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By a Newsnet reporter

A Scottish Labour MP at the centre of a row over claims of BBC bias, has today made fresh allegations that he may have been the victim of a conspiracy.

In a new twist, Labour MP Ian Davidson claims that a legal expert who challenged his view that Scotland did not have the legal power to hold a referendum, should have been introduced by Newsnight Scotland presenter Isabel Fraser as an SNP supporter.

In a statement issued today, Mr Davidson says: “It’s outrageous the BBC should act in this way, presenting an SNP activist and blogger as an impartial academic.

“The issue for me is whether Isabel Fraser knew his background.  If not, she was incompetent. If so, this was a conspiracy.

“I was clearly being set up by someone for an ambush.  Either way I deserve an apology for the way this programme was conducted.”

Mr Davidson’s comments are reported in an article in the Herald newspaper, written by Unionist leaning commentator and journalist Magnus Gardham, himself a frequent guest on BBC Scotland political discussion programmes.  

In the article Mr Gardham draws attention to the political leanings of the Newsnight Scotland legal expert, Andrew Tickell, who is a supporter of the SNP.  Writes Gardham: “Andrew Tickell was introduced simply as an Oxford University lawyer without mention of his role as a high-profile Nationalist blogger, who writes online under the pseudonym, ‘Lallands Peat Worrier’.”

However, many will question Mr Gardham’s suggestion of this being an example of pro-SNP bias given that he himself, along with several pro-Union political commentators, regularly appear on BBC Scotland discussion programmes with no mention of their Unionist leanings.

The row exploded this week after Davidson launched an aggressive verbal attack on the female presenter Isabel Fraser after she questioned his claim that the Scottish Parliament did not have the legal power to hold an independence referendum.

Davidson responded by accusing Ms Fraser of being anti-Unionist, he also repeatedly referred to the programme as ‘NewsNat Scotland’ and revealed that the Labour party had complained several times to the BBC.

Although refusing to confirm whether Labour has in fact complained, the BBC has rejected Mr Davidson’s claims of pro-SNP bias.  In a letter to the Scotsman newspaper, Ian Small, head of public policy and corporate affairs at BBC Scotland, writes:

““Ms Fraser did what BBC journalists do week in, week out when she robustly, but fairly, challenged the views of Ian Davidson MP on Tuesday evening’s show.

“It may be uncomfortable for some when we ask the questions that our audiences want asked – but that is what we will continue to do and will do so as professionally as Isabel Fraser did on Tuesday.

“To suggest that by asking these questions she holds or promotes a particular opinion is, quite fundamentally, to misunderstand political interviewing.

“Audiences expect fair and impartial journalism from the BBC and they expect those who hold power to have their arguments robustly challenged.

“That is what we will continue to do on their behalf.”

The row threatens to engulf the Labour party in Scotland and there have been repeated calls for leader Johann Lamont to make a public statement condemning Mr Davidson’s aggressive manner towards Ms Fraser, and his claims of bias and a conspiracy.

Commenting today, SNP MSP Sandra White repeated her call for Johann Lamont to intervene.

Describing Davidson’s latest claim that he was set up for ambush as “nonsensical” Ms White said:

“The Labour Party in Scotland is becoming increasingly desperate and Ms Lamont's inability to speak out on this won’t help her party’s stagnant ratings in the polls one bit.

“Johann Lamont and the Labour leadership will be privately very embarrassed over Mr Davidson’s hostile manner and his bizarre claims on Newsnight Scotland, but their public shoulder-shrugging reveals how rattled they are.

“For Ian Davidson to accuse anyone else of bias – after his supposedly impartial committee produced a completely one-sided report – is frankly ludicrous.

“Labour continue to back the Tories in an anti-independence pact which offers nothing to the people of Scotland so is little wonder their party ratings are languishing, while the SNP poll higher than we did in last year’s landslide Scottish Parliamentary election result.

“Mr Davidson’s anger has spread from his perceived BBC bias to the other guests, despite it being both routine and reasonable for Newsnight Scotland to invite experts on the show without scrutinising their every detail.”

Comments  

 
# mealer 2012-08-10 12:01
Does the Labour party subscribe to this conspiracy theory?
Davidson should have the sense to stop digging this particular hole.He is making a fool of himself.
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-08-10 12:05
He doesn't have to make a fool of himself. He is already.

Let's have more of him
 
 
# Aplinal 2012-08-10 12:11
This is not about the rights or wrongs of this particular interview, it is about creating a muddied waters over the valid SNP claim of some political bias in the BBC Scotland reporting of Scottish politics. This is the Labour party creating smoke and mirrors to hide their obviously pathetic polling and voter antipathy.
 
 
# Angry_Weegie 2012-08-10 12:18
True. This will come up again and again to allow Slab to counter any suggestion of unionist bias.

Question is, was this only a con perpetrated only by Slab, or were the EBC part of the scam. EBC can use this complaint to show charges of bias from both sides. Looked at cynically, IF's reaction was surprisingly a bit over the top. Trying to emphasise the point?
 
