By G.A.Ponsonby

Friday saw the continued erosion of political journalism in Scotland. A story exclusively revealed by Newsnet Scotland in October finally made it onto the pages of newspapers and the airwaves of the BBC.

The story was, sadly, unrecognisable by the time it had been manipulated, twisted and contorted. A political agenda had been applied and a caricature – replete with attacks on Alex Salmond – presented to readers, viewers and listeners.

The First Minister’s ‘crime’ according to the repackaged version, was to highlight a communication that blew a gaping hole in the anti-independence narrative being cultivated by Unionists and helped by Scotland’s fourth estate. Alex Salmond drew attention to correspondence from an EC official that made it clear there was no legal barrier to post-Yes negotiations taking place whilst Scotland remained a member of the EU.

The communication highlighted by Mr Salmond had been sent by Mario-Paulo Tenreiro, who is responsible for institutional questions at the Secretariat General of the European Commission. Mr Tenreiro had replied to a question on the EU membership of a newly independent Scotland.

It’s worth quoting exactly what Mr Tenreiro said in his response to a member of the public who asked “Does the President agree with me that, given Scotland is already in the EU and therefore meets criteria for membership, an independent Scotland would be able to negotiate its terms of membership of the European Union within the European Union?”

In a reply, Mr Tenreiro said that whilst a change of treaties would be required – needing the approval of other members – that: “…as you say, it would of course be legally possible to re-negotiate the situation of UK and Scotland within the EU.”

We ran the story as an exclusive on the 9th October this year. We waited to see if any other news outlet would run the story … none did. For seven weeks the official EC response was ignored by every Scottish traditional media outlet … bar none.

When this week Alex Salmond held up a printed copy, in response to the latest claims over the EU membership of an independent Scotland, we were pleasantly surprised and wondered if now, the media would finally report on its existence. Surely with Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s outrageous undiplomatic attack on the EU membership of an independent Scotland, the Scottish media would now rush to the defence of its own democratically elected Government and her people, who according to Rajoy, would be summarily stripped of their EU citizenship .

It didn’t quite turn out like that.

It’s no secret that the Scottish media is a pro-Union animal, it’s been that way for as long as most of us can remember. However its reporting of the Tenreiro response defied the very tenets on which journalism is supposed to be based.

“…as you say, it would of course be legally possible to re-negotiate the situation of UK and Scotland within the EU.”

Far from righting a wrong when they initially employed a blackout of the communication, the media reacted to Mr Salmond’s citing of it by attacking the First Minister. What apparently irked the media-machine was the fact that the Scottish Government had learned of Mr Tenreiro’s reply from Newsnet Scotland.

Newspapers launched an unprecedented attack on the SNP leader for daring to reveal what they themselves should have already reported – official confirmation that claims from Unionists were nothing more than vacuous scares.

The Daily Record, the Scottish Sun, the Scottish Daily Mail, the Herald, the Express and the Guardian all launched attacks on Mr Salmond.

The Daily Record headline read: Alex Salmond accused of ‘government by google’ after pinning an independent Scotland’s EU membership hopes on internet letter.

The ‘Government by Google’ claim was a reference to remarks made by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont. The ‘internet letter’ phrase was a reference to the Record revelation that the correspondence had been, “found on Newsnet Scotland, a pro-independence website”

The Scottish Sun shouted ‘Eck’s EU net gaffe’ and led readers to a two page spread headlined ‘SALMOND IN PARLY EU LETTER BLUNDER’.

The paper also claimed Mr Tenreiros’s response had been “lifted from the internet”.

The other newspapers continued in the same vein, with not one acknowledging the extent to which the contents of the official reply damaged the claims from the No campaign. It was as though the communication contents weren’t important.

Even the BBC got in on the act, BBC Scotland Political Editor Brian Taylor, in his coverage of First Minister’s Questions, wrote: “Mr Salmond replied that he had a letter from the secretariat of the European Commission. He did indeed. But it was not written to him.

