British Nationalists and their Broadcasting Corporation

Is the Scottish National Anthem a symbol of fascism and intolerance?

What about the Scottish National Health Service? Is it a racist organisation?

Are the Scottish National Sheepdog trials reserved for dugs who bark in a Scottish accent?

All of the above questions are ridiculous. Nobody is suggesting any of the entities listed are far-right, racist, intolerant or in any way fascist just because they have the word ‘National’ in their official name.

There is though one organisation for which having the word ‘National’ in its name creates problems. I am of course referring to the Scottish National Party – the SNP. The issue was raised at the Edinburgh Book Festival when Nicola Sturgeon told an audience she’d rather the SNP had been named differently.

The First Minister was answering a question from Turkish author Elif Shafak who expressed concerns about ‘Nationalism’ based on her own experiences. The short exchange can be seen below.

The answer to Elif Shafak’s question and her concerns is mature and considered. Nicola Sturgeon is frank and open about the problems her party faces as a result of the very many malicious mischaracterisations of its name by Unionists and their media allies. Her honesty was picked up by BBC Scotland correspondent Nick Eardley who produced the following item for Reporting Scotland.

Before we examine Eardley’s news report, I want to draw attention to a short segment from that report. I’ve isolated the clip below.

The footage has been carefully manipulated by Reporting Scotland. The camera cuts away to Nicola Sturgeon at the moment Elif Shafak describes nationalism as ugly. But this wasn’t the original clip. Below is the original BBC footage of Elif Shafak asking the question.

The footage doesn’t cut away to Nicola Sturgeon at the point suggested by Reporting Scotland. The cut-away happens a few moments later. There’s no doubt that someone at BBC Scotland deliberately edited the footage to cut to Nicola Sturgeon at the moment Elif Shafak says “I’ve seen how ugly it can get”. The viewer is being led.

But let’s take a look at Nick Eardley’s report in the round.

The first thing we see in the item is a crowd of colourful and happy Yes supporters waving flags. These people are described by Eardley as ‘Nationalists’. The question has to be asked why?

Not everyone who voted Yes in the 2014 independence referendum accepts the label ‘Nationalist’ precisely because of the negative connotations attached to the word. Indeed many people don’t even consider voting Yes to have been anything to do with nationalism at all. Yet here we have a BBC Scotland reporter asserting that they are indeed all nationalists.

The second point to note is how Eardley paraphrases Nicola Sturgeon’s comments to Elif Shafak:

“Nationalists, Nicola Sturgeon says, who prided themselves in being inclusive. Fundamentally different, she believes, from other nationalist movements.”

The Yes movement was not a nationalist movement. Nicola Sturgeon didn’t refer to those who were part of it as ‘Nationalists’, she said those of us who support Scottish independence couldn’t be further removed from what Elif Shafak recognised as ‘Nationalism’. Eardley’s use of the “she believes” qualifier is typical of BBC Scotland reporters who portray demonstrable fact as somehow questionable argument.  Again the viewer is being invited to conclude that there are genuine doubts relating to the Yes movement’s inclusiveness and tolerance.

The viewer is then presented with images of these so-called “other nationalist movements” which included the recent violent clashes in Charlottesville in the USA which left one person dead and a pro-Erdogan rally in Turkey which has been embroiled in a near civil war following a failed coup attempt.

But the so-called ‘other nationalist movements’ aren’t nationalist movements at all. The violence in Charlottesville was caused by far-right White Supremacists. The term ‘White Nationalists’ was apparently what they tried to dub themselves.

Indeed there was significant anger in Scotland when the BBC used the term ‘nationalists’ to describe these American Nazis. Below is a news bulletin broadcast by Radio Scotland the day after violence erupted in the American town.


The use of the situation in Turkey is rather bizarre. The criticisms of Erdogan centre on the erosion of human rights by his increasingly authoritarian regime and not on any apparent ‘nationalism’. Indeed Erdogan’s government is known more for its conservative Islamic roots than any perceived nationalism.

