Control

“Holyrood has full control of the Scottish NHS…”
– anyone in the No campaign

Let’s get one thing absolutely clear: to have full control of anything is to have available all relevant powers associated with whatever it is you’re talking about, which in this instance, is the Scottish NHS.

The Scottish Government, of whatever political flavour it happens to be – and by extension, the people of Scotland – never has all of the available powers over any aspect of governance, and for a couple of reasons.

The first is the simple fact that the Scottish Government has no control over how much of a budget it is given by Westminster.

In the event of the scrapping or amending of the Barnett Formula to the detriment of the Scottish budget, there is no right of reply. There is no meeting of ministers from both governments to discuss the whys and wherefores. The block grant is simply delivered to the Scottish Government, like pocket money.

Even with the still very limited tax powers proposed by the various unionist parties, that’s not full control. There is nothing in their proposals to guarantee any set level of grant, and with voters in England expressing their dislike of the ‘vast sums’ Scotland gets (although less than we contribute), how long would it be before the remaining block grant was tightened? Probably as long as the time it takes to get to the next election – ie, a year and a half.

If the government of Scotland cannot have full control of the revenues generated, how can it possibly have full control of all the things dependent on that funding?

The second, and to me, more fundamental reason, is the ever present danger that Westminster can, at any time, pull back powers from Holyrood.

As with the referendum legislation itself, Holyrood is only effectively borrowing powers from Westminster. What sort of national legislating body has to rely on the goodwill of another to do its job?

Let’s flip this around – although not in a Darlingesque manner.

The No camp have made much of the Scottish Governments proposed currency union, stating that such an arrangement would leave Scotland with, at best, only a small say on interest rates.

Actually, that’s giving them too much credit – they usually neglect to mention that our government would have any say at all, when there would clearly be Scottish input in some form, most likely on the board of governed at the BoE.

So, neglecting to mention that last part, they criticise this idea, claiming that it can’t possibly mean ‘the best of both worlds’. “That’s not independent enough!”, they holler, as if they’d be supportive of any other option anyway!

So not having fully independent control of interest rates wouldn’t be independent enough, but not having real full control of any unreserved matter is? Hmm…

Not having the ability to raise/lower/amend/scrap/introduce taxes, and indeed not having the ability to legislate for anything without the constant possibility that another government or parliament could suddenly remove that ability… that’s good enough?

That’s the position that Holyrood is in every day: it doesn’t have any control at all over reserved matters, and it only has partial, borrowed control of all of the non-reserved matters.

For a parliament and government to work to the best of their ability, and with the responsibility that should come with representing the people of a nation, the buck must stop not with another parliament or set of ministers, not with a house of unelected and unaccountable ‘peers’, but with them themselves and, most importantly, the electorate who put them there in the first place. The sovereignty of the people must be of paramount importance.

This, to my mind, is one of the major flaws of devolution, even ‘though I would never choose a return to the pre-1999 system.

The Tories propose making Holyrood more accountable and responsible by giving over a handful of tax powers. No, that’s just superficial crap – it does not address the fact that Holyrood will still be ‘below’ Westminster, and still not fully accountable solely to the people of Scotland.

The Scottish NHS is not, by any means, fully controlled by Holyrood. And nor are any of the other areas it has ‘control’ over.

It is the duty manager of the shop to Westminster’s board of directors. And that’s not good enough for either the parliament or the people. And that’s why it must be Yes.

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The Boy Who Cried ABUSE!

I’m a great fan of Aesop’s Fables, those tales of morality from the ancient Greek storyteller. Such simple yet colourful stories, each one with a valuable lesson woven into it. One of my favourites is The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and it’s almost scary how relevant that particular fable can still be today…

After liking and commenting on a friends ‘coming-out’ as an independence supporter yesterday, a friend of theirs ‘engaged’ in the thread by simply stating ‘Vote NO!’, before sharing the picture below. A well constructed and thorough argument, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Ugh!

As I found the picture to be little more than a vessel for empty rhetoric, I looked up the website in the bottom corner: aforceforgood.org.uk

Not previously knowing the site, but vaguely recognising the name of its owner, Alistair McConnachie, I wondered why it sent little alarm bells ringing.

Mr McConnachie, as some will already remember, recently registered as an official campaigner in the referendum – in the same way as Yes Scotland and Better Together have had to do.