Rather it emerged later that it was lifted from the internet, having been addressed in response to an unnamed interlocutor.”

“lifted from the internet” – Johann Lamont’s accusations were gaining traction and the media were playing ball.

But what was Taylor implying by describing the recipient as an unnamed interlocutor and not Mr Salmond? Was the letter fake, were its contents irrelevant because the recipient’s name had not been disclosed?

On Friday, Mr Taylor’s colleague, BBC Scotland reporter Niall O’Gallagher made exactly the same ‘internet’ claim when giving his own analysis of the exchanges at Holyrood, stating the missive had been “lifted from the internet” by the Scottish Government.

The phrase “lifted from the internet”, dove-tailed nicely with claims from Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, who levelled all sorts of accusations against Salmond.

“This is an amateurish and shameful attempt by Alex Salmond to mislead the people of Scotland.

“It seems Salmond is basing Scotland’s future on his ability to Google. What other parts of the White Paper rely on random websites?” she said.

Lamont added: “The First Minister just can’t seem to tell the truth when it comes to Scotland and the European Union.

“Did Alex Salmond write to the EU Commission to ask for this opinion? No. Did the Government? No.

“The fact is we do not know who wrote the original letter or what they asked because Alex Salmond pulled the letter off the internet.”

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson added: “Alex Salmond’s position on Europe has become increasingly desperate that he has been forced to resort to printing off a letter from a pro-independence website.”

Today we can reveal that the communication was not, as claimed by Johann Lamont, the BBC and a host of other newspapers, “lifted from the internet” or as Davidson claimed “printed off from a website”.

In fact the document held up by Mr Salmond was sent to the Scottish Government by Newsnet Scotland, we did so on 9th October, the day we published our article. So claims from reporters and political opponents that the reply from the EC official was “lifted from the internet” are false.

Johann Lamont even called for Mr Salmond to apologise, saying: “The First Minister’s use of this letter was an attempt to deceive the Chamber and the Scottish people.”

Given that her own claim that the Scottish Government had “pulled the letter off the internet” can be proven to be false one wonders if Ms Lamont will now herself apologise. Will the BBC issue an apology and a correction?

But there’s another aspect of this story that readers may find interesting. Newsnet Scotland can reveal that, one day before we sent the communication in the form of a PDF attachment to the Scottish Government, a copy was also sent to the BBC.

BBC Scotland’s morning radio show Good Morning Scotland received a copy prior to the story appearing on Newsnet Scotland. The purpose of this was to alert the BBC to what we believed was a significant development in the debate over Scotland’s membership of the EU after a Yes vote.

BBC Scotland ignored it, as did every Scottish news outlet after we published our exclusive. This week, this same broadcaster gave wall to wall coverage of comments from Spain’s Prime Minister. Indeed BBC reporter Gavin Hewitt was scouring Brussels looking for officials prepared to echo Rajoy’s sentiments.

Mr Hewitt clearly forgot to contact the office of Mario-Paulo Tenreiro.

What does it say about the media in Scotland that they will all readily headline threats against Scotland from foreign politicians [Rajoy] who have an agenda, but presented with evidence from neutral officials that undermines the threat, and it is itself attacked by those same outlets?

Rajoy’s attack on Scotland’s EU membership is nothing more than a politically motivated favour to UK PM David Cameron, who will no doubt reciprocate. However with Catalonia having a very real indigenous broadcast media and newspaper industry, Cameron’s attacks will have little impact.

In Scotland we have no such traditional Scottish centric media – we rely on ordinary people and so-called citizen journalism to defend the nation against such political corruption.

And this fear of citizen-journalism runs through the attacks on Salmond over the Tenreiro communication.

The newspapers are using the source of the story, namely Newsnet Scotland, as reason to dismiss the contents of Tenreiro’s response. It’s a bizarre line of attack and one that indicates a worrying development in the independence debate.

