BBC still manipulating the news

BBC Scotland’s Sarah Smith highlighted yet again why journalists are so poorly trusted within Scotland. Her attempts to smear the First Minister by saying (twice apparently) that Nicola Sturgeon was ‘enjoying’ the pandemic as she could set her own lockdown rules, different from the rest of the UK.  Of course, as the First Minister pointed out she 99130323_2667394680165167_5260931034580516864_oisn’t enjoying or embracing the daily delivery of the number of people dying from coronavirus. To suggest so is lamentable. It really says more of Sarah Smith than it does of anyone else. The First Minister – in complete contrast to the waste of space currently residing in a fridge in 10 Downing Street – has shown true leadership, presenting almost every coronavirus briefing while Boris Johnson has barely been seen, leaving his duties to an array of talentless, lying, failed spin merchants (also known as the Tory Government).

And as for the nonsense of Scotland going its own way, anyone who has paid attention – which obviously excludes the BBC’s Sarah Smith- would realise that it is the Tory 98174159_3520732824606931_2509946177311473664_nGovernment who have taken England on a different route from the rest of the UK nations. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all following the Stay at Home message while England hasn’t a clue what it’s doing thanks to Boris Johnson’s incoherent ramblings. Apparently, people in England have to Stay Alert – as if keeping an eye out for an invisible virus will ensure their safety!

To compound matters, Smith then tries the tired old non-apology routine. In true BritNat journalist style, she never apologises in the same manner her insult was made – i.e. live on the ten o’clock news. Instead she releases a couple of tweets which coincidentally allows her to repeat her accusations, ensuring that anyone who missed the initial broadcast will see Smith’s claims, and of course all the search engines online will associate the First Minister with ‘enjoying the lockdown’.

Quite rightly the First Minister said to her the matter is closed, she has more important things to think about but that gave the BBC the excuse they needed to shut down all the complaints against Smith. The only way to treat the BBC is to stop paying the TV licence. You shouldn’t pay to be lied to. The BBC has a long history of manipulating the news to suit the establishment’s political agenda – it is not an unbiased source of news. Go online and watch London Calling to see the devious tactics the BBC used during the Scottish Independence campaign in 2014.

Just as I was typing this up, I see that the UK newspaper industry are using the current crisis to hide their circulation figures. Maybe a wee peak at Wings Over Scotland will reveal the true crisis within the newspaper industry which was developing long before someone order a bat sandwich from a Wuhan takeaway! With lockdown many newspapers are suffering, people have realised getting a daily paper isn’t so important in times of crisis. If this habit has been broken, why would anyone go back to picking up a newspaper once lockdown is over?

After all, there are more credible sources online – whether that’s Wings Over Scotland, Wee Ginger Dug, Independence Live or many other websites, so why return to the printed press (unless it’s the National or the Scots Independent of course)?

Does Boris want more deaths?

The change in the Covid -19 message from a clear Stay at Home to a weak, wishy-washy, Stay Alert – will lead to more covid -19 deaths according to many health professionals (as highlighted in today’s National)

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Boris Johnson and his cronies have effectivley downgraded the seriousness of the Covid -19 message; even going so far as to subtly change the warning colour from red to green, implying that there is less danger now.  How exactly is being alert going to help anyone recognise or defend themselves from an invisible virus?  No doubt under pressure from Tory businessmen who don’t give a damn about you or your family but are interested only in their bank balance, Johnson has been pushed to loosen the lockdown restrictions.  The National also highlights others concerns about this change in the message:

https://www.thenational.scot/news/18438693.people-cant-get-bad-uk-governments-new-coronavirus-slogan/

A few other people have already started mocking Johnson’s new message with their own creations:

The UK has the second highest number of deaths in the world from Covid -19 and instead of doing something practical to stop the spread of the virus, the UK Tory Government is risking everyone’s lives by downgrading their warnings.  Already both the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers have said they will retain the original Stay at Home warning but the English centric BBC (and other mainstream media) will promote the new message and no doubt some will be confused and now think its safe to relax their guard against the virus.

Boris Johnson has been a catastrophic failure as Prime Minister during this whole crisis and is now putting more people in danger.  Being Alert will not save you from the virus.  Ignore Johnson and his cronies – they don’t give a damn about you or your family.  Stick to the original advice: Stay at Home: Save Lives.

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Lives matter more than share prices.

Hundreds, if not a thousand and more, people are dying everyday due to Coronavirus (Covid -19). The inadequate response from the UK Government who initially wanted to get ‘herd immunity’ to this virus by risking thousands of lives has been responsible for many of the deaths we are now seeing. It quite telling that one of the first actions taken by Johnson’s Government was to bring in PR advisers to try to spin their way out of the mess they have created.