 
# ScotsKiwi 2012-08-10 19:14
I agree totaly
 
 
# rapid 2012-08-10 21:06
Often, when given the choice of cockup or conspiracy - I'd definitely choose cockup with this crowd.
 
 
# Breeks 2012-08-10 12:20
Sections 5 and 30 of the 1998 Scotland Act are trumped by the 1689 Claim of Right and the 1707 Treaty of Union, where it is enshrined for all time that under Scots Law it is the will of the Scottish people which is sovereign. Westminster cannot 'assume' sovereignty over the will of the Scottish people, it hasn't the authority to do so, and nor does it have the power or authority to repeal these treaties. Scotland does not require the assent or sanction from Westminster to exercise her sovereign rights, and never will.
I don't need to be an SNP blogger to say so, because the truth is absolute.
 
 
# alexmc8275 2012-08-10 12:20
I am of the opinion that this whole story is a wee bit contrived, judging Isobel Fraser's reaction, she must have been left out the loop on this, if not she is an academy award nominee from myself. If her bosses condoned what was going on I would think mrs Fraser will be livid.
Set up pure and simple, funny it never happened to brewer et al, she has been done up like a kipper for showing some neutrality.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-10 13:30
If you look at the start of the interview, Isabel does indeed seem slightly on edge, I presume she had to chat with Davidson before the interview, and suspect that he may have made the most of the opportunity when the cameras were not on him.

Or is that just another conspiracy theory?

And as for "unbiased experts" wasn't there a certain Prof. Midwinter and others of the same ilk, regularly hauled in to give their opinion. Maybe I'm not fully informed, of course.

I've only heard Gardham once, he has his opinions but it is the sheer bile that gets you. Interesting that he is involved, it is indeed beginning to look like another typical Labour ploy.
 
 
# Robabody 2012-08-10 18:49
Ah Alex, perhaps a Ridley Scott (Alien) chest moment? Reference Wiki:
"According to Tom Skerritt: "What you saw on camera was the real response. She (Veronica Cartwright) had no idea what the hell happened. All of a sudden this thing just came up." The real-life surprise of the actors gave the scene an intense sense of realism and made it one of the film's most memorable moments." Perchance a set up on Isabel, like Alien?
The more the unionists honk, grunt and whinge, the more I'm convinced.
As for Gardham, I understand the famous Labour quotation ref the SNP is "well they would say that wouldn't they". Well Gardham would, wouldn’t he?
 
 
# Astonished 2012-08-10 12:22
“It’s outrageous the BBC should act in this way, presenting an SNP activist and blogger as an impartial academic.".

davidson has just opened a very large can of worms : I look forward to the next BBc news

- this report is presented by labour stalwart catriona renton.

-Let's head over to the man who ripped up the SNP manifesto - glen campbell.





davidson may be onto something
 
 
# souter9 2012-08-10 12:25
Hooray ! Managed to join up after months of trying !
I'm one of those housebound folk who watches Select Committee evidence sessions (someone has to, and more people should), and Davidson's NNight rampage is the way he chairs his own committee - if witnesses don't say what he wants them to say, he attacks. He's supported by another two or three SLab MP's who are as dumb as Davidson is a bully.
A few months ago ID started referring to the proposed SDF as 'Dad's Army - all those people who have served in Afghanistan who WILL join the SDF - 'Dad's Army' ?? The detail and concept was explained to him, but the witnesses might as well have been talking to a 17st brick.
He asked whether the SDF Air Defences would be good enough to intercept '... fast jets from the Soviet Union ....'.He followed this with 'will the Lowland Artillery survive in an Independent Scotland ?' - only to be told they had already been disbanded !
Then there was his farcical comments and questions about the new Type 26 frigates ....
In fact, the whole Committee is an uninformed 100% Unionist joke - but it isn't funny !
It has power, and some will believe the nonsense it publishes.
 
 
# Angus 2012-08-10 12:26
Very entertaining, is he really this stupid? I m beggining to think the BBC actually has nothing to do with this, and wonder if the Labour party will back him?
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-08-10 12:40
For Gardham to even run with this pathetic spin is risible and very telling for future strategy.

For the Herald to be paying for it - well, bang goes yet another subscription no doubt to be joined by many others.

It needs to be asked, is there a black fund somewhere which is underwriting the losses these suicidal papers are facing to support this failing con of a Union?

In a free and democratic society is it anywhere near appropriate to belabour Andrew Tickell, be he an SNP supporter, or otherwise?

At least he was putting his name and personal reputation on the line with his "legal opinion" live on air - Davidson would not, or more likely could not venture the source or identity of his "expert" legal advisers.

For the Herald to be associated with this crap is just incredible and I would love a pub-side seat to hear Tom Shields, Rab McNeil, Ian Bell and Lesley Riddoch talking about it all. - Writes Gardham: “Andrew Tickell was introduced simply as an Oxford University lawyer without mention of his role as a high-profile Nationalist blogger, who writes online under the pseudonym, ‘Lallands Peat Worrier’.”

So what!!!???
 
