Monday, 29 July 2013

Ruling of 'higher authority': BBC declare all Jerusalem Israeli

The BBC has ruled that all of Jerusalem, West and East, is part of Israel.

In considering a formal complaint by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the BBC over its description of Jerusalem as an 'Israeli city', the BBC Trust has accepted the assessment of BBC Senior Editorial Strategy Advisor, Leanne Buckle:
“The advisor [Buckle] acknowledged that Israel’s sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem was not recognized under international law. However, she considered that Israel had de facto control over the entire city in a political, administrative and military sense. She also noted that Jerusalem was administered as a single entity by the Jerusalem municipal authority which made no distinction between East and West.”
This, presumably, as the PSC point out, is the BBC's acceptance of Israel's 'facts on the ground'.

Yet, beyond the realm of blatant Israeli propaganda, the actual facts could not be clearer. For the purposes of simple clarification:

Ground fact 1. East Jerusalem was invaded and illegally occupied by Israel during the 1967 war. Illegally annexed, thereafter, by a non-recognised Israeli law in 1980, it is still designated Occupied Palestinian Territory by the UN. As stated at Wiki:
"The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) does not recognise Israel's proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is, for example, reflected in the wording of General Assembly Resolution 63/30 of 2009 which states that "any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateral measures." A total of six UN Security Council resolutions on Israel have denounced or declared invalid Israel's control of the city, including UNSC resolution 478 which affirmed that the enactment of the 1980 Basic Jerusalem Law declaring unified Jerusalem as Israel's "eternal and indivisible" capital, was a violation of international law. The resolution advised member states to withdraw their diplomatic representation from the city. The UN including the Security Council have consistently affirmed its position that East Jerusalem is occupied territory subject to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory opinion on the "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" described East Jerusalem as "occupied Palestinian territory."
Ground fact 2. Almost every international state, including the US and UK, recognise the illegally occupied status of East Jerusalem. Most states also follow the UN recommendation that Jerusalem be "placed under a special international regime, a corpus separatum."

Ground fact 3. Guided by this international understanding, no state has its embassy in West Jerusalem, or any other part of Jerusalem - most are in Tel Aviv.

Ground fact 4. If de facto control of an area is due to an illegal occupation, the name of that controlling/occupying state does not apply to the controlled/occupied area - otherwise, Area C in the West Bank (controlled/occupied "in a political, administrative and military sense" by Israel) would also be called Israel.

On every unequivocal reading of international law, and by any other logical criteria, the whole of Jerusalem cannot be termed part of Israel.

And yet, despite all these legal precedents and protocols, the BBC, like some defiant contortionist, has wriggled free from the facts, emerging shamelessly with this key ruling.

The arrival at such a tortuous position despite all rational evidence to the contrary suggests a body prepared to subvert even its own admission of international legality in order to placate Israel.

The Trust, in effect, acknowledge the inviolability of international law (almost impossible to ignore - even if Israel itself manages to do so) but selectively choose lesser-standing 'administrative' factors on which to base their judgement. 

There's no conspiracy at play here. No 'Zionist plot'. The process works, much more routinely, as with other standard forms of establishment protectionism, through safe understandings and dependable placements; having 'right and responsible' people in adjudicating positions, much like US presidents have preferred Supreme Court judges. 

The same applies at the BBC, from its lead executives, including self-declared Israeli-supporting Director of News James Harding, to Trust advisers like Buckle, from its director of complaints to its delegated complaint handlers, from its dutiful presenters to its conditioned correspondents.

Even where certain rulings and coverage may not be entirely to Israel's and its Western allies' liking (almost inevitable given the scale of Israeli crimes and violations), the generality of editorial policy, daily reportage and 'critical' tone remains faithful to the essential legality and legitimacy of Israel as a 'rightful, democratic state'.

Indeed, any such 'critical admissions', usually laced with mitigating excuses and protections, help reinforce the BBC's pursued and coveted image of neutrality and obejectivity.

But on all main judgement calls, the BBC, as an integral part of the British state, upholds the best interests of Israel. 

