Monday, September 12, 2022

The BBC are practically treating anti-monarchists like terrorists. The only tinfoil hat brigade these days are the people still ludicrously trying to pretend the BBC are impartial.

I've almost been dreading attempting to write this blogpost, because I feel it may expose my inadequacy.  I'm not sure I actually have the words to sufficiently convey how angry I am right now and how angry I think everyone else should be.  Over the last few days we have come face to face with how power is derived and exercised in this country, and it bears little resemblance to the pretty story of freedom and democracy we've been told all our lives.  Complicit in it are the monarchy itself, the politicians, the police, and a media committed to the industrial-scale dissemination of state propaganda.  Consider what we've seen...

* An unelected Head of State assumed office on Thursday.  When people peacefully protested against this and argued in favour of a democratic system for electing our Head of State, they were arrested and even charged.  How does that look?  How is that even intended to look?  In a free country, the logic for police intervention in protests is generally that it's necessary to uphold liberties and democracy - but this is the polar opposite.  This is the forces of anti-democracy using the raw power of the state to suppress anyone calling for a democratic system.   It's just like the communists in the old Eastern Bloc telling the ordinary people that they're snookered - not only do you not get to choose the person who reigns over you, you don't get to even say that you should be allowed to choose, or to explain why.

* It's a very similar story over at the state broadcaster.  We can all understand the BBC giving only a one-sided, rose-tinted perspective on an individual who has just died and is being mourned, but when they blur the distinction between that person and the institution of the monarchy and use that as an excuse to give only one side of the story on a matter of legitimate political debate, they are betraying their nominal duty of impartiality (which we can now see has always been a fiction).  Either they should be restricting themselves to celebrating the life of an individual, or they should bring in anti-monarchy voices to robustly contradict BBC presenters who apparently are now de facto politicians and are allowed to give monologues on the virtues of an unelected Head of State.   As Emily Maitlis pointed out recently, the BBC moved heaven and earth to find pro-Brexit economists to artificially balance out the 99% of economists who are anti-Brexit.  By contrast, they wouldn't need to look further than the broom cupboard to find anti-monarchy commentators.  So why aren't those people on TV every day?  You don't achieve impartiality as a broadcaster with a tokenistic disclaimer that "not everyone in this country supports the monarchy but the vast majority do and let's face it those who don't are a bit weird and out of step".  In a functioning democracy, dissenting voices are actually heard, not swept under the carpet and pathologised.

* Even worse than a blurring of the distinction between the virtues of the Queen as a person and the virtues of the institution of monarchy is the blurring of the distinction between the virtues of the Queen and the virtues of a "united UK" as she supposedly stood for (even though, paradoxically, she was betraying her duty to be non-political by taking any sort of stand at all against Scottish independence).  The broadcasters have given themselves free licence to openly campaign against independence over the last few days, with their implicit justification being that to allow the other side of the argument would be disrespectful towards what the Queen was all about.  The generally very good BBC contributor Allan Little made a catastrophic error of judgement the other night when he said in a voiceover: "A small group of protestors booed and called for an independent Scottish republic, but this was not the prevailing mood."  He said this in the same tone of voice that a journalist might say "a small minority support terrorism, but the vast majority of people are decent and oppose violence". But what is the word Little finds so troubling here? "Independent", "Scottish" or "republic"? As far as I can see, all three words encapsulate beliefs that are entirely moderate and mainstream.  And remember that what Little calls "the prevailing view" is, in this instance, the anti-democratic view.  It's the protestors who believe in a democratic system for choosing the Head of State.

* I gather Jeremy Vine eagerly grabbed the opportunity to host a phone-in asking whether the death of a Queen so "devoted to Scotland" (where's my violin?) would help save the Union.  But can you imagine any broadcaster having a phone-in at the present time to ask the equally logical question: "will the replacement of a popular British monarch with an unpopular one hasten the break-up of the UK?"  Well, no, of course you can't imagine it, because that would be "disrespectful to the memory of the Queen".  Do you see how this works?

* Quite possibly the most barking mad thing I've heard about the BBC doing is Martin Geissler trying to explain away the muted reaction on the streets of Scotland by saying "we Scots don't show our emotions".  That's the kind of propaganda strength you'd expect from the state broadcaster in a totalitarian state.  If people don't show the emotions you insist they must have, it's not because they're not feeling those emotions, oh no perish the thought.  It's because those emotions are so intense that they have to be hidden by a cunning outward show of not actually giving a monkey's.

