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Showing posts with label Jo Coburn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jo Coburn. Show all posts

Saturday, 13 September 2014

My response to an email on a Blair Jenkins/Jo Coburn Daily Politics interview


I recently came across the Bella Caledonia website and have been reading a few articles. 

I was born in Glasgow and lived there until I was 21, when I moved to London. This was in 1978, when the IMF had to bail out the UK under the Labour government. The point of my email is not to discuss party politics or the Referendum, but to take issue with your description of the above interview.

Blair Jenkins is described in almost saintly terms, rising above the endless interruptions of the interviewer. That isn't what I saw from the extract on your website. He certainly remained calm, but refused to answer the question that he was asked regarding how Scotland would deal with the panic that would arise in the markets in the event of a 'Yes' victory. That was the reason for interruption by Jo Coburn.

The other interviewees were given their allocated time to put forward their point of view. I wasn't aware of any 'spluttering' or 'raving' from any of them. They were each interrupted by Jo Coburn while they were speaking. I think Jo Coburn was even handed and each individual made their points well.

Looking through the BC website, I'm left with the impression that all the contributors are preaching to the converted, so they can employ insults to anyone with whom they don't agree. I think the arguments have to be won on their merits and not by insulting and demeaning the opposition.


Clair (surname witheld by me – happy to publish it if Claire so wishes!)


Thanks for your email.

The question "How would Scotland deal with the panic that would arise in the markets in the event of a 'Yes' victory" is a loaded question. No politician or political activist, indeed, no sensible person would answer it, because it is pejoratively loaded with a negative assumption - answering involves accepting  a false premise.

I have spent my life as a professional negotiator - I am an expert at framing, asking -and answering questions. This question type is known to American negotiators as the "Have you stopped stealing apples?" question and to UK negotiators as the "Have you stopped beating you wife?" question.

Competent interviewers don't need to plays such puerile games - they elicit information more successfully by properly framed questions.

The Scottish referendum debate has been characterised by the most disgraceful behaviour of any media group in any democratic country in the world. The BBC - and especially their insulated metropolitan commentators - locked in the Westminster Village bubble, have been particularly egregious in this.

Blair Jenkins is a senior media journalist and manager by profession and background - he is not saintly - he is a calm, courteous man who knows his profession. He has transformed a group of volunteers from an enthusiastic, but uncoordinated group into the greatest political campaign Britain has ever seen in its long, disreputable history. Right now, some 35,000 of them are active across Scotland to secure our country's independence on the 18th of September.

It's a neck and neck race, and on Friday morning we'll know the democratic decision of the Scottish electorate. I hope it is a YES, and if it is, I will give Blair Jenkins my heartfelt thanks and congratulations for his pivotal contribution in making Scotland the world's newest independent country, joining the family of more than 200 independent countries across the globe.


Monday, 8 September 2014

The money markets panic – polls and scaremongering, plus currency union lunacy prime causes …

Financial Times headline: " Pro-union camp ‘in chaos’ as poll puts nationalists ahead"  As George Robertson might say "cataclysmic" ...

Better Together has the Worst of Both Worlds - behind in polls, sterling scaremongering causes pound to drop, hurting their rich city friends!

The latest Better Together strategy appears to be to tell voters Westminster has ****** the £ by scaremongering and lunacy on CU - so vote No. G-sus!

Jo Coburn thinks it's all Blair Jenkins' fault, asking questions and interrupting frantically at every second word. Blair is quietly amused, dusts her off with impeccable politeness, then waits calmly for Unionist panellists to rave impotently.

 Blair Jenkins smiles seraphically, taking  occasional sips at his coffee, as Jo Coburn's guests splutter inanely and impotently over polls, markets  and independence.

King Impotent Splutterer himself, Ming Campbell, failed leader of a failed party in a failing Coalition - doubtless a "A proud Scot" -  does his share, indignation and gloom oozing from him.

Blair gives a neat little summation and says bye-bye. Jo switches with relief to the triviality of the Daily Quiz.

