Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Round two, after the 'beating of Pacific Quay', Nicola Sturgeon climbs into the ring for Question Time, this is no time for a ‘Chardonnay’ moment.

Dear All

The Nationalist movement is going through a ‘Chardonnay’ moment at present.

Better known as a “wee white whine”.

The phrase has entered popular culture after SNP list MSP Joan McAlpine was outed by former press colleagues over her long associated with fine wine.

The current ‘whine’ by the Nationalist camp again involves the BBC over its independence referendum coverage.

It seems that some people in the SNP think that they have an automatic right to get on a BBC programme that is broadcast in Scotland.

Question Time is a UK wide programme that travels the whole of Britain, being asked to be on the panel isn’t a right.

The next addition of Question Time is said to contain a majority of pro-Union supporters.

Each week that is also probably the case, does the SNP plan to ask to be on every show even if the recording is in England?

For the pro independence side of the panel, it will be Deputy SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Hollywood actor Alan Cumming.

Cumming of X Men fame has declared his support for independence at the ‘Declaration of Cineworld’ event.

How well he can articulate the cause of independence we will find out when he speaks.

The rest of the panel will be made up of former LibDem leader Charles Kennedy who is a good and articulate speaker, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth.

And Melanie Phillips.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mail and writes for the Spectator on occasion, a right winger and pro Israel. She will definitely not be in the pro independence camp, despite her passionate defence of an independent Israel.

Phillips has previously written that Scotland is a "dependency culture."

Her views on First Minister Alex Salmond aren’t much better as she describes him as a "preposterous populist".

She also wrote:

"The fact is that many of Mr Salmond's positions amount to little more than bluster. Scotland is the dependency culture writ large. It can whine about England safe in the certainty that the Westminster cash cow will continue to deliver regardless."

Not a fan it seems.

SNP backbencher Kenneth Gibson said:

"It is inevitable that independence will be discussed on this week's Question Time, and it would be in the best interests of a fair and measured debate if the BBC invited equal numbers of panellists from both the Yes and No campaigns.

Unfortunately it appears that Mr. Gibson isn’t keeping up with current events; there isn’t Yes and No campaigns rather Yes Scotland and Yes UK Campaigns.

Gibson added:

"In future the BBC should ensure a balanced panel, from both sides of the referendum debate, whenever independence is expected to be discussed."

Does that mean if they discuss it on Eastenders, a Scotsman should pop up and put the independence case?

There seems to be an element associating itself to the Yes Scotland Campaign that thinks if it keeps shouting BBC bias it will have an effect.

In Panto, they say 'oh no it won't'.

A Question Time spokeswoman said:

"This Thursday's programme in Inverness is a regular edition of Question Time, rather than a special programme on independence”.

Maybe someone in the SNP should pay attention to this pertinent detail.

The spokeswoman added:

"We have picked a balanced panel reflecting a range of political views and debates in both Scotland and the UK as a whole. The range of questions about Scotland, the UK or international politics is, as always, down to our audience on the night."

For Nicola Sturgeon this is an opportunity to try and reset an even keel after the BBC Scotland Big Debate programme where she was blown out the water.

The other three panellists which including Green leader Patrick Harvie put torpedoes into her arguments below the waterline.

It was disastrous night banging the ‘freedom drum’.

Hopefully she won’t be pulling out any letters to wave about, Ruth Davidson has already done that one.

The more the Yes Scotland Campaign et al whine about media bias, the more they send out a message that they believe they have already lost the referendum.

Round two!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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