Tuesday, 21 May 2013


STV is to broadcast a three-part series examining the history and development of the independence question in Scotland.
Road to Referendum will include exclusive interviews with the First Minister. Alex Salmond and a  range of politicians, commentators and well-known Scottish personalities along with David Cameron will take part in the programme which will be shown on STV from Tuesday, June 4, then 11 and 18.
STV's programmes  look at the past 70 years of Scotland's history  looking at how attitudes to culture and politics have changed over the years  using STV archive material, among other sources to put the history of Scotland's independence debate in context.
The first programme looks at 1945 to 1974; the second programme takens on the "Thatcher Years" , and the final programme starts with John Major's win at the 1992 general election and and the changes of the last 20 or so years which have led to the referendum.
A book to accompany the programmes  has been written by Iain Macwhirter.
On the basis that MacWhirter has shown himself to be among the fairest of the Scottish commentators, writing on the subject of independence, I look forward to a balanced programme.


  1. And for viewers in the south of Scotland.....?

  2. Hi Eric...Do you not get STV there?

  3. Ah CH... the brains of the outfit!

    What channel do you get in the Borders Region now that Border ITV is defunct?

    I thought it was like Grampian, which became STV.

  4. http://www.scoop.it/t/scottish-independence-by-jeff-duncan

    I note that Border ITV, although run from somewhere in England, will broadcast MacW's programmes.

  5. I think it is Tyne Tees which is total London broadcasting control nonsense yet another reason of overburdening weight of facts to vote YES in 2014.

  6. Yes. How incredibly ridiculous that there isnot one ITV company for Scotland.

    I never understood the Border thing. I dunno whether it worked out ok or not.

    But surely, based as it was in Carlisle it wasn't likely to have a Scottish flavour.

    Fair enough, maybe that doesn't matter if you live at the border, but the law changes the moment you cross the border and what happens in Edinburgh affects you; and what happens in Newcastle or Carlisle doesn't.

  7. Sorry, been away for a bit. I don't watch much "Border TV" for obvious reasons. Yes, there's STV Player or whatever its called but no, we don't get STV. So, if it's on STV we can seek it out later - the listings said we got a repeat of "Vicious" instead of Sturgeon-Moore. That might have been their take on irony. STV isn't mainstream viewing. It's highly unlikely that huge numbers will seek out STV Player for coverage of the referendum or anything else, so I'm glad if McWhirter's programme is going to be on Border (it's not going to be broadcast at 2am is it?)

  8. Eric:

    It is a ridiculous situation that there still is a tv region that covers the two countries. Clearly even if there were two companies you would be able to get reception of both around the border region, but you need to be able to get a Scottish programme, otherwise you are being fed news about English schools and hospitals, policing and law, etc that doesn't affect you.

    I see that there has been an appeal from Joan mcAlpine that STV's area should be increased to cover th Scottish area of the borderlands, but Labour is saying that there should be a distinctive voice for the area.

    In the North we used to have a separate company called Grampian TV based in Aberdeen. It was taken over by STV, but there remains a separate new programme from Aberdeen, and within that programme a special section comes directly from Dundee. There is no reason why STV couldn't run a news service Dumfries, with a section broadcast direct from Peebles or Jedburgh or Melrose...

    I'm afraid I can't give you the time of broadcast though... :( You can always tape it if it's on at 2.

  9. "Labour is saying that there should be a distinctive voice for the area." - run from England and dominated by an English agenda. Yep, sounds like Labour right enough. I've no objection whatsoever to a "Borders" viewpoint within the mainstream news/current affairs/whatever broadcasting, but we need to be within the Scottish mainstream and not excluded, which is what happens at the minute.

  10. Let's be contraversial - why not broadcast it UK wide? Judging by the number of clueless UK non Scots-residents commneting btl, they need an education!!

  11. Something else I've noticed (I think). There have been over the years a number of good programmes on BBC2 about Scots and Scotland, which I've thought would be particularly interesting for viewers south of the border. When I've checked over to the listings for BBC Englandshire they're never there. Were they shown at a different time that I missed, or were they judged of little interest to our friends and neighbours over the Tweed? Nation Shall Speak Unto Nation! (or not, as the case may be).

    So, a Scottish programme about something of vital interest to Scots actually being broadcast to all of Scotland is an achievement. Broadcast in England too? Don't let's go crazy here.

  12. Tris

    I'll need to set the box to record and hope that they do a decent job. I agree that MacWhirter is a bit more balanced than most and STV tend to be a little bit more balanced than most also so fingers crossed. I did watch ST last night and thought that it was all a bit bland with no serious questions being asked and again the rolling out of so called professors blah blah blah. It's about time they started to ask the public a bit more, and please no more Torrance as he gets right on my tits.

