Kirsty Strickland: Why anti-BBC billboards are a terrible idea before indyref 2

CommonSpace columnist Kirsty Strickland says adverts about media bias in Scotland will not persuade No voters to vote Yes in a second independence referendum

YOU may have noticed the 'BBC Is Misreporting Scotland' stickers and posters that have been going around recently. 

In my local area I’ve seen them stuck to lampposts and on post-boxes. Last week, a Go Fund Me page was created to fund 10 billboards with the slogan to be put up across the country.

After six days of fundraising, the campaign has nearly hit its funding target of £8,500.

Read more – Nationalists raise thousands for anti-BBC billboard campaign

The organisers say: "As ordinary people tired of BBC distortion, we want to fund giant billboards across Scotland drawing everyone's attention to the ways in which they are being lied to.

"We know that a significant minority of people in Scotland still trust the BBC as a publicly-funded broadcaster, and are quite unaware as to how they are being misled."

Nicola Sturgeon announced recently at the SNP Conference that draft legislation for a second Scottish independence referendum would be published. The first minister is a canny politician and the only thing we know for certain is that she won’t call a second referendum until she is confident she can win it. 

Though we aren’t certain if/when #indyref2 will happen; that hasn’t stopped the jubilant cries of 'We’re getting the band back together' on social media. While we wait for the SNP to navigate the political waters that lead us to that point, some Yes supporters are chomping at the bit to get going again.

An image from the billboard crowdfunding campaign

In some respects, this is a good thing. Energy and enthusiasm is never something the Yes campaign was lacking. It’s not the intent that concerns me; it’s the method.

Take this billboard initiative, for example. Imagine you are a No voter – what message would you take away from it? That the BBC is biased? That every single thing it says about Scotland is done with the purpose of sabotaging Scotland’s future independence? Doubtful. 

Putting something on a giant poster doesn’t automatically make it believable. In truth, there will be far more people who glance at these billboards and shake their heads. That was my instinctive reaction when I saw one on my post-box and I’m a Yes supporter, for christ's sake.

So much of the intent behind this and other calls to "expose" the "MSM" (mainstream media) is rooted in the righteous belief that Yes knows something No doesn’t; that if we help them "see the light" they will disregard all their concerns about the economy, the deficit, pensions and what currency an independent Scotland would adopt. 

In reality, the only way to alleviate those concerns is to coherently and patiently address them. Telling people that they are so stupid they have fallen victim to an establishment conspiracy does nothing to quell those long-held fears.

We have to get tough with ourselves as a movement. Not all forms of campaigning – however well-intentioned – are helpful, you have to make smart moves.

We have to get tough with ourselves as a movement. Not all forms of campaigning – however well-intentioned – are helpful, you have to make smart moves. At the root of this is our inability to exercise a bit of restraint and humility at times. 

As a Yes voter you might not trust the BBC or care about the oil price but that, frankly, doesn’t matter.

Yes is not a social club or a family. Only speaking to each other and campaigning in our echo chamber might feel good but it doesn’t bring onside the people who we are asking to change their minds and their votes the next time round.

We have to be a bit more thick-skinned and stop whining that the 'yoons' started it. Or that a No voter was rude to us once so why even bother. This is too pivotal an opportunity to let pass by in a sea of grievance and negativity about everything being stacked against us. 

Life is tough. Convincing people to choose to leave a 300-year-old union, is tough. It is achievable, but realistically we’ve only got one more shot before it is off the table for a decade or more.

Only speaking to each other and campaigning in our echo chamber might feel good but it doesn’t bring onside the people who we are asking to change their minds and their votes the next time round.

If commentators are correct, and #Indyref2 is a possibility before the UK leaves the EU in 2019, then we’ve got to start as we mean to go on. In three years’ time we could be celebrating a Yes vote and moving forward with trying to create a better society. 

Or, we could be wiping away tears with our foam fingers, bitter about how we were stitched up again.

On the whole, the Yes campaign was hard-working, relentless and dogged. In the run up to indyref 2 I have no doubt that people will again be pounding the pavements, travelling across the country, nursing blistered feet and, occasionally, bruised egos.

