The British Broadcasting Corporation’s Scottish branch has launched a massive propaganda effort in what appears to be a bid to help Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tory party after its leaders came under pressure over Brexit.
In a move that helped the Scottish Tories, the corporation sought to divert attention onto the fishing sector after news emerged that Northern Ireland was set to be granted a different Brexit deal from the rest of the UK.
The deal, effectively keeping the province in the Single Market with Scotland being forced to leave, has piled pressure on Ruth Davidson and David Mundell. Last month both vowed to resign unless Northern Ireland was treated exactly the same as the rest of the UK.
The resignation threat, made exactly one month ago, was the top news story on that evening’s Reporting Scotland.
However, last night’s programme failed to highlight the Scottish Tory resign threats and instead focused its attention on what appeared to be a diversionary letter drafted by the party’s thirteen MPs, which focused on the Scottish fishing sector.
In the extended segment, viewers heard presenter Jackie Bird and reporters Andrew Kerr, Glenn Campbell and Brian Taylor all focus on a sector that makes up a mere one per cent of Scottish GDP. Missing from the item was any significant analysis of the Northern Ireland deal or Mundell and Davidson’s previous resign threats.
Fishing has long been seen as a Brexit-shield for Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tories. The party embraced the sector’s anti-EU sentiments after the European referendum, which saw Scotland overwhelmingly vote to remain.
With the help of BBC Scotland, fishing dominated last year’s snap general election on the Scottish campaign trail. Pacific Quay reporters promoted the Scottish Tory campaign line relentlessly, visiting fishing communities represented by senior SNP MPs.
The decision to turn to fishing at a time of considerable Brexit discomfort for Scottish Tories will come as no surprise to many who have long accused BBC Scotland of using fishing as a pro-Brexit proxy. Many Unionists believe that the chaos of Brexit will eventually lead to a rise in support for Scottish independence.
BBC Scotland chiefs deny claims of anti-independence bias and insist all political output at the station is fair and impartial.