A can of worms

alex_salmondThat someone as prominent as Alex Salmond has elected to intervene in what I wearily suppose will shortly be dubbed the ‘Wingsgate’ scandal, is quite significant. If nothing else, it serves to demonstrate just how important alternative media have become.

His intervention is doubly significant for the fact that, as well as concisely stating the points that the BBC must respond to in relation to its evidently selective and seemingly ill-founded copyright infringement complaint against Wings Over Scotland, Mr Salmond has broadened the issue to include the rights of persons appearing in the excerpts which have been removed from the public domain due to the BBC’s action. And he has introduced the further matter of the BBC’s apparent failure to remove material which has been found to be in breach of its own guidelines.

It looks increasingly like the corporation has opened a very large can of worms here. And that this can of worms may well keep on getting bigger as the ‘Wingsgate’ affair becomes a vehicle for other long-festering grievances against the BBC. This is the sort of thing which can lead to demands for some kind of public inquiry as a plethora of issues previously dismissed as trivial and/or exceptional are resurrected and tagged onto or rolled into the one which has sufficient mass and momentum to carry them.

That the BBC has got itself into this situation amply demonstrates the dumb arrogance of unaccountable power. Anyone with so much as the tip of their smallest finger on the pulse of Scottish politics could have predicted the furore which would ensue from closing down the Wings Over Scotland YouTube channel. Either the BBC was aware of the hornets’ nest that it was poking and simply didn’t care, or it was allowing decisions to be made by people lacking even a basic awareness of what they were dealing with. Whichever it was, it looks like an appalling failure of management.

And where is the outcry from self-styled ‘professional’ journalists? Where are the frenzied denunciations of ‘gagging’ and high-minded defences of freedom of expression? Mainstream journalists managed to work themselves into a steaming lather of righteous indignation over perfectly justified criticism of certain members of their cosy little clique. But they are curiously silent in the face of an all too real attack on free speech that is ominously reminiscent of TV stations being closed down by some tyrannical regime.

Perhaps Alex Salmond’s intervention will rouse those somnolent and indolent hacks. But if the evidence of the past is any guide their mercenary ire will directed, not against the BBC, but against Salmond. If these loyal servants of the British state are true to tediously predictable form then we can expect that ‘Wingsgate’ will be spun as the SNP trying to ‘intimidate’ and ‘silence’ the BBC.

It’s all very British.

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7 thoughts on “A can of worms

  1. Can we say that this will be the Litmus test to determine if Scottish Independence can be achieved through the “democratic” means and mechanisms of the British Establishment, or if Scotland and its Government will need to move forward and away from the ongoing Brexshitting lunacy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The potential wrinkle is the Second Brexit Referendum being championed right now. It is not beyond possible that Theresa May will latch onto it in large part so she can continue to say to Scotland ‘now is not the time’. Indyref2 and Brexit2 cannot be allowed to run concurrently as it would confuse the poor voter.

      It is obviously not possible for a second ballot paper in Scotland or a third option on the one paper in Scotland.

      The refusal need not be as obstinate as Madrid is to Catalunya to be as effective. If we try and hold a referendum without official sanction it will, as in Spain, firstly get tied up with legal challenges and secondly local councils run by Unionist parties may well refuse to run it.

      Denied a second IndyRef our only real recourse is to run an election campaign as a referendum. All the Yes parties say a vote for us is a vote for Independence and the No parties will do the same. In the last few Scottish elections the SNP by itself has got very close to 50% of the vote. If you add the Greens that makes a majority. If people are free to vote RISE and have that vote count then we get even higher.

      Holyrood elections are half first past the post constituency races and half proportional List seats. If we limit it to the List vote it will be cleaner. If the Yes parties declare this the No parties could not dare not to counter them.

      There are all manner of past and even fairly recent statements saying if the SNP got a majority of MPs they could have independence. Well we have had that since 2015 but that was after the referendum path was established. If it is clearly frustrated we will just have to go back to it.


      1. Lots of problems here. First off, I take issue with the very idea of asking the British government’s permission to hold a referendum. They do not and cannot have a veto on our right of self-determination.

        As to the idea of using a Scottish Parliament election as a proxy referendum, this wouldn’t happen until 2021. How do you even know there will be a Scottish Parliament in 2021? Even if it hasn’t been ‘suspended’ as part of some ‘state of emergency’ what makes you think it will still have powers over things such as the franchise?

        You mention the Greens and even RISE. But independence has to be taken from within the British political system. And that system does not recognise or respond to ‘rainbow alliances’. It recognises and responds only to brute party political force. If the power of the independence movement isn’t channelled into and through the SNP, its effectiveness will be diminished. Perhaps fatally. That’s just realpolitik.

        Why make it all so complicated? Whatever route is followed, including yours, they all converge on the point at which the Scottish Parliament declares the dissolution of the Union. Why not go straight to that point? Why delay? Why fart around jumping through hoops made by the British political elite? There is no end to the number of hoops they can make. There must be a time when we become exhausted with jumping through them.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It seems pretty clear to me, Corrado, that we can never achieve independence so long as we continue to comply with rules designed to preserve the Union. At some point, we are going to be obliged to break those rules. I see no reason to put this off. Especially as delay provides the British state with opportunities to change the rules to its benefit.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. BBC needs to be dissovled just like the Union on these islands
    The time of the British Empire is long since past and the sooner the Government and the BBC realise this the sooner we can all go our separate ways and get on with our own destinies ALBA GU BRATH

    Liked by 1 person

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