BBC Bias Herald(Glasgow)Letters

BBC Question Time is Corrupt

Letters in the Herald Published on 1 Nov 2010   Reprinted here

BBC Question Time from Glasgow displayed a glaring lack of interest in Scottish issues

A large proportion of your readership will have had the bizarre experience of watching Question Time from Glasgow on Thursday of last week. Many were perhaps puzzled to note that, though it has long been the practice for Question Time to have a panel which to a large extent reflects the area of the UK it is being broadcast from, only one of this panel had any significant connection to Scotland.

The last few Question Times from Scotland have been moving in this direction. The reason, however, for the choice of panel soon became obvious and the programme and the behaviour of its chairman David Dimbleby was a disgrace.

I am reassured in talking to many people since that the blatant attempt by Mr Dimbleby (and a trust fund manager apparently of Scottish origin) to bully Scotland’s Deputy First Minister backfired very badly. Nicola Sturgeon’s stock continues to rise.

The Scottish audience for the programme will have recognised exactly what was going on but I rather wonder what illumination the audience in the rest of the UK may have acquired about a part of the UK presently governed by a party determined to extricate that part from the UK.

These matters, according to Mr Dimbleby, were of no relevance to the UK audience. Well, of course, they certainly should be. Yet the opinions and the plans of the Government of Scotland were apparently of no consequence – in a political programme being broadcast from the heart of Scotland.

The eccentricities of the mayor of London and London’s housing problems were deemed appropriate content for the debate but any attempt by Ms Sturgeon to express an opinion in Scottish terms or on a Scottish issue were rudely interrupted or completely disqualified.

Question Time in Northern Ireland dealt mainly with issues affecting the province. On Teeside, it agonised over the north-east of England’s failing steel industry but in Question Time from Scotland, the host country must not be mentioned.

To round off a distasteful night’s work, Mr Dimbleby then had the effrontery, apropos of no audience input whatsoever, to seek opinion about the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing – from all the panellists except the Deputy First Minister of the Scottish Government which sanctioned the release.

There was a stunned silence from the audience at this, followed by a furious response from some of its members. If ever proof were required that broadcasting should be devolved, this Question Time was it.

David McEwan Hill, Sandbank.

The BBC is relentless in its biased approach to the SNP Government. In watching last week’s Question Time programme, this was clearly illustrated again by David Dimbleby in his approach to Nicola Sturgeon. On a number of occasions, Mr Dimbleby showed either personal prejudice or subserviently reflected BBC policy against the SNP Government.

First, when it came to Ms Sturgeon’s turn to answer a question about the Coalition Government’s economic policy, he stopped her from explaining her Government’s claim that more economic levers in Scotland would produce a better outcome. “We are not here to discuss independence for Scotland,” he asserted, adding that the programme is also broadcast to three million English viewers. It should be borne in mind the programme was held in Glasgow, in front of a Scottish audience and that all other panellists were permitted to express their own or their party’s policies. What party was she supposed to represent? Mr Dimbleby then allowed others to try to rubbish SNP policy. It seems it is all right to criticise but not to explain SNP policy.

Secondly, in regard to the question about the morality of using intelligence gained through torture, Mr Dimbleby strayed away from the point of the question by inviting comments about SNP policy in regard to the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. Of course he omitted to invite comment from the SNP panellist. One cannot help but think that the BBC is continuing in its anti-SNP policy, demonstrated so clearly earlier in the year when it refused to let Alex Salmond’s voice be heard in the party leaders’ televised debates.

Iain MacFarlane Brown, Oban.

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