We owe it to everybody that puts the graft in to not undo that work by directing energy/attention elsewhere and painting Yes as paranoid, fringe grievance hunters.

We have to take the rocky, exhausting, rough terrain of the scenic route on this one. Let’s not make that task harder by strapping weights to our ankles. It’s harder to swallow pride, acknowledge concerns and talk through them. It's much easier to tweet No voters and tell them to "wake up sheeple, you are falling for the corrupt yoon msm conspiracy".

We have to be a bit more thick-skinned and stop whining that the 'yoons' started it.

But 'winning' arguments on social media isn’t the same as winning hearts, minds and, more importantly, votes.

How many times have you changed something as significant as your vote because the side that wants it has insulted you and told you that you’re stupid? I’d bet, never.

Yes campaigners on the whole don’t spend their days calling people "yoons" or traitors. The majority don’t believe that BBC Scotland manipulated a photo of John Swinney to make it look like he had aHitler moustache. 

The majority of Yes probably agree these billboards are counter-productive and unhelpful. But it only takes a minority to divert attention away from the positive argument for Yes and breathe life into an embarrassing side-show.

I have criticised the BBC - many times actually - on a variety of issues. And I understand why people feel let down by some of its coverage during the independence referendum. But the answer to that isn’t abusing BBC presenters online, or protesting outside or putting up billboards across the country. It is in funding the alternative.

How many times have you changed something as significant as your vote because the side that wants it has insulted you and told you that you’re stupid?

If indyref 2 is in our near future, now might be a good time to take stock and refine our strategy. Let’s save the congratulatory rallies for when we have something to celebrate. Let’s keep the heed, practice what we preach and focus on the kind of society we want to live in in the future.

At the end of it all, we will have to come together. There will be no Yes and No; yoon and cybernat, traitors or separatists. We are and will be one Scotland, moving forward together. 

We’ve got the energy, numbers and enthusiasm; let’s start applying it effectively.

Picture courtesy of Kyoshi Masamune

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Comments

DougDaniel

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 16:42

"Yes is not a social club or a family."

Unfortunately, I often get the feeling that, for some people, this is exactly what it is. I can't help feeling some folk are more concerned with having another referendum campaign than they are about winning independence, hence the clamour to have it as soon as possible, rather than when it's winnable. It's understandable, since people made new friends and for a lot of us, it was a life-changing campaign - but I think some people get carried away a bit. And this billboard campaign is a perfect example of that.

JimD

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 18:12

You seem to be conflating two issues here: 'zooming' in social media and the billboard campaign. The billboard campaign falls into an entirely different category.

You are entitled to your opinion/reaction, but if you believe the BBC is very far from impartial and adopts a relentlessly anti-independence agenda (not many 'Yes' supporters think otherwise), why would you cringe?

The posters are not vitriolic. They simply make a statement and direct people to a website. The website is a decently put-together aggregation of articles giving our point of view, and links to many of the top Independence websites, including Commonspace.

This is helpful because it gets our challenge to the BBC and London media out into the street, where we are sometimes weak, and at the same time tempts the viewer to check our online media, where we are strong.

I think most Yes supporters are well aware of the need to roll up our sleeves, work hard, think hard, and be patient and empathic with No voters (they are, after all, for many of us, our friends and family!). A poster campaign like this complements that effort. I contributed to it, and I would urge Commonspace readers to do so too.

gjm's picture

gjm

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 18:53

PIcking fights with the media is pointless we cannae win there. Getting into a bitching contest wi' the BBC or the papers for that matter is seriously stupid given that they have massively wider platform, reach a lot more folk and can turn it around on us and do it all day every day if they want to.

Born out of frustration but a seriously misguided tactic.

MariaF

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 07:27

"Take this billboard initiative, for example. Imagine you are a No voter – what message would you take away from it?"

Very simple Kirsty: that the BBC is misreporting Scotland and not offering value for money. Scotland needs a better broadcaster.

You may be a No voter and already have realised that the bias in the BBC is more than obvious. No voters are intelligent Kirsty they can also see this.

Speaking from a personal point of view Kirsty, I was a staunch NO voter during most of the Scottish Independence Referendum Campaign. I was one of those that use to be annoyed at the fact that even the idea of a referendum was being considered because I was absolutely convinced that Scotland was too poor to survive on its own.

