Your Noon Briefing: The Sunday Post urges a No vote, the BBC and RBS, etc

THE Sunday Post newspaper has urged a No vote in Thursday’s indyref vote.

Said the paper (here) yesterday: “The Sunday Post is as Scottish as haggis and Maw Broon’s tartan shawl.”

It continued: “It would be wrong for us not to offer an opinion when we have been so immersed in the debate and analysis. In doing this we hope that, if nothing else, our readers will appreciate that we can’t just sit on the fence.

“We understand why many of the people of Scotland are convinced going it alone is the best way forward. Indeed, several of our own columnists have argued their belief in independence long and hard on the pages of our newspaper.

“We respect their points of view as we respect all points of view.

“However, The Sunday Post believes the case for independence, at this time, is unproven and carries too many risks.

“It is our considered opinion that the best option, the safer option, is to deliver the vision of a better Scotland with the safety net of the United Kingdom.”

The paper joins The Scotsman in urging No (as reported here). In May (as noted here), the Sunday Herald declared it was supporting Yes.

PS The Guardian today reviews the stance taken by a broad range of yesterday’s newspapers, here.

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IT’S a story that just hasn’t gone away: how the BBC came to receive and report a story last week about the bank, RBS, which was seized upon by supporters of the Better Together campaign in Thursday’s indyref vote.

Claims last week (noted here, on that the story involved the leaking of market-sensitive information was followed up the Sunday Herald newspaper yesterday, reporting (here) what it describes as a ‘damning’ email appearing to confirm a leak did actually take place.

Began The Scotsman on Saturday (here): “Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has denied Alex Salmond’s accusation that the Treasury leaked market-sensitive information [to the BBC] about the future of Royal Bank of Scotland to undermine the Yes campaign.”

And on Friday, The Drum media and marketing magazine, quoted (here) well-known Scot, Channel 4’s director of creative diversity, Stuart Cosgrove, calling for “a re-think at the BBC on the nature of balance and due impartiality”.

Cosgrove had made the claim, earlier during the day, in John Beattie’s lunchtime new show on BBC Scotland Radio, here (around the 9′ 30″ mark).

And perhaps not surprisingly, the BBC Scotland HQ in Glasgow was the scene of a protest yesterday, as reported by The Independent newspaper, which begins (here): “Thousands of angry nationalists surrounded the BBC’s Scottish headquarters in Glasgow yesterday accusing the corporation and its political editor, Nick Robinson, of broadcasting ‘lies’ and being ‘biased’ in favour of retaining the Union.

“The protest was mounted amid claims that the BBC is institutionally biased against Scottish independence and has been spreading ‘propaganda’ to keep the Union intact through its news reports.”

And The Drum began its report yesterday of the demo, thus: “The BBC has denied accusations of bias towards the Better Together campaign during its coverage of the upcoming Scottish Independence Referendum.

“As a crowd of Yes campaigners demonstrated outside of the headquarters of BBC Scotland [yesterday afternoon], with a banner being used to call for the sacking of the corporation’s political editor, Nick Robinson, the BBC released a statement to deny the accusations that its coverage was biased.”

And The Telegraph, last night, began (here): “Hundreds of pro-independence supporters descended on the BBC’s Glasgow headquarters on Sunday to rage against the Corporation’s pro-UK ‘bias’ and ‘lies’.

“Protesters demanded BBC political editor Nick Robinson be sacked and chanted ‘you can stick your license fee up your a***’, as they waved Saltires and Yes Scotland banners.”

The protest is also reported, in today’s Herald (here), which begins its report: “The BBC has defended its ­coverage of the referendum as ‘fair and impartial’ after more than 1,000 Yes supporters demonstrated outside the broadcaster’s headquarters over claims of bias in its reporting.”

And last night, on a referendum debate on BBC Scotland (here), chair, James Cook, countered a suggestion by Scottish Tories leader, Ruth Davidson, that the Treasury was simply responding to a media enquiry (from The Sun), regarding RBS. Cook said: “Just for the record, I received that email and I didn’t request it.” Watch the clip here, around the 14-minute mark (in passing, a large part of the debate is about the media).

