The BBC and a question of trust


By Alex Robertson
Martin Kelly in his excellent forensic piece last week on the BBC’s handling of the Doosan business decision exposes, yet again, how unreliable and untrustworthy the BBC is when it comes to reporting and discussing Scottish political affairs.
Trust is so precious and we Scots just cannot rely on or trust the BBC anymore.  Galling though that is, especially since we pay a TV tax to fund that organisation, the worst thing about the matter is that the airwaves are dominated by avowed enemies of independence.

I have long believed that on the way to the referendum, there would come a tipping point in relations inside the Union, when there was no going back, no longer any trust or confidence in the Union or its various organs, agents and institutions, and, whatever the result of the referendum, for Scots, the Union was a dead duck. I suspect we are awfully close to such a point now.

What is a nation to do when it believes, sincerely, that the newspapers, the public service broadcasters and the government exacting taxes from it, are implacably opposed to all aspirations of national independence?

And here’s the thing: it’s not them who have changed; they have always behaved like that. It’s us, the Scots who have lifted our heads and scented a kind of freedom to make our own decisions and determine our own future; it’s us who have changed. And it’s us who are increasingly unwilling to bend our knee and put up with it. That has never been the Scots way.

I watched Barak Obama delivering a fundraising speech in Detroit last week. Party politics aside, he is clearly still a man with aspirations for the American people, and still has the ability to express and articulate these aspirations.

It made me wonder if we Scots have lost the ability to articulate aspirations for ourselves, our country. I doubt it, but aspiration, hope, does seem to be missing from the independence debate right now.

Of course, the details of what independence would mean, the facts of the case, rather than pure emotion alone are important, have their place. Perhaps we have been betrayed too often before by politicians’ high-sounding promises and appeals to our emotions. And Nationalism and emotion can make for a dangerous mixture.

But it is healthy to express our aspirations, our vision for our own future. And the feeling that something is missing from the debate is reinforced every time I listen or read about Scottish independence on broadcast or printed news channels. Somehow we have to speak out the aspirations behind the desire for independence.

For these aspirations are at the very heart of the whole business. With the broadcasters, the newspaper publishers, and the Westminster inhabitants all viscerally opposed to the whole venture, we badly need an expression of our hope for the future, our aspirations, which people can rally round and identify with.

After all, this is about freedom, nationhood, and our future, not about the price of butter.