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BBC Scotland: An irresponsible manufacturer of fake British nationalist outrage

BBC Scotland has been accused of bias and stoking division by scrutinising the SNP’s call for a Tory-free Scotland in the general election, sparking controversy over political reporting integrity.



BBC Scotland: An irresponsible manufacturer of fake British nationalist outrage

BBC Scotland has been accused of bias and stoking division by scrutinising the SNP’s call for a Tory-free Scotland in the general election, sparking controversy over political reporting integrity.

O ver the weekend, Humza Yousaf unveiled a key plank of the SNP’s pitch to voters at the Westminster general election which is expected to be held later this year. The SNP will urge voters to vote SNP at that election in order to turn Scotland into a Tory-free zone, obviously insofar as Scottish Westminster MPs are concerned.

Last December, Anas Sarwar, the branch manager of the Labour Party’s Scottish accounting unit, made a very similar pitch to the Scottish electorate, urging voters to vote Labour in order to ‘get rid’ of the Tories.

Guess which of these two very similar political statements was deemed necessary of critical scrutiny and hostile questioning by BBC Scotland? No prizes there, we all know which, while the statement by Anas Sarwar passed unremarked on BBC Scotland Gary Robertson on the Good Morning Unionists show on BBC Radio Scotland felt the need to ask Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn a series of ludicrous and deliberately obtuse point-missing and illogical critical questions about the statement by the First Minister.

It is blatantly obvious to anyone with the logical and critical thinking skills of a ten-year-old that the First Minister was urging voters to lend their support to the SNP in order to reduce the number of Conservative MPs representing Scottish seats to zero. It really is that simple and that clear. However, far from merely reporting the news, BBC Scotland sees its real role as being to manufacture and promote a false sense of victimhood amongst British nationalists and to create a fictitious narrative that those who oppose Scottish independence are being oppressed by those evil nationalists. In so doing, BBC Scotland is stoking up division and toxifying Scottish politics.

Presenter Gary Robertson asked Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn, who was appearing on the show: “This is not about getting rid of the Tories. This is more than this. You’re talking about Scotland being a ‘Tory-free’ zone. So you’re suggesting that those who vote Tory shouldn’t have anyone to vote for.”

That is, frankly, a moronic and deliberately controversy-stoking conclusion to come to from the premise of making Scotland a Tory-free zone at the next Westminster general election. It doesn’t even make any sense in its own terms. If those who vote Tory don’t have anyone to vote for then they logically cannot be ‘those who vote Tory’. The question was framed in such a way as to imply that the SNP is seeking to prevent the Conservatives from putting up any candidates, presumably in some British nationalist victimisation fantasy where the SNP had both the ability and willingness to do so.


There are indeed democracy-denying parties in Scottish politics, the leading exemplar of which is the Conservative Party. However, BBC Scotland rarely gets itself too exercised by that.

Jamie Hepburn gave Robertson’s stupid question short shrift, pointing out that it obviously meant reducing the number of Conservative MPs representing Scottish constituencies to zero, as happened in the Westminster general election of 1997.

Undaunted, Gary Robertson continued to dig deeper into the logic hole he’d created for himself, asking Jamie Hepburn why he wanted to ‘disenfranchise’ Conservative voters. How very dare an independence-supporting MSP wish for the electoral annihilation of a corrupt and increasingly authoritarian right-wing British nationalist party whose policies have created misery, penury, and social division and despair to a degree not seen in a century.

Robertson also showed that he doesn’t really grasp the meaning of the word ‘disenfranchise’. Surely the listeners of BBC Scotland have a right to expect a modicum of political literacy from the Corporation’s presenters when they are interviewing politicians.

You are not disenfranchised when the party you vote for fails to win an election, you are disenfranchised when you are deprived of the ability to vote in the first place, which is precisely what the Tories have been doing with their introduction of voter ID requirements straight out of the American Republican playbook. These measures have a disproportionate impact on those demographic groups least likely to possess the necessary ID, such as the young and the poor, groups which are typically less likely to vote Conservative.

Gary Robertson certainly knows that, but he chose to frame his question in a misleading and inflammatory way in order to stoke up outrage amongst his listeners. Will no one think of the Tories? They’re the real victims here, apparently.

That was bad enough, but then Kaye Adams decided to pour a gallon of petrol on the fires of outrage so assiduously stoked by her colleague by reading out a listener’s comment that compared the SNP’s ‘Tory free’ political slogan to the Nazi genocide of Jews during the Second World War. The comment questioned whether this was Humza Yousaf’s “Final Solution,” a clear allusion to the Nazi plan to exterminate Europe’s Jewish population. This is what passes for political commentary and reporting on BBC Scotland these days.

Reading out the comment from a listener named John, Adams said: “Slowly getting rid of all political opposition, this is the rhetoric of the 1930s, says John.” And Adams chose to publicise this hysterical attention-seeking British nationalist bollocks.

“What about the 700,000 Scots who vote Conservative, are their political viewpoints to be marginalised from Scottish society and ultimately banned from expressing their opinion? Is this Humza’s ‘final solution for dealing with the Tory problem’?”

Poor Tories, whose views dominate the printed press and who have an entire TV channel devoted to their right-wing extremism, which is also regularly platformed by the BBC. They are the real victims here.

Kaye Adams didn’t have to read this appalling and inflammatory message out; she chose to select it and to broadcast it, and in so doing, decided it was appropriate to conflate the SNP General Election campaign slogan with the Holocaust to a BBC audience.


BBC Scotland is desperate to spin the SNP election strategy into some fundamental assault on democracy, even as the Corporation normalises the likes of British nationalists such as the Reform Party while turning a blind eye to the creeping authoritarianism in both the Conservative and Labour parties.

It’s not just the Torification of British politics that we need to worry about in the coming Westminster general election, as Starmer’s Labour party adopts Conservative policies wholesale; it’s also the descent of BBC Scotland into the hysterical right-wing divisive British national rhetoric that is the speciality of GB News.

PUBLIC SQUARE UK




Sources:

▪ This piece was first published in Wee Ginger Dug and re-published in PUBLIC SQUARE UK on 18 March 2024 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
Cover: Dreamstime/4kclips.