Over at Better Nation a discussion developed yesterday on the reasons for the significant rise in support for the SNP, covering also the disparity in the funds available to spend on the elction campaign, which saw Salmond covering the country by helicopter, whilst Elmer drove. Amusing it was to hear supporters of the party backed by compulsory funding from members of trades union complaining of the odds being stacked financially against them. Whilst the financial side relates significantly to the amounts spent by each side through the 2010 general election, finances are not unrelated to the rise in support for the nationalists.
My own experience in recent years is perhaps not untypical. Content for years to add my support to the party of choosing with an X in the appropriate ballot slip box from time to time, I have of late been spurred into doing more. Responsible for that are the joint actions of firstly the Labour Party, secondly the media, and in particular the BBC.
I became an avid listener to FMQs whilst collecting The Urchins from nursery on Thursday lunchtimes. Later I noticed that news bulletins and then the next day’s written press seemed to be commenting on a different session to the one that I had witnessed in the car. I began to take more notice, and ultimately to take more action.
In time I formed the opinion that the combined actions of Iain Gray as party leader, and the BBC as lead commentator, was damaging the political process, and skewing the efforts being made by our minority government to improve this fine nation. Clearly it was deliberate policy. I gave up my daily newspaper habit, joined the party to add a few pounds to my vote, and took more notice. The money saved from newspaper purchases could be better directed, to party membership and campaigns, to better news facilities, and in particular the growth of Newsnet Scotland.
During nursery holidays, and now that The Urchins are at school, I was able to witness FMQ broadcasts visually rather than on radio. Then I could witness the baying hordes behind Iain Gray, wondering just who was yanking who’s chains. In school holidays I would cede TV rights to the little ones and instantly the efforts of Jake, Bella, Fiz and co outshone those of Baker, Baillie, Kerr etc and that ‘intellectual chasm’ mentioned by Tom Devine was highlighted by The Tweenies on Cbeebies.
So the Labour Party have been architects of their own downfall, aided and abetted by their broadcasting arm. The BBC are still at it though, evidenced last night by Paxman’s quizzing of Nicola Sturgeon. Continually interrupting her attempts to explain the need for the people of Scotland to have the right to decide their own destiny, Paxman was intent only on finding out what the plan was, or in his gleeful eyes perhaps wasn’t, post independence, in terms of numbers in the forces, seats at the NATO table, the EU and the euro etc. It is apparent that the BBC still don’t ‘get it’. But the settled will of the Scottish people will prevail in time, even if that means keeping the status quo. For so long as the opposition and the media continue their passage of the last four years and fail to change tack however, the prospects of an independent Scotland looms ever larger.
And whilst Paxman heads a new impetus on Scottish affairs from London, feart of losing the funding from Scotland, the BBC north of the border continue on their merry way, sneering and condescending about the process of electing a Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick giving up her SNP seat and membership to take in the role, in preference to Labour’s offering of Hugh Henry, a man with some form. In the 12 years of the parliament Labour have yet to give up a voting seat for the role; whilst there is precedent of the PO coming from the government benches in the form of David Steel. George Reid having held the role for some years, Marwick is the second PO from the SNP ranks. Yet the BBC gripe and snipe, and bias continues.
Thank you Iain Gray, the Labour Party, the BBC and the written press. You have all combined into galvanising a nation, not only to vote for a cause, but to add funding to a cause. Yet still you wonder why. There are plans at Holyrood to address broadcasting rights from the parliament, and that is perhaps the first stage in trying to reduce the imbalance which the BBC are intent on creating. In time I’d like to see a Scottish Digital Braodcasting Service, and an ending of the compulsion for us all to fund the BBC who provide a disservice to Scotland as the fight to retain the union and their licence fees. Undoubtedly there will be an element of the population needing assurance on the availability of Eastenders, Dr Who and Strictly etc, but in this digital age anything is possible, especially with public subsidy. next target, the BBC, please.