    I noticed that Brewer was a bit more balanced last night also on Newsnight England end bit named Scotland, must have been told to give the impression of impartiality for a change to head of the moaners and cybernats who are thick and stupid.


  13. Probably that is what they are saying Eric. All part of One Nation Labourism.

    But the truth is, whether Labour likes it or not, that Scots law has always been different from English law, as has Education and Health services, even in the old days of the Scottish Office. And being told that the Secretary of State for Health or Education or the Home Office Minister is announcing this or that or the next thing is of little interest and no value to you if you live in an area outwith their jurisdiction. You might as well be told that the Ministre des Affaires Etrangeres is announcing something in Paris. In the meantime you aren't aware of changes that are taking place in your own country! Mad.




    Note this quote from the last article

    However, Dumfriesshire Labour MSP Dr Elaine Murray countered that most viewers would prefer coverage in the old Carlisle-based Border TV style than broadcasts from central Scotland.

    She said: “Thanks to the move to digital television, in which Dumfries and Galloway led the way, local people have had the opportunity to view BBC Scotland, and the general opinion was that viewers were generally content with the services offered by Border TV, until it moved into ITV Tyne Tees region, which covers a far larger area.

    “Many of my constituents feel that that ‘local’ news had been somewhat replaced by news from the Newcastle and Sunderland area.

    “However, the news programme Lookaround still attracts a significant number of viewers daily.”

    Liberal Democrat South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume agreed.

    He said: “I would argue that people across Dumfries and Galloway would be concerned that Glasgow is equally as remote from them as Newcastle is.

    “The fact is that viewers in the south west look to Channel 3’s regional news as the place for the more localised content, but there is a fear that local content would simply be replaced by a Central Belt bias if it was run from Glasgow.”

    If you see Britain as one country then I suppose it might be a reasonable attitude to take, but frankly, as I've said before with different laws and systems in the two countries it must be confusing for some viewers, plus why would there be a Glasgow bias if there isn't a gateshead bias, or do these people think that that is preferable.

    As I said we still get Grampian news with an added Dundee section, why wouldn't they do the same with Borders? If the Liberals and Labour are that worried about the central belt bias why is Tavish Scott not kicking off about the lack of coverage of Shetland news and demanding that Norwegian or Faroese television cover the island?

  14. Here in the Borders we had the Carlisle based service for years, and it's easy to see why many folk might want a return to that, on the basis that its better than what comes out of Gateshead. However, the "Kendall and Keswick" syndrome was precisely what we had then (I think I know all the villages in the Lake District off by heart), and there were any number of complaints on the Scottish side of the Border at the time. Unionists like Murray and Hume are all about the division - its a first principle on this issue that the Borders is not given a service that makes people feel more "Scottish". I am a Borderer, I love the area, I feel a strong affinity with Northumbria just a few miles down the road................but I am after all a Scottish Borderer, I live in Scotland, I'm affected by all the change that's happening in Scotland, I'm as much concerned with what's happening at Holyrood as someone in Thurso or Dundee. Maybe my TV service could reflect all that?

  15. I totally agree with you Eric.

    MSPs and MPs tend to say "my constituents want..." and follow it with whatever suits THEIR political agenda.

    In this case anything to encourage the fact that bordered in any countries are more influenced by what goes on just on the other side of whatever border.

    people in UK border towns are obviously interested to an extent in what is going on around them, and if England is only a mile down the road and your nearest BIG town is in England, then you will have an interest in its affairs. I've a friend who lives on the border between France and Luxembourg and she frequently goes for a night out across the border or whops in Luxembourg. She is interested in what is happening there, but she is french, and it is french laws that affect her life.

    It's a political agenda here. Joan McA is on the case though!!!

  16. Eric

    Can you not have your SKY box retuned to STV?

  17. I live abroad and for some reason the box has defaulted to Central TV and BBC London.

    There was a rugby game from Edinburgh which was only broadcast in Scotland and the SRU posted a link on how to add STV to the "additional channels" list. It will later not show up in the channels menu but go back to the additional channel [place and it is will be there awaiting.

    Try googling how to do it

  18. It probably is a hanging offence to do it but, what the hades.

  19. Inner Bearsden - I'm afraid I don't have a SKY box - Murdoch, barge-pole and all that. I have TalkTalk, which previously allowed me to select STV to replace "Border" but now since I upgraded to YouView no longer does. Any advice from YouViewers here appreciated.

    The key point, though, is that people across Scotland need to have regular Scottish news and current affairs presented as part of their mainstream viewing. Most aren't going to go to the bother of re-tuning, seeking out STV Player or whatever unless they're really keen to watch a particular programme. If it's in the normal schedules at a decent time in the evening it's much more likely to be watched.

