As ‘Reporting’ Scotland dance pigeon-toed around hospital deaths, Jackie Bird slips in a sharpened wee fib.


BBC Scotland ‘News’ continues to worry away at the story of pigeon droppings and two deaths at the Southern General. One of the deaths was due to an unrelated matter and the other is still being investigated, according to the BBC’s own website this morning:

‘The health board said one of the patients was elderly and had died from an unrelated cause. The factors contributing to the death of the other patient are being investigated.’

Despite this, BBC Scotland along with most of the press, have been keen to suggest the fungal infection derived from the pigeon droppings is in some way implicated in the deaths and that the pigeon infestation is now an NHS Scotland crisis. Some like the Extra have gone for it in true journalistic fashion and bugger any inconvenient facts.

We’ve heard the deaths described as happening ‘after’ or ‘linked’ to the fungal infection. In most cases the accurate account does find its way into reporting ‘after’ the impression has been made.

Given the saturation headline coverage it would be surprising if the popular impression was not that the pigeon dropping fungal infection had been the actual cause of death. Anyhow, tonight, Jackie Bird, showing little avian solidarity, said:

 ‘[T]he deaths of two patients from a rare fungal infection.’

This is clearly inaccurate. The deaths are not from the infection. At 10.30, Graham Stewart repeated the lie and this morning (22nd) it was to be repeated six times in the BBC Breakfast inserts. No doubt, we’ll be told we’re being pedantic or fussy, but this is how propaganda works in the West, with a stiletto and not with a hammer.





When things go pear-shaped the aide resigns not the minister so what’s different about Leslie Evans?

salmondcallresign.png levanssturg

Leslie Evans is FM Nicola Sturgeon’s top aide. She is at the top of the civil service in Scotland.  When Judge Lord Pentland announced that she and her staff had made decisions in the case against Alex Salmond that were “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair and that they were tainted with apparent bias“, she should have been fired, if that’s possible, or allowed to go quietly pleading illness. She had previously made much of one visit to a mental health practitioner and had been unduly praised for her honesty so that would have been enough.

When a big embarrassing mistake is made, a political aide responsible for it, fall on their sword. It’s expected and then they can expect to be rewarded further down the line with a new job or honours.

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Back in 2012, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s career seemed to be on a shoogly peg after his ‘spad’ Adam Smith got too close to Murdoch’s News Corporation. Before that other trusted aides had fallen on their swords. New Labour aide, Damian McBride was accused of plans to smear Tory MPS and resigned. Jo Moore did the same after suggesting 9/11 as “a very good day to get out anything we want to bury”.

There have been more. Just search for ‘UK political aide resigns’ and you’ll get many more to confirm that the aide always resigns. Here are a few to jog your memory:

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joyceaide.png  anjiaideresigns

So, what’s special about Lesley Evans? Of course, I don’t know the answer because no one outside a small elite group does for sure. There is one obvious explanation though. Evans is a UK Civil Service employee, selected by the HQ in London, to make up a short list, from which the First Minister was allowed to choose one. Evans is only responsible to the head of the UK civil service who, in turn is only responsible to the Prime Minister. So, in the first place, the First Minister does not have the power to sack Evans and thus, if it suits the PM and her representative in Scotland, Governor Mundell, she won’t be sacked by them. Does it suit them? Well, of course it does. Her failure to resign allows the UK Tory Unionist government via the Scottish Loyalist media to exploit the Salmond case instead, in the hope of weakening the SNP. Perhaps, the resuscitation of the accusations against Salmond, after 5 years, suited them too?


Reporting Scotland staff IQ scores fall after rat dropping fungus found in Pacific Quay


(c) Graven

A medical investigation into lowering IQ scores of leading staff at the BBC Scotland ‘state-of-the-art’ media centre on the Clyde, has thrown-up (literally) traces of a rat dropping fungus in the saliva of unnamed but senior editors, presenters and reporters.