Of course, the ever supine and spineless UK mainstream media are doing their bit to deflect any criticism of the government they helped to foist on the gullible voters of England. Until there is a clear resolution for actually tackling this virus and for eventually taking on board the demands of real experts such as the WHO there should be no talk of removing the lockdown to get the economy moving.

Lives matter more than share prices.

The latest intervention by the new Labour leader calling for details on how to get the economy started highlights that he is just another red tory more interested in profits than lives.

The UK Government has been found wanting during this whole crisis, thinking that repeatedly lying will get them off the hook. They defunded the NHS in an effort to sell it off, they have risked the lives of those who care for us when we need it most – in the NHS and care setting – as well as all the other essential workers who have found promises of PPE nothing more than a series of lies.
The UK will have one of the biggest death tolls from this virus simply because the Johnson Government doesn’t value the lives of ordinary people. We need a realistic plan on how to tackle the virus before we can even think of lifting the lockdown.

The Callous Prime Minister

It comes as no surprise that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, doesn’t give a damn about anyone else but his comments on the coronavirus really do sum up what a self-centred, callous individual he really is.

Despite almost every other country facing the threat of coronavirus quickly going into a shutdown, Johnson is happy to take his time before deciding to act.  He even suggested 88965955_4209833309034191_1563464586479271936_non ‘This Morning’ that one possible theory would be to ‘take it on the chin’ and allow the disease to spread through the population. Obviously, he is more concerned about the impact the virus will have on the stock market than the impact it will have on the public.  He even followed this up with a warning that the public should prepare ‘to lose loved ones before their time”, contrast this with the statement from the current Irish Taoiseach , Leo Varadkar, who instead said ‘Together we can save many lives’. While Ireland try to protect lives, the useless, ineffectual Tories simply warn us to expect many deaths.89229238_231664071561841_2046673880730304512_n

88416923_1416307238542382_5989909666157559808_nOf course, Johnson found some support for his views from the right-wing Telegraph newspaper where one of their senior journalists stated that the coronavirus might be beneficial to the economy by culling elderly dependents.  I hope the mainly elderly Tory voters are paying attention! Do elderly voters who backed the No campaign in 2014 still feel safer with the UK?  Your vote not only maintained your access to the worst pension of any developed country but also now singles you are as acceptable losses to be sacrificed to protect the stock market.

No doubt Jacob Rees-Mogg is currently dusting down his father’s book on how to make 89212049_2834468289977174_5814735731318325248_nmoney out of a crisis – finding another way to profit from other people’s misery.  He won’t be alone.  There is a high number of Tory MPs and Ministers with shares in private medicine and they will all be rubbing their hands in glee at Johnson agreeing to pay out £2.4 million per day to use beds in private hospitals.  Typical Tory – a national emergency and they see a way to boost the profits of private medicine (and the share value at the same time) instead of simply requisitioning them as required and worry about payment later.

Johnson has been slow to react to this crisis because he hasn’t a clue what to do.  When the public is looking for information and reassurance his bluster and buffoonery just won’t do.  His ambition was to be Prime Minister but now he has the keys to No.10 Downing Street he hasn’t a clue what to do.  Of course, he’s also really just waiting for his handler – Dominic Cummings – to tell him what his masters in the city want.  Killing off thousands of mainly elderly or vulnerable people would always be their choice if it meant keeping the value of their shares high. That’s why Johnson and his cronies were so angry when Nicola Sturgeon announced her plan to block gatherings of 500 or more people.  It made Johnson look weak and he’s now probably going to have to follow her lead.

90267097_1090443804671574_8027350251964727296_oWith extremely low Statutory Sick Pay, a lot of people are going to risk going to work and potentially further spreading this virus. Too many people are stuck in the gig economy, on minimum pay or zero hours contracts – they can’t just take time off, they have too many bills to pay.  Of course, other countries can find a way of supporting not just businesses but also their local population; whether that’s stopping mortgage payments or other bills.  The Tory government won’t want to give out money to the public but their friends in businesses are already lining up with their hands out – not least Richard Branson and his Virgin Empire looking for £7.5 billion for the airline industry. Apparently, capitalism only works when they screw the public over with high fares and then get government handouts when there’s a danger to their inflated profits.89587159_1893287214136367_116775663947481088_o

The crisis shows yet again that we need the powers of an independent country, one that can co-operate with its neighbours, one that can protect all its people and not just the mega-rich.  It’s time to self-isolate ourselves from the Tories and Westminster rule.

