YET again, the BBC has succeeded in its mission. Well, that is if you define its mission as alienating, angering and antagonising a large segment of the population of Scotland. The BBC couldn’t have done a better job if it had done it deliberately.

In fact, it has done it so well that there are many people in Scotland who are convinced that the BBC has indeed done it deliberately. And worse, that it continues to do so as a conscious policy.

The anger and outrage created by Thursday’s episode of BBC Question Time didn’t come out of nowhere. The programme managed to create the impression to the wider UK public that Motherwell, a town with an SNP MP and constituency MSP, a town which is part of a council area where a majority voted for independence in 2014, is in fact a bastion of support for the Conservatives, for Brexit, and which is repelled by the very notion of an independent Scotland. It was an even less accurate depiction of the Scottish political landscape than the BBC weather map.

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This inaccurate representation of Motherwell found its figurehead in the personage of Billy Mitchell, a supporter of sectarian organisations, of Trump, and Brexit who has managed to appear on BBC Question Time almost as often as the SNP. Most of the subsequent discussion has focused on how this marginal figure whose views are far from the mainstream in Scotland has managed to appear so frequently on BBC debate programmes. In fact we’ve since discovered that he’s also managed to get into the audience for the Scottish debate programme being piloted for the BBC’s new underfunded McGhetto channel.

It’s not easy to get on these programmes, as any independence supporter can attest. In my travels around Scotland meeting independence activists, I have met several individuals who have tried but failed to get into the audience for BBC Question Time, never mind getting to ask a question.

With the new BBC Scottish channel about to launch, I’ve not met anyone amongst my extensive contacts in the independence movement who has been invited onto any of the new programmes which the channel promises.

I know that my own name is mud with BBC Scotland management. I am one of those people whom Ken McQuarrie once referred to as “those bastards from Newsnet”, so I’m not surprised that I’ve never been asked to appear on any of the new programmes which this new channel is developing. However none of those many people I know who are prominent within the independence movement have been contacted by anyone from the BBC about the new channel either.

It seems that the new channel is going to be the same as the old one.

The fact that some marginal far right figure repeatedly manages to get onto BBC debate shows does not inspire confidence. Either the BBC has a serious issue with its vetting and selection procedures, or it is indeed biased towards marginal figures with right wing British nationalist opinions and biased against those who represent a mainstream political viewpoint in Scotland. One of those explanations must be true. Neither of them paint the BBC in a good light.

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However Billy Mitchell popping up on the BBC’s Scottish debate shows is the least of the issues with the Corporation. If this had been an isolated occurrence, or if it had been merely an issue about one person, then there would not have been the outrage and anger that Thursday’s programme evoked.

The reason that so many people were so annoyed and so offended by the Motherwell edition of Question Time is because it’s not an isolated incident. It’s part of a long pattern of perceived anti-independence bias from a broadcaster which demands that independence supporters, along with the rest of the population, pay for it.

The National: Fiona Bruce took over from David Dimbleby as the host of Question Time this yearFiona Bruce took over from David Dimbleby as the host of Question Time this year

There was a similar outpouring of disbelief, anger and dismay when Question Time visited Dundee and managed to create the impression that Yes-voting, working-class Dundee, that bastion of the independence movement, was in fact full of plummy voiced Tories who supported Brexit.

There was widespread indignation when it came to light that one of the programme’s reseachers who was responsible for audience selection was sharing far right and British nationalist postings on social media. Nothing was done then, and it’s unlikely that anything will be done now.

We have in the BBC a large media organisation, moreover one which relies upon public funds, which has managed to alienate half of its target audience. I’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating: when there is a widespread and persistent loss of trust in a public service broadcaster by the public, that’s the fault of the broadcaster, not the public. The onus is on the BBC to address and remedy the situation. If it does not, then the number of people in Scotland who are convinced that it’s a deliberate policy on the part of the BBC will continue to grow. Scotland already has the highest proportion of residences in the UK which don’t pay the licence fee. That number is only likely to increase.

The issue here is not with individual BBC journalists or staff. The issue is with a persistent perception of anti-independence bias from a broadcaster which we are all expected to pay for. It’s one thing to believe that, say, Sky News is biased against Scottish independence, but you don’t have to pay for Sky News.

What really sticks in the craw of so many in Scotland isn't that there is a perception of anti-independence bias from the BBC, but that the BBC expects independence supporters to pay for it. It’s little more than the BBC poll tax.

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However it’s not just the BBC which is letting down the people of Scotland. So is the Scottish government. Nothing will change about the BBC in Scotland until the subject of broadcasting becomes a political issue.

It needs to be a major public issue in Scotland that this country is unique amongst self-governing nations and territories in not having its own public service broadcaster.

It needs to become an issue that it’s those who refuse to allow Scotland to have its own public service broadcaster who are making the unreasonable case, not those of us who are only arguing for something that every other self-governing nation already has. That takes the Scottish government.

The Scottish government needs to stop being passive in the face of the BBC’s refusal to represent the Scotland that really exists, instead of the Scotland that British nationalists would like to exist.