Saturday 31 May 2014


According to the Herald, the new BBC late night politics show for the referendum, billed as “cheeky and fun”, has so far been a bit of a disaster. It seems that Scots may have been a bit insulted by its lack of gravitas. 
Did the BBC think that a London presenter, and daughter of much loved
Labour leader, the late John Smith, would encourage unionist loyalty?
The show was first broadcast on Tuesday night with a not unreasonable viewing figure of 89,000, which they reckon to be 8% of the Scottish audience. (I’ve no idea how they work that figure out, because if 89,000 = 8%, then on rough calculations 1% would be 11,100 and the total potential audience 1,110,000. So, given a Scottish population of around 5.3 million, I am guessing that there must be a standard calculation for working out potential viewers at different times of the day, or for different styles of programming, or that they count one television = one viewer.) 

However it is calculated (any explanations of the system used would be appreciated), it remains a fact that the audience on Wednesday had dropped to 53,000, and on Thursday a mere 22,000 (or 2%) watched the programme.

To be fair STV’s late night political programme viewership decreased as the week went on. Tuesday 166,000, Wednesday 107,000 and Thursday 89,000, so we might conclude that as the week moves on people have other things to do with their late evenings, or perhaps that there was better, more exciting programming on one of the many other channels that even Freeview provides.

Nonetheless, the BBC lost 75% of its viewers over three days, whereas STV lost only around 50%... and by the end of the week had the number of viewers that the BBC had started with.

Not being a watcher of television as a rule, I saw none of the shows on either channel, so I can’t make a personal comment, but the Herald’s own commentators seem to feel that the show was dumbed down ( someone compared it to “The One Show”); that it was biased (they invited the most senior UK politician in Scotland (his own description), one Daniel Alexander, to give a case for NO, and there was no similar representative from YES), and it didn't go without notice that the presenter  had been imported from London, and was the daughter of one time UK Labour, John Smith, the memory of whom David Cameron has been trotting out in his efforts to stop independence. 
TV licence detection is now run by Capita
(or CRAPIA, as Private Eye would have them).
Never, regardless of your licence situation, let these people
over your doorstep. Unless accompanied by police,
they have no right of entry.
Once again it begs some questions:

In the days of multichannel possibilities, is the licence fee a reasonable way to fund the BBC?

Is it necessary to have a state broadcaster at all?

If it is, is it necessary to have such a massive organisation with so many tv channels, radio stations and such a high internet presence?

Should it not be drastically slimmed down so that people who don’t watch it, or watch it very rarely, don’t have to pay £145 a year for the privilege of having a tv set in their homes?

Could not modern technology find a way of turning off the BBC signal to televisions in homes of people who do not wish to receive it?

And, if we must have a state broadcaster, if it must be bigger than any other organisation, if it must cost so much to run, and if technology can’t block BBC signals, couldn't we demand that the organisation be forced (by law and under strict observation by a regulator) to be absolutely apolitical and unbiased?

Commercial organs of the press have the right to print any kind of material, be it biased, dumbed down, moronic, or whatever. You and I have the right not to buy the paper version or read the content online. In other words we have don’t have to pay for it.

With the BBC, if we find it biased and not to our taste for any reason, we can refuse to watch it or listen to it, but we are still obliged by law, under pain of imprisonment, to pay an annual £145, (or whatever sum the English Cabinet Secretary for Culture decides) to have a tv set capable of receiving it in the house.

That’s plain wrong.

Appropriate time to remind you of this event which Cynical Highlander highlighted yesterday. You might like to go along if you are in Glasgow.


  1. The Tories are now looking at the BBC, its funding and purpose, for the next review.
    I used to think they would break it up, but I suspect, now they have seen how cravenly fawning, and politically supportive it can be, as demonstrated in the Referendum, they might have other ideas.
    They hold the purse strings, and now it has shown it is for 'sale' I'm sure the Tory Westminster machine will find a use for it.
    Unfortunately for the Labour Party, the BBC's current 'employer' at least in Scotland, it is likely to be them who will be in the firing line next.

    1. Yes I saw that their culture blokey that replaced Mrs House Purchase for Parents Tax Dodger Woman was to be looking at the licence fee.

      He's a right winger. I wonder if he will want to sell it off. Lord knows they are selling off hospitals, schools. Soon Crapita, Serco, Atos or G4S will be running everything and none of it will work.

      And all for billions of our tax money.