 
# Insch74 2012-08-10 13:07
Davidson- It is better to remain silent and be thought an idiotic bully than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

Although in the context of Scottish independence, lets hear more from him!
 
 
# clootie 2012-08-10 13:30
“For Ian Davidson to accuse anyone else of bias – after his supposedly impartial committee produced a completely one-sided report – is frankly ludicrous."

This is the key point. He has taken a role as chair and spent the entire time creating a unionist spin which does not reflect the political landscape in Scotland.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-10 13:51
Westminster has much to answer for in its tolerance of the violently partisan conduct both of dire (and what's more televised) Scottish Questions and Davidson's committee.

There should have been an enquiry long ago, now they are emboldened and see this raucous barracking as normal.
 
 
# Zed 2012-08-10 13:39
Labour now sense hostility from pro-independence supporters at the blatent pro-Unionist bias from the BBC.
Davidson's intervention is a cynical way of trying to divert attention away from this by making a ludicrous statement in an effort to make it look as if there is anti-Unionist bias. When in actual fact it doesn't exist.
Helped of course by people like Magnus Gardham of the Herald, formery of the Record.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-08-10 13:42
There have been numerous people who have noted that BBC Scotland are very selective about how they introduce their pundits. It has been noticed that they have especially introduced someone as an SNP activist at the same time as ignoring the fact that the others in the studio have had connections to the Labour Party.

The BBC should have an even distribution of political views amongst their staff. Not all Labour suporters as it seems to be at the moment.

Bias in job allocation should not be guided either by religious or political allegiance, especailly in the public services.

It could be said that BBC Scotland, by their misguided actions, have been at the root of much political bickering.
 
 
# Mei 2012-08-10 13:47
Can somebody explain how this Labour bampot can dictate anything to do with the Referendum when the Labour party is not in government in either Scotland or Westminster.
 
 
# cjmasta 2012-08-10 15:09
Could it be that Westminster polititions whether in government or not feel they are at the end of the day the top dogs?

Above any silly wee Scottish Executive as you occasionally still hear them refer to the Scottish Government to this day.

You only have to watch Scottish Questions ( is that what it`s called?) Full of unionists from all over the UK asking the usual suggestive questions like " does the honourable member (haha) agree that Scotland benefits greatly from subsidies from the whole of the UK?" As if we`re not part of it!

The utter arrogance on display from westminster polititions is mind blowing and the lack of back bone from the vast majority of Scottish MP`s for a long time is sickening to watch. Especially when you realise they sit back and take it, even participate as a form of self preservation and the self dilusion of being part of something bigger which must somehow be better than poor wee Scotland could ever emulate.

Bought and sold!
 
 
# Shagpile 2012-08-10 13:48
The peat warrior will ffind a guid few mair hits on his blog now, as though he'd bought a full page advert..... also, the Herald have made their own ad'..... how stupid and I'll-informed are we as a newspaper?

A football pundit might write, their new signing is a dud.
 
 
# MajorBloodnok 2012-08-10 13:49
The thing is that Mr Tickell spoke before Davidson and gave his opinion (via a video link) - and basically he made the rather anodyne point that the whole thing could go one way or the other and the clear cut case that the committee report was making probably wouldn't stand up (in court, or anywhere else). Isabel just took what LPW had said and used that as the basis of her question to Davidson.

Then Davidson, with very little provocation other than being asked to explain himself set off on what appeared to me to be a deliberate and pre-planned attack on Ms Fraser. He didn't even refer to (or presumably understand) what Mr Tickell said, as far as I could make out - other than to say that he was a lawyer and lawyers can be paid to say anything....

It is shocking to see how deep the anti-deomcratic impulse runs in Labour and that to them, for the BBC to allow any dissenting or opposing voice is evidence of "bias" and must be suppressed, attacked and 'punished'.

Perhaps if Davidson's arguments were any good and he was more sure of himself then there would be no need for it. But I think that Labour are shaken and will do anything to try to get back the power that they think is rightfully theirs, even if it means, lies, falsehoods, overt pressure, blackmail, threats (and dubious postal votes) to get it.

No doubt in their lumpen way they think that threatening the BBC will make it see the error of its ways and restore the pro-Union 'balance' it had before. But I hope that the BBC can be stronger than that and conclude that right, if they want balanced and un-biased coverage, then that's what they'll get, and not cut Labour and the Unionists any slack either.

One can always hope.
 
 
# Shagpile 2012-08-11 08:23
Quoting MajorBloodnok:
The thing is that Mr Tickell spoke before Davidson and gave his opinion (via a video link) - and basically he made the rather anodyne point that the whole thing could go one way or the other and the clear cut case that the committee report was making probably wouldn't stand up (in court, or anywhere else). Isabel just took what LPW had said and used that as the basis of her question to Davidson.

Then Davidson, with very little provocation other than being asked to explain himself set off on what appeared to me to be a deliberate and pre-planned attack on Ms Fraser. He didn't even refer to (or presumably understand) what Mr Tickell said, as far as I could make out - other than to say that he was a lawyer and lawyers can be paid to say anything....

