Why oh why oh why…

I’m so thoroughly sick of seeing a complete lack of balance in the referendum debate, particularly from the BBC, that I wrote to them just now, using their online complaints procedure: 

The Scottish independence referendum is a crucial matter for people in Scotland, whether they think it or not. It has been noted on many occasions that the BBC has been, and continues to be, very selective with the stories it produces on this.

For example, Paddy Ashdown has questioned the legitimacy of the Ian Taylor donation to Better Together, yet there is nothing at all on it anywhere. Instead, we have a piece about Dennis Canavan talking about a Scottish currency. The former could be seen as negative for Better Together, the latter, for Yes Scotland.

This happens time and time again. You are entrusted – and paid – to share news in a balanced manner, yet this is demonstrably not the case.

I looked at the ‘Scotland’s Future’ page today: not one update since the 25th, even ‘though the page maintains it contains the ‘latest news’ on the upcoming referendum. Seven articles for the whole of April – there are newsworthy stories every single day.

BBC staff may well harbour unfounded concerns about their future should Scotland vote Yes, but the BBC has a duty to reflect the actual facts in an objective manner, not a choice selection. It is not it’s place to further the view of the UK Government – it is supposed to be a fact-based service.

I stopped paying for a TV Licence several months ago, and I will not be paying for one at any point in the foreseeable future.

I don’t just want Yes Scotland press releases all the time – I want balance. 

 

I fully expect the usual palming-off, of course.

Better Misleading Together

'better together' untruths

‘better together’ untruths

There are several issues with this ‘sponsored post’ which popped up on my personal facebook feed this afternoon.

‘The choice we face: further devolution vs separation’

Since BT were so pedantic about the actual referendum question, let’s pull them up on this.

The question is ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’, with the answers being ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. The question mentions neither ‘further devolution’ or ‘separation’. Pretty simple really.

And what is this ‘further devolution’ anyway? I seem to recall the UK Govt & BT objecting to a third option on the ballot paper, directly relating to ‘further devolution’. THEY removed that option from the electorate. Three options would apparently be too complicated for our poor wee Scotch brains to cope with.

But moving on from their already obvious hypocrisy…

It took Labour a full SIX MONTHS after announcing it to even hold their first meeting on the subject. And we’re still waiting for even the tiniest titbit of info from them.

Come on Johann, we want the facts!
Now!
You demand every unknowable detail about life after a Yes vote, so surely a little bit of extra power for Holyrood isn’t that hard to come up with?
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And then there’s the Lib Dem’s: a party (or should that be wake?) who claim to have been wanting a federal system in the UK for years.

Been in shared power at Westminster now for what… three years now? And, of course, they were in coalition with Labour at Holyrood for not one, not two, but EIGHT YEARS! Why haven’t we got their proposals yet??

Come on Willie, we want the facts!
Now!
You demand every unknowable detail about life after a Yes vote, so surely a little bit of extra power for Holyrood isn’t that hard to come up with?
______________

Last, and by all means least, we come to the Tories… oh boy!

Just for a moment, let’s go back a few years to let’s say, oh I don’t know… 1997?

The Scottish electorate were asked two questions in that year’s referendum (that’s FOUR possible options btw – apparently we could just about manage that back then):

  1. Do you agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament? Yes/No 
  2. Do you agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-rising powers? Yes/No

The Tory party campaigned against both – they didn’t want Scotland to have more democracy.

(You may also notice that both questions contained the words ‘do you agree’ – words Better Together members Labour and the Lib Dem’s were adamant shouldn’t be in the current referendum question)

So the Tories didn’t want a Scottish Parliament at all. They didn’t fail to put forward candidates for it when the first election was held mind!

Skip forward a few years again, this time to September 2011 – just 19 months ago.

Ruth Davidson said this at the start of her campaign to become the leader of the Scottish Conservatives:

“The Scotland Bill currently going through Westminster is the line in the sand. The time for arguing about the powers the people want is over. It’s time now to use the powers that we have.”

A ‘line in the sand’. That means no further devolution of powers. She was quite clear about it, and she went on to win the leadership with that pledge.

Fast-forward again to March of this year. The line in the sand has magically vanished. Now Ruth WANTS more powers at Holyrood… and less for Scottish MPs at Westminster! This lady it seems IS for turning – rapidly and through 360°.

So come on Ruth, we want the facts!
Now!
You demand every unknowable detail about life after a Yes vote, so surely a little bit of extra power for Holyrood isn’t that hard to come up with?
______________

Perhaps the other parties who have unwavering support for the union have definite, published plans? I wouldn’t know, as I have no interest in the policies either UKIP or the BNP. Sorry if you think that’s a cheap shot, but the fact is they are anti-independence and also behind Better Together – not my fault!
______________

All of these points lead to two conclusions:

  1. The main parties opposed to independence, who themselves removed the ‘further devolution’ option from the referendum, haven’t a clue what, if anything, they’re offering. Even if they do put something on the table, they’ll be under absolutely no obligation to implement anything.
    Indeed, we won’t even know which of those parties will be in a position to do anything, even if they really do want to – the next UK General Election won’t be very long after the referendum.

  2. Even when not deliberately trying to twist figures and statistics, Better Together still can’t be honest with us. 

The choice we will actually have is we can either:

  • choose to hope that whatever unionist party we agree with wins the next UK election and then keeps their word.

or,

  • choose the blueprint for our future there and then, on the 18th September, by deciding that yes, we CAN run our own affairs without Westminster – and a huge number of MPs we hardly ever agree with – keeping an eye on us.

Those ARE the options.

That’s it.