In the Scotsman today, by ‘The Newsroom’, we read:
Robert Peston: ‘BBC pulled my Indyref report over backlash from Alex Salmond fears’
Leaving aside the laughability of the BBC fearing Alex Salmond, given their participation in his demonisation in the months before the referendum, Peston’s headline makes little sense when you look back at what he was writing at the time.
There are three pieces by him, from 2014, still on the Pearson site and still alive at their BBC urls:
What price Scottish independence? BBC News, Robert Peston (12/9/14)
What price Scottish independence? BBC News, Robert Peston (7/9/14)
Economists can’t tell Scots how to vote BBC News, Robert Peston (16/9/14)
While Peston is by no means enthusiastically supportive of the case for Scottish independence, in the way that the Guardian’s George Monbiot was (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/media-shafted-people-scotland-journalists), he is also, by no means, completely dismissive of it and you have to think that only full dismissal would have suited his superiors at the BBC in 2014.
In one piece he writes:
‘Here is the bad news if you haven’t made up your mind whether to vote for Scotland to become independent – economic analysis cannot give you the answer. That is partly because this dismal science is not capable of giving wholly (and sometimes even partly) accurate forecasts about the future prosperity of nations.’
And in another:
‘So why has sterling been dropping, if Scottish separation could strengthen the rest-of-UK economy? Well it is because if financial services travel in one direction, oil would travel in another. And it is much easier to see, in the short term at least, how the loss of oil to the rest of the UK would significantly worsen the balance of payments – whereas the positive impact of gaining RBS et al is much harder to judge.’
And perhaps most striking, most disagreeable to the BBC bosses and their political masters, this:
‘It is however important to stress that none of these permanent and contingent costs would turn Scotland from a rich country into a poor country. Almost no one serious doubts that Scotland will be a relatively prosperous country in the long term, whichever road it chooses.’
Did he say that in the pulled broadcast?