By Alec Ross
There’s folk getting in an awful stooshie over the whole BBC Question Time rammy. For the record, include me out.
It cuts – doesn’t it- to the heart of the whole independence debate. I haven’t got involved in it because anyone who is shocked or outraged by it hasn’t been paying attention. Spending a second thinking about it, far less getting annoyed about it, is a terribly wasteful use of our resources, particularly when time is short. We can’t afford to be distracted by dead cat politics. The BBC isn’t biased. Its job is to promote Britishness. It’s constitution says so. It is doing the day job, to borrow from Ruth Davidson.
The BBC was, from its inception, and remains, a propaganda organisation for the British Establishment. It’s clearly written in its constitution. It came about to a greater or lesser extent as a response to the discontent after the Great War (Churchill ordering tanks into George Square. Aye, that sort of thing). The whole point of the BBC is to promote and further the aims of the United Kingdom. The idea of Britain is their shibboleth. A growing Scottish independence movement is a threat. It would be naive to expect anything other than a powerful response to any challenge to it. In a very real sense, the BBC isn’t being impartial because it never claimed to be so. It is defending the British state and the UK establishment. That is what is does.
So forgive me for failing to join in with the faux outrage. Because there’s a wider issue here: we won’t win our independence by playing to the rules of another country. The house always wins. England always gets what England wants. We have to disabuse ourselves of the notion that the British establishment will give us a fair hearing, because the whole point of them is to deny us this. In fact, what they are doing now – what they have done – all they have done – since we committed an unforgivable act of self-harm in 2014 by becoming the first people in history to vote against itself – is to make sure that we can never ask the question – “should Scotland be an independent country?” – ever again.
I’d go as far to say that to fight a referendum and expect another’s country’s media, political and administrative apparatus to even pretend to give us a fair hearing, far less allow us due process, is touchingly (and dangerously) naive; particularly when the raison d’etre of that apparatus is to deny Scotland its democracy.
So my thinking is this.
We should have nothing whatsoever to do with the BBC, or Question Time. The house will always win. Any pro-independence party must have nothing to do with an institution that clearly despises it.
We should call an independence referendum immediately. We’ll win. It won’t be recognised and will be called “advisory”. But so was the Brexit vote. By virtue of something happening, it becomes a political imperative. It cannot be ignored. And at least we can trust the process.
We have to make our own way, play by our own rules. It’s impossible to win when you don’t own the game, especially when those rules can be changed to suit the house.
Question Time is a distraction, a programme full of sound and a fury signifying nothing, and Thursday’s edition should remind us once again that, for those of us of independent mind, we should simply recognise it for what it is. And then regain our dignity.
And then get on with our lives, as a normal, happy, independent people.