Dear BBC. I write this letter as a citizen of the country known as Scotland. This is the country which you allow your political friends from the British establishment to refer to as Jockistan. No doubt you will attempt to laugh off any complaints as bad sports unable to take a bit of jolly japes and joshing. This however is far from jolly japes and joshing. It is in my opinion nothing short of deliberate racism of a most despicable kind and is quite simply not acceptable in any way shape or form if you wish us proud Jockistanis to pay our licence fee for your frankly over rated broadcasting service.
You claim to be a centre of excellence and a world class provider of news and entertainment. Maybe this might have been a valid claim at one stage in your history it is however far from true now and your descent into mediocrity has been faster than the speed of light or Usian Bolt whichever happens to be quicker.
From my childhood right up till my early adulthood the BBC had a reputation for fairness and impartiality in news and current affairs. I don’t know where it got this reputation probably from my parents generation who had been socially and culturally conditioned to accept the dominant political paradigm of their age that Britishness represented fairness, truth, and justice. I however had a very different idea of what Britishness meant and fairness and justice didn’t come in to the picture. You see even as a teenager I had my eye on the ball and began to doubt the shall we say the integrity of the state broadcaster whom I regarded with a healthy disdain not usually associated with protestant teenagers in the Scotland of the mid seventies.
Part of my cynicism came from the fact that you consistently referred to the Ulster conflict as ‘the troubles’ rather than acknowledge part of the UK in which geography, history and politics were always contested was engaged in a bitter civil war. No you couldn’t do that, you had to delude yourself that this was a minor domestic problem which only applied to Ulster and had no relevance to the rest of your so-called United Kingdom. This of course is nonsense this conflict had profound implications for the part of the United Kingdom which you now allow your friends in the British establishment to sneeringly refer to as Jockistan. Yes Scotland was and still is blighted by a sectarian problem and this is something I can speak on with a significant degree of authority. This is due in no small part to the bloodline bequeathed to me by my parents who came from both sides of the religious divide having as I did a protestant unionist mother and a lapsed catholic nationalist father. My background enabled me to take a more balanced veiw on how perceved religious identity impacted on the city I call and have always called home. I saw Glasgow’s social and cultural problems at first hand and believe me during my teens and I know that the troubles were not confined to the streets of Belfast or Derry. Believe me there was another divided national community in your fictional United Kingdom and that was Scotland the in particular the West of Scotland.
Of course this was seldom if ever reported to do so would concede that the United Kingdom was far less united than was stated and that would have fuelled support for a nationalist movement in Scotland to a far greater extent than you would have been comfortable with and could have placed the future of the last outpost in your colonial empire in very significant danger. For your union to survive Britain’s decline in the post imperial age you could not admit to civil war in your country so you would have to call it the troubles and make sure it was seen as an Irish problem and only an Irish problem. You are nothing if you are not the broadcasting arm of the state. In many ways it saddens me to write this post but is I feel indicative of how your standards have slipped in recent years.
Yes you may still occasionally make some good television programmes. Even as a lifelong nationalist it would be churlish of me not to admit I enjoy your coverage of the Six Nations Rugby Championship, and I love the biting satire of Mock The Week, just as I enjoyed Not The Nine O Clock News in my late teens and the early part of twenties. I grew up watching Play For Today, and Top of the Pops before I knew that many of the presenters on later were more than a bit dodgy with a penchant for lusting after vulnerable youngsters. I loved your quality comedy programmes such as Butterflies and Only Fools And Horses which even now is considered one of the best programmes ever made as is Alan Bleasdale’s groundbreaking work Boys From The Black Stuff which showed the cruelty of Thatcher’s Britain in my favourite serial drama of all time. Of today’s programmes I think Not Going Out shows you still haven’t completely lost your comic touch.
It is also fair to say I enjoy your programmes on BBC Alba especially the Trad Awards and your Celtic Connections specials, and I love the glitz and glamour of Strictly Come Dancing. Well what woman doesn’t dream of silk, sequins, gorgeous dresses and even better men. Those jewels apart however you are not what you used to be and your news coverage of Scotland and Scottish politics is and I won’t beat about the bush here nothing short of a damn disgrace.