However, as the campaign went on I started to dislike the negativity of the Better Together side and started to notice that the reporting of the BBC was not that balanced. I noticed that every article linked to independence always had a similar format, putting a few comments in the middle to highlight the view of the Yes side but most times that I read, starting always with the point of view of the No side and always ending the article also with the point of view of the NO side. I complained to the BBC for this and, typical BBC, I received a vacuous response every time.

It was the negativity of the NO side and my perceived bias of the BBC what moved me further to explore the Yes side. It is then when I started to see that the extent of the bias of the BBC was far more than I had accounted for.

I have not watched the BBC ever since nor I intend to, but I have to pay a licence so we can watch the other channels. Now, if in my household the BBC is not being watched because we consider that it is misreporting the facts, why do they get my money?

Yes voters are probably around a 50% of the electorate if no more now. How the BBC can be let getting away with misreporting in Scotland and disrespect half of the population in Scotland?

If paying for the BBC was a choice then I would agree with you Kirsty, but if you want to watch TV, it is not a choice. If you are forced to pay for the service you should receive reporting of a good standard. This is not what the BBC is providing us with in Scotland.

I think those posters are a fantastic idea and the same should be done for the rest of the corrupt biased MSM: name and shame.

I would have loved to see those posters at the time of my doubts before indiref1 because that would have saved me a lot of confusion and would have told me that I was not the only one seeing this unfair reporting.

Yes voters have the same rights as No voters, and that includes fair reporting. If presenting complaints directly to the BBC doesn't get you anywhere because the BBC refuses to change, then I think the billboards are a good measure to put your message across.

By the way, why is the No badge in the picture almost double size compared with the Yes one? Subtle bias, perhaps? ;)

Hyperborean

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 19:20

What a lost opportunity!
The problem with these posters is that they contain an opinion, not evidence. Why waste time potentially irritating both supporters and those yet to be convinced with anything other than argument they can assess based on evidence they can consider.
Facts, people, facts
That the BBC were guilty of biased reporting during the referendum (and counting) is an opinion I share based on my own observation. But if I want to convince anyone else it's evidence I need.
What might count as evidence?
Well, for a start there was a study by a reputable academic group (sorry: 'grey brain' refuses to tell me which right now) which found that there was indeed such bias. Surely their report included, somewhere, a simple statement confirming such bias? Put that, or even an original statement summarising the findings, on the poster: that's the way to focus attention and persuade, not an unwelcome opinion.
Then maybe a series of posters & ads each adding more evidence about the bias and we might achieve something.
Meanwhile I'll just take a moment to savour — on the basis of laughter or cry — the idea that the BBC is defending its biased stance on the grounds that it is unbiased. YCNMIU.

JimD

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 19:24

Why are you now 'Yes'? Because you were exposed to the arguements of the Independence campaign.

We have a print newspaper now, but In the main our case is made on the Internet. However a lot of the people who voted 'No' (particularly older voters) do not tend to frequently use the Internet for news and information. This is another way of reaching out to them and appealing to them to take a fresh look at the 'Yes' arguements.

Moridura's picture

Moridura

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 20:33

I'm with you Kirsty. I have been a trenchant and detailed critic of the BBC for over 8 years on my YouTubeChannel, blogs and Twitter, but equally I have valued much of their excellent output, e.g. Parliament Channel, Holyrood and PMQs, Dateline London. 95% of my YouTube clips are BBC, and they have provided a vital platform and information base for YES politicians and spokesperson and voters. Without the BBC, I would have no YouTube channel and would be infinitelty less-informed.

Much of the anti-BBC stuff is blatant one-sided stereotyping - selecting one isolated example of bias as representative from an otherwise informative and balanced item, and entirely ignoring positive coverage. This has served to obscure much valuable coverage and debate and has alienated many Scottish BBC professionals simply trying to do their jobs.

The BBC is the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation - of course it has an inbuilt-bias to the status quo in a State of 65m people of whom 5m are Scots with about half of that 5m committed to independence. Some realism is needed as to how the BBC will inevitable behave, and much energy is wasted in attacks which change nothing. Our cause is independence, not BBC-bashing. Print media have much more to answer for.

