I caught the news bulletin on the radio. The First Minister was under pressure said the news reader. The issue was the holding of a second independence referendum.
I listened to the news report and recognised the structure immediately. Jeremy Hunt had visited Scotland and been asked about a second independence referendum.
The Tory minister had embraced the opportunity to attack the SNP. It was the same template BBC Scotland had adopted throughout the 2014 Indyref campaign.
The template was forged between May 2011 and September 2014. A UK government minister would visit Scotland, ostensibly to make a speech. The speech would end and a question would be posed. The UK government minister would then launch into a well rehearsed mini-speech attacking independence.
That evening the mini-speech and claim would dominate the news. The SNP would be forced to respond to the outrageous claim [sharing the pound, EU membership, pensions] and be presented on the defensive. The narrative, now established, would be run again and again.
When Jeremy Hunt was asked on Thursday by an as yet unknown Scottish journalist whether Theresa May would ‘permit’ a second independence referendum, it gave him an opportunity to divert from Brexit. Hunt, knowing Brexit was a no-win area, seized on the opportunity with relish.
BBC Scotland knew what to do. Its 2014 Indyref instinct kicked in. Brexit was out of the picture. In its place was a piece of anti-SNP manufactured theatre.
Its political correspondent Andrew Kerr knew what his bosses expected. He tweeted Hunt’s response.
Kerr appeared on Radio Scotland breathlessly telling listeners what Hunt had said. The station played clips of the Tory minister for good measure. Newsdrive promoted the narrative. Reporting Scotland continued, with clips from that day’s First Minister’s Questions inserted to strenghten the narrative.
What about Brexit? Who cares. This was about creating a diversion and they did. Jeremy Hunt didn’t field one question on Brexit, at least none that we saw or heard about. He came to Scotland, gave a speech, planted an anti-SNP seed and left. BBC Scotland watered the seed.
What few people will even notice is that BBC Scotland ran a news story based on something that didn’t happen. The Scottish government didn’t ask Theresa May for permission to hold a second Indyref. It was classic counterfeit news in the style of the first Indyref campaign.
It’s worth pointing out some other classic BBC Scotland tricks that people rarely notice. The Reporting Scotland clip above shows Nicola Sturgeon answering Jackson Carlaw. It’s isolated below for you.
The BBC cut the FM’s reply. It contained a reference to the SNP’s twin Indyref mandate won in the 2016 Scottish election and the 2017 UK general election. It also contained a reference to the Scottish parliament vote that endorsed the mandate. Below is an uncut version obtained from an online article.
Why was the reference to the two elections, the mandate and the Scottish parliament vote removed from the flagship evening news programme? The same reason the following clip was also removed.
The clip above was broadcast by the little watched ‘The Nine’. It was seen at the end of the Reporting Scotland item, but there’s no sound. Viewers heard BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor talking over it.
This is what awaits us when the second Indyref is finaally held. Indeed this kind of counterfeit news will more than likely saturate our colonial media if it thinks a second Indyref call is imminent.
BBC Scotland has not changed since the last Indyref. It’s the same people moulding the news to the same corrupt North British template. The Jeremy Hunt episode merely serves as a reminder.