If there was ever any doubt that the BBC had long ago lost any reputation it may have had for fairness and impartiality believe me it was removed during our Independence referendum in which you couldn’t even disguise your support for the unionist cause. This showed a lack of respect for both Scotland and the democratic process. You see I always believed that there was two sides to every story but during the campaign leading up to the most important vote in the history of our nation you only seemed to hear one side of the debate and subjected those of us who campaigned for a yes vote to a far tougher line of questioning than those who favoured remaining in the United Kingdom. Indeed it would not be beyond the bounds of reason to suggest that rather than see this view as the other side of a valid argument in fair and opened debate you decided to accept the better together argument as practically your default position. This arrogant high handed attitude that one side was wrong no matter what they said was an insult to a significant number of Scots and yes I include myself among that number and that is why I along with thousands of others attended demonstrations outside your Glasgow headquarters.I will grant you that your chosen campaign won the vote on referendum day though whether you would have won it if both sides of the debate been heard fairly and equally I very much doubt. That however is not my main concern. You see we are now a year on from the referendum and you still don’t seem to have learned anything when it comes to respecting the views of others who may take a different view to your own.
At the recent UK election you blatantly favoured those politicians from what I would refer to as unionist parties and showed rudeness which could be mistaken for aggression to members of the Scottish National Party despite that party being the party of government at Holyrood. This was not only insulting to the SNP it was and is insulting to the people of Scotland.
Now if I was of a cruel disposition I could say that when Scotland spoke at the General Election you and your colonial masters got what was coming. That however would be to undermine the efforts of my party, our candidates, most of whom are now honourable members of the Westminster parliament and our hard working team of magnificent activists who worked so hard to bring about our greatest achievement to date. So instead of mocking you I ask a once great organisation to try to uphold the professional standards of which you were once so proud. Regaining the trust of the people of Scotland will not be easy. We are a demanding people who expect high standards of our public servants. You have not lived up to those standards on television or on radio in recent years. Indeed on radio phone in programmes such as Call Kaye the callers seem to be skewed towards unionism. Whilst I have no doubt this will keep the presenter who is known to be an arch unionist happy and smiling that is not the job of the BBC. You are just in case you need reminding, supposed to be reflecting public opinion and you are singularly failing to do so.
It is no exaggeration to say I have been watching your conduct very closely since the referendum and believe me I’m not the only one. The report card I issue is not written from a perspective of grudge or grievance, rather it is written on your performance and what is expected of you. So far at least your performance has not matched those expectations in fact you haven’t come anywhere remotely close to doing so.
On recent radio programmes rather than seek the views of current elected members you have wheeled out any piece of unionist deadwood you can find just to have a pop at the SNP. The same can also be said of television where your pre disposed bias towards The Labour Party shows in the ludicrous way you shamelessly attempt to promote Labour leader Kezia Dugdale just as you did with every Labour leader both since the devolution settlement and before it. The fact that you have done this whilst trying at every available chance to denigrate Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon just as you did to her predecessor Alex Salmond, only goes to prove your bias against both the SNP and its perfectly legitimate aim of persuing by democratic means the aim of Scottish indepenence. This toxic behaviour is not only bad politics it is a betrayel of the licence payers of this country. It is to put it mildly unacceptable behaviour and uncomfortable viewing and listening. This kind of attitude is simply not on and is in fact a bad joke gone wrong.
This brings me back to the Jockistan comment. To write this off as a joke would be at best inappropriate and at worst offensive. I know where I’m putting my money. This kind of behaviour is Anti-Scottish racism and for it to be allowed to go unchallenged on a daily politics programme is not as the chattering classes might say jolly japes and joshing. It is a sign that the unionists know the game is almost up and this time it is a game they expect to lose. You see your high command know Jockistan does not exist, they also know that in spite of Gordon Brown’s best attempts to abolish it and turn it in to North Britain Scotland does exist and will continue to do so no matter what they would like to think. Despite your best efforts Scotland has grown in stature since the referendum and this confident nation has found her voice and intends to make it heard. So you see BBC It matters not what you think this country will not be going back in the box. Not today, not tomorrow not ever and that is as should be. We may not have reached our destination yet but we have started on the road on the journey to nationhood there is no turning back.
Love And Best Wishes