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The BBC has earned the distrust of Scots – Towards Indyref2…

The BBC has earned the distrust of Scots

So yet another survey on the BBC’s political output in Scotland suggests the corporation is losing trust north of the border.

A poll for the Herald newspaper resulted in more people saying they believed the BBC was biased against independence, than said it wasn’t.

Thirty six per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that “the BBC tends to report news that is biased against the cause of Scottish independence”, and only twenty three per cent disagreed.  The remainder weren’t sure either way.

That means three quarters of the Scottish electorate are made up of people who either believe the BBC is biased against indy or aren’t willing to say it isn’t.  It’s an incredible statistic but one that doesn’t surprise me.  The evidence is everywhere you look.

Last week I listened in to Good Morning Scotland and thought I’d stumbled back in time to the days prior to the 2014 referendum when they came to the newspaper review slot.  Listen to the clip below.


The claim being made by these newspapers is demonstrable garbage.  There is no ‘EU queue’.  Yet it finds its way onto the airwaves of a public service broadcaster.

This was typical of the pro-Union newspaper content that was promoted via the conduit of the ‘newspaper review’ throughout the 2014 referendum campaign.  BBC Scotland did this continuously.  Below are two examples [the second clip features James Naughtie who gets a mention further down].


That the overwhelming majority of Scotland’s daily and weekly newspapers are pro-Union is obvious.  If you are going to allow the promotion of newspaper headlines, then it stands to reason that you are going to be promoting pro-Union claims and stories.

The reading out and summarising of politically motivated newspaper headlines is bias by proxy.  It allows pro-Union claims to be pumped into homes throughout Scotland.  It is blatantly wrong.  Yet the practice continues.  The recordings below are from recent months.  Anti-independence headlines mixed in with smears against SNP politicians.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh smear


Oil black hole


Indyref2 uncertainty


The newspaper review is of course small-fry in the panoply of questionable broadcasts by BBC Scotland.  Of greater concern is the news output that seems to be manipulated in order to either maximise content damaging to independence or the SNP or minimise content damaging to Unionism or its parties.

The recent PFI scandal that witnessed a school wall collapsing was an example of a story that should have caused considerable harm to the Scottish Labour Party.  But it didn’t.  Almost every bulletin that was broadcast by BBC Scotland had Labour’s culpability filtered out.

Neither Gordon Brown, who was the architect of PFI, nor Jack McConnell, who coerced Scottish councils into adopting the controversial funding mechanism, merited a mention.

Bizarrely the broadcaster did find the time to try to link the SNP to the scandal.  Listen to the clip below which is of course another ‘newspaper review’.


The simple truth is that few people trust the BBC because it is institutionally corrupt.  This corruption leads to practices that should long since have been addressed.

It also leads to an acceptance of presenters who parade their partisan political views with pride.  This weekend witnessed perhaps the BBC’s most high-profile political presenter take to Twitter to push falsehoods relating to an independent Scotland’s place in the EU.

Andrew Neil claimed Scotland would have to wait in a queue indefinitely for membership.  Neil cited as ‘evidence’ a speech given by Jean-Claude Juncker in which the EC President stated enlargement would be halted during his term in office.

Neil’s claim was demonstrable garbage given that there is no queue to obtain EU membership, there is only a process.  Satisfy the requirements and you could find yourself admitted before countries who submitted their own application years earlier.

His citing of Jean-Claude Juncker’s ‘enlargement’ speech was interesting, for it was a repeat of the misleading reports put out by the BBC back in 2014 immediately after Juncker had delivered it.

The online headlines were eventually corrected but the falsehood was repeated, first on that evening’s Reporting Scotland then twice later that evening by Sarah Smith.  Smith, as you hear below, also deliberately misrepresented a letter sent to Juncker by Catalan President Artur Mas who had written to every major European leader outlining Catalonia’s reasons for wanting independence.

Smith of course was one of two big names recruited by BBC Scotland towards the end of the 2014 campaign.

Her stint as presenter of the ill-fated Scotland 2014 did as much for trust in the BBC north of the border as that of her metropolitan based colleague James Naughtie.

Below is a clip of Naughtie doing what he was brought in to do.


Naughtie has retired but Sarah Smith, daughter of the former Labour leader John Smith, is still very much part of the BBC’s Scottish output having been promoted to the role of Scottish editor after the referendum.

It’s important to remind ourselves of what the BBC did during the referendum because so many of those who were responsible for the corrupt output are still there.  The corporation is not above trying to rewrite history as the clip below, from November last year, makes clear.


The three bulletins were false.  The pledge was for thirteen Type 26 frigates to be built on the Clyde, not eight as the Good Morning Scotland presenters would have you believe.

Following the broadcast, a complaint was raised with the BBC.  The complainant asked for a correction from the BBC and an apology, both to be broadcast on the programme.  The response from the BBC has to be seen to be believed.

A senior official at the Editorial Complaints Unit claimed not to be aware of any indyref pledge by the UK Government.  The official also claimed the thirteen frigate total was an understandable but erroneous inference made by the complainant.

In essence, the BBC is refusing to accept Scotland was promised thirteen frigates.

This isn’t the first time an attempt at rewriting history has been made.  In February 2016 Good Morning Scotland presenter Gary Robertson tried to claim that ‘near federalism’ was never promised to Scotland within the now infamous ‘Vow’.


The Vow of course was the eleventh hour con that was based on pledges given by Gordon Brown, and broadcast live by the BBC, days before the referendum was held.  BBC presenters themselves acknowledged as much.

Whatever gave Gary Robertson the idea that near federalism had never been pledged to Scots if they voted no?  Well the clip below may provide a clue.


I’m heartened by the Herald poll that showed trust in the BBC is ebbing.  The more people who question the output from these middle-class elites, the better the chance of winning Indyref2.

