BBC Trust Reject Scotland

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.

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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.

For the background on the #scotlandspeaks campaign go here.

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.

For the full derisory BBC Trust statement go here.

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  1. bellacaledonia says:

    Add #albaspeaks if tweeting in gaelic and #walespeaks too. Not always room for them all.

  2. lenathehyena says:

    The argument about Prime Ministerial debates is erroneous as the UK electorate does not elect a PM. This description was a change of goals attempt to justify this exclusive debating club. Where one or more Parties has greater access to the public by the media especially the government supported medium of the BBC can never be described as impartial.
    It appears from para two that the Director General of the BBC can never be wrong. Where judgements are based on ‘his discretion’ it goes without saying that his views must carry.
    The Executive would not negotiate with the SNP and Plaid Cymru on their coverage until details of the debate had been finalised giving rise to the conclusion that these two leading parties in their countries were never going to be given the same consideration as the other three privileged parties.
    What is reasonable and adequate? Why is this decided in London when it concerns Wales and Scotland? What levels of understanding can there be among the people involved both at executive level in the BBC and the BBC Trust as to the importance of fair representation of these main Parties both to the electorates of their respective countries but also to provide the platform for them to challenge the ideas set out nationally by the three privileged Parties?
    If the BBC charter can be used to support such blatant discrimination in its approach to politics and government in the UK then it should be revised immediately. This is such a cut and dried case of elitism that those involved should be ashamed to be associated with it.
    So the BBC Trust accepted there had been unfair treatment of the SNP and Plaid Cymru but that it would take no action. The platitudes in paragraph two of the letter to Mark Thompson are disgraceful. I’m afraid, Mr Richard Tait, that ‘signposting just doesn’t do it.

  3. cynicalHighlander says:

    Sad day for democracy throughout the UK. The following quote supplied by Brownedov.

    BBC interviewer today [Emily Maitlis?] to have said on air to the SNP’s Alex Neil MSP “But you don’t want to be part of England”

    We are shut out of BwB threads with there 24 hr timestamps since the Purcell affair the unionists are getting very worried but at least Betsan’s blog is still open for now.

  4. John Mac says:

    bbc three

    Richard Bacon interviews Alex Salmond, the leader of SNP, about issues important to first time voters.

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