By presenting a White Supremacist riot and the situation with Turkey as examples of ‘Nationalism’ Eardley invites the same lazy and erroneous comparisons with Scotland’s independence movement that Nicola Sturgeon flagged up.

The Reporting Scotland item was superficial and shallow. The malicious ‘ugly’ edit and the subtle misrepresentation of what Nicola Sturgeon actually said fed the Unionist inspired myth that Scotland’s independence movement is ‘Nationalist’ in the darkest meaning of the word.

British Unionist politicians have repeatedly mis-named the Scottish National Party as the Scottish Nationalist Party in a blatant attempt at demonising the civic nationalism that lies at the SNP heart.

The irony of course is that it is British Nationalism that comes closest to the ugly nationalism feared by Elif Shafak. Far-right, racist and bigoted groups are more likely to be found within the ranks of the pro-Union camp than the Yes movement.

Had Nick Eardley wanted to show examples of ugly nationalism he should have shown clips of the fascist, Nazi saluting thugs who stormed George Square on September 19th 2014.

It hasn’t taken Nick Eardley long to succumb to the malaise that lies at the heart of BBC Scotland’s News and Current Affairs department. The former Scotsman reporter has adapted quickly and readily produces ‘news’ reports that fit neatly into the out-of-date pre-devolution template so cherished by his bosses. Witness his recent interview with Michelle Thomson and his failure to report on her criticisms of BBC Scotland. That’s the kind of comment the template requires to be filtered out.

BBC Scotland is part of the UK’s national broadcasting machine. As such it promotes British Nationalism. It helps contort the peaceful and inclusive Yes movement into a caricature that sees it compared with American Nazis. I find that ugly.


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20 thoughts on “British Nationalists and their Broadcasting Corporation

  1. Dan Huil

    The bbc in Scotland doesn’t care about balanced reporting any more. It is the main enemy of Scotland. At least I don’t pay the bbc tax any more. The evil of british nationalism must be fought. Scotland must not be dragged through the britnat cesspit. Scotland must regain its independence.

  2. Jason Smoothpiece

    There is now no doubt the BBC and their associates in the print media are clearly and repeatedly producing anti-Scottish propaganda for the English regime.

    The stuff they come out with would make North Korean media blush.

    I think even supporters of the regime must cringe at the crude efforts.

  3. Irvine

    A golden opportunity was lost when Alex Salmond failed to bring the McCluskey/Leveson recommedations on creating a Press Ombudsman for Scotland into Scots Law similar to that which operates in the Republic of Ireland.

    The Ombudsman would have applied draconian fines, forced full page apologies, and even closed down the exponents of lies that infest the Britnat Media.

  4. Lochside

    The BBC is a mouthpiece now, completely, for the fascist state emerging under the English tory party and its Scottish acolytes. They are trying to smear the SNP and the Scottish electorate on a daily basis. All their ‘experts’ are now English. All their vox pop excerpts , whether in ‘Scotland’ or in ‘uk’ are English, giving the subliminal message that Scots voices are inferior. Even their presenters are being given RP speech training e.g ‘Katrina’ the weather presenter and Mark Stephens, the presenter, whose Doric undertones are now overwritten by bogus RP ones.

    I am so disallusioned with AS and the SNP in general …te.g. the total complacency over losing a quarter of the vote at the last GE as if not bothering to vote is not a serious problem! What is a big deal is the pathetic zero fightback from the SNP over ….well everything….when the Sunday Herald is picking up old news about the oil ripoff on its front page…you’ve got to say what is going on here?…with the most incompetent and corrupt WM government in living memory, the SNP havenae laid a glove on the scumbags…and when I see AS hobnobbing with his ‘old pal’ David Davies…well I feel like chucking it altogether…and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    My point and plea is simple…never mind Nicola apologising about who we are…get right intae them!

  5. Sandra

    There is nothing ugly about Scottish Nationalism. It is inclusive, positive and driven by hope for a better future. What IS ugly is British Imperialism which has held our country back for 300 years.

