03/01/2016 · 10:41 am
Why can’t the BBC see Green?
The BBC has decided that UKIP is, in Scotland, now electorally equivalent to the Scottish Greens, and should receive similar election coverage for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections on 5th May 2016.
In doing so, the BBC Trust doubtless hope that pretending in advance that UKIP is a major party in Scottish politics will make them so.
I am a member of the Scottish Green party, since June last year. What follows, however, is an unexciting post full of statistics on the relative support of UKIP in Scotland versus the Scottish Greens.
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13/10/2014 · 2:17 pm
The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 will be holding
three four debates before the general election in May 2015.
One of them, reasonably enough, will be a head-to-head between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
Another two, also reasonably enough, will include besides the Conservative Prime Minister and the leader of the Labour Party (still predicted to be Labour Prime Minister by a narrow majority), the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the LibDems, Nick Clegg – even though the LibDems appear likely to see their 57 seats drop to 18 after 7th May 2015.
The fourth debate will privilege a minor party above the SNP and the Greens: Nigel Farage, who is not an MP, whose party is still predicted to have no MPs after 7th May 2015, will get to take part in a four-way debate with Cameron, Miliband, and Clegg.
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Filed under Elections, In The Media, Politics, Women
Tagged as BBC, Channel 4, Conservative Party, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Green Party, Green Party in Northern Ireland, Green Party of England and Wales, ITV, Labour Party, leaders debates, Liberal Democrat conference, Natalie Bennett, Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage, Scottish Green Party, Sky, SNP, UKIP
21/01/2014 · 11:34 am
David Silvester, elected as a Conservative councillor for Henley-on-Thames (pop. 10,000) resigned from the Tories and joined UKIP in 2013 to protest David Cameron’s support of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act. A local paper published his letter about same-sex marriage causing the floods on Saturday 17th January 2014.
On Sunday, following a small social media stir, founder of @UpikTips started a new Twitter account that evening: @UKIPweather, which has now tweeted 18 times and has over 100,000 followers – a phenomenon which brought David Silvester’s comments into the mainstream news. (For contrast, UKIP’s official Twitter account has only 36,300 followers.)
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Filed under Politics
Tagged as BBC, Bob Spink, Conservative Party, David Dimbleby, David Silvester, General Election 2015, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, National Health Action Party, Nigel Farage, Peter Sissons, Question Time, Raquel Rolnik, Robin Day, Scottish Green Party, Social Democratic Party, UKIP, Ukippery
11/11/2012 · 9:41 am
Charlie Beckett writes: George Entwistle is gone but how to rebuild confidence in the BBC? and disturbingly proposes:
The NHS and schools have seen structural revolutions – why not the BBC? It is time for this tired old fortress to be opened up.
Is this crisis going to be the Tory excuse to destroy the BBC as they destroyed the NHS in England?
Steven Messham apologised: Newsnight apologised: George Entwhistle resigned. But who actually set the story going?
According to the Guardian, it was Iain Overton:
As the wine flowed at the Oxford Union, the stage was set for what would soon become a broadcasting disaster. The motion before the undergraduates had been “British politics is in the pocket of the media”, and, in the exhilarated post-debate atmosphere, one dinner-jacketed journalistic insider who had come from London to speak could no longer contain his piece of political gossip.
Iain Overton, head of the small non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism, said the next evening’s Newsnight was going to expose a top Tory as an abuser of teenage boys at a north Wales care home. According to one of those present, Michael Crick, former Newsnight journalist and now the Channel 4 News political editor, asked: “Do you mean McAlpine?” “Well, you said it,” Overton replied.
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Filed under Children, In The Media, Poverty
Tagged as BBC, Charlie Beckett, child abuse, Iain Overton, Jimmie McAlpine, Jimmy Savile, Liz Davies, Rob Wilson, Steven Messham, Tim Loughton, Tom Watson
05/10/2012 · 7:52 am
The Big Food Idea on the BBC Food Programme is supposed to be for
an innovator who is improving the way good quality food is sourced and sold
But one of the finalists this year is not in that category: Sainsbury’s has been nominated.