Mr McConnachie is also, for those who don’t know, a former UKIP candidate and, more importantly, a living, breathing holocaust denier:
“I don’t accept that gas chambers were used to execute Jews for the simple fact there is no direct physical evidence to show that such gas chambers ever existed… there are no photographs or film of execution gas chambers… Alleged eyewitness accounts are revealed as false or highly exaggerated.” (source: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/feb/27/uk.race)

Much has already been said about McConnachie’s self-involvement in the campaign, and this blog post isn’t about him or his clearly staggeringly vile opinions.

Anyway, I went back to my friend’s thread and very politely – and quite deliberately so – shared the above information. I even went so far as to include ‘Just a heads up’ to show that I wasn’t judging this person for sharing the picture – it could have very easily been a complete oversight, after all.

‘This is so typical of cybernat abuse!’, came his eventual response, or very similar at least – I can’t quote word for word as our mutual friend has since deleted the entire thread, most likely through shame.

He then shared his astonishment that I had attempted to label him personally as ‘a Nazi sympathiser’.

I’m sorry… what!?

I asked if he was aware of where the picture came from, shared the above quote, and said ‘Just a heads up’ – that was it. Polite and courteous, I thought.

But this, apparently, constituted ‘cybernat abuse’, and a serious and incorrect accusation from myself.

We’re all aware of the mass media coverage of the responses of a few independence supporters to the news that JK Rowling donated money to Better Together – mass media coverage that was oddly lacking when, for example, the Weirs were abused for donating to Yes Scotland.

But it’s clear that the unionists have merely switched from Project Fear to Project Poor Wee Victim. It’s the same fact-free diet of baseless assertions and claims, but now they’re defenceless wee lambs, cowering in their straw house from the Big Bad CyberNat.

I’m obviously not condoning any abusive tweets, and many, including Jim Sillars, have already made clear that such bullying is totally unacceptable. When people ARE abusive – and a few have been, on both sides – let’s rightly show them up for what they are. There is and can be no place in this debate for that kind of behaviour.

But this constant self-declared victimhood from the No camp is totally unacceptable. I’ve been on the end of it myself now a number of times – each incident blown out of all proportion, with ‘cybernat’ and ‘abuse’ thrown into the mix.

People read headlines, and they sink in, at some level. They very rarely look deeper, to discover what the actual facts are. When a unionist wrongly cries wolf, we should be saying ‘Hang on a minute…’, and calling them up on it. We shouldn’t be wasting hours over it, but we should make it clear that no abuse or bullying has actually occurred.

Remember that the boy who cried wolf did, in the end, lose all of his sheep…

Indyref and the European Parliament Election

I’ve not posted about today’s European election before now because it’s outside the general remit of the page. This is a consciously non-party political page – the campaign for independence is a separate one from individual party lines.

But I do want to mention the European parliament election for a reason which is relevant to the independence referendum.

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Today, people in Scotland will elect 6 MEPs.

People in Malta will also elect 6 MEPs.

Malta has less than one tenth the population of Scotland, having almost exactly the same number of people as my home city of Edinburgh.

The fact that they elect the same number of MEPs as us isn’t Malta’s fault, of course. They get good representation thanks to the weighting system used for the European Parliament, which, if it didn’t exist, would effectively mean that there’d be no point in the smaller countries having representatives at all.

The people of Germany, by contrast, will elect 96 MEPs. Germany is, by quite some distance, the biggest country, so it should rightly have the most representatives.

With Germany’s population around 80.5 million, this equates to them having roughly one MEP for every 838,789 citizens.

Malta on the other hand, has one MEP for every 70,227 citizens.

It’s a vast difference, but it is necessary to weight the system in such a way.

As mentioned, Scotland, with 5.3 million citizens, has the same number of seats as Malta. 5.3 million people shared between 6 MEPs is just over 883,000 per representative. So we’re not only worse off in ratio terms than Malta, were actually even slightly worse off than Germany. Only France, the second largest EU member state by population, has a slightly worse ratio: 1:886.935.

Now this is because we’re currently part of the UK of course, so we’re counted as being at the heftier end of the list of EU states, population wise.

But so much of our legislation isn’t even made at a UK level – only reserved matters are. Holyrood legislates for a huge part of our lives, yet we’re lumped in with the rest of the UK as a single entity.

As we know from this very independence debate, the Scottish Government is not allowed to approach Europe on its own. Not. Allowed. That’s a preposterous and farcical position for one of our democratically elected governments to find itself in.