The fungus contains the bacterium ‘staffillicoccus unionitispropagandis’ which is known to cause a generalised anxiety leading to irrational defensiveness of untenable thoughts or behaviours. Professor Juan Robertonovo of the School of Tropical Diseases at the University of the West of South-America (UWS) has studied the effects of the bacterium among indigenous tribes in the Amazon rainforests. He found that, when affected, victims were more likely to seek the reassuring continuity of political control by the military dictatorship and to deny any rape, pillage or plunder that younger members of the tribe wanted to protest against.

Naemeritus Professor John ‘Whatson?’ Robertson, has suggested this might explain a number of recent incidents where Reporting Scotland staff have clearly forgotten any classes they may have had on how to read research reports. These are just a few:

BBC Scotland and BMA collude to produce a classic NHS scare story based on shoddy, unreliable, research

Retired Professor fails BBC Reporting Scotland Editor on Organised Crime research

BBC Scotland News misuses research findings to lie and scare about drug use in Scotland

BBC Scotland uses a handful of anecdotes from only three customers to suggest ScotRail has serious problems that are not evident from proper research

Is this a first? Reporting Scotland’s editor apologises fully for errors in reporting on alleged school exclusions of children with autism

Is BBC Scotland’s promotion of call to reduce number of children in care dangerously ill-informed?

 BBC Complaint on coverage of obesity – progress?

Cancer mortality rates fall 10% but Reporting Scotland ignore it

As religious hate crime soars by 40% in one year in England and Wales, Reporting Scotland struggles to keep up

A new sickening low for Reporting Scotland

Always wash your hands!


More than 3 million* ‘believe’ BBC Scotland is biased ‘after’ survey is ‘analysed’

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It’s now more than a year after the BBC’s own survey found Scots to be much more dissatisfied than those in non-Scottish parts of the UK and some months after its infamous attack on Wings over Scotland, removing online content, let us see its bias, in full exposure.

I have used BBC Scotland’s own research guidelines (shared with SFA)* and its royal charter, even after Phil’s crash, in this analysis which will help readers grasp the importance of the research in terms of the Scottish population as a whole.

Survey question 1 reveals the significantly lower satisfaction-level of Scots with the BBC:


Even more revealing here, question again reveals significantly fewer respondents satisfied with ‘value for money’:


However, the BBC has interpreted responses here to be entirely about the cost of the licence presuming that the service is otherwise valued. You can imagine the wags – ‘Miserly Jocks too mean to pay for BBC licence!’

It seems, however, more than likely, after all the controversy over BBC bias with mass protests at Pacific Quay, public attacks by the First minister at the time, surgical strikes by Wings, Indyref2, James Kelly and long after research by leading academics, that ‘value for money’ responses must be taken to include consideration of that value in terms of accuracy, balance, impartiality (lack of bias) as described in the BBC’s royal Charter, requiring it to ‘inform’. Unable to extract any for whom the service is satisfactory but ‘a bit dear, ye ken’, let’s see what the above means converted from the sample percentages to the whole population.

Only Just over a third (37%) were satisfied, leaving 63% not so. 63% of Scotland 5.4 million souls is 3.4 million. I should remove the weans and the bairns but not those old enough (over 6) to have reached the national average reading and comprehension level of 10 years equivalent. So, let’s say 3 million*.



BBC and STV headlines ‘after’ today little better than pigeon droppings?


Pigeon droppings made national news this morning with the headline:

‘Two patients have died after contracting a fungal infection caused by pigeon droppings.’

BBC Scotland then had a longer piece headed:

‘Two patients have dies after falling ill from an infection caused by pigeons.’

Only six sentences later did we hear, quietly inserted, that one patient had died from ‘an unrelated cause’ and that the other’s death was ‘being investigated.’

The headlines are only true in the chronological sense that these patients died some time ‘after’ the infections took place just as the deaths took place ‘after’ many other events in the preceding days.

‘Elderly Glasgow man has died after Prince Phillip’s car crash!’

Note that no official announcement by the hospital was made and the report relied on two perhaps ‘unrelated experts’. We got the BBC’s favourite go-to-guy, ‘Union a boon to science’, long-retired but keen and available, Prof Pennington, and a private contractor who may or may not, have ever been inside the hospital in question.

