How Reporting Scotland is damaging the mental and physical health of many Scots in the interests of Unionism

6d4c59ac-6310-44d5-8e5f-bad54b5e3b19 abusercaught bullyingsuicide gungangs.png

mheslthtargets.png pigeons scothnsmissed

waitnigmuissed health cris suicideagain.png

Is the editorial tendency for Reporting Scotland to regularly headline, in the early morning, traumatic, anxiety-inducing, yet statistically insignificant, events, like those above, making a major contribution to generalised anxiety and to levels of clinical depression and anxiety in its audience? Is this motivated by a recognition at senior levels that an anxious electorate is more controllable?

I’m grateful to Cameron Brodie who provided the link to this research in a Wings comment and to TuS Mental Health Correspondent, Contrary, who shared it with me. Cameron’s short comment, based upon but not a quote from the research, which triggered this longer piece here, was:

‘Individual self-determination depends largely on maintaining a positive personal psychology. That’s why the BBC in Scotland makes you want to self-harm. Achieving a sense of positive emotions not only strengthens our cognitive abilities, it improves our ability to cope with change. Once again, this all boils down to the architecture of our brains.’

As always, I feel the need to head off accusations of conspiracy theory and of consequent paranoia. I’m suggesting rather that those who work in the news section of BBC Scotland, know, often unconsciously and running in the grooves of a long-established culture of behavioural and cognitive habits, what to report and how to report it, such that the overall coverage works toward reinforcing often imaginary benefits of the Union and equally imaginary risks in independence. So, we get repeated cases of individual health or personal security trauma rather than the more meaningful wider trends because the former produces, over years, a brain architecture where constitutional change seem dangerous while the latter might make the status quo seem so.

In my earlier writing on this, I’ve tried to support the above notion with evidence. There is admittedly very little and little of that is empirical and thus evidence-based. There is of course likely to be no hard evidence that editorial decision-making at a public service provider or state broadcaster such as the BBC is damaging mental health. Which institution would dare fund such a thing?

This research does not, of course, do that but it does offer clear evidence of the damaging consequences of ‘perceived threat.’ We can implicate BBC News in feeding this sense of threat in its broadcasts because we know that its audience tends to be older and thus more isolated and vulnerable with the former broadcasts playing a large part in construction reality for them. Clearly the authoritative tones of BBC News as it foregrounds tales of murder, of violent crime, of cases of tragic death and illness in hospitals, of apparent failure or delays in the very services they often rely on, overwhelms what little they can garner from their few other sources, to produce a world where depression and anxiety are the predictable outcome and where, constitutional change become contaminated with a sense of danger.

In this peer-reviewed 2010 research study we hear:

‘These coordinated and cascading response tendencies are preserved in modern-day humans having been sculpted over millennia by natural selection to support efficient and appropriate responses to ancestrally recurrent opportunities (e.g., the kindness of others) and threats (e.g., the disdain of others). Various forms of perceived opportunity give rise distinct positive emotions (e.g., joy, interest, contentment/serenity), whereas various forms of perceived threat give rise to distinct negative emotions (e.g., sadness, fear, anger). Although all emotions serve adaptive functions under certain circumstances, negative emotions, in particular, can become a source of dysfunction. To illustrate, the negative emotions of anger and fear each involve neural, cardiovascular, endocrine, and muscular changes, alongside changes in thought and action tendencies patterned from primitive urges to fight or flee. Such negative emotions also often co-occur with dysfunctional social interactions, which can perpetuate psychophysiological reactivity and trigger destructive behavior toward self and others.’


Upward Spirals of Positive Emotions Counter Downward Spirals of Negativity: Insights from the Broaden-and-Build Theory and Affective Neuroscience on The Treatment of Emotion Dysfunctions and Deficits in Psychopathology




14 thoughts on “How Reporting Scotland is damaging the mental and physical health of many Scots in the interests of Unionism

  1. DBGdotSCOT February 15, 2019 / 12:16 pm

    Wouldn't almost everyone who stumbled accross their editorially disingenuous stories, simply consider them as bloody nonsense?

    Perhaps #PatheticIdiots is a reasonable discription for the unionistically brain numb BBCSco editorial & presentation team…

    I wonder if one day some of them might claim they had been hypnotized or surreptitiously drugged or sumfin? – as they wear their Royal Stewart tartan and weep over their lucky white heather… (the tartan could be Black Watch – a BritAss regiment designed for repression)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. William Henderson February 15, 2019 / 1:55 pm

    And now, for the complete annihilation of our souls, this morning’s headline in the Telegraph and others:

    “Mother is no longer a gender-specific term, UK government lawyers say…”

    Please, please, is there another planet I can go to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Contrary February 15, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      Not the most positive of comments, but it does appear the world has gone quite mad, and I would like to join you on that other planet, please (though I’m slightly weird, there would be plenty of space on a new planet! … Hopefully…)

      Have you resolved the faster than light issue, or found a way to bypass it yet? Or would you make do with a hostile atmosphere on one of the other planets in this solar system? I personally think that would be far too close, I’d like a distance of, oh I don’t know, a different spiral arm maybe? I’ll start a crowdfunder for some unspecified transportation method, and you get working on the actual method. I thinking running away might be the only solution.

      Liked by 1 person

      • William Henderson February 15, 2019 / 10:15 pm

        On second thoughts, Contrary, maybe a sailing boat to while away the time around the islands of the Pacific might be simpler and more easily achievable. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Contrary February 15, 2019 / 10:20 pm

        Ach you have no concept of meeting a challenge!