It is shocking to see how deep the anti-deomcratic impulse runs in Labour and that to them, for the BBC to allow any dissenting or opposing voice is evidence of "bias" and must be suppressed, attacked and 'punished'.

Perhaps if Davidson's arguments were any good and he was more sure of himself then there would be no need for it. But I think that Labour are shaken and will do anything to try to get back the power that they think is rightfully theirs, even if it means, lies, falsehoods, overt pressure, blackmail, threats (and dubious postal votes) to get it.

No doubt in their lumpen way they think that threatening the BBC will make it see the error of its ways and restore the pro-Union 'balance' it had before. But I hope that the BBC can be stronger than that and conclude that right, if they want balanced and un-biased coverage, then that's what they'll get, and not cut Labour and the Unionists any slack either.

One can always hope.


Exactly correct. IF also referred to two other legal experts (on constitutional law) who have said more or less what LPW stated in his video link:

law.ed.ac.uk/.../neilwalker

strath.ac.uk/.../...

That there is no clear cut Case Law to which you can refer to, yet there are some. I'm no lawyer yet this raises an eyebrow to suggest why unionists would consider raising a legal challenge when they loose, or to prevent a referendum being held; and I think perhaps the former given Cameron has already conceeded it's up to Holyrood.

guardian.co.uk/.../...

QUOTE:

"....the court can overrule the UK parliament. Appropriately, the question is the first on the list. The answer is no:

No it cannot. Unlike some supreme courts in other parts of the world, the UK supreme court does not have the power to 'strike down' legislation passed by the UK parliament. It is not the court's role to formulate public policy, but to interpret law and develop it where necessary, through well-established processes and methods of reasoning.

So far, so straightforward : any law student could tell you that the UK parliament is sovereign, and this means that, unlike in the United States, no court, including the supreme court, can strike down legislation passed by Parliament.

....But the FAQs continues to another paragraph. As in many legal judgments, a clear "no" is followed by a "however":

However, the supreme court must give effect to directly applicable European Union law, and interpret domestic law so far as possible consistently with European Union law. It must also give effect to the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is a confusing qualification. It is not really an answer to the original question at all....".

Not just European Law.

The UK under International Treaty recognises the right of "a people" to self determine. Sectin 30 is actually redundant.

There is no way the supreme Court would overturn a YES vote given that the final question/questions would have been approved by the Electoral Commission.
 
 
# Dowanhill 2012-08-10 13:50
When George Kearvan is on Newsnight, Gordon Brewer introduces him as former 'SNP MSP candidate'. when Wendy Alexander's husband is on as re-enforcement too Douglas Fraser's usual irrelevant critique of Scottish Business. He [Wendy Alexander's husband ] is introduced in his capacity in affiliation within the Allander institute and not the husband of the former Labour leader Wendy Alexander? I also noticed that the Brewster was back on Newsnight last night.
 
 
# Seagetagrip 2012-08-10 13:52
The Editor of News Night is Danial Maxwell better known to posters for his role in removing comments from BTW etc.
It is, probably, therefore a put up job in which Isabel Fraser was used. It would be a typical Labour ploy.
 
 
# X_Sticks 2012-08-10 16:00
Denial Maxwell has a lot to answer for. He would seem to be the main man in BBC Scotland when it comes to supporting the union and denigrating any supporter of independence.
 
 
# Independista 2012-08-10 14:16
I note that a number of comments to the Herald story have been removed, such as the one suggesting that the reader will no longer buy the paper if Gardham continues to write his bilge.
However they refused to even publish mine, which I copy below (thanks to reference to Mark Maclachlan).
"Magnus Gardham has past pro Labour form of course when it comes to commenting on the media. On April 2011 he wrote this in the Daily Record:

Under the heading

“More media support for Salmond”

“THE SNP election campaign looks set for a boost from Express Newspapers.
“I'm told SNP donor Brian Souter has bought a huge number of papers to hand out free on his buses in the run-up to polling.”

“They'll include an SNP pull-out.

In the meantime, political hacks at the paper know what's expected of them...”

“All this follows our revelations about News International coming under David Cameron's orders to campaign for an SNP victory.”

Magnus Gardham biased? You judge for yourself, but I smell a rat about the whole episode."


By the way I see the Drum have picked up on the story, quoting the BBC's response in the Scotsman today. Comments are invited.
thedrum.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Old Smokey 2012-08-10 14:27
Comments are now closed on that article in the Herald. Which is a bit strange as the article only came online today
Obviously Gardham doesnt like to be corrected.
I think the Herald will rue the day for employing Gardham, as the arch unionist is helping to circle the wagons of unionism
 
 
# Desperate Dora 2012-08-10 21:02
You're not wrong, Independista. Not only was that comment removed, but the reply to it was removed too. The reply noted that Gardham had written a contentious piece but it had generated a huge amoovedunt of responses. It then queried whether this might be used to convince advertisers that the Herald had the capacity to engage many readers on-line and that if this were the case, we could expect more of this type of contentious writing in the future Within the hour, both posts were removed and at some point after that, the thread was closed. Not at all sure what to make of that.
 
