The Crippled Estate of BBC Spin

THERE is quite a storm raging around the hallowed sanctuary of the British Broadcasting Corporation today.

As a hard news journalist of some 30 years standing I am angry at the events which have unfolded, but not at all surprised.

It is a few weeks since I blogged on The Bankruptcy of the Fourth Estate and The Loaded Language of the British Press and it feels that today a few of those journalist chickens have come home to roost.

So let’s bring you up to speed.

Soon after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party last September, the BBC was accused of an ‘anti Corbyn bias’ and challenged with a 61,000 strong petition demanding that they stop using the prefix ‘left-wing’ when reporting on events related to his leadership.

But even before he won a stunning 59.5% of the vote, ensuring the largest democratic mandate of any Labour leader in modern history, Mr Corbyn was subject to daily bias from the UK Media. And heading this assault of loaded reporting was the publicly funded BBC.

Former BBC political editor, Nick Robinson, even wrote to his colleagues over concerns about the Corporation’s bias against Mr Corbyn, and Channel 4’s Michael Crick issued a hard-hitting rebuke to broadcasters referring to non-left MPs as ‘moderates’.

Despite these protestations, the BBC’s agenda has not changed. Yesterday, Mr Corbyn’s so-called ‘revenge reshuffle’ led to the revelation, that BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil and so-called ‘moderate’ Labour MP Stephen Doughty planned his live resignation on their programme hours before it began.

Any right-minded person must surely ask: how it is the job of the BBC’s political editor to be of service to a malcontent shadow cabinet member intent on weakening the Labour leadership?

The truth was soon to come to light… Last night, the producer of the programme bizarrely admitted in a BBC blog – now deleted, but appended here – that Neil, Kuenssberg and himself manipulated the news to create an impact during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

In the blog, the producer – Andrew Alexander – admitted that the BBC team were not just reporting the day’s news but trying to influence it: “This was a story where we could make an impact… We knew his resignation just before PMQs would be a dramatic moment with big political impact,” he wrote.

“We took a moment to watch the story ripple out across news outlets and social media. Within minutes we heard David Cameron refer to the resignation during his exchanges with Jeremy Corbyn.”

As a fellow journalist I find this admission shocking, but also symptomatic of degraded and biased practise.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I believe we are now witnessing a bankruptcy of freedom within our Fourth Estate.

For the uninitiated, the Fourth Estate commonly refers to the news media or “the press”.

Edmund Burke, first used the term in a parliamentary debate in 1787 on the opening up of press reporting in the House of Commons. Burke described the journalists’ role in representing the interests of “the people” in relation to the business and political elites who claim to be doing things in our names.

But my belief is that position has now been hi-jacked by big business ownership of our media.

These are the same big businesses which support a Conservative government and in turn influence draconian monetarist and capitalist policy at every turn.

Almost 78 per cent of our press is owned by a handful of mostly foreign-based billionaires.

The nature of a media organisation is set by its owner.

Newspapers and broadcasters exercise power and influence in many ways. And one of their most powerful forms of influence is the ability to effectively set the political agenda for the other media and more widely, in parliament, the workplace, the home and the pub.

So-called editorial independence is a sham. Proprietors choose editors who they know share their views.

I witnessed this at first hand when Margaret Thatcher’s close friends the Barclay Brothers bought Scotland’s flagship daily newspaper The Scotsman in 1996.

Within a few months, the new owners had Andrew Neil installed as Editor-in-Chief of The Scotsman and its sister title Scotland on Sunday.

Neil already had a track record.

The former Conservative Party researcher was Editor of The Sunday Times from 1983 until 1994. The Sunday Times during this period campaigned for an already discredited claim that AIDS was not an infectious disease and was not caused by HIV.

So when he took up the reins at The Scotsman we all had a fear of what might be coming next.

So it was here that my job as an award-winning Chief Investigative Reporter and Neil’s as my ultimate line manager crossed.