As with its executive refusal of the DEC Appeal for Gaza during Israel's brutal assault in 2008/9, the BBC latest Trust ruling over Jerusalem signifies a last vital line of defence. A similar executive lifeboat intervention was required to rationalise the BBC's purging of the recent docu-film Jerusalem: an Archaeological Mystery Story

Thus, while low-level criticism of Israel may occasionally prevail, any key problem with its vital status will ultimately be checked and blocked by a reliable hierarchy of executive edicts and Trust committees.

Conspiring phone calls don't need to be made, managers and editors don't have to collude, top directors aren't required to exchange mutual nods with ministers. The protective imperative is always simply understood.     

Alongside Israel, the BBC will, of course, dispute this.  

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Baby arrival - royal commands and media expectations

A 'royal baby' has, apparently, arrived.

So announce the BBC, head media midwife, delivering the news that 'really matters'.

And with it, chief royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell's truly excruciating 'welcome to baby Cambridge':
"As baby Cambridge's life progresses, he will need to do what his father, grandfather and great-grandmother have all attempted to do - that is to earn respect by the manner in which they have set about their respective roles. Unsurprisingly, perhaps the best template to follow would be that of his great grandmother, who has brought both commitment and a sense of humility to her role as monarch."
All told, a long day of sycophantic labour for the ever-cringing Witchell, with, it seems, grovellingly much more to come.
The BBC is now awash with headline stories of 'world celebrations', creating the dutiful impression of mass humanity revelling in some joyous, extended party. 

It's 'leading journalism', for sure, but in a sense far removed from the qualitative kind the BBC so earnestly proclaims.    

Not knowing them personally, it seems only customary to wish this couple's infant, like any other innocent entrant to our deeply-troubled planet, good health and happiness.

What we do know is that this particular child won't want for much in the way of financial security and life chances.

It's already massively-privileged parents, having received another million pound wad of austerity-reserved public money to dolly up their substantial mansion, will never have to worry like poor mums over finding enough baby food or fretting about bothersome things like a bedroom tax.

From bespoke labour room to palatial nursery, material existence for them will be anxiety free.

Conveying the 'need' for a royal delivery to match all other exclusive benefits, the BBC wrote:
"When you are giving birth to a would-be monarch, it's to be expected that you would command the best care on offer."
Yes, of course, such commands, for the royals and the BBC, must surely be expected. 

Perhaps we were also expected, even commanded, to approve the lavish facilities at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital:
"The £5,000-a-night wing also offers a "comprehensive wine list should you wish to enjoy a glass of champagne and toast your baby's arrival".
 And just in case of unexpected problems:
"The wing has the benefit of being based in an NHS hospital if further complications arise, including its facilities for premature babies, and access to top-notch hospital specialists."
Again, how very expectant of the royal gynaecologists to command that 'backing', the same parasitic ways in which the public purse is servicing private consultants and privatised healthcare.

Amid all the multiple, gushing detail, silence from the BBC on the shameless scale of such extravagance. Nor the remotest balancing view on how the royals have come to command such ostentation and expected media attention.     

Sometimes you have to admire the brilliant audacity of the whole deception. How does the monarchy and establishment at large manage to get away with such a staggering and sustained con trick?

In large and crucial part because of a commanding media which plays such a compliant role in the great deceit.

Much of the illusion turns on this neat media-promoted inversion of royal identity: 'look, we really are modern and 'people-aware', but we still expect, even command, you to be feudal and hypnotised, archaic and deferential, subjects rather than citizens, in order to see and approve our 'modernist' personification.

Pretty clever, eh? And, of course, buying into royalism, even in a passive sense, serves the linked corporate imperative of keeping us all docile and obedient consumers.

Beyond the media-induced gaze, the pampered nursery and palatial trappings, the encouraged identification with our celebrity-branded young trending royals, a deep vein of healthy scepticism and indifference may still prevail.

Yet, the daily consecration of titbit monarchy all across the media - including the lucrative 'clickbait' of the supposedly 'leftist-republican' Guardian - plays a vital part in the ongoing subjugation of an already tobered populace.

It's still saying: 'know your place'; 'understand our authority'; 'never forget our divine right to rule and order'.

It's a set of messages, the vital realm of political-cultural propaganda, that prostrating serfs like Witchell and a system-protecting BBC seem all too ingratiatingly ready and eager to uphold.

Oh for a sane republic of honest, caring and just humanity in which to raise our children.