 
# Independista 2012-08-10 15:07
Old Smokey.
Correct, as I note that the comments on the original story from the day before are still open. Tells you something!
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-08-10 15:31
Just how far have the Unionists come regarding the setting of the question, S30 requirements, the legal position of the Referendum since the start of this year?

I had a look back at a few articles published by NNS. Here is one from Friday 13th January.

newsnetscotland.com/.../...
 
 
# border reiver 2012-08-10 16:00
The more you read into this more stink seems to come out, it is begining to look like a stitch up to be used as cover for the pro unionist camp. Maybe foreign press are sniffing around looking for a story regarding the many incidents and complaints against the BBC by the pro independence camp or maybe the Equinox reporters are uncovering some dodgy stuff for their programme either way in the cold light of day, is Davidson realy that stupid or is it part of a wider smokescreen?
 
 
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-08-10 16:02
Hows this for an idea....the BBC or anybody else in broadcasting for that matter gets all its presenters who may be interviewing on political issues to state whether they are pro or anti independence. Then they could put pro's against anti's and visa versa. The unionists would struggle so hard it would be unbelivable.
 
 
# scottish_skier 2012-08-10 16:13
Aye, they can all wear wee badges - saltires or union flags depending on persuasion.

Devo maxers can wear a big saltire with a wee union flag next to it.

;-)
 
 
# CharlieObrien 2012-08-10 23:39
Then you are asking them to be honest? a big ask in my opinion.
 
 
# Bob Kingdom of Fife 2012-08-10 16:22
Got to think this has a bearing on the bbc ' public charter ' which is coming up for discussion and renewal for them to get a licence to broadcast .
 
 
# J Wil 2012-08-10 16:40
Was anything said on Brian's Big Debacle today? I never remember it is on and usually finish up catching only Brian's winding up statement, viz - 'toodle oo the noo', (has anyone heard anything more ridiculous?).

I'm having a job persuading someone that Glenn Caqmpbell tore up the SNP manifesto on the steps of the Scottish Parliament shortly after the 2007 Scottish election. The person thinks it may be an urban myth.

Does anyone have a link to a youtube video on this, or, failing that a link to one of the daily papers of the time, which refers to the incident?
 
 
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-08-10 17:59
Brians a bit of a joke. Anybody going onto the BBC and seeing his mug at the bottom of any political story with his title 'Scottish political editor' then seeing that his last post was 29th June would wonder what he does for his money ? Has he no opinion on what is going on ? I wonder what his take would be on Ian Davidson or is he a big Labour supporter wanting to bury the issue ?
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-10 18:01
Hi, J. Wil, can't find a direct reference, but see these comments on Blether with Brian in September 2007, when several commentators speak of witnessing the incident:

bbc.co.uk/.../...

At 08:35 PM on 06 Sep 2007,
marianne wrote:

"Brian, I watched your colleague Glen Campbell on Reporting Scotland tonight and was rather disconcerted to see him flamboyantly, in fact almost gleefully 'tear in half' a copy of the SNP manifesto (he did it not once, but several times during his piece) by way of illustrating his thoughts on Alex Salmond's responses to questions put to him at FMQs today."

Campbell is still a BBC employee isn't he?
 
 
# xyz 2012-08-10 18:12
Hey! I must come to the defence of Brian's Scottish colloquial sign off. It's one of his few redeeming features as he works with his masters in London to send his fellow Scots into oblivion.
 
 
# J Wil 2012-08-10 20:43
XYZ

Well no disrespect intended, but everyone to their own.

Marga B

thanks for the link. I hope it persuades my contact. One thing is sure, Campbell will end up as an urban myth in his own right and not for any good he did.

When reading your earlier comment about Isabel being on edge at the start of the Davidson interview it reminded me of an interview Campbell had with Brian Wilson. It was at the time that Wilson was claiming that Scotland's reputation was being harmed overseas as a result of the Al Megrahi release. Wilson had claimed that they were taking the reference to Scotland off Harris Tweed because it was harming sales of the product. He had a connection to the company I believe. At the end of the interview, before the camera cut away from the two of them, they were both having a good chortle about what they had been saying during the interview and it was apparent to me that the whole interview had been orchestrated.
 
 
# the wallace 2012-08-10 17:22
This supposed anti unionist bias is nothing more than the unionists trying to head the yes campaign off at the pass,so to speak.They know a major hoo ha is in the offing about the snp's complaints to the bbbc especialy when the documentry is aired about their pro union bias,this is nothing more than a spoiler tactic by our enemy,the yes campaign shouldve seen this coming a mile off.
 
 
# London Owes Us Money 2012-08-10 17:34
When I first saw the encounter I have to admit to finding it more funny than anything, but now its just becoming sad. A seasoned politician of two decades and yet he's resorting to 'spit the dummy out"tactics, complaining of a conspiracy when an interviewer asks a perfectly legitimate question that by chance challenges his viewpoint. If this is what we can expect from Labour now, then what kind of underhand tactics are they prepared to use the closer we get to 2014.
 
