Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lord Steel takes a swipe at Alex Salmond over 'intimidation' of BBC, if Salmond got invite, it should have been honoured, not rocket science

Dear All

It seems that the BBC row with Alex Salmond over the Scotland Vs England is going into extra time.

Lord Steel of Aikwood, the former Holyrood presiding officer has popped up to claim, how Scotland was becoming like a one-party state.

We should all remember that one party states by enlarge usually fail at some stage because even within the one party, a central clique is established.

Which is pretty much how the SNP unfortunately operates at present, a one party centralized clique.

At present there is what I can only describe as membership apartheid with the Scottish National Party.

SNP MP Dr. Whiteford makes unsubstantiated allegations and gets help immediately from Alex Salmond downwards and George Laird makes a similar complaint of mistreatment and is ignored over a period of six months.

An example of how even with the one party state a caste system operates, despite the claims that the SNP stands for fairness, equality and social justice.

I don’t believe the Scottish National Party does stand for these ideals, except if it is to their political advantage.

Anyway, Lord Steel opines that SNP "heavies" have came close to intimidating broadcasters; personally, I think Lord Steel is wrong.

Obviously the SNP need the oxygen of publicity to counter the fact that their activist base is extremely small, they have also benefit from the poor media operations and policies of the unionist parties.

But their media problems are an easy fix, if someone has vision.

When Alex Salmond spat the dummy and decried the decision to knock him back at the rugby match things went rapidly south, and he described the BBC executive who made it as a "gauleiter".

Seeing an opportunity his political opponents were quick to accused him of using a Nazi slur.

Ah politics.

The ‘facts’ of who said what and when are disputed by both sides who are claiming the moral high ground.

The BBC said the FM had asked to be included on the programme, but his appearance had never been confirmed and had been refused following two requests for him to appear on radio.

Across the road, the Scottish Government accused the BBC of getting its "facts wrong" and pointed to emails showing Alex Salmond had indeed been invited to appear.

During a contribution to the committee stage of the Scotland Bill last night, Lord Steel told peers:

"When I switched on my television that Saturday at 4.30 to watch that dreadful Calcutta Cup match, the last thing I wanted to see was the First Minister popping up to give his inexpert views. He should be concentrating on governing the country, not looking for camera calls wherever he can."

And why should that be any different from any other inexpert angling for a freebie and possibly a decent buffet thrown in.

Steel added:

"We are being told by some people that to be anti-SNP is to be anti-Scottish. It is time they understood that the rest of us resent being told that to be pro- Scotland; you have to be pro-SNP. That's not the case".

The SNP from my experience is pro SNP and anti Glaswegian and anti working class, that is why so few Glaswegians are willing to work for them.

The SNP GRA, the umbrella group for all SNP branches isn’t controlled by Glaswegians born and bred but by outsiders.

And at some point, people will start to ask the question, why do the SNP believe that Glaswegians aren’t good enough to be candidates?

To be fair, the SNP has token Glaswegians standing, however they are a minority in a city where they are the majority.

Referring to the TV row, Lord Steel said:

"I have been told by other broadcasters that the Salmond rugby experience was not unique for them and that SNP heavies have made more regular calls of complaint to newsrooms than all the other political parties put together and that this is running at times close to intimidation. We are seeing a trend towards the attributes of the one-party state, where news bulletins are led by stories of what the dear leader has been doing today and that is a real danger."

If Alex Salmond had an invitation it should have been honoured once it was sent, that should be plain to all, if he was chancing his luck and got bounced then he should walk away and forget it.

The row with Alex Salmond got out of hand very quickly which means that in future, everything will have to be examined, goodwill replaced by regulation.

As well as Steel; Lord Maxton, the Labour peer, interjected followed Labour colleague, Lord Foulkes, no one was speaking up for Alex Salmond because the SNP don’t have any SNP Peers which I call a mistake in their policy thinking.

At present the SNP have been quiet on the BBC row because they can’t win, it was stupid to start it and they are firefighting to try and save the reputation of Kenny MacAskill who stands accused of pressuring Al Megrahi into dropping his appeal.

The SNP should realise that having fights with others on matters of principle isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the problem appears to be the judgment to fight on petty issues they cannot win and a tendency to look short term ‘Heath Robinson’ style.

In the Al Megrahi case the important thing was the appeal, if that appeal was successful or unsuccessful then Scottish Justice would have been seen to be fair.

But the short term thinking appeared to be sticking two fingers up to the Labour Government in London using the compassion clause as a vehicle.

Now, Scottish Justice stands as a mockery, steered by a man who has lost control of his ministerial brief and is accused of tampering with a witness.

I don’t see Alex Salmond wanting to run with this argument because it is so toxic and tainted, there will be the usual 100% behind MacAskill statement of course.

And then a possible high profile announcement to move the agenda off it.

But questions remain, did the Crown Office failed to hand over all documents in the case of Al Megrahi.

If the answer is yes, when did the Justice Minister know about this and why were no steps taken to launch an inquiry?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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