Friday, 19 July 2013

To BBC Trust (updated correspondence) on selective use of Iraq war death figures

Letter to BBC Trust requesting full consideration of complaint regarding BBC's selective presentation of Iraq Body Count (IBC) figures and issue of editorial decision-making:

Ref: CAS-2109403-3PN7BB
BBC Editorial Trust
This is a formal request to have my second stage complaint considered by the BBC Trust.
Following my initial enquiry and a subsequent reply to the points raised, I believe that no serious or satisfactory consideration of my concerns has been offered.

The essence of my complaint can be gleaned from the correspondence to date, which reads as follows:
Original letter to BBC
(29 March 2013):

I'd like to request that the BBC end its selective use of Iraq Body Count (IBC) when denoting civilian war deaths in Iraq.

The issue of BBC bias towards IBC and the false impressions it serves is discussed here.

As noted, the following suggests a simplified alternative which, rather than IBC's limited and misleading count, offers a more informed and balanced range of figures:

Civilian war deaths in Iraq

Iraq Body Count (IBC)
(till Dec 2012)
110,937 - 121,227

Lancet/Johns Hopkins survey
(March 2003 - end of June 2006)

Opinion Research Business (ORB) survey
(August 12–19, 2007)


Please consider replacing sole reference to IBC with this fairer and more viewer-serving graphic.

The use of IBC as an 'authoritative' and singularly-mentioned figure is widespread across the BBC, which suggests that a specific executive/editorial decision has been taken in this regard.

I'd like to see any copy or/and details of that decision-making process.

As the BBC's own
charter/editorial guidelines specify a requirement to be neutral and impartial, I look forward to a fairer presentation of this key information. If such an alteration is not undertaken, I intend to seek a ruling on this matter from the BBC Trust.

For the purposes of this complaint, I cite the following online report and its singular, biased use of IBC figures:
Iraq 10 years on: In numbers
I look forward to your reply.

John Hilley

Reply from BBC's Gemma McAleer
(17 May 2013):

Dear Mr Hilley

Thanks for contacting us.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we’re sorry you have had to wait on this occasion.

[Administrative details...]

We forwarded your concerns to the BBC News website team who respond to your concerns as follows:

"We have reported over recent years on the various attempts to catalogue the death toll in Iraq, and on the controversy surrounding the different figures.

The Iraq Body Count is the only organisation to offer an actual count covering the period since the US-led invasion. Other organisations seek to estimate the death toll at particular points in time, using statistical and sampling techniques.

In the particular graphic you cite, we attempt to show the rise and fall in deaths and casualties over the 10 years since the invasion. The Iraq Body Count is the only source that we feel we can rely on for this specific data. This graphic is not about numbers, but about the pattern over that period and other sources do not provide this information."

Please be assured that your complaint has been registered.

Thanks again for getting in touch.

Kind Regards
Gemma McAleer
BBC Complaints
Reply to BBC's Gemma McAleer
(19 May 2013):

Dear Gemma McAleer

The deceit and evasion in your reply is glaringly obvious.

The first link here gives distinct prominence to IBC, with only cursory mention of Lancet/Johns Hopkins and no mention of ORB, the others providing only basic news/assessment of the Lancet study and Iraqi Family Health Survey.

However, the issue is not just about discussions of those latter studies - sparse as they are in overall BBC output - but, more specifically, fair and equal presentation of such sources/data in viewer graphics.

It's clearly evident that the BBC has selected IBC's data because it reflects UK/US war killing in its least damaging light. Your every excusing word makes the BBC complicit in disguising that crime.

Also, if, as you claim, the point of the graphic is "not about numbers", why insist on a count-based graphic at all?

And even if it's about showing "a pattern over that period", why still exclude illustration of the other studies?

I've suggested that, for balanced information, the BBC could show a (simplified) caption with all these sources and their respective data. Why is this so problematic?

I've also asked for specific information on who at the BBC made the editorial decision to 'adopt' IBC and how that decision was arrived at.

Since neither that nor a satisfactory answer to my question about using additional sources has been received, I wish to have my enquiry elevated to 'stage 2' consideration.