Meanwhile, in an interview given to the Sunday Herald, by First Minister, Alex Salmond, he is quoted (here) – answering the question, Has the BBC ‘s referendum coverage been biased? – as saying: “Yes, absolutely. Of course it is. The problem with Nick [Robinson] … I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like these folk, but they don’t realise they’re biased. It’s the unconscious bias which is the most ­extraordinary thing of all. If the BBC were covering, in my estimation, any referendum, in any democracy, anywhere in the world, they would cover it impeccably, in a balanced fashion.”

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THE first-ever commissioned original drama from BBC ALBA is previewed (here) by The Scotsman’s Brian Ferguson.

Writes Ferguson: “Bannan, the relationships-based drama, has a cast of virtually unknown actors and a budget a fraction of that afforded to usual BBC drama series.”

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MEANWHILE, the well-known political commentator, Iain Macwhirter, considers the state of the Scottish Press… here.

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KEVIN Pringle, a ‘king of spin’…

Blair Jenkins, a former head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland (and, among other things, Young Journalist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards in 1977)…

Rob Shorthouse, a ‘straight-talking PR man’…

Three of four ‘back-room generals’ identified by The Telegraph’s Scottish political correspondent as key to the indyref vote.

The fourth, writes Ben Riley-Smith (here) is Better Together’s campaign director, Blair McDougall.

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ROMANES Media Group is seeking a trainee reporter, to work out of its Alloa office.

In the main, that’s the Alloa Advertiser newspaper, but also the Stirling News and the Strathallan Times.

The vacancy is advertised here on allmediascotland and repeated on

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AFTER its front-page declaration on Thursday (as noted here on allmediascotland) that it supports a No vote in the indyref, The Scotsman’s letter page on Saturday was full of reader reaction.

As one might expect, the full gamut of opinion was on display.

And the declaration has been so far viewed online by over 150,000 people.

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BEGINS the media analyst, Claire Enders, in The Guardian, here: “If Scotland votes yes, there will be radical changes in the media available in Scotland, and therefore in media plurality.

“Scottish consumers will lose guaranteed universal access to the national radio and TV channels provided by Channel 4 and the BBC in their current form, funding and conception, with the exceptions of BBC1 and BBC2.

“Instead, Scots will be provided with a new Scottish Broadcasting Service (SBS), which by definition cannot have the traditions of impartiality and independence of the BBC and of other public service broadcasters. Channel 4 could continue in a broadly similar form – albeit with more Scottish commissions – for a time, but eventually it too will become a locally versioned service.”

Read more, here.

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BEGINS The Drum, here: “The Sunday Telegraph has drawn criticism from Scottish voters with its final front cover before Thursday’s independence referendum that many social media users believe crosses a line mentioning fallen servicemen and women.

“The headline, which reads ‘Scottish soldiers lost their lives trying to preserve the United Kingdom. What will their families say now: ‘Well, it no longer matters’?’, is accompanied by an image of Highlander Scott McLaren’s repatriation at RAF Lyneham in North Wiltshire and headshots of Donald McCaughey, Joseph McCaig and his brother John from the Royal Highland Fusiliers who were killed by the Provisional IRA in Belfast during March 1971.”

Check out a search for ‘Sunday Telegraph’ on twitter, here.

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WHAT was it like in the newsroom of the Sunday Herald ahead of its final edition before Thursday’s indyref?

The Drum media and magazine was given the opportunity to observe the yes-supporting newspaper in action… as reported here and filmed here…

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MEANWHILE, check out this version of the Saltire, comprising over a 1,000 ‘selfies’ of Yes supporters and turned into a wrap-around to a referendum special supplement produced by the Sunday Herald… here.

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AND columnist, Lesley Riddoch, in The Scotsman, is today perplexed on two counts, regarding the BBC: why should anyone be surprised when families are divided on what to vote in the indyref and why identify currency, banks, energy, oil, pensions and health as the ‘important issues’, when democracy, elitism, austerity, corruption, sovereignty and trust are surely just as important.

Read more, here.

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BEGINS (here): “[Fife radio station] Kingdom FM’s breakfast show presenters Ian and Vanessa have been broadcasting from the top of the Forth Road Bridge.

“Ian and Vanessa climbed the North Tower of the Forth Road Bridge after a limited number of people got the chance to experience the top to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bridge.”

Watch how they got to the top of the bridge, here.

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FINALLY, The Herald today is running an obituary about a former Daily Record editor, Bernard Vickers – here.

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