  6. bringiton

    We will take no lectures on nationalism from unionist organisations who support a xenophobic state which is spending Billions of our tax money on military hardware designed to bully and threaten other countries who oppose them (Trident,Aircraft Carriers etc).
    They justify this by frequently quoting “National” interest.
    That will be right.
    The problem we have in Scotland as a Nation is lack of democracy but in order to redress that,the British state has to be diminished.
    That is the real issue,not fake hysteria about Scottish aspirations as being narrow minded fascism.

  7. Neil MacGillivray

    It is interesting that Laura Vickers was the reporter from the USA who used the word nationalist. During the referendum campaign when reporting from Glasgow for the BBC on the arrival of Jim Murphy at an hotel for a dinner she referred to him as “our new leader”!

    When I protested to the BBC i was told that she had become over excited in the crowd around and misused the word “our”

    It is clear where her sympathies lie.

  8. m boyd

    I saw the clip at the time and was appalled. It is so transparently trying to create an equivalency falsehood that only a fool could fall for it. Walter Durantyesque journalism from Eardley again.

  9. Robert Graham

    On its own this clip looks fairly harmless , Now here is the most used word on the BBC in Scotland when reporting on scottish events ” BUT ” , I have yet to hear this one word omitted from any broadcast that grudgingly is presented as a success of the the scottish government .
    The Scottish Government has ” BUT ” this ever presented phrase is so widely used i believe most people have failed to notice it now because it’s so common , This subliminal message ” BUT ” ” BUT ” in isolation thats ok ,Used on a daily basis it begins to take on a sinister propaganda campaign .
    G.A.Ponsonby deserves our thanks and support for highlighting this , once its pointed out people view output from the bbc in scotland in a very different light and start to question everything from them .

    1. m boyd

      Good point- last week it was Unemployment levels had dropped BUT wage levels stagnated.

      The BBC seems keener to scrutinise the Scottish Government or the Trump Administration than the English one.

      1. Robert Graham

        thats why people like Mr Ponsonby and indy supporting sites in general are so important now more than ever before Education is the key , i dont recognize the frothing at the mouth nationalists portrayed in the msm , what i see is mostly happy and willing folk eager to pass on tips and experience to others , a friendly bunch .

        1. douglas clark

          Robert Graham,

          I agree. It is a bit soul destroying to watch main stream media attempt to portray us as ‘evil nats’.

          In my experience we are indeed a friendly bunch.

          1. bringiton

            Straight out of the propaganda handbook for dictators.

  10. Republicofscotland

    It’s a farcical situation, that Scotland’s in. We are fed distorted news from a foreign owned state broadcaster.

    What other country in the world would put up with such a arrangement.

  11. Falconer1903

    No point being nice to British Nationalists in whatever guise they appear in be it media or anything else in Scotland or the London Junta that they supinely obey, time to take the gloves off.

  12. David M

    Believe it or not there are still numpties around who argue this sort of distortion of political perceptions is due to BBC “incompetence” and not “malice”. If it was due to incompetence we’d see the occasional accidental report favouring independence – just by chance. But we NEVER see that. A statistician will tell you: that is irrefutable proof of deliberate distortion of the facts. Can’t wait for the “Misreporting Scotland” website to demolish Reporting Scotland lies on a daily basis.

  13. Simon

    Words and labels are no more than signposts that point to whatever the word has been associated with at this time. However the perception and emotional response to a word is already part of an individual’s conditioning. No right no wrong, it just is.

    Regardless of what any of us here feel or think about the words Nationalist or Nationalism, they already have their own identity and not one you might feel comfortable with! Maybe you do, that’s fine, that’s good, that’s how it should be then, for you, but it still has the connotations, regardless.

    Independence for me personally has little to do with Nationalism. I do not consider myself a nationalist or involved with ANY -isms, time to use the negative again BUT another with a different perception might read the same signpost in a different way and still end in the same location, or maybe not?

    There is no choice for me, independence is the right thing to do on all levels, does that make me a nationalist, some would say yes, I would say no, am I wrong?

    One last thing, BUT this matters! Division within the Indy movement will erode like a Land Rover chassis, from the inside out!

  14. Big Jock

    He often wears a red white and blue tie. Don’t let the cheeky boyish charm delude you. Nick is a British Tory.

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