John Hilley

To BBC's Fran Unsworth
(19 June 2013)
Reference CAS-2109403-3PN7BB

Dear Fran Unsworth

Further to my initial correspondence, I wish to elevate my complaint to a second stage enquiry.

I assume from the above reference supplied by the BBC that you have details of my original letter and the BBC's reply.
Here is the text of my last response:

[As to Gemma McAleer, above.]

Since my original request, the results of a significant poll have been published showing that the general public have been very poorly informed as to the extent of war-related fatalities in Iraq:

A key reason for this must surely be the media's failure to present that core information to the public. As a leading news organisation, supposedly dedicated to the provision of wide and balanced information, the BBC must take a considerable level of responsibility for that failure.

I wish to offer this poll evidence in support of my above-noted request for an explanation as to why the BBC has favoured the IBC data and how that decision was arrived at.

I look forward to hearing your considered thoughts.

Kind regards
John Hilley

Reply from BBC's Stephanie Harris
to second stage complaint letter
(17 July 2013)
Dear Mr Hilley
As you know, your concerns have been passed to me to respond to as it is my role to investigate complaints at the second stage of the BBC ‘s complaints process on behalf of the Director of BBC News. I realise that this will disappoint you but there is very little that I can usefully add to the responses you have already received and which I endorse.
You refer to the lack of a reference to ORB in this report: but this article was just given as an example of how we have reported on the issue of numbers of civilian deaths in the past. For now, the question is why we didn’t put the range of sources in our recent coverage ten years on from the invasion.
When looking at Iraq ten years on, we wanted to give a sense of the scale of what has happened over time and only the Iraq Body Count figures are able to do that. If you look at the graph in this case, the movements are so small as to be imperceptible. As previously explained, what matters here is the pattern over a number of years.
Other agencies cannot provide this information so the Middle East editor felt that IBC was the right source in this instance. Using other studies as well – based on different methodologies – would have been pointless and confusing for readers.
In concluding, I should point out that it is now open to you to ask the BBC Trust to review your complaint on appeal. However, please note that the Trust does not consider every appeal brought to it. In general, the Trust only considers those appeals which may result in a breach of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. If a question arises as to whether an appeal ought to be taken, the Trust is the final arbiter.
Appeals must be received within 20 working days of the date of this email. The Trust may, exceptionally, take an appeal brought after this date if it considers there is a good reason for the delay. The appeal should not exceed 1,000 words and should clearly state the points you raised at Stage 2 which you want the Trust to address, with your reasons. The Trust will not normally consider new points. You can find full details of the complaints procedures here:
Correspondence for the Trust should be addressed to the Complaints Adviser, BBC Trust Unit, 180 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5QZ or to If you have any access issues please contact the BBC Trust for assistance on 03700 103 100 or textphone 03700 100 212.
Yours sincerely
Stephanie Harris
Head of Editorial Compliance & Accountability
BBC News

Reply to Stephanie Harris
(19 July 2013)
Dear Stephanie Harris
You have failed to answer my questions.
Allow me to go through the main parts of your letter:
"As you know, your concerns have been passed to me to respond to as it is my role to investigate complaints at the second stage of the BBC ‘s complaints process on behalf of the Director of BBC News. I realise that this will disappoint you but there is very little that I can usefully add to the responses you have already received and which I endorse."
Actually, no, I'm not in the least disappointed. Disappointment usually only comes on the back of hopeful expectation. In this case there was no sense in which I expected anything other than what's stated here: blanket dismissal and paltry excuses.
"You refer to the lack of a reference to ORB in this report: this article was just given as an example of how we have reported on the issue of numbers of civilian deaths in the past."
As already stated, this article is token, both in its discussion of ORB and against the nominal use of other sources.
"For now, the question is why we didn’t put the range of sources in our recent coverage ten years on from the invasion."

That's just one of the questions I put. You have, quite obviously, ignored or sought to avoid the others.
"When looking at Iraq ten years on, we wanted to give a sense of the scale of what has happened over time and only the Iraq Body Count figures are able to do that."

Any true sense of scale would want to show how many war-related fatalities had actually occurred. Are you seriously arguing that only IBC has been able to provide that qualitative data? Are you really claiming that a methodology based only on registered media reports, with all the limitations that entails, is any way to quantify a serious war death figure?

