It seems a shame to even think about the subject in this week that The Urchins head back to school. But in so doing I’m thinking not of children on the road to learning right from wrong, but of their adult role models; public figures even, paid at our expense. At school level we rely on the school bullying policy and expect the firm hand of the headmistress to deal with the problem quickly and effectively.
But this week’s bullying seems to have got out of control, and the fallout continues to grow. I refer of course to that astonishing outburst by Labour’s Ian Davidson MP on Newsnicht; his allegation that the BBC in general and Isobel Fraser in particular were institutionally biased in favour of the Nationalists. Followers of political coverage in these parts will know that such claims were met initially with incredulity, astonishment even. For it was so completely against the trends of recent years and contrary to the usual claims of BBC Accused.
Then the conspiracy theories started. Pre-meditated it was, so they said, to give the BBC a defence against the usual round of pro-Labour claims. And it is no coincidence that there is an imminent review of the BBC Charter obligation of impartiality shortly to begin. Hah, they said, now both sides claim bias, so the Beeb must be OK. Davidson repeated his Newsnat jab so often in his rant that he must have had such an intention before going on air. And the BBC were complicit in the strategy, except no one told the bold Izzy, for the look on her face confirmed her natural reaction of amazement, astonishment and insult.
Now whilst I am deeply cynical of every utterance from the politicos, especially those from London, where nothing is said or done that has not been scripted by a spin doctor or media expert, even I wonder if they would stoop so low as to give the BBC a defence before the inquiry begins, and in so doing look so utterly foolish themselves?
But then it went off in another direction, for enter the fray the written press, and the Political Editor of The Herald. Magnus Gardham was at his desk for the first week in his new role, having been recruited from the world of the red-tops, and in particular the Daily Record. The readership waited to see if he was up to the task if he could write for an ABC1 audience, after a career writing for the CDE of his previous readership; in short did he have an extra syllable? And on top of that what would be the political views expressed to his more cerebral audience in the broadsheet world, for his past was steeped in Red; his Labour colours very firmly attached to the masthead?
Well in he waded, suggesting that the state-funded broadcaster had indeed exhibited bias against Davidson’s mob, for they had not identified the legal expert called on to give a view as being a supporter of those nasty nats. The identity was no secret, for the Lallands Peat Worrier blog is nothing if not an open book. He called for the BBC to flag up such links, and the rest of the world says, in the words, of one of his former labour luvvies, ‘bring it on’. Yes please BBC, tell us every time you ask the likes of Lorraine Davidson, Kirsty Wark, Catriona Renton, Brian Ashcroft, and many others, Gardham himself even, just what their political connections may be. Now that would be step forward.
And Gardham’s article in the pages of his new employ had online comments closed within the day. The editor published no readers’ letters on the fracas. And I hear the tearing up of subscriptions to The Herald, and a further decline in the already plummeting readership. The appointment of Gardham must have been a calculated risk. We shall see how the readership takes to it.
But where in all of this has been the headmistress? Davidson, it will be remembered, has form, particularly in his dealings with the female of the species. He sits as chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster, pontificating on the rights to hold a referendum towards what his committee childishly insists on calling Separation. This is the referendum his party, with the others based in London, spent five years ensuring that a minority government could not hold. He used to agree that Scots could, indeed should, be masters of their own destiny, but now he sees it as his duty to thwart it at every step. He chairs a committee as a representative of a party with no say in either government. He has bullied the solitary nationalist representative away from his table and has for company assorted Tories from English constituencies – for they have none from Scotland to take those seats. And his boss, the leader of Scottish Labour, the one with authority over all Scottish MPs, MSPs, councillors et al, Johann Lamont, what has she had to say?
Well Ms Lamont has taken the opportunity, yet another one, to give evidence to her leadership qualities. She of course was put in place by the block vote of the unions, against the vote of party members and parliamentarians alike. She harbours dreams of being First Minister, in a Scotland either independent or continuing to be dependent. And hasn’t she just stamped her authority all over those credentials. Did she come out and instantly back her man, confirm her view as coinciding with those he expressed? Has she perhaps agreed with Gardham? Maybe she saw it for what it was and decried the bullying tactics of her man in London.
None of that I’m afraid for Ms Lamont underlined her claims to lead this nation of ours by saying…….. absolutely nothing. Not a single word. Now that’s leadership is it not? And Davidson – well give him every opportunity to put his face before the cameras, his views on to tape. For he is a gift to the Yes campaign, never seeming to miss any opportunity to prove beyond doubt that he is nothing but a dinosaur of old labour and unfit for a modern society. Let the man have his say, even if most of the media does turn a deaf ear.
It is hard to sit here defending the often accused BBC; I suspect the conspiracies are a stretch too far. And I am minded that the combined forces of the London parties, the ones that spent years denying us the right to a say, now want that referendum to be held immediately, not in another two years. They want it now, in the aftermath of the flag-waving Jubilee and the jingoistic Olympics. Oh no they can’t wait can they, not until the athletes meet again in Glasgow for the Commonwealth bunfight, the one where they wear the saltire or the dragon, or whatever; they can’t wait until the Ryder Cup’s been to Gleneagles and Scotland showcased in all her glory. We should have it now, according to them. Commonwealth games – that’s the ones with all the former nations of the empire competing independently isn’t it? Let’s have more from the bully before then, and more of nothing from the hiedie, please.