 
# davemsc 2012-08-11 07:42
I wouldn't call the tactics underhand: I'd call them desperate.
 
 
# Magua 2012-08-10 17:43
"The man in the pink bathing-cap": the mysogynistic, knuckle-dragging member for Glasgow SW, has confirmed with his latest accusation, that the "pro-SNP conspiracy" was manufactured by New Labour in Scotland. Panicked by the prospect of their own supporters in the Scottish media - and the BBC in particular - being exposed to the public, Davidson's "outburst" against Isabel Fraser was merely a pre-emptive strike from New Labour spin-doctors, desperate to get their "retaliation in first" with a concerted attempt to silence the only fair-minded political journalist at Pacific Quay. Lamont's absence from the "fray" is no coincidence either, as her "advisers" are still weighing-up whether their "cunning plan" has gained enough support through their "plants" and allies in the Scottish media that will allow her to side with her loyal "attack-dog" - or, whether she will have to discard him like a "snottery-hankie". Either way, the plan was to portray BBC Scotland as an SNP redoubt, question its impartiality - AND silence Isabel Fraser! (Only time will tell if they have been successful). Davidson has no reputation left to defend and clearly has no compunction in trying to destroy one who has. Just shows how low "the People's Party" are prepared to sink in defence of their "Union" with the Tories!
 
 
# Breeks 2012-08-10 17:54
Since the BBC is now very keen to defend it's impartiality, isn't now an opportune moment to politely enquire for a dispassionate explanation why the BBC didn't consider Allan Grogan's controversial 'Labour for Independence' website to be a newsworthy event worth reporting?
 
 
# Jiggsbro 2012-08-10 20:49
They didn't consider it newsworthy because no one has ever heard of Allan Grogan. If he gets a household name to sign up, it becomes news. As it is, his opinion is no more newsworthy than that of any other man in the street.
 
 
# DJ 2012-08-10 18:23
I have been buying The Herald at least a couple of times a week this year as I was finding it objective. I fear for Mr Gardham's input, but will reserve judgement until I decide not to buy again. I have no desire to read pro SNP or Independence propoganda, but just want a balanced press.

With regards to the BBC; most of their interviewers can conduct a political interview which should interrogate the interviewee's views. That is their job. The main contention of BBC bias for me is the choice of news stories, rather than the line of questioning. SNP bad - headline; Labour bad - buried.

In summary, the bias is largely editorial rather than from presenters.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-10 20:48
DJ - I think that's actually not true (that presenters do not show bias).

Anyway, the Beeb is in a panic about the "political neutrality" of the Oympics (not sure what world they live in).

Here's a Guardian story that has a few points to add to the argument:

guardian.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# hafpipe 2012-08-10 18:24
He's digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole. Don't stop him!!!
 
 
# Rafiki 2012-08-10 19:36
BBC biased towards the SNP? Anyone remember the Stewart Stevenson interview on him not being able to stop the snow?
 
 
# Early Ball 2012-08-10 20:05
Quoting Rafiki:
BBC biased towards the SNP? Anyone remember the Stewart Stevenson interview on him not being able to stop the snow?

The Red Tories will feel Raymond Buchanan is a "safe pair of hands".
 
 
# Desperate Dora 2012-08-10 20:37
It was certainly a very strange article by Magnus Gardham - you would almost think he had written it in the guise of Ian Davidson's spin doctor, rather than as an independent Herald journalist. They do seem to have engaged in joint campaigns when Gardham worked for the Daily Record.
The article was also very poorly written - not of the standard you would expect from the Herald.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-10 21:26
Dora, funny you should say that, I imagined that Gardham could do better thatn that poor "reuters" type text with his hands tied behind his back.

Did he send it off from his mobile phone to help out a buddy or what gives?

And re. Davidsoon and his Scottish Affairs Committee: acc. to its website:

The Scottish Affairs Committee is appointed to examine the administration, policy and expenditure of the Scotland Office and relations with the Scottish Parliament. It also looks at the administration and expenditure of theWestmin Advocate General for Scotland.

i.e. not to examine the Scottish government. Mission drift. Why is it allowed?
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-08-10 20:46
Yes Scotland add discussion guidelines.

www.yesscotland.net/.../


Courtesy: Be polite to everybody and show respect to those who think differently.

Responsibility: Control the impulse to react before thinking.

Imagination: Explain complex ideas in a way that is engaging, interesting and relevant to the people you're talking to.

Integrity: Be honest and open about who we are and what we say and believe.

Collaboration: Work together with people from all walks of life for a better country.


Bair Jenkins on the Blog;

www.yesscotland.net/.../
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-08-10 20:49
Ian Davidson’s open letter to Cleggy prior to EU vote in Westmidden in 2008:

The letter, in pdf format, can be downloaded from the link on the site below:

conservativehome.blogs.com/.../...

Or alternatively, directly via the link below:

conservativehome.blogs.com/.../...