"If you look at the graph in this case, the movements are so small as to be imperceptible. As previously explained, what matters here is the pattern over a number of years."

No, what fundamentally matters to the public is the actual number of people dead in this period, not patterns over the years.

"Other agencies cannot provide this information so the Middle East editor felt that IBC was the right source in this instance."
They most certainly can, and have done. This is a truly shocking evasion and an insult to viewers' intelligence.

"Using other studies as well – based on different methodologies – would have been pointless and confusing for readers."
Again, this is an utterly deceitful and patronising excuse. Are you actually suggesting that other research bodies involved here are unable to provide such informed data and simple explanation? Are you seriously proposing that the public at large would be either indifferent to or unable to comprehend basic figures from the Lancet or ORB studies?
I am not satisfied that the key questions contained in my complaint were even acknowledged, never mind answered. I will now pass on my complaint to the BBC Trust for consideration.
John Hilley
I trust the above provides sufficient indication of the questions I still wish considered, together with the particular information I'm seeking.
To reiterate the two main requests, as derived from my initial letter and second stage exchange:
I've suggested that, for balanced information, the BBC could show not just an IBC count, but the wider range of sources and their respective data. Why has the BBC consistently refrained from doing so?

I've also asked for specific information on who at the BBC made the editorial decision to adopt IBC as a principal source, to the almost blanket exclusion of the other sources noted, and how that decision was arrived at.
Please could you fully address these two main concerns and give your view on whether the almost sole use of IBC figures maintains a biased and limiting understanding of Iraq war deaths.
Please be reminded that information on the true scale of war-related deaths should be conveyed as a matter of vital public importance by the BBC. As indicated by the recent Com Res poll (noted in the above correspondence), there appears to be a shocking absence of such public awareness. I would ask you to consider this as substantive evidence for my complaint over the BBC's selective and misguided use of IBC figures.
I look forward to your considered deliberations.
Kind regards
John Hilley


response from BBC Trust
Dear Mr Hilley

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your appeal which we received on 19 July 2013.

We will now consider your request for a final appeal under the BBC’s Editorial complaints procedure. In order to do this we will review your complaint and your previous correspondence with the BBC and decide whether your appeal qualifies for consideration by the Trust. We will only consider the points you raised at Stage 2 that you want the Trust to reconsider. Therefore, unless there are exceptional circumstances, we will not consider new points at this stage. We also ask that you do not now submit any further documentation unless you consider this to be necessary for the purposes of your appeal.

The Trust’s Editorial complaints procedure explains that we will write to you with our decision within 40 working days of the receipt of your appeal (i.e. by 16 September 2013), but we are usually able to do this sooner. We will also keep you informed if for any reason we meet with delay during this process.

If we decide your appeal qualifies to be considered by the Trust, we will write explaining the process and setting out the timescale for taking your appeal. In considering whether or not an appeal qualifies for consideration, we may decide to take only part of the appeal, and consider only some of the issues raised.

If our conclusion is that your appeal, or any part of your appeal, does not qualify for consideration by the Trust, we will write and explain the reasons for that. If you disagree with our view then you may ask the Trust to review the decision by writing to us within 10 working days of the date on which you received our response.

If we decide your appeal qualifies for consideration, or if you challenge the decision of the Trust Unit not to proceed with some or all aspects of your appeal, the matter will be considered at the next monthly Editorial Standards Committee meeting. We aim to provide you with their final decision within 80 working days of our decision to accept your appeal or challenge.

The Trust Unit reports on its performance against these target response times in the BBC’s Annual Report and Accounts (

Full details of the BBC’s complaints procedure, including the appeal stage, can be found here:

Yours sincerely

Christina Roski
Complaints Adviser, BBC Trust Unit

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Well done David Ward - party whip withdrawn from Lib Dem MP

Liberal Democrat MP David Ward has had his party's whip removed after tweeting this comment:
Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle - how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?
Am I wrong or am I right in thinking that this is not only perfectly acceptable language, but a legitimate and admirable question to ask?

The term "Zionist/Zionism" is routinely used in discussion of the Israeli state and its supporters. The term "apartheid" is similarly and appropriately employed in describing the discriminatory nature of the Israeli state. 

In a formal letter of reprimand, Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dem chief whip, said David Ward had 'failed in his promise' to use "proportionate and precise" language.

