Ruth, Racism and Bigotry – Now BBC Scotland has questions to answer

Ruth Davidson emerged from hiding this week.

The Scottish Conservative leader, who has refused to answer questions over the re-instatement of two councillors amid a racism and bigotry row, appeared on Reporting Scotland.

Davidson gave a brief statement to camera. The version that appeared on Reporting Scotland is shown below.

The clip that appeared on Reporting Scotland was a truncated version of a slightly longer clip that was published online. The longer clip is shown below.

OK, where to begin with this sham, for that’s exactly what it was. The first of course is the obvious. Where were the questions?

Ruth Davidson has been dodging interviews for months. It goes right back to the council elections when issues began to emerge over the suitability of some of her party’s candidates. Following this was her unavailability to address the controversial deal Theresa May hatched with the DUP.  Her refusal to answer questions on a range of difficult issues came to a head this week when she again refused a request to appear on Good Morning Scotland to answer questions on the reinstatement of the two councillors.

When the BBC Scotland interviewer came face to face with Ruth Davidson he evidently hadn’t prepared a single probing question.

Why had Ruth Davidson refused to be interviewed on the subject of the two councillors? Why had her office told Good Morning Scotland she would not be available all week? Why had she only now revealed the ‘diversity training’ both councillors had apparently agreed to? Why had both councillors been reinstated before the training had completed? What moves had her party taken to ensure racism or sectarianism was not rife within the party given that she herself had been critical of SNP vetting procedures two years ago? When did her party contact the Nil by Mouth charity?

The interviewer could also have added supplementals, especially on the issue of the DUP deal which, given the sectarian baggage of the Northern Irish party, was particularly relevant.

But there was nothing. A political leader who had been running from microphones for weeks was allowed to make a statement unchallenged.

Ruth Davidson was effectively provided a platform by Reporting Scotland in order to mount a damage limitation excercise. The short item wasn’t designed to elicit answers, it was designed to kill the racism and sectarianism scandal engulfing the honorary colonel.

But it has backfired … on both parties.

Shortly after Ruth appeared on Reporting Scotland, the SNP MSP James Dornan posted the following message on social media.

If true, it meant the Scottish Conservatives had contacted the anti-sectarian charity ‘Nil by Mouth’ only hours before Ruth Davidson’s appearance on Reporting Scotland. It also called into question the claim by Davidson that both of the councillors had already “done part of” the diversity training that they “continue to do”.

Dornan’s claim was bolstered by an article in the Catholic Observer the following day. An excerpt from the article is reproduced below:

Dave Scott, campaign director for Nil by Mouth, a charity which works to end sectarianism in Scotland, said he was ­disappointed at the Conservative’s response.

“When this story emerged, we offered to work with the elected members concerned to help them understand why their tweets caused such controversy and upset,” he said. “A Conservative Party spokesperson indicated that the member involved would take part in such a meeting. Sadly, we have heard nothing from either the councillor or the party.”

NIl by Mouth later said that at the request of Conservative party officals they had agreed to meet with a number of elected officials to discuss online posting and attitudes to equality.

The comments by ‘Nil by Mouth’ call into question the veracity of the statement made by Ruth Davidson on Reporting Scotland. Unless there is a second organisation involved in providing the so-called ‘diversity training’ then Davidson’s claim that her councillors are already receiving such training is untrue.

It also calls into question the role played by the BBC in this growing scandal. If, as it appears, ‘Nil by Mouth’ was only contacted hours before the Scottish Conservative leader appeared in front of BBC Scotland cameras then by what means was this appearance on Reporting Scotland arranged? Who contacted who and when. Was there any agreement that Davidson would face no questions?

Far from closing down this scandal, Ruth Davidson’s appearance on Reporting Scotland has served only to add to the list of questions the Scottish Conservative leader now faces. However there appears no-one in the entire main stream media willing to ask them.

Moreover it calls into question the motives of those at the top of the BBC in Scotland who have handed Ruth Davidson a platform from which she was allowed to make an unchallenged statement.  The Scottish Conservative leader has still to answer one question on this scandal.  The bigger scandal is that she is unlikely to.

[This article has been amended.  The original version wrongly assumed BBC Scotland reporter Nick Eardley had interviewed Ruth Davidson.  On online exchange with Nick Eardley has revealed that an unnamed BBC Scotland colleague in fact interviewed Ruth Davidson.  Nick Eardley says he presented the Reporting Scotland item “because I knew the story”.]