This success for citizen journalism should have been applauded. The communication is genuine and ought to have been picked up and reported by our traditional media. But like many of our equally strong exclusives, such as the Viviane Reding interview and the secret meeting between officials from Rajoy’s party and the Conservatives, it was suppressed.

Incredibly, the Scotsman in its Saturday leader referred to a separate comment from Viviane Reding from November last year. This, unlike her previous comment, suited their anti-independence agenda.

They wrote:

Viviane Reding, commissioner in charge of justice and vice-president of the Commission, wrote to the Spanish government last year insisting that “Catalonia, if it seceded from Spain, could not remain in the European Union as a separate member”.

This was a story covered by Newsnet Scotland at the time and, as ever, the Scotsman’s interpretation is – as was that of Herald Political Editor Magnus Gardham – at odds with the facts.

Contrary to the claim by the Scotsman, Ms Reding was not asked to comment on a constitutional vote for Catalonian independence, but on a very specific unconstitutional situation. She was asked to comment on a unilateral declaration of independence by Catalonia without prior negotiation or agreement with Madrid.

So suppression and misreporting go hand in hand with smearing, as the Tenreiro communication demonstrates.

There have also been thinly veiled suggestions that the communication from Mr Tenreiro is somehow tainted because it was prompted by someone who is a member of the SNP and had not in fact been sent directly to the Scottish Government.

The Guardian’s Scottish correspondent Severin Carrell wrote:

“But the significance of that disclosure was quickly undermined after it emerged that Salmond’s aides had downloaded the letter from a nationalist website, Newsnet Scotland, and had not been officially sent that opinion by Brussels.”

Leaving aside the erroneous claim that “Salmond’s aides had downloaded the letter”, Carrell’s suggestion that only correspondence sent directly to the politicians is worthy and credible, is dangerously close to censorship.

Would Carrell deem it inappropriate for a Government Minister to cite correspondence between a journalist and Brussels to support or defend a stance? What of UK Government Ministers who have used correspondence not sent directly to them in order to support their own anti-independence claims and agendas?

Are the people of Scotland who are forced to carry out the work that journalists refuse to do, to be ignored?

In Scotland we rely on citizen journalism in order to challenge the pro-Union agenda that is eating away at Scotland’s democracy. If we rely on the likes of the BBC, Daily Record, the Scotsman and indeed the Guardian to provide us with our political news then we will end up with what we have here – stories suppressed that don’t fit a pro-Union agenda.

Has it even occurred to Mr Carrell that the reason Scots are taking matters into their own hands and acting as journalists is because his own profession are lamentably inept when it comes to seeking information from the EC.

The print and broadcast media in Scotland is so interlinked to Unionism, they are like co-joined twins. They survive almost as one, sharing the same heartbeat and breathing the same political oxygen.

The Scottish media had a choice to make when Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy made his intervention. It could act in the interests of journalism and by extension the Scottish public or it could act in the interests of Unionism. That it opted for Unionism isn’t surprising given it is itself an expression of that Unionism.

Once that decision had been taken, then the Tenreiro response – brought into the media arena by Salmond – had to be undermined and its contents discredited. The First Minister himself and the Scottish Government have been subject to false accusations from Unionist politicians and media reporters, none of whom will ever face sanction.

We contacted BBC Scotland reporter Niall O’Gallagher correcting his “lifted from the internet” claim and informed him his own colleagues at BBC Scotland had been sent a copy of Mr Tenreiro’s reply seven weeks ago.

On Friday morning we sent the following email to Good Morning Scotland:

On the programme this morning the EU letter read out by the First Minister yesterday was described as having been “downloaded from the internet” by the Scottish Government. This is not true.

The letter read out by the First Minister was sent to GMS on 8th October. Can someone explain why its existence was not reported by the programme?