On the contrary, Mr Ward's words could not have been more proportionate and concise.

If only those at the top of the Lib Dems had the same courage to identify, condemn and take positive action against Israel rather than engage in this kind of political punishment and hand-wringing evasion of the issues. 

Respect and backing to David Ward in refusing to be intimidated and treated like a child in the Lib Dems' 'language class'.

John Ward Hilley


Trident posturing - Lib Dems and Guardian talk sensible militarism

Following that 'much-anticipated' Whitehall review on Trident, Britain's new nuclear capacity, we're told, could be 'sensibly' scaled-down.

The proposal, now loftily embraced by the Liberal Democrats, comes after 'sensible' consideration of all the available options - excluding, of course, the most sensible one of scrapping it altogether.

For, after all, we must, even with such sensible Lib Dem efficiencies, maintain some sensible appearance as a feared and important world power.

But not so much that we shouldn't be equally sensible about discarding those old cold war costs and commitments. So, we also have the sensible Lib Dems to thank for steering us away from all that nuclear posturing.

As ever-sensibly reported at the Guardian: 
Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary, who oversaw the long-awaited review on behalf of the Lib Dems, described it as the "most comprehensive study ever published" by a British government on the country's nuclear weapons posture. Britain should "step down the nuclear ladder" he said, describing Trident as the "last unreformed bastion of cold war thinking".
Isn't that just so very sensibly reformist?

And just in case the funereal-sounding Defence Secretary Philip Hammond can't see this sensible new reality, here's the Lib Dem leader himself putting those cold-warring Tories in their place: 
"Nick Clegg said he hoped the report would open a "fact-based debate" on Trident, prior to the big decisions on the submarine replacement programme due to be taken in 2016, after the general election. "It clearly shows that there are options for our country that do not simply involve us sticking to the same strategic positions that were taken in the cold war," he said."
Soberly sensible, or what? Just where would we be without that restraining Lib Dem presence?
Alongside 'Wise Uncle' Vince Cable's move to flog Royal Mail - with sensibly expedient share bribes to push it along - we may be greatly reassured by the Lib Dems' nuclear reasoning.       

As reminded by the Guardian - like the Lib Dems, top-ranked in liberal posturing - there are still sensible options to outright disarmament:
The most important of these, though not the only one, is that the UK genuinely has the option of scaling down its nuclear weapons capability from the present four submarines based on the Clyde to three or even two. This is a possibility that deserves a serious public debate, free from the old scaremongering. Stepping back from continuous at-sea deterrence could help wean Britain off its unchanged cold war nuclear posture, make a contribution to a developing process of multilateral weapons reduction, send a signal that to debate nuclear weapons is not to be soft on defence. It could even save some money, while maintaining a flexible nuclear stance against potential threats. The threat would still be there. A political system worthy of respect ought to be able to have these debates. The Liberal Democrats, who insisted on the review as part of the coalition agreement, deserve credit for making it happen. For all its limitations, this review is a landmark step in opening the issues to debate. [Emphasis added.] 
Approved by Clegg and Alexander, it's also a Guardian-encouraged 'debate' that keeps the terms of reasonable discussion safely and sensibly situated around the 'best-option' of a 'cost-effective deterrent', rather than abandoning it completely. 
The Guardian's appreciative nod to those practical Lib Dems complements another such editorial warning over the rush to ditching Trident after any Yes vote for Scottish independence.

There may be popular support in Scotland, concede a sensibly-speaking Guardian, for the anti-nuclear option:
"But for the rest of the UK, the cost of relocating the Trident fleet of Vanguard submarines and finding an alternative base to Faslane is a very pricey headache. The news that active consideration is now being given in Whitehall to negotiating a future for the base as sovereign territory, with a status similar to the two Cyprus bases, may be dismissed by nationalists as absurdist scaremongering. But do the thought experiment anyway. Not quite as easy after all." [Emphasis added.]
Again, how very sensibly posed. Perhaps we really should bin all those humanitarian ideals of people-sparing and expense-saving disarmament for a more responsible appreciation of nuclear logistics and war economics.  