      I'm about as far from being right wing as it is possible to be, but I'd welcome getting the BBC privatised.

      But as you say, they simper over what they are told to simper over, so I expect they will want to keep a part of it firmly under their control.

      It doesn't have much influence with younger people who have replaced TV with Youtube and FB, etc, but many older folks are still pretty much in thrall to tv.

      They could buy a lot of older votes by reducing the licence fee... after all you have to be over 75 to get it for free, adn still have influence over them byy warning the BBC to broadcast what you say or you will sell the rest of them off.

      I see that Lord Sir Companion of Honour OBE CBE MBE PC creep Coe is likely to be in charge of the BBC soon.

      What you can get if your grease the right palms ehhhh...

    2. The BBC will serve their political masters whichever political party is in power so strong is its survival instinct, so the Tories need not think that keeping the BBC would not mean it would turn on them if they were ousted from power at Westminster.

      The only way we could be certain a Scottish Broadcasting Service would not turn into another BBC would be to remove any possibility of political interference with the SBS and having it operate to a strict set of guidelines to ensure impartiality.

      I am confident that our esteemed legal system could come up with something that would enshrine an SBS free of political interference and impartial in an independent Scotland.

  2. Would if I could, cannot leave the wee dog all the time necessary and he would get trampled on in the crowd, though I know he would a good job of peeing on the BBC building, something I know a lot of Scots want to do themselves as they are fed up with the urine emitting from them.
    I can put my entire BBC programming into approximately two hours and falling, they seem to have cornered the market in my favourite programmes that of both World Wars. Last night I watched the programme on Women in Art, guess what, one was a War Artist, Lady Butler I think, it got turned over to something and I made a cup of tea. Coast is nearly in the bin, I am enduring delightful Neil Oliver, I bet he is a NO. Now given the beautiful scenery why on earth would you bother about all the disasters/war involvement. I used to call British Coast, War emplacements you have missed.
    My TV licence runs out September, the last I shall purchase regardless of the vote.

    1. Bravo. I know a lot of people have stopped paying and send the Crapita excuse for a man on his way. (There's a good FB page on tv licences).

      I'm thinking of doing the same.

      I seriously must have watched only a couple of hours of BBC this year.

      That's expensive viewing.

      I only ever watch tv to relax, so Lewis, Midsommer, Endeavour, Morse, Poirot, Marple, Nordic noir... is my chosen programming. All on STV. or ITV 3.

      And we always record them and fast over the ads....

  3. I wish people would direct their ire at the right target. It is not public service broadcasting that is the problem. Nor is it the funding model on which public service broadcasting relies. It is not even the BBC as an institution that is the problem. The problem is entirely one of bad management.

    1. When I say the BBC I mean the management and reporters and most people probably do.
      However they seem impervious to criticism from the public on serious matters. They readily own up to small things in a jokey, Whoops, Auntie BBC did it again, way.
      While there is no legal mechanism e.g. not paying the fee, to have an influence, it is a danger because of its power coupled with insularity, also because a future Government could use it to spread propaganda.
      The referendum demonstrates we are funding propaganda against ourselves.
      The political safeguards supposedly built into the charter and Trust are a meaningless and simply proving an illusion of fairness.

    2. I agree, Peter, that the management is to blame. I've read Derek Bateman on the subject, and I have no reason to disbelieve him. He seems a straight enough guy who says it, rather eloquently, as he sees it. If anyone knows how it works, it is surely him.

      The management is weak, directed from London, frequently lacks knowledge and is grossly top heavy with paper shufflers who have to be accommodated when they have dismally failed in their original jobs. It seems to pander to the wants and needs of people like Dimbleby, whom it seems to regard as some sort of “star”. Clearly management has been a problem for a considerable time. It has been suggested that everyone knew about the Savile business, and the associated sexual misbehaviours, but never tackled it.

      But, with respect, I maintain that a funding model originally devised, I imagine, for 3 radio stations in the days when there was nothing else but the BBC and foreign stations, and which later served as a tv licence for the one and only channel, is long past its sell by.

      If there is a need for public service broadcasting (and I'm sure that the government will always maintain that there is) I doubt that it is necessary to have a service as bloated as the one we have.