Independent countries, with similar population sizes to ours, typically have just over double the number of MEPs representing them:
Denmark, pop. 5.6 million, 13 MEPs
Finland, pop. 5.43 million, 13 MEPs
Ireland, pop. 5.41 million, 13 MEPs

And their governments are directly involved with the EU – not held at arms length, as Holyrood currently is.

If we take all of the EU member states who have 6 MEPs – Estonia, Cyprus, Luxembourg & Malta – even adding all of their populations together only come out at 3.15 million. We’re losing out big time.

So if you don’t really value democracy, then by all means vote No. Vote No to ignore the people who’ve campaigned to for voting rights through the years, whether that be the right for women to vote or the right for ‘lay people’ to vote.

Vote No to spit in the faces of those who fought to keep Europe free in the 20th century – those who the No camp very much mistakenly believe are only good for their side of this independence debate.

Vote No to keep schtum, to not give a toss about what happens both within and outwith Scotland, to maintain the humble wee squeak of a voice you have now.

Or think with your head and vote Yes.

Yes, I want my vote to count for something.

Yes, I want my parliament to represent the people who actually live here, no matter their background, no matter their voting intention.

Yes, I want the NORMAL amount of representation within the EU, through our elected MEPs and through our proportionally representative parliament.

No matter what party you voted for today, or support at any other election, give yourself that ability in September by simply voting Yes. Yes to enabling a better quality of democracy for yourself and those around you.

Devo Lax

Since before the Edinburgh Agreement was signed by Alex Salmond and David Cameron, we’ve known that the UK Government refused to allow the people of Scotland a third option on the referendum ballot paper.

To have to pick one of three options, rather than one of two, was apparently deemed too complicated for us to cope with, so the ability for us to democratically choose ‘Devo+’/’Devo Max’ if we so wished, was denied.

We all know why they really refused it of course – the UK Government simply doesn’t want to let us have any more powers at Holyrood than we do at present.

But now we have the mouthwatering prospect of the three unionist parties offering us tempting glimpses of what we might get, if we vote No. Not what we will get, but what we might get.

The Liberal Democrats are massive fans of federalism of course, and set out this case in ‘Federalism – the best future for Scotland’, way back in 2012.

So important is it to them that we can’t even turn on the tv without being bombarded by clips of our Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, and his fellow MPs, talking about it at length.

Em…

But let’s face facts: the Lib Dem’s are not going to be the next UK Government, so they could offer us unlimited free jelly and ice cream every day, but it wouldn’t mean a thing.

Even if they form a coalition again, we’ve seen how ineffective they’ve been at having their policies brought to the fore. They won’t be implementing anything.

So then we come to Labour.

Labour haven’t actually told us anything meaningful yet. There’s something coming in the Spring, we’re told. Coming up with the daffodils, presumably.

And that’s fine, of course. I mean why would we ever need answers from the party who continually claim to be having to demand answers from us? It’s not like they’ve known that the referendum was coming since the day the SNP won an overall majority at Holyrood, on 5th May 2011… 1026 days ago

No, this has obviously come as a complete shock to them, and we must allow them to tell us their plans when they feel up to it. If they feel up to it.

And if they don’t? Ach, that’ll be fine too… leave the poor wee lambs alone.

Last, and by absolutely all means least, we come to the Tories. Or should that be Tory?

The Tories,  unsurprisingly, have a Lord on the case: Lord Strathclyde, or to give him his entirely unpretentious but real name, Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith (yes, that really is it).

Galbraith – who was never been elected by the public, and inherited his seat in the House of Lords at the age of 25 – resigned as Leader of the House a year ago, on the grounds that he wanted to return to working in the private sector.

Not enough time for leading the booing, jeering and snoring in the HoL, but plenty time on his hands to map out the powers for a parliament governing a country of over 5 million people.

So the Tories too have yet to tell us what crumbs they would throw at us in the event of a No vote.

Interestingly, Ruth Davidson recently announced that there will be no cross-party consensus on what the unionist parties will offer us.

“I don’t believe that there will be a detailed cross-party agreement before the referendum,” she said. “None of the parties have ever said they would want to do that.”

And the new chairman of the Scottish Tories, Richard Keen, recently told the Telegraph “I don’t think it’s the answer just to say ‘more powers’ – what is the answer to the devolved settlement is to ensure that the powers that Holyrood has are used properly and there is accountability.”.