A real Scottish Labour Party?  Maybes aye maybes naw

The extremely disappointing UK general election result for Labour has led to some in their Scottish branch office to look at the option of creating a separate Labour Party in Scotland.  Leading this charge has been Labour list MSPs Neil Findlay and Monica Lennon, with the latter highlighting her thoughts on the issue in the Daily Record recently.

monica lennon splitTheir theory is that the British Labour party in Scotland was tarnished by the policies of the London based Labour party, which resulted in them losing all but one seat in Scotland.  Their concern was that the Scottish leader was isolated and his policy statements were often contradicted by Labour spokespeople from London, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.  Their solution is to split the Scottish section from the London party and form an autonomous Scottish Labour Party, one that can form its own policy ideas.  This would mean raising their own funds, persuading trade unions to affiliate and voting with their sister party (London Labour) – if persuaded.  It would be seen as a bold move but will the current Labour leadership go for it?   Ms Lennon has submitted these proposals to the Labour party’s review of last month’s elections but already she’s stated that this isn’t about supporting independence (which she opposes) but about having decisions about Scotland’s future taking place in Scotland rather than Westminster.

Some Labour sources have already dismissed this argument, fearing that advocating separate structures within the party lessens any credibility in supporting devolution rather than independence.  The British Labour Party in Scotland has had some form of devolved structures within the London Labour party, with its own executive committee and its own policy making body, however any policies made are routinely ignored in UK terms.  It seems Labour is struggling to adapt to devolution and, after 20 years of the Scottish Parliament, appear to have hit the buffers when it comes to offering distinctive policies for the Scottish electorate.  For instance, during the UK general election the London led Labour party was pursuing a policy agenda which simply lifted SNP policies which Labour MSPs had repeatedly campaigned and voted against!

It’s unlikely a review led by the same people who were in charge of Labour’s disastrous general election campaign will amount to much. The idea that the Labour party in Scotland could attempt some greater form of separation is fanciful, the Scottish branch office relies too heavily on its income from London – and during Scottish elections it also relies heavily on Labour members from other parts of the UK to come up to campaign for them.  It is however, ironic that at least some Labour politicians (and I suspect more of their members) are now effectively arguing not for further devolution of the Scottish branch from London Labour but are effectively suggesting independence for their branch!  At least now the argument that decisions made about Scotland’s future should be taken in Scotland is taking hold within the Labour party.

Whether this move is a genuine attempt to reflect modern Scotland and the desire for more powers or whether its simply a feeble attempt to raise profiles and perhaps simply save the jobs of current politicians we will just have to wait and see.

Rewarding Evil

The flawed ‘honours’ system hit a new low this week when it was confirmed that Tory MP and former leader Iain Duncan Smith was given a knighthood.  Duncan Smith was responsible for the shambles that has turned the DWP into one of the cruelest government departments, an organisation which hurts those most in need, an organisation which encourages an aggressive attitude to those who turn to the state for help.  Depending on which sources you use, thousands of people have died after being incorrectly assessed by the DWP as fit for work!  In any other country this would be a scandal and those overseeing such an organisation would be in court to answer for such an abhorrent regime.  But not in Tory Britain, instead the architect of all this misery is rewarded, after all, all those killed off were unlikely to vote Tory!

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80588452_1532430283561924_8034640654007009280_n (1)As if attacking the unemployed and the most vulnerable in society weren’t enough, Iain Duncan Smith’s latest political idea is to increase the state pension age to 75 years old.  Irrespective that many working-class people won’t live long enough to reach the pension age, the Tories are looking at how to bring this in. Their usual claims of the strain on the Government’s budget by paying out the state pension are the same old fake news we have come to expect from the Tories. There’s always enough money to cut the taxes for the rich or to bail out the bankers but the never enough for anyone else.   In contrast, France is undergoing a national strike over plans by the French Government to increase the pension age from 62 to 64.  Public support in France for strike action remains high, yet in the UK this would be unheard of.  Then again how many in the UK are aware of what’s happening in France as the BBC continue their blackout of the French strike.

The UK’s ‘Honours’ system is a bad joke, often rewarding senior civil servants and members of the establishment for simply doing their jobs.  Rewarding Iain Duncan Smith for all the misery his policies have caused is an insult to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, under his policies.

How dare you be happy!