        As soon as I win the lottery I’m buying myself a boat, and I just today thought a BIG boat might be good, sailing round the Pacific islands is a top idea!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Colin Dawson February 15, 2019 / 7:24 pm

    Control the message, control the people…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Contrary February 15, 2019 / 10:16 pm

    Alan has made a good point when I posted the link to my updated theory of incompetent Brexit negotiators, so I’ll stick it in here again:

    There are some good comments by Dungroanin under my comment, reinforcing the wider scope of why it is likely.

    Looking at the wider context like this helps us to see the array of forces that may want to act against Scottish independence – I think it is something to be conscious of, but not fearful of. The political route to independence is the best route – I don’t really believe the likes of the US state are really that interested, except in the context of working with the UK state, so it is the UK state backed by much money that is the main issue still – politically there is more manoeuvrability and we have legal considerations on our side, and so the UK government cannot be seen to deny Scotland a choice politically (though it appears to be doing that just now, it is a can-kicking-down the road exercise really).

    The way the UK government has ignored Scotland; politically that is a huge mistake on their part (one I am sure they think the can remedy by the usual methods, at a later date, when they are finished with this current fiasco). They are keeping the SNP at arms length and trying to ridicule them (more than usual) because the SNP keep trying to present plausible solutions and occasionally making sense (can’t have that, when you are trying to cause chaos). Unfortunately, politically, the SNP cannot be seen to cause the ‘distraught’ uk government any more upheaval,,, than it has already caused itself. Is the SNP getting rubbish advice? Meh, maybe. But maybe not. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment. Internationally, I think public opinion and a fair few EU politicians, would see any move towards independence (referendum) at any point as positive – but that isn’t to say the big boys/girls (and all variations in between -rolls eyes-) at the UN would be sympathetic, or, more importantly, that our own swithering electorate would be sympathetic. Politically, it does have to be timed right. We have the full array of BritNat propaganda to contend with as it is, we do not need the entire Westminster politicians as well as our own BritNat Scottish ones howling about how inconsiderate the SNP is, on top. To swithering voters, it would seem valid.

    There is no doubt we have a majority in favour of independence at the moment, but not by much (which I wonder about, it really should have been gaining traction and steadily rising, so what IS stopping people?), and not enough to weather the storm of -media negativity-looming emergencies-fear-idiot BritNat reasoning- etc. There is potential for the uk government to actually start a war – or similar major crisis, we really don’t have that much armed forces left to go do war things – to avoid the inevitable. The numbers should be firmly near 60% in opinion polls to allow for any potential drop. Is it essential? Well, only if we feel the need for it to be successful right now.

    I personally would just go for an independence referendum now, but I know there are too many people in Scotland that have never really experienced hardship, have no concept of struggling (I believe it is the middle classes that swither the most, and have fully bought into the neoliberal ideology) – they are the ones that need to feel the pain of no deal Brexit. Then there are those people in increasing numbers that do experience hardship and poverty but tend not to vote because certainly the system is not working for them – would they go out and vote? What would be the motivation? The swithering masses that can’t be predicted.

    If you consider the amount of money thrown at the leave campaign, it seems remarkable we had a 62% vote for remain, but then we had all our politicians supporting remain,,, this is good in that (a) it isn’t just money, but political ideology can still influence people, and (b) none of the Scottish politicians were in the loop at the time (re destabilisation of the EU). It means that, if Scotland was left to its own devices when debating independence, we will not have to contend with too many sinister motivations. It makes you think too, what would be the result of an independence referendum if all our politicians actually had Scotland’s best interests at heart and supported independence?

    A thought on the plan to disrupt the EU: it isn’t working, so does that mean the UK decides to stay in to carry on disrupting from within? (Then, do we have a harder time getting our referendum?) Or, are they that desperate to keep trying, and the uk goes down the no-deal route? (Independence a certainty).

    Anyway, I don’t have any viable alternative to the SNP, and even if they are not seen to be doing ‘enough’, it is the path they have chosen – much of the perception of not doing ‘enough’ is because of (lack of) media coverage, and our own frustration – there are a lot more factors at play this time around, and we won’t get the breathing space for reasonable debate that we had at the start of the last campaign (it all got a bit shrill and irrational towards the end, so I’m guessing it will ‘start’ in that vein this time round). To tell the truth, we don’t need much debate time, a couple of weeks should do it.

    Anyway, the SNP are trying to be a representative to everyone, which isn’t a good thing for a political party because you just please no one in the end, and I certainly don’t fully support Nicola Sturgeon’s strange ideologies personally, but I don’t have to, to support her in the main task, and we do alright from the SNP in the Scottish government – they DO have Scotland’s best interests at heart, and the DO run things well – but that won’t get us independence. I suspect there is a lot more going on in the background than we would want to know – the SNP continually pushing to get article50 extended makes me think there is a need for it (from a Scottish perspective, not just to be nice to the non-Scottish parts), so it might get messy. We are going to be countering a lot a moronic BritNat bile, repeatedly, very soon and need to keep at it however tired it gets, so I think resting up for the next couple of weeks would be a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ian February 16, 2019 / 1:53 pm

    Interesting blog post relevant to this from Dr Malcolm Kendrick ( What Causes Heart Disease Part XL (Part 40)) on the causes of cardiovascular disease.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s