One last thing.  Look out for the BBC trying to play Yessers off of one another using the twin issues of the EU and currency.  Those Yessers of a ‘radical left’ persuasion … be warned!

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14 thoughts on “The BBC has earned the distrust of Scots

  1. Bunny Daft

    This kind of biased behaviour isn’t confined to the SNP though. The BBC has acted as the UK state propaganda outfit since its inception in the 1920s. I mind reading something about how it was explicitly funded on a ‘union busting’ mission with regular stories about the economic recklessness of striking workers and how selfish the lower orders were being. And mind the miner’s strike, when they doctored footage of the police charge at Orgreave colliery? And the dodgy dossier coverage during the Iraq war propaganda onslaught?

    Perhaps we need to expand our horizons if we want to undermine them publicly. The fact is you don’t need to be a supporter of Scottish independence to be smeared by the bbc. They guard the UK establishment on all its fronts, in exchange for the license fee.

    Most people quite naturally understand the link between government money and sleazy corruption. We need to sow mistrust more generally in the bbc – if we only do it on an anti-SNP footing I think a lot of unionist voters switch off automatically.

    1. Robert Peffers

      I think you slipped up there Bunny Daft. ” I think a lot of unionist voters switch off automatically”.

      How can they switch off when they had not switched on in the first place?

      Then there are those who switch on their wee tranny Radio but forgot to put the batteries in. Some people just don’t listen. Others have the radio or TV on but couldn’t tell you what’s on. It is just background noise.

    2. Clydebuilt

      My immediate reaction to your post was I didn’t like it, However, on reflection I think you have an interesting point. Some Unionists would be intrigued that the State Broadcaster regularily adjusts news to suit an addenda.

      Basically anything that exposes what they get up to will be beneficial.

      However pointing out to Scots that they are Mis-Reporting on our health Service Police and Education is targeting the broadcaster’s current behaviour, and is more relevant to their current lives.

      So by all means expose previous behaviour by the State Broadcaster. But don’t stop telling anyone who will listen about their day to day actions.

      1. Sandy

        There are some references to studies and articles in the London Calling book referring to other examples of BBC bias. I’ve always found them relentlessly pro Nuclear Power and, over recent years, they’ve tended to downplay the threat of Global Warming. I also have a friend who scoffed at my bias claims on Independence who apologised when he woke up to the BBC’s continual use of ‘migrants’ instead of ‘refugees’. Finally, Labour, who have always been happy and complacent with the BBC’s bias against the SNP, are starting to wake up to a BBC that is extremely biased against Corbyn.

        I think that undermining the BBC’s credibility anywhere undermines their credibility everywhere. Agree that their current and Scottish examples are useful and should be pointed out wherever possible, however don’t neglect opportunities to plant seeds against their bias as they present themselves.

          1. Clydebuilt

            SNP Anti Nuclear Power.
            BBC pro Nuclear Power

            SNP pro (Theorey of ) Global Warming. BBC anti Global Warming.

      2. Bunny Daft

        I wasn’t suggesting we should stop grinding our particular axe! 🙂 Just that we need to get a bit more creative about how we convince the voting public that the BBC are not to be trusted.

        I drove past that ‘Misreporting Scotland’ billboard poster yesterday – and while I think this is definitely a step in the right direction, it’s too easily dismissed out of hand by people who don’t want to have their preconceptions challenged.

        Something like a graph – with actual numbers and figures on it – showing how much those at the top of the bbc earn, with pics of them cozying upto their political overlords might sow the idea more directly without being so easily sneered at by unionists? Or a historical plot showing the correlations between ‘outbreaks of bbc bias’ with all the times the UK government has threatened the license fee?? I noticed during Iraq build up/Dr Kelly affair that that was how they brought the BBC to heel.

        I’m just throwing some ideas around. We should get ready to fight a bit dirtier for indyref2, and look at all options.

  2. Sandy

    Of course the bias of repeating the biased newspaper headlines is reason enough for it to be stopped. However, I was under the impression that the BBC, as well as being impartial (ha ha), was supposed to be non-commercial. Surely it should not be giving this type of free advertising to commercial organisations (newspapers) in this way? Is this another way to attack the practice of reporting on newspapers under the BBC charter? At the very least, it would be a small victory if they were forced to say ‘other news sources are available’ at the end of every report.

  3. Dan Huil

    Good work, as ever, from GAP. The Herald poll shows the bbc in Scotland is losing any respect it may have had in the past. Thank god for the internet and sites like this one.

  4. Lochside

    All credit to your resilience in monitoring and exposing the incessant deluge of distortion, omission and downright lies emanating from this ‘institution’ Mr P.
    I long wearied of the blatant propaganda, but each time I , unfortunately, happen to see or hear their ‘coverage’ it makes me grue.

    Sally Magnusson’s latest deliberate downbeat report on the ‘delayed’ completion of the new Forth Bridge was a study in choreographed State sponsored lies. The grim face, the body language, the bored voice,and the curtailed and ‘c’ list report was incredible to watch when reporting a fantastic engineering achievement. To any foreign observer, it must have appeared beyond understanding. But that;s life in the North British Broadcasting State Propaganda Unit.

    Their latest undermining of Scots’ self esteem…the lack of dope testing in Scottish football…is risible. Many they should introduce testing of the dopes at Pacific Quay…or should that be dupes?

  5. BobJ

    Labour party press release “65 Scotrail train journeys late every day” The BBC then regurgitate that throughout the day. However the total number of journeys is 2096 a day. The BBC fail to do their job by pointing this fact out. 3% of trains are delayed each day OR we can say 97% on time (the best figures in the UK) This is the bias in the BBC, taking Labour party press releases and broadcasting them without analysing or investigation.

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