Thursday 19 November 2015


To the BBC

Teaching the Libations a few chords before my big number


Dear BBC,

We know that you are based in England, and that most of your staff are English.

Given the respective sizes of our UK constituent  countries, this is only to be expected. It's quite fair, and we have no problem with it. We just wish you would spend a little more of your money in our counties, instead of the bulk of it being spent in London and Manchester.

But it is important as a news organisation to remember that what you are broadcasting, although mainly for consumption in England, does go out in other countries too. You know, that is not unfair, given that citizens of the other countries pay licence fees at exactly the same rate as the English do.

It is, therefore, very important for you to distinguish, in your reporting of a news item, which countries you are referring to.
In many cases your failure to make it clear is little more than an irritation; a discourtesy, and what minor misunderstandings your misreporting of events cause are of no real significance. 

However, your reports about junior doctors' intention to take strike action, do not come into that category.

There are in fact four NHSs in the UK. The English one is the biggest of course, but in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, thankfully, Jeremy Hunt is NOT the Health Secretary. 

Mark Drakeford is Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Government. In Northern Ireland Simon Hamilton is Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and in Scotland, as seen above talking about junior doctors,  is the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being, Shona Robison.

Mr Hunt has badly handled the dispute with junior doctors and strike action applies only to his fiefdom In the other countries more mature and sensible heads have prevailed.
This is a massive vote for strike in England. NHS Scotland open to junior docs who want to be valued by government.
It matters so much this time becasue those who are ill, or expecting to be taken into hospital for routine procedures, or have outpatients appointments, or indeed friends or family of these people in the Celtic countries of this union, should not be alarmed by today's news. It doesn't apply to them.

When things are geographically specific, you should report them as such. You wouldn't, for example, warn everyone across the UK to evacuate their houses becasue of an unexploded bomb in Brown Street in Bristol, would you? 

No, because even if the bomb went off in Bristol, people in Cardiff or Derry or Aberfeldy wouldn't be affected. 

Same thing then with cancelled appointments in Scotland. They are not going to happen.

Now for heaven's sake it's not that difficult, BBC. 

Britain is not England is not Britain.

Try saying it over to yourselves a few times and see if eventually it sinks in.

Oh, and one last thing, before I go. If you seriously think that you can address the democratic deficit in your reporting in Scotland by appointing Sarah Smith, another of you Labour Party friends to be your Scotland Editor, then please, think again. We're not impressed, in fact we are howling with laughter at your ineptitude.

It's a bit like trying to fight a fire with paraffin. And we are beginning to wonder if you are doing this on purpose.

Kind regards



  1. Dear Scotland,

    We, the BBC, note that despite our best wishes you have STILL not returned to your little boxes. This is not very respectful from you. To this end we have appointed Sarah Smith to the position of Scotland Editor. We know that she controlled your thought processes so well during the independence campaign that she will undoubtedly mastermind another excellent anti independence campaign as and when you decide to leave the most noble of noblest unions.

    Now just do as you are told Scotland ... get back in your box!

    Yours in superior being


    1. Well Arbroath the trouble with that shortbread tin, is that it has shortbread in it. So no I am not eating it to get back in.
      I wonder if they would like it if we told them to go away and make faggots.

  2. Dear BBC,

    Tried that. We don't fit in that box any more.


  3. They don't care what we Scots think of them because they don't have to.
    The same as the Tory government in London.
    Nothing is going to change with the BBC in Scotland until they are accountable to Scottish tax payers.
    No chance of that happening any time soon.

    1. Even the greatest devolution since time began hasn't suggested letting Scotland control broadcasting... unlike many other devolved admin I can think of.

      No, they won't let us do that, because they like to control the BBC.

      When you think about it, why else would Britain want a nationalised broadcaster?

      We privatised everything else, except air (so far)... but not the BBC??????

  4. The bit which I miss is the radio. Tentatively again, I will listen to the odd R4 program. I do love the Now Show - who regularly acknowledge as if they get it that we have a different system in Scotland. I catch some documentaries, though with the usual critical hyperfaculty switched on.

    But TV? Radio Scotlandshire? Only Off The Ball - and nothing else.

    Stopped watching and listening last year. Took a wee bit to get used to. But its not like a family bereavement. More like the loss of say John Peel. You acknowledge it but get over it quickly enough and forget about it.