James Naughtie in his review of the newspaper headlines described the letter as having been acquired from a “pro-SNP” website. This appears to be a reference to Newsnet Scotland. We have no links to the SNP and would ask that this be pointed out live on air. Our news site does indeed have a pro-independence editorial line. We note that the BBC never refers to other news vendors in this manner and would ask why we have been singled out in this way.

The media in Scotland, particularly the BBC, is having great difficulty in coping with citizen journalism. Sites like Newsnet Scotland and Wings over Scotland in particular are highlighting an ever growing manipulation of news and a reluctance to scrutinise pro-Union claims, some of which are demonstrable lies.

Finally – Cameron and Rajoy

This weekend, one year after another exclusive reported by Newsnet Scotland, reports of an anti-independence deal between David Cameron and Mariano Rajoy emerged.

An article in the Spanish newspaper El Pais said the two had “agreed the necessity to explain to citizens the consequences secession would have” – it basically said that an independent Scotland or Catalonia would be handed “automatic expulsion from the EU”.

“It is very important the public be told the truth,” said Mr Rajoy.

In November 2012 Newsnet Scotland exposed a secret meeting between officials from Rajoy’s party the Partido Popular, and the Conservative party. According to the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, the Partido Popular officials had planned to meet with Conservative and Labour politicians in order to agree a united front against independence.

We revealed it one year ago and nobody reported it. That pact between London and Madrid was the reason for Rajoy’s intervention this week.

The Tenreiro communiqué revealed by Newsnet Scotland threw a spanner into what now appears to be carefully planned co-ordinated attacks on the independence movements of Catalonia and Scotland, co-ordinated attacks agreed between the governments of the UK and Spain.

That’s the real story here, and not the anti-independence claptrap that’s being reported.

[Newsnet Scotland has great pleasure in announcing our first ever public discussion on independence.

The event on Monday December 2nd will be held in the European Parliament Office, The Tun, 4 Jackson’s Entry EH8 8PJ Edinburgh, and will start at 6 pm and end at 8 pm.

Hosted by Dr Mark McNaught, the discussion – which will be filmed – follows on from the publication of the Scottish Government’s Independence White Paper.

The event venue seats forty five people and audience participation is actively encouraged. Tickets are free and can be booked by clicking the link below.]



2013-11-30 16:58

Not surprising is it really,it’s the Unionist spin machine in action. I’ve said it before we need independent, international scrutiny.
Good luck with the BBC by the way but I’m sure you aren’t holding your collective breath 🙂
2013-11-30 17:06

What more can be said. Donation on its way. Well done NNS.
call me dave
2013-11-30 17:39

Well you have come out fighting and for good reason too. We readers don’t always know what is going on in the background in NNS’s whose people provide us with current news and a voice to express opinions.

In the face of almost overwhelming opposition Scotland is struggling to get it’s freedom to function as an independent country. Without the time, effort and research by NNS & WoS thousands of potential voters would be sold a ‘pig in a poke’.

The ‘better togethers & the pretend labour socialists have nothing to offer or enthuse us with, it’s all negative.

Liked this bit:
“Has it even occurred to Mr Carrell that the reason Scots are taking matters into their own hands and acting as journalists is because his own profession are lamentably inept when it comes to seeking information from the EC”.

Well done.

2013-11-30 17:43

what I found really offensive was the description of newsnet Scotland in yesterday’s editorial within the daily record as “crackpot website”.
Now I wont realy give my views on the foreign owned trinity mirror rag here ( I don’t want banned) but suffice to say I have sent a complaint to them.

[Admin – Thank you for pointing this out. We will seek out the editorial and may well contact the Daily Record for an explanation]

2013-11-30 18:06

We need to start a petition sending it to all the newspapers,the BBC and STV. How about newsnetscotland .com starting an online petition? I am sure all your loyal readers will sign and pass on.
2013-11-30 18:19

Surely, enough is enough for the First Minister over what looks like the BBC’s suppression of this NNS letter sent to Good Morning Scotland on 8 October.

