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BBC Scotland – A Unionist smear machine – Towards Indyref2…

BBC Scotland – A Unionist smear machine

BBC ScotlandThey’re at it again.  The people behind the scenes at BBC Scotland who decide what is ‘news’ and what isn’t, have decided to help in the concoction of a smear they know is almost certainly false.

Two SNP MPs have behaved like fools.  Angus McNeil and Stewart Hosie have had an extra-marital fling.  The added titillation in this made-for-tabloid scandal is that both had an affair with the same female journalist.  Not at the same time I hasten to add … thank heaven for small mercies.

That’s the story in its entirety.  A couple of newspapers have sought to expand the fidelity fiasco into something it’s not – a tale of possible expenses corruption.  The justification for this is that one or both men dallied with the lady when they were residing in accommodation they subsequently paid for using their MPs expenses.

Paying for accommodation in this manner is of course perfectly acceptable, as is inviting an adult to share that accommodation.  There is no stipulation that the adult guest be married to the MP.  Nor is there any rule prohibiting married MPs from sharing their accommodation with anyone other than their spouse.

The actions of McNeil and Hosie whilst regrettable are not corrupt or fraudulent.  Beyond the pages of politically partisan newspapers, the suggestion of expenses misuse has no traction and should not treated seriously … or so you’d think.

On Wednesday afternoon I tuned into BBC Radio Scotland.  The John Beattie show was airing.  I was looking forward to some coverage of the days two big stories – the Queen’s speech and Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet reshuffle.

I hadn’t been listening for long when the host segued effortlessly into the next item.  John Beattie began: “There are lots of allegations about two SNP MPs on the front of some of the papers today …”

I listened and was appalled at what followed.


The broadcaster had aired the newspaper expenses smear and deliberately conflated the ludicrous allegations with the very real expenses scandal that hit Westminster in 2008.  The ‘interview’ of an investigative reporter who had authored a book on the subject was styled in such a way as to suggest McNeil and Hosie may have similarly transgressed.

Anyone listening to the interview would not have been informed as to the merits of the claims against the two SNP MPs, they would have been misinformed.  BBC Scotland wasn’t reporting news, it was conditioning listeners for the smear story which was being readied.

BBC Scotland online followed soon after with news that a Conservative MSP had asked the parliamentary watchdog at Westminster to investigate the expenses claims submitted by both MPs.  The MSP, Jackson Carlaw, appeared to have no evidence beyond the baseless smears published by the newspapers.

bbc fidelity smear1

The complaint from Jackson Carlaw made it onto the lunchtime edition of Reporting Scotland.

The story appeared as the second most important story on the BBC Scotland online news page.

bbc fidelity smear2

A smear with absolutely no evidence to back it up was being touted by BBC Scotland.  Moreover the facts of the story as they were known disproved the smears.

But BBC Scotland hadn’t finished.  Radio Scotland’s evening news programme Newsdrive was also promoting the story.  It was broadcast on every news bulletin.


Now I repeat; two MSPs having an affair is a news story.  Having an affair with the same woman adds to the story.  There may be political interest in terms of strained relationships within senior ranks of the SNP, but that’s really it as far as the BBC’s remit goes.  The state broadcaster is not a purveyor of sleaze and certainly should not be in the business of promoting smears.

The expense smear is an invention given life by newspapers with an agenda.  The complaint by a Conservative MSP is a political stunt from someone who hopes his status as an elected politician will act as media leverage in newsrooms.  But BBC Scotland needed no leverage.  It was already actively conflating the fidelity story with the 2008 expenses scandal.

The smear featured on that evening’s Reporting Scotland.  Political reporter Nick Eardley struggles to inject any substance into the item and, as you can see below, basically ended up rubbishing the ‘expenses’ angle.  It looks quite pathetic.

The ‘sexpenses’ smear made it onto the late night BBC Scotland current affairs show, Scotland 2016. One of the ‘impartial’ guests invited to comment on the smear was the political editor of the pro-Union, pro-Labour Daily Record.  Both guests indulged in some baseless innuendo when discussing the issue.

The smear had found its way onto every single BBC Scotland medium – online, radio and TV.  Don’t be surprised if it turns up again on Good Morning Scotland.

How a story as flakey as this was allowed to take root and flourish within the news room at BBC Scotland is simple.  The organisation is politically corrupt.  The evidence of that is overwhelming.

What can we do about it?  We can circulate stories like this for a start.  What else?  Well we can donate a few quid to a project that aims to produce a documentary exposing the BBC’s biased coverage of the independence referendum.

Believe me, when people see this documentary, they will see BBC Scotland political news in a completely different light.  Donate to the project by clicking here.

