DONALDA MacKinnon need look no further than the well documented evidence of a culture of Unionism in the news room (We’ll win back trust in the BBC, The National, December 28).

With skewed reporting by omission, the willingness to outnumber indy supporters with Unionist political parties, and the constant barrage of interrupted interviews, even neutrals abroad were aghast at the slanted coverage. It’s puzzling that Ms MacKinnon appears to be in denial over its failure yet seeks to understand the perceptions of bias. 

I have no doubt that she is sincere, but the lack of impartiality in the coverage should be acknowledged first. Maybe the BBC Scotland newsroom did win indyref1, but at a huge cost to its integrity. There is a window of opportunity for the new director. Deeds are more revealing than words so how about ditching the parochial BBC Breakfast “news” with its Scottish tokenism in favour of an all-Scottish show? Unlikely perhaps, even the Scotland at Six idea has gone very quiet. During the independence referendum the BBC failed large swathes of Scotland but it is not too late to put its Broadcasting House in order. 

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Mike Herd, Highland 


Blood and soil bile has no place in our campaign for independence

WITH her desire to restrict democratic participation and to make judgments on people based on her perception of their ethnicity (there’s a word for this, and it begins with ‘r’), G Ross (Letters, The National, December 28) does a massive disservice to the independence cause she claims to espouse.

Criticising the inclusivity that should be the bedrock of any modern, plural society, Ross wishes to deny a vote to anyone who has not lived in Scotland for 20 years if they were not born here. She objects to “English in-comers” in Fife and “retired English people” in the Borders.

She also spins a fable about “an English girl” (there’s a theme developing here) who casually votes No on her way to Australia. She make a corresponding slur against “EU people” and alleges that someone who voted differently to her was denying her and her relatives “the same citizens rights as they take for granted in their own country”. (No, they just wanted those same rights assigned differently.) What an unpleasant, unfortunate and ill-founded set of prejudices this represents. The opposite, in fact, of the open and welcoming society the overwhelming majority of us independence supporters want to see – in contrast to the mean, anti-migrant, “blood and soil” sentiment that is dominating UK political discourse right now.

Of course if G Ross had her way I would have no say in the matter, would not have been able to cast a Yes vote in 2014, and would probably be denied the right to do so again in a future referendum, because I “only” moved to Scotland (from down south, where not everyone is English, incidentally) seven years ago. Thankfully, this is an attitude which is heading for extinction in the forward-looking Scotland we should all be looking to build.

Simon Barrow, Leith

I HAVE been buying The National since it first came into being two and a bit years ago. However, your decision to publish the letter from G Ross in Wednesday’s paper is making me reconsider my support.

It was nothing more than an ill-informed, racist, hate-filled screed. The idea that only those born north of Carlisle should have a vote in a future referendum is as bigoted as it is moronic and unfair.

Being born in Aberdeen doesn’t make you a superior, more rational person than someone born in Bath who moves to Dundee. It is absurd that there are people in the independence movement who still believe otherwise. This blood and soil nationalism deserves no place in any future campaign. For some Scottish independence is about finding a better, fairer way to govern, for others it is that plus a chance to right historical wrongs. It should never be based on some false idea of Scottish supremacy.

James Mackie, Aberdeen

I FEEL that a lot of good discussion points were mentioned – the “passing through” the “taking over by migrants from south of the Border” and “transient” voters who all had the same privilege and rights as those who spend an entire lifetime does seem to be a sort of generous gift to bestow on anyone, but on reflection I think we just have to accept it. It’s inclusive and that’s the way ahead.Voting No then immediately firing off to Australia certainly is irritating, but can really only be limited to a few dozen or maybe hundred at most.

We can all identify with what’s being stated in the letter. But we should rise above it. However I can’t agree on the Angus Robertson criticism. That was a democratic election. Indy will happen ... it’s only a question of when.

Dougie Gray, Dunbar

I SOMEWHAT reluctantly have to agree with the comments regarding entitlement to vote in the next independence referendum. Here is the problem as I perceive it.There are a considerable number of Scots who see themselves as British as opposed to solely Scottish, and rightly will always be entitled to vote but will never change their views. There is also a large contingent of English-born residents in Scotland, as recent visits to the Highlands and the Western Isles confirmed. I had hoped that those English residents in Scotland would vote for an independent country that they appear happy to live in and I am sure some did, but equally, there must have been significant numbers who, as I consider myself solely a Scot, must have considered themselves English and would vote to stay within the Union.

I don’t think any amount of soft persuasion or proven facts would convince these groups to support independence. How do we get over the 50 per cent? If people are so entrenched in their views that they are not willing to listen to reason or be persuaded that it is in Scotland’s interests to fully run our country then it is possible that we never achieve independence, even though the majority of Scots wish it. It may be time to look at residency issues.

I agree it is an honour to have a vote in a country you are “just passing through”. It’s pity many did not recognise Scotland as an independent country.

Hector Maclean, Glasgow

G ROSS’S letter could be summed up in the scary phrase “take back control”. No, if we reject narrow Britnat rhetoric, we must also energetically counter it by openness and acceptance of everyone living in our country.

Derek Ball, Bearsden