Although the memory of him striding orange bronzed through the oak-panelled corridors of the paper’s headquarters at Edinburgh’s North Bridge, with his red braces straining at his chest, still brings a shiver; it is his loaded editorial as an editor which will remain longest.

At the time of his appointment, Edinburgh was suffering from a huge homelessness problem, with many poor souls rough sleeping in shop doorways at night and begging on the pavements by day. This is turn had fuelled a growing problem of young male prostitution – teenage guys selling their bodies just to earn enough to eat and maybe rent a flat.

I witnessed the problems every day as I strolled around the city centre and each evening as I walked to Waverley Street Station to catch my train home.

So, I suggested that a colleague and I should sleep rough in the city for a couple of nights to report first hand on the problems, and in doing so shame the authorities into taking some action to ameliorate them.

Neil was quick to put the idea down as “dangerous” and “foolhardy”.

But he wasted no time in using his next two weekly columns in The Scotsman to call for the city council to “hose” the homeless rough sleepers from the shop doorways amid a spurious claim that they were driving tourists away from Edinburgh’s famed Princes Street.

This one incident, for me, sums up Andrew Neil.

More than 60 members of staff voted with their feet and left The Scotsman during Neil’s first year in charge. In that time, a once proud newspaper was transformed into a pale pro Union broadsheet imitation of the Daily Mail.

Although Laura Kuenssberg was a young trainee journalist at the time I worked in the Scottish press our paths never crossed.

But her reputation as a privileged career driven reporter was being born.

The daughter of wealthy Scottish businessman Nick Kuenssberg and his wife Sally, her maternal grandfather was Lord Robertson who was a High Court of Justiciary judge. Her great-uncle was Sir James Robertson, the last colonial Governor-General of Nigeria.

Following this family tradition Laura’s sister Joanna was recently appointed the British High Commissioner in Mozambique

Kuenssberg grew up in Glasgow and attended Laurel Bank School, a fee paying independent girls’ school. She studied history at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a journalism course at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she worked for NBC News.

After returning to UK, her career progressed quickly through the BBC and at rivals ITV. During this time she was praised for her reporting and blogging by the Conservative Home website.

In July 2015 she was appointed the BBC’s Political Editor, the first woman to hold the position – as successor to  Nick Robinson.

Her tenure has been dogged by many criticisms of bias against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Today, a Change.Org petition was launched demanding that the Producer of Daily Politics along with Andrew Neil/Laura Kuenssberg be Sacked. The petition, which had more than 5,000 signatures at the time of writing states: On the Daily Politics it appears the producer Andrew Alexander and Laura Kuenssberg conspired to arrange the resignation live on air of Stephen Doughty MP. This appears to have been done for max damage to the Labour leader and to create news, rather than report it. If these individuals did indeed conspire in this manner then they along with Andrew Neil should resign or be sacked. In signing this petition you are asking the BBC to consider their positions. 

You can sign the petition here:

BBC News forms a major department of the Corporation, but for years has received complaints of bias in favour of the conservative Establishment.

The commentator Mehdi Hasan in the New Statesman pointed out the right-wing backgrounds of many BBC presenters and journalists.

Guardian columnist Owen Jones is also of the opinion that the BBC is biased towards the right, owing to numerous key posts being filled by Conservatives.

A study by Cardiff University academics, funded by the BBC Trust, and published in August 2013, examined the BBC’s coverage of a broad range of issues.

One of the findings was the dominance of party political sources.

In coverage of immigration, the EU and religion, these accounted for 49.4% of all source appearances in 2007 and 54.8% in 2012.

The data also showed that the Conservative Party received significantly more airtime than the Labour Party.

In 2012 Conservative leader David Cameron outnumbered Labour leader Ed Miliband in appearances by a factor of nearly four to one (53 to 15), while Conservative cabinet members and ministers outnumbered their Labour counterparts by more than four to one (67 to 15).

