2007 - 2021

The BBC: Blokes’ Broadcasting Corporation


Award-winning blogger and #WFIMediaWatch supremo Kirsty Strickland writes on last night’s Scottish election coverage on the BBC.

Last night’s BBC Scotland election results coverage included a diverse mix of people. There were people in blue suits, people in black suits, people with different colours of ties and with varying degrees of pattern baldness.

Clare Haughey, minutes after winning the Rutherglen constituency, was interviewed by BBC journo Reevel Alderson. After being asked what she would bring to Holyrood, she spoke about her work as an NHS mental health nurse and her trade union background.

He probed further: ”What’s important, I suppose, for many people is – you’ve not been in politics before, AND you are a woman – how important are those two things as you go to Edinburgh?”

Let’s be fair to Alderson, he must have been put on the spot when Haughey arrived to be interviewed. Who is this unsuited, unbearded, being? Chaos back in the studio as the producer quickly tries to identify what she is from a flip book of different types of people that they keep to hand for such occasions.

*We’re pretty sure she is one of those women-type-people, Reeval. Can you check that her being a ‘special type of man’ won’t impact on her new role as an MSP? *


Anybody watching the coverage last night would be forgiven for forgetting that Scotland has three female party leaders as well as active and effective women’s groups and campaigns like WFI and Women 50:50. Hour after hour past, while men got comfy in the studio chairs. We heard from women occasionally, but for all intents and purposes a one woman in – one woman out policy seemed to be operating.

Quite what disaster they thought would ensue if they let Lesley Riddoch, Cat Boyd and Angela Haggerty in from the purgatory of the ‘Election Café’ remains to be seen. Scarily low-octave voices, perhaps?

At one point Lesley Riddoch tweeted about the glaring imbalance saying ”starting to wonder why I’m here”


We watched man after man after man being given airtime to indulgently witter on, in a format where new voices are key to keeping the night interesting and moving.


A few helpful lads got in touch to tell #WFImediawatch how silly we were being for even noticing the lack of women. What does it matter what sex they are?

Well, it matters because consistent gender imbalance demonstrates that women’s voices are still far down the agenda. It matters because the BBC had 5 years to plan this programme. Women were sitting twiddling their thumbs, ready to represent us – and they weren’t given a fair shot. It matters because the last time we checked Scotland isn’t immune from the scourge of inequality, gender based violence and the pay gap. It matters because the Scottish Parliament is 65% male – again.

It matters because clearly nothing is going to change unless we make some noise. How will broadcasters ever see gender balance as an essential factor in their output when the only people they talk to are men?

It’s time for a reasoned, diverse, solutions-based conversation about how women are represented to us in Scotland. There will be those that sneer and ask what all the fuss is about; but that is nothing new, nor a stumbling block to seek change.

If women are not on these programmes – let’s ask where they are.

If an all male panel is the status quo – let’s point out why it shouldn’t be.

If our voices aren’t being heard – let’s shout a helluva lot louder.

If all else fails, we can club together and bulk-buy 3 piece suits while growing the best moustaches our estrogen filled bodies will allow. The chairs will be ours for the taking then.


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Comments (22)

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  1. Pogliaghi says:

    So Reevel Alderson attempts a nod to the feminist agenda by noting the gender of a female candidate, obviously giving her an opportunity to address gender balance, and yet this becomes a lead-in to a discussion of how sexist (or whatever the current intellectually fashionable abstract term is to say the same thing) the SP16 coverage is.

    Such churlish nitpicking doesn’t really inspire a feeling that this is reasonable commentary.

    1. David Fee says:

      I don’t think it was churlish nitpicking on the part of the author. In no way was the gender question introduced in that segment as a “nod to the feminist agenda” or intended to give her an opportunity to “address gender balance” as far as I was concerned. It was genuinely embarrassing and made me, a proper bloke on occasions, with actual testosterone and the ability to grow a moustache which might almost convince you that I’m a man, groan out loud.

    2. Redgauntlet says:

      “A nod to the feminist agenda…” says Pogliaghi…hee hee hee…itself a curious turn of phrase…the question was along the lines of “What’s it like to have a vagina and be a Scottish Member of Parliament?”….a totally ludicrous question, asked in a room packed full of men…

      ….then goes on to say “giving her a chance to address gender imbalance”…why should she want to address gender imbalance on the night of the Scottish elections? Eh?