The unionist parties won’t be agreeing on what they haven’t yet decided. So if we do vote No, we won’t have the foggiest idea what powers Holyrood will be ‘granted’. If any at all.

Great!

The unionists took the Devo+/Max option off the ballot paper, eventually realised that the majority of people in Scotland do want change of some form, and are now possibly offering us something… but we don’t know what and we can’t know what until the rest of the UK picks our next UK Government in May 2015.

And this whilst giving them the benefit of the doubt that they’d actually implement any of their promises. The UK Government’s track record on this is hardly worthy of a teacher’s cold coffee stain, never mind a gold star.

Who in their right mind would vote to give that decision – and more importantly, the whole decision-making process – away?

We on the Yes side are often accused of trying to haul Scotland toward an unknown future, as if we have brought Scotland to the top of some undersea cliff, peering down into an abyss. But we have set out our visions for that future, and we continue to debate and discuss the kind of country we want Scotland to be. And we, the people who live in Scotland, will decide and shape that future for ourselves with independence.

We simply cannot do that properly with any amount of devolution – where another government which the people living in Scotland don’t even elect most of the time – has the power to pull the rug out from under us at any time.

That’s not real democracy.

This Week’s Charts…

Harriet Harman has today WARNED us that if we become independent (not “GO independent”, as her party colleague and former English teacher, Johann Lamont, said yesterday during FMQs!), our minimum wage will be at risk of being cut, despite the Scottish Government’s pledge to at least increase it in line with inflation (’Scotland’s Future’). Harman claims that this is what happens when a smaller country competes with one with a larger economy:

“The danger is that, as with corporation tax, if you start competing against a larger economy, you reduce the cost of wages.
“There is a question mark over whether there would be a race to the bottom. Of course there would be.”

Leaving aside the fact that Scottish companies already compete with others in the rest of the UK, as well as the rest of the world, I decided to have a snoop around to find out what national minimum wages are like around the world.

The UK, with its current minimum wage of £6.31 per hour (…or £5.03 per hour if you’re aged 18–20 …or £3.72 per hour if you’re under 18 and finished compulsory education), comes in at reasonable sounding No.10 in the National Minimum Wage charts. So obviously all of the other countries above the UK in this chart are larger, with bigger economies? That would only be logical, given Harman’s wise words, wouldn’t it?

So let’s have a look at the NMW Top 10 (some music to listen to in the background as we count them down)

Staying at number 10, the UK, with a minimum wage of £6.31 an hour, or (US)$10.02…
A new entry at 9, the Netherlands, with $10.99…
Over two years at number 8, it’s Ireland, with $11.09…
New Zealand clinging on at number 7, with ‘We’ll Ensure You Don’t Work For Less Than $11.18 (Kiwi Mix)’…
(hope you’re listening to the backing track!)
Number 6 is Teeny Wee San Marino, earning a minimum of $11.49…

And now it’s time for the world’s NMW Top 5…

Belgium keeping the 5th spot, with $11.69…
In at 4, it’s the biggest country above the UK, it’s France, with $12.22…
Monaco sneaking in at number 3, with $!2.83…
At number 2, it’s the 170th biggest nation on Earth: Luxembourg! $14.24…
Which means that for the 500th week running, it’s Australia’s Men (and Women) At Work, with their smash hit, ‘We Come from a Land Down Under – Where the Minimum Wage is $16.88’!

Roll end credits. (you can stop the music now if you want)

So there we have it. Harman’s insistence that an independent Scotland will be unique in its inability to compete effectively in the world, unlike the countries listed above, which all have bigger national minimum wages than even the mighty UK, is frankly tosh. Only one of them (France) is of comparable size to the UK, both in terms of population and economy. The rest are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller, and some of the smallest nations on the face of the planet.

So, here’s a wee suggestion for Harman’s little speech/interview.

Arriving at Yes: My Personal Journey

I thought I’d write a wee bit about my personal decision to join Yes Scotland’s campaign for independence. I haven’t always been pro-independence – far from it in fact.

I’m not a celebrity or well-kent activist, and the vast majority of you wouldn’t know me from Adam. But I am a citizen of Scotland and a voter, and my journey is one that many others will take before next September.

I’ve had a bit of an interest in politics and current events since my teens, although it’s fair to say that I definitely started off on the wrong foot.