Former Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, has criticised the BBC as part of a “Westminster conspiracy” to maintain the British political system.


The deleted blog by BBC producer Andrew Alexander:

Resignation! Making the news on the Daily Politics

Thursday 07 January 2016, 15:17

Andrew Alexander is an output editor for the Daily and Sunday Politics series

Wednesday is always an important day for the Daily Politics because we carry Prime Minister’s Questions live, which brings with it our biggest audience of the week and, we hope, a decent story.

As I arrived at Millbank at 7am it was clear that Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet reshuffle, which had ended before 1am, was going to dominate at Westminster.

When the programme editor phoned in we agreed that in addition to covering other major stories, including the junior doctors’ strike, fallout from the reshuffle was likely to continue throughout the morning and this was a story where we could make an impact.

When the producers arrived at 8am they began putting out texts and calls to Labour MPs we thought were likely to react strongly to the sacking of several shadow ministers for “disloyalty”.

Just before 9am we learned from Laura Kuenssberg, who comes on the programme every Wednesday ahead of PMQs, that she was speaking to one junior shadow minister who was considering resigning. I wonder, mused our presenter Andrew Neil, if they would consider doing it live on the show?

The question was put to Laura, who thought it was a great idea. Considering it a long shot we carried on the usual work of building the show, and continued speaking to Labour MPs who were confirming reports of a string of shadow ministers considering their positions.

Within the hour we heard that Laura had sealed the deal: the shadow foreign minister Stephen Doughty would resign live in the studio.

Although he himself would probably acknowledge he isn’t a household name, we knew his resignation just before PMQs would be a dramatic moment with big political impact. We took the presenters aside to brief them on the interview while our colleagues on the news desk arranged for a camera crew to film him and Laura arriving in the studio for the TV news packages.

There’s always a bit of nervous energy in the studio and the gallery just before we go on air at 11.30am, but I’d say it was a notch higher than usual this week. By this point we weren’t worried about someone else getting the story as we had Stephen Doughty safely in our green room. Our only fear was that he might pull his punches when the moment came.

When it did, with about five minutes to go before PMQs, he was precise, measured and quietly devastating – telling Andrew that “I’ve just written to Jeremy Corbyn to resign from the front bench” and accusing Mr Corbyn’s team of “unpleasant operations” and telling “lies”.

As Andrew Neil handed from the studio to the Commons chamber we took a moment to watch the story ripple out across news outlets and social media. Within minutes we heard David Cameron refer to the resignation during his exchanges with Jeremy Corbyn.

During our regular debrief after coming off air at 1pm we agreed our job is always most enjoyable when a big story is breaking – but even more so when it’s breaking on the programme.

* Credit to Evolve Politics –


Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

101 thoughts on “The Crippled Estate of BBC Spin”

    1. Hi Jess. Five paragraphs were rewritten from the Evolve Politics piece. That is about 240 words out of the 2,000 word blog. I apologise for forgetting to credit Evolve Politics, which I have now done.
      Thanks for your message

      1. Hope you don’t mind nic i’m gonna pinch your work for my non profitmaking blog as i am anxious your message which coincides exactly with mine(even though I,m a EaGLES! Fan you will ofcourse be credited, hey palace /brighton cooperation who’d a thunk it!

  1. Thanks for this blog which I found via Guardian article Daily Politics we must have independent news and commentary or we are lost. To think that offshore mandarins guide our nations leaders and decide. For example whether GE and Northrop profit and control our MoD , Energy and ultimately our European policy is unthinkable, regardless of the colour of the current Labour/Tory government. March On and be successful in your blog.

  2. Utterly appalling but not surprising given the ongoing hatchet job of anyone who dares to question this government or Labour right. I was rather surprised to see that even the sainted Nick Robinson was complaining, he who has shown nothing but Tory bias from his first day as Chief Political Editor of BBC News. Given his intervention, it just shows how bad the BBC has become. We truly are living in the days foretold by George Orwell. “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ” ― George Orwell.