Peter Curran (Moridura)

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 22:00

I support the anti-BBC bill-boards as bringing attention to BBC bias which rigged the campaign in indy-ref 1 and if nothing is done, BBC bias will rig indy-ref 2.

We must expose the falsehood told by Sturgeon in her recent indy-ref draft legislation so as not to walk into the same trap again.

Sturgeon wrote -

"In 2014, our objective was for the conduct of the referendum to meet the highest standards of fairness, transparency and propriety. That objective was achieved then and remains crucial for any future referendum."

- The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
Consultation on a Draft Referendum Bill, October 2016
______

Well if that was Salmond's government's objective in 2014 then that objective was NOT achieved.

UNFAIR

* the conduct of the 2014 independence referendum campaign was UNFAIR
* there were UNFAIR police arrests and court orders to terrorise some campaigners to stop campaigning
* in July 2014, 7 weeks before the vote, police UNFAIRLY raided my home and arrested me and court orders to stop my campaigning were UNFAIRLY imposed on me, (a YES-campaigner from Aberdeen, Peter Dow) which UNFAIRLY prevented me from campaigning for YES on Twitter or on my own website, the Scottish National Standard Bearer website - http://SCOT.TK
* the broadcasting media was UNFAIRLY biased to refuse 24/7 coverage with a dedicated indy-ref TV channel and denying opportunity for most unofficial campaigners to be broadcast
* the coverage that there was was UNFAIRLY biased to support the United Kingdom
* the "Edinburgh Agreement" UNFAIRLY imposed an outcome of 100% of Scotland being surrendered to the majority of the vote, as it turned out, to the 55% who voted "No"
* the 45% who voted YES were UNFAIRLY refused any offer of a 2-state solution or partition of Scotland into
1. an independent state for the 45% who voted YES and
2. a UK state of Scotland for the 55% who voted NO

NO TRANSPARENCY

The fact that Sturgeon is in denial that the indy-ref campaign in 2014 was unfair is proof positive that there has been no transparency either, that the unfairnesses and rigging of the 2014 independence campaign have not been widely reported and have largely been covered up by the mainstream media.

IMPROPRIETY

The police arrests, court orders and banning from TV broadcasts are an improper way to conduct any referendum.

QUEEN'S PRIVY COUNCILLOR STURGEON
Note that Sturgeon has signed her foreword in the consultation as "The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon".

By that "Rt Hon" Sturgeon is reiterating her oath as a Queen's privy councillor when she swore to prevent anything from being said or done which would be against the Queen remaining as head of state of Scotland, when she swore to prevent the Scots ever getting our own independent Scottish nation state which could elect its own head of state, a president of a Scottish republic, ridding ourselves of the Queen's rule.

Sturgeon has sworn to prevent the independence of the Scots from the Queen and that's how she intends to go on.

So in Sturgeon's foreword to the "Consultation on a Draft Referendum Bill" there is a clear intention to do in future as was done in 2014 - cheat those Scots who want a true independence, to sell a variation of DEPENDENCE on the Queen as some sort of pretend so-called "independence" which is no such thing.

So this "consultation" is a fraud because it is really Sturgeon trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes so that she, as the Queen's First Minister of Scotland, can continue to subject all of the people of Scotland to rule by the Queen's United Kingdom.
___
Peter Dow is a Scottish scientist and a republican socialist whose legal human rights are cruelly violated by the police and courts in Aberdeen, where he lives.

Peter Dow's political defence blog publishes the truth about the wrongful and unjust royalist arrests, prosecutions, convictions and punishments he endures.
http://peter-dow.blogspot.co.uk/

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 22:11

"In reality, the only way to alleviate those concerns is to coherently and patiently address them." - Kirsty Strickland

and the only way to do that is with a publicly funded indy-ref TV channel broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a full 52 weeks before the day of the vote.

