Ian Katz and his team were clearly drawing on the Big Pot of Jockland Cliches, another dip and we might have seen the Alexander Brothers, Oor Wullie and the Krankies pop up. Funny as this was, it also did us – and the wider UK audience it was presumably aimed at – a disservice.
Now Kirsty Wark is a national icon on a par with Lorraine Kelly and Greyfriar’s Bobby, but she also has form. In 2005 she was dropped because of “difficulties about impartiality” after holidaying with then Labour Leader Jack McConnell.
She was also hauled up after her abusive interview with Salmond in 2007. Newsnight’s editor Peter Barron defended Wark but admitted that Salmond had been “cut off…in a way that appeared rude and dismissive”. The presenter was forced to write to the politician to apologise.
Lat night the programme opened on what Wark and the No campaign think its their strongest cards, that we will be ‘separated’, hence the setting of the ‘most powerful symbols of the Union’, er, the Tweed bridge.
The galling thing was not her language, tone or obvious bias it was, for me, her Pibroch comment, dripping with incredulity. “Would Scotland create it’s own currency, the pibroch perhaps?” she remarks at one point.
It’s not Kirsty’s fault. She’s of a generation where Scotland was a place you left to get on. When she’s on Newsnight she’s often seen reporting world affairs, or interviewing cabinet ministers or whistle-blowers. A couple of weeks ago she was standing in for Kaye Adams. Her topic? “Have you had packaging problems? Call us with your worst packaging nightmare”.
From Snowden to sellotape.
It’s not difficult to see why she might see London as the place with all the power money and jobs when she returns to a Pacific Quay on the Clyde (built at a cost of £188 million) in which job losses have been a constant theme. In fact BBC Scotland is to lose 10% of its staff by 2017, and this after years of cuts.
But this isn’t good enough. It made the case for independent broadcasting better than anything I’ve seen for years, though the results were hilarious. As the mood swung and the tightly framed arguments began to fall apart the Tweedy audience were treated to a slightly hysterical Margaret Curran and an increasingly desperate looking Wark. A media fail on all fronts.
It reached farce at one point with Kirsty introducing renowned oil-expert, er, Glenn Campbell in the audience. Kirsty also described Scotland as ‘one of the smallest nations in the world’. In fact when Scotland becomes independent, we’ll be 117th in the list of nations by population. ABOVE 80 OTHERS.
She described free personal care in Scotland as ‘bounty’ at one point
I could go on, but why bother? It all turned out well. As the ‘Don’t Knows’ trooped past poor old Kirsty’s face fell. “Vis unita fortior” – indeed.