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By Jason Michael
The BBC in Scotland – or the BS-C – is at it again. It is no coincidence that every time it presents the view of the ‘man in the street’ the man in question is a die-hard anti-Scottish, British nationalist. It is high time we put an end to this.
It’s rare now that this blog would focus on the same subject or even on the same person two days in a trot, but I am sure most folk will agree the BBC’s ‘man in the street’ star witness for its most recent “NHS meltdown” story, Allan Browne, deserves some special attention. He definitely deserves the attention he claims the hospital never gave him. So let’s give it to him.
Like most state broadcasters the BBC is fond of the Vox Pop, a segment within a news item which purports to give the point of view of the proverbial ‘man in the street.’ We’ve all experienced it in the city; being stopped by some well-dressed youngster with a microphone emblazoned with the logo of a media outlet asking for a comment on whatever it is the media happens to be interested in that day. Allan Browne, the man who broke his ankle on Boxing Day, is presented by the BBC as one such random geezer who has something to say of his experience of the NHS.
He tells the reporter from the BBC that when he went to A&E the place was jammers. Well it would be. It was Boxing Day. According to Allan a receptionist informed him it would be a longer than usual wait – again, it would be. Acting on this information he left the hospital and went home, leaving it a whole week before going back to have the issue addressed. Of course doing this only made matters worse, but Allan wasn’t being showcased for his starling intellect.
ScottishPoliticsNews (@ScoPoliticsNews) January 09, 2018
What comes from this is yet another Scottish NHS bad news story, no doubt intended to function as a smokescreen for the real crisis in the NHS south of the border where hospitals are now admitting they are unable to treat cancer patients within their target times. There is a clear difference between cancer patients and those with fractured ankles, and it is important to note that in Scotland the NHS is meeting those targets. It is also worthwhile noting that when Allan went back to hospital he was triaged, x-rayed, treated, and discharged – all in three and a half hours; well within the target time of four hours.
But isn’t it interesting that of all the people who slipped and fell on the ice in Scotland on Boxing Day the BBC managed to find Allan, a man who appears eager to paint as dark a picture of the Scottish NHS as the British state broadcaster was looking for? As a general rule of thumb nothing happens in the media by accident. Reporters, especially those employed by outlets like the BBC with a specific agenda to present, invariably find – or are introduced to – the people they need to interview.
This makes it important for us in the business of analysing the BBC to scrutinise even the most seemingly mundane of characters it chooses to present to its viewers as evidence. Sadly for Allan Browne, this means that even after his ordeal under the x-ray we have to put him under the microscope. What we discover when we do that is upsetting.
Still better than the tomb stone offered by wee Nippy and cult SNP #EdStone—
Ally Browne (@AllyBrowne101) May 10, 2015
Not only is Allan willing to help the BBC by throwing shade on the Scottish NHS, he is willing to help the BBC rubbish Scotland in its entirety because his political worldview and that of the BBC are one and the same. Allan Browne is a dyed-in-the-wool British nationalist, a Scottish unionist activist, and a militant anti-SNP online troll. Remember, nothing in the media happens by accident.
When I searched for Mr Browne online – or “Ally Browne” – I found a young man who has devoted much of his time over the past number of years to launching personal attacks on Nicola Sturgeon; at times sharing memes depicting her as excrement, astroturfing the BBC website in an effort to create a link between the SNP and the banned far-right and pro-union group Scottish Dawn, and promoting the Islamophobic hate website Bare Naked Islam on Twitter. Yes, this chap who describes the SNP and Scottish independence supporters as “scum,” is some piece of work.
Most people who break their ankles slipping on the ice tend to blame themselves, unless of course the ice was caused by a demented neighbour who washes his car in sub-zero temperatures. No one blames the hospital! No one – unless they are themselves demented – blames the government. Browne is willing to blame both, even though he chose to leave the hospital and suffer the pain of it for a whole week. As a unionist willing to do whatever it takes to blacken the efforts of the Scottish government, he must have been a real catch for the BBC. Now, what were the chances of that?
Today an Oxford hospital was reported to have admitted it cannot treat cancer patients on time. The attack on the S… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
(@GAPonsonby) January 10, 2018
After watching copious amounts of BBC Reporting Scotland over the past few months, and being exposed to more Jackie Bird than your average bear can take, I can understand why regular viewers have the impression that Scotland is uniquely incapable of doing what other small countries appear to manage with ease. In report after report, night after night, the BBC in Scotland finds people like Allan to ‘tell it as it is.’ To suggest that they have a list of such people would imply the existence of a unionist-BBC conspiracy; that they are in cahoots, making sure only those people who can corroborate the bad news stories make it to the show. Otherwise we are talking about the BBC as a daily massive coincidence show, and I don’t believe in coincidences – not in the media.
Do we have evidence of any conspiracies involving Scottish unionists and the pro-British media in Scotland? Yes we do. We know of the “Green Letter Gang,” an organised effort by unionists to ensure the letters and comments sections of leading establishment newspapers in Scotland (all newspapers in Scotland are establishment) always have pro-union astroturfing content. What we don’t know yet is how much of a role the editorial staff of these papers has had in this ploy. It is certainly worth investigating the letters to editors that have been rejected.
Allan Browne’s appearance on our screens was no random coincidence. He is part of an ongoing policy in the BBC to use Scottish news as a tool to stop Scots from seeing the greater failings of government and public services in England, and to convince Scottish people that we are “too wee, too poor, and too stupid” to be an independent country. We deserve so much better than this, and it is high time that we came together as a movement on this and started to really put some pressure on the British propaganda network. By all means, use this and other stories like it as a basis for your complaints to the BBC and Ofcom.
Bad news, bad news, and more bad news from BBC Reporting Scotland.