7 thoughts on “BBC Complaint re inaccurate report on Police & Fire Review

  1. Robert Graham March 25, 2019 / 9:35 am

    John I believe you should be employed full time by our Scottish Government , you are doing the job they should be ,so much for the unit set up to correct factual inaccuracies headed by a prominent member of the SNP cabinet , again many thanks for the time spent it is appreciated .

    Liked by 3 people

    • johnrobertson834 March 25, 2019 / 11:16 am

      Thanks but the current leadership seem to prefer softly softly. Did get kind words once from Salmond and a big handshake from Russell.


  2. Alasdair Macdonald March 25, 2019 / 10:37 am


    These things are not accidental. The decision to use the word ‘systemic’ was intentional. Ms Margaret Mitchell might well have used the word in an interview and she might well be one on the committee convenors and she could have made a decision to include the word in the report. But, as you say, the word does not appear. Words have meaning and, in reports, and similar documents we try to use words as precisely as possible so that we get a clear description. The word ‘systemic’ implies very serious matters which are hegemonic. The MacPherson Report into the Metropolitan Police used the term ‘insitutional racism’, to characterise a mindset which seemed to pervade the police force: officers assumed that black people were engaged n nefarious behaviour, by virtue of the fact that they were black. He word ‘systemic’ is similar in meaning to ‘institutional’ in the MacPherson Report.

    The report into Police and Fire and Rescue generally recognises the benefits accruing from the merger, and then makescomment on some issues which need to be addressed. It is these which Ms Mitchell described as ‘systemic’ an it is that word which the BBC carried into its report, without attributing it to Ms Mitchell or indicating that it was not used in the report.

    It is normal practice in reports, such as the Scottish Parliamentary Committee on to list ‘strengths’ and ‘points for action’. However, in the listings, strengths can be major and beneficial, while ‘points for action’ can be of lesser importance. There is no necessary equivalence of strength between the two. There can, of course, be major points for action, such as the one identified by MacPherson.

    It seems to be in the nature of journalism that they look for the bad and present these with minimal or no context.

    As a senior manager, I deployed the tenet of good management: to recognise and give praise for things which have been done well before anything else. Almost all official reports do this. It is good psychology. Having set the context, people are usually much more receptive about things that need some improvement. We can always do things a little better, but if we know that on the whole we are doing very well, then we are ready to do better. The continual carping approach puts people on the defensive and they resist change. It is they who know best what needs to be done and what is feasible, but, if they are in a ‘blame culture’ they keep their counsel and work to rule.

    At the review meetings are BBC staff given praise for the number of carping and misleading stories they produce and, does the person who produces most get “The Order of the Pigeon Droppings”?


    • johnrobertson834 March 25, 2019 / 11:34 am

      Thanks, much appreciated as I’m fed camomile on a drip to stop me biting the heads off unwitting Nicola apologists.


  3. Scott March 25, 2019 / 11:13 am

    Totally agree with first post,I have often thought what a boon you would be to the Scottish Government as they don’t seem to want to hold the BBC to account.
    On another point I have always voted SNP in my long life but I was very disappointed to see the 1st Minister in a very cosy photo with Alastair Campbell Blairs toady in the Iraq war many of us not happy about that.


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