For A Balanced and Inclusive Independence Debate

In case you hadn’t noticed, the BBC’s coverage of the Scottish Independence debate is dire.  When they are not comparing our democratically elected First Minister to genocidal dictators, they are warning us about about all the risks and dangers we face in such uncharted territory.  “Here be monsters!“, they shout, pointing to Alex Salmond, and encourage us to stay aboard the good ship “HMS Empire” repeating the UK governments threats that we go it alone we wont be allowed to build warships for them to maintain their neo-imperial ambitions,

The BBC operates as the propaganda outlet for the British Government. Its not just Scottish Independence of course, coverage of the privatisation of the RoUK NHS, the welfare “reforms” that are pushing millions of people into poverty and despair and all get scant coverage, while their pro-Israel bias has seen several demonstrations take place at their Scottish headquarters.

The BBC has stated that

We are not in an official referendum campaign and therefore do not have to balance it out between yes and no

In case anyone attempted to provide such balance from the outside, shortly after the announcement of the referendum , commenting on Scottish affairs was disabled on the political blogs on the BBC website.  The BBC attempted to justify this, however BBC Scotland refused to answer their critics on air.

So in other word they are going to carry on their own sweet way, pumping out British propaganda to an unsuspecting Scottish public, telling us repeatedly how terrible and awful life would be if we ran our own affairs and managed our own income.  Unsurprisingly a number of people are rather pissed off at this state of affairs and have started a campaign for a  “Balanced All-inclusive Referendum Debate to put pressure on the BBC  for balanced and inclusive coverage of the debate.

It would seem however that their idea of “balanced and all-inclusive” differs considerably from mine.  Their next event is “Illuminate the Debate” to be held on Saturday.  And to illustrate this “balance and inclusion” of which they speak, every single one of the five speakers is a straight white male.  Every. Single. One.  If this is “balance and inclusion” I want none of it.

In case it has escaped their notice, women got the vote nearly 100 years ago and make up a majority of the eligible voting population in Scotland.  They are also far less likely to support Scottish Independence.  Women are a key demographic which the independence campaign should be reaching out to, rather than ignoring in favour of being lectured at by men, who collectively for hundred of years have told women how awful it would be if they ran their own affairs and managed their own income.

Many have speculated as to why women might be less likely to support Scottish Independence than the general population, suggesting that possible its down to the macho attitude displayed by some of the narratives that surround the independence debate.  Or maybe its because women are so used to being talked down to, having their views ignored, being sidelined and marginalised within political debates, that they see nothing wrong with a similar situation being replicated in the way that their country is treated within the UK state.

For bonus points, the organisers have also put the celebrity misogynist, Tommy Sheridan, on their platform.  Sheridan – who wrecked the only political party in Scotland which insisted on gender balance in their elected representatives, dragged his former lovers to court, only to call them sluts, gold-diggers and liars while personally cross-examining them under oath about their sex lives, and called the women of the SSP who dared to challenge him “witches”, but somebody, somewhere thinks that he is an asset to the independence campaign.  The mind boggles.

I am all for a balanced and inclusive independence debate, but that balance must reflect the composition of modern Scotland.  It must reflect the country that we wish to become – one where women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT folk get to play a full part in democratic decisions about our future.

And if we don’t have that, our future is fucked before we start, because if our referendum doesn’t implicitly and explicitly include a rejection of misogyny and other intersectional marginalizations, then we’re not really gaining independence, we’re just getting a change of management.

UPDATE:  Linda Williamson from Newsnet Scotland has now (eventually) been added to the list of speakers, as per comment below.




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