Complaints from the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru over being excluded from the BBC leaders’ debate next Thursday have been rejected by the BBC Trust. No surprise there. Tonights debate will be at 8pm and broadcast on SKY. It will focus on international affairs. You won’t be allowed to hear a distinct Scottish view, that we are propping up a corrupt regime in Afghanistan, that Trident should be scrapped or that Iraq was an illegal war. Instead you’ll hear a variation of the same from three identik politicians whose spin doctors are spending their time debating which colour of tie. We argue that you should make your voice heard with Twitter.
Join us and follow us here: http://twitter.com/bellacaledonia
Use #LeadersDebates and #scotlandspeaks and let thousands of people hear the voice of the disaffected and disenfranchised. The media has been getting very excited as Nick Clegg wanders off message momentarily, but he is the acceptable face of Unionism. What is clearly unacceptable is to hear the spokesmen from the governing party in Scotland.
The Committee’s decision:
- It concluded that the Director-General had not erred in his approach as to which parties to include in the BBC’s Prime Ministerial debate. Noting the level of past electoral support and the number of candidates standing for the SNP and Plaid Cymru, the Committee concluded that the Director-General’s approach to achieving impartiality was appropriate. That is that SNP and Plaid Cymru have not been included in the Prime Ministerial debate programme but in associated and clearly signposted coverage previously agreed by the BBC.
- It considered that, on the basis that it was within the Director-General’s discretion not to include the SNP and Plaid Cymru in the Prime Ministerial debate, it would not have been appropriate to involve the SNP and Plaid Cymru in negotiations surrounding that debate or the agreement of the format. The Committee considered that it was appropriate for the Executive to form the view that it was not in a position to engage with the SNP and Plaid Cymru on their coverage until the detail of the debate itself had been finalised.
- It concluded that the Director-General had not erred in his approval of the Executive’s approach to coverage of the SNP and Plaid Cymru surrounding the debate, that the Committee was satisfied with the process adopted and that the approach to coverage of the SNP and Plaid Cymru was reasonable and adequate to maximise the achievement of due impartiality, and within the discretion afforded to the DG to approve as editor-in-chief of the BBC.