Now, don’t pelt me with eggs please, but for some reason, I actually thought that John Major was a good thing! I can now put that down to being a daft teenager: I was 13, had hormones careering around my body, I was perfecting being a general pain in the arse, etc. I was by no means spoiled as a kid, but I’d had a reasonably comfortable upbringing and life hadn’t thrown up any major challenges by then. I was naive and ill-informed – two major prerequisites of Tory membership. I’m pretty ashamed of my brief flirtation with the Tories, but I got back out pretty sharpish.

By the time of Labour’s election landslide in 1997, I’d matured (a little!) and realised that politics isn’t about cutting taxes and looking after your own wallet. I was happy that Labour had ousted the Tories, and I saw a brighter future for the country under the management of  a ‘caring’ party. Things, as the song said, can only get better…

Oh, how I laugh (and cringe) about that now! Remember that naivety I mentioned earlier? It hadn’t gone anywhere.

I soon learned about ‘New’ Labour: the party of celebrity endorsement, big business and illegal war. The party that, unlike a leopard, has an uncanny and seemingly unquestioned ability to change its spots. “Follow us!” cried Blair and the Pied Piper of Mandelson, and follow they did. “Socialism? What’s that then?”.

They’re not ‘new’ anymore, allegedly. Oh no, they’re definitely socialists again, and it must me true because they said so.

Pfft!

I’m almost convinced that they actually have those memory erasing thingymabobs from the movie ‘Men in Black’.

I was left doubting everything to do with parliamentary politics for a good chunk of time, thanks to both the Tories and Labour. I had a sly glance at the Lib Dem’s, but trundling down the middle of the road will never achieve anything meaningful in my opinion, and anything to the right of that is just greed, ignorance and self-interest – at best.

I was by now disengaged and uninterested, sharing the same political mindset of vast swathes of the British public. A kind of enforced apathy. And is it any wonder:
Tories: money, self interest, money, immigration, money, Europe, don’t let them in, suffer you pathetic scroungers, money.
Labour: socialism, capitalism, socialism, universal welfare, no universal welfare jobs for the boys, capitalism, socialism, preserve Labour at all costs!
Lib Dem’s: more u-turns than a desperate cabbie.

Then the SNP won at Holyrood for a second successive term, but this time with the all important absolute majority, giving them the democratic mandate and ability to introduce a referendum bill.

I was still deeply sceptical at this point, having been subjected to decades of the mainstream media telling us how crap Scotland really was, how the wealth of London and south-eastern England keeps us afloat, how the ‘Nats’ have a whole plate of deep-fried potato chunks on their shoulders whilst wearing thistle-tinted spectacles, peering back through time to when we were ‘roamin in the gloamin’ and taking an axe to anything with an English accent.

What on earth was the point, I thought to myself. We’ll be poor, we’ll be cut off from the rest of the UK and we’ll have compulsory highland dancing and caber-tossing in our schools. No no no, that’s not what I want at all!

It was about a year and a half ago that I did something radical, something extraordinarily off-the-wall. I don’t know what prompted me to do it, but do it I did. I read some independently sourced and verifiable facts!

Now my memory is atrocious, so I can’t remember exactly what it was I read, but suffice it to say that it started me questioning my long held beliefs. Beliefs that had been drummed into me my entire life by a UK media.

I read more and more, choosing to source my information from international bodies and organisations, for fear that both the Yes and No camps would no doubt put a gloss on everything they said. I started considering the democratic advantages too of an independent Scotland: governments that the people of Scotland actually voted for; directly accountable representation in international bodies; no unelected narcoleptic ‘Lords’!

The financial figures added up too – Scotland is NOT a poor country, by any measure. We’re wealthier than the vast majority of the world’s countries – countries that would give their right arm to be in a similar position. Wealthier even, per head, than the mighty UK.

I’d educated myself, through curiosity and a dogged determination to know the facts, and I’m still learning more every single day. I’m not content with knowing what I do already – I want as much information as I can get, so that I can share that with others who haven’t even scratched at the surface. “More input!”, as the marvelous Johnny-5 said in ‘Short Circuit’.

There’s no going back to taking everything BBC News tells me as gospel – I’ve heard their ‘objective’ coverage of the topic too many times for that!

As for ‘Better Together’ and ‘United with Labour’… let’s just say I’ve encountered more honesty and respect for the electorate from… no, I don’t want to be crude!

What this referendum gives us is a unique chance: a chance to change our wee country for the better; to improve the lives of the less fortunate and need a hand, not kick them while they’re down like the UK government does; to interact with the world in the way that we want – not a bunch of Eton old boys; to look after and repair the environment us, and rid ourselves of nuclear weapons. These things and much more.