Nothing else can compete against a life-time of the BBC broadcasting propaganda for the United Kingdom.

gjm's picture

gjm

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 22:17

JimD you can look at it that way and if the outcome was as you say it might be (people questioning what they hear from the BBC) then there might be something in what you say. On the other hand they are an organisation that has a budget of 5 million this yr alone and reaches into every home in the UK all day every day, week in week out. THey don't like criticism and we can take a wee bit of private pleasure maybe from getting under their skin but they have many years of practise at deflecting criticism and are skilled at turning these things against their opponents. We will be made to look bad and the BBC will play the victim card just enough to seem reasonable. Don't pick fights with the media. Raise money and spend it on something else?

gjm's picture

gjm

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 22:17

that should read 5 billion

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 22:19

"Only speaking to each other and campaigning in our echo chamber might feel good but it doesn’t bring onside the people who we are asking to change their minds and their votes the next time round." - Kirsty Strickland

But that's precisely the argument FOR allowing much more fair access to broadcasting (by a dedicated indy-ref TV channel) so that YES (and NO) campaigners can speak to the voters, not only to each other!

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 23:15

"but realistically we’ve only got one more shot before it is off the table for a decade or more." - Kirsty Strickland

No Kirsty, that's not realistic because a second rigged referendum changes NOTHING, settles NOTHING in the same way as the first rigged referendum changed nothing, settled nothing.

It is only those who believe the BBC propaganda that the first indy-ref was "fair" who also believe there "can only be one more referendum".

When you understand the rigging of indy-ref 1 then it doesn't matter how many more indy-refs they rig, you will simply not accept any number of rigged indy-refs as the final word on it.

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 22:37

"In the run up to indyref 2 I have no doubt that people will again be pounding the pavements, travelling across the country, nursing blistered feet and, occasionally, bruised egos." - Kirsty Strickland

- pounding pavements is almost a complete waste of time when broadcasting is so one-sided.
We need a balanced view on TV that can only come from a dedicated and professional indy-ref channel broadcasting 24/7/52 before the vote.

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 23:26

"painting Yes as paranoid, fringe grievance hunters" - Kirsty Strickland

It's not "paranoia" to point out that the vast majority of campaigners, for both YES and NO, were kept OFF TV, kept in the fringes.

The indy-ref campaign was an establishment stitch-up, given brief time slots in the schedules and most of that time given up to the official campaigns, with the official "YES Scotland" campaign fronted by establishment media man par excellence, Blair Jenkins OBE (Order of the British Empire).

As the author of the Scottish National Standard Bearer website
http://scot.tk
I was not only kept off TV but also 7 weeks before the vote, I had my Aberdeen home raided by police, I was arrested, my computer seized and court bail orders imposed to keep me off Twitter and my own website.

That sort of police state abuse and rigging of the indy-ref is not "paranoia". The grievances are real. The indy-ref was rigged and stolen for the result the establishment wanted - No.

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 23:05

"We are and will be one Scotland, moving forward together. " - Kirsty Strickland

No, I think a 2-state solution, partition of Scotland is better than all moving forward with an idiot Queen as head of an abusive police state.

I am just not ever going to be interested in living one day more under that Queen's cruel police state than I have to.

My attitude to anyone who is for and who supports the Queen's abusive police state - frankly I think that I and my official abusers would be happier living in different states.

Let's just go our different ways.

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 23:04

My tweets were political rhetoric - not a "threat" nor a "crime"!
http://peter-dow.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/my-tweets-were-political-rhetori...

Peter Dow

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 23:13

@gjm

Well go back and EDIT your post then.

mrquiet

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 23:34

Yes folks - it truly is gaponsonby and his army of people funding 8 billboards who are responsible for any failures of the yes campaign.

Not us. Never us.

It's certainly not the vast collection of narcissists who attached themselves to the yes campaign without much scrutiny ( I see you've all dealt with Loki for attempting to question that under the guise of protecting people).

We are dealing here with people who will write essay after essay blaming the braveheart brigade and yet have never asked themselves a simple question like: "Would a No voter be convinced by a lengthy essay by Pat Kane?" - "Do the career profile raising activities of utterly talented Luminaries like Alan Bissett, which go hand in hand with his 'Independence' shtick convince a No voter ?".

Are we really that strange that we thought either RIC or National Collective did anything ? They didn't. Where were the schemes folks ? Jim Murphy said he was ever so glad they didn't turn out : "I've never been so glad the schemes didn't turn out in my life".