  20. I'm the same. I'd jump off the Eiffel Tower rather than give the Dirty Digger a brass farthing. So can't help you either, sorry.

  21. Being a typical Dundonian, i can watch every TV channel (allegedly), and i don't need a TV licence. :-)

    1. Bravo Jutie... You must be paying approximately what the service is worth.

  22. Back from my Dutch adventure, and am pleased and thrilled by the new look blog!

    Very swanky, this joint maybe getting a little too classy and upmarket for poor wee tykes like me and Niko tho ;)

    1. The 'green thing' the other day wasn't so good though. Difficult to read on my phone when i was meant to be working.

    2. That's an awful thing to say about Niko!

    3. What callin him a wee tyke? I think that conjures up adorably cute mental images of many tiny little toddler and baby Nikos!

    4. No lowering him down to your intellectual level of understanding!

    5. I didn't know you'd been on a Dutch adventure Dean. But glad you enjoyed it and you're welcome back. Thanks for the nice words about the blog. It hasn't got any posher though...you can still get in with jeans and dirty trainers...

      Niko hasn't been seen much recently. He's been acting a bit strange too. I'm a tad worried. Maybe John will have a word in his ear.

      Jutie: Point taken. I won't do things in Green any more, if I can help it (and of course if I can remember).

      Hmmmm CH, be nice. We may not all agree, but we do like each other, don't we? And Dean, you be nice to CH too. :)

      If anyone has any problems with colours on the blog, specially if they are reading them on iphones under the desk at work, let me know.

      I tried to keep the screen varied, but obviously there's no point in it looking nice if you can't read it.

      Sorry about the lack of posts. I'm a bit busy and feeling horrific at the moment with an ongoing throat infection that won't quit.

      Maybe Munguin could write something!!!

  23. In yesterday's "Southern Reporter":

    "FOLLOWING significant pressure from politicians across the south of Scotland, ITV Border will show coverage of the ongoing independence issue.

    Last week STV broadcast a debate between local MP Michael Moore and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – however, this was not shown in the ITV Border region.

    But ITV later confirmed the Borders would receive future coverage.

    Michael Jermey, ITV director of news and current affairs, said: “ITV Border viewers will be able to watch extensive, high-quality impartial political programming on the independence issue in the run-up to September 2014, together with a rich range of discussion on this important debate.” ITV also confirmed that there will “extensive coverage” of the issues surrounding independence within its weekday evening news programme Lookaround.

    Borders MSP John Lamont said: “The referendum on whether or not we should separate from the rest of the United Kingdom will be the most important decision that Scots have made in 300 years.

    “As such it is vital that voters are given the information they need to make an informed decision. That is why I am delighted that ITV have pledged to offer full and extensive coverage of the debate over the coming months before the vote.”"

    Interesting that the paper chose ToryBoy Lamont to comment when, as far as I can see, it's been those on the "Yes" side who have made all the complaints and representations (I suppose the bugger did get himself elected!), but nonetheless we'll see this as a significant move in the right direction. Then, after the Yes vote in 2014 we can organise a proper TV service!

  24. Thanks for that update Eric. Amazing that they chose him for a comment, but there are some really pushy people that never cease to get their names in the paper. Om a national level I used to think of the Liberal leader as being like that. Leader of 4 people and yet regardless of who else they got a comment from he was always there. I noticed that Lamont used the word "separate". They never miss a chance to be negative about the Scotland debate. I suppose they think of the word "independent" as a positive word, whereas the word "separate" has negative connotations.

    I'm glad that Border are doing this. Certainly you can't count on the BBC to provide an impartial debate.

  25. Wanted: referendum editor to head new £5m BBC unit

    No doubt another Labour card carrying propaganda team leader to be appointed.

  26. "Scottish Labour media chief Paul Sinclair tweeted: "BBC Scotland to get £5m to cover referendum. Hope Yes Scotland declares it to the Electoral Commission – its biggest donation so far." "

    Stupid, stupid, stupid man. BBC Scotland has already admitted that it has no obligation to be fair and unbiased until the official referendum campaign starts. No one in their right minds would say that its bias in general terms is anything other than unionist.

    Now maybe we should ask if it has been declared by one of the no teams.

    Or maybe it would be better to say that because it is a huge story, and because BBC Scotland is underfunded given the population of Scotland, that population's financial input and the BBC's expenditure in the country, that to cover it, BBC is going to use some of its massive understand in Scotland to cover the story.

    Maybe too the fact that there has been a move to watching STV's coverage has indicated that they should pay a bit more attention to the referendum.

  27. Oh and let's be honest. Even the BBC couldn't have been positive about Lamont's performance at conference... That was where she ditched the last vestiges of socialism and lectured everyone about being a set of greedy scroungers mooching from the English, wasn't it?