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22 thoughts on “Ruth, Racism and Bigotry – Now BBC Scotland has questions to answer

  1. Clydebuilt

    In The world of Scottish Unionist politicians and their supporting Media Lies are the norm, the Truth is controversial,

  2. Bibbit

    As well as the recent hounding of Michelle Thomson, SNP MP, by the BBC, I’m sure we all remember the BBC’s James Cook coralling Nicola Sturgeon in George Square, Glasgow, on camera, during the 2015 GE campaign, to hound her, demanding, off the cuff, for her to answer all his questions and snarky innuendo, regarding her private meeting with the French ambassador and the proven totally false lie ‘leaked’ by the Scotland Office’s Libdem MP, Alistair Carmichael, that she, Nicola Sturgeon, hoped the Tories would win the 2015 GE! Frenchgate; which led to Libdem MP being branded a liar under oath, by two of Scotland’s top judges, but it was just a normal lie, not a political lie so that’s OK then.

    Why this distinctly ‘kid gloves’ approach towards Ruth Davidson?

    Clearly the BBC have a British nationalist agenda.

    I really can’t bear to watch any BBC Scotland news at all now.

    I prefer to get my news from other more reliable, less narrow and nationalistic sources.

    1. Ken McColl

      Hope you don’t mind but I’m pasting a screen shot of your comment to Twitter. It demonstrates the colossal inequity shown to Indy and Unionsit parties

    2. Norman Howell

      I emailed BBC newsdesk said I would no longer pay The Customary Licence fee but would monitor their Biased reporting. To DATE, No reply ? From now on I’m Licence FREE

  3. Bill McDermott

    # Clydebuilt

    Please, please always use the term British nationalist when referring to Unionists for that beyond any doubt is what they support.

    British nationalist not Unionist.

  4. Alastair Naughton

    And this is QUITE APART from the hate-filled comments made by Douglas Ross. Truly the Nasty Party. Scotland’s very own DUP, you could say.

    1. Me Bungo Pony

      The problem is, many of the people who vote Tory in Scotland are “sympathetic” to the views being espoused by these Tory councillors and MP.

      Many “Rangers” fans in the West will lap up the sectarian bigotry of the Stirling cllr, seeing it as an endorsement of their own ingrained view. While many “Leavers” in the East will heartily agree with the “Johnny Foreigner”/ Daily Mail views of the other two Tories.

      Reasonable people will, or should, be appalled by the bigotry on show here from the Tory party. However, a large proportion of the popln is not reasonable. Highlighting these odious views is necessary but it may not be the ” slam dunk”, killer blow to the so-called Scottish Tory surge we all hope for.

  5. Ghillie

    It IS bizarre that Ruth Davidson, her councilors and MPs seem allowed to get away with blue murder. And that they seem to be endorsed by the BBC.

    Even without the context of how the SNP, Wings and the Independence Movement are treated and harassed, this is a growing and truly bizarre situation for a so called free country.

    But the British Nationalists, the Tories and the complicit media ARE, day by day, hanging themselves by their own petard.

    When the Catholic Church and respected organisations like Nil By Mouth are speaking out about blatent untruths coming from the very leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, the SFA are investigating what I, and many, see as bigotted comments coming from one of their new MPs and that no one in the party is able to face questions in public (a Teresa May tactic!) then surely it is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as it is harder than ever before to find somewhere to hide.

    At times though, I do dispair.

    Will voters notice? Will there be ANY sanctions? Or will all of this, together with Carmichael’s lies just slide away into the muck?

    Well. Not if this site, and all of us, keep holding them up to the light = )

  6. vagabondo

    “If you enjoyed reading this article ”

    I am really grateful for the articles here, and appreciate the diligence shown. But enjoy, no. I am left depressed that so many fellow Scots are willing to support such systematic publicly-funded disinformation.

  7. Iain

    Excellent summary, but just one point: at the beginning of the sixth paragraph, shouldn’ t it be “Why had Ruth Davidson refused to be interviewed … “, instead of “hadn’t”?