The following are two extracts from his letter:

Only offering people a polarising “in or out” referendum would be a dishonest attempt to push people into positions they don’t hold.

So, why not have a two-question referendum? One question would ask people whether they supported the new Treaty, and the other would ask whether they wanted to remain in the EU.”


So either Davidson is a hypocrite or he is prepared to short change the people of Scotland. I would venture both.

Davidson = Trougher…. No more…. No less

Roll_On_2014 - Vote YES
 
 
# peter,aberdeenshire 2012-08-10 21:13
Davidson is a fud simples!
The P&J today was an anti SNP disgrace, five aricles with an anti SNP slant over two pages, two more on the letters opinion page and a few others for kicks.
Why is it always the SNP accused or SNP forced to defend line from the media?
Has the Scottish media always been so hostile or is it a recent development?
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-08-10 21:45
Davidson is an imbecile, without enough brains to be an idiot.

It's very difficult to get hold of a detailed CV for this clown, but it would make for interesting reading. He came through the Glasgow Labour ranks as a councillor, that much is known, and now he believes he has a little knowledge of all things, a dangerous thing to have.

The dope just defies description.
 
 
# Desperate Dora 2012-08-10 21:57
Marga, that's a really interesting point. Given its remit, why is this committee writing reports on constitutional matters and why was it interviewing defence personel just the other week? I realise these are reserved matters, but they don't appear, at first glance, to fall within the given remit of this committee.

By chance, does anyone else out there know why this committee is dealing with these issues?
 
 
# Barontorc 2012-08-10 22:08
DD - no, except that it clearly suits someone's agenda to feed questions to willing recipients.

And who's paying for this?
 
 
# oldnat 2012-08-10 22:21
There is another context (actually lots of them) in which Barontorc's question "who's paying for this?" is relevant.

CNN (Yes. The US News channel) are carrying this story

ireport.cnn.com/.../DOC-827222

Forget the Craig Whyte/Rangers aspect. The important bit is this -

a number of journalists at The Scotsman were, as a source said, “under the influence and direct pay of Craig Whyte receiving substantive benefits for positive stories and what seemed endless excuses.”

A news source that distorts stories to support a particular political stance is not abnormal.

However, for a serious allegation to be made - that an apparently respectable publication takes cash for stories - suggests that it might have the same morality as MPs at Westminster taking cash for questions.

PS The credit is due to Dougie on Twitter. I am but the messenger!
 
 
# Robabody 2012-08-10 22:53
And: the newspaper, established in 1817 whose circulation has dropped from 100,000 to less than 20,000 because of inaccurate and exaggerated reporting often in return for ‘favours to the authorities,’

What "authorities" do you think?

Good spot ON, interesting stuff that.
 
 
# Adrian B 2012-08-10 23:08
@oldnat

Thats quite a find oldnat. Very well done!
 
 
# Dougie Douglas 2012-08-11 01:06
Something very interesting has happened to the Scotsman.

On Google the search terms 'Scotland News' and 'Scottish News'are the largest search queries related to Scottish News and affairs. The Scotsman has, for as far I have observed, been in the top 2 or 3 results for these search queries. In the last two days they have gone into the ether - number 93 for 'Scotland News' and are not in Google's top 100 for 'Scottish News'

The significance of this will become apparent in the next few weeks and will point to one of two things:

1/ The Scotsman may have made significant changes to their webpages and Google is having a good think about the relevance of these changes before restoring their position back on Google's first page of results.

2/Google has slapped a penalty on the Scotsman for some reason. The Scotsman has not been de-indexed but would seem, on the face of things, to be out of favour with Google for some reason.

The second explanation is far more likely because for both these terms on Bing and Yahoo the Scotsman's results are undiminished.

As I said in a couple of weeks it will become apparent exactly what has happened. However it does seem that Google have taken some form of unprecedented action against what was formerly, in their eyes an authoritative news source. Recovering from such penalties is a long process with little or no guarantees.

Why such a penalty has been imposed is intriguing and if it is a punishment for cash for spin it is, in my experience, a first for any newspaper anywhere in the World.

Tich, tich, tich.
 
 
# Angus 2012-08-10 22:57
Labour have tried this before, remember the Iain Gray sandwich shop incident when he ran away from the pensioners? The following week, they fabricated it so that when AS was leaving the super market they entered Iain Gray to great delight that AS had run away from him.. as if!

If an SNP MP had behaved like this there would be a major press field day.
But the media cant fool all the poeple all the time.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-08-11 04:24
Angus

The following week, they fabricated it so that when AS was leaving the super market they entered Iain Gray to great delight that AS had run away from him.. as if!

As if…. www.youtube.com/.../

Aye, with Elmer Fudd its not a case of ‘read my lips’…. More a case of ‘watch my buttocks’.
 
 
# oldnat 2012-08-10 23:18
We're beginning to get some polling on the Olympic effect. We've all seen the attempts by the Unionist politicians to politicise the Games. Has it been effective?

YouGov have a poll in the field asking whether the Olympics have affected attitudes to independence. The question won't necessarily be answered in public - as pollsters only release detailed results once the client has published them.