Whether it was known by the SG or Alex Salmond personally, that the BBC had been sent a copy, is not relevant, this issue is firmly fixed at the door of the BBC and BBC Scotland’s Head of News and Current Affairs and I would hope a heavy official complaint is already on its way.

In the cut and thrust of Scottish politics, particularly during this absolutely crucial stage of independence, anything which may leave the leader of any party open to attacks by opposing parties is completely wrong and for it to be a wilful action by the BBC is something that has to be challenged. Enough really is enough!

Well done NNS.

2013-11-30 18:21

The Guardian’s Scottish correspondent Severin Carrell wrote:

“But the significance of that disclosure was quickly undermined after it emerged that Salmond’s aides had downloaded the letter from a nationalist website, Newsnet Scotland, and had not been officially sent that opinion by Brussels.”

If I recall correctly, Newsnet Scotland came about because of BBC bias in reporting the independence debate. The mainstream media is relentlessly pro-union. Your site is read by people who mainly support independence, but who have different political views on how an independent Scotland will look like. You should tell the Guardian you are a pro-independence website, and not a ‘nationalist website’ because they are inferring a connection to, or support for the SNP.

Admin – We have done

2013-11-30 19:51

Rajoy and Cameron in bed together! Watch out Gibraltar…
Were Belgium to divide into separate states would one be expelled from the EU? Who would get Brussels and EU admin complex? Do be careful about setting precedents guys.
Leader of the Pack
2013-11-30 20:09

“Has it even occurred to Mr Carrell that the reason Scots are taking matters into their own hands and acting as journalists is because his own profession are lamentably inept when it comes to seeking information from the EC.”

That is a devastating point to make!
The unionist agenda driven media are criticising the people of Scotland for taking the much needed initiative to get themselves better informed from sources other than those controlled and manipulated by them. It is censorship of the worst kind. It is measures youd expect from locally controlled media in Syria or Zimbabwe or North Korea.
The Indy debate is really exposing the worst levels of total corruption in the UK like nothing has done before.

2013-11-30 20:09

It is scary how corrupt our media has become, the people of Scotland have to be made aware of what is going on, if not then the consequences are barely worth thinking about.

I can guarantee you if The Scotsman had received a letter from the EU supporting the No campaign’s stance there would have been wall to coverage by the media and at no point would the Scotsman be described as pro-union newspaper.

2013-11-30 20:21

This is a great article and shows up the pro union f””” for what they are but how can we get this out to the main stream public I would like to see the SNP and yes when they next appear on any BBC program ask the likes of Taylor to explain theirr actions,we all remember Taylor telling us about Greys paper which he had seen and us getting our comments removed by the BBC when we questioned Taylor.
Stock answer from Taylors BWB
Unfortunately we’ve had to remove your
content below.
This reply on the Grey Docunment which never saw the light of day.
2013-11-30 20:33

In my opinion the best bit of journalism from Newsnet and G A in particular.

Gets to the heart of the matter and how we are systematically being intellectually surpressed by the media industry orchestrating events in collusion with the UK state ideals and political parties opposing a YES vote.

Jesus I hope this gets out there to european media who think the brits are oh so fair & impartial.

Leader of the Pack
2013-11-30 20:43

You get the impression that if the No campaign could shut down the internet across the UK they would without thought or concern to the inconvenience until after the referendum vote was in.
2013-11-30 20:44

have written to Private Eye about this, enclosing a copy of the article.

Here is the text of my email:

have written to you twice recently about censorship of the media in Scotland both printed and broadcast. In the past there has been a certain subtlety about it but now it is becoming egregious. One can hardly be surprised that the UK printed media, even the Scotsman and Herald collude in this, but now it appears to have become official BBC policy too to mislead and lie to the Scottish public, and, by extension, to the rest of the UK.

I undernote the content of an article from Newsnet Scotland, an online news organisation employing professional journalists, most of whom have previously worked in the mainstream media including the BBC.