      I'm not sure exactly how many tv stations there are, but perhaps around 10, seems excessive, as most of the programming could easily be produced at a profit. Radio stations like 1 and 2 could easily be sold as commercial concerns. I noted recently that Radio Three has started to play "popular classics" in competition with Classic FM, no longer really fulfilling the role of providing minority interest music. There is little need for BBC3, as teens watch very little tv. And I’ve never understood what BBB4 was for. Radio stations like 1 and 2 could easily be sold as commercial concerns. I noted recently that Radio Three has started to play "popular classics" in competition with Classic FM, no longer really fulfilling the role of providing minority interest music and encroaching on their listening market.

      I feel sorry for the BBC in a way. We demand that for £145 a war they must produce programmes that are popular with the public, which inevitably means producing soap operas, talent competitions and house renovations. No wonder Radio 3 feels obliged to play The Magnificent Seven to try to improve on its dismal listening figures.

      If it must be maintained it surely needs to be slimmed down to a tenth of its current size and given the task of real public service broadcasting, whatever that is, but certainly including unbiased and reliable news.
      As I said elsewhere I object to having to pay £145 for a tv service that I never use, but cannot watch tv without.

    3. Yes Anon.

      You never get a satisfactory answer to any complaint.

      And I agree that the trust seems to be a pointless waste of money.

      I doubt Lord Sir Sebastian will improve that.

      You have to wonder what are his qualifications for this job apart from being a Tory Yes Man with more titles than Charlie Windsor.

    4. Too many Labour Luvvies on the BBC not all in Management, but I take the point that as bad management is to blame throughout British Industry, I cannot think of one company not polluted with it why should the BBC be the exception. I have no problem with Public Broadcasting but would prefer that if there is Government input then they should remain outside politics.

    5. It's true that targets and figures have taken over form management far too often.

      Inexperienced fast track managers with no idea of how to do any of the jobs in their organisation, driven only by targets they ahve no idea of how to achieve.

  4. Jeremy Kyle goes to Holyrood.

    1. Jackie billie and Johann Lamont in a catfight with the Kick boxer and wee Willie?

    2. Hmmm Baillie... you'd think I'd be able to spell her name the number of times I've typed it recently.

  5. I think the reason people turned off the new BBC late night current affairs magazine show, is because the colour scheme of the set either gave them a migraine or made them go into conniptions.

    1. So.... you were watching it. Which did you get?

  6. If you can’t attend the protest against BBC Bias on the 1st June then you can still help.

    You can protest peacefully and lawfully by cancelling your license and only using your television to watch catch-up or on demand services.

    The BBC themselves accept it is not a criminal offence to do so:

    10,000 people turning up at Pacific Quay may or may not necessarily make a difference. Look how they tried to misrepresent the numbers attending the rally for independence last year.

    100,000+ people cancelling their TV license en masse on the 1st June will.

    1. That sound like a good idea. To do it legally I would have to get rid of both my sets though because as a very occasional viewer I haven't invested in any kind of catchup or on demand.

      Certainly I could access that by computer I imagine. So it is a thought.

      But I still feel that there should be a way of opting out of the BBC and if that means their radio service too, then so be it.

      I actually didn't have a tv for years, but in 2009 I was sick and spent some time in the house convalescing. I did get a tv at that point, although I mainly used it to watch dvds. (Long standing readers will remember I developed a somewhat weird passion for Murder She Wrote, and bought the complete box set!!)

      Since recovering, I do occasionally watch STV or ITV, but never BBC.

      UI just think there should be an opt out.

      I'd certainly advise anyone with catch up or on demand to cancel their licence.

  7. niko batshit madMay 31, 2014 5:23 pm

    Quelle surprise! the snp separatists are unhappy the state broadcasting company
    is biased to keep the state as one United Kingdom..seeing as the people minus a very few malcontents wish to remain in the uk . why should they not reflect that view why listen to a few unrepresentative stirrers......

    I only wish the rest of the snp would stick tape over their mouths Scotland
    would be more happy nation for it.

    1. A we correction the SBC State Propaganda Corporation tells lies daily to keep the sheep penned up till they all catch mad cow disease like you have.

    2. Niko pet, put a sock in it.

    3. niko,not the most informative comment I've ever read,just tells me you don't care for other people's point of view,and would like us not to comment.

    4. HI Charles. We sometimes have to put Niko back in his box for a while.

      He's like our embarrassing somewhat dotty uncle at Christmas.

      But he doesn't usually wet himself, so things are looking up.