Sainsbury’s are tax dodgers and Lord John and Lady Sainsbury have dined with David Cameron in Downing Street and have donated nearly a million to the Conservatives since June 2006. Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative peer.
Conservatives usually claim that they’re the way they are not because they want to make rich people richer and poor people poorer (that’s just the unfortunate side-effect of how their policies of tax cuts for the wealthy, high unemployment, benefits and services cuts for the rest of us, tends to work out). What they want, they usually say (with a nod at Ayn Rand) is to promote self-reliance and personal responsibility.
That even sounds moderately convincing until you take a look at the effect their policies have on children.
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Filed under Charities, Poverty, Supermarkets, Sustainable Politics
Tagged as BBC, BBC Food Programme, benefits, cheap-work conservatives, Citizens Advice Scotland, David Cameron, food banks, Iain Duncan Smith, James Bannister, Karl Turner, Sainsburys, Save the Children
03/10/2012 · 12:45 pm
What does everyone know about Scottish food?
It’s the haggis. And the whisky. And the deep fried Mars bars.
Scots eat unhealthy food, get drunk, and our iconic national dish is made of the bits of the sheep that you’d have needed to be drunk and hungry to think worth eating.
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Filed under About Food, Bread, Grains, of Edinburgh, Oil, Photographs, Politics, Supermarkets, Sustainable Politics
Tagged as BBC, BBC Food Programme, bread, climate change, Never Seconds, supermarkets
15/09/2012 · 7:46 pm
The BBC just works. We all pay our licence fee: in return we get TV without breaks for adverts: TV that pushes all the other TV companies in the UK to a higher standard.
If Scotland votes Yes in 2014 we may have cause to worry about Alex Salmond’s close relationship with the Murdochs and the plans News International may have for abolishing the BBC in an independent Scotland.
There is no reason to suppose we would have to lose the BBC. Indeed, as Jennifer Dempsie pointed out in March, the direct revenue from the licence fee to programmes made in Scotland at what I suppose we would then call the SBC, would actually go up.
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10/08/2012 · 4:19 pm
Lallans Peat Worrier, an SNP blogger at an Oxford college, writes:
At some point in our lives, most of us should have encountered a moment when we were surrounded by people for whom some cherished conviction of our own was absolutely anathema. Whether representative of the wider population or not, this “common sense in the room” can be intoxicating. For an extreme instance, watch Scottish Questions at Westminster, which is now devoted to pouring vial after vial of scorn over SNP heads. In the great baying mob of MPs, the isolated Nationalist delegation’s voices are thin, reedy and invariably drowned out in a haughty chorus of gleeful insolence.
The SNP said they’d hold a referendum on independence after they’d won two elections. Salmond said, before the 2011 election, that if the SNP won the referendum would be held in the second half of the Scottish Parliament. The SNP have won two elections, and so have a democratic mandate to hold a referendum on independence, and a right – seeing as they are in government – to say when it shall be held.
That is doubtless very aggravating for Labour, who have a Westminster majority of Scottish MPs, but that’s democracy for you.
I heard that Ian Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow South West, career Labour politician since 1978, and currently still chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee despite having called the SNP “neo-fascists” and having threatened a fellow MP on the committee with a “doing”, had now had a “meltdown” over exactly this issue on Newsnight Scotland on Tuesday.
So I checked it out while it was still on BBC iPlayer (till 11:29PM Tuesday 14th August, if you want to check it out yourself) but the segment is now on Youtube for all time, or at least till Google get a request to take it down.
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22/07/2012 · 9:21 pm
The British are second only to Americans in being the kind of foreigner who is an international stereotype for never understanding any language but English. (An English secretary, who understood French pretty well, travelling with her boss, who spoke only English, took advantage of the situation to eavesdrop on the English company’s competitors discussing the terms of the deal in French, sure that neither boss nor secretary could understand them. True story.) Still, the stereotype holds up alarmingly well: over two-thirds of the UK population are English-speaking monoglots: and thanks to Doctor Who and Star Trek, this is practically an interstellar stereotype.