The Herald and the Scotsman missed it, STV went ‘after’ the same headline story and of course the Sun and the Record had an even worse headline:


sunpoo.png recordpigeons.png

Time after time we see this phenomenon, of headlines which are not accurate, but which can have disproportionate effects. Many only absorb headlines and miss the important information often in the full report not prominent there. Journalists know that effect and where there is an agenda, the damage can be done regardless of later qualifying comment.

Once more, must we remind the BBC that they are tax-payer funded and thus have a moral responsibility to their audience, as well as their royal charter requirement, to be informative?

Evidence of why headlines matter more:

Footnote: I’m not by any means recommending the above Steven Pinker’s other ideas!


Why did BBC Breakfast pretend GP staffing figures for Scotland are not available?



(c) Daily Mail

Repeated on BBC Breakfast this morning, we heard at the end of a report on variations in the size of the GP patient load in different parts of England:

‘Similar data is not available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but GP recruitment is known to be problematic across the UK.’

It’s a bit surprising in that BBC Salford have in the past been happy to offer Scottish data so as to reinforce their attack on NHS England and through it, the UK Tories*. However, the data is freely available and in places familiar to research or production assistants.

  1. GP vacancies in Scotland are only just over one-third of the level in England

Based on a survey by the GP magazine on 6th July 2018, Pulse, the Independent reported today:

‘GP vacancies (in England) rise to record levels despite recruitment pledge, survey suggests. Long patient waits and unsafe, rushed appointments are unlikely to end any time soon as vacancies have risen from 9.1 per cent to 15.3 per cent since the (UK) government pledged 5 000 more doctors.’

In sharp contrast, the GP vacancy rate in Scotland was only 5.6%, just over one-third, at the end of 2017.

  1. There are significantly more GPs per head of population in Scotland

The ratio of GPs to overall population, in 2015/16, was:

  • England 1 GP for every 1262 people
  • Scotland 1 GP for every 999 people
  • Wales 1 GP for every 1060 people
  • N Ireland 1 GP for every 1421 people

  1. 93% of Scots can get an appointment in two days!

From research published in the Scotsman on 25th April 2018:

‘More encouragingly, it also found 87 per cent of people found it easy to contact their GP practice, while more than nine out ten (93 per cent) were able to get an appointment within two days.’

  1. The Scottish Government is taking steps to ensure there are more GPs, and doctors in general, coming through the system.

*Though things may be changing in the Corbyn era, my impression and some earlier research, suggest that the BBC News senior staff are more residual Blairites than Tories and are certainly prepared to undermine the more right-wing tendencies in this government. Some have accused the BBC of favouring Brexit using the presence of Andrew Neil and Nigel Farage as evidence but I’m not so sure. Overall, I’d say they give quite significant space to ‘remainers’ such as Umunna and Soubry and to the many pro-EU business leaders. Though, again, I haven’t done the research, I’d say BBC Scotland are notably more respectful of the First Minister when she speaks in favour of the EU than they are at other times when she returns to the matter of Scottish independence.

BBC Scotland has a reduce presence at the weekend so they not be able to make up something. See this earlier example:

Report of GP staffing crisis in England appears before Scottish media can fake equivalent story

One more Scottish Labour gaff as Iain Gray seems misinformed?*

On the Scottish Parliament’s Motions, Questions and Answers Search website, British Labour’s Scotland Branch, Shadowy Minister for Education, Iain Gray, is reported as having asked this question and as having got, for him, an embarrassing answer:

Question S5W-20759: Iain Gray, East Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/12/2018

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason Individual Training Accounts are no longer available, and whether it plans to re-introduce these.

Answered by Jamie Hepburn (15/01/2019):

Following a hugely successful year for the new Individual Training Account (ITA) programme, demand from individuals has been strong and the target of 18,500 accounts has been exceeded ahead of schedule. It is anticipated that when all verified individuals in the system have been processed, the number of people who have benefitted from ITAs in 2018-19 will exceed 22,000.

Now, I might be misreading this but is Jamie not, politely, telling Iain that his answer is a bit daft?

*Is Jamie being disingenuous? Are they still on for 2019/20? Surely, he’d have said if they weren’t.

Jamie come try me?