BBC Scotland: Elites and other British Nationalists

fraser nelsonThis article was prompted by an interview which was broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday, July 17th.

The interviewee was Fraser Nelson [pictured].  For those who perhaps don’t know who Fraser Nelson is, he is the editor of an elite London based right-wing journal called The Spectator.  Nelson himself is pro-Union.  Nelson is Scottish.

The interviewer was Gordon Brewer.  It can be stated without fear of contradiction that neither man possesses what most people in Scotland would describe as a recogniseable standard Scottish accent.  Both appear to have acquired what I myself would describe as an ‘elite’ accent.  That though is peripheral to my main point.

What concerned me was why an elite pro-Union commentator like Fraser Nelson was being given the opportunity to air his political views on national radio?  Below is a short clip of a segment of the interview where Nelson makes several questionable points about the SNP and independence.


The points were barely challenged.  Indeed some weren’t challenged at all despite being demonstrably false.

BBC Scotland has a problem with political guests going back years.  It selects from a very small pool of elite academics and professional writers.  Many of the writers come from pro-Union journals which leads to pro-Union narratives dominating discussions.

If I want to know the political views of Fraser Nelson and his elite ilk, I’ll buy magazines and newspapers within which those views are published.  I certainly don’t expect my TV licence fee to be used in order to promote an elite British nationalist viewpoint.

It’s a recurring theme on BBC Scotland TV and radio where Uninionist views, or views that appear to chime with Unionist arguments, often prevail.  Below, as an example, is a recent discussion that was broadcast by Radio Scotland.


Finally, and on a related note, I came across an article by Kevin McKenna on the same day as the Nelson interview which highlighted some of the shortcomings at BBC Scotland.  In the article McKenna wrote the following:

“BBC Scotland, though, needs a champion from inside the organisation; unfortunately, in the cowering figure of MacQuarrie, it has merely a London-appointed factor, whose main function is to keep the lights on, keep the licence fees rolling in and to make sure BBC Jockoland doesn’t get too many ideas above itself.”

I agree with this assessment of MacQuarrie.  But unless pressure is applied which will force change at Pacific Quay, then people like MacQuarrie will remain in position.  I see no evidence of our professional commentariat seeking to apply any such pressure.

BBC Scotland will remain a pro-Union vehicle remotely steered by London.  Ken MacQuarrie will keep his job as the ticket inspector aboard this North British train and people like Gordon ‘What on Eth’ Brewer will continue to be allowed to invite the elites he considers worthy onto his programme to  be ‘interviewed’.

Meanwhile outside the Pacific Quay ivory tower, the real Scotland moves on.

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6 thoughts on “BBC Scotland: Elites and other British Nationalists

  1. Steve Mackie

    If you do not ‘expect’ the BBC to deliver the word according to elite Unionists then all the evidence suggests you are a tad naive and that you haven’t understood what the first ‘B’ in BBC stands for.
    I might not wish this to be the case, in fact I might regard it as an outrage, but it is my belief that as an arm of the British State it is only doing what it is constitutionally obliged to do when confronted with restless natives. It is not required during ‘dangerous times’ like these, to reflect the will, the wishes or aspirations of ALL parts of the population only to broadcast those views which reflect and promulgate the position of the State. There is no hypocrisy on their part. It is not a tweakable institution. It is and it will remain the implacable opponent of the voice of Scottish independence.

  2. Graham

    I only listened to the first couple of minutes – it was as much as my constitution could stand. Nelson went on about the Spanish and was not challenged at all on what Rajoy and other Spanish politicians have actually said and which is public knowledge. This wasn’t an interview, it was an opportunity for Nelson to spout Unionist lies and misinformation without challenge. But I didn’t listen to it all and perhaps Brewer turned in to Robin Day later on.

    As you point out, the BBC has its tame Unionist poodles who are trotted out to reinforce the government approved message. We hardly ever hear from dissenting voices like yourself, or your two colleagues on here, or John Robertson or any of the other provocative voices who don’t toe the Unionist line. I don’t have TV and I’ve stopped listening to Radio Scotland.

  3. alasdairB

    Kevin MacKenna’s excellent article in today’s Guardian summarised all that is wrong with BBC PacificQuay . Jockland only merits a diet of murder, court cases and gangsters. As to an unbiased in depth look at Scottish politics, well it’s considered that BBC Scotland knows best & the ebb & flow of debate is better managed from PacificQuay than from Holyrood. Additionally from their own annual report Scotland only merits the BBC returning 55% of the licensing fees collected in programming. The lowest of the 4 constituent parts of the U.K. This fact above all else shows the contempt Auntie has for Scotland. There is fat chance of any change of direction anytime soon or a more equitable allocation of license fees collected and allocated to BBC Scotland. A drastic Chang of management at PacificQuay is required which is more transparent, willing and competent to provide unbiased political reportage & innovative interesting programming.

  4. gordoz

    Laughable to have Nelson on BBC Scotland. Soooooh chummy with Brewer even though he talked nothing but guff all the way through.

    Very, very few people have a clue who he is
    and as soon as he opens his mouth its UK propaganda devoid of facts.

    More like a PPBroadcast against the SNP than anything else.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly this kind of analysis of the BBC is most unpopular with Journos in Scotland.

    Cant criticise the Beeb you see.

    Disgusting situation that needs changed by the people from the ground up !.

  5. Thomas A

    I soon as I start to write about the likes of Brewer . Robertson. Campbell Abams . Beatty . Kerr. Bird . Stewart. Smith .
    I come to the conclusion there realy is no point we know what thety are they know what they are and we are on the ascendance and we will become independent very very soon. And that lot will get their jotters. . Can’t wait.

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