    This is such a good piece wherever it came from in part or whole. It gives a complete picture of the corruption at the heart of our Media and our once very valued BBC. We do not watch BBC News programmes and haven’t for quite a time. Al Jazeera is one of the few that gives some news that is untainted. The BBC and its News people are not only bringing a Tory based, and Tory Biased News – as if that is not bad enough – but also completely ignoring important news in order to shore up public opinion against any opposition voice! Look at how the BBC completely ignored the huge marches against this government? Massive march in Manchester and not even a mention, let alone images. We are, as a nation, sleepwalking into a police state.

    Well done Nic for putting this all together. I have tweeted it and hopefully my folk will retweet it. I do think that if anyone uses Twitter that it is good to send it to Call Me Dave: @David_Cameron and let him know that he too is being watched. Also a good idea, methinks, to make a complaint to the BBC itself.

      1. hi mate we blog about the beeb all the time in Scotland its worse than the north Korea media and gov situ lol the people at the top work together to protect there own interests corporation gov and media relationships need to face more accountability and become more impartial the new labour leader freaks them out with change quantitative easing for the worker is making them desperate lol more power to your elbow mate keep fighting the good fight !

      2. Thanks. I worked as a journalist in Scotland for 11 years (Argyll, Galloway, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh) and know the feeling well! 🙂

      3. hi mate thanks for reply things are that bad we have created our own media now via blogs and other net sources its sad we cant trust our multi national media also they block news that doesn’t suit there agenda that the biggest slap in the face to me

  3. It is all very well criticising, we the general public want to know, what can be done about it other than protest?

    1. Actually you underestimate the general public. For years we’ve watched the demise of the BBC. They lost their credibility many years ago,( even pre Saville,) but even more post that sad chapter. Okay Neil is a blundering dick, but he and his like represent what we now accept as a failed voice of British life. On a different tack, but to demonstrate the sad state of Aunty, I give you ‘ Eastenders ‘ the flagship of the failed Beeb, capitalising on the misery of the many thousands of sad folk who face daily traumas and then watch themselves being portayed as fair game for ‘seedy’ popular entertainment purposes. Thank Christ for STV !!!!!

    2. We the public need to educate ourselves on our Rights; on the political process and how to change it or influence it; on methods that will exert influence through courts of law, parliamentary process, or other concerted methods.
      As a starter we can write to our representatives and express the desire for change. Writing can help us to focus and can show up blanks in our knowledge – which we can then fill.
      We need to devote time to doing this. And we need to share or knowledge with as many folk as possible.

  4. Would like to note that upon the disappearance / reappearance of the conversation on internet media, Miss Kuenssberg was strangely absent from any part of BBC News Output that following day. Was she being made a sacrificial lamb for her immediate bosses ?

  5. With the BBC coming under extreme pressure due to the mandatory licence fee and the clear financial advantages this brings then it is not supprising that the Tory elite have seized on the opportunity to twist influence in their favour. The Tory machine have a gun to the head of the BBC; its comply or die. Compliance is easy when the BBC is 3 colours blue to begin with.

  6. I think Stephen Doughty needs to give it a rest now, he’s had his 15mins of fame!
    This is one of his tweets – he’s moaning that people are harping on about his “resignation” but he’s not helping with tweets like this …

    Stephen Doughty ‏@SDoughtyMP Jan 7
    Epilogue: twitter goes into meltdown + lizards running the BBC (all members of the Bilderberg group) are exposed in the harsh sunlight…

    #StayWoke Retweeted
    Peter Jukes ‏@peterjukes 9 minutes ago
    Stephen. Can you understand how, without questioning your decision, many sane folk are troubled by the BBC’s role in timing it? @SDoughtyMP

      1. Re the Bilderberg comment which I used to think was just nonsense. It isn’t – Rhona Fairbairn Head of the BBC Trust was an attendee at this year’s Bilderberg Conference. Now I wonder what back room agreements went on there?
        The only answer to this is for mass refusal to pay the licence fee but it needs huge numbers to do this for it to have any impact.
        Many thanks for this report have circulated it to many like minded people.

