What must the Scottish people do to defeat the British Tories? I cannot answer that question in a 140 character tweet. But I can give it a go on my blog. Here goes…
- Never let broadcasters put words into our mouths without protesting at the earliest opportunity. Complain on live television, radio call-in shows, organize mass complaints to the broadcasters in question.
- Do not allow the BBC’s Better Together propagandists to lie to the Scottish people about their alleged neutrality. Given the fact that they withheld from the license fee payers key information about how they too faced the identical dilemma that lead to Scottish Television’s immediate resignation from the CBI when the latter declared their intention to spend over one hundred thousand pounds on Better Together propaganda… We are on safe ground when it comes to providing evidence as to the bias of the BBC from the very beginning, with only short outbursts of fairness, an oasis or two surrounded by deserts of Better Together lies. Ex-Tory Party chairman, Lord Chris Patten, needs to be summoned to a Holyrood select committee of Scotland’s democratically elected MSPs to answer question about the incessant Better Together propaganda peddled by the BBC. This may not lead to more objective coverage, but you never know. At the very least we will help the Scottish voters catch to glimpse of what is going on behind the scenes by the BBC, of how the voters are being deliberately lied to.
- Supporters of Scottish independence must take to heart the message left to us from beyond the grave by Margo MacDonald. This message – delivered by her loving husband, Jim Sillars at her memorial – has been praised all across the political spectrum. My fear is that the No Campaign intend to pay lip service, twisting it into meaning its very opposite. I have already heard many Better Together champions try to exploit it, dressing it up as a coded attack on Alex Salmond in particular and the SNP in general. In other words, the Better Together side are hoping to use it to adopt Margo now as an honorary member of Better Together. This cannot be allowed to happen. Furthermore, some on the Yes side have been dismissing Margo’s message as ‘naive’. Some of them have told me on Twitter that they are refusing to do what she appealed for, relishing a war of words, within which threats of an escalation to physical violence is deemed acceptable. It so is not. If we were all relaxed enough in each others company that we could joke about cartoon violence, maybe this would be acceptable. However, that is not the world we are living in. There have been anxieties expressed about an escalation into violence. Given this state of affairs, only an idiot (or an agent provocateur in the pockets of the British state) would dream of playing into the hands of Better Together. These people will look for any excuse to bring the police in. Do we really want that? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. We need to get a grip and stop all this nonsense immediately from the small handful of activists who think this is funny. Anyone who refuses to do that has to be cut adrift from the Yes Campaign. Such people are a toxic albatross around all our necks. If good people run away from this, then we will find we are all damned in precisely the same way that Nigel Farage is held responsible for the insane positions adopted by some of his UKIP candidates.
- The broadcasters are simply not up to the job. This is not always true, of course. When we complain sometimes we do see a marked shift in their coverage. When broadcasters do get it right, they should be praised. We should not refuse to allow individual broadcasters to redeem themselves. The only alternative to doing that is to demand an individual broadcaster is sacked. Unless we can all agree on this, and win the majority of the people to that position, then we need to raise other demands. For instance, John Beattie and Kirsty Wark did an extremely good job on BBC Radio Scotland in two excellent call-in shows in the last week. Alas, some in the Yes Campaign don’t want to give credit where it’s due. This is counterproductive. It gives individual broadcasters no incentive to behave themselves; not if doing that changes nothing but an intensification of abuse and rampant cynicism: immitation is the sincerest form of flattery and if Gary Robertson can perfect a good impression of a fair broadcaster, that’s good enough for me. We need to accept that there are limits to what individual broadcasters do. Editors and managers may be twisting their arm which I am virtually 100% positive I know to be true. My guess is that it is going to take organized resistance at the level of their trade union – the National Union of Journalists – to create the kind of neutrality that all of us need. We can’t blame every broadcaster for doing what they are doing if there is a gun to their head and unemployment and blacklisting beckons if they act as decent journalists. We need whistle blowers at the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News etc. If that requires their trade unions taking industrial action to defend objective broadcasting, so be it. Illegal political strikes? So what?
- It is not good enough to blame the broadcasters in general terms without making specific criticisms of what they are doing wrong. The Yes Campaign needs to set out our stall here. We need as sharp a focus as possible. We can all argue over what we as individuals deem the most important elements of our criticism. Since we may not all agree on all the details, and on the relative significance of all of our specific criticisms, I will deal with my personal list of criticisms in a separate post which I will post later today.