I attended a screening of London Calling: How the BBC stole the Referendum in Dundee yesterday (Saturday 5 November). The documentary is a devastating indictment of the BBC and its role in the anti-independence campaign. It served to rekindle my anger at the despicable behaviour of Better Together/Project Fear during the first referendum campaign. It renewed my outrage at the manner in which the mainstream media failed in terms of its own professional standards, as well as in terms of its duty to the people of Scotland and to democracy itself. For the British media, the first referendum campaign was a disgraceful episode in a recent history which has brought the once proud profession of journalism into unprecedented disrepute. And nowhere is this more true than in the case of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
But we should be wary of focusing too intently or too exclusively on the BBC. We must bear in mind that the BBC was not acting in isolation as it presented its massively distorted coverage of the referendum campaign. The BBC’s shame is shared by the entire British establishment. For it is that establishment that the BBC serves. It’s prejudice reflects the prejudices of the British ruling elites. By defending in the scandalous manner it did the structures of power, privilege and patronage that define the British state, the BBC was holding up a mirror to the repugnant nature of that British state.
What is revealed in London Calling, based on the excellent book by GA Ponsonby, is a British state that is rotten to its core. The film exposes a British political elite riddled with corruption. A self-serving clique characterised by a towering sense of entitlement and a fundamentalist conviction that British exceptionalism justifies its every attitude and action regardless how reprehensible they might be in any other context.
The worst thing about what the BBC did, is that the BBC itself cannot see anything wrong in it. As it peddled the false prospectus of the anti-independence campaign, built on brazen lies, vacuous scaremongering and empty promises, there was never the slightest doubt in the minds of those responsible that they were doing the right thing. There was no more questioning of their own motives and conduct than there was scrutiny of the often risible claims and assertions made by the various agents and agencies of the British state.
The BBC’s duty is to the British state. It does not serve its audience. It does not serve the nations of the UK or their people. It serves only established power. As such, it is not to be trusted. We cannot possibly rely on any message mediated by the BBC. It has been proven to be false. It has shown itself to be unworthy of our trust.
What can be said of the BBC can equally be said of the rest of the mainstream British media. And of the British state that they serve. We must treat with the utmost scepticism everything that they tell us. We must not allow them to manipulate perceptions in the way that has been so effectively exposed by London Calling.Views: 6130
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