In 2014, I agreed with the strategic logic of the Yes campaign saying the monarchy would be retained in an independent Scotland.  Supporters of a republic were mostly voting Yes anyway, so what was the point of alienating the monarchists?  I would grudgingly still take that view, although we in the Alba Party have the luxury of being pro-cake and pro-eating it, because we can take a republican stance without that being portrayed as the official position of the Yes campaign.  But what I would say is this: if independence wasn't my over-riding priority, the experience of the last few days would have led me to throw caution to the wind and decide that we must do all we can to build as much support as possible for the end of this corrupt system of monarchy. If there's one thing that the state won't let you say, and won't let you be heard saying, that in itself makes it vitally important to say it, over and over and over again.

 *  *  *

We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

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  1. There is something strange and atavistic going on right now, a combination of decades of propaganda, mob mentality, genuine respect for the Queen as an individual, and a weird desire to be ruled over.

    We underestimate at our peril people's loyalty to this mad system. But the mob can turn against you as well, and it is not hard to foresee people getting bored of Charles and agitating for William to take over. That is the point republican arguments will get an audience.

    But not today.

  2. King Charles’s Declaration of Accession quoting the Claim of Right and the Protestant Supremacy will guarantee another No Majority in the next Referendum. All non Church of Scotland members of all faiths, denominations, free thinkers and atheists/secularists should/could reasonably say: fix this first.

    1. The misconception about the supremacy of the Protestant religion can only be fixed when Scots have regained the keys to an independent Alba!

  3. Well done James - we are still out here, with our eyes and ears open to the flood of anti democratic toadying and flummery.

  4. Operation London Bridge in full swing. Try googling something like 'i have had enough of too much queen or king coverage ' and you'll get little or no on the web, still little or nil of you specify Twitter or Facebook. It's being blocked and only fluffy nice comments appear instead. I think that this will open up the eyes of a lot of the public, if not now but later

    1. Speaking as someone who had his eyes only half open to the BBC’s bias up until now, I can confirm that my eyes are now fully wide open. Like many others I’ve been getting increasingly angry particularly over the last couple of days at the BBC mis-using this occasion of someone’s death to actively (and almost gleefully) paint both independence supporters and republicans so negatively. It’s being done as part of “News” coverage which is supposedly the dissemination of factual information and not even as part of current affairs or documentary programme where opinions from both sides should be presented to the public.

  5. Shades of North Korea in the UK regarding our great leaders and the grovelling media coverage that actively refuses to broadcast any balance in its reporting.

    The UK is on a relentless journey to the far right.

    I've said it before - Scotland has never been a democracy - perhaps more people can see that more clearly now.

    In 1706/7 the people of Scotland may have had the Claim of Right and be sovereign but they had no vote and their wishes clearly expressed by petitions and riots against the Union were ignored. There was no pretence of democracy. Fast forward to current times and there is an attempt to pretend Scotland is a democracy but it is a phoney democracy where the people of Scotland's vote does not count and is still overruled by England and its aristocracy. Nothing has fundamentally changed. Power lies with the English establishment and Scotlands (so called ) political leaders sell out to England to feather their own nest.

  6. Royal sycophants.

    Sturgeon sycophants.

    You can find both on WGD. What a bunch of grovellers.

  7. Democratic People's Kingdom of West Korea.

  8. If the Royals are so popular throughout the UK why not have them elected every 10 years with separate votes for Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland and England or is democracy something the media/establishment are scared of.
    😂😂😂😂😂😂😂Absolutely no chance of that happening in this shithouse called The UK because the whole rotten medieval house of cards would collapse if they lost a vote.

  9. Yesterday, my son, a maths student at Edinburgh University and on the Autistic spectrum, was stopped by two police officers when he was walking across the Meadows. They asked him what was in his back-pack. When he said "Nothing", they came back with the rather surreal question,
    "Why are you carrying nothing in your backpack?"
    My son simply answered that he was hoping to put his shopping in it on the way back from Sainsburys. What sort of a country are we living in when police can ask you why you are carrying nothing?

    Just as well he wasn't carrying a pad of A4 paper and a pen, as this could have been thought of as part of an anti-monarchist protest.

    1. When I go for my shopping on my bike, I carry an empty back pack to carry it home in. I can see the headlines: "74 year old on bike arrested for having nothing in his back pack - oh, and he had a 'YES' sticker on his bike."

  10. I've been thinking about the confusion over whether the late Queen was travelling to London by air or train. Surely, as a nation with a proud maritime history, it would have been more respectful to send her to London on a nuclear submarine?

  11. Celtic fans exercising their freedom of speech in Warsaw tonight with a great big banner saying f**k the crown. If they had unfurled that anywhere in the U.K. internment would probably be re- introduced by Truss. The football commentators said nothing - obviously dumbstruck😂.