G. Campbell
2013-11-30 20:48

Lifting from the internet, Guardian Media Group style.…/…

2013-11-30 21:01

(Continued) The example they discuss is merely one among many. What makes the whole matter even worse is that the BBC, STV and press control everything that the general public see and hear and therefore no protest about the situation can be made as they will not publish it.

This might sound hysterical to an outsider, and speaking as one who once actually said,
“It must be true, I read in the Times!”, I sometimes have to pinch myself. However, when one considers the phone hacking scandal, then almost anything is possible.

If ever a story was worthy of an entry in ‘Street of Shame’ then this is it. It isn’t going over the top to say that Private Eye is the last hope, nobody else would dare to publish this.

2013-11-30 21:38

I honestly doubt that Ian Hislop’s Private Eye will publish any criticism of the MSM. I hope I’m wrong but I doubt it

2013-11-30 21:01

I have been wondering ever since Rajoy intervened this week if Cameron has done a back door deal on Gibralter rather than being known as the p.m who lost Scotland .
2013-11-30 21:02

I know this dereliction of duty has been going on with the MSM & BBCS for some time now. But to see it to this extent (and getting worse) has left me absolutely livid – but also feeling utterly impotent.

This calculated and co-ordinated distortion of the truth by our MSM & BBCS represents the biggest threat to democracy and freedom of speech this country has ever seen.

SOMETHING has to be done about this clear and present danger to our liberties.

2013-11-30 21:03

Just contributed £50. I can see from the above piece that this is indeed money well spent.

An outstanding journalistic effort!

As for the BBC, they can whistle for their licence fee, and it’ll be a cold day in hell when I next purchase a newspaper.

2013-11-30 21:24

I have said this before and I will keep saying it. The British establishment have got a history of using unorthodox methods to achieve their government’s goals.
I also believe that they are now moving a gear up to totally discredit anything that a pro independence party or individual might say.
We are now moving into territory where the Westminster government in it’s desperation to hold on to it’s “cash cow” will use very conceivable tactic dirty or otherwise to discredit the Yes Campaign and all we stand for.
Donation posted and thanks.
Marga B
2013-11-30 21:37

Interesting twist to the Spain/UK in cahoots against Scotland/Catalonia in Europe story:

Today in London at a pre-election congress, 600 delegates (55 parties) of the European Liberal group ALDE (of Olli Rehn & NATO’s Anders Rasmussen) approved an explicit reference, not to Catalan independence, but supporting Catalans’ right to a referendum.

Group President is Briton Lord Graham Watson and Vice President is Catalan Marc Guerrero, of the ruling Catalan pro-independence party CDC.

2013-11-30 22:02

The simplest way to end the BBC biased reporting is to write a letter cancelling the licence fee and say why you are doing it.
I have written mine and am awaiting a reply.

BBC Trust Unit
180 Great Portland Street

2013-11-30 22:19

I have a lot of faith in citizen journalism, it has been one of the many rays of hope as we travel along this referendum journey. Sites like this and Wings over Scotland have been nothing short of revelatory. I consider myself well educated, and more than capable of thinking for myself, and I have always been aware of the pro-union bias of the media, but what citizen journalism has revealed to me is the dreadful extent of the bankruptcy in Scottish ‘journalism’.

What do we do though? Do we just hope that all your efforts have a cumulative effect? They are having an impact, but can we do more?

If we attack the MSM head-on we will just be condemned as paranoid nationalist crackpots. That is the sickening irony of the situation, by taking them on we could actually make it worse.

I wonder if a parliamentary petition would be useful? Signatures would not be in short supply.

2013-12-01 00:00

This is becoming a real democratic threat and its time that the Scottish Government flexed its authority.Enough is enough!

2013-11-30 22:57

Really fascinating, giving yet more credence to the claims that our media fail, at best! I’m sending this to Glasgow Media Group. Was chatting to Greg Philo a few months ago and even though he’s against independence, he may find it worthy of further study. Anyone got Chomsky’s email?
2013-11-30 23:28

This something that is peculiar to the Scottish media.