  8. Not paying license or watching tv much. mostly my entertainment is from my pc.

    Have to admit to watching it and feeling cheated. It was the one show on at 10.30pm and Danny was allowed to spout lies and even though everyone knew it was guff he was allowed to go on and on.

    Lukewarm rubbish for children. Anyone watching would have been bored stiff waiting for some one to say anything of meaning but no ..... Flagship show, It's sinking fast and whats the patter with Ms Smith sitting on the end of the desk flashing her pins.... come on. groan.

    Anyone can read an autocue but surely she could have ask a few "tasty questions" But no utter tosh BBC style.

    Watched three episodes and will never watch again.


    1. I got the impression that they had dumbed it down. The One Show sums it up.

      I think with respect to Smith, she is light entertainment material. Maybe she could replace Bruce Forsyth on Strictly Ice Dancing or whatever.

  9. It's interesting to turn the question of BBC bias on its head.

    If the BBC was to fairly and impartially look at Scottish independence in terms of the economy, currency, Scottish government departments, the EU and NATO the question would be who would it upset and what received wisdom would it run up against?

    Because the Better Together campaign is run on the basis of, "You're doomed with independence", then an impartial BBC would upset all the UK political parties, Whitehall, the Westminster Government and the rest of the British Establishment which of course includes the BBC's own high heid-yins.

    It would also run up against the received wisdom of the metropolitan elite who regard nationalists as nutters and Alex Salmond as a slippery rogue. An impartial BBC would prove that he is right and that fact is totally against all the received wisdom in metro-land.

    Since the BBC is run from London and as the vast majority of the 2nd rung BBC employees in Scotland suffer from Jockholm Syndrome and defer to London, the surprise is that it's even pretending that it's impartial.

    1. Yes, of course, for an organisation totally dependent upon the whims of English Culture Secretaries, not Welsh, Irish or Scottish ones, for their continued ability to take £145 in tax, to increase it or to reduce it, to sell bits of it off, or not, it pays them to stick with the establishment.

      So a reasonable journalist would be asking all sorts of questions about the subjects you mention... asking why the UK would act like a spiteful child over, for example, the pound.

      After all, they share the pound with several other countries over which they have no control, don’t set taxes or spending... and for many years they shared the pound with Ireland. Additionally the governor of the Bank of ENGLAND, which of course is really the Bank of Britain, has said that if politicians tell him to do it, he will make it work.

      My obvious question to Alexander (seeing as his boss has left him to take the flak over this) would be. Explain the different attitude to Scotland… and tell me if you can understand that it sounds like petulance to say NO, and that George Osborne always gets his way.

      Same for any number of things. Why would you put barbed wire and towers along the border? You didn’t do it with Ireland. France doesn’t do it with Spain. Is it pettiness? Why would you not co-operate with Scottish people aboard in your embassies. You are obliged by law to help Greeks, Frenchmen, Jersey men, Irish, why would you refuse to help a Scot?

      Have we ever had that kind of interview? NO.

      But we do get a much more forensic questioning of the evil Alex Salmond, whom they appear to hate with passion.

  10. I have to admit to being one of the UKIP Channels, sorry BBC, 89,000 viewers on Tuesday night and one of their 53,000 on Wednesday night. I do wonder though if I actually count as one of their 53,000 cause I only watched the first 10 minutes. Either way I didn't watch their s***e on Thursday night. :-)

    I will not be at the protest at Pacific Quay tomorrow but my thoughts will be with all those who do make it, quite a few hundred from what I hear. I wonder if the UKIP Channel, sorry BBC, will cover the protest. LOL

    1. I have one question, Arbroath.

      Did you get a migraine from the colour of the set or was it a conniption. (what is that anyway?)


    2. I think a migraine was the LEAST of my problems when I watched that *ahem* programme. LOL

    3. Severe case of uncontrolled vomiting?

  11. Replies
    1. Aye... Homebase for me from now on.

  12. Tris

    I watched the first programme and it was very very poor to be honest. Newsnight Scotland was bad enough and very bias but this was shocking. There was no attempt to question fanny Alexander , he got free reign which was a disgrace. The BBC is just a bad joke and there is no need for it now at all, if I had my way I would sell it off it is so poor . Its obvious BBC Scotland is under funded which is clearly shown by the poor quality. Also, the fact they keep flying in poor talent from London should tell the viewers all they need to know.


    1. Yes, I think they brought her in because they seem to think that John Smith will be a factor in their campaign. Cameron talked about him as if he was his political hero, not a deadly political enemy. And from the little of him I remember he'd have eaten Cameron for breakfast.