  8. Alex Beveridge

    It’s quite simple really. The B.B.C is an integral, and essential, part of the British Establishment. Whatever needs to be done to preserve their vice-like hold over us, that’s the people of Scotland, will be carried out to the letter by their lackeys at Pacific Quay, in what is a last-ditch attempt to prevent us gaining our independence.
    With their broadcasting arm pumping out daily propaganda to the already brainwashed population, they, the British State, believe that they can keep us subjugated, and under their control. I’m afraid we can complain as much as we like, and believe you me I’ve tried ,but they take no notice. And why should they? They have the full authority of the State to behave in this manner, because their purpose is to maintain the Union at all costs. Tell the truth. You must be joking.
    And the sin of omission by not questioning Davidson about her part in the Conservative Party’s abhorrent policy of allowing people who have made racist and sectarian comments to remain members of her party, is just one more example of their manipulation of a news agenda all designed to maintain a stranglehold over what the people of Scotland hear, and see, from their national broadcaster.
    You can complain as much as you like, hold protests outside their headquarters, it will make no difference. They have the full authority of the British State to behave in this manner, so the only answer is for Scotland to become an independent nation once again, and only then will we have the chance to construct a proper broadcaster, one that will serve our people in a fair and proper manner.

    1. Ian Clark

      Slightly puzzled here Alex. We know they will ignore our complaints and protests, but I’ve never thought that the main point of these was to get the BBC to be honest and impartial.

      They are two of the things done to raise awareness of Pravda’s agenda so that we erode persuadable No voters’ trust in it. The cause of independence can only be helped by well supported complaints. [From a tactical standpoint, protests are a slightly different matter.]

      The more people who become aware of the Britnat Broadcasting Corporation’s propaganda and deception, the better chance we have of more people voting for Scottish independence in a future referendum.

  9. Jimbo

    Maybe it was a panicked arrangement with the BBC after Tories saw on your Twitter feed that Phantom Power Films was going to ‘doorstep’ her.

  10. bringiton

    The sad fact is that it says more about the people who elected them than the politicians who represent those views.
    Voting for the Unionist party is a vote for xenophobia,homophobia,sectarianism and a host of other unsavoury views and let us not forget,actively supported by the British Labour party in Scotland.
    Bigots Together.
    As for the British state broadcaster,least said.

  11. Clydebuilt

    Alex Beveridge Total waste of time demostrating outside Pathetic Quay, only people who see the demo are BBC employees and tourists on the hourly bus.

    Effective option is to have demos in high streets at busy times.

  12. Liz

    I agree with Ruth in that people who want to change should be allowed the opportunity to do so but to reward them without seeing what the outcome of their retraining has achieved is way wrong.

    You don’t send a murder to prison for life and then offer them the reward of freedom simply because they recognised what they did was wrong and they are willing to change.

    Ruth Davidson should be ashamed of these men allowed to stand as candidates for election but not Ruth she has no shame.

  13. Mark Rowantree

    I simply despair of this country that so many of it’s citizen’s, perhaps even a majority: are perfectly happy with reactionary, bigoted politics, if that entails continuation of their ‘blessed union’.
    I must confess that on a Sunday evening I am not particularly disposed to providing a satisfactory way ahead?

  14. Andy Inglis

    It is clear from the video that the ‘non-interview’ was filmed outside Edinburgh International Conference Centre – on Thursday, where Ruth Davidson had a Q&A gig with Jon Snow from 1100 – 1200 noon.
    I’m guessing she/the Scottish Tory media team and BBC Scotland/Pacific Quay reckoned even they couldn’t maintain the Ruth-not-available-for-interview line when she was simultaneously publicly appearing, and answering questions (!), at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
    So I’m surmising that between them they concocted a practically convenient ‘solution’. Given that BBC would have at least one camera crew there already, to cover the TV Festival, it was agreed that Ruth would meet them outside the TV Festival venue and deliver her scripted piece to them, with no interaction with any of the BBC crew doing the filming – who were probably not a BBC Scotland crew at all, never mind BBC Scotland’s ‘political’ team, as the Edinburgh Television Festival is HQ-ed/organised in London, so a good chance it was a BBC ‘London’ crew. Hence Ruth Davidson’s ‘soliloquy’! And hence Nick Eardley being able to claim that “she was replying to one of my colleagues”…?

    1. Stoker

      Excellent post and food for thought! Also, folks, the posted comments by ‘Me Bungo Pony’, in reply to No4′ comment, should be absorbed and remembered for they are very accurate.

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