  7. So you have only just learned that the BBC is biased lol, every striking miner (myself included) learned that in the early 80s and are still being punished by the state in the abandonment of our villages and the removal of funds from our pension scheme. I urge everyone to keep a eye on their occupational pensions they know a profitable scam now.

  8. Nic,

    Do you think my exhortation for people to withhold their licence fee, the most regressive of taxes, unavoidable on pain of prison for even the most dispossessed is a good move? Their voice has been effectively silenced by the only mass-medium available to them, supposedly free from vested interests and reflective of all stripes of opinion?


  9. Goodness gracious me, there is a strong echo chamber in this comment section. Actually, “echo chamber” is too nice a word for it, maybe “circle jerk” might be more appropriate.

    Everyone on the left thinks the BBC has a right-wing bias. Everyone on the right thinks that it has a right-wing bias. To me this is good evidence that it is neither.

    Take, for example, the change dot org petition you mentioned about getting the BBC to stop using the word “left-wing” to describe Jeremy Corbyn, on account of it being a “biased” word. The thing is, Jeremy’s left-wingedness is not the opinion of Tory-voting members of the establishment, it is an objective fact that he is the most radical leader of the party in its history with the possible exception of George Lansbury. This is worthy of observation. It is no different from, say, using the word “Eurosceptic” to describe Iain Duncan Smith.

    You have also mentioned a couple of left-of-centre commentators pointing out that the BBC’s political reporting team has disproportionately Conservative backgrounds, expecting the reader to make the (fallacious) logical step that this makes it impossible for them to cover political news neutrally. You also show some political researchers (oh yes, political academics, very well known for their centre-ground views) have discovered that government politicians appear more often on the BBC than ones from the opposition. Well, no shit, the government actually does stuff that directly affects people’s lives, of course they’re going to get more coverage.

    I think too many people in the modern world perceive “bias” to mean “an opinion different from my own”. Of course the BBC, as far as it can, tries to display no opinions at all – it doesn’t have opinion pieces or political endorsements – but ultimately news without opinion is colourless and, moreover, insufficiently scrutinises those with power and accountability. This scrutiny is a crucial tenet of democracy.

    The best compromise, therefore, is to give every position a voice. And some of these voices you may disagree with. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a chance to bring them round to your way of thinking, and it’s equally a chance for them to do the same to you.

    Rewind to 2009. Recent European elections have rocked the establishment as the far-right BNP have had two MEPs elected to Brussels. The BBC, under its remit to broadcast every side of the debate, invites their controversial (and a great many, myself included, would say “odious”) leader Nick Griffin to Question Time. Cue hand-wringing from those accusing the BBC of courting the headlines and trying to boost its own ratings, who want the BBC to shut down debate and are fearful that giving him a platform could make the BBC implicit in propagating a politics of hatred. But the BBC sticks resolutely to its guns.

    And what happened? Nick Griffin’s Question Time appearance was the beginning of the end for the BNP, a downfall that six years later is complete with their recent withdrawal from the electoral register. The country got to see the BNP’s views for what they were, and decided that they didn’t like what they saw.

    I have chosen this example because I feel it unites us behind a common enemy; where at the time we might both have accused the BBC of bias but in hindsight we can agree that, not only was the move very much unbiased, it was also morally the right thing to do.

    Neutrality means showing every viewpoint. If the BBC never made a legitimate criticism of Jeremy Corbyn, that indeed would be a very biased practice; and yet it seems to me that a fanatic core has sprung up around the Labour leader who cannot tolerate any such criticism. What ever happened to the “free and open debate” Jeremy keeps going on about?

