AS someone fluent in Spanish, who also reads and understands Catalan, the most striking difference between the Catalan and Scottish constitutional debates is that the Catalans have a media which is far more representative of the range of opinion in Catalonia than the Scottish media represents Scottish opinion.

Scotland’s print media is overwhelmingly biased against independence. The broadcast media goes hand in hand with the print media and follows its agenda. It’s not a conspiracy theory to point this out. It’s a simple observation of fact.

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I’ve believed for a very long time that if Scotland was fortunate enough to have a media that was as diverse and representative as Catalonia’s, we’d be independent already. Just one single daily and one Sunday newspaper in a country with around 38 daily and Sunday newspapers support a constitutional position backed by almost half the population.

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The National, the single daily newspaper which supports independence is reviled and hated by British nationalists who feel that it’s tantamount to censorship that they no longer have total control of Scotland’s traditional media space.

Only The National is accused of political bias, whereas the visceral British nationalism of the Scottish Daily Mail, the Express, or the Scotsman is somehow regarded as balanced.

The National:

Scotland’s digital media, its bloggers and digital platforms, represent the majority of pro-independence media output. This output is sidelined and ignored by the traditional media. It is invisible to that large section of the Scottish public that doesn’t go online much. It’s no coincidence that those demographics which are less likely to consume news online are also those who are least likely to support independence.

The leading figures in the Scottish pro-indy digital media are rarely to be seen in the broadcast media. In all the many years I’ve been blogging and writing about Scottish independence, single-handedly producing the most read politics site in Scotland after Wings Over Scotland and the multi-author Common Space site, I’ve only once been asked on a BBC political programme to comment on Scottish current affairs.

That was when they wanted me to criticise another pro-independence newspaper. I politely declined the invitation.

It’s this background which makes the recent BBC shut down of Wings Over Scotland and Moridura’s YouTube channels such an alarming development. As has been reported, there has been no equivalent BBC action taken against opponents of Scottish independence who continue to host thousands of BBC clips on their YouTube channels.

There was silence from the majority of the anti-independence print media which went to town on the alleged “silencing” of anti-independence opinion writer Stephen Daisley and the supposed “intimidation” of David Torrance. It now transpires that the BBC claims that the person behind the complaint resulting in the shut down was a Labour councillor, although he denies it. This merely raises another question, if true, why did the BBC act on what was clearly a politically motivated complaint? On the face of it, it’s clear evidence of an anti-independence bias in the national broadcaster.

The Wings Over Scotland YouTube channel was restored on Thursday morning, with the exception of 13 clips to which the BBC had objected, but it took a mass campaign and the publicity generated by the intervention of a former First Minister in order to achieve this. There has still been no explanation from the BBC about why it has seemingly only gone after pro-independence YouTube channels, but left anti-independence ones alone. The corporation’s London bosses refused to explain themselves when the issue was aired on the BBC Scotland Good Morning Scotland radio programme. And to be fair, BBC Radio Scotland has covered this issue well.

Trust between the BBC and a large section of the Scottish public has now irretrievably broken down. When a public service broadcaster loses the trust of its public, it’s not the public that is to blame. It’s not the public that needs to change. It’s not the public that needs to rebuild bridges.

When Donalda MacKinnon was appointed as the new controller of BBC Scotland late in 2016 she spoke about the need for BBC Scotland to rebuild trust with its audience. She wrote: “There is a feeling among a significant percentage of the population, that trust might need to be rebuilt.”

That statement remains true today, only you can remove the “might”. If anything, the breakdown of trust is now worse than it was in the aftermath of the BBC’s shameful performance during the independence referendum.

The take down of Wings Over Scotland and Moridura occurred because the BBC is managed in London by people who know little about Scottish politics or sensitivities and who are instinctively British nationalist.

It matters very little what Donalda MacKinnon or anyone at Pacific Quay does as long as BBC Scotland continues to be a branch office of a London based organisation which is deeply antithetical to Scottish independence, and which has the support and maintenance of Britishness written into its charter. This recent debacle would not have occurred with a public service broadcaster run and managed from within Scotland.