Lately we’ve been become aware of several BBC Scotland broadcasts that have contained false claims with respect to Brexit. Specifically the so-called ‘People’s Vote’ campaign and what it is seeking, and the apparent conflation of ‘No Deal’ with ‘Hard Brexit’.
Note, we do not suggest any conspiracy or deliberate attempt to mislead. We merely give examples of demonstrably false broadcasts … fake news in other words.
Good Morning Scotland and the People’s Vote.
The broadcast above is from Good Morning Scotland on November 1st. Presenter Gary Robertson tells listeners the ‘People’s Vote’ Campaign is “calling for another vote on whether the UK should leave the European Union…”
This is demonstrably false. The ‘People’s Vote’ campaign is not calling for another vote on whether the UK should leave the European Union. It is seeking a vote on the final Brexit deal.
The campaign’s official site states clearly:
“The People’s Vote Campaign is made up of over 100 grassroots groups from across the country who are actively campaigning in their area for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”
Reporting Scotland and the People’s Vote.
The clip above is from the 7th November edition of Reporting Scotland. Sally McNair tells viewers: “MSPs have demanded a further referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.”
The item followed a vote in the Scottish parliament earlier that day. The motion did not ‘demand a further referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union’. It asked MSPs to: “… support a public vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal.”
Politics Scotland/Reporting Scotland and a No Deal
The two broadcasts above are from the October 21st edition of Politics Scotland and the November 9th edition of Reporting Scotland.
In the first, Gordon Brewer states that a failure of Theresa May to secure support for her Withdrawal Bill will lead to a “hard Brexit”. This is false. Theresa May is seeking a Hard Brexit deal for the UK. If she fails, then a no deal results.
In the second, reporter Andrew Kerr claims a No Deal is also known as a “hard Brexit”. This is false. A ‘No Deal’ is not the same as a ‘Hard Brexit’.
A ‘No Deal’ is worse than a ‘Hard Brexit’. Hard Brexit is the leaving of the EU with a deal but with no membership of the Single Market & Customs Union. No Deal is exactly as it sounds … literally leaving the EU with no deal and falling back on World Trade Organisation accords.
The BBC itself defines ‘No Deal’ as: “Britain leaving the European Union with no formal agreement on the terms of UK’s withdrawal or future trade relations.”
It defines a Hard Brexit as: “A hard Brexit would be one where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU were retained, so it would mean Britain giving up membership of the EU’s single market, and the benefits of being part of a free trade area with the EU, and setting up its own trade deals and rules. It is a phrase often used by critics of Brexit who think it will harm the UK economy.”
The examples above demonstrate just how easy it is for a supposedly impartial, publicly funded news outlet with enormous resource, to broadcast misinformation. They also demonstate that there is something very wrong at BBC Scotland that these broadcasts are allowed to occur.