    1. Oh dear, Nnot this tired old chestnut again. The Tories have never understood impartiality as their mantra is ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’, which meant for decades they have whinged and moaned about it being left biased. But it is only since 2010 the left have claimed a right wing bias and it is hardly surprising is it? Because the new Coalition government immediately installed a former Tory minister as Chair of BBC Trustees, Chris Patten, who then operated with a BBC chief political editor who was former chair of Oxford Conservatives, Nick Robinson and the Daily Politics presented by the Chair the Spectator Group, Andrew Neil and whose Executive Editor is former deputy chair of the Federation of Conservative Students and chief of staff of Tory minister Frances Maude, Robbie Gibb. Now you can pretend the BBC is impartial all you like, but the facts are against you as that there is not one left leaning or openly Labour supporting person in any such equivalently lofty political position to any of these at the BBC. And the fact the BBC has a legal obligation to remain impartial they are skating on very thin ice.


        Nic – thanks for the blog, useful journalism that adds to the story, not just sensationalises it.

        Gerry – there may be fewer Labour links in key BBC HQ positions than in the past, but if you care to examine how entangled they remain in the BBC Scotland branch office take a read of the link above. Interestingly enough it includes references to Lauren and her dad’s donations to Scottish Labour!

        The BBC is a tool of the state and in particular those reporting news and politics need close links to information and individuals in both Labour & Tories in order to raise to important roles!

        Some wonder how the SNP can be in government in Scotland, but still appear to behave like an opposition – it is because that Government receives none of the backing and support that would come from BBC, so it remains an underdog role to many voters.

    2. Oh dear, not this tired old chestnut again. The Tories have never understood impartiality as their mantra is ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’, which meant for decades they have whinged and moaned about it being left biased. But it is only since 2010 the left have claimed a right wing bias and it is hardly surprising is it? Because the new Coalition government immediately installed a former Tory minister as Chair of BBC Trustees, Chris Patten, who then operated with a BBC chief political editor who was former chair of Oxford Conservatives, Nick Robinson and the Daily Politics presented by the Chair the Spectator Group, Andrew Neil and whose Executive Editor is former deputy chair of the Federation of Conservative Students and chief of staff of Tory minister Frances Maude, Robbie Gibb. Now you can pretend the BBC is impartial all you like, but the facts are against you as that there is not one left leaning or openly Labour supporting person in any such equivalently lofty political position to any of these at the BBC. And the fact the BBC has a legal obligation to remain impartial they are skating on very thin ice.

    3. Your Freudian slip appears to encapsulate the problem. The right-wing view is wholly taken as the default position, in other words, the ‘neo-liberal hegemony’, whose position has been bolstered by the continuous application of its message through the press for decades. The BBC’s position is unique: it is paid for by the very lowliest and therefore must reflect the lives of those in equal measure to the vested-interest propaganda peddled by those skewing the objectives of the executive and their business interests – the very same interests that serve to subjugate the BBC’s mandatory subscribers. In fact, it is their duty if anything, to kick-back against the might of those vested-interests, as they are supposedly free to promulgate any other agenda on behalf of all of our fellow subjects – their subscribers – the ones dying in miserable poverty, poor health and denied a voice elsewhere. Instead, there’s concentration on endless, sententious analysis of the Labour Party, whilst people march, suffer disasters and the government enacts controversial legislation which passes by with nary a word. Those things are real, but not there for all to see, as they’ve been excised from BBC News’ output. By stopping the reporting of reality, it shouldn’t come as a shock when the pot explodes.

  10. Where’s the balance? The BBC is just as you say. Flick over to Sky and they are even worse. They hardly even pretend to be neutral. The political spectrum is ill served by our beholden media.

    1. That’s what makes the BBC bias so dangerous because no expects Sky to be impartial, but they do the BBC. The Corporation after all does have a legal obligation to remain impartial and I think it’s about time the CPS got its finger out and started prosecuting these charlatans.

