Friday, June 15, 2007

The empire strikes back

The institutions of the British state (this time the BBC) are not taking this SNP government thing at all well. Last night's interview of FM Salmond by the vacuous Anne MacKenzie on BBC's Newsnight Scotland has to go down as one of the most inept pieces of television journalism since - oh I don't know when (no, just remembered, since crunchy Kirsty's seething attack on FM a week earlier - hey, maybe it's a Thursday thing?). Forget that it was an opportunity of asking our new leader about the 'vision' stuff, or even spending a decent amount of time talking about substantive policy issues. No, let's instead continue to present London's total cock-up over Libya memorandum as nothing other that Salmond picking fights...how dare he upset the British government in such a way. Oh, yea, right Anne. Good one. And just how up to speed on the wording of the concordats are you?

Anne MacKenzie and Gordon Brewer really have to ditch their personal attacks, hide their own politics, or be replaced. We deserve better. Before May 7th 2007 I had lost count of the number of times I heard a Newsnight Scotland package being introduced by the comment - "we asked a member of the Executive to participate but none was available". I have heard that only once since the election - and that was the aforementioned AnneMac's entirely gratuitious side-swipe on last Thursday's programme that Salmond had been asked to appear but that "...he never writes, he never phones...", this coming immediately after he'd been so appallingly treated by crunchy Kirsty on the other Newsnight. Who writes these comments - or are they left to ad lib?

It's way past time BBC Scotland reviewed the manner in which it is presenting news and current affairs in a devolved Scotland. This is not about supporting, or opposing, the current Scottish government. It is simply that what we are being served up as current affairs by BBC Scotland is no longer fit for purpose. Changes have to be made or any remaining vestige of credibility BBC Scotland has in presenting and analysing political news in an objective and mature manner (i.e. Brian Taylor) will be lost forever. A very old and dear friend of mine (one AYL) used to describe Scotland's then ageing and quite unprofessional crop of football commentators as "fans with mikes". The same unprofessionalism now characterises much of the political coverage in Scotland. It's time for a total overhaul.

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