So I’m here, 100% behind Yes Scotland, and looking forward to a future that is brighter, greener and fairer, with a rejuvenated electorate and a political system of increased responsibility and an accountability to the people it represents: each and every one of us.

Taxi for Dimbleby

Much has been said on this already over the past 24 hours, but the more voices that are heard, the better.

Question Time, the BBC’s flagship political debate show, is tonight demonstrating why the programme, and indeed the whole organisation, is so hugely out of touch with the citizens of Scotland.

It’s not a Scotland-only show, and we must respect that fact. However, to host an ‘independence special’ in front of an audience made up entirely of 16 and 17 year-olds, and to then skew the balance of the panel massively in favour of the unionists (4:1), including two politicians who neither represent Scottish constituents or indeed have ANY elected party representatives in Scotland, is simply disgraceful.

What insights into the independence debate will the delightful Mr Farage bring to the table? This is the man whose party actually want to LESSEN democracy in Scotland. And what of George Galloway, that ‘fighter’ for the right of peoples around the world to run their own affairs? What part of his ego-centred intellect can account for the one exception to his ideology: Scotland? Neither are relevant, neither should have been invited to be guests.

The Scottish Greens and the Lib Dem’s are notable only by their exclusion from tonight’s show. Both parties have representation in both the Scottish Parliament and on local councils. Why are Farage and Galloway being asked their indefensible opinions instead? Is Farage be on simply because of his recent, much-publicised visit to Edinburgh? 

Lesley Riddoch, journalist and political commentator, will be the sixth member of the panel. As a previous advocate of devo-max/plus/a-wee-bitty-more advocate, it will be genuinely interesting to see what side of the fence she eventually comes down on, and she will certainly add a bit of credibility to a rather lacking panel.

A BBC spokesperson recently revealed that they are under absolutely no legal obligation to represent the referendum debate fairly or objectively, and their coverage thus far has certainly done nothing to suggest that they have considered that there might be a moral obligation, if not a legal one, to reflect both sides impartially and with sufficient coverage.

On April 30th, I used the BBC’s online complaint page to lodge my disbelief at their not having reported Ian Taylor’s donation to ‘Better Together’. I am lead to believe that Glenn Campbell made a fifteen second reference to it during a Reporting Scotland piece, but he might as well have muttered it under his breath for all the impact it had. Fifteen seconds on television, no coverage at all online.

It’s six and a half weeks later now, and I’ve yet to receive any response. Here’s a screenshot of their own webpage, outlining their normal turnaround time for handling complaints:

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What percentage of complaints are not dealt with within six and a half weeks, I wonder?

Continuing down the page, I read their ‘get out clause’, or why they won’t respond to certain complaints:

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The complaint I sent is recorded here, word for word. I certainly don’t consider that the subject of my complaint could be perceived to be minor, misconceived or hypothetical, nor is it repetitious or vexatious. The wording was, in my opinion, entirely courteous. I did state that I did not renew my tv licence – a direct result of their failure to report on the debate objectively – but this should not stand in the way of responding to my complaint. Hundreds, if not thousands of Scots have done similarly. I’d suggest that they address our concerns properly if they expect us to pay for their jobs, rather than ignore us. Anyway, I digress.

The BBC is, in my opinion, making an absolute mockery of the idea that they are a fair and impartial organisation, and they are making fools of those who continue to pay their licence fee. £145.50 we are expected to fork out every year, to have entirely biased views pushed down our throats. That’s about how much money I get in total per week, so I, and others in my situation, are expected to pay 2% of our annual income to pay journalists and editors to lie to us. We have no opt-out available if we own a tv – we can’t permanently delete BBC channels, more’s the pity. The licence fee is a tax in all but name, somewhat akin to the ridiculous window tax.

The BBC also has an upcoming independence debate in which the studio audience will be made up of women only. As women are continuing to be polled as less keen on independence than men, I can see the reason for doing this. But are we likely to see a reasoned debate there? Should we be perhaps expect to see a panel including entirely irrelevant guests like Louise Mensch and Sarah Palin??

What I think we learn from tonight’s show is this: the BBC have no desire or feel any need to provide substantial, objective or quality programming regarding the independence debate. This episode exists purely to create reaction and seek attention. Is this really what we should expect from our public broadcaster?