The BritNat media really do know how to work themselves into a lather over any little thing!  Their latest outburst was over the reaction of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP when the SNP’s Amy Callaghan won her election in East Dunbartonshire.  Amy had come from behind to beat the sitting MP who also happened to be the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.  Normally you would expect a political party to throw its whole weight behind its leader, to ensure that they win, so this would have made it an even tougher battle for Amy, irrespective of how close the gap may have been between the parties at the start of the election campaign.

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However, as Jo Swinson found to her cost, the advantage of constant TV coverage started to work against her as the voters started to realise just how bad a candidate she was. Every time she appeared on a leaders debate her approval rating plummeted.  The fake accent, the phoney bar graphs and the outright lies of being the largest remain party started to take its toll.  Add in the reminder of the LibDems propping up David Cameron’s Tory Government along with the bedroom tax, the rape clause and constant austerity saw Lib Dem support fall rapidly.

Is it any surprise that the leader of a political party would celebrate one of their candidates winning an election – especially if this victory wasn’t expected?  Of course not, its entirely natural.  If the media were upset about Sturgeon’s reaction then I would hate for them to realise the reaction across the rest of Scotland where there were massive celebrations about Swinson losing!

It may also be worth remembering the reactions of BritNats when Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson and co lost their seats in 2017.  Was there any condemnation of BritNat politicians by the media? was there hell!  They joined in with the BritNat celebrations. The same happened in 2014 after the Scottish Independence Referendum.

So if the BritNat media are concerned about a party leader celebrating a great victory tell them to get stuffed. Its just another typical two-faced attack on the SNP and Scottish Independence Movement by the hypocritical BritNat media.  The vast majority of Scottish voters – and not only independence supporters – enjoyed seeing Swinson fail, it was our Scottish ‘Portillo’ moment and we’re not going to apologise for enjoying seeing an absentee MP lose her seat, in fact I’m going to watch it again online for the sheer thrill of it!

 

They just can’t stop lying!

So, in a poor campaign where Boris has hidden from scrutiny whenever he can, including hiding from Andrew Neil and even running away from an event where 5 protesters were in attendance., things got even worse yesterday and today.

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Questioned by an ITV reporter about claims of a four-year-old boy lying on coats on a hospital floor in Leeds as there were no beds or even trolleys available, Boris panicked.  Initially he tried to talk over the reporter and bluster about Brexit and how everything will be sorted once Brexit is ‘done’.  When that didn’t work, he grabbed the reporter’s phone, which he was using to show Boris the photo, and stuffed it into his own pocket and walked away.

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When his media team realised what was happening an instruction went out to the English Health Secretary to visit the hospital in Leeds and sort it out.  When the Health Minister left the hospital a handful of protesters were shouting at him, one of whom was gesticulating towards the Minister’s car as one of the Ministerial aides walked into this waving hand.

The Tories then had their cue for changing the story.

76944508_1501471693324450_820224662024749056_oInstead of outrage at the poor treatment of the 4-year-old boy, the story was spun that while the Health Minister was trying to sort out the problem his aide was struck (or some stories said punched) by a ‘Labour’ protester.  Right on cue the chief Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg repeated the Tory claim without checking any facts and her twitter feed echoed the Tory claim.  Then Peston of ITV followed in line and repeated the same unsubstantiated claims.  These two – Kuensberg and Peston – are meant to be the best political journalists of the BBC and ITV but here they are wilfully repeating a Tory lie without any fact checking whatsoever!  How can they claim to be journalists, let along political journalists, if they simply act as an echo chamber for a political party?  This is not the practice of real journalists; this is the practice of public relations acting on behalf of an interested party.

Then when videos started appearing online both Kuenssberg and Peston realised that they had been lied to and were being played by the Tories to set up a new spin on this story. No longer was the poor healthcare the issue, it was about the thuggish behaviour of Labour supporters.  But the videos showed no punch, no assault, simply a ministerial aide not looking where he was going.  Eventually both Keunssberg and Peston retracted their tweets and apologised for misleading the public (although not much of an apology from Kuenssberg).  Why did they not realise the Tories were lying, why don’t the release the names of the Tories who tried to spin their way out of this issue, who else are they protecting?

And just when you thought the Tories couldn’t get any lower, out come the ‘bots’ with the same story repeated across numerous twitter and facebook pages, alleging the original story was made up by the 4 year olds mother!  These people have no shame – instead of addressing the original issue of a lack of healthcare facilities, they spin until everyone is dizzy, creating confusion and hoping no one will remember the real story or trust anyone involved in the whole affair.  However, the fact the hospital apologised to the child’s parents should be enough to prove the story was true and everything else has been the Tories using every dirty trick they can think of to distract people concerned about the failing NHS in England. It is to their eternal shame that Kuenssberg and Peston were so easily caught up in this fiasco. It is actually almost unbelievable that they could so easily believe a couple of Tory spin doctors that you have to question whether they knew the truth to begin with and were wilfully using their positions to help the Tories out. After all, Kuenssberg has definitely got history for this.

