Today, more than four years after that campaign, while the SNP remains the party in government in Scotland and holds the majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats, and as the constitutional crisis engendered by Brexit approaches crisis point, the Scottish government and the SNP continue to engage with the state broadcaster as though it is a neutral agent and an honest broker. It is neither. Outcry over the treatment of Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Scottish government’s Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, on BBC Question Time (Thursday 7 February 2019) is nothing new.
Whether or not we are paranoid or delusion we are all subject to comprehensive, deeply penetrative, and highly technologically sophisticated surveillance by the state. In a sense Edward Snowden did not tell us anything in 2013 we did not already suspect. When I came to Ireland in the 1990s the British government signals intelligence (SIGINT) centre at Cheltenham in England, GCHQ, was already well known, and was popularly assumed to be listening into and recording all telecommunications in the Irish Republic. It was assumed that because of the conflict in the six counties between Irish Republicans and the British state it was only to be expected that British Intelligence would listening to Ireland. This presumption was well founded.