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13 thoughts on “BBC Scotland – A Unionist smear machine

  1. john robertson

    You might be surprised to hear me say this – yes but! The SNP is not any old party. It has a mission of massive importance – independence first and last. So absolute discipline in its leaders is required. No fuckups gentlemen! Those of us on left of the party have been oh so disciplined before elections. No rants about her Maj or NATO or the personal details of Tory candidates. Get these self-centred careerists out!

  2. Kevin

    I hope these two enjoyed their ‘shag’ with this lassie, for that appears to be all it was, no harm in that. But I’d hate to think either of them had their fling whilst still married. I’m a prude? No, I’m not, but the SNP are up there to be crucified and they’ll hammer us for the tiniest indiscretion.
    It matters-not to the electorate what Joe Bloggs does while he’s down in ‘The London’, but SNP MPs and MSPs are in the business of our country’s independence and they cannot be seen to falter.
    Angus MacNeil; it’s probable that he was already separated, therefore he’s entitled to do as men do when they’re single.

    What a clown Hosie has been, what a complete tool he is. Does he honestly believe he ‘won’t be caught’? This sends out the wrong message, that it’s okay to screw-around behind your partner’s back when you’re an SNP MP. And, see how easily London and Westminster have beguiled even the staunchest Nationalist? I bet ALL SNP MPs are having affairs? No, not really.
    I like Hosie, but…

  3. ronnoe anderson

    Both of them should have realised they would be under close scrutiny as SNP MPs Hosie more so. I hope this sends a message to the rest of our Scottish MPs.

  4. Kae Mar

    Very disappointed – particularly in Hosie. I like him, but I am now questioning his judgement. This was a monumental fopah!

  5. Gordon Brown

    All well & good but the same should apply to nationalists who shout & scream at everyone else when they think there is political mileage in whatever the issue is!

  6. Kevin meina

    I was under the impression the SNP made no leverage out of Mathieson and his goings on in a car park and suprisingly neither did BBC Scotland

  7. millie

    I know this is a bit off topic- but it is still about the BBC and the Tories who are currently making ‘hay’ over late EU farm payments.

    This article shows the breathtaking ‘double standards’ of the Tories in Scotland who are almost gloating that the Scottish government could be fined by the EU for late payment to farmers-

    It would appear that farmers under the British Tory government in England are in exactly the same position- does Ruth know??


  8. gerald keogh

    Oh the HOLIER THAN THOU FINGER POINTERS AND WARP TONGUE WAGGERS. I don’t believe that they deserve a witch hunt for behaving the way they did it is their own business and it will be with them forever.I sincerely hope that lessons will be learnt for others who may be thinking of taking a wrong decision.

  9. DavidMarshall

    If you take a look at STV news at 6 on the 18th of May you’ll find Bernard Ponsonby reporting in a most pointed manner that no complaint had been received by the standards commission? It’s an unusual report and worth getting hold of.
    I’d like to see the evidence that Carlaw has actually written the letrer or not.

  10. Lochside

    Well done again Mr. P. and I see the crowd fund is near its target…well overdue for all the reasons that you and Prof Robertson have been hammering a supine Scottish public.

    I am disappointed at these MPs’ stupidity, but more intrigued by who this ‘siren’ is who managed to snare them both. I just wonder if her romantic interest in both these chaps was guided by something more than the usual reasons or the guff about Caledonian Mujhadeen. Could something more sinister and planned be the case?

    And as for the BBC…funny how Gordon Mathieson committing public indecency and his predecessor’s association with drug dealers never received anything but a passing mention..if at all. But of course…both are/were SLAB and in the rotten BBC ‘Scotland’ beyond reproach.

  11. Jack Collatin

    I stopped taking the Herald after fifty years. It is an American owned Tory / Unionist Rag now.

    Yet I still have to pay a TV licence, and be subjected to the same cosy wee gaggle of Unionist Churnalists on BBC News and current affairs programmes spouting the same biased guff. Nice little sideline at my expense.

    We elected 56 SNP MPs, 63 SNP MSP’s, yet BBC Scotland exists to promote Labour / Unionist agenda? We have been disenfranchised by a sinister elite.

    It is in contravention of their precious Charter surely, to act as the Broadcasting Wing of a political; party.

    I have withdrawn my support of the Unionist Dead Tree Scrolls, yet, I pay for the privilege of listening to their biased, misleading , and sometimes downright lying views on BBC?

    We are living in a fascist state, dictated to by an Elite Establishment, eagerly served by bought and paid for Scottish journalists and broadcasters.
    How do they look their children in the eye?

  12. Ann McKelvie

    So … 2 politicians had an affair, what’s news? I can’t think of a major party that has not had this type of scandal. Disappointed in them right enough, guess they will have to live with the embarrassment of it, unfortunately, so will their families.

    Did it stop them doing their job properly … I’ve seen no evidence of that, we voted them in to do a job, not for their private lives.

    At least this “private matter” did not involve squirrelling away a mountain of money before it could be taxed.

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