In any other country in the world their media staunchly support their country. But here? – Whenever some-one is putting the boot into Scotland and the Scots, the media in Scotland rush to join in the assault.

2013-12-01 00:40

As long as the BBC let us phone in to call kaye and appear in their audience’s we have the opportunity to call them all into question about the bad state of affairs and how our democracy is at fork in the road. If we don’t go down the correct route then we really do set a dangerous precedent for the future not just for Scotland but everyone in these islands and beyond.
I wish some big hitter with some big ones would come to our aid cos this needs to be discussed at a national level at some point in the debate.
It concerns me greatly that if near half of Scots feel cheated from their right to self determination the coming years could be unnecessarily damaging in many aspects to all of us.
2013-12-01 01:32

My cynical ploy detector has been a-twitch in recent weeks in regard to the apparent ‘spat’ between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar and how convenient that could prove as a cover or diversion for other dealings in regard to what might be considered rather more pressing matters such as Scottish and Catalan independence and the consequent clandestine machinations between London and Madrid which those matters might incur.

Sadly, over the 62 years of my life, that detector has, in hindsight, proven itself to be remarkably reliable. Indeed, when it has erred it has invariably been on the less pessimistic side.

2013-12-01 07:31

Newsnet should send a copy of this article along with a formal notice of complaint to The PCC.

Governments both Tory and Labour have in the past regularly complained of bias in both Broadcast and print media.

However, The SNP seem reluctant to complain about media coverage which I can’t understand as even if they did complain the coverage couldn’t possibly become more biased than it is at present.

Can I suggest the folowing options:-

1) Withdraw from participation in any broadcast interview or debate.

2) If participating in a broadcast interview or debate:-
(a)Just sit mute and refuse to say a single word.
(b)Turn any interview round and instead of answering questions start to interview the interviewer about the bias.

(2) above would only be effective for live broadcasts and would leave the broadcaster powerless to do anything other than contrive some technical problem and pull the plug.

2013-12-01 07:53

Surely the time is well overdue to bring the so-called News media under legal control.
Their continuing distortions, their ignoring of inconvenient news and blatant scaremongering is interfering with Scots seeking truthful info to further the democratic process.
Criminal activity, surely?
2013-12-01 08:28

Didn’t Brian Taylor reveal on Reporting Scotland the other night, the name of the person who had written the letter?

It was, horror of horrors, an SNP branch member!

By the tone of Brian’s voice, this proved that there was something dastardly going on.


2013-12-01 09:06

Brian Taylor was either keen to deflect the flak heading the BBC’s way for suppressing this letter sent to them by NNS – or, even he didn’t know the BBC had received a copy sent on 8 October and was merely taking the ongoing party line of putting the boot into anything SNP related.

Whatever way you look at it – somebody at BBC Scotland got this letter and deliberately sat on it – or was there a gremlin working away in the BBC mailroom?

I say again, this has to be taken up by the Scottish Government and big time at that.


2013-12-01 10:38

Would be interested in doing a story on this as they are no lovers of the Brirish Establishment.
2013-12-01 11:04

I have lost faith that any print or TV media will allow the people of Scotland to make an informed choice by providing facts or even just ‘both sides of the story’.

The damage being done by this undermining of democracy is likely irreversible. I never thought in my wildest dreams that this ort of thing could or even would happen.

2013-12-01 11:19

When media orthodoxy fails the public, there is only one place the public can turn to find the facts.


Perhaps the commentators of the msm should take the hint? People aren’t just taking their word at face value anymore.

2013-12-01 12:26

Nobody will deny that the Glasgow helicopter crash is a tragedy.

However, on the Sunday following The WP Launch, the revelation that Cameron and Rajoy have been cooperating to attack Indpendence and the astonishing coincidence of the release of Rajoy’s speech the day after the launch of The WP – not forgetting the scandal of the political and media lying and hypocrisy over The EU letter our beloved BBC Scotland decides to devote 100% of Today’s Politics Scotland to the crash.