      She seems to have been a big failure.

      They really have to get it into their heads that there is no need to dumb everything down for us. We don't need a pretty face giving us tabloid at that time of night.

      And if you are going to have cabinet secretaries on you really have to have someone a bit heavyweight to force them to answer the questions.

      Not a female Terry Wogan.

  13. Replies
    1. Bad news.

      You have to try to imagine how you would feel if it was your friends...

  14. What the cybernats are about.

    “Impartiality” is a danger for people of weak character because it tempts them to hold it as more important than life. We have become well enough acquainted with it in both North and South Germany as well as in the former Habsburg monarchy as the most miserable and pedantic of bureaucratic manias. Revolutions and other events have shown us how little backbone its supporters have. A part of the German press has been slightly colored by it as well. Although they are in direct contact with the people, whose lives are in constant motion, contact with reality is not guaranteed. Paper can take a long time to die if it is not promptly devoured by the flames of revolutionary youth.

    The ideal of the German press is “impartiality,” or “objectivity,” which sounds better. Those who want to be “impartial” or “objective” forget that one can be so only when he serves a great cause. The press is not a cause in itself, only an instrument

    Dr. Goebbels most clearly expresses this attitude:

    We wanted to continue propaganda methods by means of journalism, since the free spoken word was prohibited to us. It was not our intention to found an informative paper for our supporters. Our newspaper developed out of our attitudes, and should be written from and for those attitudes. Our aim was not to inform, but to incite, to stimulate, to impel. The organ we founded should act like a whip to wake sleepers from their slumber and incite them to restless action. The name (Der Angriff) as well as the motto of the newspaper was a program: “For the Oppressed! Against the Exploiters!” stood in large letters next to the title. It demanded to be read. The whole program and field of action was outlined by the title and masthead of this newspaper.

  15. Sounds like the Unionist MSM to me?

    Is there a prize?

  16. But that wasn't objectivity or impartiality.

    It was a propaganda paper.

    What we want surely is a BBC, as it is paid for by each and every one of us, that gives equal time to both arguments... pro Scottish.

    We want journalists who are as likely to be forensic with Alistair Darling or Alexander as they are with Nicola Sturgeon or Alan Grogan.

    What we want is the tone of the articles to be neither for not against, but simply lay out the facts.

    We do not have that at the moment.

    We are not asking that the press, privately owned, be impartial.

    The Daily Express and Daily Mail, for example, tabloids that try to look as if they are not, have headlines that scream lies (often shown to be inaccurate later in the story... but who cares, most people only see them on the newsstand and read no farther than "AleX Salmond's evil plan comes to pieces"). This is the right of a free press.

    We don;t ask that that be curbed. Commercial good sense should tell them what to do.

    But the BBC is funded by each householder, whether they like it or not. On pain of a fine, or imprisonment. We surely have a right to demand that it tells it fair and square.

    1. Sorry... that was a response to Anonymous.

      David. It is the MSM!

      Prize is a Weekend in the Clyde Tunnel with Maggie Curran.

  17. Replies
    1. |I see they are heading for industrial action in Glasgow since they decided to pay Naighty a vast amount to cover the referendum and sack one of their long term presenters to make up the money.

      Gary Robertson has to go to save money so that they can afford that jumped up arse, Do you know who I am Naughtie.


    3. Gary Robertson? Good riddance.

      They should give Naughtie a huge rise/bonus/pension contribution and sack the fecken rest of them too.

    4. Do you like him Barney?

      I think he's a pompous self important bastard.

      I'd just shut the whole channel down.

      But a strike would be good. If they aren't producing anything, at least they aren't producing lies.

      Do we get a refund on the licence fee?:)

    5. Do I like him? Splutter!

      That's like asking do I like swimming in bovine excreta.

      But if the cost of his wages can get rid of any of the rest of the evil liars at Pacific Quay then go for it.

      I see that even the Beeb's academic (innit?) clique are becoming part of the propaganda. Apparently the dated walking pimple Neil Oliver of Coast fame has come out as one of those Scots who are PROUD to sook up to the crooks, liars and war-mongers of Westminster.

      P.S. What's a license fee?

    6. LOL

      Ues. well I suspect Neil thinks he might not get the vast money he gets paid from SBC.

      So he votes with his pocket book.


      As for Naughtie... try not to choke. I was kinda joking/...