Last week the BBC was exposed when an audience member on its flagship Question Time programme was revealed to have been invited on to give voice to British Nationalism.
Billy Mitchell’s cameo was made all the worse when it emerged Fiona Hyslop’s response to the rant was edited out by the BBC. Suspicion that the BBC is deliberately seeding audiences with British Nationalists grew when it further emerged Mitchell had been part of the audience for a pilot QT type show set to broadcast on the new BBC Scotland digital channel.
Planting people in TV debate audiences is now firmly established as a tactic employed by the BBC. The broadcaster wouldn’t of course use the word ‘plant’, but that’s exactly what it is doing.
But it isn’t only TV audiences that can be seeded in order to push an anti-SNP narrative, news stories can also be seeded.
Workplace Car Parking
Before continuing, it’s worth looking at what is being proposed by the Green/Scottish Govt Budget deal. The proposal is for power over workplace car parking to be devolved to local authorities. It will then be up to each council to decide whether to introduce a levy or not.
That’s it in a nutshell. The Scottish Govt is not demanding councils introduce a levy, it is not even advocating such a levy. It is literally giving councils the power to decide for themselves. Thus, Tory run councils can decide not to introduce the levy if they so choose, same as Labour, SNP and Lib Dem run local authorities.
The Scottish Tories know this. But that hasn’t prevented them from contorting the proposal in order to mislead the public. According to the Scottish Tories, the SNP is proposing to tax anyone who uses their car to travel to work £500.
It’s a lie of course. But that hasn’t stopped BBC Scotland from giving oxygen to it. The broadcaster, already under fire over the Question Time scandal, is promoting the issue as though Scottish Tory claims are based on fact.
In the clip above the voice is that of BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor. Taylor tells viewers that the Scottish Tories are “gearing up” to make workplace parking “a substantial political controversy”. That was on February 7th. Since then BBC Scotland has made every effort to present the issue as just that.
How has it done it? It has seeded programmes with the issue. Last week workplace car parking was discussed on Good Morning Scotland on two consecutive days.
This followed a discussion on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme on February 10th. On that occasion presenter Gordon Brewer literally lied about what the Greens and the SNP had agreed.
On Wednesday workplace parking featured on the Radio Scotland phone-in programme. The presenter introduced the phone-in saying: “More than a dozen environmental organisations have lined up to back the Scottish government’s new workplace parking charge.”
The Scottish government doesn’t have a new workplace parking charge. It merely proposes letting councils decide.
On Sunday February 17th workplace car parking replaced Brexit as the discussion issue on Weekend Good Morning Scotland where presenter Bill Whiteford introduced the phrase “poll tax on wheels”.
The poll tax wasn’t discretionary. Councils had to implement it. Workplace parking is discretionary. Councils don’t have to implement it.
Reporting Scotland has falsely claimed the Scottish Govt and Greens had agreed “plans to introduce a tax on workplace parking”. They haven’t.
There is a serious and mature debate to be had over the use of cars and their negative impact on the environment. But we aren’t seeing that. What BBC Scotland is doing is seeding programmes with a contortion of a proposal in a bid at lending credence to the Scottish Tory attack line. Its reporters and presenters are misleading the public by presenting the proposal, not as the devolution of a power, but the imposing of a tax by the SNP.
Why is it doing this? Because the actual proposal is not that big an issue. The vast majority of local authorities are not going to introduce any such levy. Thus, to turn it into the “substantial political controversy” the Scottish Tories want, people have to be conditioned into thinking most motorists will face a £500 bill.
By seeding news and current affairs programmes with the issue in the manner it is doing, BBC Scotland is the persuading the public that it is indeed a significant issue that will hit most motorists.
What we are witnessing is a scam similar to the P1 assessment scam. If you recall it was this site that predicted exactly how BBC Scotland was going to push that particular piece of Scottish Tory propaganda before it actually happened.
We’re going to see the same here. The ground is being prepared. Brian Taylor will appear on Reporting Scotland telling you that the issue is indeed substantially controversial. You’ll be presented with Scottish Tory, Scottish Labour and Lib Dem MSPs all attacking the SNP over its ‘Parking Tax’. It will be headlined online and Radio Scotland will feature it in news bulletins. Carefully selected pundits will push the bogus narrative. In order to balance the propaganda, the SNP will be invited to respond to the lies.
To understand just how fake the narrative is. If the SNP administration is responsible for the introduction of workplace car parking just because it devolved the power to councils, then the Tory administration at Westminster is responsible for Scottish income tax rates because it devolved the power to Holyrood. That’s how ridiculous the Scottish Tory attack line is.
Unfortunately the die is cast. The BBC is on board. You have been warned.