How Reporting Scotland helped smear Michael Matheson

The person at the centre of the Michael Matheson story is former SPA Head Andrew Flanagan. In June 2017 Flanagan was criticised by *two* Holyrood committees over governance and secrecy at the SPA.  Flanagan subsequently announced his intention to resign.

In July when Phil Gormley became the subject of an investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, the SPA still under Flanagan, ignored requests for Gormley to be suspended.

In August another complaint was made against Phil Gormley. This brought the number of complaints to two. Gormley stepped down voluntarily in September and was put on Special Leave. This leave was extended after two more complaints came to light.  In November 2017, under the stewardship of Andrew Flanagan [who remember was about to resign] the SPA held a secret meeting and decided Phil Gormley should resume his duties. Matheson summoned Flanagan to a meeting the moment he learned of this. The decision was reversed.

Reporting Scotland

Below, in chronological order, is every item broadcast on Reporting Scotland that relates to the Michael Mathson smear attack.  It begins on January 10th when BBC Scotland picked up a story published by The Herald newspaper two days earlier.  In all, Reporting Scotland ran items relating to the smear eight times.  None of the items contain any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Matheson.  Most are based almost entirely on hearsay or allegations levelled by Unionist MSPs.  Below is every one in full.

January 10th [morning]


January 10th [evening]


January 11th


January 23rd


January 25th

Excerpts from Andrew Flanagan’s appearance earlier that day


January 28th


January 30th


February 4th


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17 thoughts on “How Reporting Scotland helped smear Michael Matheson

  1. Jason Smoothpiece

    It’s just not funny anymore, the constant biased anti Scottish propaganda has become the norm on the rare occasion when there is none you are surprised, doesn’t occur very often.

  2. K

    This organisation is no longer fit for purpose & purposely misreports news on a daily basis & fails to correct it’s misrepresentation. These continuous acts of deliberate bias are seen by the public as an organisation that is acting as a propaganda outlet for the establishment. Therefore all public subsidies should be withdrawn forthwith. I will no longer pay my licence fee to fund such tripe.

  3. Robert Graham

    The bbc in scotland should be required to register with the electoral commision as a political party , they seem to represent the unionist bloc at holyrood as such they should be required to register their interests and immediately relinquish any licence to broadcast any type of news .

  4. Big Jock

    They will not change until we are independent. They will be dragged kicking and screaming. At the moment they are London’s voice in Scotland. Some day they might be Scotland’s voice in Scotland and to the world.

  5. Yvonne

    Utterly immoral. Utter disregard for basic journalistic principles. BBC has utterly lost the right to broadcast in Scotland. Sadly STV is not far behind.

  6. millie

    BBC UK 6.00pm News tonight.

    Sarah Smith just said that 999 unanswered calls in Scotland included a couple that lay in their car for 3 days.

    In fact it was a 101 call.

  7. stewartb

    This article charts in detail the BBC’s partial or mis-representation of the situation facing Michael Matheson. Again and again the BBC fails to properly inform, to ‘educate’, to bring insights any deeper than the sound bites of partisan politics.

    Albeit more obliquely, the article reminds us of the absolute hypocrisy – and the extreme opportunism – of the opposition parties in Holyrood. Candidly, we deserve better of our MSPs and our Parliament.

    Let’s think about this scenario for a moment.

    Although independent investigations into multiple allegations, potentially involving gross misconduct in post, against a chief of police are ongoing and unresolved, the police authority (the SPA) decides that the accused chief of police can nevertheless return to duty. And if that had happened, without the investigations being concluded and the charges dropped, our opposition parties in Holyrood would have been quite content with this outcome – really!!!! As a member of the public I would certainly not be – it is simply illogical.

    So now the relevant Government minister is charged with ‘intervening’ in an unconstitutional or illegal manner by opposition politicians – a resigning matter they shout.

    His error, it seems, was to ask what are the bloody obvious questions of the SPA Chair – how can your decision to return the chief of police to post in these circumstances be part of a credible, defensible process? The SPA ‘thinks’ again and changes its mind.

    I’d love to know what went on at the SPA board meeting that decided to short circuit the PIRC investigative process. Although the SPA’s Chair at the time has gone, what about the other members that supported what is, on the face of it, a logically indefensible decision? Or are we not being told all we should?

  8. Clydebuilt

    Ch4 7pm news Michael Crick went through a list of regions of the UK with the percentage damage done to their economy by Brexit . . . He omitted Scotland!

  9. twathater

    I posted this on WOS earlier tonight 8/02/2018 but is relevant here, the Scottish Govt should REVERSE this blame game

    Commented on Sunday Politics Scotland on Youtube – 28/01/2018

    All this BBC , tory , liebour , lib dumbs false outrage directed at the SG should be directed at the police commissions decision to bring back the CC when the investigations against him are still ongoing , it is total hypocrisy from these idiots seeking ONLY to undermine the SNP SG .

    If I were one of the people who had submitted a complaint alleging bullying I would be incandescent with rage that the CC had been allowed to return to duty with charges against him unanswered , I would assume that the commission were corrupt and were acting against the public’s and the complainants interest , I would also attempt to encourage a class action against the entire SG as they are not protecting whistleblowers or the Police Scotland staff .

    I would applaud Michael Mathieson”s intervention from a complainants and the public’s point of view but I would also call for an enquiry into the grossly stupid actions of the PCC’S decision. Michael Mathieson has possibly saved the SG and the Scottish public a fortune in legal fees

  10. Clydebuilt

    Police Scotland
    The BBC & Unionist politicians are working to get into people’s minds that the resignation of the first two Chief Constables is a result of the way the force has been created.
    The problem with the ex CC Gormley had nothing to do with the creation of Police Scotland, he bullied his staff.
    The resignation of the first CC Stephen House was due to teething troubles of the new force, and individual error by a call handler.

  11. Elizabeth H. Scott

    All complaints about Police Scotland should be answered by asking what exactly its being a single police force has to do with the complaint.

  12. Alan Gordon

    Today I read in the Herald that the reason why Michael Mathieson called Andrew Flanagan for a meeting was to ask him what measures were in place for the 7 complainants if Gormley came back to work. I thought that was a very reasonable, even compassionate ground for the meeting. Nothing was in place for the 7 complainants. This was the Herald, are there any researchers/ story checkers at the bbc, if so what are they getting paid for?

  13. Pingback: BBC Scotland ridiculed after documentary promo is presented as news – Towards Indyref2…

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