The No voters see you. They see right through you. They're not daft. Most of the Yes people see through you as well.

Always trying to lead from the front. Always with a job to get or a book to promote.

Good luck trying to blame it on a couple of billboards.

noeldarlow

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 00:06

We should pick fights with anyone we need to and not be afraid. If you have the facts on your side, if you're smarter, if you have a deeper grasp of humanity with which to frame the discussion, then you always have a chance of winning no matter how "powerful" the other guy seems to be.

The only test is: "is the argument fair? Is it accurate?" If yes, then it must be voiced. A real democracy must debate important ideas.

Independence is a revolution but if we don't try to change people's perceptions it will never happen. We have to encourage people to look more closely at UK institutions which do not serve Scotland well.

ProfRobbo

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 01:04

I've just registered. Had trouble with not being a robot and may still be a dick however, my thoughts: https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com/2016/10/26/concentrate-your-fire-why-...

Alex Wright

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 01:32

I think the BBC bias has to be exposed and the giant billboard campaign is one of the few ways of doing this.
Let's remember the last few days prior to the vote, when we were engulfed by the so called big hitters from BBC London, re-igniting issues that had been repudiated by the Yes campaign many months before. This journalistic blitzkrieg was, in many observers opinion, instrumental in the surge in the No vote.
The target audience is surely the soft No's and the undecided voters and in this respect I think it is a terrific idea.
They were a disgrace, so surely pointing this out to people is an undertaking that we should all back.

Sandy W

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 08:51

I have to disagree with the article. The BBC has such a stranglehold on broadcast and internet news, supported by its undeserved reputation for quality and impartiality. It certainly played a decisive role in defeating the Yes campaign, easily responsible for maintaining over 200k No votes and the margin of victory. Simply ignoring it and hoping that the power of alternative media will overcome it is charmingly naive, but many voters, particularly older No leaning voters, will never read an online blog or watch a Youtube broadcast.

The BBC will not change itself, they are a law unto themselves and simply brush off any complaints (although a concerted campaign of licence non-payment might rein them in a bit).

The Establishment parties will not change them, they find them too useful when in power (although Corbyn's supporters might be starting to realise that letting their bias slide is not the best long-term plan).

The SNP/Scottish Government cannot change them, broadcasting is a reserved power and they have to look like a responsible party of government so cannot really refuse BBC access and interviews (although it would be good to see MPs/MSPs take a more robust line with some interviewers).

The press will not change them, in case it draws attention to their own lies and bias.

The bill boards and stickers are pretty much the only way that the message to mistrust the BBC and what they are telling you can get out to the non-online population (unless you have any better, constructive ideas?). In this case, it is important to support them and I agree with the poster above that they are better done in advance of the start of any official referendum campaign.

PaulinEd

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 09:44

This is not simply about the referendum coverage, it is about the constant forcing of the Unionist position on the BBC to decrease support for independence. Billboards are maybe not the best way forward but are a sign of desperation in my opinion as are people commenting on the web. Even a site like commonspace is a mouse against the elephant of the BBC sadly.
I don't think the BBC is necessarily inaccurate/misinforming people, it's more what they don't say, not giving the full picture and constantly forcing British themes issues.

Scott Egner

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 09:52

I am glad the boards went up. There isn't a formal indyref2 campaign simply because there isn't an indyref2 date set. It isn't set in stone.

Spreading the word about BBC bias is very relevant whether there is a general election, referendum or not.
It is no longer fit for purpose.

I am so sick and tired of people I know spouting the rubbish that the BBC puts out and my question to them is always "have you researched what actually happened or have you just taken their word for it"? I also ask if they know who is on the board of trustees and whether it is perhaps possible that there may be a conflict of interest.
Maybe I achieve nothing but at least it might plant a seed.

So I disagree with you on this one Kirsty.

ArgyllAtheist

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 09:55

"We have to get tough with ourselves as a movement"

a simple question - who is "we" in this context? because if "we" is all of us, then you have no position to be calling down the things you don't like. if "we" is common space, then you have a greatly inflated sense of your own influence and importance, I fear.

