A BBC reporter has come under fire after claiming the Scottish public isn’t interested in the ‘Power Grab’ that will see Westminster seize devolved powers for up to seven years.
Writing in an article on the BBC website, Sarah Smith described the Scottish government’s unwillingness to accept UK government proposals as “a fight with Westminster” that the public had no interest in.
The BBC’s Scotland Editor wrote: “Nicola Sturgeon rarely shies away from a fight with Westminster. It’s generally good politics for her to say she is ‘standing up for Scotland’ against ministers in London.”
“Her problem is that this argument has not caught voters’ attention. The right of the Scottish Parliament to have a definitive say over regulations governing the use of pesticides does not appear to cause great concern to Scots.”
The claim by the senior reporter was slammed by former BBC reporter Derek Bateman who argued journalists were letting the public down by failing to explain the issue fully.
Bateman tweeted: ” ‘The people don’t care’ argument is complacent and potentially dangerous. What are they supposed to do? Demonstrate? Go marching? But they’re dismissed as a trouble-making rabble if they do. Journos should say why it matters – not play the Establishment’s game.”
Bateman’s claim that journalists were neglecting to cover the issue in the manner it deserved was lent credence when writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch tweeted: “Astonished to find @ScotParl press gallery almost empty during EU Withdrawal Bill debate. Reporter for @HolyroodDaily here throughout. Good form.”
Other users of social media highlighted the lack of coverage by the main stream media. One tweeted: “If it hasn’t caught voters’ attention that will be because it has been massive played down by people like you. I’m constantly astonished by how Scottish matters are presented to viewers/readers in Scotland by supposedly Scottish media outlets. Shameful really.”
Claims that the public doesn’t care about the ‘Power Grab’ have been made by a string of reporters and presenters on BBC Scotland. Below is a recording from Andrew Kerr followed by an exchange between Gordon Brewer and pro-Union writer David Torrance.
Another to push the line that the public are not interested was BBC Scotland’s Political Editor, Brian Taylor, who this week claimed the issue was not fuelling interest. BBC Scotland presenters have also claimed the Scottish government is “under pressure”.
BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme has repeatedly played down the issue. Last week a statement from UK Labour leader Jeremy Corby backing the Scottish government stance and calling the Westminster government stance a ‘Power Grab’, was ignored by Reporting Scotland, despite the story being headlined by BBC Wales.
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