      Do female SMP’s have to address gender imbalance 24/7? It’s like that kind of “loving racism” which sees racial minorities constantly asked about their experience as racial minorities…anything and everything about whatever it is that doesn’t make them white middle class middle aged males….which says it all…

  2. Kenny says:

    Yeah I thought that was a tad harsh too. Overall though it’s a very fair issue to raise. I kept seeing Lesley Riddoch sitting staring at the camera while three of four of the same old same old commentariat had their say. (The whole concept of the “cafe,” just like the “spin room” during debates, is horrible but that’s a different story.) I’m not normally a fan of quotas as such, but when there are clearly women there, you have to wonder why they hardly get a chance to speak. The same thing has to be asked about QT. It’s usually a predominantly male panel which is one problem, but other panellists and even Dimbleby himself always seem to cut the women off or talk over them more than with most men. It’s just rude, even before you get to asking questions about representation and balance.

  3. Virtue Signalled says:

    Didn’t see too many black or brown faces either…or LBGT ones…or black or brown LBGT ones….or vertically challenged black or brown LBGT ones…a disgrace really….

    I definitely feel legislation should be passed that mandates the BBC to ensure that for every second of its coverage it should have every single possible permutation of Scottish populus represented on screen because otherwise I will be completely unable to comprehend their experience given that my overexposure to 1980’s Hogmanay television coverage has destroyed my empathy centers…

    1. c rober says:

      Plus – Translating for the Ned.

  4. Frank says:

    I agree the BBC coverage should have featured more women. But I’m not sure about lines like this:

    There were people in blue suits, people in black suits, people with different colours of ties and with varying degrees of pattern baldness.

    Could you imagine if a man wrote an article with a line slagging off women’s clothes and hairstyles. I don’t think for a moment that it would even get a published on a site like this.

    Comrades I demand equality!

    1. c rober says:

      Does tank commander naw wear a suit? And huv a tache , along with a t shirt proclaiming free transport?

      Canny say about pattern baldness though , disnay strike me as a waxer type.

  5. Kenny says:

    I don’t consider myself a feminist by any stretch, but four out of five comments here are mocking or criticising a woman for asking my women’s voices aren’t heard enough on TV political events. The very least you could do is maybe start by listening in good faith. For comparison, look at how many of us said “where are all the Scottish voices on the BBC?” and “why doesn’t the SNP get fair coverage on QT?” Now imagine if every comment was saying “of course! We must have diversity! Every episode of QT must have a nationalist and a unionist from each or Ireland and Scotland as well as a Welsh person, a Geordie, a Scouser and a Brummie as an absolute minimum!” Now imagine that’s happened but it’s people who are meant to be joining you on a quest for a better kind of politics that are making the snarky remarks and have been doing so for your entire life. Now you’re beginning to understand how lots of women feel about this stuff.

    You don’t have to agree that we need gender-balanced panels on everything or quotas for parliament or anything like that. What you DO have to do, if you have a shred of decency, is listen to what under-represented people have to say about their under-representation and take it seriously.

    1. Frank says:

      Oh get off your moral high horse. I never trust men who shout about women’s rights. And women don’t either.

      1. wee e says:

        ..And women don’t either!
        That was irony… right?
        (Signed. Anactual Woman)

        1. c rober says:

          I take it naebody remembers the BT , the woman that made up her mind?

          Heres mibbe the other hauf in satire , with questionable sexuality , mair femine when not dain an impersonation of his wife. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bl1qQPWtU0

          Noo I am surprised there was very little coming from womens groups about that. Patronising , olympic level , reverse spousal abuse?

      2. Redgauntlet says:

        Frank, try catching a train to the 21st century?

        Women’s rights are not women’s rights they are human rights, eh? Just like all rights are?

        1. Frank says:

          What are you talking about? I never said anything about women’s rights or human rights.

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            QUOTE I never trust men who shout about women’s rights UNQUOTE…

            That was you, Frank eh? Or is this a different Frank?

          2. Frank says:

            No that was me Redguantlet. I didn’t say anything specifically about women’s rights other than the fact that I’m suspicious of men who go on about the subject. That was all. ‘Male feminists’ usually have ulterior motives.

  6. Kenny says:

    I don’t care. If I see people being arseholes, I’m going to call them out on it. I’m sure some see me as a white knight but I just don’t like people being rude idiots to someone who’s trying to make a serious point.

  7. c rober says:

    Valid points raised , however one has to ask the question ” is the best man for the job a man , or a woman”? Then opens the gates for accusations of sexual apartheid of the LGBT community.

    If you want the pompous SBBC to remain pompous then a man will do.

    If you want a womens perspective on politics , then perhaps she should finish off the dishes in the BBC Cafe first , you were invited by the beeb to meet a legal mandate on representation , not to actually participate.