That was fun!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A real Scottish soldier talks to someone who talks about Scottish soldiers …

Keith Brown, a Falklands veteran, trounces Ming Campbell in Daily Politics debate on Scotland's armed Forces after Philip Hammond's hit and run attack today on Scotland's capacity to defend itself.

(As far as I know, Ming never served in the armed forces, but  his connection to them - and to the British Establishment opposed to Scotland's independence - could lie in his marriage to Elspeth, Lady Grant-Suttie, daughter of Major General Roy Urquhart. )

His arguments, such as they were, seemed to rely on defence-as-job-creation scheme and his blind belief that young Scots wouldn't want to serve in a Scottish Regiment defending Scotland.

He was also gratuitously offensive to Scots (not to mention other countries of equivalent size) in suggesting that a Scottish defence force would be no more than a militia. Tell that to the marines, Ming.

In fact, you just did - to a real soldier and a marine - Keith Brown MSP

Monday, 9 January 2012

The facts about the referendum and Scotland’s independence–as I see them …

Here is the essence of this argument, as I see it:

A significant number of Scottish voters want to be independent of the political system called the UK. The political party committed to Scotland's independence, the SNP, was re-elected as the government of Scotland last May with a massive, decisive majority.

In that election campaign, the SNP made it clear that, if elected, they would call a referendum in the second half of the Parliamentary term, i.e. in the period November 2013 to May 2016. The indications have been probably mid-2014.

Only registered voters in Scotland at the time of the referendum, i.e. those on the voters  roll, will be eligible to vote in that referendum. The referendum ballot paper will have a a YES/NO question on independence. It may have one or more other questions, e.g. a question on maximum devolved powers to Scotland while remaining in the UK.

The Scottish electorate understood clearly the position of the SNP on these matters and re-elected them with a decisive mandate to structure the referendum on this basis, including the number of questions, the formulation of questions and the timing of the referendum.

The referendum will determine the will of the Scottish people, and will either result in no action  if there is a NO vote to the question or questions, or will deliver a mandate to the Scottish Government to negotiate with the UK Government, based on a YES vote to one or more questions.

The UK Government has already accepted that, although the referendum outcome is not regarded by them as constitutionally binding, they will accept it as the settled will of the Scottish people.

There are historical precedents for nations achieving their independence by various means,  ranging from violent revolution and war (American independence), negotiated independence after a period of either violence or passive resistance (India and Pakistan) and velvet revolution, i.e. unilateral secession without violence (Slovenia).

Independence has never required the consent of both parties, only the determination of one party  to leave a political union or empire. The details of the settlement may be negotiated, but the fact of independence depends not on law, treaty or contract but on the will of the people.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Jo Coburn demolishes a Grayling and buries a Fox

A superb, perfectly judged example of what a political interview should be. When BBC political interviewers challenge the powerful, they should always do it as effectively as this.

The choice of Chris Grayling to champion Liam Fox's cause was profoundly misconceived - his involvement with Atlantic Bridge should have been enough to ring the warning bells. He was probably selected for his emollient personality and style - another misjudgement, since this was his undoing - a champion with a lance made of putty.

With friends like this, Fox needs no enemies ...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Alex Salmond interview: Jo Coburn aspires to the Kirsty Wark rudeness crown

Kirsty Wark, in her appalling interviewing of Alex Salmond some time ago, set the template for this performance by Jo Coburn. This is not political interviewing, it is simplistic, aggressive questioning, devoid of courtesy or indeed any forensic interviewing skills - frantic metropolitan-media type bullying. Contrast it with the effective style that follows it. (Isabel Fraser)

When will Scotland be rid of these Southern media types - or when will they learn their craft, and some manners.

(The technical incompetence on the screen display in the second section is embarrassing. Did nobody at the BBC notice that the bottom section of the picture had moved to the top - like the vertical hold problems on old tv sets?  If they did, why the hell didn't they correct it? Get a grip, BBC Scotland!)