‘Ridiculous courtesy’ BBC savaged for failing to hold the SNP to account

The BBC has been accused of failing to hold Scottish nationalist politicians to account while its presenters treat Scotland like a “faraway nation” that they know little about. Political journalist Alan Cochrane said that Nicola Sturgeon’s “Summer of Discontent” should be seen as an attempt to get the national broadcaster to give her party an easy ride while she tries to break up the UK.

Mr Cochrane said: “It’s an infuriating prospect for most Scots to be asked again if they wish to remain British when it’s not even a decade since they voted decisively for exactly that.

“However, just as maddening is the prospect that the British Broadcasting Corporation will yet again maintain its deservedly poor reputation for failing to hold to account those who want to break up the UK.”

He has claimed that while Scottish Independence may not be foremost in the minds of many people around the country, broadcasters needed to study up the issues in Scotland in order to stop giving nationalist politicians a free ride by treating the potential breakup of the nation as a regional Scottish issue.

He said: “The Scottish First Minister’s campaign should be seen for what it is – a ruthless attempt to get our national broadcaster to give her party its usual easy ride, as she seeks to dismantle the Union of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland against the wishes of the majority of Scotland as freely expressed in a referendum only eight years ago.

“There is nothing more important, surely, for our national broadcaster than the future of this nation.

“Thus, it is incumbent on the BBC in its network output to treat the threat of the break-up of Britain not as some remote regional affair, but as an important matter for every listener everywhere.”

Writing in the Telegraph, he then hit out at senior BBC broadcasters and “their M25-centric executives” for “knowing little and caring less” about the issues surrounding Scottish independence. He said that the result was that nationalist politicians were treated with “ridiculous courtesy”.

While presenters often knew enough about their subject matters to tie Labour and Tory politicians “in knots” many presenters treated Scottish issues like they were interviewing someone from a faraway land, according to Mr Cochrane.

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Mr Cochrane singled out Today’s Amol Rajan’s interview of SNP trade spokesman Drew Hendry during which the presenter did little to question or probe Mr Hendry’s answers.

He noted that Mr Rajan didn’t question Drew Hendry’s suggestion that Scotland was rich in natural resources, even though the SNP and their coalition partner the Greens want nothing more to do with North Sea oil.

Further, when Mr Hendry suggested that Scotland had an “absolutely fantastic” food and drink hospitality sector, his interview neglected to ask about Nicola Sturgeon’s prolonged Covid restrictions – something which Scottish restaurant owners have claimed has “almost closed them down”.

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Mr Cochrane mocked Mr Hendry’s recent proclamation of a survey finding that Scotland was the “most educated” country in Europe, accusing Ms Sturgeon of failing to close the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils.

As Nicola Sturgeon fights this summer for the second independence referendum in a decade Mr Cochrane urged the BBC to begin holding her nationalist party to account.

He said the SNP leader must not be handed the “freedom of the airwaves” to say how she plans to get around Boris Johnson’s refusal of a second referendum and demanded the BBC hold to account at every turn.

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