“To create a constitutional order that reflects a broad public commitment to a more inclusive, egalitarian, and communitarian way, and to mark Scotland out as a ‘progressive beacon’, the following additional provisions might be considered:”
1. Enhanced constitutional rights (c) Cultural rights (ie for Gaelic, Scots)
Cultural rights isn’t just language, of course, but language is likely to be the most contentious of the cultural rights issue, both by those who take for granted it should be English and those arguing for Gaelic and/or Scots.
More and more the international festivals in Edinburgh in August seem primarily for tourists – the days are long past when you could get home from work, decide you felt like going out to a show, and pick something from the Fringe programme that was handy to get to and would cost a fiver or less for an hour or two – and when concessions for students, under-16s, unemployed, and pensioners meant half-price, not “so we’ll knock a quid off the £12 or more we’ll be charging you”. But once upon a time that was do-able: when I was reading Hamlet for Higher English I could and did go to all the perfomances one year on the Fringe, and it didn’t cost my parents their life savings the way it would if an enthusiastic schoolkid got the idea of doing that this year. We should keep the Scottish BBC funded by licence fee. We should be investing in written and spoken Scottish culture.
I also liked Kenneth Roy’s trenchant finish to his three-part dissection of the current state of Scottish newspapers in the Review, earlier this year:
The Scotsman needs to win back all the broadsheet people – the ones who take those decisions, the others who influence them – and move out from there to the idealists and teachers and artists, the many thousands of us who are alienated by the state of our mainstream media. We are there for the taking. We wait for something better. We long for it every day.
Can this be done by the Johnston Press? Clearly not. They talk not of newspapers, but of products. They have failed journalism and they have failed journalists. Their grave is fit only to be danced on. I suggest the Eightsome Reel. I issue this challenge to the wealthy patriots of Scotland, of whom there are many. Get out there, form your consortium, convince us of your honourable motives, and make a reasonable offer to this lot’s bankers to take a great newspaper out of their hands. Better still, let’s have a trust along the lines of the Guardian’s, safeguarding the paper’s interests and supported by all who care about Scotland.
But what language is our culture? Continue reading →
Filed under Childhood, Education, Elections, Human Rights, Scottish Constitution, Scottish Culture, Scottish Politics, William Shakespeare
Tagged as BBC, Bengali, BSL, Cantonese, Edinburgh Festival, Gaelic, Italian, Kenneth Roy, Lallans, Latin, Montreal, Panjabi, Polish, Robert Burns, SCC21st, Scottish languages, Spanish, Urdu, West Wing
04/06/2012 · 2:25 pm
Repeatedly in discussions on Twitter, which admittedly is not the place for subtlety, pro-independence Scots have told me that the thing that matters is winning the Yes vote – “Everything else” can get worked out post-indy.
This is indescribably foolish.
One, because presumably they are attempting to convince me to vote Yes, and I’ll vote for status-quo devolution if they’ve got nothing more in the pot to offer but “We want you to vote yes!” Telling me that this is the “wrong attitude” to take to the independence referendum? Well, fine, but it’s my attitude: you can’t convince me to vote yes by refusing to engage with me.
Two, because realistically: I understand that the proposed timescale for independence is two years after a “yes” vote wins. Assuming that the Yes vote does win, that means four or so years from today, Scotland would be an independent nation.
That is none too much time to begin the Constitutional Convention to discuss what form and structure the new nation should have.
I wrote about the work of the Constitutional Convention in the 1990s Continue reading →
Filed under Equality, Human Rights, Scottish Constitution, Scottish Culture, Scottish Politics
Tagged as BBC, Claim of Right For Scotland, Electoral Reform Society, independence referendum, Patrick Harvie, Radical Independence Conference, Rupert Murdoch, SCC21st, scotland act 1998, Scottish Constitutional Convention, Scottish independence