So we are now past the 200 days to go point and the debate is starting to get serious. We have had the debate on currency union that started with a visit by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England.  Carney did not rule out the idea but he did highlight that for any deal to be agreed there would need to be some tough negotiating and that an independent Scotland would need to relinquish some sovereignty over fiscal policy. Since then we have had the three stooges, Georgie, Ed and Danny, announcing that a currency union will just not happen. They insist that there will be no negotiation regardless of the benefits a currency union may have for Scotland and the remainder of the UK; time will tell. Then we had bad boy Barroso announcing that it would be “difficult if not impossible” for Scotland to negotiate membership of the EU despite that fact that Scotland has clear entitlement to membership. Finally, in the last few days the House of Lords has been discussing the possibility that independence negotiations between Scotland and the remaining UK could require assistance from an international court to arbitrate on any major disagreements.


At the heart of all of these debates and discussions is one common theme, negotiation. Negotiation on a currency union, negotiation on EU membership, negotiation of the terms of independence. The simple fact is that there will need to be negotiation of every facet of Scotland’s independence and its relationships with international organisations big and small. This is a no brainer!  The suggestion that Scotland can become independent and there will be no need to negotiate entry to international institutions or to create new international relationships is ridiculous. Nobody who is arguing for independence is suggesting that doors will be opened without negotiation. It is only the No campaign, and its consistently negative campaigning, that suggests the supporters of independence expect all doors to be thrown open with no negotiation. The propagation of this daft idea is just another cynical ploy by the No campaign and its attempt to undermine the common sense proposals being developed by the supporters of independence. So let’s be clear, Scotland will need to negotiate to join the EU, we will need to negotiate to join the United Nations, and we will most likely have to negotiate to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. However, with a bit of luck we will flunk the last one and be refused entry!


A really worrying aspect of all of these debates has been the reporting in the mainstream media. It appears at times as though the mainstream media just publishes whatever dross the unionist establishment produces. It is as though everything the unionist establishment pronounces is gospel, nothing gets challenged.


Take the visit to Scotland by Mark Carney for instance. Carney appeared to attempt to deliver an even handed message at the end of his visit, stating the pros and cons of a currency union and spelling out the implications in terms of the deal that would need to be negotiated. He made it very clear that the negotiations would be challenging and that the Scottish government proposal “requires some ceding of national sovereignty”. The overall conclusion was that a currency union was possible but it would need to be negotiated. Was any of this a surprise to the Yes campaign? We doubt it very much. However, is this what the mainstream media focused on?  No. The overall mainstream media conclusion on the Carney statement was that it had delivered a body blow to the Yes campaign. Nick Robinson of the BBC stating that he knew “which side will feel happier tonight” and he did not mean the Yes campaign. And his BBC colleague Robert Peston, stated that Carney had “lobbed a very large stink bomb into the centre of Edinburgh”. The troubling aspect of these conclusions was that there appeared to be no analysis, no investigation of the pros and cons, no consideration of the impact currency union, or lack of it, is likely to have on both sides of the border. They were off-the-cuff opinions based on a gut feeling of how both sides in the debate would react to the statement.


There are two main observations from the manner that the mainstream media appears to be behaving. Firstly, the mainstream media is completely missing, or deliberately avoiding, the essence of independence, and secondly, the mainstream media is clearly not investigating and challenging the claims and statements that are being made, primarily those being made by the No campaign.


So what is the essence of independence that the mainstream media is missing? It is really quite simple. All the negotiations that will need to be undertaken to secure an independence settlement, and to integrate Scotland into major international institutions, will be conducted by Scots, in Scotland, on behalf of the people of Scotland. These Scots will be seeking to obtain the best deal for Scotland and its people. Of equal importance, these Scots will also be responsible for ensuring that the deals that are negotiated continue to be in Scotland’s best interests and if they are not, these Scots in Scotland, will re-negotiate the deals or remove Scotland from them. So if a currency union is negotiated with the remainder of the UK in 2015 then at any time in the future if it is deemed that this agreement is no longer beneficial for Scotland then the Scottish politicians, in Scotland, will be able to renegotiate or withdraw Scotland from the agreement. This is the critical aspect that both Robinson and Peston of the BBC failed to recognise or acknowledge. The fact that there will be tough negotiations which will undoubtedly result in “some ceding of national sovereignty” is bleeding obvious! It’s the fact that it will be Scots in Scotland negotiating the best deal for Scotland that really matters. This is what independence is all about, this is the essence of independence.


But it doesn’t end there. It is becoming quite apparent that the mainstream media is just not challenging the statements and pronouncements being made by, or on behalf of, the unionist establishment. A number of examples of this have emerged over the last few weeks. The Carney currency union statement and the response of the No campaign that followed it is one. The flimsy, flippant conclusions reached by Robinson and Peston following the initial statement highlighted that no consideration was being given to the deeper implications of currency union. The follow up pronouncement by the three stooges that there would be no currency union was given even less detailed consideration by the mainstream media. The three stooges had pronounced and that was that; no analysis, no challenge, at least not from the UK media. Thankfully the media in other parts of the world believe they have an obligation to challenge dubious political pronouncements. In this case it was the Wall Street Journal that stepped up and put George Osborne in his place. “Osborne is just wrong” was the quote in the Wall Street Journal from Professor Steve Hanke at John Hopkins University in an article that described how simple it would be for Scotland to have a currency union with the remaining UK. How many UK media organisations have attempted to understand and publish articles on the real feasibility and benefits of currency union? How many have stated unequivocally that currency union is quite feasible, and most likely beneficial to all parties, and that the only obstacle to it is intransigent politicians attempting to derail Scottish independence?


We are not the only people to have noticed that the mainstream media appears to be either blind or biased. In his recent blog article, Derek Bateman, formerly a BBC presenter, discusses the same issue. “I told the disbelieving people of Stirling last night that there was no deliberate or organised bias at BBC Scotland but I’m starting to run on empty. All I admit to is my belief that the BBC is failing …. to match up to the challenge thrown up by the referendum”. Derek also discusses the currency union debate and a recent interview the BBC conducted with Danny Alexander. “I listened in horror to Alexander running rings around the studio for part of the interview, repeating ad nauseum his mantra of better together, too risky, no currency union. He hopped from point to point, assertion to assertion with barely a challenge”.


The Scottish people are clamouring for clear and reliable information that will help them make an informed decision on Scotland’s future. It appears that this is just not happening and that through either blindness or bias the mainstream media are not stepping up to this challenge. They are not providing the unbiased information that is desperately required.

The creator of this blog and the A Union of Equals website has no political affiliations.