I don't think these are a great idea. I don't see them achieving much, some people say the same thing about the lampost signs and what-not that we use at election times, but I help put those out every time.. we get along. I'd be much more blunt if the proponents of telephone banks (which I personally despise, and think do more harm than good), starting yelling down me for thinking visual signage matters.

What runs deep through this article is the shift of focus that tears campaigns apart - I have seen it in campaigning against creationists in schools, and I saw it in the sorry demise of RIC... when those on the left (and it's always the left, for some reason) don't win a glorious victory right off the bat, they don't renew the fight by focusing on the other side... they fall into deep introspection, and try to find the reason we failed - and sure as morning follows night, the reason for the failure is always those campaigners on our side who "put moderate people off". and what puts them off? why, it's the things that we, personally, didn't like.

funny, that.

JimD

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 11:34

An interesting range of opinions being expressed on this issue. Here's my last tuppence worth.

Moridura - you've done fantastic work, which makes it somewhat surprising that your practical conclusion seems to be 'go easy on them, they can't help themselves'. They are paid to provide a public service which requires lack of political partisanship, and they do not provide it, so they deserve to be held to account.

As MariaF mentioned, every news item is headlined and topped-and-tailed to portray Independence in a negative and frightening way. When members of the SNP are being interviewed they are treated like criminals in the dock. A little test of BBC even-handedness - can you find even one BBC news item / interview which is positive about the prospects of an Independent Scotland? We need to knock them off their perch as the authoritative provider of information about Scotland - they are anything but. Here is the link below - give a little bit to the campaign if you can, and help to show them they've been rumbled.

http://tinyurl.com/jfrasuq

Sandy W

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 12:00

No PaulinEd, it is also about them being inaccurate and misinforming people. The BBC treated the words of Gordon Brown as if they were gospel, they continue to spread the lies and factual inaccuracies of 'Scotland's deficit' and need to reapply to join the EU on independence, pensioners losing their payments after independence. I could go on and on, others have written books and academic papers on this. They are much more malicious and harmful than you give them credit for.

ProfRobbo

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 19:32

On Linkedin Kirsty describes herself as 'Community Reporter BBC Scotland 2012-Present (4 yrs). Should this have been declared?

beigeacid

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 14:05

You make the choice whether or not to watch TV, therefore the licence fee is a choice.
As someone who chooses not to watch TV, so does not pay a licence fee, I find the BBC to be excellent value for money.
Note that the BBC does not get the full amount of your licence fee (as least not towards its programmes) as it also goes towards funding the infrastructure that other channels make use of.
Finally, it's 2016, every man and his dog is a news source on the internet. If the BBC aren't giving the full picture, there's no excuse not get your info elsewhere, so does it even really matter if the British Broadcasting Corporation are somewhat favourable towards the concept of Britain.

Watty

Fri, 10/28/2016 - 17:59

It's pretty ridiculous that Kirsty has had to leave twitter over the abuse she has received from certain quarters over this article.

MariaF

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 09:32

beigeacid

"You make the choice whether or not to watch TV, therefore the licence fee is a choice"

Unfortunately you cannot make the choice of giving your licence money to the channels you chose to watch. Look at our household for instance. We pay for the TV licence because we enjoy watching other channels and not the BBC. We are being bombarded with a good number of adverts on those channels because they fund themselves through adverts. So we are effectively paying twice. Now why do I have to fund a broadcaster I do not want to use?

How would you react if you decided to travel by bus from A to D and the government said to you that if you want to travel from A to D you not only have to pay for the bus fee for that route but also for the plane ticket for the route C to D because it is the national service, it is a criminal offence not to do so and is an excellent value for money? So why people that chose other channels over the BBC still have to fund this broadcaster?

"As someone who chooses not to watch TV, so does not pay a licence fee, I find the BBC to be excellent value for money"

My guess is that you may find it an excellent value for money until the time you actually sit down to watch it, then you may change your mind. I watch the TV everyday but would not touch the BBC with a bargepole because I got sick of its bias, partisanism and chronic misinforming by leaving out an awful lot of the 'less convenient' news for the government line. I find it a terrible value for money and regret the fact that I am not given the choice to which channel/s I want to give my licence money to.