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The same lies every year….

It’s groundhog day again – that time of year when the UK Government release the GERS figures (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) proclaiming that Scotland has a black hole in its finances. In reality these made up figures are simply a propaganda tool by the UK Government to make Scots think they can’t run their own country.

Each year the GERS figures will show how Scotland has a black hole in its economy and the dutiful BBC and the rest of the mainstream media will repeat this comment endlessly hoping it will strike a blow against Scottish Independence. However, the GERS figures are seriously flawed and its time the Scottish Government fought back.

So, what’s wrong with GERS?
Just about everything. The whole idea of GERS was to make Independence seem unattractive – try to make the Scottish people believe that they rely on subsidies and couldn’t run their own country. GERS was conceived as a political and propaganda tool with the figures behind GERS being manipulated to meet the required outcome.

Missing figures and added costs
Missing from Scotland’s figures are all the revenue from our oil fields – apparently the UK Treasury is unable to allocate these to a specific geographic region!  Also any Scottish goods which are exported from England do not appear as Scottish exports. Then on the other side of the equation, Scotland is given a pro-rata share of the costs of projects which will not benefit Scotland – i.e HS2 etc.

GERS relates only to Scotland within UK
The GERS figures relate to Scotland as part of the UK – in other words, under the current constitutional arrangements – with the UK retaining all the key economic levers, the UK Government estimate that Scotland has a gap in its funding. So, after over 300 years in this union – Scotland, a country rich with natural assets including oil, gas, water etc – still requires additional funding. If anything the GERS figures should be seen as a failure of the UK Government. How can a country like Scotland, so rich in natural resources, still require a subsidy? Clearly someone in the Treasury isn’t very good at their job. Of course, it’s worth remembering that according to UK records, India recorded a deficit for every year of the 180 years it was under British rule. During the same period it’s been estimated that Britain extracted £44 trillion of wealth from India! The UK Government was lying to India – it’s certainly lying to Scotland.

It’s also been reported that Scotland has a £12.6billion deficit and Wales has a £13.7billion deficit. The total UK deficit is allegedly £23.5billion! Are we really to believe that the rest of the UK (England and Northern Ireland) have no deficit?
If this deficit was anywhere near the truth why would the UK Government want to hold onto Scotland? They won’t even pay for a spare bedroom for those on benefits so why the hell would they support a country which they claim requires so much subsidy?

Former BBC Journalist Derek Bateman explains:

bateman gers

The GERS figures should not be taken as a serious assessment of the economy of Scotland. It is only a propaganda tool used by BritNats to claim Scotland couldn’t afford Independence. The GERS figures do not, in any way, relate to how an Independent Scotland would manage its economy.

Treat these figures with the contempt they deserve.

The other Leadership election …

The bookies were right – Jo Swinson MP has become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, beating off Sir Ed Davey for the role.

This leadership election was obviously overshadowed by the Conservative leadership contest and as one of the minor political parties in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments there is currently a limit to the impact this party could make although that may change soon.

As the fourth largest political party in Westminster, the Lib Dem’s 12 MPs could prove crucial for a new Tory Prime Minister – whether a new general election takes place or not.  The only constant about the Lib Dems is their desire to jump into Ministerial Mondeos – despite being slaughtered at the polls for being the Tory coalition partners in the past, Jo Swinson has indicated it’s a role she’s willing to take again.  She’s made it clear that the only party she’ll work with in Westminster is the Tories.  That’s hardly surprising when you see her voting record – to all intents and purposes she is a Tory in disguise (and not much of one at that).

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And if her voting record isn’t bad enough, let’s not forget her championing the campaign to build a statue for Thatcher!  I don’t think any of this will go down well in Scotland where her party stagnates in fifth place with only 4 MSPs across the whole of Scotland (and potentially down to 3 if they lose the upcoming by election).

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It’s true that Swinson did win back her seat from the SNP in 2017 but a lot of questions were raised about the amount of money spent by the Lib Dem campaign, with serious concern that her campaign broke spending guidelines (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-40959614).

Of course, the big question that Swinson has failed to adequately answer is why her party fully supports and campaigns for a 2nd Euro Referendum but are vehemently opposed to a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum.