is. We must recognise that this is a senior Minister of the British state seeking to impede the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland in the performance of her solemn duty to the people of Scotland.

We must know this as one of the most explicit manifestations to date of the British state’s imperative to crush democratic dissent in Scotland and eradicate our distinctive political culture.

The First Minister’s primary responsibility is for Scotland. She is wholly and solely accountable to the people of Scotland. The sworn duty of our First Minister is, first and foremost, to safeguard and further Scotland’s interests in accordance with the mandate afforded by the electorate. Whether or not you voted for Nicola Sturgeon or her party, she represents all of Scotland – nation and people – at home and abroad. That is democracy.

To slight our First Minister, as the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has done, is to slight Scotland. To show contempt for the office of First Minister is to show contempt for the people of Scotland who own that office regardless of who the incumbent may be. To attempt to prevent our First Minister from performing her duties and fulfilling her responsibilities is an offence against Scotland’s democracy. To offend against democracy is to offend against all the people who serve and are served by democracy.

We must take this action by the British establishment as a declaration of war. A war to be fought, not with swords and spears on some blood-soaked field, but with truth and justice in the arena of democratic politics. A war, not against a foreign invader, but against an increasingly alien political culture and an appallingly pernicious ideology.

A war, not to assert dominance over another land or people; nor even to defend our own land and people against overt subjugation, but to affirm the fact that Scotland exists as a nation and defend the principle that legitimate political authority in Scotland derives solely and exclusively from the people of Scotland.

Our First Minister acts with that authority. Her every word and deed carries the authority of the people of Scotland. Notwithstanding the pretensions of
certain media-hyped nonentities, Nicola Sturgeon is the head of Scotland’s democratically elected Government sitting in the only Parliament with democratic legitimacy in Scotland.

This is a war, not against England, but against the Union which perverts and corrupts relations between our two nations while encouraging debauched and feckless British politician to presume themselves above the will of Scotland’s people and beyond the reach of our reproach.

Nicola Sturgeon is under attack because the forces behind both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are aware of how crucial she is to Scotland’s cause. We have to take seriously the threat of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism. And we can only counter that threat by dissolving the Union and restoring constitutional normality to our nation.



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No trust! No redemption!

Keith Brown expresses concern that “viewers will lose trust in the BBC if this deception continues“. This seems strangely naive on at least two levels.

It is folly to suppose that, in Scotland at least, public trust in the BBC has not already been seriously eroded. Just as trust in other British media and political journalists in general has suffered because of a common stance which I cannot now describe as anything other than anti-Scottish.

If the BBC were doing no more than defending the constitutional status quo then it would be difficult to criticise or condemn the corporation. But it has moved beyond mere portrayal of the Union as the established situation and/or presentation of what the BBC’s management may consider the advantages and benefits of the Union to Scotland.

The BBC no longer merely promotes the Union, as its charter commands. The BBC has now adopted – or allowed to develop – an editorial stance which actively opposes a lawful democratic campaign for constitutional reform which is supported or condoned by the majority of Scotland’s people. And the BBC pursues this editorial policy by means which are, at best, questionable and, at worst, a breach of its charter and an affront to the codes and conventions of professional journalism.

In the context of Scotland’s constitutional debate (I leave it to others to identify further contexts), BBC news and current affairs broadcasting in/to/at Scotland has come to emulate the worst of British newspapers’ excesses in denigrating and maligning Scotland’s democratic institutions, public services and economic capacities using disinformation, deceit, distortion and downright dishonesty.

Indeed, the BBC is seen to colluded with the openly British Nationalist press in various ways. The corporation’s news and current affairs operations have developed a symbiotic – or mutually parasitic – relationship with the establishment press evident in those all too common situations where BBC news does not report, but reports that it is being reported, so placing itself at some remove from the brazen anti-Scottish propaganda being peddled by British newspapers. Those newspapers, in turn, seek to borrow authority and credibility from the BBC; having already squandered whatever they may once have possessed.

The question long since ceased to be whether the the public in Scotland trusts the BBC. The question now is, why would we trust the BBC?

It is folly, too, to suppose that the BBC might abandon the editorial stance referred to. Keith Brown implies that he believes this possible when he says “if this deception continues”. As if there were any doubt that it would. There is no retreat from the BBC’s support for British Nationalist ideology which does not simultaneously undermine the British establishment and strengthen the independence cause. As other factors, such as Brexit, have this effect the BBC will be under pressure to increase its efforts to promote an ever more extreme British Nationalist denial of Scotland’s democratic rights. And to broadcast ever more more virulent anti-Scottish propaganda.

In short; BBC coverage of Scotland’s politics will get very much worse before it never gets better. It will increasingly be seen as a ‘foreign’ broadcaster carpet-bombing Scotland with tales of our inadequacy and unworthiness. Sowing doubt and uncertainty and fear in the minds of Scotland’s people. Sapping confidence and instilling self-contempt. Suffocating the will to act and persuading people of their powerlessness.

As the broadcasting arm of the British establishment, the BBC’s task is to have the people of Scotland believe that we are less than we might be and never can be more because what we are is all we are capable of being and all we deserve to be.

We can trust the BBC to pursue that task with efficiency and enthusiasm.



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