So, where best to site that vital weaponry? The Guardian dutifully note the Westminster preference:
"The deep water of Faslane and neighbouring Coulport, and their relatively remote location make them easily the best UK solution."
It's an interesting interpretation of "relatively remote", with potentially catastrophic nuclear-laden boats berthed near immediate conurbations like Helensburgh and just 30 miles from Glasgow.

But it's certainly remote in both miles and mindset from what gets crafted by the metropolitan Guardian as sensible policy discussion.   

And while the Guardian, like Cameron and Clegg, lightly brush-off the MoD's proposals for turning Faslane into UK-sovereign Tridentshire, the sobering fallout of nuclear disarmament on the Clyde is still ever-so-sensibly amplified: 
"What future for the 6,000 jobs that depend directly on Scottish nuclear bases, and the thousands of others that rely upon them? The SNP claims they would be replaced by converting the bases to conventional defence. Workers at the base are unconvinced. Then there would be heavy decommissioning costs to factor in, and the shape of a new Scottish defence force whose naval arm (another huge expense for the independent country currently predicting a total defence budget of £2.5bn) would be based a long way from many of its principal industrial assets."
Thus, decommissioning claims falsely noted, the voice of sensible Guardian moderation arrives at this not-so-dismissive conclusion:
"Of course it [independence] remains, according to the polls, only a distant possibility. Yet, faced with such a stand-off, the idea of a patch of sovereign territory just to the north-west of Glasgow over which a diminished union flag still flutters is just a bit less bonkers than it first sounds."
Sub-bonkers, perhaps. But not so bonkers that the Guardian still asks us to ponder such scenarios. As with the case for Western invasions and interventions, this is sensible preparatory-speak for getting us to think the seemingly unthinkable when dealing with pending 'military problems'. 

Such posturing is enough to make one appreciate the more direct Daily Mail-style fearmongering. At least with the Daily Hate it's upfront and virulent.

Thus, in a recent piece, we learn, apparently, that potential recruits to any independent Scottish army would likely opt, instead, for British regiments, "march[ing] south to England" in sensible fear of being "bored", restricted from elite training, major warfare and regular use of killer weapons.   
Citing a report "from the highly respected Henry Jackson Society", the Mail repeat this dark warning from a serving British officer: 
"What of the young officer born, raised, and educated in Scotland? He can either join the Paras [British Army Parachute Regiment] or the local Scots regiment. If he chooses the latter, he cannot go to Sandhurst; so he would be going to a new training school in Scotland, with the best hope of going and sitting on the border in Cyprus or Lebanon with a blue beret and no rounds in his rifle. Or he can join the Paras, one of the most recognisable regiments in the world. What’s he going to do? It’s a no brainer; the SDF would be too dead-end and too parochial."
Neither our war-fascinated officer or jingo-fuelled Mail, of course, sought to mention that in choosing "Alex Salmond's army" the risk of death, for soldier or civilian other, might be greatly diminished. 

But, then, why choose parochial peace-keeping and serving civilians when you can partake in crazed invasions and mass murder, while awaiting possible death by roadside explosive, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder or resorting to depressive suicide?

Why, moreover, be associated, soldier or civilian, with a nuclear-waiving state rather than a nuclear-waving one? Shouldn't we feel duly proud of our country in sparing all those billions for piling rockets and creepy subs rather than for combating poverty and austerity?      

And so the collective propaganda continues.  Whether via the Mail's 'recruitment fears' or the Guardian's weasel-worded case for 'managed nuclear warheads', it's all part of the same politically-guided, war-extolling, media-loaded chat; what we're encouraged to see as sensible militarism.

From the Westminster party cabal to the liberal-right media, there's no serious alternative to nuclear militarism. And that consensual endorsement of Trident, whether in its current or pretence 'scaled-down' version, is a key factor in driving both political and media hostility to Scottish independence.

There is but one political option, one editorial view that any seriously humanitarian politician or media outlet can take: outright opposition to Trident, nuclear proliferation and, indeed, the evil of warfare economics at large.

There's a common factor here linking the British state, the Lib Dems and the Guardian: one sits at the top nuclear/security table still trying to prove its militarist virility; the next sits at the top governing table trying to hide its grovelling collaborations; and the last sits, similarly shameless, at the table of radicals trying to cloak its corporate-establishment protections.

All in all, a posturing triangle of power, complicity and deceit.