  11. Manipulation appears to have tipped over into fabrication in the case of the 2013 BBC Panorama documentary ‘Saving Syria’s Children’: Former UK ambassador Craig Murray has commented here:

    This piece discusses some aspects of the matter: I recently submitted this letter to Jeremy Corbyn:

    RT produced this report in 2014:, the fallout from which is discussed here: (I don’t place the same importance on the editing iof Dr Hallam’s “interview” that RT does).

    Some You Tube videos have also been made:

  12. Great post it has been blatantly obvious to anyone with a brain cell that the BBC is biased to the right for years, anyone with the wit to check the backgrounds to it’s politics team can easily see their connections to the hard right of politics. It doesn’t take a genius to find out on the internet what they have done in the past

  13. And now the NUJ has censored its Facebook page where a robust debate was taking place which involved criticism of LK and the BBC. When it comes to this the NUJ, like the BBC, can’t actually cope with free speech after all.

  14. Sorry folks, I can’t agree with you. The comments suggest a sense of persecution. We’ll all have t wait and se he the electorate relate to a group of people not really in touch with the traditional Britiah working class.

    1. It’s not a question of persecution, the complaint is about blatantly biased reporting and smears by the BBC. There are numerous examples, it isn’t some figment.

  15. Excellent article, I’ve written to at least three BBC journalists who have repeatedly referred to Jeremy Corbyn as a pacifist in an attempt to imply he would not use military force if necessary to defend the UK., neither of which is true.

  16. As a child abuse victim whistleblower I have to say that what is happening in this country is terrifying. We really are sleepwalking into a police state. I was sectioned twice last year, basically for being upset about being abused and reabused, and the fourth estate is fully aware of the disgraceful way people like me are being treated. I have discovered this morning that Cameron plans to extend anti terrorism laws to have people like myself, whistleblowers, seized and detained in psychiatric hospitals or prisons, simply for criticizing the Government.

  17. Great writeup that needed to be said, and now spread. Thank you…”propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to the Totalitarian State”….Noam Chomsky

  18. I agree with most of your blog but find it incredulous that you’ve used Nick Robinson as an icon of morality! I remember his totally fabricated report on Alex Salmond, pre referendum, which was broadcast, proved utterly false & not even reprimanded! I don’t even believe the weather reports on the bbc now!

    1. Thanks Bill. But where have I used Nick Robinson as an icon of anything? The guy is a former paid up member of the Tory Party, which is why his call on the BBC to stop the bias against JC is so incredulous! 😊

    2. I wouldn’t interpret it that way. The behaviour being reported is so monstrously wrong that even the unsainted and much-tarnished Robinson finds it unacceptable.

  19. Hi Nic,

    Just discovered your blog through a tweeted link. Great work of course.

    Sadly I feel honest impartial journalism has almost disappeared from the mainstream nowadays, the Murdoch effect. The BBC apparently employs over 5000 journalists but you would never have guessed it looking at their output.

    Can I ask when you were editor of the Galloway Gazette, I may have been in the area at the time?

      1. Ah yes, Ian Brown was the owner back then when it was still independent. I was working for the Wigtownshire Free Press in Stranraer at the time. You broke the depleted uranium shells story, great investigative journalism. Sadly the last 10 years haven’t been kind to both titles, but that is the industry as a whole.

        I worked under the estimable John Neil, the Free Press editor for some 30 years, first as an apprentice typesetter and paste-up artist (remember those) then as correspondent and sub-editor before moving to London.

        Looking forward to ‘thumbing’ through your archives.