    Like or Loathe it someone like Jackie Bird would be a good figure head for a Scottish Beeb head , removing her from front line news and of course the expense , shes not that quiet on aged women equality – Seeing that shes the most expensive non entertainment talent single person wage bill , and a unionst , it would also save a few sheckles , mostly on hair dye at Fergussons , b and q spray paint , costco bulk wrinkle cream and for trowels in the makeup and plasterers budget.

    Unionists are without a doubt in control of the SBBC , regardless of breast or balls.

    The employment rate in the upper part at least are nearly all Male unionists , right the way southward to those that decide on all things BBC , from Westminster via oxbridge. Without change it will remain , with only token minorites in any position , thats any one that is outwith any real power.

    However there is some dissent from those old Unionists , BBC London staffing and the “Entertainer paid help” , in that the minorities are taking over the asylum.

    That problably means the non white , part time homosexual , oxbridge male is doing the complaining , mostly about having to emloy a black muslim disabled eastern European immigrant transgender lesbian , not because of doing the job heshe was the best applicant , but instead because of EU legislation.

    BBC Scotland has its protected minorities too , usually white English presenters , weatherpesons or actors , “two doors down anyone” , when there is about 15000 actors usually unemployed in Scotland. But give a Polish immigrant a job repairing the plumbing at SBBC hq , the doors are opened to calls for EU brexit – with a special programming session , in conjunction with MSM and a twitter poll.

    Sexual inequality is exactly that , protectionist of the male jobsphere is illegal according to legislation , and should be punished harshly in what is supposedly a “civil” service and registered charity. However where is the legislation on CLASS inequality?

    Just how many investigations and convictions has there been for choosing a man over a woman at the Beeb , none. Where as if you were to ask for a demographic breakdown of employment , on sexuality , disability , place of birth via a foir well your fobbed off. The BBC will declare it as anti competition , or a potential hate crime.

    Addressing it with people being chosen purely on sex to address a balance , rather than on ability or qualifications to do that job is just as bad.

    There is more to it than just inny or outie plumbing to consider , in metric, imperial , or bespoke fittings for the beeb , the ability to do the job is never in question , only if your in the same mindset as those that employ you , ie same Class. For the BBC that is like the Cleese , Barker and Corbett sketch ” I know my place” , its class first and foremost , not sex.

    So if women want more say in the running of the BBC , or in fairness to all not just themselves , then the only option is to demand it becomes what it was set up to be , independent , and for SBBC the only way that can be done is by radical or direct action on it being run wholly in Scotland. That may mean storming a live news room naked to make your point and disrupting it , like they , women both straight and gay , actually once did.

    So guys , girls , those in between or neither , save all that man or women hating up into hate of the unionist class establishment itself and those that represent it , not just a man for well being a man , or that women are there for one of two things , making the tea or as mastubatory eye candy. Even if they are the very sex you are trying to equalise , they can still be your enemy.

    Simply demanding a women for a job to redress inequality is not enough , nor a solution , only wresting control to be accountable and fair to all is , demographic percentages should be the fight instead. Dont just demand sexual equality , demand Direct Demographical Proportinonal representation for all in all employment.

    But I fear knowing some of the demographics , specifically the skew towards entertainment and arts employment being of a higher LBGT percentage already , that there may be a reduction in employment for this section as a result of demanding demographical respresentation over sex based equality. So thus no real challenge or aid in the fight against class from them , after all some will be turkeys voting on christmas with demographical representation of employment.

    So what do we do about employment and sexual equality , vs the true problem , one of Class running the establishments.

    Do we ask people as they sit down to job interviews whether they are HLGBT , if the answer on class is already there within the CV it needs no asking?

    This I fear opens up a whole other can of worms , even in these days of open closets and protected rights on equality , class will always win.

  8. Redgauntlet says:

    Great piece Kirsty, well flagged, and humour seems to me to be the right way to deal with the BBC…

    Lesley Riddoch is our most articulate political commentator, by a long way, IMO…

    No surprise to see a few posters above completely missing the point…

    …some people never let an opportunity go by to reveal how cussed and completely
    dense they are…what can you do?

  9. J Galt says:

    Plenty of of these “wimmin” type thingies over on the STV Election Special.

    And a much nicer and scrupulously fair anchor also!

  10. Chic McGregor says:

    Pointed out to Mrs Mac that that was a bit sexist. Willing to give Reevel the benefit of the doubt that he was inviting a feminist soundbite, but Reevel, get with the program, we are long past that point now are we not?

    The rest of us are already at the point where comment on an individual’s sexuality is thankfully irrelevant.

  11. Jean Thomson says:

    I notice Claire Haughey wasn’t wearing a tie. Is she thus more or less fashionable that the suits she was being interviewed by?

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