They even managed to prise Lamont from her bunker and gave her about 10 minutes uninterrupted to tug at our heartstrings.

Sunday Politics Scotland is a political program NOT a news bulletin.

Nice work BBC Scotland for managing to sidestep the significant political stories and media and political misbehaviour of the last week.

Marga B
2013-12-01 14:58

gus1940 – The UK and the savagely unionist Madrid press are taking the same line on independence, at least in Spain a clear vote-winner in the rest of the country. I don’t think coordination here is a coincidence. Spain is getting alarmed.

As regards Gibraltar, continued support for a UK Gibraltar could be a bargaining chip for a UK veto of Catalonia or more likely valuable UK diplomatic activity worldwide cutting off international and especially financial support for Catalonia and Scotland.


Old Blue
2013-12-01 14:07

Slightly O/T – Have been discussing over on Wings over Scotland about how schools are dealing with the referendum.
There is a disturbing picture emerging regarding what is being presented to the 16 to 17 year olds at schools around Scotland. Its now coming to light that schools in council areas controlled by Labour and Conservative/Libdems are not being provided with a balanced debate with only groups from Better Together being allowed into schools. In addition the main union EIS is complicit in this, with some teachers pushing a very skewed Better Together doctrine, telling pupils idiotically stupid scare stories. An example, that I’ve heard is of a class have been told to provide 5 pro Yes facts, which they have to read out in front of a visiting team from Better Together. This will result in these points being attacked unchallenged by the Better Together people. There will be no Yes Scotland people in the room. All together a sinister form of bullying by the school.
2013-12-01 18:46

>>Old Blue ( eyes ?)..
If you have some proof of this, including details of which schools and teachers were involved, I suggest you pass it immediately to YES Campaign and/or SNP HQ.

Action will be taken.


2013-12-01 14:55

This further demonstration of the powers ranged against independence is truly depressing. However, this week I spoke with two people who had previously declared themselves ‘against independence’ – They now describe themselves as ‘not sure what to vote’. Now I know that this is only a tiny sample, but it does indicate that the constant negativity from the ‘no’ camp is not being particularly effective. I believe and hope that as the referendum nears, an increasingly arrogant (and possibly desperate) ‘no’ campaign will become highly likely to overstep the mark and actually do their cause great damage. Independence supporters need to carry on being positive and allow the ‘no’ campaign to dig a hole of their own.
2013-12-01 16:56


Is it just me or has The Herald killed off their Comments facility?

For the last 2 or 3 days whatever story I click on no comments are displayed.

I do not subscribe to the on-line Herald as I wouldn’t give a penny to anybody who employs Magnus Gardham but I do enjoy reading the Herald Comments which are normally still available without subscription and are free from the bunch of Project Fear idiots who pollute The Scotsman Comments with their rubbish although Herald readers are subjected to the repetitive outpourings from that OBE character from Woking.

call me dave
2013-12-01 17:07

Noticed that, because I enjoy the verbal jousting and mainly civilised fighting.

OBE usually gets seen off in short order too!

Anyhoo here’s something to read :WP.
The White Paper reflects the SNP’s ideological ambiguity. It is a solid but not inspiring prospectus for independence. In fact, the whole document is designed to highlight the governance-focused nature of modern Scottish nationalism – and largely succeeds in doing so.

The challenge now for supporters of independence is to marry the White Paper’s pragmatism with RIC’s sense of urgency. One without the other isn’t going to be enough, but together they present a formidable challenge to the unionists increasingly lacklustre and repetitive campaign.
. . . . .…/…


2013-12-02 17:19

I’m surprised that the most ludicrously extreme cheerleaders in the MSM for Project Bloody Terrified such as Cochrane, Roden and Gardham have not branded The WP as ‘Salmonds Mwin Kampf’.

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