  20. Well, “Nic” – as a former fellow “hard news journalist” of less advanced years, I am angry that you have chosen not to mention that Laura’s dad Nick Kuenssberg led Scott and Fyfe into worker ownership, part of his moves towards a kind of post-capitalist “community-ism”. Oh, and he chaired the Glasgow School of Art without being widely hated.
    I’m “angry” that you dismiss her mum as just the wife – when she was the Chair of the Yorkhill Sick Kids trust who fought the health board over their plans to shut the Queen Mum’s and demolish the unique life-saving service that she had helped sustain for several years.
    And that you are joining a bunch of other journalists in pretending that, presented with an easy opportunity for an exclusive on a story that was happening anyway, you would have knocked it back.
    At least I’m every bit as angry as I’m sure you genuinely are.
    Come on – you’ve got awards and that.
    You can’t honestly be that crap.
    Not being honest, you can’t.

    1. Many thanks for your comments John. I guess we disagree. I should add that my piece is about the BBC, Laura Kuenssberg and Andrew Neil, and not about Laura’s parents!

  21. Why did you stay silent over the BBC’s disgraceful bias towards the better together campaign with reporters openly lying to the people of Scotland? The BBC and the press in Scotland acted as the de facto Unionist campaign is it not strange that out of over 71 titles up here every one of them apart from a token gesture on a Sunday by the Herald were all pro union. Only in the former Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany and today’s North Korea would a similar situation be found. Now that the referendum is over all of a sudden people like you and the soon to be sacked Scotsman staff is there now a problem well welcome to the people of Scotland’s world. There is now no confidence in any of the media up here many of us have deserted these streams and are getting our news and programming from social media.

    1. Paul. Many thanks for your comments. I assure you I did not stay quiet and agree with everything you say. Sadly, during the independence debate I was ill, as you will see that most of my blogs during that time were poems! Nic

  22. Although I agree with your view that there is political bias at the BBC and other media outlets, you seem to forget that the BBC has had a ‘Labour’ bias for many, many years.
    Unfortunately whether it is for corporate / commercial interests, the media has, as a whole, always had a political bias one way or the other (and change when necessary to meet their current agenda). I cannot see this changing any time soon as the media like every one else wants to be seen to be with what they perceive as the ‘winners’.
    It would be nice, generally, if the media stuck to reporting politics and stop trying to influence it!

    1. To Brian Heard: With reference to my earlier comment – The BBC’s position is unique. It is paid for by mandatory subscription. That is everyone, on pain of prison, pays; the most regressive of taxes. This means every avenue must be explored, every ocean trawled and every opinion included – with the proviso that it is the ONLY voice of mass-media for the dispossessed and therefore has a moral duty, none of its competitors need bother about. Very straightforward.

  23. I could have more sympathy with those complaining about the unquestionably appalling treatment of Jeremy Corbyn by the British media if there wasn’t quite so much overlap between those doing the complaining and those who were complicit or complacent when the very same treatment was being meted out to Alex Salmond.

    Without directing any comments at Nic Outterside personally, there’s a powerful stench of hypocrisy and double-standards about the bleating which those on the inside of British Labour have had ample opportunity to become inured to, but which the rest of us are gagging on.

    1. To Peter A Bell: The Labour Party [membership] have suffered as much under the auspices of ‘New Labour’, as have the Scots, and by no means speaking for them all, I say as an ordinary member that I sided whole-heartedly with Scottish independence, as I thought that they had the chance to escape the sewer of Westminster and the PLP, who are and have been complicit in the hideous social, political and economic decline, rightly derided by that movement. Corbyn’s movement may, just may, remove the vector of ‘nice’ PPE graduates’ careers and return principled, fresh-thinkers. Here’s hoping. Regards.

      1. I am aware that there are many British Labour members who sympathise with Scotland’s independence movement even if for no other reason than that they see it as a means of breaking the stultifying grip that the British establishment has on our politics. Just as there are many people in England who recognise that they are served little or no better by the British state than people in Scotland.

        It was not my intention to generalise. Although I am far more sceptical about the prospects for meaningful change within British Labour than you appear to be. Of course, that may be because I am looking at the horror that is British Labour in Scotland. A sight would cure the most deep-seated optimism.

        My point about hypocrisy stands. Even if a few souls can plausibly protest their innocence.

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