"Note that the BBC does not get the full amount of your licence fee (as least not towards its programmes) as it also goes towards funding the infrastructure that other channels make use of"

Any penny that the BBC gets from my licence is a penny too much. I don't watch the BBC so the portion of my licence that goes to the BBC should be discounted. I already put up with the adverts of those other channels.

"If the BBC aren't giving the full picture, there's no excuse not get your info elsewhere"

If I must get the info elsewhere to be properly informed and have a balanced view of the actual situation, why on earth am I forced to fund a poor value for money service that only offers part of the view?

Also, to spark the decision to find your info elsewhere you have to be aware that you are being misinformed. That is when those billboards come into play. They do look nice, don't they?

"so does it even really matter if the British Broadcasting Corporation are somewhat favourable towards the concept of Britain"

It matters an awful lot actually, because effectively we are being forced to pay for the maintenance of a biased and partisan broadcaster that spouts government friendly propaganda while claiming that it is fair and impartial. Worse even, we are forced to fund it even when we chose not to watch it.

Do you think it is acceptable to mislead the public into believing they are receiving a fair broadcasting while still taking their money away? I am sorry, I find that completely unacceptable.

In my opinion, for as long as that broadcaster claims to be the national broadcaster and for as long as we are forced to pay to this broadcaster it does matter: it must be representative of the people it claims to serve and the BBC takes as much money from the licences paid by NO and Yes voters.

Newspapers are biased but they don't claim otherwise and you are given the choice of buying them or not and when buying them, you are giving the money to the newspaper of your choice. You are deprived of that choice with the current arrangement of the TV licence.

Peter Winfield

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 09:03

I agree with Kirsty.
Hard as it is to do we must try to get into the heads of 53% of voters would still vote NO if we are to stand a chance of changing them into YES voters. Many of them trust the BBC.

Defining a campaign to inform by opposition to the BBC is limiting. The BBC becomes the argument not the information you wish to impart.

A better tack would have been to accentuate the positive with a strap line of "Fresh Thinking" alongside "inform(ed)scotland" and an appeal to the curious. The BBC should not have been mentioned anywhere. The goal should be to create a feeling of trust in a reliable source of news with a persuasive countervailing narrative.

This is a better, freer, more creative place to be with (surely) a greater chance of persuading those we need to persuade.

It has been proposed that during Indyref2 we need a Rebuttal Unit to ensure sloppy statements in the media are clearly and authoritatively rebutted. This is a good idea and stands a good chance of being listened to second time around because the Press will not be totally aligned to NO. InformScotland seems to be half aimed at being a Rebuttal Unit but its title implies something of broader and more useful scope.

To use the great name InformScotland to sell opposition to the BBC is a lost opportunity.

fellowhoodlums

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 12:11

Absolutely correct. As a late conversion to a yes voter just before Indyref, I couldn't help but see the BBC attacks as negative and counter productive.

I personally believe that they just didn't know how to report it.

Keyboard warriors are the worst and it gives NO voters every reason to stay that way.

Jim Cassidy's picture

Jim Cassidy

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 12:45

"The majority of Yes probably agree these billboards are counter-productive and unhelpful."
Really? Show your methodology please.
Oh, aye, that's right. There wasn't any.

" Imagine you are a No voter – what message would you take away from it? That the BBC is biased? That every single thing it says about Scotland is done with the purpose of sabotaging Scotland’s future independence? Doubtful."

What type of No voter do you want me to think like? Dyed in the wool Queen and Country No voter? Economic No voter? Soft No voter? Project Fear believing No voter?
Different strokes for different folks. This particular billboard could perhaps be seen to be aimed at two of those four groups. How will those people as individuals feel? I don't know. Might it make them visit the web page mentioned on the billboard? Perhaps. Oh, the uncertainty!

"Telling people that they are so stupid they have fallen victim to an establishment conspiracy does nothing to quell those long-held fears."

Where does this say that people are stupid? It doesn't even hint at those people being stupid. It suggests that the BBC may have not been entirely honest and asks you to consider that.

There is no 100% right or wrong way. Many tactics are legitimate and some will be more effective than others. If this isn't your particular tactic then rather than deriding those trying to achieve the same goal, perhaps it would be better to do your own thing.

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