However, we have two indicators so far (though just based on Scottish cross breaks in GB polls, therefore unreliable).

YouGov asked 2/3 Aug "Did the opening ceremony make you feel proud to be British, embarrassed to be British, or neither?"

E&W, Sco, Attitude
48%, 32%, Very proud
22%, 19%, A little proud
23%, 36%, Neither
_4%, _4%, A little embarrassed
_2%, _2%, Very embarrassed
_1%, _7%, Don't Know/Care

Given the seemingly irreducible Unionism of around a third of folk in Scotland, that doesn't seem to suggest any great political benefit for the Unionists.

ICM polled on 8/9 August as to whether people thought that the Games were "worth the cost".

The Guardian report says Across the age range, the young are most enthusiastic, with support at 60% or more among the under-35s. The professional AB social class is keenest, with 63% saying the Games are well worth it, but among all occupational grades the enthusiasts outnumber the sceptics.

That is also true across every part of the country, except for Scotland, where opinion is evenly split 42%-42%.


Again, there seems to be no great benefit for the Unionists from the Games. Most people would probably have enjoyed the opening ceremony and the sporting contests - but I suspect Murdo Fraser, and his Lab/LD allies will be disappointed by the political results.
 
 
# taimoshan 2012-08-11 09:06
Get over to CNN and add a comment - the more these unionist apologists are exposed the better.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-08-11 09:08
O/T but can anyone make sense of this Scotsman headline having read the article.

Scottish independence: Yes campaign in danger of being seen as ‘anti-Scottish’

I think they must mean "No campaign", but then again it is in the Scotsman.
 
 
# gopher3 2012-08-11 10:45
Checked the online version, it says No campaign.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-11 11:24
Taimoshan, yes, the headline writers get the blame for everything, and not always for mere carelessness..

Also there's the curious case of Maddox, the anti-nationalist weapon "par excellence" for years at the Scotsman, where in correspondence with the editor I found out that the term I had objected to in his article had apparently been added by "the editorial team" whoever this sinister group may be.

The happy ending is that with the new editor, "Maddox" suddenly moved to national news, writes quite insightful stuff, and I may be wrong but in at least a year I haven't seen a single word written by him about Scottish politics.

We don't really know what happens behind the closed doors of our media. Maybe one day a "deep throat" will reveal all ...
 
 
# Hillside 2012-08-11 11:01
Mostly OT, but in an article on the BBC News Scotland page - 'The Great British Brexit', Douglas Fraser 'Business and economy editor, Scotland' says 'A boost to national confidence is likely to be one result of the London Olympics'. Which nation is he referring to? And would Ian Davidson see this as further Nationalist Bias?
 
 
# Alphenscot 2012-08-11 11:24
My lovely mother,who has never had any interest in politics is now thinking that there is a load of westminster lies being spread.
And for that I am very proud.
Vote YES for freedom and independance.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-11 12:54
Scotland Questions 20 June 2012 - starts off badly but see minute 1.46 when Angus Robertson stands up and 4.58 when Davidson, treated with indulgence by the chair, makes a proclamation.

www.youtube.com/.../

Personally I find this quite appalling. Why is Westminster and the Scotland Office acting as the shadow opposition to the Scottish Government? Who is paying for this?

And around minute 8 when the full extent of tax-payer's money being harnessed to make the unionist case is revealed. Immediately followed by the famous "apprentices" lie by Labour. Appalling.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-08-11 15:04
Not sure if this is OT or not, but the House of Lords has a Constitutional Committee, to which Prof. Tonkins in the other article on the referendum debate is an adviser.

I didn't realise it had already reported on the referendum question - what is Davidson doing covering the same ground?
 
 
# fittie 2012-08-11 23:51
This is from a letter in the press 'journal which covers Davidson`s lie about the "scotland act"
I leave out the writers name and address.

SIR in 1979 Labour offered Scots an assembly with no tax powers .Of those who voted [32.9%of all those on the register},51.62%voted yes a majority of about 77,400 .this was less than the 40% rule laid down by the minority labour government,and the majority Scottish vote was ignored .
In 1997 ,Labour proposed another devolved body ,but the questions they asked in their referendum made no mention of devolution ,or of any limits on the normal powers of a parliament ,unless the electors had voted against tax-varying powers .
Scots electors voted 74.5%"yes" that there should be a Scottish parliament ,and 63.7%"yes" that it should have powers to vary taxation - no mention in the questions of powers reserved to London .
Labour went on regardless to set up the devolved Scottish parliament ,with the main decisions reserved to London .
As you reported [august 9]Canon kenyon Wright has joined in calling Westminster to drop the claim to control the independence referendum .These powers are reserved to London only because labour chose to ignore what Scotland voted for in 1997 .
A section 30 order should be passed to accept Scotland`s right to arrange a fair and clear question ,and discussions should begin seriously as to how the transition will be handled in the best interests of both parties if the answer is another "yes"
----------------------
Any mistakes in the above ,of grammer or spelling are mine
 

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