    So dont let them bother you. Just boycott them. Find legal alternatives - Iplayer if you must ( I have watched precisely 2 shows on that since I binned them ) - youtube, netflix, I have a bigger DVD collection ( mostly foreign language films ). Cancel the tax. Do not break the law. Detune the channels. And leave them to narrowcast to the remaining folk daft enough to believe their propaganda.

    3% Tokyo Kaye gets apparently. If she wasn't so loyal she'd be applying for another position.

    Saor Alba

    1. Like you I binned the BBC tv licence, and strictly legally too. I disconnected the aerial, ave away a tv and kept one for watching videos...which I have never done!

      I've never been a great tv watcher, so I didn't miss it one bit.

      But it annoys me when they scare people with stories of the horrors that are happening in England in health, with the policing (in some places they are warning that they no longer have the manpower to attend burglaries), in the courts where you may end up paying thousands for pleading "not guilty", etc.

      Misinformation for political purposes is one thing; we know the BBC wants to encourage us to be British. But I know someone who was genuinely worried about hospital appointments during the strike, which isn't happening in this country.

      I can happily say I've never in all my life listened to Call Kaye. :)

    2. PS: Agree about the Now Show.

      Used to like The News Quiz when Sandi was the chair too.

      It's gone downhill since she left.

    3. "The bit which I miss is the radio"

      Last time I checked, you don't need a licence to listen to radio.

    4. @ jdman

      Propaganda, not licences. Both speech channels come from the MOT. I don't want to hear lies, misinformation, slanted news, casual anti Scots racism, comedians who should have moved on years ago ( Mr Hardy! ), or who have egos bigger than their talent ( Ms Calman!). And the list goes on.

      I would listen to a station playing Scots/Irish/Americana all day. But - and here its the presenters ( and the particular ads ) - Classic FM is only good for me in moderation.

      Saor Alba

    5. I don;t mind people poking a bit of fun at Scots. As long as its done with humour it's OK... and at least with Jeremy Hardy, he pokes fun at everyone in the same way.

      I tend to listen to very little and watch nothing.

  5. Replies
    1. Yup brilliant!

      BNC: British Narrowcast Corporation.

      Only a letter off BNP.

  6. Used to say that the BBC did not get Devolution but we all know better theses days. Ignore Devolution, the English are not interested in it. Leave our friends in the South in glorious ignorance, thinking they still rule the world. the trouble is that it also leave those people that are ignorant here, and they are in a dwindling amount, scared out their wits.
    No as long as we serve our Imperial Masters we will never get control of their propaganda machine, that you can be certain of.

    1. No, but as Saor says, the best thing to do is to stop watching their programmes and stop finding them.

  7. I agree entirely and wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in this article. I'm sure you have articulated what many Scots think. this an open letter? Did you send it to the BBC? Have you gone through the BBC Complaints process? And, if you didn't do either of the latter, what good will it do?

    1. I've been through the BBC complaints process, guess what,, the usual patronizing waffle.
      They couldn't give a toss..

    2. It's not really even an open letter Brian.

      It's just a device for me to complain that the BBC conflate England with Britain, and that, while sometimes that is annoying, it can also be misinforming.

      I am forever hearing about the Education Secretary, or the Justice Secretary or a Minister for Culture or Overseas Development, and then I hear a name that I either don;t recognise at all, because they are an English minister, or that I recognise but stilol has nothing to do with me.

      I don;t mind international news; I'm interested in what's happening ion other countries, but when they tell us about the French or Spanish government, they make it quite clear that the minister to whom they refer is, in fact French, or Spanish.

      Not so with England. It's like they forget we exist. Fine, but they don;t forget to send their goons out to check that we have paid for what is effectively an English Broadcasting Corporation.

      I would write to them, but what's the point?

      When I have done it in the past I get a standard letter back that doesn't address the issue.

      They don't care.

  8. SKY is just as bad, or even worse. There is no Scottish news programme and Scottish subscribers must accept the stories about life in England, with an occasional contribution from James Matthews.
    You would think that Rupert Murdoch (Scottish ancestry) might have noticed how Scotland is ignored.

    1. There's no way I would ever pay for Sky

      Rupert Murdoch is plain evil.